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Our three day city break to Prague was taken before the outbreak of COVID-19 caused countries worldwide to go into lock-down. Please remember to stay safe during this difficult time.
The plan for this year was to visit as many new countries as our holidays from work would allow. We booked a three day city break to Prague in the Czech Republic. During our time in Prague we would also be taking a trip over the Czech boarder into Germany. But more on that later.
Our flight from Leeds was delayed by about an hour. The wind was bad and because of this we made up time and landed ahead of schedule. The pilot announced that we were flying through a jet stream. The wind was basically pushing us towards Prague. However, our approach into Václav Havel airport was horrendous. How the plane did not flip over I’ll never know. It is the first time either of us had experienced a landing like this. After doing everything we needed to do at the airport we grabbed an Uber to our hotel.
Our First Evening, Walking By The River & Great Food
The weather was pretty much the same as the UK. It was cold, very windy and extremely wet. We were staying at the Hotel Élite in the heart of the city. It was in a perfect location in the New Town area and about 10 minutes from the main square. After checking in we had a walk alongside the river and up towards Charles Bridge (Karlův most).
To read our review of this hotel click the following link Our Review Of The Hotel Élite, Prague.
It was early evening and dark so the view over towards Prague Castle was beautiful. Everything was lit up and reflection of the streetlights shimmered on the Vltava River.
Not long after, the heavens opened, and it absolutely threw it down with rain. We were hungry. Knowing exactly where we wanted to eat, we ran from doorway to doorway to dodge the downpour.
Nothing Sad About This Mans Burger !
Sad Man’s Tongue, Bar & Bistro is a great place for handmade burgers. The restaurant was busy. After a short wait, the waitress took us to our table. It has a bit of a 50’s vibe to it with entertainment and decor to match. We ordered our meals which consisted of two small beers, a side of huge cheesy onion rings and burgers with hand cut fries. I opted for a burger with a black cherry bourbon sauce and Vicky had one covered in all kinds of pickles. These burgers were incredible and so tasty. You must visit this place if you are ever in Prague. The price for all this was 739CZK which was approximately £25.
Time To Czech Out Prague !
Our love of old historical buildings and cool modern architecture is equal. So, one of the buildings we wanted to visit first was the famous ‘Dancing House‘ aka Fred and Ginger, named after dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers ! The building belongs to Nationale-Nederlanden, a large Dutch insurance company. It was designed and built in the 1990’s and is a much-visited destination for Prague’s many tourists.
Next, we walked to Charles Bridge (Karlův most) to look around and take some photographs during the daylight hours. It was not as busy as we expected being one of Prague’s main tourist hot spots. The construction of Charles Bridge began in the 14th Century and features 30 religious statues of Saints and Patron Saints.
It can get extremely busy here with tourists all scrambling for that perfect photo so please bear that in mind when you visit. There is also usually a number of locals selling arts, crafts and knick-knacks on the bridge too.
The Astronomical Clock
The time was almost 10am so our next stop would be another one of the cities big tourist attractions, the Astronomical Clock (Pražský orloj). Again, it looked like we were here before the hoards descended as it was nice and quiet. The bells chimed on the hour and it was great to see the small figures and workings of the clock spark to life. The skeleton ringing its tiny bell is incredible.
The clock is mounted on the wall of the Old Town Hall on the corner of Old Town Square and was installed in 1410. This makes it the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest clock still working. How cool is that ?
You are able to visit the town hall and take a look at the inner-workings of the clock for a small fee. There are a number of other rooms available to look around as well as the medieval underground.
The Church of Our Lady before Týn (Chrám Matky Boží před Týnem) looks down over Old Town Square and is an incredibly beautiful gothic church. It was sadly closed at the time of our visit so we didn’t get to go inside.
More Beautiful Churches
Before heading up to Prague Castle another striking building caught our eye. Again, located just off Old Town Square. It turned out to be St Nicholas’ church. Entrance was free so we had to go and have a look. Whenever there is no entrance charge to churches or other museums and buildings, we always look for places to leave a donation.
We were not disappointed; the inside was beautiful. Suspended from the ceiling was a huge glass chandelier. Marble statues covered in gold hugged the alter. Worth the quick visit.
Visiting Prague Castle
The walk up to Prague Castle (Pražský hrad) was great. We walked through backstreets, across squares and passed more beautiful buildings. We stopped halfway for a drink in this great little cafe called the Schody Home Bar. You would probably miss if you were not looking for it. Great coffee though !
After this quick pit stop, we marched on. The paths up to the castle were steep but nothing too challenging we thought. Once at the top we explored Hradcany Square (Hradčanské náměstí). This is the area outside the main gates of the castle, before going through the pay barrier. Once you finally get to the pay barrier your bags are checked and scanned.
