Saturday, 12 October 2019

How To Spend a Weekend in Prague




Just recently, my boyfriend and I spent a long weekend in Prague to celebrate his birthday: and boy did we fall in love (with the city). Not only was it the perfect time of year to visit - with the leaves just on the turn and the air crisp and fresh - but the city itself has everything you could ask for during a relaxing long weekend. This was easily one of the best weekends I've had all year.

From great food and cheap drinks, to stunning views and a fascinating history, here are my tips on how to spend an unforgettable weekend in fairy-tale Prague.

1. Stroll along the river and take it all in

There's no better way to start a long weekend then with a leisurely stroll that helps you get your bearings. The Vltava river winds through the centre of Prague, so is a great place to begin your trip if you want to get an idea of where everything is.

We stayed in Andel, towards the South of the city, so once we'd dropped off our bags we walked North towards the Charles Bridge. Wherever you stay though, following the river will take you to the centre of Prague. Stop off for a beer at one of the riverside pubs or boats, and take in Prague's beautiful architecture.



2. Eat at Sangam in Karlín

When you think of Prague you may not immediately think of Indian food; but trust me, this place is incredible. The setting is lovely, the chairs are incredibly comfortable, and the Indian food was some of the best I've ever tasted. Be sure to book ahead, as this place gets busy! And if you're stuck on what to order, ask the waiters for their recommendations. They know their stuff.

3. Learn about Operation Anthropoid at Saints Cyril and Methodius Cathedral
If you're into your World War II history (or have seen the film 'Anthropoid' because you fancy Cillian Murphy) the story of Operation Anthropoid is one that you'll never forget. The assassination attempt on a high ranking Nazi officer named Heydrich in 1942 marked a seminal moment in the Czech Republic's history, and is as inspiring and moving as it is tragic and horrifying.

Visit the Cathedral and Crypt where the Nazis eventually found the assassins in hiding, and learn about the mission they carried out; and its aftermath. It's an incredibly important part of the city's history and is well worth a visit.

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4. Grab a quick lunch at one of Prague's Farmers' Markets

There are a number of great Farmers' Markets to explore in Prague, each on different days of the week. We went to the one on náplavka Rašínova nábřeží, which only runs on a Saturday morning and sits on the bank of the river. It's a testament to the market that we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, despite torrential rain!

If you do find yourself there, be sure to hop on the boat bar Imago Mundi for a drink. It's the cosiest little boat that serves a great gin and tonic; as well as teas, coffees, and hot apple with rum (which smelled pretty great). The waiter was fab and had an adorable dog, which helped.



5. Explore the Old Town Square

A trip to Prague isn't complete without a stroll through the Old Town - but do beware, it's the busiest part of Prague and is pretty tourist-heavy! It's beautiful though, with colourful buildings on all sides, ornate fountains, and the legendary clock that makes it onto all Prague travel guides.

Despite being a beautiful square and a great base from which to explore the city, the Old Town isn't the best place to eat or drink. As with most central hubs it's really overpriced compared to the rest of Prague. We found ourselves strolling through a lot, as it's right at the heart of the city and is nearby lots of the nightlife. But if you're looking to avoid the tourist traps when grabbing a drink or dinner, it's worth heading further out.

6. Catch a show at the opera

Prague is famed for its State Opera, and is home to a number of beautiful theatres. There are plenty of cheap seats available for £15 or less if you're happy to sit up in the gods. It's a great way to spend an evening if you're after an excuse to dress up and experience some culture!

We saw Lolita at the Estates Theatre. As operas go it was quite heavy, but we were really glad we went. I'd highly recommend checking out what's on if you're headed to Prague.



7. Visit Prague Castle and soak up the views

No trip to Prague would be complete without a visit to the Castle, which stands sentinel over the city. It's really pretty up there, with incredible views across the whole of Prague. It's also completely free to have a look around the grounds (but you do have to pay to go inside). It's a beautiful area to explore, so definitely set aside a morning or afternoon to head up there.

8. Climb Petrin Hill and sample traditional Czech food at the top

Adjacent to Prague Castle is a big hill, where you'll find Prague's bizarre miniature of the Eiffel Tower and some really nice beer gardens. We went to Klášterní pivovar Strahov - a 17th century brewery - for some drinks and food, and ended up staying for hours! The food was yummy, and I'd recommend it if you're looking to sample some traditional Czech fare (pork features heavily, so it's not ideal if you're a veggie like me, but they also do some really nice cheese dishes).

If you head up Petrin Hill during the afternoon, stay until the sun goes down to enjoy stunning views of Prague's city lights. The walk back down the hill, across Charles Bridge and into town is particularly pleasant in the evening.



9. Head to Andel for affordable pubs and breweries open late into the night

Our Airbnb was in an area of Prague called Andel, which was incredibly well connected (the tram service in Prague is amazingly quick and cheap) and was great for pubs - many of which stayed open til 4am on the weekends! My kind of night out.

Drinking and eating round here was far more affordable than in the centre of town, so it's a good place to head should you fancy a quieter evening away from the main tourist thoroughfare. Pints were around £2, and there were some great, unpretentious restaurants full of locals. Always a good sign!

I'd also highly recommend our Airbnb, which exceeded our expectations. It was one of those rare apartments that was actually better in real life than it looks in the photos! Check it out here.

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Have you been to Prague? Are you planning a trip? I'd love to hear your recommendations in the comments, as we'll definitely be back!
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