In the last year and a half, we’ve made three trips to Prague, which is actually a little crazy. We’ve been at three different times of the year, and each trip was magical in its own right. As such, I’ve put together a short Prague travel guide on the things that we enjoyed from each trip, including where to stay, how to get around, and what to do and see. I’ll be honest – I’ve only found one great restaurant so far. I’m still on the hunt for more great meals in Prague… which only means one thing – we have to go back!
Disclosure: This Prague Travel Guide may contain affiliate links.
Prague Travel Guide – Arrival
Depending on where you are staying (and how much luggage you have), you can easily walk from the train station to the Old Town Square or Wencelas Square. Getting to the Mala Strana or the Castle district may be more difficult, so I would grab an uber or arrange car service in advance. (We’ve had a lot of adventures with cabs, none of which have been good.) You will want to get some CZ korunas from an ATM as soon as you can. Though they accept euros, meters run in CZK.
The subway is also clean, easy to use, and there’s a station very near the train station. You can buy 24-hour tourist passes for 110 cz (approximately $5.00 in 2017). It’s a great way to save your feet and cover a lot of ground, but I love walking through Prague.
The Prague airport is very modern and easy to get around. There’s also a Billa (grocery store) in it! (Don’t judge – we love grocery stores when we travel.) Once you grab your bags and clear customs, you can grab an uber (they have their own waiting area) and be in central Prague in 20-30 minutes depending on traffic. We arrived on a Friday night, and it took a little longer than expected, but it was easy. There was no issue with haggling over the fare either.
We’ve had challenges with airport cab drivers not having change and charging higher fares, so uber works well for us. One thing to note, if you have an early morning flight, you may want to get your hotel to arrange a car for you in advance. We did not find an abundance of transportation at 4:30am and it took awhile for one to arrive. We were very worried about missing our flight. Better safe than sorry.
Prague Travel Guide – Where to Stay
For me, this was a no brainer. I LOVE the Mandarin Oriental. We stayed there on the Christmas Market adventure with my mom, and she loved it, too. (She basically refused to leave the spa and got daily treatments.) I might have been swayed by the Christmas cookies that were in our room. (No judgement.)
- The location. Mala Strana is gorgeous. It’s magical. It’s like something out of a fairytale. I love the cobblestone streets, the small passageways, and the parks.
- The bathroom was huge. And, the bathtub was glorious, and the heated towel racks were so nice in December.
- The room itself. I wanted to redecorate our master bedroom with the muted navy tones, the elegant furniture, and the textured materials. It felt so luxurious and relaxing every time we walked in the door.
- It was quiet. Location is quiet. Courtyard is quiet. The bar is quiet. Everything about this hotel is understated luxury and relaxation. It is absolutely a reprieve and a sanctuary from bustling Prague.
For my husband, this was a no-brainer. He likes the Boscolo. We’ve stayed there twice, and it’s a perfectly good hotel, particularly if you can get a good rate. It’s also a Marriott property (you’ll have to remind them of your status though), so you can earn (or use) points, but I don’t know that I would tell you to use points for it. It’s a luxury hotel as well, but it’s definitely not in the same class as the Mandarin. Here’s what you can expect to love about the Boscolo:
- Free breakfast with Marriott status (you will have to remind them) or with certain room rates. I think it’s worth it to book with breakfast if you’re a breakfast person. The Inn Ox Lounge has an extensive buffet with options for everyone.
- Convenience. It’s a block away from train station, a subway station, and about a 10 minute walk to Old Town Square. It’s also close to a Billa, which makes my husband happy.
- The historic details in the rooms are gorgeous. No two rooms feel the same.
- There’s an indoor pool, which we welcomed on the first trip after long days of walking. (It was closed for cleaning on the second trip, so watch the property warnings carefully if that’s why you are booking this hotel.)
Prague Travel Guide – Favorite Tours
This was our first introduction to Prague. We booked it the first night of our first trip. We met our guide at the Charles Bridge and wandered through the Old Town to the Jewish Quarter, and finished in the Old Town Square. This is a great introduction to Prague.
My husband and my mom were both sick for this tour, so I might be the only one who truly appreciated it for what it was – amazing! We also went in the winter, so that might have swayed their judgement. To be sure, it was cold. We met our guide at the Opera House, walked across the river, wandered through Mala Strana, and made the trek up to the castle. (That trek might be what killed everyone’s joy.) This tour is part of what convinced me that Prague is as magical as everyone says it is. The trek up to the castle and winding through the streets of Mala Strana is absolutely from a fairy tale.
Prague Travel Guide – What to See
There aren’t actually enough words to give St. Vitus justice. As a result, it’s going to get its own postcard photos post. The glass is awe-inspiring. The entrance options are for the entire complex, so make sure that you give yourself enough time to see it all. If you are pressed for time, make St. Vitus your priority.
This is one place I want to book a guide. We have visited the Pinkas Synagogue (haunting), the New-Old Synagogue (incredible), and the Spanish Synagogue (breathtaking), but I don’t know much of the area’s history. I would suggest booking a guide to learn more, but if you don’t have time for that, make sure to visit all three. They are all vastly different experiences.
The Prague markets had some of the most beautiful Christmas ornaments of all the markets we visited. The tree in Old Town Square is incredible to see, but the view from the Old Town Tower at night shouldn’t be missed either. I really feel like we’re missing out by not doing these kinds of things in the US. Nothing says Christmas like the best Christmas markets in Europe. Ahhh, I want to go back and celebrate Christmas in Prague again!
Prague Travel Guide – What to Do
Go to a classical concert, hear an opera, experience a ballet, but whatever you do, experience the arts in some way. We saw excerpts from Swan Lake at the Hybernia Theater, which was its own experience, but the dancing was incredible. It was absolutely fun to try it. All of the performance venues are gorgeous so go see something!
Watch the Sunrise – at least once
There are a lot of places to do this. The Mala Strana riverbank isn’t as crowded as the Charles Bridge. Old Town Square is NEVER empty except for in the early morning. The castle district will have amazing views that you can’t see from the river. Sunset is far too crowded. The silence and beauty of the sunrise in Prague is something everyone should experience.
Experience the Astronomical Clock on the Hour – Once
If you go before 11:00am, you’ll miss the throngs of tourists with their iPhones. You’ll be able to see everything up close and check out the details on the clock. I don’t think there’s more that needs to be said. I’ve posted more clock pictures and Prague postcard photos previously.
Walk Up Castle Hill – and see it at night
You can take a cab or an uber to the top, but what’s the fun in that? Seriously. The walk is part of the adventure. Prague at night from any angle shouldn’t be missed, but I think the walk up to the castle is the most romantic. The castle grounds are open late, too, so it won’t be as crowded.
Eat a Tredlnik (Chimney Cake) – at least once
Bonus points if it’s cold outside. There’s a great debate raging about whether or not tredlnik is a culturally appropriate food. I don’t have an answer on that, but I’ve never met a Tredlnik I didn’t like. It’s cheap and absolutely delicious. I really love the one that has toasted almonds on it, but I’m also a purist. I’ll eat one with just cinnamon and sugar.
Is this my favorite part of staying at the Boscolo? Maybe so. It’s a block away from the hotel, has outdoor seating, the beer is cheap and the burgers are amazing. The waitstaff ranges from amazing to public shaming, but I love the food. I enjoy the Crispy and my husband enjoys the Urquel. All the fries are good.