In the heart of the Czech-Republic lies one of Europe’s most popular cities to visit. This is a small capital is one of the most affordable places to visit on a budget. The currency is Koruna which is about 30 to 1 to the pound. The city used to be a major hot spot for British stag dos as the beer and wine are incredibly cheap. However, there is so much more to this city. It is steeped in rich history from the medieval times to twentieth century communism. There is incredible architecture and the world’s most over rated tourist attraction. If you are not to keen on the culture, Prague has an incredible range of shops. With the huge currency gap, you can afford to treat yourself in Prague.
The Czech republic used to be one state with the Slovakia but democratically separated in the nineties. Prague is the historical capital of Bohemia and sits on the Vltava river. If you walk along the river you will come to the Charles bridge built in 1342 after the holy Roman Emperor of the Hasburg dynasty; Charles the first. This bridge links the two parts of the old towns together and is aged with suit and the statues lining it weathered. The town square has the astronomical clock thought to be the most disappointing tourist attraction in Europe next to the Mona Lisa. The clock was built in 1410 and on the hour gives off a performance which I will let you discover for yourself.
The other side of Charles Bridge leads to the largest castle in Europe. Be warned it is up a lot of very steep steps so don’t wear heels, but the view is worth it. Inside the castle walls are the crown jewels, the cathedral (Katadrala Svateho Vita.) and the cultural monument. There is also a brass statue in the grounds with an exposed penis. Like in Verona with the statue of Guiliette, you are meant to rub it to bring you luck. It is quite high up so girls might need a box. The Lobkowicz palace is also located on top of the hill. There are free guided tours available throughout the day but these are based on tips and the tour guides do a good job showing you round for nothing so ensure you tip them well otherwise they do not earn much.
The more recent history is very interesting. Czech Slovakia was a became a state after the fall of the Austrio-Hungary empire but became a communist state after WW2. In the eighties the student rose up with a peaceful protest and started the independence of Czech Slovakia. This was called the velvet revolution as no one died. (There have been a lot of revolutions in the Czech republic.). Politics were tough between the councils of Czech and Slovakia so in the nineties they separated and have remained friendly neighbours over the last 25 years. Prague became the capital of Czech Republic and Bratislava the capital of Slovakia.
If you are up for an different experience. Prague zoo is one of the best quality zoos in eastern Europe. They have a whole range of different species in high quality enclosures. This is a good day trip and entry is only around £7. The zoo shuts earlier in the winter but still has a lot to offer. There is a easy access via the bus station which is a ten minute ride from the centre on the number 3 tram. (double check this.)
The Obecni Dum is the cities opera house where many a famous singer and composers have performed. The opera is still active and often has many shows available to see including Ballet, musicals and plays.
The town has a gruesome history to it as well. There are many torture museums and ghost tours if you enjoy that kind of thing.
The architecture of Prague is much to be admired. In the Jewish district each building was lavishly decorated and the corners had personal features. This area is popular with bars, clubs and bakery’s but is the more expensive place to stay. The best place to stay is just out of the city centre. The public tram systems are excellent and can often be ridden for free. Beware of pick pocketing on these however.
Prague has a dry climate which can make the winters very cold and the summers quite hot. March is often foggy and has higher levels of pollution which may be unpleasant. Prague can get strong thunderstorms in the summer and mosquitoes are present in high numbers.
Overall Prague is definitely a place to tick off the bucket list. It is perfect for a short break over a weekend or combining a trip with other cities. It has something to offer people of all ages; parties, food, culture or history. Dive in and see what the city can offer you!