Choosing The Right Ticket
There are several ticket options to purchase. All offering different things to see. All the attractions are numbered. We purchased the highest price ticket that covered all the museums and churches. This is the best option as you really do not want to miss a single thing here. If you are on a tight schedule however, chose the ticket that best suits your needs.
So, tickets bought and a walk through yet another small square, the first building you come to is the stunning, St Vitus Cathedral (Katedrála Sv. Víta). The spires of which you can see across the city. This is the largest and most important church in the country.
Its walls contain some fascinating treasures and the tombs of Bohemian Kings, Holy Roman Emperors and of course the resting place of Saints Vitus, Wenceslas and Adalbert amongst others. The stained-glass windows and architecture inside the church are something else.
Like we said before, our tickets covered all the museums and other religious building including St Georges Basilica, the Story of Prague Castle museum and the Old Royal Palace with its beautifully decorated vaulted ceilings.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time here and would absolutely visit again, maybe during the warmer months. The day was getting on so at the end of our visit we were very hungry. Vicky suggested looking for a place to eat nearby. We found one place using Google maps that we thought might be interesting to visit. Strangely enough we saw this place on our way up to Prague Castle and remarked how scruffy it looked for a place to eat. Little did we know that it was a medieval themed tavern called U krále Brabantského. It had some fantastic reviews and looking at the photographs on Google the food and the decor looked great.
Entering the bar area, we could not believe how dark it was, and when we say medieval, candlelit, dark corners, skulls, vaulted ceilings, wooden tables and chairs, suites of armour and chains. It was superb !
Great Food & Great Atmosphere
We were shown to our table by a barmaid dressed in medieval attire, or should that be serving wench ? She did not say much and basically just said “drink ?”. On the reviews we had read for this place we did see that this is the norm, the staff do not speak, and basically act like they probably would have done all those hundreds of years ago. Our beers were ordered and brought to our table, slammed down in front of us.
We both ordered some traditional Goulash with dumplings. Again, the food was brought and served on medieval style plates and slammed down. The food was delicious. Really good value for money too, the atmosphere really set it all off.
Our bellies full of food we had a slow walk back into the centre of Prague. We found yet another church to visit and paid 100CZK for entry. Another beautiful church dedicated to St. Nicholas.
Imagine, All That Graffiti !
In an already busy day of sightseeing, finally we would take a walk to the famous John Lennon wall. It was close by, on our way back to the hotel and not far from Charles Bridge. The wall has been decorated with sayings, poems and messages since the 1960s but was then dedicated to Lennon in the 1980s following his assassination. Covered in graffiti, political slogans and messages of peace, tourists flock to this place for photos and to add their own bit of artistic flair. A very popular spot.
We also stopped at a place called Good Food on our way back for Trdelník. The traditional chimney style cakes cooked over a spit, full of ice cream and fruit I am sure you have all seen. It was dessert, or at least that is our excuse.
After eventually getting back to our hotel and having a well-deserved warm shower we ended up going to a bar for the rest of the evening to relax. We grabbed a bite to eat and drank a few nice cold beers. We had to be up very early for our day out in Dresden.
A Day Visiting Dresden, Germany
Our day out in Dresden was all pre-planned and pre-booked. Whilst looking for things to do and places to visit in Prague we noticed some people were taking a cross-border trip into Germany. This was through a company we had heard of before but not had the chance to use yet, Flixbus.
After this experience we will be looking for other opportunities to use Flixbus when we visit other countries in Europe. We already have one or to ideas planned out for future trips.
To read our post dedicated to this trip, please visit Prague To Dresden With Flixbus.
Day Three, Exploring More Of Prague
After our incredible day out in Dresden, we were ready to get back to exploring more of Prague. It was Vicky’s birthday today, so we had even more things planned and lots more to see.
First on our list of places to visit for day three would be the Jewish Quarter (Židovská čtvrť). The cemetery was a place that I had always wanted to see.
The Jewish Quarter
Tickets to access some of the areas including the cemetery, Synagogues and the museum can be purchased direct from the ticket booth before entry. We visited the Ceremonial Hall, Pinkas Synagogue and the Old Jewish Cemetery.
It was a very moving experience. Especially the Pinkas Synagogue. A simple building, very quiet with background sound of various Jewish readings being played. It is a memorial to 80,000 Jewish Holocaust victims, their names written on the walls being the only decoration.
The Old Jewish Cemetery is home to over 12,000 headstones and monuments but many more burials. The oldest headstone belongs to rabbi Avigdor Kara and dates from 1439.
Again, it was a very peaceful, sombre experience.
