We always take advantage of the Christmas holidays to make a getaway to some European city and this year was not going to be different. Prague had always been a city that we wanted to see but whenever we looked at the price of flights we would back off. We wanted to see the Prague Christmas markets. I hope you like my Prague travel blog and that it serves as a reference to future travelers.
When last year I considered where to go on vacation, it seemed to me after touring the capitals of Western Europe to travel to Eastern Europe. However, years ago this destination was sold as a package encompassing Prague, Budapest and Vienna. Of those combined trips I have only made one so far of Amsterdam and Brussels.
I do not dislike this idea but I see a point to that type of vacation and it is that in the end you stay short in the city. To give you an idea, I went from Monday to Monday, both days being amputated by the trip, the same as the day I move from one city to another. So from the eight days I have five full to split between two places.
Also in Belgium I make a day trip to Ghent and Bruges. In conclusion I only stay two full days to visit the cities. Being clear that I only wanted to visit Prague, I went to the travel agency to hire the flight and the hotel. In October I saw a flight that was quite expensive to visit Europe. I decided and took them!
I just had to prepare my vacations, visualizing documentaries about Prague and stuffing myself with all the information. I just had to wait for the day to come and get to see that beautiful city, Prague.
The day has come. It is important to check that we have not forgotten all the outerwear, gloves, thermal, because it will be cold, very cold. Prague, let's go! Once we checked in the big backpack, about 15 kilos, I was able to eat something and rest until my flight left at 2:10 pm. We look for our boarding gate and after a while, we are already sitting on the plane!
This flight will be very short. At about 14:00 we already see Prague from the sky. How green everything looks, and it's beautiful! After the landing, we look for the backpack and go out to take the bus, but we bought the transport tickets in the cabin inside.
In 10 minutes we get to Zlicin and there we take the metro to Namesti Republiky. Here we take a little longer, about 20 minutes until we get to that stop where we go to the owner of the apartment to pick up the keys to the apartment.
When we started looking at hotels in Prague they seemed very expensive. So we decided to use a well-known apartment website to find a central apartment in Prague. It was not easy, but in the end we found an apartment that was very central and in which we were very comfortable.
It is located on Biskupska Street. From the beginning they were very nice. When the date was approaching they sent us an email to tell us that if we had doubts we would ask them without hesitation. They also tell us what bus or subway we had to take to get to the apartment.
In the apartment there were also brochures and a Prague map, as well as a Prague travel guide, in addition to wifi that worked perfectly. What we liked most was that it was central and had everything we could need. There is a kitchen, shower, bathroom, hair dryer, fridge, cupboards, wifi, the supermarket next door, a shopping center and an old square.
The apartment is in an old building but the apartment is renovated and for a week's stay it is perfect. I read the building was already used as an inn in the Middle Ages. It is also true that we are not very demanding, but the apartment had things that maybe people would immediately discard. For example one of the biggest drawbacks was that the tram passed in the next street.
After unpacking the luggage and resting for a while, I left the hotel to change for Czech Crowns first. To change currencies I headed to a change office located not far from the old square. On the way we can admire the gunpowder tower, the old gateway to the city and the municipal house that is located right next to the tower.
I followed the Celetna street until it ended at the square of the old city full of traveling artists and above all tourists. I was impressed by the amount of people that there were, all wandering between the astronomical clock tower, the Jan Hus Monument, the Tyn Church and St. Nicholas Church.
After recovering the blow I left the square to the exchange office located on Kaprova Street, right next to the square. I went with a coupon, which I had printed on their website and I showed it to one of the employees along with the money I wanted to change. With the feeling of being rich (almost 5,000 crowns in the wallet) I followed the Kaprova street to the river where I came across the Rudolfinum which is a concert hall. From here there is a nice view of the castle as well as the Charles IV bridge.
From the Rudolfinum, I continued north and then turned right into the Josefov neighborhood, where I wandered (without really knowing where I was going) until I reached Revolucni street. I continued south until I found the municipal house again and the gunpowder tower. I go back to hotel to leave part of the money changed in the safe and with the right amount I went out to find a restaurant to dine.
