I recently spent a week in the Czech Republic, most of which was spent in the capital city of Prague. I did a lot of research before I went, mostly reading other blogs and pinning things on Pinterest. If you are looking to go to Prague, then here are the top ten things that I think you need to do when you visit the city for the first time.
1. See the astronomical clock chiming – the astronomical clock which is on the Old Town Hall Tower is one of the most famous sights in Prague. Every hour, on the hour (between 10am and 6pm) there is a small show which takes place around the clock. This only lasts around fifteen seconds, but the crowds gather in front of it to watch it/take videos/take photos/livestream it. It’s not the greatest thing I’ve ever seen, but you might as well go and join the crowds. When we watched the clock strike five o’ clock, a cloaked man came out and gave us all a wave. I’m not sure who he was or why he was in there, but the crowd loved him.
2. Visit the pink synagogue – I’ve never made an effort to visit a synagogue before. I have only ever sought out pretty churches or cathedrals. However, when I was going through Pinterest and looking for places to visit in Prague, the Jubilee Synagogue caught my attention. It’s very pretty and very pink. It’s a great photo opportunity for the ‘gram. You can also go inside for a small fee, a lot of the synagogues are open to the public. Next time I’m in Prague, I will definitely have to have a look inside.
3. Try a Trdlo – These strange tubular cake/pastry hybrids were everywhere. In Budapest, they are called Chimney Cakes. In Prague, they sell them on every street, so of course you have to try them. Trdlos are a type of cake that are made of dough rolled around a stick. You can get them plain or you can have some sort of ridiculous filling. I visited Good Food Bakery and I went for a tiramisu one. I couldn’t finish it because it was just too much sugar, but it was very nice.
4. Get a good view of the city from above – There are plenty of places across Prague in which you can get a decent view of the city. On my first day, I chose to go up the Old Town Hall Tower, which gave me an amazing view of the Old Town. I could also see the castle and cathedral in the distance in the Lesser Town. As well as the Old Town Hall Tower, I was planning a trip up Petrin Tower, however the day I wanted to go it was way too foggy to be worth it. I will definitely be going up the Petrin Tower on my next trip to the city.
5. Buy a mole – There’s moles everywhere in the Czech Republic. Not real moles, but an animated character and a whole lot of merchandise for him. I kept seeing these moles everywhere on my first day, so I had to do some googling. It turns out that he’s a popular tv character which is why he can be found in almost every shop. I resisted until I got to the airport to fly home and then I bought a mole keyring. He is pretty cute though.
6. Visit the castle and cathedral –Prague’s cathedral is located within the castle walls on the west of the river. The castle dates back to 870 AD when the records show the first fortification on the land. Although it is a castle there are no turrets and moats it is the largest castle in the world. It is also the official office of the President of the Czech Republic. St Vitus Cathedral is the biggest and most important church in the Czech Republic. Construction was started in 1344 and is the burial place of many former Czech kings. It is definitely worth a visit, especially if you are into architecture.
7. Cross over Charles bridge – The city of Prague is divided into two parts by the River Vltava. To the west you have Lesser Prague and to the east you have the Old Town and the New Town. There are several bridges you can use to cross the river but the most popular and the most spectacular is Charles Bridge. Walking across the bridge you get the most stunning views and there’s also little stalls selling jewellery, bands playing and plenty of statues for you to rub (see number 8).
8. Rub the John of Nepomuk statue – If you’re going over Charles Bridge, then you have to make a stop to give the statue of John of Nepomuk a rub. Apparently, if you make a wish and give it a rub then your wish will come true. There are so many statues on the bridge and I don’t think that anyone knows which one is lucky anymore. They were all being rubbed while we were there. We got confused and rubbed the above plaque seeing as everyone else was also doing it.
9. Visit a cat café – Prague has four cat cafes to choose from. I visited two on my trip and enjoyed them both. If you fancy a rest and a coffee, you might as well do it whilst surrounded by cats. I think that next time I’m in Prague I will have to try out the other two to see how they compare.
10. Try some absinthe – Absinthe is everywhere in Prague. There’s whole shops dedicated to it and even a whole absinth bar called the Absintherie. It’s a whole lot stronger than the stuff we can get in the UK, so it’s worth a try. When I ordered an absinthe, they served it with a can of Red Bull which was a bit weird. I tried it on its own and with the Red Bull and it was surprisingly nice.
Have you ever been to Prague? What would you recommend for someone who is visiting for the first time?