If you’re searching for a city break like no other this year, look no further than this historic capital of the Czech Republic – Prague!
Offering two amazing towns, each spectacular in their own right, there’s so much to see and do here it’s hard to know where to begin.
Not only does Prague offer sometime for the entire family, but it’s also a great place to dwell in the romance of the city with a loved one for a day or two.
Surrounded by European heavyweights, Prague’s cuisine has been influenced throughout the years, and there’s a great selection of dishes to try too.
Let’s take a look at the top attractions of the Old Town and the new, and see if you can be persuaded to book your ticket to Prague this year!
- Prague Czech Republic
Prague: The Old Town Vs. The New
Prague’s Old Town Square is one of the oldest places in Europe, and dates back over 700 years.
- Prague Old Town Square
Not only are you taken on a journey of historical discovery just by walking through the square, but the view that surrounds you is something to be savored and cherished.
The Old Town Square is around 5 minutes’ walk from its New Town counterpart – Wenceslas Square.
- Prague Old Town
With its magnificent churches, stunning cathedrals and beautiful architecture all around, it’s hard not to feel humbled here.
The Old Town started out life as the city’s central marketplace back in the 12th century, and even since it has been the focal point of tradition in Prague.
Book tickets to Prague and join the thousands of tourists every day that visit the Gothic, Baroque and Romanesque buildings that house cafés and restaurants and the perfect places to sit and watch the world go by.
- Prague New Town
Founded by Charles IV in 1348, the New Town isn’t really new at all – it’s just newer than the Old Town!
This part of Prague also offers an array of historical monuments that seamlessly combine with the luxury shops and restaurants for the ultimate city-break experience.
New Town has taken shape over the years with waves of modern development, however the traditional essence of the area remains whole intact.
New Town is a lot bigger than the Old Town, in fact it wraps around it in some places, like the banks of the River Vltava.
- Prague River Vltava
Combined with the Castle District and the Lesser Town, these four areas make up the whole of the city.
If it is your first time in Prague, then the New Town is the best place to stay.
The Old Town is only a few minutes’ walk away, so you’ll be able to get your fill of Prague’s history, and all the modern elements of the city are right on your doorstep too!
Be sure to take the tram to the Castle District, as the views from the top of the hill are spectacular.
- Prague Castle District
Guide To Vegetarian Restaurants In Prague
We had been told that being a vegetarian in Prague would be boring and even difficult, so imagine our surprise when Prague turned out to have some of the best vegetarian restaurants we’ve been to in Europe.
Walking down the streets of Prague you won’t find a single vegetarian item on the normal menus (except maybe a cheese beer snack!), but there are some true gems hidden in the city.
The trick is to know where to find them, because unless you know where to go chances are you will miss them.
They’re not located on the main tourist streets, but in the corners and side streets.
Whether you’re a vegetarian or are just tired of all the meat plates and feel like something different, here is a guide to some vegetarian restaurants in Prague…
Maitrea is my favorite restaurant in Prague – the menu offers some yummy and interesting choices, and the food is absolutely amazing!
I highly recommend trying the “Traditional Sirloin with seitan, bread dumplings, cream and cranberries”.
They also have some great vegan options, the cake in the photo for example is a raw vegan chocolate fig cake – yum…
The service is friendly and although the beer is above the average price, the food is cheap (around 150 koruna for a main course) and really good quality.
The design in the restaurant is really cozy and welcoming, so people end up sitting for much longer than usual.
It’s a popular place so during lunch hours it can get pretty busy.
Address: Týnská ulička 1064/6
Open: Mon-Fri 11:30 to 11:30 p.m., Sat-Sun 12:00 to 11:30 p.m.
- Clear Head
Run by the same people who own Maitrea, Clear Head has to be one of the cutest restaurants ever.
There are two rooms, the one we were seated in had a cute mushroom fireplace and a beautiful roof which looked like a starry sky.
The food was really good and cheap, and they serve a kick-ass half liter home made lemonade!
Address: Boršov 280/2
Open: Mon-Fri 11:30am to 11:30pm, Sat-Sun 12pm to 11:30pm.
