Prague is known the world over for being a destination for beer and is renowned for being one of the most beautiful cities in the world. With this comes a lot of tourists and a lot of people have visited this city, that means I’ve heard both positive and negative things about Prague. With this being my first visit to the city, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it, however, after a few days I can tell you it has lived up to its expectations.
A Great Train Journey From Brno
When I was waiting for my train in the station, it was taking some time for the train to arrive and I was ready to leave Brno. I can honestly say this train journey was an almost perfect experience. It’s very easy to book the tickets online or at the station. However, one problem I had was that I received a text saying that the seat I was assigned would no longer be available. I had to find an unoccupied seat once I got on the train and had to change seats during the journey.
Might I mention as well that the ticket only cost £12. That’s not much more than the hour journey it takes from Stirling to Edinburgh. What I have to say is that the journey was very comfortable. You get your own cabin on the train and the conductor gives you a free bottle of water. There was even free wifi and the views of the snowcapped rural Czech countryside blew me away.
Staying at Brix Hostel
I have to say that this hostel was decent, the location meant I had to take a tram everywhere, but I could not complain. The bed was comfortable, I got a towel without needing to pay and did I mention the place has a bar? One thing, however that did frustrate me though is that instead of a key you get given a code. It didn’t always work and I had to go to the reception more than once to open the door.
Walking Across the Charles Bridge
One of the most famous places in Prague is the Charles Bridge which I must warn you is constantly rammed with tourists. This bridge is immaculately built and it is hundreds of years old. This makes it one of the oldest bridges in Europe and it is surrounded by incredible views of the many buildings around Prague. Furthermore, I walked across this bridge several times as it is located smack bang right in the middle of the city.
Walking up the St Nicholas Bell Tower
A great place within the Old Town to see some views of the city is the St Nicholas Bell Tower. It costs about £3 to enter and after walking up more than 200 steps, you’ll be able to see a great deal of the city from above. I was also told that this place was used as a surveillance point. It was used to spy on the US embassy during the communist era due to its location.
The Most Interesting Church in Prague and the John Lennon Wall
Despite that fact that the Czech Republic is one of the most atheist countries in the world. Christians from all over the world make pilgrimages to this site as it has a unique shrine to Jesus. Nearby to this place is also the famous John Lennon Wall which is one of the most famous sites in Prague. This place seems a bit like a tourist trap as it’s just a wall. However, what’s interesting is the origin story behind the wall. This wall was immortalised with graffiti back in the 1980s. The reason why it has John Lennon’s face is that he was a symbol of western culture and freedom.
Getting up to Petrin Tower
This place is also another very famous sight in Prague and it’s where you can get the best views of the city. To get to this place, I recommend taking the funicular which makes it an easy trip. It cost me less than a fiver due to my student discount. I will warn that just like the Charles Bridge in that it’s quite crowded. Expect to do a bit of waiting, however the views you get make it worth the trip.
Seeing the Dancing House and Vysehrad
The “dancing house” is a place which has become famous all over the internet due to its unusual design. Once you see it in real life, it’s not too special. Inside is a rip-off café so I avoided that. 10 minutes away on foot is the Vysehrad which is a historical fort with some great city views that are a little more far off.
Scran and Beer at Mr Hotdog
After quite an exhausting day, I knew I had to get some decent comfort food and I found the perfect place for it. Mr Hotdog has hotdogs of all kinds at a decent price and in true Prague fashion, you can wash it down with a beer.
Learning Some History at the Communism Museum
I can say this is probably one of the best museums in Prague. It’s a great place to learn about the history of Czechoslovakia under communist rule. You can see what a normal bedroom looked like during the time which didn’t look too bad. However, you can tell that communism was no fun time in Czechoslovakia. It details the brutality of the regime, including how people tried to escape and the eventual success of the Velvet Revolution in 1989. In which people protested for regime change and tells of the interesting life of Vaclav Havel. Who spearheaded the movement against totalitarianism in Czechoslovakia.
Seeing the Astronomical Clock in Action and the Old Town Hall
One of the most famous places in the Old Town area of the city is the Astronomical Clock. It is a very impressive piece of clockwork. You will constantly see masses of tourists crowd around the clock. There is quite an audience when it strikes an hour. Every hour it feels like the clock puts on a show for a few minutes like that scene in Shrek. I’d say despite it being very touristy, it is something you should see at least once in Prague.
Furthermore, if you decide to go into the old town, you can pay about a fiver and you’ll have to expect quite a tough walk to get up the tower. You can get some incredible views of the old town from the top of the tower. The old town itself is preserved as a part of history and one of the best in Europe.
My First Ice Hockey Game: Sparta Prague v Kometa Brno
Ice hockey is almost as popular as football in the Czech Republic. I would even say that it’s a must on a trip to Prague. A ticket only costs £12 which is well worth it. To get to the O2 Arena you need to simply take the metro. Once you get there, all you need to do is scan the barcode on your ticket and that can be done from your phone.
I have to say ice hockey is mental. It’s a sport you really need to concentrate while watching as the puck travels so quickly. I was shocked at seeing these players fall down and get back up like nothing happened and also seeing the occasional scrap break out. A truly entertaining sport.
I also had a Czech Klobasa at the game which cost me £3 which was decent food for a sporting event. The game itself was quite the thriller as Sparta Prague beat Kometa Bruno 5-3 in a tough battle.
Hidden Gem: The Public Transport Museum
This is a nice lowkey museum just behind Prague Castle and it doesn’t cost too much to enter. Beware that it’s only open on weekends and it is quite a small museum so it won’t take too much of your time to visit. Furthermore, at this place you can see how Prague’s excellent trams have changed over time.
Checking Out Prague Castle
One of the most famous buildings which dominates the skyline of Prague is this place, it looks amazing from a view. Although going here wasn’t my favourite experience. To get there, expect to queue up and wait for quite a bit. Expect more of the same if you want to go into any of the buildings. Furthermore, while walking around this place, you will see the change of the guard which is quite impressive. It is popular with the tourists, so it can be a challenge to get a decent view of it.
My Honest Opinion on Prague
I’m not too much of a fan of going to places which are overly touristy. However, I can say I enjoyed my visit to Prague. It has one of the best pub scenes I’ve experienced in Europe and is genuinely one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been to. In conclusion, I can say it’s definitely a great destination if you’re a backpacker.