Prague, the former capital of Bohemia, is a city that has a small town feel and charm. Situated on the Vltava River the city of a hundred spires is famous for the baroque architecture, gothic churches, and the medieval astronomical clock. While I was there I would wake most mornings to fog covering the city which increased the charm and picturesque feel of the city.
When looking for somewhere to stay I would suggest Old Town Square area which is a great central area to stay. We stayed at a hotel a short walk from Old Town Square which was perfect for taking the city in by foot. The walk to Old Town Square was an easy walk along the River with great view of the Prague Castle. By walking along the River and getting a somewhat early start to the day allowed us to hit the Charles Bridge first so we were able to take in the bridge before the large tour groups arrived for the day. Since we had a limited amount of time in the city we wanted to make sure the time we did have in the city was maximized. After hitting up the bridge and the church adjacent to the bridge we headed towards the center of Old Town Square.
We weaved through the small side streets lined with small handcrafted stores and the smell of fried dough, cinnamon and sugar wafted in the air from the Trdelnik shops. We emerged to center of Old Town Square surrounded by churches, restaurants, and astronomical clock.our first stop was St. Tyn. The impressive church is situated almost in the middle of the square which an entrance that was little hard to find. The entrance of the church is through in a little walkway immediately next to the restaurant. When you enter into the gothic church you are taken away why the impressive alter and architecture. Pictures are not allowed in the church and are asked to walk he church in silence. Admission is free but a donation box is located near the entrance/exit. When the church was originally built it was a Protestant church but it is now a Catholic church.
We crossed the bridge, explored Kampa Island we searched for the Petrin Tower funicular. When you are looking the entrance/tickets for the funicular you do not have to walk up the hill, go to the left, under the archway and you will find the entrance. Be prepared when you are purchasing tickets in the kiosk make sure you have either correct amount in case or a credit card that has a chip that is wifi or apple pay. When you get on the funicular know that there are 2 stops. The first stop (middle stop) you can get off for the restaurant. The second stop (top of the hill) is the stop of Petrin Tower.
The Petrin Tower has 2 lookout levels and an option to take an elevator. Take not when you are purchasing your ticket keep in mind that credit cards are not accepted so make sure you have cash on hand. Take the 299 steps to the top. Yes this is a lot of steps, but there are resting points along the way and there is a midpoint stop where you can walk around the level before heading up to the top. When you are climbing the steps you will notice that everyone is climbing up and there is another set of steps to walk down which makes things easier and you don’t feel like you are always moving to the side to let someone pass. Comparing the lookout points I think the St. Charles Bridge as better views.
After a short sitting break we headed back across the St. Charles Bridge toward Old Town Square. We walked around, shopped a bit then found a place for a late lunch/early dinner. After dinner we just wanted around and took in the Astronomical Clock at night.
We already had a half day city tour booked so after breakfast we headed to the meeting spot for our tour. The 4 hour tour started out with us driving to the Prague Castle. Here was just walked around the grounds and was provided some information from our tour guide since we had a lot to cram in the 4 hours. After the castle, which is the home of the home of the President, we headed towards the river for a short cruise on the Vltava river. We cruised under the St. Charles Bridge then back. After the cruise we walked to the Jewish Quarter. Since it was a Saturday the synagogues were closed to tours. From here we winded our way back to Old Town Square.
After our tour we decided to head back to Prague Castle. There is security you have to go through so please be mindful that you will have to go through the security checkpoint before you can enter the grounds. The ticket we purchased included entrance to St. Vitus Cathedral, Old Royal Palace, St. George’s Basilica, and Golden Lane.
We took a few hours to go through the Prague Castle and the Golden Lane, where there are a number of cute shops where you can purchase unique souvenirs. Be sure you a lot sufficient time to tour the castle so you don’t feel rushed and get to experience everything at your own pace. Just be warned, if you are touring the castle on a rainy day wear the proper shoes to walk since the stone walk ways are very slippery.
I ended the night taking in a concert of string orchestra at one of the churches. You will find several churches offer concerts at night – from organ to string instruments. We chose to purchase tickets for Vivaldi Four Seasons at Cathedral of St. Clement. It was a beautiful experience to sit in the church with the smell of incense, candle light, and beautiful music.
Our last full day in Prague took us out of Prague to a little town of Knuta Hora. Knuta Hora is a little mideval town approximately 1 hour outside of Prague. The town became known for being a silver mining town. Now the town is drawing people in for the ossuary Sedlec Abbey. The Sedlec ossuary houses bones of those died during the Black Death. F. Rint designed the ossuary using the bones of those that died after they were exhumed and disinfected. It is a definitely an interesting stop and visit while in Czech Republic. It is a small space and does not take much time to visit.
After this stop we headed over to St. Barbara’s Church. This is a short ride from the ossuary. St. Barbara’s Church construction began in 1388 with multiple interruption causing the construction to finally finish in 1905. There are 8 chapel and a car choir and medieval frescos. From here we walked out the door across the bridge to the town. We walked through town and saw the Gothic Stone Fountain and finally the Plague Column which was constructed as a thanks for surviving the plague. There are several small shops and restaurants through the city but be prepared, if you make the mistake like we did and visit on a Sunday when a lot of shops and restaurants are closed.
We finished the trip on a sweet note stopping to pick up a trdelnik from one the stands then headed to the Forum Karlin to see the Lumineers! It was definitely a fun way to end the this trip!