I had been in and out of Prague on three separate occasions during my stint in the Czech Republic. Like Budapest, it was a city I was in love with before stepping foot in it. Random fact: I had a Czech coworker who’s wife was Hungarian. For some reason thinking of them and the cities they returned to annually always made me eager to visit both. When I checked into my hostel during my first few days in Prague, I was handed a map and pointed in the direction of a few specific highlights for those without much time. Naturally those highlights became my Prague Itinerary and I unknowingly got to experience some top things to do in Prague.
Things to Do In Prague
Letna Park – Best Views Of Prague
Letna Park was the closest “attraction” from my hostel so that’s where I ventured first. As a park lover, this would’ve been fine in my book, but I was really here for the best views of Prague, and even in the daylight I was not disappointed. The deeper I walked into the park, the more I had to take my camera out because the views of the Old Town specifically kept getting better and better. Being perched on a hill and staring out at that sea of orange rooftops is mesmerizing.
Midway into my walk through Letna Park I realized that they had a beer garden. People would buy a cup of their favorite brew and sit at a table to either enjoy each others company or the views of Prague. I know Czech Republic is known for cheap beer so even in this beer garden I thought prices were very affordable. I regret not following my instinct and indulging but I was a girl with a plan and had places to be. There are also several beer gardens sprinkled throughout the Old Town. So if you skip this one, don’t worry, many more await you.
One word, castle. Why would you not go and view this beauty? Being American, there’s something great about being able to see this type of history up close and personal because we’re such a “new” nation. If you’re into castles (trust, I know a lot of people who aren’t) then I think Prague Castle is worth a trip. Keep in mind that there may be a line but it does move fairly quickly. When I was there there were two, maybe three security guards at the entry point to the grounds to search bags, therefore keeping hundreds of tourists out at any given time.
St. George’s Basilica
Once you finally get through security for Prague Castle you’ll have to walk by Saint George’s Basilica before making your way to the castle. While I’m all for visiting every church I pass, the fact that you had to buy a ticket to enter the basilica rubbed me the wrong way, so I admired from the outside. However, if famous churches are your thing, then definitely go for it.
Roam the Old Town
I did this every day and I could do it for 100 more. I love Old Town, Prague. It’s that simple. Because I walked into Old Town versus getting off of the train or dropped off, to me it felt like walking through a time portal and literally stumbling back in time. The only thing missing was people throwing wash pot water from the second stories of buildings and everyone if their fanciest period outfit.
The Old town is great for seeing the many bridges of Prague, having dinner at overpriced but traditional Czech restaurants, or even shopping. I passed not only shopping malls, but streets dedicated to Zara and HM. And I mean, who doesn’t peak in every Zara they pass around the world?
I recommend taking a walking tour through the Old Town and maybe scheduling it for a weekday morning as it can quickly become overrun with tourists. During my first walkthrough, a rainstorm had just passed and most people were probably indoors. That left me with a wonderful first experience. However, during my second and third visits the sun was shining and people were in the streets. I’m grateful that I actually had a chance to visit without feeling claustrophobic while walking down the cobblestoned alleyways.
Visit the New Town
I happened upon the New Town because it’s where I stayed during my third visit to Prague over the course of the few weeks that I was in the Czech Republic. Not only was it a completely different vibe from my first neighborhood across the river, but it’s nothing like the Old Town either. The obvious difference is the “new” in New Town.
In the New Town you’ll find newer and more modern buildings and lodging. Nothing has to be preserved although that’s always nice. You’ll find hotel chains, restaurants, and cafes that are a little less traditional. I can’t tell you how excited I was to see a coffee shop that I originally discovered in Ostrava, Czech Republic. I was in love with their deserts and had no clue when I’d ever taste those delightful treats again. I also found a vegan restaurant with rave reviews although my food was just okay. These were things I couldn’t find in the Old Town no matter how much I walked around and searched.
Where to Stay in Prague
When searching for a place to stay for my first couple days in Prague, Sir Toby’s was one of the cheapest places. On top of having great reviews and seeming good enough, saving me money is the trifecta. For the first time in all of my travels I opted for a 12 bed dorm partly because I wanted an all female room and partly because my options were slim. Aside from not having under-bed storage because someone decided to double up and the fact that in the mornings people were in said storage (my bed was on the bottom) everything was great. I would definitely stay here again, even in the 12 bed dorm, but there are so many other hostels to check out.
Sophie’s Hostel is under the same umbrella as Sir Toby’s and several other hostels. So when I went to book it, I had already heard of it due to research months prior. If I’m remembering correctly, Sir Toby’s was out of female dorms and that’s why I opted for a bed in a co-ed, 6 bed dorm with an ensuite at Sophie’s. It was even closer to the Old Town than my previous hostel and I didn’t have to maneuver my way around any bridges to get there. Both hostels had a bar and breakfast available for a fee, but with Sophie’s, you had to go across the street to Miss Sophie’s hotel (not hostel) to indulge.
How to Get Around Prague
The trains, trolleys, and busses throughout Prague are great and only second to getting around the city on foot. Because I knew I’d be walking most of the time, I only bought 30 minute timed tickets because in that time I could usually get from the central train station to where I was staying. In regards to getting from central Prague to the airport, you’ll need a 90 minute ticket as it will most likely take you a little over an hour to get from one point to the other. Other great pass options for visitors are the 24 hour and three day passes that all can be used interchangeably depending on which mode of transport you opt for. You can find ticket options and prices here.