Prague, Czech Republic is a fairytale-like city in central Europe with incredible Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance architecture. Founded in the 9th century and home to the largest ancient castle in the world, a visit to Prague feels like stepping back in time. In addition to the heady architecture, you can quaff foamy beers, eat medieval platters of assorted meats, and jostle shoulders with the masses of commoners who squeeze onto the famous Charles Bridge. Click here to see what you should do for your day out in Prague!
What to See
The “old town” is the main tourist draw in the city, and it’s compact enough to be walkable. The Charles Bridge at the southern end of the Old Town is a breathtaking example of Gothic architecture and worth crossing on foot. Musicians, street performers and artists are set up on the bridge, making the crowded walk even more worthwhile. Plus, the bridge crosses the Vlatava River, offering scenic views of the Old Town and the Mala Strana (the “Lesser Town”) on the other side.
Old Town Square
It’s really hard to avoid the Old Town Square, and honestly, why would you? The Old Town Square was and is the center of life for the city. The winding lanes of the Old Town all end up in the town square, and during holiday weekends you can expect to find outdoor markets set up here. We visited during Easter weekend and found ourselves amidst a sea of street meats, from kebabs to rotating smoked Prague hams.
Prague Castle is the current residence of the president of the Czech Republic and is a massive compound consisting of many buildings, including the imposing and impressive St. Vitus Cathedral. Arrive early at the castle to avoid the crowds (seriously, tourism is a THING here), and be sure to check ahead of time for any special events to time your visit accordingly.
What to Eat
As with the gothic feel of the city’s architecture, Prague’s food scene is heavy, medieval and filling. On Easter weekend, expect to see stall after stall of gigantic roast hams turning on a spit, filling the city with the heady aroma of smoked hickory wood and porky meat goodness. The ham is sliced directly off the spit and onto your plate, and you’re charged by weight. The ham is salty, fall-apart tender, and full of a rich smokiness that only comes from being cooked very slowly and outdoors. Accompaniments like stewed cabbage or bread dumplings (dumplings made out of stale bread, egg and milk) are also usually eaten alongside this glorious meat.
If outdoor street meat isn’t your scene and you’d prefer a sit-down meal, try U Provaznice for a homey, traditional Czech meal. If you’re in a group, the Old Prague plate is a great way to try a little of all the meats Czech cuisine has to offer, from a tender smoked duck leg to slices of ham. The plate also has stewed sauerkraut, bread dumplings and a pile of boiled potatoes, to boot. For a traditional, expansive beer hall, swing by U Fleku for meat plates, cold brews and a medieval feel. If you’re looking for something a little more refined, check out Ginger & Fred, an elegant top-floor restaurant serving modern spins on Czech cuisine inside the Dancing House, a Frank Gehry-designed building with twists and turns that seem to defy steel and logic.
Get the lay of the land with a tour around Prague in a vintage, Czech-manufactured car. If you’re traveling with a group, the car tour is an ideal way to have a guide drive you around town in style. History Trip offers 1, 1.5 or 2 hour tours in their refurbished vintage cars, and you can even specify routes or destinations.
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