The ABCs of Why You Need to Visit Prague This Year
Just a few years ago, Prague was not on the radar for most European bound travelers. Since the last decade or two, however, the city has become one of the most popular destinations in Europe, and for good reason! Budget friendly, traveler friendly, and just plain friendly in general, there are too many reasons to list why you need to visit Prague as soon as possible.
So instead of listing all of the reasons why, here is an alphabetical sampling of what Prague has to offer; a reason for every letter in the alphabet why you should be packing your bags as soon as possible to escape into a city full of culture, beauty, and interesting people.
1 The Architecture
Even if you’re not an architect, you can’t help but be mesmerized by the Prague skyline. Prague cityscape shows influences from a wide span of historical architectural trends; one walk down a city block will give you first hand glimpses at Gothic, Romanesque, Baroque, and Cuban styled buildings right on top of each other. Prague’s picturesque fairy tale nature is in part due to the layering of different styles and vivid colors right next door to each other.
2 The Bridges
There are over 30 bridges spanning the Vltava river as it winds through Prague, and each bridge’s architecture is just as dazzling as the rest of the city. The Charles Bridge is the most famous; visitors are treated to musician’s, street vendors, and beautiful views of the city and river from the bridge, which was constructed in the 1300s. You can also walk across the Čechův Bridge, which is the shortest bridge over the river but is an incredible example of Art Nouveau style construction. Or head over to the Palacký Bridge to walk the path that Albert Einstein used to walk everyday to work.
The famous Prague Astronomical Clock is the oldest clock of its kind still in working condition. Built in 1410, the clock is constructed of three clocks; one counts the months, the other the positions of the sun and moon, and the third which tells hourly time. The clock is located in Old Town Square, and is well worth seeing; the intricate detail makes it one of the most beautiful clocks ever created.
When talking about drinks in Prague, it’s not the water that is the selling point. Actually, water is very expensive and only sold in bottles here. But for a much cheaper and more popular drink, head to Prague to try some of the best beer in the world. Prague home to a million and one great pubs with their own atmosphere, brews, and culture. Even the most thrifty budget traveler can afford a swig; beer in the Czech Republic is incredibly affordable, averaging just a couple of US dollars per bottle of some of the best craft beer you’ve ever tasted.
Prague offers all of the upscale entertainment that the more popular European destination cities do, but at a quarter of the price. Instead of shopping in Munich, the fashion capital of Germany, head across the border and shop Prague’s stores for the same styles at a much more reasonable prices. Concert goers can enjoy multiple music venues across the city, and sports enthusiasts need head no further than the Tesla Arena in Prague.
Prague is home to some of the best festivals in the world, year round. And every time there is a festival, there are street vendors selling tasty and filling comfort food on every street corner in Old Town Square. For only a few US dollars, you can easily fill up on authentic Czech Food while celebrating whatever festival happens to be in town that week.
Prague has over 200 park and garden spaces, some of them hundreds of years old. Each one has its own unique style and history, as well as vantage point into the heart of the city. The best way to explore them is to simply wander by foot and appreciate each one you stumble upon.
Some of the best bang for your buck housing options are waiting for you in Prague. Hosteling in Prague isn’t equivalent to dorm room hosteling in London or Paris; for one, the price will be much more affordable in Prague. But even more impressive than the savings is the quality of room waiting for you; hostels are more like hotels, with impressive amenities, friendly staff, and beautiful architecture inside and out. Don’t expect to be slumming in the bad end of town when you hostel in Prague.
9The Ice Hockey
The HC Sparta Prague is one of the most popular Ice Hockey Teams in Europe. Based in Prague, visitors and locals alike can cheer them on and see some of the most intense hockey regularly at the Tesla Arena, where the games are held. If you thought Europe was all about football, be prepared to think again, and witness some crazy Czech enthusiasm.
Prague is one of the friendliest cities with locals that are ready to kick back and laugh, sometimes at your expense. After the coldness of the Berlin locals just up the road, Prague citizens seem the warmest, most welcoming hosts you’ll find. Be ready to laugh, and be laughed at in return.
11The KGB Museum
There are a lot of strange museums in Prague, from the historically significant to the strange and bizarre (think Sex Machines Museum- and yes, that is one of them, located in downtown Prague). One of the most off the wall and unique to Prague museums is the KGB museum. THe museum is small, but has a great collection and is unlike any other museum you have been to. For just a few dollars expect a lot of entertainment from the guide, as well as a chance to view things like death masks, trick guns, and AK47s up close.
12The Lennon Wall
The Lennon Wall originated as a wall where young people, unhappy with the Communist regime, used graffiti to give voice to their protests in the form of John Lennon lyrics. What started as a grievance against Communist reign has emerged into a worldwide symbol of hope and peace for mankind in the Lennon Wall. People from all over the world write Lennon inspired lyrics, poems, and graffiti artwork to create a continually changing piece of artwork in the heart of the city. Feel free to visit, be inspired, and take away a sense of peace in the face of oppression.
