Prague City break

Astronomical Clock – The Old Town Square

Location: Czech Republic

Famous for: Beautiful Architecture, Jewish Heritage, fences full of padlocks (to name but a few things).

When to go: Anytime, but Winter is picture postcard stuff. I think November to February is best if you want to try to experience snow on the ground.

Cost: Relative, but reasonably cheap to get there, especially if you book a last minute break, but the cost can quickly mount when you are eating out and about. My recommendation is to make sure you include breakfast in your package and eat away from the main square, where prices seem to be double that of elsewhere. Just as a heads up a mug of warming Gluhwein could cost you upwards of £7 in the square, but only £2 on the outskirts.

Time difference: +1hr

Places to stay: I can highly recommend the ‘Art Deco Imperial’ which is only a short walk from the Old Town Square and all of the wonderful alleyways that surround it. You can find their website here > . The Hotel itself is large and very grand, with plenty of space for you to relax into. There rooms are light and sumptuous, with an excellent sized bath (and shower), which is just what you need after walking all day. The breakfast is truly amazing, with everything and anything you could want and if it’s not already waiting for you then I am sure all you have to do is ask. If you are a smoker, please be aware that this is a non-smoking hotel and they do not have a smoking area, so it will be standing on the street or nothing at all. Beware of local taxes and make sure that wherever you go you know what the taxes will be.

There are many options for accommodation, and as long as you are reasonably central you will find it’s easy to get everywhere, without resorting to taxis and so on. But Prague can also be a lively city and as such, you may be well advised to check your hotel isn’t right on top of the action – unless of course, that is what you want.

What to see: There is so much in Prague that you might find that your legs give up before you do. It’s a good idea to research everything you want to see before you go and have a rough plan in place. But make sure you leave some free tine for a spot of people watching coffee drinking and basically giving your feet a rest – trust me, you will need it. I would advise that you add the following to your list though:

The clock: No visit to Prague is complete without spending some time watching the astronomical clock and waiting for the chimes (midday is obviously the most popular time to go). Where? The Old Town Square. Find out more here >

St. Nicholas Church: Small but absolutely beautifully decorated with ornate columns and incredible murals on the ceilings. Plus it’s in the Old Town Square, which you will walk around regularly… see reviews here >

Brightly coloured alleys full of unique shops

Old Town Hall Tower: This is definitely worth a few moments of anyone’s time, and there is a lift if you don’t fancy all the stairs. The views from the top are amazing and give you a panoramic architectural feast for the eyes. Again, found in the Old Town Square

Town Hall dungeons: While I did take the tour of the Town hall itself, I have to say its the labrynth like dungeons that captured my imagination. Dating back to Roman times, these dungeons are very atmospheric and you can even experience a ghost tour down here if you like. Location: why of course, The Old Town Square! See reviews of ghost tour here >

The Jewish quarter: Where you can walk around the old jewish cemetery which is 14th century and houses 12,000 tombstones, although there are many more than that actually buried here. You will also find the Jewish holocaust memorial & Museum, an absolute must to visit. Inside you will experience the most moving memorial I have ever seen – painstakingly created by hand along with an insight into the lives of those that lived and died at the hands of Hitler in the Museum itself. Words can’t quite describe this place, but it really should be experienced. Find out more here >

Lovelocked railings – Charles Bridge

Charles Bridge: The bridge is full of unique stalls and lined with 30 baroque figures, it is in itself a beautiful place to visit. There are also a series of historical landmarks on the bridge itself that you will find listed in most guidebooks. Moving away from the Old Town Square, towards the palace, you will see the railings below the bridge on both sides that are which are almost entirely obscured by padlocks of lovers past and present. Read more here >

Tip: If you venture down to the railings on the right hand side you will also find a glorious cafe where you can enjoy possibly the cheapest and nicest Gluhwein and have a view of the river!

Prague Castle: Not really a castle at all, but it dominates the skyline and is definately a place to add to the list with the spectacular St Vitus Cathedral sitting inside the walls of the castle itself. I would allow at least half a day to do this section of Prague justice. Read more here >

Don’t miss the Prague Chocolate shop: which will reward every sense and you will certainly lose pounds before you leave (££) whilst gaining them back in weight when you eat your purchases!

Essentials to take: Comfy walking shoes and warm clothes if you are visiting in Winter – the biting wind can be incredibly harsh.

Intricate murals decorate building and shops

What to expect: Well if the list above hasn’t given you a clue, expect lots and lots of walking. Even though you can travel around Prague by horse and carriage, taxi, cycle or even Segway, you will find that Prague is most rewarding when you travel on foot – and don’t forget to look up. You will be surrounded by baroque, medieval, and renaissance architecture that is so stunning it’s difficult to take it all in. Many brightly coloured murals decorate the buildings from all eras and are beautiful to marvel and wonder at.

There are Free guided tours, yes free, that start in the Old town Square – just look for the guide’s umbrellas! Take advantage of them as the guides’ knowledge is exceptional and you can dip in and out of them as you wish – just remember that these guides survive on their tips, so tip what you can at the end – they are well worth it.

Prague will exhaust you, you will come home tired, but it’s worth it!

For more information on Prague, travel guides etc, this site has some great information >