The idyllic Prague picture engraved on our memory as we’re going back to the airport: furry coats and furry hats walking past old beautiful buildings, crossing a bridge, losing themselves in the mist of a park while heading to a classical music concert.
Diana: It reminds me of Vienna!
Edgar: It reminds me of Paris!
It turned out we were both right 🙂 .
Prague was once occupied by the Austro-Hungarian and that is reflected in the architecture, but also in the gastronomy (sausages, pickles, schnitzel, polenta, goulash). If you come to think about it, this hearty food is after all typical in Central and Eastern Europe because of the long cold winters where the preserved food is a must.
At the end of XIX, Paris was a model for the Prague’s redesign, which can be retraced in the cafés culture, the Parisian district and once again, in the Czech cuisine, pastry above all – eclairs, croissants, cakes – but also, in the famed beef tartare present on all restaurants menus.
First day in Prague – history and beer tasting
To start off the day and understand the context, we booked the 10 am World War II Tour. Luckily, I and Edgar were the only morning tourists. Our guide, Marketa, took us back in time through underground tunnels, the Old Town Square, the Jewish quarter to “witness the Nazi propaganda”, to learn about the terrific story of the Nazi “Butcher of Prague”, and eventually about the dreadful trajectory of Czechs from one extreme, Nazism, to the other, Communism. We wholeheartedly recommend the tour and the guide! 🙂
We then initiated the walk through the city at slow pace, enjoying the smell of mulled wine (Svařák) and freshly baked Chimneys (Trdlnik) at every corner we turned.
There are bridges at every 500 m – passages to the other sides where hilltop castles and gardens offer splendid views over the city. Still, the peak remains the Charles Bridge. At the end of it, we climbed the Lesser Town Bridge Tower where we gazed at the terracotta rooftops dressed in patches of late snow.
We can’t say it enough, but really, we are cuckoo for the Chimneys (Trdlnik) and the best place to have them is at Good Food right across the Charles bridge, as you’re heading towards the Old Town Square.
Old Town Square. We went just on time to see the medieval astronomical clock in action.
Lunch at Lokal Dlouhaaa – a lively eatery house where they serve generous and delicious portions of traditional Czech food.
Absintherie – We came here hoping to try the Absynth coffee, but the coffee machine was broken so we randomly picked the most eccentric Absynth drink name :). Definitely a must-try while in town!
Beer tasting at U Kunstatu. This was surely one of the trip’s highlights, despite us being wine aficionados. But when in Rome be a Roman, (and discover you’re more Roman than you’ve thought). We learned about the crafting beer process, what is made of and the diversity of flavors from dark to smoked, bitter, pepper or lemonade. How tasty and crisp it can be! To put in simple words, we soon discovered we love beer. We are not sure whether it was because of our hilarious guide, Tom, or the tasting of 12 different exotic beers that surely cheered us up, or the great group of peeps with whom we ended up spending the evening talking about life and all that jazz…Or perhaps because of the whole mix!
Second day in Prague – a lavish breakfast and soulful evening
Started off the day at Café Savoy – classic café where we had one of the best breakfasts ever: fresh bread, soft boiled eggs, and the hot chocolate from Dominican Republic with milk got us hyped! (TIP: Book a table in advance, it gets crowded easily.)
We took the funicular in Czech Lanovka to Petrin Park, which is huge and must be even more amazing during summertime. Here, we had fun in the Mirror Maze and then visited the Strahov Library made up of two impressive halls filled with more than 200 000 books and stunning ceiling frescoes dating from 17th and 18th centuries.
Prague Castle. Being eager to catch some great views from above, we courageously climbed 296 stairs to the St. Vitus bell tower just to discover a dense fog :(…Yet, we were told the experience is fantastic on clear sunny days!
Lunch time! Potrefena Husa restaurant franchise serves duck/goose dishes so we went for the roasted goose that was E X Q U I S I T E.
Ennio Morriconne. What determined to book our trip to Prague in the first place was Ennio Morricone’s concert: 60 years of Music Tour, where 12 000 people of all faces, age, color and clothes gathered around. A must in a lifetime, especially in Prague, a city of music.
Third day in Prague – a perfect light
Finally, the almighty sun showed up! We started off the day at Café Louvre with great ART Nouveau decor, lovely atmosphere and mesmerizing variety of cakes.
Walking by the river until the Dancing House (Fred and Ginger) and stroll around the Kampa Park was the best we could do on a sunny day before returning home.
The last stops were at Choco Café to drink the best hot chocolate in town and eat delicious homemade cakes, and then the House of the Black Madona, which is claimed to be the first building made in Cubism style with fantastic interior decor. Recommended!
Hearty Czech food for cold days that we fell in love with
- Beef goulash in dark beer with Haluski*
- Roast Goose with Haluski
- Goulash soup
- Pork Schnitzel with butter potatoes
- Spicy sausages with horseradish and mustard
- Chimneys (the traditional Trdlnik) – yep, had one every day, each with a different filling
- *Haluski = potato, bread or polenta dumplings
What fascinated us:
- The precision of the public transportation and of customer service in bars and restaurant.
- Someone helping you to carry the bags up the stairs at the metro station exit, as you’re going to the airport
- Dogs allowed in bars & cafés (also in Vienna) and dogs waste bags on the street (dog owners know what a thing that is!).
- They have the Portuguese pavement (pt. calçada portuguesa)!! But contrary to the Portuguese one, this is not slippery.
- The number of pubs and underground cellars! We later found out the reason why: Prague’s streets were once at a lower level. Due to frequent floods, in Middle Age people started adding up land to gradually upraise the city level.
- You can buy all-included transportation tickets by journey time: 30 min, 24h, 48h or 72 h.
- The AirBnb apartment where we stayed has an excellent location and it was small and cozy, perfect for a short escape.
What we could have done if we had more time
- Eat smoked sausages in Wenceslas Square.
- There are cozy and beautiful cafés with tall windows and strangers siting over a coffee or a raspberry cake everywhere you turn. It comes without saying that we ended up at a table in quite a few. We wish we had embarked on a cafés tour, to discover more of the Art Nouveau and Art Deco architectonic styles. TIP: There is a free Café Guide that you can acquire inside the Old Town Hall.
- Immerse in a food tour, in this food tour particularly.
Let us know what you enjoyed most in Prague and what we should add to our list next time we visit the city! We’re already thinking to come back in warmer times 🙂 .