Probably one of the cheapest restaurants in Prague, this non-profit Hare Krishna restaurant serves massive plates of mild Indian food for just 90 koruna.
This restaurant has no menu but serves a “meal of the day” instead.
The daily meal only repeats itself after six weeks so it doesn’t get boring.
It’s a little out of the way from the city center, but if you’re looking for a good, cheap and filling meal, it’s worth the extra effort.
Address: Orlická 2176/9
Open Hours: Mon – fri 11am – 8pm
I’ve included Loving Hut in this vegetarian guide because it’s a popular vegan food chain and they have as many as four restaurants in Prague, but to be honest I wasn’t too fussed about their food.
If you’re into Chinese however, you might like the food at Loving Hut.
Address: 20 Truhlářská, London 35, Plzeňská 8, Radlická 117.
Open Hours: 11am – 9pm
- Dhaba Beas
Dhaba Beas is also a restaurant chain run by independent owners, so each restaurant works slightly different from the other.
There are five Dhaba Beas restaurants in Prague.
At the one located on Týnská 19 they have a buffet where you can fill your plate with whatever you fancy from the buffet, and then pay by weight.
We really liked this idea over the “all-you-can-eat” buffets or fixed meals, as you really only pay for how much you eat.
On Bělehradská 90 street they have a menu of three different plates (small, medium and large) as well as a daily special.
All their restaurants are very popular and are quite busy during lunch hours.
Address: Bělehradská 90, Týnská 19, Sokolovská 93, Na Pankráci, Vladislavova 24.
Open: It depends on the restaurant, generally 11am – 9pm on weekdays, and 12pm-8pm on weekends.
Must-Try Local Food: Dumplings
A must-try food in Czech Republic are dumplings.
The czech dumplings are quite unique and can be made in a various different fillings; from potato dumplings and bread dumplings to sweet fillings such as plums.
- Czech Republic dumplings
The fruit dumplings are especially good, and while you will often find it on the dessert side of the menu, it’s very common to have it as a main course as the dumplings are so filling!
Although the city center is usually a place to avoid, there is a great restaurant right on the Old Town square called Straromêstská which serves some great fruit dumplings with different toppings (2 dumplings are enough for one person, and they cost 44 koruna).
It’s not a vegetarian restaurant, but the fruit dumplings are all vegetarian and taste delicious!
I hope you found this guide useful for the next time you visit Prague, and if you would recommend any other vegetarian restaurants in Prague share them in the comments below!
Prague Czech Republic Travel Video
I knew that Prague was a place many travelers visit on their Europe trips, but I never expected it to be such a difference from any other beautiful neighboring city like Vienna, or Budapest.
One of our favorite moments after having explored the medieval squares, gothic architecture and beer, was to cross the river to the park which you can walk through to get up to the Castle District.
- Prague Czech Republic Travel Video
The first impression we got of Prague was how both me and Nathan who usually count ourselves quite tall (Nathan with 6’3 and me at 5’9) ended up somewhere on the middle of the scale here – people were generally very tall, and some guys were just gigantic!
It was a beautiful town to stroll around in, and while walking up the hill to the castle district we were suddenly surrounded by fruit trees and thick forest, and surprisingly, not a single tourist around.
Most tourists seemed to go on the so called “free” tours, so even though the city was packed with tourists, they were all quite organized in groups and the city didn’t feel overcrowded.
Prague is a city where many people let themselves go, try the “green fairy” and drink half liter beer pints from dusk til dawn.
With the friendly outspoken people there I can see why so many people go to Prague.
Bone Church of Sedlec: A Freakish Beauty!
While many places around the world are becoming more and more similar to each other – strange places fascinate and stick out even more.
I love visiting strange places because I always feel like I learn something from them, and one of the places I’ve wanted to visit ever since I heard about it was the Sedlec Ossuary close to Prague.
- Bone Church of Sedlec: A Freakish Beauty!
Located in a small town called Kutna Hora in Czech Republic, the Sedlec Oussary is perhaps the creepiest place I’ve ever come across.