Gingerbread, Bones & Celebrating Vicky’s Birthday
If the Czech Republic is known for anything its Gingerbread. Vicky found a shop that sold some of the best Gingerbread in Prague. Perníčkův sen is in the Old Town area. It is a small shop but packed with some of the nicest Gingerbread I have ever seen. All skilfully decorated with different coloured icing. We came away with a bagful, “gifts” of course… It did taste good though, so if you love a tasty Gingerbread treat then this is the shop for you !
Next up our explorations would take us into a different town. A train ride from Prague itself. If you have done your own research into visiting Prague, then I am sure you will have come across the Sedlec Ossuary aka the “Bone Church” in Kutná Hora.
This has been a bucket list item for Jason for such a long time. Although we were really looking forward to visiting, we found out on the same morning that they had banned photography inside the church. It was a decision they made at the beginning of 2020. This was devastating, but understandable. Their frustration aimed at tourists and bloggers messing with the bones and taking disrespectful selfies. It did not dampen our spirits though.
How To Get To Kutná Hora, Tickets & Information
To get to Kutná Hora you must get the R9 train from the main station in Prague (Praha Hlavní Nádraží). Kutná Hora hl.n. station is then only three stops away and takes approximately one hour. Tickets for both of us cost 201CZK each way.
The stops are as follows, and vice-versa on the way back into Prague.
Prague <–> Praga Liben <–> Kolin (CZ) <–> Kutná Hora
Arriving at Kutná Hora station it is then only short walk to the Sedlec Ossuary. There are three main churches you can visit, and these are all ticketed.
Find The Ticket Booth
You cannot buy tickets at the churches themselves. There is a small ticket booth that is well sign posted before you get to the Ossuary. You will pass this on your walk up so you shouldn’t miss it.
There are three tiers of ticket price. One that allows you to visit just the Ossuary, one for Ossuary and Cathedral and a ticket that covers all three which includes the church of St James.
We chose option two, Ossuary and Cathedral which cost us 120CZK each. For a full list of the other price options and more info, visit the official website Ossuary, Sedlec.
The Bone Church
The Ossuary was undergoing some renovation work at the time of our visit, and what appeared to be archaeological work inside. The graveyard around the church is also beautiful with some stunning monuments.
It was not as busy as we expected it to be. After showing our tickets at the front door we entered. It was a very surreal, eerie feeling. All the bones. Knowing that they were once living, breathing people, laid out in beautiful neat piles. A huge bone chandelier hanging from the roof, skulls displayed as precious reminders.
Respect The Rules
We were joined by what seemed to be a couple of small tourist groups. There was a ‘No Photography’ rule in place, but these groups blatantly ignored it. You are told on the way in of this rule.
I was itching to take photos, but out of respect I did not. It would be easy for me at this point to use stock photos to show you the bones inside. However, there are plenty of images out there on the internet for your browsing needs.
If you do visit sites like this and are told to respect rules, please do.
After our time here we visited the Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady and Saint John the Baptist, the oldest Cathedral in Central Europe built in 1320. Again, this is just a short walk from the Bone Church, you pass it on your way from the train station.
If we had more time, we would have liked to explore the main town of Kutná Hora, but we had other plans to finish Vicky’s Birthday. So, we headed to the station and got the train back into Prague.
One thing to note when boarding the train, do not jump into a First-Class carriage like we did. We had no idea as they all looked the same, halfway through our journey the conductor came to check our tickets, she looked at us with a stern face as if we were supposed to know.
We told her it was a mistake, but she still wanted to charge us, we told her that we would just move as it was a mistake. I think she understood. We moved anyway.
Time For Birthday Cake & Hot Chocolate
So, as I have already explained today was Vicky’s Birthday. What better way to end another packed day of walking and exploring than to have cake ?
Vicky knew again exactly where she wanted to eat. Her research skills are quite something and as always, this place did not disappoint.
Choco Café is a small cafe that serves the most delicious hot chocolate and cake. Vicky chose a dark hot chocolate with cherries and rum and mine was milk chocolate with strawberries and coconut rum.
A perfect end to a great day. If you are planning a three day city break to Prague, we hope this post has given you some inspiration. If you have been before, why not let us know some of your favourite landmarks and places to eat in the comment section below.
Time For Us To Go, Please Travel Safe
It is now time to end our blog, we will not bore you with all the details of our journey home. All we will say is this. At the time of writing this blog COVID-19 seems to be slowing in some parts of Europe. Travel companies and airlines are slowly returning to their new normal. When we travelled to Prague the Coronavirus was taking hold in towns and cities all over the world, and I do not think any of us knew how serious this would be.
During our trip we not only had to mingle with tourists out in the streets, but also in bars, restaurants and shops. We obviously had to endure airports, train stations, ticket machines and very close-quarters travel situations. I personally think we were quite lucky not to have picked anything up, that we know of.
Do wear a face-mask if you are able to, keep washing your hands and please stay safe.
(all prices correct at the time of travel, February 2020)
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