Czeching Out Prague

We wish had more time in the Czech Republic, but because we were time poor we decided to spend all of our time in the capital. Prague has something for everyone – we spent 3 days there and still didn’t see everything! You can spend the days walking around the old town and up to the Prague Castle, then you can spent the nights sampling some of the Czech’s finest amber fluid.

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The Visa

The Czech Republic is part of the Schengen area, so no need to get a specific Czech visa if you’re an Aussie (or from most other western countries). Remember, as it is part of the Schengen zone, you can only travel in this area for 90 days in a 180 day period.

General Advice

  • The Czech Republic may have some fairly liberal drug laws but do your research because you don’t want to get caught on the wrong side of the law.
  • Book hostels in advance, especially in peak season. We booked a little last minute, and couldn’t get a hostel in the main part of town.

Budget

  • 3 nights in Prague cost us just under $70 AUD per person per night (including food, accomodation, transport, beer, etc.). We did a few tours and ate out most of the time so we definitely weren’t slumming it – so you could do it cheaper.

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Transport

  • Trains are the way to go through central/eastern Europe. They’re very efficient, comfortable and the easier way to get around.
  • Because the trains are so popular sometimes you might be hard pressed finding a seat, unless you pay extra to reserve a seat. The train from Prague to Budapest was packed, so if you want a guaranteed seat fork out the extra cash or make sure you get on the train early.
  • Going from Vienna to Prague, make sure you check out both the Austrian and Czech railway companies because they both sell the same tickets for the same train but one can be cheaper!
  • We stayed in Žižkov so had to get a bus into the old town which was relatively quick and easy.

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Prague

  • Check out: Free Good Prague Tours – one of the most entertaining and informative free walking tours we’ve been on (shout out to Mike who’s dad was part of the Prague Spring – just to pick up chicks). Czech Beer Tasting Tour – pour your own Pilsner Urquell in a pub where your table is in a competition to drink the most beer; and tour around some cool bars learning about and sampling some of the finest Czech beers such as Staropramen and Kozel Černý. John Lennon Wall – opposite the French Embassy is a homage to The Beatles singer/songwriter (great spot for a ‘gram but be prepared to fight for a spot because everyone else has the same idea.  Charles Bridge – one of the iconic monuments of Prague that offers a great view of both sides of the river.  Paddle Boat on the Vltava river – a great spot to relax, watch the sunset over Prague Castle and see the Charles Bridge from a different angle.  Prague Castle – you can’t go to Prague and not visit the largest ancient castle in the world! Staroměstský orloj or the Prague astrological clock is one of the major tourist attractions of the city some ‘very special’ happens there every hour during the day…just don’t expect much or you’ll be disappointed. The Dancing House or Fred and Ginger – a little bit of modern deconstructivist architecture, if you’re into that sort of thing (it’s cool!). Žižkov is the former working class area of Prague which has been gentrified and is now bohemian with lots of cool bars and cafes popping up. The National Monument on Vítkov hill – if you’re staying in Žižkov it’s worth the walk up the hill to see one of the world’s largest equestrian statues. The Žižkov Television Tower may look like an impressive communist relic from the outside but the view from up top isn’t quite worth the price of entry (230 Czech Koruna each – $13 AUD)
  • Eat & drink: U Slovanské Lípy – a traditional Czech bar/pub that serves hearty meals (Josh got a pan filled with meat, potatoes, veggies covered in melted cheese!) Goulash – although it’s invented by the Hungarians the Czechs have their own delicious take on it. Česká Kuchyně – traditional Czech food that’s cheap! It’s where the locals go to eat. There’s thousands of Czech beers but you can’t go past Pilsner Urquell make sure you have it unpasteurised, fresh from the tank.
  • We stayed at: Hostel Marabou – in the heart of Žižkov, it’s a great hostel if you want to party – so if you want to get a good night’s sleep best not stay here on a Saturday night! Make sure you get the buffet breakfast for only 3 Euros a day!

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Did you know?

  • In 1968 during the Prague Spring, when the Soviets invaded (then Czechoslovakia), people in country towns removed road signs in order to slow down the Soviet advance towards the capital. It may have slowed them down slightly but it didn’t prevent the invasion.
  • 6 Soviet tanks remained in the main square in Prague after this invasion until 1989.
  • Czechs are the biggest beer drinks per capita in the world, Na zdraví!
  • The 2004 movie EuroTrip was filmed entirely in Prague.

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Final word

I know I might be sounding a bit like a broken record but I wish we had more time here! It’s like being a 10 year old that goes to Disneyland only for an hour. Prague is a beautiful, lively, cosmopolitan city. It may be the beating heart of the Czech Republic, but you can’t disregard the rest of the body. Places like Plzen, Olomouc and Cesky Krumlov we didn’t get to experience but would love to go. Prague is one of Josh’s favourite cities in Europe (although Phoebe didn’t rave about it quite as much), but we both agree that we’ll be back to czech out more of the country (sorry had to slip in one last terrible pun!)

Have you been to the Czech Republic? Please contact us by commenting below or emailing us at lifeinthelouderlane@gmail.com – we’d love to share your tips as well!

 

 

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