From Texas to Beyond

Local, Near and Far: Our journey of exploring the world.

Prague City Overview

Rebekah and I have always wanted to explore Eastern Europe, and Prague was the top city on our list.  Prague, the City of a Hundred Spires.  When we found a cheap flight to Prague using frequent flyer miles, we didn’t think twice about booking the flight!

After much planning, we decided to spend four of our ten day European trip exploring the Czech Republic.  We also wanted to see the Czech Republic beyond Prague, so we limited our time in Prague so we could travel 4 hours south by train to the picturesque Czech town of Český Krumlov.  This decision left us with two full days in Prague.  Looking back, two days is theoretically enough time to catch the Prague highlights, but we moved quickly to cover so much ground.  You could have easily spent a week in Prague, including short day trips to see the surrounding countryside complete with small castle towns.

To make the most of our time, we researched the destination beforehand so we could spend our time on the ground enjoying.  Rick Steves 2014 Prague & the Czech Republic Guidebook was a most helpful resource.  I highly recommend this book for traveling in the Czech Republic.

Before we jump into what we did, let’s take a look at the city of Prague itself.

Crossing the Charles Bridge from the Little Quarter into the Old Town

Crossing the Charles Bridge from the Little Quarter into the Old Town

Prague is actually four distinct towns clustered along the Vltava River.  Over the years, they have merged into one city, but each district has its own character and charm.  Understanding these areas will help immensely when finding attractions and using public transportation.  When walking the streets of Prague, consider how each area is linked to its neighbors.  For example, the renowned Charles Bridge spans the Vltava, linking the Old Town with the Little Quarter.  Realizing these were two separate towns at one point in history brings everything into focus…so that’s why there are gate towers on both ends of the bridge!  Once upon a time, walking across this bridge meant leaving one domain, and entering a completely different country.

The Old Town – On the east side of the Vltava River, the Old Town features the Old Town Square, complete with the Astronomical Clock, Týn Church, and crowds.  Just north of the Square is the Jewish district, full of Art Nouveau façades.

The Old Town Square

The Old Town Square

The Castle Quarter – High on the hill west of the Vltava River, Prague Castle looks down on the other three towns.  At its center, Saint Vitus Cathedral reaches into the sky.  The castle is a very popular tourist area, but make sure to take a stroll after sunset for a pleasant night cap.  This castle is best described as a collection of churches, squares and palaces which form the imposing walls.

The New Town – On the east side of the Vltava River, the New Town features Wenceslas Square where the Czech people gathered during the Velvet Revolution, resulting in independence from the Soviet Union.  The wonderful concert venue, Municipal House, and the Alfons Mucha museum are some of the top sights.

Wenceslas Square in the New Town

Wenceslas Square in the New Town

The Little Quarter – In the shadow of Prague Castle on the west side of the Vltava River, the Little or Lesser Quarter is full of old-world charm.  Stroll the narrow streets that all seem to lead uphill to the castle above.

View of the Little Quarter from the Lobkowicz Palace

View of the Little Quarter from the Lobkowicz Palace

Below is a sampling of our favorite experiences from Prague.  Over the next few weeks, we will discuss each in detail.

  • Monday (5/4) – Hotel Hastal Prague Old Town – Our comfortable and cheap hotel located in the Old Town.
  • Tuesday (5/5) – Old Town Square – Fight the crowds of tourists to see the Old Town Hall with its Astronomical Clock and the Týn church.
  • Wednesday (5/6) – The Slav Epic – A superb collection of 20 paintings by Czech artist Alfons Mucha that traces the heritage of the Slavic people.
  • Friday (5/8) – Czech Beers – Czechs brew delicious beer! After all, it is the national drink. We look a bit more in depth at the Czech beer culture as we sip a few of the local brews.
  • Monday (5/11) – Foreigners in a Local’s Pub – Rebekah and I drink a pint in the Golden Tiger Pub, and experience a true local’s pub in Prague.
  • Tuesday (5/12) – The Music of Prague – Home of Dvořák and frequented by Mozart, Prague is home of great concerts and venues.
  • Wednesday (5/13) – Prague Castle – Prague Castle is a collection of courtyards, churches, and royal palaces. In particular, we explore the Castle Square, St. George’s Basilica, Old Royal Palace, the Lobkowicz Palace and the quaint Golden Lane.
  • Thursday (5/14) – Saint Vitus Cathedral – Rising from the center of the Prague Castle complex, Saint Vitus Cathedral is a religious and national landmark for the Czech people. Oh yeah, and it has stunning stained glass!
  • Monday (5/18) – Veshyrad Park – After hitting some touristy spots, Rebekah and I strolled along the ramparts of this old fort, now occupied by locals looking for relaxation complete with a great view of their city. At its center, a national cemetery holds the remains of some Czech heroes.

13 Comments

  1. I spent a few days in Prague and Cesky Krumlov in 2000. LOVED it! Still one of my favorite countries in Europe. So much beauty, history and places to check out. Can’t wait to hear more.

    • Karilyn,

      We totally agree: The Czech Republic is full of beauty and history! We will be sharing about our time in Cesky Krumlov in the coming weeks. Check back soon!

  2. I had always been desperate to visit Prague, but actually I was a bit disappointed when we finally went as it was just so busy and full of tourists (I know, like us). Even the food didn’t seem very Czech. I wonder if we were just unlucky, but I definitely think Vienna is a more beautiful city….Maybe you will entirely disagree!

    • Sarah,

      Rebekah and I visited Prague in mid-August. I think the late summer timeframe cut down on some of the tourists, but even then they/we were everywhere it seemed. I think this is why venturing outside of Prague, and seeing more of the Czech Republic is important. We spent 24 hours in Cesky Krumlov, and absolutely loved this town. We got a better sense of the country, and enjoyed delicious Czech cooking!

      We haven’t been to Vienna, but it is on the short list for our next trip!

  3. Very thorough city guide for Prague. I have never been but it seems like a must see.

    • Ben,

      Thank you for the kind words. We hope you can visit Prague soon, and experience the Czech Republic for yourself!

  4. I visited Prague for the first time last fall and I fell in love with it. My 5 days there were nowhere near enough to see everything, especially since my favorite thing to do is simply to pick a neighborhood and stroll, camera and notebook in hand. This is a great list of what not to miss and a really efficient and clever way to round up all your posts on Prague in one place. Good job.

    • Donna,

      Thank you for the encouragement! As you said, there is so much to see and do! We wish we had more than just a few days in Prague, and would love to return one day to explore more of the neighborhoods like you experienced. There is always so much to learn!

  5. Great post! Prague was high on the list before I moved to Asia so when I return to Europe I hope to make it one of my first stops! Thanks for this guide. Looks like there’s so much to do!

  6. It looks like you all are having a great time in Prague. I didn’t know much about Prague, so thank you for sharing your tips and advice! Great pictures!

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