Prague is one of the few cities that was not demolished by World War II (there was once “accidental” bombing but no sustained fighting), therefore the city looks like a pristine dollhouse, with whimsical moldings and pastel colors decorating every building. We once heard that Prague probably looks a lot like what Berlin would have looked like if it wasn’t torn apart by the war.
The Czeck people are one of the nicest we’ve encountered in our travels, likely influenced by their largely peaceful modern history of resolving the conflict faced by their country. The Czechs have come a long way from defenestrating some folks to kick off a continent-wide religious war to ending communist rule with the jingling of keys that went so smooth its known as the Velvet Revolution.
We loved our long weekend there, but if you’re crunched for time, there were certain things that you go to and some to forgo. Since Prague can often be a (cheap) stopover on long haul flights, here is a run down of must sees (and not sees.)
Definitely see the old town centre.
Go at any hour of the day or night and people watch. Take in the unique buildings, the street performers, and all the incredible history that surrounds you. Just try not to get pushed aside by a bunch of Brits dressed up funny for the many Stag and Hen parties planned in Prague.
Definitely don’t go out of your way to see the Astronomical Clock’s chime show.
If you’ve ever done any research on a trip to Prague, you’ve probably heard of the Astronomical Clock. I’ll start off bold. Don’t go out of your way to be there when it chimes on the hour. Your time in Prague will likely take you through the old town centre a bunch. One of those times will likely be around the rather lacklustre display. Just stick around for a few minutes just to say you saw it and move along. If you can try to go early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the hundreds of tourists crowding the plaza and expressing a confused/disappointed look after the “show.”
The story behind the clock and what it actually is able to display for a 600 year old device is incredible but as far as wacky clocks go, check out the one in the Scottish Museum in Edinburgh before this one. Our walking tour guide, Lana, told us that the astronomic clock was the #2 most disappointing site in Europe…behind the Mona Lisa (Reg Note: as an Art History nerd, I wholeheartedly disagree. The one improvement would be if the Mona Lisa were 10x bigger to overcome all the tourists heads crowding in front of you)
Definitely order all the duck on every menu.
In the states (and to some extent, London) duck isn’t as common and is often an expensive treat when it is. Duck is the roast chicken in Prague. Reg ordered it basically everywhere all the time. Sometimes with cabbage or dumplings. Nick wants to make sure to note though, there are plenty of other roast meats waiting for you to try as well. If you want a bit of a nicer meal, go to U Modre which translates to the Blue Duck. It’s where we celebrated Nicks birthday and couldn’t have asked for a better authentic experience!
Definitely don’t order water.
First off, this is Europe where ordering water with your meal isn’t as automatic of a thing as it is in the US. Second off, this is Prague where BEER is LITERALLY cheaper than water. If you see the opposite on a menu, run away as it’s a hardcore tourist trap.
Definitely train to Kutna Hora.
If you’re in Prague for more than a day, take the train to this small pristine town—very cute buildings and squares. Even a bone church if you’re into that kinda thing. There’s nothing really can’t miss about Kutna Hora but it’s always fun to get out of the big city for a day and explore the other interesting places a country has to offer!
Definitely don’t let the crowds deter you (they move quickly!)
The most packed places you’ll encounter are likely the Charles Bridge and Vilnius Cathedral. If you fancy a walk over a bridge, but are not dedicated to a particular bridge, walk a few minutes south of Charles Bridge and you’ll find plenty of other paths to cross over!
We can’t think of anymore Definitely Nots, but can think of so many more Definitelys!
Definitely get a Trdlo (with Ice Cream AND Nutella…why limit yourself to one or the other!) Definitely go to Prague Castle (well, more like a plaza), definitely go to the Lokal and order ALL of the unlimited sides (shout out to the best potato dumplings and bread dumplings!) Definitely get a ticket to a local orchestra, at a fraction of the price of concerts in Vienna. Even the incredibly crowded Charles Bridge is still a great experience.