- Sedlec Oussary
Beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints, skeleton bones from 40,000 – 70,000 people are artistically arranged in the most incredible formations, adorning the inside of the church in various decorative ways, from lanterns in the corners to long festoons hanging from the ceilings.
- Cemetery Church of All Saints
Walking down the steps to the center of the room, a huge chandelier containing every bone in the human body hangs above your head.
The most impressive art-work was the Schwarzenberg coat-of-arms, where a bird made out of bones is picking on a skull resting on shoulders (that are actually the hip-bones).
- Schwarzenberg coat-of-arms
But nobody can deny that it’s also beautiful.
The bones were once stacked by a half-blind monk in the 16th century, but in 1870 a woodcarver was employed by the Schwarzenberg family to put the bone heaps into order, yielding this freakishly beautiful result.
- bone heaps
In today’s modern west when death is becoming something increasingly unfamiliar and distant to people, the Oussary was a great reminder for me how fragile we are and how short our time on earth is.
Exploring Prague Photo Essay
Known as the “Golden City of 100 Spires” and a “Symphony in Stone”, Prague is one of Europe’s best preserved cities.
Unlike most of the other major cities in Europe, Prague managed to escape the devastating bombs of WWII.
The reason for this is that Prague was one of Hitler’s absolute favorite cities.
Apparently Hitler intended for Prague to be the arts and culture capital of Nazi Europe and thus ordered it to be kept intact.
Today Prague boasts beautiful and varied architectural styles ranging from the Renaissance and Baroque right up to the art nouveau and cubist styles of the 20th Century.
- Prague Czech Republic
Charles Bridge is one of Prague’s most famous icons, dating back to 1357, replacing another bridge that collapsed in a flood a few years earlier.
It is said that egg yolks were mixed into the mortar to strengthen the new bridge.
Since Charles Bridge has survived many floods (including the worst flood in 500 years back in 2002), the egg yolks were perhaps not such a bad idea after all..!
- Charles Bridge Prague
Prague has a history dating back more than a thousand years, and perhaps because of its many old buildings and streets that have survived centuries of turbulence, it comes as no surprise that it’s also said to be a haunted city.
The “Mad Barber”, “Headless Lady”, “Begging Skeleton”, “Murdered Nun” and the “Drowned Maid” are just a handful of many ghosts that apparently roam the streets and old buildings.
- Symphony in Stone
Even Franz Kafka and his friends apparently heard strange and disturbing tremors, and beating drums underground.
But then again it wouldn’t be surprising if they had flushed down a few Pilsners before.
After all the Czechs are some of the heaviest drinkers in Europe (42 gallons per capita a year), and they even invented the Pilsner..!
- Prague Beer
Prague Where You Drink Beer Like Water
The first thing that surprised us when we arrived at the train station in Prague was the size of the station: it was massive and felt more like an airport than simply a train station.
Who would have thought that you could learn so much about a city by just looking at the train station?
This place was very different compared to many other Eastern European stations we had seen with its many shops, cafes, several floors, and of course – hundreds of backpackers …
Prague Where You Drink Beer Like Water – Cheap Beer And Tall People
I knew that Prague was a place many travelers visit on their Europe trips, but I never expected there to be such a difference from any other beautiful neighboring city like Vienna, or Budapest.
Both cities seemed empty from tourists compared to Prague, but since most travelers in Prague seemed to go closely together in groups following the ”free” guided tours, the city managed not to feel too overcrowded.
Perhaps all the people were there for the promises of great cheap beer and beautiful girls.
And to answer the question, yes, the beer is great and it’s almost ridiculously cheap.
In Prague you can buy a beer for the same price as a juice or coke, so why not?
- Prague Where You Drink Beer Like Water
People drink beer like water here, and if you don’t specifically ask for a small one, you’re guaranteed a liter on the table at any time of the day.
Food is also cheap, especially if you seek out the local hideouts a bit further away from the Old Town.
The second thing we noticed was how tall everyone was.
Both me and Nathan are usually considered tall, but with my 5.8 and Nathan with his 6.3 we ended up somewhere on the average scale in this place, which made me wonder what they had put in the beer…!
Beautiful Views And Peeing Men
One of our favorite moments after having explored the medieval squares, gothic architecture and beer, was to cross the river to the park which you can walk through to get up to the Castle District.
