No matter what season it is, how far from home you are or even how different from this culture your culture is, whether you are lost or surrounded by lots of people, this city will give you the feeling you want to stay and never leave.
I was 14 when I first came to Prague, and I knew I was going to live here since my parents decided to move from Russia to “The heart of Europe”. Of course at that time my feelings were very contradictory. I didn’t know what to expect or even what to think about this whole scary thing called “moving to another country”.
I didn’t know that, just a few years later, I would seriously doubt my decision to return home after finishing school.
I fell in love with Prague just like millions of others, because if there is any kind of magic in this world, this is where it all begins.
It is not just a phrase. Since Prague is the city of hills, it is actually one of the most amazing experiences you can get by simply walking. It will literally take your breath again and again, no matter how many times you’ve seen this before.
Therefore I would suggest to anyone starting their acquaintance with Prague from Prague Castle. Yes, this place is awfully touristic. Besides, you have to climb hundreds of steps to get there, which is not really a pleasure for unsporting person like me. Try to overcome yourself and I promise you won’t regret it. The view from there is surely worth seeing.
The old and the new parts of town are as clearly visible as if it were spread out on your palm. As a roof-lover I find this sight really delightful and inspiring. Especially in spring or summer, when all this variety of old fabulous buildings are buried in verdure.
One of my favorite views from the hill called Petřin is not as close to the center as Prague Castle. That is why it is much more quiet and peaceful. The hill is covered with park, so there is a great opportunity for those who prefer to spend warm lazy days lying on the grass in the sunshine. You can rarely meet typical tourists here. There are much more locals : lots of students, couples and families. You can always have a picnic or enjoy sunbathing, while admiring the view on the city.
Another beautiful park to visit is situated right beside the river. Just one small difficulty: you have to climb again, since Letná park is another great hill rising above historical city center. Only this time on your way up you will be seeing lots of foliage around (of course if it’s not winter), which can make your climb more enjoyable. The first thing you will find on the top is a huge Metronome – reference to Stalin’s monument, massive statue that used to stand there in the last century.
If you turn right and keep going through the park soon you will see cozy restaurant with terrace, from where you will discover really great view over Prague and boats sailing in the water. Perfect place to lower a mug of beer and to stay silent for a while enjoying the atmosphere.
Local bars and restaurants
Even those who have never been in Czech Republic know this place is famous because of its delicious beer and fat, but extremely tasty food. The city center is full of various typical Czech restaurants, happy to serve their customers as long as they pay that high prices. I am not going to tell you not to visit such places. I just want to share with you my experience. In other words, here are few places I really like and consider worthy :
- Pivovarský dům, which means Beer house in English. Very original restaurant and beer gallery located near the center may be touristic, but definitely worth visiting. The atmosphere is great, the design makes you feel like you came to the Chocolate Factory, only instead of chocolate they brew beer here. And I must say really good one.
- If Beer house is well known among tourists, the next interesting place I will tell you about is some sort of hidden. Guess where? Right on the Old Town Square! The trick is that the entrance leads you to the hotel and most of tourists simply don’t know there is elevator taking you upstairs on the rooftop. Here it is. Beautiful place called “U prince”. Expensive, no doubt about it. If you are poor student like me, who wants to admire surroundings and to feel all the magic of the Old Town, you can always order cup of coffee or glass of beer. I would still recommend you to dedicate one evening and go there for dinner. You will not want to leave.
- Ferdinanda. My favorite place, in the end. From the first sight it looks very simple and doubtful. Don’t let your first impression put you off. If you sit there and actually take a look around you will notice another original design. For example the overhead lamps here are made of buckets, and instead of clothes tree you will find rake fastened to the wall. The food is amazingly tasty. The most delicious fried cheese I have ever tried! They brew their own beer as well.
Places you cannot miss
On the upper part of one of the main city squares named Wenceslas Square there is a neoclassical Czech National Museum. Though I really love museums it is not the first place I would suggest you to visit during your travel. Therefore I just want you to take the first flight of steps and then stay on the front terrace of this museum. Lean on the barrier and watch the square living its live. Do it late at night.
If you cross the bridge Štefánikův, you will get in north-west district Bubeneč, which I consider as the most beautiful in whole town. Take a walk, look at the buildings. They are all different. For those who appreciate art there is fantastic National Gallery. Keep walking and soon you will find the biggest park with lake and lots of entertainments – Stromovka.
If there is warm season you should immediately go and sit by the river. Watch the sunset, feel the mystery that comes with twilight. Feel all that almost unbearable beauty of this town and find yourself content and happy at last. Because this city with all its charm and fairy tale will embrace you and make you feel like you belong.