Prague is every music lover’s dream. From festivals to concert halls to clubs and street performers, there is always music in the air. Music lovers will not want to miss the International Music Festival United Islands. United Islands is held annually and features a variety of genres of music from around the globe. For 3 days the city is rocked by rhythms and beats from some of the world’s best musicians to the local music scene. For the rest of the year, music lovers can hit up Karlovy Lazně, a club where each level in the 4 story building plays different genres of music.
14The National Theater
Music and History lovers alike need to visit the Prague National Theater. The theater has been a cultural institution since its beginnings in 1844. Visitors with an appreciation for art can enjoy operas, ballets, and plays almost every night to experience true Classical inspired European entertainment. Even if you don’t have time to catch a show or buy a ticket, you can still appreciate the architecture of the building from the street as well.
15The Old Town Bridge Tower
You’ll need to hike it up 138 steps, but reaching the top of the Old Town Bridge Tower is worth it for the panoramic views of the city. Those who climb to the top are rewarded with a different view of the famous red tile rooftops and cobblestone city streets, which helps you appreciate the architecture and layout of the city at another level. Try walking up late in the afternoon to watch the sun set over the Charles Bridge, Old Town, and the River.
16The Prague Castle
The largest ancient castle in the world, the Prague Castle began in 870 A.D. The Castle, which is comprised of many buildings and complexes, overlooks the city from a small hill. The castle is a hodgepodge of architectural styles and buildings, and houses several palaces, cathedrals, basilicas, towers and gardens. The Prague Castle is one of the most romantic and surreal buildings in existence, and much of it is open to visitors.
Ok, nobody really likes waiting in line, but you might as well get used to it and enjoy it. Prague has rapidly climbed up in popularity over the last twenty years. In the early 90s, Prague was a hidden gem for budget travelers and those who prefer to get off the beaten path. Much has changed in the past few years, however, and Prague now boasts over 4 million visitors each year and is in the top 10 most visited Europe city.
That being said, Prague is one of the best cities to get stuck in a queue. The city is packed with breathtaking views from even the narrowest, cobblestone alley, and most people are very friendly. The high tourist volume just gives you a chance to get some great people watching in while waiting in line.
Czech food is amazing, and Prague is a foodie’s paradise. Eating in Prague basically gives you the excuse to eat comfort food all day long. Expect a lot of pork, dumplings, cheap beer and potatoes. Even if you are traveling on the tightest of budgets you can still eat like a king in Prague. Many of Prague’s restaurants are now jumping on the locally grown movement, and you can eat authentic and ancient Czech recipes crafted from farms in the area.
There are almost one thousand towers and spires in Prague; combined with the red tile roof lines, it is easy to say that Prague has one of the most picturesque city skylines in the world. The spires and towers give almost an otherworldly, exotic feel to the city, and you will swear you are walking through a fairy tale as you look at the rooftops.
20The Train Ride
If you take the train into Prague from pretty much any location, be ready to glue yourself to the window to enjoy the breathtaking landscapes that surround the city. The train is located conveniently within an easy walk to Old Town Square, which means you can hop off and go right away without having to wade your way into the city.
21The Underground Bunkers
There are about 350 underground bunkers in Prague’s city limits, thanks to the Cold War reign of Communism decades ago. One such nuclear bunker is now home to a tight underground club, called the Bunkr Parukarka. The bragging rights alone of saying you went clubbing in an underground nuclear bunker should be enough to put this one on your bucket list.
From the ground and the sky, nearly everywhere you turn, every day of the year, Prague offers the viewer breathtaking views in one of the most beautiful cities. By foot, there are cobblestone alleys and intricate details and wood engravings on the doors. By boat, you can watch the river wind through ancient buildings and underneath arched bridges. There are several towers and high vantage points around the city that offer gorgeous panoramic views of the blend of architectural influences. Prague is both accessible and attainable; just make sure to put down the camera and soak it up.
The drinking water may be overpriced and hard to find, but Prague’s river water is beautiful. Serenely winding through the city, the Vltava is easy to access and appreciate from many areas; there are over 30 bridges, most of which are very pedestrian friendly, and visitors can easily walk along the river bank to appreciate one of the most picturesque urban riverscapes. In the summertime boats offer cruises up and down the river, and in winter some boats are converted into floating saunas. The river bank hosts plenty of farmer’s markets, dances, and exhibits to happily keep you strolling around the year.
24The Xtremly Affordable Price
To put it simply, Prague is cheap. While prices may have risen since its relative obscurity twenty years ago, it is still a much more budget friendly alternative to hot spots like Paris or London. You can still enjoy the European flair without spending European dollars, and are in a great spot to jump out and explore other European countries as well. Budget travelers everywhere can appreciate how much further their money will stretch in Prague compared to other European cities without sacrificing the experience.
25The Y Not?
Ok, I don’t have a word that starts with Y. But really, after reading this far, Y wouldn’t you visit Prague at this point?
(see what I did there?)
The Prague Zoo is consistently listed within the top 10 zoos in the world, and is a must see for any animal enthusiast. The Zoo, and the Prague Zoological Gardens, first opened their doors nearly 100 years ago. The Zoo is quite large; visiting can take an entire day, and there is a cable car to take visitors to the different levels within the facility.
Ready to discover Prague for yourself? Go to Treckeffect to find places to stay and even more things to do in Prague!