Five Best Things To Do and See in Prague
By: JayWay Travel
Living in Prague for several years, I had plenty of family and friends come to visit. Over that time I found many favourite places that I loved to take people to and choosing just five of them is tough, so I've tried to imagine what I'd do if we had just one summer day in the city. I'll also use a little artistic license by throwing in a few additional sights as we walk.
We start off early in the morning with Charles Bridge (Karluv Most) before the crowds overrun it, crossing from Mala Strana, Prague Castle at our backs. If breakfast is in order, a quick stop at the nearby Bohemia Bagel may be in order. The Bridge was completed in 1400 and has stood the test of time as well as 600 years of wheeled traffic and the occasional flood. Back in August 2002 the flood situation was so sever that the army were positioned on the banks of the river with artillery to blow up any large pieces of debris that threatened to damage the bridges in Prague.
The statues you will see on the bridge are replicas (maybe later in the day we will stop by and see some of the originals when we're at Vyšehrad). Touching the worn, shiny spot on the plaque below the statue of St. John of Nepomuk is a ritual that is supposed to bring good luck and a speedy return to Prague (the same thing, surely?) Looking behind us we'll see a picture postcard shot of Prague Castle.
Old Town Square
Once on the Stare Mesto side of the bridge, we head to Prague's second signature spot, Staromestske Namesti. Surrounded on all sides by gorgeous baroque and neo-Renaissance buildings, with the centrepiece being the Astronomical Clock. If we happen to be there just before the hour, we can join the throng and watch the cuckoo do its thing, but it's not worth hanging around for. What is worth it, however, is heading up to the top of the clock tower for some breathtaking bird's eye views of Prague, from its very centre.
View from Vysehrad
You can get to Vyšehrad either by metro or on foot. If the weather is good and time isn't a factor, we head back to the river then walk south on the embankment, passing by a number of sights and plenty of photo opportunities on the way. Vyšehrad (High Castle) had long been the site of castles here and the place has a long history. There are only small ruins of a castle there but the walls around it are impressive. It is now a very peaceful park, with a Catholic Basilica and a graveyard that is the final resting place of the great and good of Czech history including DvoÅ™ák, Smetana, Mucha and others. If we're here around lunchtime then I like to stop in at the tucked-away beer garden on the ramparts, Na Hradbach. This is a Czech beer garden at its best and the Croatian-run grill in the corner serves up excellent food to go with a cold beer or soft drink. Vyšehrad is a wonderful place to spend a relaxing summer afternoon and the vistas are impressive.
Back to the centre
Later in the afternoon we head back down to the river for a stroll back to the centre, across Old Town Square to Kolkovna, to feast on some Czech specialities.
Interier Kolkovna restaurace obrazek
Kolkovna is a 'Pilsner Urquell Original' restaurant, serving the country's best known liquid export, served unpasteurized as it is delivered fresh from the brewery by tanker. Tuck into huge portions of hearty Czech classics like goulash or my favorite, the roast duck with dumplings and red cabbage. Prices are reasonable too, especially for the neighbourhood, and a half-litre of Pilsner will cost around $2.
If you're still thirsty after all the walking, just round the corner is a typical Prague cellar bar, KoziÄka (Little Goat). With the rough bare brick walls it has an almost dungeon-like feel. The beer on tap is Krušovice and here is one of the best pours in town. You could take the opportunity to try some traditional Czech liquor, either the herbal Becherovka or one of the fruit-based spirits like Slivovice (plum) or Hruškovice (pear).
About the author:
Jay Ternavan is the founder of JayWay Travel, a US company specializing in arranging travel and tours in Eastern Europe, particularly Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia and further east. Last year Jay moved from Prague to Wroclaw in Poland, an off-the-beaten-track gem of a city, to expand JayWay’s offerings there.