We also buy the breakfast food from the supermarket near our apartment. Finally we return to the hotel to sleep after the long day.
We get up very energetically. We really want to start visiting things. We eat it in the kitchen of our apartment and we leave soon from home and we go to the stop of Namesti Republiky. Today we decided to take the tram as it will take us right in front of the Prague Castle. From the castle you can visit the royal gardens that are not bad, and the Loreto, where is the replica of the house of the Nativity of Bethlehem
We followed a group of tourists and they took us to the castle. Before entering, we came across a change of guard. We see the ticket sale counter at the entrance. I had already read that on the left after passing the arch of the St. Vitus Cathedral, there is another ticket counter in which not many people go and so we did. The truth is that we only had two people in front of us. The entrance is a little expensive, but includes the entrance to several buildings of the complex.
First we visited the St. Vitus Cathedral! We are not religious at all, but we always hallucinate before these gigantic constructions. When leaving here, we go directly to the golden lane, or alley of gold, to see the houses of medieval times. We knew that as the hours passed that alley will get filled with people and when we arrived there were few people, so we were lucky.
The houses in that alley, among them the house number 22 in which Kafka lived, were very nice. Some of them are shops where one can buy typical things from Prague and others are mini museums. One of them is torture and armor machines. In others we can see reconstructions of rooms, kitchens, living rooms, workshops and other rooms of the time.
We continue visiting the other buildings of the castle complex like the Daliborka tower, viewpoint, St. George's Basilica, former royal parliament. I was not impressed at all and when it is already full of tourists, we leave. When leaving the complex we bought a roasted potato that was delicious! We ate it in a park where a boy was playing star wars and the pink panther with his trumpet.
The museum is in a Renaissance style building and unfortunately it is the only thing I can show you about it since inside it was forbidden to take pictures. One of its rooms is dedicated to the prehistoric era where we can see how the first settlements were formed. Another couple of rooms are dedicated to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance with the presence of many objects.
Many pieces also reflect daily life as well as religion. Finally we ended up in the last room with the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The samples of the present objects are interesting and helps to understand the development of the city. The explanations are in Czech and in English.
It has been made a digitalization whose 3D film can be seen in a room in the basement of the museum lasts about 6 minutes and they provide us with the glasses. It is a different way of watching the city since it starts by the square of the old city, crossing the bridge of Charles IV and ending in the castle alternating the camera seen from the sky to walks through the streets. Perhaps only for that reason it is worth paying the 120 crowns as the entry fee.
With so much free time I made the decision to go to visit the communism museum that I had planned for another day. I walked the opposite way, returning to the Hotel and from there take Na Prikope street until we reach the communism museum. Each room is dedicated to a specific theme of education, agriculture, work in the factories, border guard, secret police, Prague spring and the fall of the communist regime.
The information panels are in Czech, English, German, French, Italian and Spanish, which is appreciated and makes the visit more pleasant. It is the only thing you see in Prague from the communist era. After that I went to eat and as I still had some time left I went to the hotel to take a break and rest knowing that in the afternoon I would be walking a lot.
At 14:00 I reach the corner between the Old Town Square and Parizka Street (there is a Cartier store and a Tourist Office). We continue walking and we find the wall of John Lennon and later with the narrowest street. It has a traffic light that tells you when you can pass. The truth is that that was also a fun time.
Over there we decided to go down to the river to see the Charles bridge from the distance and saw a lot of swans and other birds. People fed them and the Charles bridge with the evening light was beautiful. We passed by Charles Bridge. We crossed it. The views were beautiful and skirting the river we reach the dancing building.
We go down Zelezna Street until we reach the Karolinum, a building created as a university by Charles IV. Only one tower is left of the original façade that faces the theater of the states, with a statue at its doors. At this stop, the guide told us about Mozart and his stay in Prague where Don Giovanni wrote, as well as a brief exhibition about karolinum.
