Czech Republic: Prague, A Medieval Breeze
January 1, 1970
by Derya Artuz
The reason I launched my travel blog with one of my latest visits, Czech Republic – Prague, is probably that the magical medieval sense surrounded me as soon as I landed on the city and didn’t leave me along the whole trip. I landed on the airport and It was not different from any other trips. However, when I arrived to the Old Town, I thought that I accidentally made a time travel and went at least 700 years back on time.
Passing through the intact Old Town surrounded by narrow cobblestone streets, large squares that you reach through the underpass shortcuts of adjoining houses, work of art bridges and Gothic sculptures, it was really hard to focus on the city map.
In this post, I will try to give some tips from Old Town because it is the historical center of the city. You may find some “must see” tips on their spatial layout according to the touristic map.
Tip 1# – Old Town
As you can easily understand from its name, it is the historical part of the city. You can feel lost in there due to the crowd of touristic groups. I recommend you to start your trip just from here and look up to the magnificent architecture all around you. Otherwise, while trying to escape the crowd you may miss some famous structures and enjoyable street bands playing there.
Tip 2# – Staroměstský Orloj
If you are a horoscope reader, you may have already seen the Astronomical Clock of Prague as a theme image. It is famous as it is the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world (in 1410) and the oldest one which still works. It has some figures moving along a minute in and out every one hour and if you really want to capture this moment from close, you need to keep a close place and start waiting there at least 15 / 20 minutes to the next hour.
Actually, I did it and I realized that there was no need to wait on purpose to see some moving figures for a moment. As it is still a beautiful clock when it is not moving 🙂
Tip 3# – Trdelnik (a.k.a. Trdlo)
It is a traditional sweet pastry that you may see the picture aside. It seems really delicious on the picture but I can’t say that it was as I tasted the original without any ice-cream on it. I am not a dessert lover but still it was sweeter than I thought. You may find lots of little coffee shops to buy one Trdelnik on the way from Old Town to Karluv Most.
Tip 4# – Karluv Most (Charles Bridge)
It is definitely one of the most beloved structure for me in the historic part of Prague. I can simply call it as the heart of the Town because it crosses the Vltava river with all the magnificent monuments on it. It is a living and a joyful bridge that you both sightsee the city and find handmade souvenir on the counters.
Tip 5# – Kampa Park
After crossing the Karluv Most, on the right abutment, you will find the Kampa Park with a relaxing river view and a flock of swans. You are free to touch them if you are not afraid and you may also feed them if you have food with you.
Tip 6# – Franz Kafka’s House
Franz Kafka’s house has been used as a little museum. If you are not a fan of his stories, you can just visit its garden and find some figures and protagonists of his stories. It is not a big garden and really worth to discover his realm of dreams.
Tip 7# – Pražský hrad (Prague Castle)
After feeding Swans or seeing the Kafka’s House, it is the time you headed up to the Valley and found out the Prague Castle. The appearance of Prague Castle was very markedly affected by the Gothic era. It is a complex monumental structure with a palace, church, fortification, official and residential buildings and office buildings covering 45 hectares.
Tip 8# – Wine & Dine (a bit early)
I visited this place with my close friends and it was a good idea to wine and dine on the way back home. You may find a nice place with a pleasant view of vineyards of Prague which is located on the last hill up to the Prague castle.
We choose the restaurant called Villa Richter to taste some delicious Czech Republic wine and famous dish “Goulash”. Just relax, taste some medieval dish and enjoy the view very much.
Tip 9# – Lennon Wall
It is on a special street, near Kampa Park, allocated in memory of legendary musician John Lennon. As you may see it on the picture, it is a huge combination of graffiti and open to anyone who would like to contribute. Please don’t forget to tip the musicians there 🙂
Tip 10# – Famous Czech Republic Beer
Almost at every corner in the old town, you may find a local bar / beer house to taste the famous Czech Republic beer. My advice was having dinner a bit early not because enjoy the view of vineyards but also because you will need more space to taste them all (or nearly all, as there are many). By the way, as I like strong tastes, dark beer is my favourite.
*Some bonus tips:
- Follow some Prague city pages on social platforms such as Instagram, it will probably let you find some nice art exhibitions in town. I was so lucky to catch Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol exhibition at the Gallery of Art Prague. This gallery is just located at the center of Old Town across the Astronomical Clock (Orloj).
- Attend a Medieval Show in Prague. I recommend you to find somewhere near old town through internet and make a reservation in advance. Because there is a high demand among tourists. Especially tour companies book weeks before. Try to choose one by looking their menu and show hours. Prices are mostly the same.
I hope you will have a nice vacation in Prague as much as I had and these tips will make it much easier. Three days would be enough to complete all the tips mentioned above.