- Peeing Men
Walking among the fruit trees you get a great view over the Castle district and river, and you feel like you’re miles away from the city.
Another highlight had to be the peeing fountain, or rather, watching other tourists reactions by the fountain.
While people were busy touching the statue of St. John Nepomuk for luck on Charles Bridge, many missed the really weird statues of two men peeing on each other.
Those who happened to see it hidden in one of the squares outside Kafka Museum, however, found it hard to pose next to it in the photo.
As you know, all tourists insist on posing in front of every statue they see.
But how would you possibly pose in front of two moving…”things”?
Playing along or looking disgusted?
The older women had a bit of difficulty getting over their embarrassment, but the photo HAD to be taken..!
Top 4 Places To Visit In The Czech Republic
Home to some of the most beautiful Baroque and Cubist architecture to be found in Europe as well as some of the finest pale beers, the Czech Republic has seen a boom in tourism since the ‘Velvet Revolution’ of the late 80s saw the country cut its ties with Communist Russia.
Recently, it’s been struggling against Prague’s blossoming reputation as a venue for stag parties.
Cheap, sleazy nightlife, coupled with frequent instances of petty crime and raising prices, have put families and culture-tourists off from going there.
But even though travel insurance claims from tourists who have been pick-pocketed by bogus policemen and streetwalkers are common, it’s easy to stay safe, and even though some prices have risen.
If you are willing to dig a little deeper you will still find a great rate of travel money exchange, cheap accommodation and a cultural experience in the Czech Republic that is truly unique!
- Visit In The Czech Republic
Here are four of the top cultural places to visit in the Czech Republic:
Moravia for Vineyards
This large region in the East of the Czech Republic is home to 94% of the country’s thriving wine industry.
It’s said that the tradition of grape-growing stems from 200 AD, when the fertile soil and limestone reminded Roman soldiers of home and inspired them to try planting their native fruit.
The lush and relatively flat countryside makes it a great place to cycle.
Bike through thousands of hectares of vineyards, stopping at cellars and co-operative wine shops to try local produce.
Best time to visit is in September, when competitions and festivals are held in the region’s larger towns.
The Sedlec Ossuary: for a spooky experience
Just over an hour from Prague, this small Roman Catholic Church Sedlec Ossuary houses the bones of between 40,000 and 70,000 people.
Artfully arranged to create grisly, intricate décor.
See chandeliers, altar decorations, family crests: all rendered in incredible detail out of every human part, from spines and skulls to the smallest finger bones.
It’s creepy, but beautiful at the same time..!
Prague Castle for ancient and recent history
See the hourly changing of the guard or wander across the Charles Bridge at night to see this ancient building gorgeously lit up.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Prague Castle is the largest in the world and has been renovated and updated over the years.
Resulting in an eclectic but beautiful mix of Gothic, Renaissance and 20th century styles.
Large portions of the grounds are open to the public, with a network of museums and galleries.
Historically the home of Bohemian kings, currently it houses Lithuania’s heads of state and the country’s crown jewels.
Reinhard Heydrich occupied the palace during World War II.
It’s said he succumbed to the temptation of trying on the Bohemian crown, which, according to legend, unleashes a curse on unworthy wearers.
He died within a year of coming to Prague.
- Prague Castle
Olomouc for the Pivní Festival
Visit this quaintly cobbled city in May to experience the country’s largest beer festival.
A hundred breweries converge for ‘Beerfest’, along with bands, paraphernalia collectors and thirsty tourists.
Prague Travel Guide
Prague is a lovely city full of history, architecture and that grittiness that can only be described as charming.
It’s perfect for a weekend getaway at any time of the year, and there is a lot to see and do.
Here are 13 of our top picks of things to do in Prague …
- Prague Travel Guide Castle District
Perched on top of a hill with views overlooking Prague’s river and its many bridges crossing over into the Old Town, the Castle District is a wonderful area to spend a few hours in full of Gothic architecture and beautiful gardens.
The castle grounds are free to roam, but some places such as parts of the St. Vithus Cathedral cathedral and the famous “Golden Lane” requires a ticket to visit.