For the profane, I will say that it is not a Nazgul of the Lord of the Rings or a dementor of Harry Potter or Darth Sidius of Star Wars but of the Commendatore of the opera Don Giovanni, a work that was being performed, those days, in the theater of the states.
We continue walking until we reach Wenceslao, a very lively area with many shops and restaurants. Also, as it was Christmas time, it was full of Christmas markets in which I bought some little things. There are some wooden houses decorated with beautiful Christmas lights where they sell typical Czech food, which consisted of Hot Dogs with various sauces.
More than sausages, they were really sausages that are roasted, some chocolate crepes, cream, banana, strawberry, or ham and cheese, and some pizzas to call them that. It had a name I do not remember anymore, with ham and cheese, the roast ham typical of prague, and as a dessert hot wine or chocolate with some sweets and these were really good that are donuts that are made with potato but taste sweet.
The huge Christmas tree is the most beautiful I've seen, and then a stage where they constantly played typical songs or Christmas carols. We continue down the street, loitering. It was not too cold. And we continue walking to the apartment. We pass through the square of the old city, which I liked to see adorned in Christmas lights. Finally I went back to the hotel. We end an exhausting day.
Day 3 in Prague
We go to the Jewish quarter although we started with the Jubilee synagogue. It is on Jeruzalemska street and on the outside it is beautiful. And I say on the outside because we could not enter. It was closed until March, so we were left with the desire.
Then we went to the Jewish quarter, in Siroka Street, where the tour of the synagogues begins. We arrived at 10 at the synagogue and there was no queue there. We bought the joint ticket to see all the synagogues.
We follow the Prague itinerary that the ticket seller of the synagogue gave us. So we continue with the old-new synagogue, which we only saw on the outside, the maisel, the pinkas and the Jewish cemetery, and the klausen. I do not have many pictures of these.
When we finished the tour of the Jewish quarter we went to the old city of Prague. We went to climb the clock tower. There was not much queue to take the tickets. When we already had the tickets they tell us that the entrance is in the building next door and we entered. When we saw the queue I hesitated at the beginning whether to be in the queue or not, but I thought it would be the same every day so I stayed.
We went up a ramp-stairway that skirted an elevator. We climbed up and saw Prague from the top. Prague is beautiful no matter where we look. Prague is the city of 100 towers. We saw a lot from the clock tower. Prague is the most beautiful from above by far. Yes, the little corridor that we are going around is very narrow.
We went down from the tower and took a walk around the old square, all adorned with its Christmas stalls both of ornaments and of typical things and food. We ate a Trdelnik, those sweet rolls that we can accompany with cream, and chocolate. I did not like it as it was too sweet but my partner loved it.
And slowly we walk as it was getting dark. In winter at 16.30 most shops already closed for the night. At 19.30 we had to be in the theater where we were going to see a black theater performance. We had not planned to go because I had read many negative reviews but in the end we decided and found one that was not so bad. We bought the tickets right there on Naprikope Street. There is a kind of gallery and we go inside and there is the ticket office and the theater.
It lasted about an hour, and it entertained me. Neither I was with many expectations, so it may be that another person does not like it but I liked it. I had never been in a black theater and I found it interesting. If you go to Prague with children, they sure will love it, because there is interaction with the public.
We ate at the restaurant which has at the same time a beautiful viewing terrace. It's next to a museum. It looks like an art club. It's like a Gothic cellar with vaulted ceilings with candlelit tables and hanging lamps that gives it an ocher and warm light at the same time. In it we ate a traditional tomato soup that was a delight, and the best milk chocolate in all of Prague. I love the creamy dule with apple sauce and cream with which they prepare meats and one of the best beers I've tasted.
Day 4 - Prague New Years Eve
Today was the last day of the year and the New Years Eve in Prague. We wanted to have gone to Cesky Krumlov but looking at tickets the day before we found it impossible because of the schedule. So we did not have anything planned for that day. We went to the Letna Park for a walk and without realizing we had a good view of the city. We even saw two squirrels.
