Welcome to a very pretty city. Prague has some of the richest history in Europe because many of its main sites survived the destruction of the 20th century. Colorful and cobblestoned, this fairytale city is one you won’t want to leave.
Old Town Square
This delightful square is the heart of Old Town. It is surrounded by colorful buildings featuring various architectural styles, which makes it all the more charming. I seriously can’t use enough cliché adjectives to describe this place…it’s just that cute. There’s usually some sort of song or dance going on somewhere, so try to find it amidst the hoards of tourists. When you come across a particularly large hoard, you’ve probably found the astronomical clock, which looks even more storybook-ish than the rest of the square, if that’s even possible.
While you’re strolling the streets of Old Town, keep your eyes to the sky to find the statue of Sigmund Freud dangling above one of the cobblestone streets. It’s called “Man Hanging Out” and has caused more than a few people to be concerned that a man is about to plummet to his death. You know, if his hand Freudian slips.
If you walk down pretty much any street, you’ll find a shop selling these delectable desserts. The Czech word for them is trdelník, but tourists get their own special vocabulary. Whatever you call them, they are amazing. They are made in front of you from rolled dough being twisted around an iron rod, grilled, and then filled with chocolate sauce or ice cream or whatever your heart desires. It was one of the messiest things I’ve ever eaten…picture eating ice cream out of a warm cone with a hole in the bottom…now ask me if it was worth the struggle. Absolutely.
This historic bridge lets you cross the Vltava River in style. It was built in 1357…so tread carefully. I’m kidding, this place knows hustle and bustle at its best. There are always people selling art and jewelry, gazing at the statues lining the walkway, or simply admiring the reason why Prague has been nicknamed “the City of a Hundred Spires.” Views on views.
The vendors are pretty much cash-only, so make sure you’ve got some Czech Crowns in your pocket!
If you’re looking for a beautiful brunch spot (which I always am) then this is your place! It has the atmosphere of the cafés of the First Czechoslovakian Republic, complete with a Neo-Renaissance ceiling dating back to 1893. All that to say, it’s gorgeous. And the food is oh-so-good. I ordered the French Breakfast, which came in courses of pastries and sausage leading up to some pretty fab French toast. I would recommend subbing the café-au-lait for a hot chocolate. It’s served all fancy.
And if you’re just as into brunching as me, you should also check out Styl & Interier to soak in the morning light in the hidden-away courtyard café of this charming furniture store.
There will probably be a wait at that brunch place…it’s really good. But, no worries. This is something to do while you wait, and it’s only a ten minute walk.
This is just a cool thing to see. Especially if you’re a Beatles fan. But even if you don’t sing along to the “doo doo doo doo”s of Here Comes the Sun, you should find this colorful little patch of humanity that has taken the form of a graffiti wall. Since the eighties, people have come here to paint John Lennon-inspired quotes and pictures of encouragement and positivity. People add to it everyday. So if you’re in search for a place with good vibes, this is it.
“When you can’t find the sunshine, be the sunshine.” – The Wall
Pretty much every European city worth its salt has a castle. But Prague’s is the biggest. It’s also still in use for the governing authority since it’s the official residence of the President of the Czech Republic. There is some gorgeous stained glass windows inside Saint Vitus Cathedral, so make sure to peek inside while you’re on the grounds. There’s also a charming little street called Golden Lane that you should try to find. It got its name from the goldsmiths that used to live there. Also Kafka used to live there, but no one cared enough to name it after him, apparently.
Getting to Prague Castle can be as simple as taking a tram or taxi, but it can also be a chance to see some sights if you go the long way. I took this scenic little hike to get there as many have before me, and it was lovely. You get to stumble upon the Rose Garden, Petrín Lookout Tower, which is a mini version of the Eiffel Tower, and Strahov Monastery, which is home to two libraries so beautiful they rival the one in Beauty and the Beast, which house ancient manuscripts.
Ever wanted to eat dinner inside a bell tower? It wasn’t on my bucket list either, but I’m doing you a favor by adding it to yours. This is one of the coolest dining experiences I’ve ever had. Located in the top of one of several gothic towers that punctuate the Prague skyline, the view out the window acts as a beautiful backdrop to the exposed beams and a bell dated to the 1500s. The food is also some of the best around. Be ready to spend a few bucks, but be ready to be happy you did. The hunchback of Notre Dame may not have been as crazy as we thought.
It is an understatement to say that the Czech Republic has a strong beer culture. Famous for being the birthplace of pilsner, this country consumes more beer per capita than anywhere else in the world. A stat they’re very proud of. Support the cause and keep them at the top. Have a pint. Or two. Or a few. They’re drinking it for a reason.
If you rent a car, this charming little storybook town is only a two-hour drive south of the city. There is also a train, but it takes a little longer. I went and it was probably my favorite part of visiting this country—definitely one you should Czech off your list!
What makes this little spot so special? It’s just really freaking cute.
Even the place we stayed was precious. It’s called Krumlov Tower and it really is a tower! It looks like the turret of a castle was cut off and set on the ground so a princess wouldn’t have to climb so many stairs. It’s as close to Rapunzel as you’re ever gonna get. It’s also really close to the center of town and a cute little bakery to grab breakfast and a coffee called Deli 99. Hey, princesses need caffeine too.
The river that runs through the town is shaped like an S, so there is the constant sounds of a babbling brook and a lot of little bridges all around to help you navigate your way to the castle. There’s also a lot of people rafting on the river, which looked really fun if you have time and are into it.
Český Krumlov Castle is pretty grand for a town this size, and it stands out in the crowd. There is a distinctive bridge that is built over a deep gap in the rock upon which the castle was built. This also gives away that the castle is on a pretty tall rock, so you’ll get a bit of a royal calf workout on your way up.
The best part of the castle by far is the Baroque Theatre. Just…wow. It was built in 1680 and renovated with up-to-date stage equipment in 1765. It is one of the only two Baroque theaters to retain its original stage machinery, scenery, and props. Due to its age, the theatre is only used three times a year, but it’s still operational. Stepping inside feels like you walked into a different time…it’s pretty magical.
Enjoy all of the charms you’re sure to find here! And drink responsibly(ish).