A couple of weeks ago, in a bout of restlessness on a lonely Saturday night, I booked an impromptu trip to Prague. I’d heard nothing but great things about the city and was excited to start exploring more of Europe (this is the furthest East I’ve ventured so far) so it seemed like a good time to start.
I only had a short time in the city (29 hours, to be exact) but really didn’t feel rushed at all. Prague’s relatively small and very walkable. Aside from this practicality, there’s something inherently mysterious about its winding streets which make them a joy to get a bit lost in – even if only briefly.
Here’s a glimpse of what I got up to in my 24 hours in Prague…
My flight at 7:20am on a Saturday morning seemed like an excellent idea at the time of booking but on travel day, pre-caffeine, progressively grew in its silliness. Regardless, I was happy to be out on the streets of Prague by 11am that same day having woken in London that morning and had soon forgotten all about the early start.
After getting my bearings from the hostel, my first stop was to source lunch. I made a beeline for a vegetarian place called Lehka Hlava which I’d read about on World of Wanderlust and wasn’t disappointed by its cosy and intimate atmosphere.
I then followed the meandering streets towards Old Town, stopping all too frequently to admire the beautiful cobblestone laneways along the way.
I met my tour group for a Sandemans free walking tour around 2pm and we spent the next three hours exploring Old Town. Our tour guide, despite his penchant for bad jokes and semi-relevant pop culture references, was knowledgeable and enthusiastic. As we walked through the streets, discovering everything from medieval rebellion to WWII, to beer and how the Rolling Stones are to thank for the lighting of Prague Castle, I was so humbled by the depth of Prague’s history and, by extension, how little I knew of it.
Day two’s brevity meant an early-ish start was in order to maximise the day’s exploring. I started by twice taking the 22 tram in the wrong direction (…yep) before abandoning the idea of public transport and setting off towards Charles Bridge, one of the oldest in Europe, on foot.
I can quite honestly say that Prague’s beauty really took my breath away. As one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen, it’s beauty is different to that of Paris but equally as stunning, if not slightly more unassuming and hidden.
I ignored advice about getting to Charles Bridge for sunrise and now wish I hadn’t. The sun had started to peek out from the clouds by the time I arrived but the crowds remained. Lesson learned.
Making my way over the bridge, stopping for the obligatory selfies and moments to enjoy the music from buskers along the way, the Lennon wall was next on the list. The wall is hidden amongst some laneways and blissfully peaceful compared to the chaos of Charles Bridge which leads you there. Despite some tagging here and there, Prague’s street art was decidedly concentrated compared to the ubiquity you find in Berlin, for example. The wall was colourful and happy, another busker playing Here Comes the Sun providing an optimistic soundtrack to the experience.
Feeling positive and relaxed, I went for a wander – how nice it was to walk at a leisurely pace, compared to the purposeful strut you inevitably adopt on the crowded streets of London.
Soon enough though, some food was in order. I headed to Café Savoy which was near by and Wallpaper Guide recommended. The interiors were unexpected from the outside and made the 20 minute wait for a table quite picturesque.
I opted for the French breakfast platter which I struggled to finish – the fresh bread and pastries, beautiful cheese and ham were absolutely scrumptious and just what the doctor ordered. The star of the show, however, was their signature Café au lait – coffee with milk, cinnamon and a dusting of chocolate. Incredible and not to be missed!
Approaching my departure, I headed back to collect my things with one final stop to buy some chocolate (obviously) before heading to the airport to return to London Life. I didn’t get a chance to do everything on my Prague bucket list but I kind of think it’s nice to have left things unfinished – I’ve left the door open for a repeat visit.
Prague – I’ll be back.
STAY: I opted for hostel life this trip. I stayed at Sophie’s Hostel which was centrally located, inviting and recommended to me by some friends. It was a rather poshtel but be warned – the walls are thin and you may be woken by the stag do’s returning from their escapades in the very early hours of the morning.
EXPLORE: As I had limited time, I did a heap of research before I headed over to really focus on the highlights. The most helpful things I found were trusted sources Lonely Planet and Wallpaper Guide. Hats off to Lonely Planet for budget recommendations – I spent exactly the amount of koruna I’d withdrawn #winning.
EAT: It’s very difficult to sort the good food from the average so research is vital. In addition to Lehka Hlava and Café Savoy mentioned here, I’ve also heard good things about Café de Paris, Kolonial & Prazirna which are all on my list for next time.
SHOP: I didn’t do much shopping but highly recommend Cokalada, this tiny little hidden place here for chocolate from all over the world. YUM.