You can’t help but to be impressed by Prague’s grandeur. While the city centre is full of tourists all year round, Prague Castle and Charles Bridge beautifully dominate the city’s skyline and the Powder Tower, Astronomical Clock and St Vitus’s Cathedral are all worth a visit.
The cobbled streets and medieval feel to the place is the very reason that so many flock to the Czech Republic’s capital and after visiting it this weekend, these are some of the things I recommend.
Coffee tastes really good in Prague (I can only count on one hand the amount of cities I’ve visited that you can say this about) and my favourite place is the art deco Grand Cafe Orient. It has an outdoor terrace where you can sit and peoplewatch the passersby, an outdoor terrace on the first floor and indoors is full of booths and a bar which feel like you’ve been transported back to a scene from The Great Gatsby.
There are plenty of Starbucks dotted around the city if you’re really stuck but to be honest their coffee is watery in comparison to the local cafes.
Municipal House (in Old Town) is another example of Art Deco architecture, and is fabulously opulent and worth having a look around and a tea or coffee in, even if you’ve no interest in the daily orchestra performances it puts on.
Food and Drink
Czech beer is the best in the world and having a beer in one of the many the outdoor terraces is something Prague does well. In contrast, ordering wine with your meal can be expensive – around €30 a bottle.
I found Czech food heavy but you might like to sample a local dish of Goulash with dumplings which pops up on most menus within the city centre. Local cuisine aside, there are plenty of Italian eateries (and your token fast food joints such as McDonalds and KFC, catering for the massive tourist influx I imagine).
Some restaurants offer good “set menus” (2-3 courses for 180 Kroner or less) but after a bit of searching, I found some gems of restaurants that came recommended and were tried and tested over the weekend.
Marina Grossto on Jankovcova 1595/14
This pizzeria located on a barge (picture above) was one of my favourite eateries and has fabulous views of Charles Bridge and the river. Great for an aperitif or hot chocolate too and it’s worth going there for the views alone.
Aromi on Manesova 78
A fantastic Italian restaurant and deli in a chic space. Great for seafood, fish and Italian wines. We enjoyed a great Italian meal here.
Accommodation in Prague
I visted Prague with my Mum and we opted for a self catering apartment, superbly located in the Vinohrady district. We stayed in No 46 (pictured above left) which they describe on their website as a “hybrid of styles fusing old world antiques and luxurious furnishings with contemporary kitchen and state-of-the art bathroom design”.
After the bustling hoards in the city, it was a welcome and quiet haven to retire to each evening – beds were super comfy and although a full range of wine, beer, water and nespresso coffee was on offer there, we were able to shop for supplies locally and eat-in when we wished.
Shopping in Prague
Prague’s Palladium shopping centre is where shopping is at in Prague. Large Zara and H&M stores (always better than the ones in Ireland I think) sit alongside Calvin Klein, Marks & Spencer, Tesco and a pharmacy (couldn’t spot a pharmacy anywhere else in Prague) plus hundreds of other stores and restaurants .
What I love best about visiting places like this are the different shops that you don’t get in Ireland – Promod, Intimissimi (for underwear) Sephora (for makeup) and Puma (for cool trainers) – even F&F have a fully dedicated clothes shop there unlike at home where their clothing are only stocked in some Tescos and even then they sit in the aisle next to the food.
Pařížská street in the Jewish quarter (just off the old town square) is lined with designer shops including Tiffany, Louis Vuitton, Bvlgari, Cartier, Prada and Salvatore Ferragamo. There’s even a Nespresso boutique nestled amongst them – it’s a coffee lovers dream and I was first in line taking photos on Instragram.
Airport shopping is not great in Prague to be honest so don’t bank on last minute present shopping there. Apart from a good Salvatore Ferragamo shop, there are only small areas selling chocolate, cigarettes and a few bottles of (expensive) wine. Even the perfume and make-up offering is thin on the ground so consider the shop and collect service at Dublin airport before you fly (or in-flight sky shopping). Other than that, the old town is full of souvenirs such as t-shirts, mugs, puppets and glass ware.
What to wear site seeing?
Prague is full of cobbled streets and steps, so heels are rendered useless here. I left my wedges in Dublin in favour of a comfy pair of Rockport biker boots. On alternate days I wore a pair of Converse though one day it rained and they are in no way waterproof as I found out!
Other than that it was all about layering. I lived in a pair of Diesel jeans, sunglasses, and a Belstaff jacket worn over a Zara blazer, scarf and a cross body bag. The weather this weekend was sunny (18 degrees) but dropped to 9 degrees C on one of the days, so I needed a coat as it did get chilly (hence the layers).
I also packed a small brolly which came in handy for a few rain showers over the weekend. Checking the weather on Accuweather before leaving for Prague definitely helped plan what to wear.
Currency in Prague
Czech Republic’s currency is the Koruna (Crown) and 3000 Crowns is roughly 125 Euros. When you walk through the main exit at Prague airport arrivals in Terminal 1, there are a selection of bank machines to your left side just at the exit to the building. Withdraw some money at this point as I didn’t spot many ATM’s around the city.
Flights to Prague and travelling around Prague
I flew Dublin-Prague with Aerlingus.com paying approx €160 return. Getting around Prague was really easy on the tram – just remember to buy your tram ticket in a Tabak in advance as only the larger tram stops have ticket machines.
Have any recommendations for eating, drinking, shopping and sleeping in Prague? Let us know in the comments below.Tweet