There are certain places so iconic that you will see on every bucket list or screensaver carousel there is. One of those places is Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic and one of the most, if not the most, beautiful cities in the world. My trip there was a relatively short one, but if there were a place I would recommend you to do a city break, it will be here.
We chose the low-cost version of the flight and landed in Vienna from where we took the Flexibus to Prague central station. If you also think about doing this, make sure you book your tickets in advance for the bus or the train. Due to common delays in the Wizz flights, we decided not to, and that cost us more. Also, take into consideration the 4.5 hours that you will spend on the bus.
For the accommodation, we chose to rent using Airbnb a studio near the central station and we walked to the city center every day. It might not be the best solution if you don’t like walking 27 km in a day, but luckily the public transport is very good and organized. The center of the city is pretty small, so the only ride you will need is from your accommodation to it.
Since we only had two full days to spend in the city we decided we wanted to get a glimpse of the city and see the most important attractions. We refrain from visiting museums, the only place we did entry was the Prague Castle, and I have to admit the best part of it it’s free, so if you find yourself here, don’t waste the money. You can even enter the church and see most of it, without the paid ticket.
Just like the saying best things in life are free, pretty much the same goes for the Prague attractions, St. Vitus Cathedral, Charles Bridge, Prague Astronomical Clock, Old Town Square, and Dancing House are all available to you in the city center. While here make sure to grab a beer, or a Radler to fully enjoy the Czech vibe. And since we are on the subject of beverages, they are known for their craft beer that goes very well with their cuisine. If might be problematic for vegetarians, since it does include a lot of meat, but for those of you who love it, you will be in heaven.
While here, there is a special treat for the sweet lovers, the Trdelnik, a rather interesting dessert that you will see everywhere, with chocolate, fruit gem, ice-cream, fruits or other devilish flavors (like the one I choose) those will make you go to heaven.
Prague is also a river city, so do include a cruise on the Vltava, where you can learn more about the city history and get to take a few gorgeous photos. In the summertime, there is no better relaxation than to sip on lemonade while overseeing this amazing place.
The city panorama can be captured from many places, my personal favorite was the park where the Petrin Tower can be found. We didn’t climb on the tower, because of the line and the number of stairs, but we did admire the view from the park. Another great place is the tower from Charles Bridge where you can see the 360 degrees view, the best time to go is either in the morning or at twilight.
With a city this beautiful and popular you must pay attention to the tourist traps, there are a few and while you can never protect yourself from all, it’s good to do your homework before arriving. The most popular trap is the one that has to do with the money conversion, in the Czech Republic they use the koruna, and many places accept only cash payment, therefore you will need to exchange some money. If you plan on using the ATM machines make sure you read if they have any commission and verify the conversion rate, the Euronet ATM should be avoided at all times, those are known for offering the worts rates. I used my Revolut card to withdraw from a random ATM and the rate was decent. A better way to avoid this is by bringing cash and converting it. If you chose to do so, be very careful at the conversion rates and only accept the conversion if it’s the correct one. A trick that they make is they display the price they use to sell euro (or dollars) and not the one they will offer for buying the currency.
While on the ugly side of the touristic city, pay attention to the menu prices, if those are not displayed either ask or go to a different place. It happened for us to pay more than double for a bear just because they said they don’t have a menu ( we stayed only because the rain started). A friend of ours paid 4 times the price from the menu after the waiter asked if they would also like different types of salads with their food.
And lastly, make sure you don’t fall in the optional tips that they kindly calculated for you at around 20-25%. In Europe, unlike the US, the tips are NOT mandatory, if you liked the service you can leave one, usually is around 10%. The staff is fully paid (again unlike in the US where they are paid less because of the tips) so there is no obligation from your end to leave anything. Don’t get me wrong, I do tip, usually 10-15% but if the staff is rude or tries to trick me in any way that tip will vanish and I highly recommend you to do the same.
Clearly, the bad parts and the tourist traps are everywhere these days, so if it does happen to you, try to let it be and continue to enjoy your time in Prague. I refuse to give the satisfaction that they ruined my vacation to some bad people, karma will take care of them for sure.
Prague was one of the destinations that weren’t really on my list for this year but somehow manage to get on it after I got a couple of recommendations from my friends and I am so happy that I squeezed it in. Made in a budget-friendly manner we spent around 600 euros for the plane tickets, accommodation, food and attractions, in 3 days. To us, this place will always be one to be remembered with a huge smile on our faces.