CZECH REPUBLIC

PRAGUE

Full of history and beauty, Prague is a great place to visit for a few days. It is cheaper than most other European countries in the west and since 1992, its historic center has been considered a UNESCO World Heritage site. This capital city is known for its unique medieval architecture and its many local delicious beers.

When to Go

The most popular months to visit are the summer months of July and August where it can get hot, but this also means there will be a lot more tourists and sites will be crowded – it won’t be as crowded though as peak months in Rome, Paris or Athens. If you want to avoid crowds, go in the springtime or early fall, when the climate is moderate.

Getting There

If coming from North America, you can fly direct from Toronto (on Air Canada), Montreal (on Air Transat) and New York (on Delta). Otherwise you can connect in most large cities within Europe.

Currency & Payment

Although the Czech Republic is a part of the EU, they still use their own currency, Czech Koruna (Kč). $1US is equal to approximately 22Kč. $1CAD is equal to approximately 17Kč. You can pay with euros at most restaurants and stores but the exchange rate won’t be as good. Credit cards are accepted pretty much everywhere here and ATMs are frequently found. Tipping isn’t mandatory but leave a few euros change or round up the bill if the service is good.

Charles Bridge - 2017 Alex Lee
(c) 2017 Alex Lee

Before you Go

  • Make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months from your departure date
  • Pack converters to charge your devices. Power sockets in Italy are type C and F (two pronged round sockets). The standard voltage is 230V and the standard frequency is 50Hz.
  • If you have a student ID, bring it as it will save you money on entrance fees to the sites.
  • Download the map of Prague on your maps.me or Google maps app on your phone and pin all of the locations you want to visit.
  • Pack good walking shoes as Prague is a walking city.

City Transportation

Prague is a very walkable city. There really isn’t a need to use a taxi or even the metro (unless you don’t want to walk up the hill to the castle). There are no metro lines that go directly to the airport. To get to the city center from the airport, take the Bus 100 to the yellow metro line B to the city center, or Bus 119 to the green metro line A to the city center (depending on where you are staying). This ride will cost you only 32Kč (around $1.50US). It is very easy to navigate and doesn’t take too long. A taxi from airport to the city center is a fixed price and will cost you 550Kč (around $25US) for up to 4 people.

Where to Stay

Stay in the Old Town area. I highly recommend the Maximilian Hotel as it is very centrally located and includes an incredible breakfast buffet.

View of Prague - 2017 Christie Lee
(c) 2017 Christie Lee

What to Do

  • Take a walking tour of the city. If budget allows, hire a private guide. Below is the information for one who was really great. She was very knowledgeable about everything and can answer any questions you have. The cost is around $35US per hour (depending on the conversion) for up to 5 people.
  • Visit the Prague castle and the gardens – it is best to visit the castle in the afternoon when the lines have died down a bit (the line in the morning can be hours long). 1pm is a good time to visit and enter through the main entrance in Hradcanske square. The entrance closest to the metro station is always the busiest. There are three entrances.
  • Take a picture at the John Lennon wall – stop by on the way back to the city from the castle as it is on the way. This graffiti wall changes daily as new artists are always adding their works.
  • Walk across the Charles Bridge, the historically famous bridge in the city. It spans half a kilometer and while walking across you will see 30 incredible statues.
  • Valdštejna Garden (Wallenstein Garden) – a beautiful place to walk through on the way back down from the castle to the city center.
  • Walk up to the top of the Powder Tower (Prasna Brana) – here you will find an amazing 360 view of the city. Many people don’t know you can climb to the top of it so it is never very busy. During the months of April to September it is open from 10am to 10pm. In March and October it closes at 8pm and in the winter months 6pm. It costs 100Kč to enter, 70Kč for students/seniors.
  • Visit the 3 main Synagogues in the city – the Spanish Synagogue, the Pinkas Synagogue and the Old-New Synagogue, which is the oldest in Central Europe.
  • Visit the Old Town Square and see the Old Town Hall and the Astronomical Clock – every hour between 9am and 11pm, the clock rings and 12 apostles will appear.
  • Rent a paddle boat on the Vltava River. It will cost around 250Kč to rent a boat.
  • Get a massage at Thai World – for 599Kč you can get a one hour Thai or foot massage. It is located right in the city center on Celetna street. It isn’t anything luxurious – you are lying on a mattress on the floor and separated by curtains – but the masseuses are very good and are from Thailand. Make a reservation if you can as they do fill up, and they only take cash.
  • Take an old car ride for a short tour around the city – these old convertible cars are very fun to ride in and a great way to see the city but are not cheap. If budget allows, it is a fun way to tour the town. It costs about 1500 Kč for a 40 minute tour of the city.
  • If you want to get away from the tourist crows, take a day or two to visit Mikulov, a town in the south near the Austrian border. Rent a room in the wine cellar if you can!
DCIM110GOPROGOPR8377.JPG
(c) 2017 Christie Lee

Where to Eat/Drink

  • Bakeshop – for lunch or a snack. Has great sandwiches, salads, soups and baked goods.
  • Sisters – for breakfast or sandwiches.
  • La Bottega Bistroteka – a great Italian restaurant. There are five La Bottega restaurants around the city and they are all a bit different. This one is more of a bistro, another focuses more on meats, another one is gastronomy, and another more upscale dining.
  • Nase Maso – for the best meat in the city. You will likely need to line up and even eat standing up because it is so popular. It closes at 7pm.
  • Lokal – a casual and cheap restaurant that serves great local foods and beer. A reservation is a must.
  • Praga Gelato – delicious homemade gelato by the Charles Bridge on the side of the castle.
  • If you have the budget to splurge one night, there are 3 Michelin star restaurants in the city. Two are worth dining at. La Degustation is an upscale French restaurant located right next to the Maximilian Hotel and Field is more casual and offers a tasting menu or a la carte ordering.
  • Pot au Feu – upscale restaurant with a set menu.
  • Public Interest – a great bar for cocktails next to Fields.
  • Hemingways – great for drinks.
  • L’Fleur – great cocktail bar.
Wallenstein Garden - 2017 Christie Lee
(c) 2017 Christie Lee
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