It’s the largest coherent castle complex in the world, with an area of almost 70,000 m².
- Prague Petrin Hill
On your way down from the Castle District, we recommend walking through the Apple orchards on the Petrin Hill.
It’s a very peaceful and tranquil area and in summer when the trees are blooming the city feels a world away.
We did the walk up but it’s fairly steep, so it’s better to take the funicular up, check out the castle district and then walk down instead.
It’s a humbling thought to know that you’re eating in the very same cafe as some of history’s biggest names once did several hundred years ago.
In Prague, there are quite a few cafes that have survived the hardships for centuries, and that have managed to keep their charm.
You would expect these cafés to be overpriced, but we found that they had the same (or even cheaper) prices for coffee, beer and cakes as any other café in town.
Opened in 1914, this café has a beautiful Art Nouveau tiling and original decorations.
Among its guests were Karel Capek, Franz Kafka as well as Albert Einstein during his professorship in Prague.
First opened in August 1884, it quickly became a hot spot for lovers of culture and famous Czech poets, actors, writers and composers used to be frequent visitors at that time.
Keep in mind however that many cafes in Prague allow smoking inside …
- Prague’s Charles Bridge
Adorned with 30 statues along both sides of the bridge, Charles Bridge is one of the most beautiful bridges in Europe.
Built between the 14th and 15th century, this bridge has survived to tell the stories of a long-gone past.
The oldest statue on the bridge is of St. John of Nepomuk, and according to legend rubbing it will bring you good luck and a safe return to Prague.
Who knows if it’s true, but we rubbed it in 2011 and two years later we returned! 😉
Charles Bridge can get pretty busy during peak season and peak hours, so keep an eye on your belongings since pick pocketing is a common problem in crowded areas.
For these reasons travel insurance is always good to have.
- Prague markets
Shop At The Weekend Markets
Every weekend there are some great local markets held in different areas of Prague.
These little markets sell some lovely fresh home made food, from cakes and cookies to cheese and bread.
During winter there will likely be a little stall selling hot wine as well.
This is where you will find some great traditional treats that are well worth trying, and the prices are cheap.
John Lennon Wall
This colorful wall really stands out in the medieval atmosphere in Prague, and it has an interesting history.
Beginning with the fact that John Lennon actually never visited Prague in his lifetime..!
The Love Lock Bridge
Close to the John Lennon Wall is a tiny bridge that continue on the same theme of “peace and love”, where hundreds of couples have locked their love onto the bridge.
- Old Town Square Tyn Church
Old Town Square
With tall, dark gothic spires, the Týn church can be seen from a far distance, but no view is as good as the one from the Old Town square.
Surrounded by colorful buildings, the square is one of the meeting points in the city, connecting the narrow winding streets that lead off into the different areas of the city center.
There are often street performers on the square, and while many restaurants there are overpriced, Strarometska is an exception and is actually a great place for lunch and fruit dumplings.
One of Prague’s most popular sights, this astronomical clock is not only beautiful, it has an interesting story behind it.
Check out our Prague video to find out more!
Drink Czech Beer
Czech Republic is famous for its extraordinary beer at amazingly cheap prices.
After all it’s hard to justify paying more for a glass of juice than you would for a pint of beer..!
There are many great places to have a beer in Prague, from the Monastery in the Castle district to a murky bar in one of the side streets.
One of our favorite places were at Pivovarský Dům, they brew their own beer and along with their traditional beers you can find some interesting flavors – Banana beer, anyone?
- Czech Republic Dumplings
Indulge in Dumplings
Czech dumplings are a must-try when in Czech Republic, and they come in all varieties; from meat to bread to fruit dumplings, they can be ordered as lunch, dinner or even dessert!
The fruit dumplings are quite unique, but keep in mind that they are extremely filling and it’s not uncommon to order the dumplings as a main course rather than a dessert.
Explore The Jewish Quarter
The Jewish quarter is a nice are of Old Prague with a lot of history and some great restaurants and cafes.
The Old Jewish cemetery is also located here, a thought-provoking place where the tombs are layered on top of each other, at one section reaching 12 layers.
