Like most travel posts, this has taken much longer than I planned to get posted on here, but the good news is that the reason is because it has so many amazing things inside! I didn’t want to leave anything out, and I still had to for the sake of not writing the next “Great” American Novel, but I promise you won’t be disappointed! I’m breaking out some other topics like packing guides, tips and advice, etc. into another post to keep things short(er).
I have been extremely blessed to have traveled to over 18 cities and 15 countries in Europe so far in my short life, and I have never been able to choose a favorite. Each one had its own unique specialty. Then I went to Prague, and no city in the world has ever stolen my heart quite like it.
First, a little backstory: I actually booked this trip only about 15 days in advance of leaving, and the spontaneity of it was part of what made the trip so exciting. One of my best friends was heading to Prague for a work conference and then traveling a few places afterwards on her own and invited me to join, and that’s all it took! I spent the next two weeks immersing myself researching the best places to see, eat, and explore…but I also didn’t want my days to be too planned.
I knew I only had 3 full days there, so I wanted to make the most of them, but have never been much of a “tourist” girl. Because Courtney was going to be working for a lot of the Prague portion, it was going to be my first time traveling “alone” and I was SO amazed at how much I loved it! I chose a few “hot spots” I wanted to visit each day, and then let myself go wherever my feet traveled! I could move at my own pace – if I saw a cute coffee shop, a wine patio, or a beautiful garden, I could take my time!
After a dreamy breakfast in our hotel, Park Inn Prague, I took the tram to the castle. There I spent about 2 hours walking through the gardens and sitting on the benches reading. I could have stayed there all day – every turn and corner was beautiful!
Sidenote – the trams were incredibly easy to use, and really fun! They could get you anywhere in no time, but it is also an extremely walkable city.
From there I walked through the castle walls until I discovered one of the most famous Prague traditions: a Trdelnik! I’m not a HUGE sweets person, but you absolutely cannot visit Prague without trying one of these beauties! It was unreal.
A good friend of mine had spent a semester abroad in Prague, so I had a massive list of recommendations from here, and thanks to her I stumbled upon the breathtaking panoramic views from the Bellavista Ristorante at the Strahov Monastery (just north of the castle, less than a 5 minute walk!) I recommend the scallops!
After a few glasses of wine, I decided to wander over to Letná Park and the Letná Beer Garden to watch the sunset over the river! The park itself is beautiful, I could see myself spending weeks there every Spring and Summer without boredom. There is a particularly nice view at the Metronome, just a short walk from the beer garden.
The day was wrapped up with a dinner at Manes Restaurant right on the river with an amazing bottle of Chianti. I have to say, I got over my fear of dining along on this trip very quickly!! I was texting Courtney telling her if she finished up her work dinner she should come join me, so I sent her a pin to my location…she had been sitting at the table right behind me the entire time! How we managed to do that in an entire foreign city is beyond me, but it was definitely convenient!
I knew I wanted to explore Old Town Square (a much more touristy area, but a must-see for sure). The Astronomical Clock is a Prague staple, but unfortunately under construction during our visit (supposed to be done in June 2018 though, so you’re all in luck!) Still, seeing the square in general was amazing, and it was filled with cool cafes, patios, and street vendors.
Honestly, walking the streets in Prague in general felt like I was on the set of a fairytale.
I wandered through a few shops, and eventually made my way to Klementinum Czech National Library just five minutes before a tour was starting. It has a decent amount of stairs, so be warned, but it’s nothing too strenuous if you’re in general good health and the view at the top was….well, see below. I couldn’t stop staring at the library, it was like something out of Beauty & the Beast.
Next on the list was Charles Bridge, which wasn’t as bad with crowds as other blogs and trip guides led me to believe! Just over the bridge, if you immediately turn left and go down the stairs, you can find the most idyllic little restaurant with a sunroom, and it felt like sitting in the middle of an enchanted garden!
After a small snack and a few glasses of wine, I realized I had been sitting next to the love locks bridge the entire time! I immediately set out on a hunt to find a store that sold the locks, and ended up lucky only a few blocks away. I also found the Lennon Wall, which was the #1 thing on my list that I wanted to do! If you don’t know the story of the wall, you can learn more about it here.
This was easily my favorite day of the entire trip, because it was truly without any agenda. I wandered around for hours just discovering random alleys and streets, little cafes and gorgeous views without a sense of time in the world. What could be better than that?!
Before heading back for dinner, I strolled on the west side of the river to see what I could find. It was mostly parks, pickup spots for boat tours, and a few cafes. I stopped on a patio on the river and had a drink while watching all of the paddle boats float by and chatting with a lovely British couple celebrating their wedding anniversary. Anytime you overhear someone speaking your language, say hello! I made so many wonderful friends this way.
I capped the day off by heading to a late dinner at one of the most incredible rooftop restaurants I’ve ever seen – right in the dead center of Old Town Square. There was a clear view of the castle to my left, the square to my right…and of course the delicious food in front of me! They ended up letting me stay past when the bar was set to close, and I had the entire rooftop to myself with a bottle of wine. I could have stayed there forever.
PS – if you’re looking for nightlife in Prague, I recommend Usudu and Duplex! Usudu was a cool underground cavern with tons of rooms and bars and a good mix of study abroad students, locals, and tourists. Beware of the cigarette smoke, though! Duplex is more of a nightclub, but still very fun for a night of dancing!
The third day was different because Courtney was finally done working and I had someone to explore the city with! It was also pouring down rain the entire day…such a bummer! We didn’t let that stop us though. Neither of us are crazy about museums, so we dressed for the weather and headed to Old Town Square in search of a covered patio with good appetizers to share.
We got completely soaked, Courtney’s umbrella broke and cut her hand, but we were cracking up laughing the entire time! We were hoping to do some outdoor activities, but we took advantage of the time we had to catch up with some wine and listened to the rain while we took in the views of the Square. Eventually things cleared up and we ran around Wencesclas Square shopping for outfits for a night out before our train to Vienna bright and early in the morning!
More on that in the next post, though! I hope you found this helpful and hopefully not too long! Comment below with any questions you have about places we visited or anything at all, but I tried to link as much as possible!