Prague has had a tumultuous history to say the least; being a key city for a number of empires, monarchies, sovereign states, governments and revolutions, that have changed almost with each century. The multitude of political and cultural influences is reflected in the incredible range of architecture in the city, making Prague a wonder to behold; the city’s structures a visual representation of the different periods of success, wealth and change that has maintained Prague for over a thousand years.
For us it was new years eve in Prague. Wild celebrations in the streets and squares with free-for-all, unrestricted fireworks and alcohol, provides an exciting atmosphere in the streets and alleys surrounding the old town. The left over christmas markets and food stalls are still crowded with people searching for that festive feeling, in a city where a party could start at any minute. We were there for four nights to find that party.
Note – Costing will be in GBP as that’s how we booked everything. I’ll include a currency conversion to CZK in the price summary.
We flew into Prague from London Gatwick with easyjet for £129 each return on the 28th of December, so prices were inflated for the new year period. Currently if you are flexible with dates you can get return flights from London from as little as £72 with Ryan Air (Stansted) and £91 with easyjet, and flight times are roughly two hours each way.
From the airport we caught the bus No. 119 to Nádraží Veleslavín metro station, and used the subway from there to get to our accommodation. Alternatively you can catch the No. 100 bus and change to the metro at Zličín station. Tickets for public transport in Prague work on a time limit system; you get 30 minutes for 24CZK (£0.70) and 90 minutes for 32CZK (£0.90) and tickets can be used on any bus, tram or train for the duration. If you are staying for a few days, look into getting a three day tourist pass. It’s best just to dive right in to public transport from the airport, once you get the hang of it you will find it’s a fantastic system and you wont need taxis.
If you’re heading to Prague overground from neighbouring countries; Berlin to Prague via train takes around 4.5 hours and costs roughly £30. From Vienna you can catch a bus that takes four hours and costs roughly £13. It’s also worth having a look at Blablacar to see if there’s a ride-share option.
Hint – Always get your ticket punched on the bus or train and stick to the rules. You don’t want a fine.
As you might imagine, accommodation prices in any major city for the new years period is almost double what it is at any other time, and Prague was no exception. We found a small apartment in Vinohrady near Jiřího z Poděbrad metro station in Prague 3, using Airbnb. We paid £279 for two people for four nights, which considering the area and time of year, we thought wasn’t too bad.
Current Bnb prices range from £10 to £35 for a private double room, and £20 to £80 for a whole apartment.
Hostels have dorm room beds from around £8 per night and private double rooms from £20 and up, but for most good places expect to pay between £15 to £20 for a dorm bed. The most popular hostels in the city are Sir Toby’s Hostel, Hostel One and Mosaic House, but also check out The Madhouse if you are looking for a party vibe.
Hotels start from £20 for a double room, but be careful where you book as some hotels are very far out from the city centre. For a good quality room you can expect to pay at least £35, and easily up to £100 per night.
I would say stay on the east side of the river, and for convenience the closer you stay to the old town centre the better. However, the metro system in Prague is very easy to use, so as long as you are close to a metro station you are never far from anywhere.
I’ve actually heard people say they found Prague to be boring, which just couldn’t be further from the truth. If you find yourself bored in Prague; maybe you need to take a look at yourself and your attitude, because Prague has endless opportunity. Firstly, the architecture and history of the city is astounding. Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, the Old Town Square, Tyn Church, the Astronomical Clock, the Jewish Cemetery, Lennon Wall, Vyšehrad and the Dancing House will easily take more than a day to see, and that’s just to get started. We spent most of our days and nights just wandering the streets getting lost, sipping mulled wine and ducking in and out of bars to stave off the cold!
Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world; containing the incredible St. Vitus Cathedral and numerous gardens within its giant complex. Visit the Prague Castle website to plan your visit as there are multiple ticket options depending on what you want to see and how long you want to spend there. We spent a half day and visited the cathedral (the view from the cathedral tower is epic), and an underground exhibition on the castle’s history.
While over that side of the river, take a walk up Petřín Hill to climb the lookout tower (£1.70) and walk back down through the parks and gardens. On the way down look out for the Church of St Michael, and an old mill that has been converted into a fake cave housing a tiny art gallery; The Magic Cave.
Charles Bridge is a 14th century wonder, lined with statues of religious figures in a Baroque style. Each day the bridge is swarmed with buskers, hot-dog vendors and a million tourists, but if you get there first thing in the morning you can almost have the bridge to yourself. A stroll along the bridge at any time is magical and worth braving the crowds for.
The Old Town Square is where you will find the Astronomical Clock, the striking Tyn Church and a ton of other tourists. Despite the crowds it is a magical place from another era and will lure you back time and again in person during your visit, and in your memory once you’ve left the city.
Just off the Old Square is where the real fun starts. As a tourist from London, the prices for everything in Prague is like a gift, especially the drink prices. Just back from the square you will find the dodgily named Black Angels Bar (not a strip bar) where you can indulge a personal bartender, smoke cigars at the bar, and drink the finest cocktails and single malt whisky for crazily cheap prices. We visited twice for hours at at a time, had our bartender craft drinks to our palette and can’t have spent more than £50 total between us, including generous tips. Make sure to wear tidy-ish clothes as while it’s not exclusive you will feel underdressed in track-pants and trainers.
Other fantastic bars include Chapeau Rouge, Tynska Bar and Books, and Red Room, but the most awesome of all is the Cross Club; an H.R Geiger inspired complex of mechanical art dramaturgy and hidden rooms, with music and booze. It’s a short train ride out of the centre city, but don’t even think about skipping it. For the more beer oriented; Prague is a paradise. Aside from the main breweries check out U Medvídků Brewery, and the most wondrous of bars: Pivovarský klub, where they have over 240 beers and great food.
There’s honestly just too much to list here; the amount of restaurants, bars, attractions, galleries and museums are staggering. I would say do some further research based on what your interests are and how long you have to spend in the city, and try to step outside your comfort zone. We caught a musical at the Karlin Theatre for about £10 each and it was a great experience. Oh, and visit the Absintherie!
Prague for four nights;
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