If your eyes are sore from all the old buildings and you yearn for something more modern, there is a pretty cool church with the very long name “Church of the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord”, located on Jiřího z Poděbrad Square (where there is also a nice weekend market).
The surrounding area is nice as it’s far from the tourist streets and give you a good idea of what local Prague is like, with tiny pubs and markets.
The Dancing house is also a must, located on Rašínovo nábřeží street.
Another interesting art-piece is the peeing fountain outside the Franz Kafka museum, where to male figures swing their hips from side to side, peeing into the fountain pond..!
Finally, a few last tips …
If you’re worried about Prague being too crowded, go there during the off-season.
We were there in February this year and although there were still tourists there, the streets were much less crowded than last time when we visited in June.
One thing to keep in mind when walking the streets of Prague is to never trust that cars will stop for you at pedestrian crossings.
Sometimes they will, but often they won’t even slow down, and a few even speed up..!
Night Train from Budapest to Prague
I boarded the train from Budapest to Prague without hesitation.
My friend and I had taken public transportation around Russia, Egypt, Turkey, and other parts of Eastern Europe.
By that time, it was something I did without thinking.
We always opted for the night train or bus because we saved money by not having to pay for a night in a hostel.
So here we were in the position of taking the night train from Budapest to Prague.
Little did we know, the Budapest to Prague route is not your typical train ride.
Taking the Night Train from Budapest to Prague
We got to our compartment and hunkered down for the night, determined to be well rested for our first day in the Czech Republic.
I locked the door and closed the curtains.
Exhausted after a day of exploring Hungary’s most well-known city, my friend quickly drifted off to sleep.
I stayed up reading our travel bible of the moment, Lonely Planet’s Europe on a Shoestring, in preparation for the next day’s adventures.
The train paused twice not far from Prague to pick up more passengers.
After the second stop, I heard the door handle to our compartment jiggle.
I reached for our tickets, assuming it was the conductor coming by to do his routine check.
But the conductor had a key and whoever was on the other side of the door didn’t.
Someone was trying to pick our lock.
I reached for the curtain and moved it slightly to alert the intruder that I was aware of his presence.
He scurried away.
Shaken, I sat back down on my bench.
What would I have done if he had persisted?
Five minutes passed and I felt like someone was watching me.
I looked at the window to the hall and saw a man’s eye peering in.
He caught my eye and disappeared.
I pulled out the scotch tape we used for scrap booking our travels and taped the curtains to the walls so there were no cracks.
I pulled our backpacks down from the top rack and told my friend to sleep on hers in case the intruder came back.
But that was the last I saw of the persistent prowler.
Needless to say, I did not sleep well that night.
At our hostel in Prague the next day, my friend and I joined in a conversation in the communal kitchen.
It went something like this:
Traveler 1: Whatever you do, don’t take the night train from Budapest back here.
Traveler 2: Oh yeah, that’s an awful idea. Don’t do it.
Traveler 3: Why not? I’ve taken lots of night trains in Europe.
Traveler 1: It’s dangerous. People break into compartments and rob travelers.
Traveler 4: It’s notorious for being unsafe.
[Chorus of agreement.]
At this point, I broke in and shared our experience.
I said I had been scared, but the door had been locked so I wasn’t too afraid of being robbed.
Traveler 1 looked at me pityingly.
Traveler 2 informed me that the keys that open the doors to train compartments are incredibly common in Europe; they’re WC keys and anyone can get one.
The Moral(s) of the Story
Even experienced travelers can walk into dangerous situations, so keep your guard up (within reason — don’t let fear guide your travels).
When in doubt about a night train route, ask your fellow travelers for advice.
If we had asked in Hungary about taking a night train to Prague, we wouldn’t have had to learn its dangers the hard way.
No matter how careful you are when you’re traveling, you’ll find yourself in a sticky situation.
When that happens, use your best judgment and hope for the best.
Use a money belt and secure your belongings at all times.
Taking the night train from Budapest to Prague was a great reminder about using common sense while traveling and staying safe while traveling.
While we all like to save and manage money while traveling, nothing is more important than your safety.