When planning a European excursion, visions of gondoliers dressed in stripes along Venetian canals and epic Instagram shots in front of the Eiffel tower are probably some of the first thoughts that come to mind. The truth is, Prague doesn’t top many must-see lists, and I’ll admit, it hadn’t been on my radar either. After talking with a friend though who had been (and loved it), along with it continually popping up when I googled “foodie cities in Europe” (yes, I google things like that), it was quickly added to my summer trip itinerary last year and let me tell you, the city stole my heart. I think Prague is often overlooked and doesn’t get the attention it so rightly deserves, so I’m here to spread the word and share five reasons why it should be your next travel destination.
1. It’s Breathtakingly Beautiful
You’ve probably seen at least one photo of Prague’s storybook-esque clay roofs unfurling into a sea of burnt orange, but if you haven’t experience the city in person, you’re missing out. I was in awe while I wandered the cobblestone streets discovering a variety of architectural styles and grand cathedrals at nearly every corner. Not to be missed is marveling at the city from above. The best view I found was the Old Town Bridge Tower at the end of the Charles Bridge in the Staré Mesto area. It seemed to be a lesser known tourist attraction compared to Petřín Tower or Prague Castle (also nice views), so I walked right up without waiting in line – always a bonus.
Petřín Lookout Tower on Petřín Hill. Tip: take the elevator to the top and use the stairs to walk down. You’ll find different gorgeous views at the various heights along the way.
View from Petřín Tower
View of the Charles Bridge from the Old Town Bridge Tower.
2. Great Bang for Your Buck
I heard more than once that the beer in Prague is cheaper than water, and at one to two euros per pint this was indeed true. Not only is the beer practically free, I found hotel rates to be reasonably priced leaving me with plenty of cash leftover to eat like a queen.
3. Foodie Heaven
Speaking of food, the city’s restaurant scene has been undergoing a culinary resurgence and has come a long way since the days of communism. Venture away from the touristy Charles Bridge and you’ll to find much more than goulash. Start the day with the savoy breakfast at Café Savoy, along with an Irish coffee if you’re in the mood for a morning buzz. When lunchtime rolls around check out Sisters Bistro for a chlebíčky, a traditional Czech open-faced sandwich, or Naše Maso where you’ll find a variety of sausages, meatloaf, steak tartare, and their famous burger – or sample a bit from both because they are right across from each other. Cukrkávalimonáda is another great option for breakfast or lunch, offers delicious salads, pastas, and baked goods. For dinner make a reservation at Eska where you must order the burnt potato in ash with potato espuma, or enjoy the Asian inspired tasting menu at the Bib Gourmand rated Sansho.
Chlebíčky from Sisters Bistro.
Salmon course from Sansho.
Dumplings from Sansho.
Pork belly and watermelon course from Sansho.
Burnt potato in ash with potato espuma from Eska.
Strawberry goat cheese salad from Cukrkávalimonáda.
Sausages, meatloaf and steak tartare from Naše Maso.
4. One word: BEER
Would you believe me if I told you Czech Republic consumes the most beer in the world? Well it’s true and like all good debates the Prague Wikipedia page proves it. Now, if you’re a craft beer snob connoisseur then you might assume inexpensive (see #2) equals massed produced junk, but I’m pleased to inform you that the city is producing some serious quality craft beer options. Just a short 15-minute walk from Petřín Tower is the SStahov Monastic Brewery, and as the name suggested it is located inside the serene Stahov Monastery compound. Plan an afternoon to explore Petřín Hill and afterwards head down to the brewery to enjoy a tasty adult beverage. Lokal another great option to sample a variety of Czech beers and some traditional bites.
Wieners and beer at Stahov Monastic Brewery.
Stahov Monastic Brewery.
5. Parks, Castle, Bridges, oh my!
If I haven’t made it clear by now, let me emphasize, there is so much to discover in Prague – you could spend your entire trip alone exploring the city’s many parks. Tucked above the city is Letna Hill, a favorite park among the locals and the perfect setting for a relaxing picnic with a view of Old Town. The impressive medieval Prague Castle, looming over the city with a mysterious presence, provides another panorama of the city and has several museums worth a gander. A short walk below the castle grounds is the famous Charles Bridge, which in my some-what humble opinion has got nothing on London’s Tower Bridge. If this particular bridge doesn’t tickle your fancy though, with 16 others over the Vltava River, there are an endless number of river views to take in.
Vendors on the Charles Bridge — Old Town Tower Lookout in the background.
The rose garden on Petřín Hill
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So that about sums it up folks. Our trip to Prague was pretty spectacular and we found the city to be bursting with culture. I hope you’ll consider adding it to your own must-see list; it truly has something to offer everyone!
Thanks for reading and happy travels!