We spent a very quiet and pleasant morning in the park enjoying the tranquility. Then we went down and headed on foot towards Charles Bridge. We get inside a restaurant that supposedly was great. Well the food was not bad. The food was good but the dishes were of very little quantity. We were comfortable because the place was nice and the food was good but we were hungry. We had two dishes, one of them salad with chicken and the other Goulash, a beer, a water, a coffee and a tea. I expected it much cheaper and for what we ate it seemed expensive.
We went to the Kampa Island. It was already getting dark and the truth is that I loved that place. We arrived at the old city square that we liked and we took some sausages and some potatoes to fill the crop. Later we went to have dinner at night, since it was the end of the year, although we prefer to make a good meal in the apartment. We leave around 9.30 to the old square.
At 10 o'clock at night we were in the old square of Prague. The people were already very excited. Before arriving we expected to find ambient music or an orchestra in the square waiting for the new year. We have already been to other places and it is the typical way. But when we arrived we were in shock in the part of the stage where the youngsters were already dancing to the hardcore rock music.
We were a while by there but we saw people very buzzed and we went to the part of the clock. At 11 o'clock at night we saw the time change. Every time it snowed more and more, and it was beautiful. It was 12 and we almost did not hear the bells as fireworks in Prague began. We stayed there for a while and later we went to sleep.
We wake up late. We have lunch very calmly and when we are ready we go to the Florence station, 3 minutes from our apartment. There we take the bus. After 2 hours we arrive at our next destination at Kallovy Vary.
They leave us at a Trznice station but for the return we will have to go to another Terminal. We do not have maps, and the maps that are around the city are in Czech. Although as a last resort we would ask for a taxi.
We decided to walk towards one direction and we got it right! We continue walking. The ground was snowed. At 11 there were very few people on the street. We crossed a snowy park and arrived at the first fountain.
We decided to try the hot water from the fountain. It was salty and very hot. We did not like it much. At that time a man came with a cup and filled it up. Apparently this water has healing properties.
Soon we found stalls where they sold cups and we decided to buy one to try the water too. We tried it but it did not convince us. We keep walking. And we find the columns where there are more sources.
The houses were beautiful, and colorful. They were quite crowded, and the walk along the river was very pleasant. We continue passing many sources, each one is seen that has some healing properties. We did not drink much.
We found a building, the Vridlo, where was the main water source at 70 degrees and others around smaller. The rest of the day we spent strolling through the small town and seeing churches, buildings and shops. We liked Karlovy Vary but I would have liked to go to Cesky Krumlov.
The most beautiful church is the Orthodox Church of Saint Peter and Paul that is located on a hill in the village, and that is the typical Russian Church. I already read that it was more beautiful on the outside than on the inside. I do not know inside, but it was beautiful on the outside.
Before leaving, we had a delicious hot chocolate at a bar. When we finished the visit, at 4:00 PM we took the bus and returned to Prague. We walked around and to the apartment. We were exhausted.
Today we had booked the tour to Kutna Hora. The tour started at 11 o'clock but the train from Prague to Kutna Hora was at 12 o'clock, a little late for my liking. We leave Prague sooner so we can make the most of the day at Kutna Hora. Our guide controlled the times in an exaggerated way. The tour was very entertaining and we went to eat at a restaurant that was excellent value for money.
In addition our guide noted down what we wanted to eat and when we arrived at the restaurant the dishes did not take 5 minutes to arrive. We had mushroom soup and salad with goat cheese. We had a great time. The church of the bones struck me quite a lot. My partner loved it.
That day we arrived in Prague around 6 o'clock. Of course, we went to the center and went to dinner and to go for a walk. It was our last night and I wanted to see for the last time the old square full of Christmas stalls. Tomorrow morning our flight would leave and it was time to return to reality.
We took the metro in Namesti Republiky until Zlicin and from there to the airport. After an hour of circling, gossiping through the shops of the airport and buying the sandwich that we were going to eat, we boarded the flight.