When we were planning our recent trip to Europe, we weren’t totally sure where to go. Part of the problem is that we each want to go pretty much everywhere (not just in Europe). We want to revisit some favorites and yet there are just so many new places to visit. One of the places that has been coming up time and time again was Prague. My husband opted for a relaxing week in London, which was wonderful for both of us! My mom knew she wanted to return to Scotland, but we had a few days to fill in. Prague seemed an obvious choice!
We absolutely loved Prague. There really is a lot of to do and we didn’t really leave the downtown tourist areas. If we had more time, we would have ventured into other parts of the city and taken some day trips to see more of the Czech Republic. While there was much to love about the great city, it was the architecture that I fell in love with – not my usual statement, I know! The city is full of so many different kinds of architecture with its incredibly diverse history. Somehow it ALL seems to go together seamlessly. And it gives you that friendly reminder that you should look up as often as possible!
We showed up to Prague with little planned, especially when it came to food and coffee and I think it was a fabulous idea. I really wanted to share a ton of photos of the city – views, buildings, and so much more. Below are a few items on food, hotels, a few favorite stops, and things to know about visiting the lovely city. I hesitate to call this a travel guide, but maybe it’s more of a basic guide to letting you discover the city yourself!
Where we Stayed in Prague
We stayed at the Aria Hotel in the area known as Mala Strana or Lesser Town. It’s across the river from Old Town and in a much calmer area. While many of the destinations to visit are in Old Town, it’s also full of people – well, tourists. The Aria Hotel was a lovely little escape from the crowds that wasn’t too far away!
Where to Eat in Prague
So, we enjoyed a variety of cuisines during our stay in Prague. Our first night featured local fare and to say it was delicious, hearty, and filling is an understatement. Past that, however, every meal was mostly happenstance except a few cafes and bakeries I’d found researching our trip Instagram.
A few places to note… In the center of Old Town is the Clock Tower. You (and just about everyone else) will end up here. It seems like one of those crazy places to find a nice place to eat, but there are some wonderful finds that are nearby and not insanely crowded.
Where to Eat Near the Clock Tower
About a 2 minute walk from the Clock Tower is Skautský Institute. It’s upstairs in the Scout Institute. Look for the “Scout Institute” on your maps app and then you should be able to find your way up from there! They have a few bites to eat and homemade soup but not a lot of food to offer. It’s a great place with coffee, tea, and lots of seating.
For a bigger bite to eat, a delectable morsel, and coffee to wander over to Bistro Monk. It’s a great, new little cafe that’s super delicious. We shared tea and a salad (and fries if we’re divulging all our secrets)! I will note that the front door wasn’t exactly where Google Maps was telling me – it was probably about 10 feet further around the corner. So don’t fret if you don’t see it right away!
Other Fun Bakeries + Cafes
So, these two others are random, but worth a note. If you visit the Spanish Synagogue, which I think is an absolute MUST – it’s beautiful and so interesting – stop by BakeShop. We stumbled on this find between the tram stop and the synagogue. They have great lunch options (soup, salad, and a small “bar” of deli salads, etc.) and an extensive selection of baked goodies!!
And head over to New Town for an afternoon pick me up at Cukrárna Myšák. It’s an adorable coffee shop with a wonderful selection of pastries. The area is quite a bit less touristy than Old Town and there’s some fun shops in the area, not to mention one of the Franz Kafka statue that I could stare at for hours!
So here’s the thing about all that architecture in Prague. Buildings include inspiration and design in the Roman, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and all the way to Modernism. The city’s art world is infatuated with geometrical designs and the like. My husband is likely shaking his head at me for that description, but I never claimed to understand art history or architecture! hah!
Each era of Prague’s history brought its own architecture. Walking around you’ll find buildings and areas that remind you of Italy, New Orleans, France, and so, so much more! The most astounding part of all this is that it all looks like it was designed together! It’s just so seamless! There are a few buildings that stick out – I’m looking at your TV Tower and the Frank Gehry Dancing House – but it all contributes to the city, so it works!
The other great part of the city is how beautiful the Vltava River is flowing through the city. There are 18 bridges over the bridge (we only crossed 5 during our stay). If you’re crossing the Charles Bridge (the big, famous, crowded one) – it’s easy to miss the beauty and solemnity of the river. I suggest crossing the Charles Bridge early in the morning (before 8 or 9) and then crossing the river on the other bridges. It’s so, so much better!
Inside Prague’s Architecture
So the other thing about Prague’s Architecture is the interior. The churches and synagogues, museums, and even the Municipal House are surprisingly stunning inside. The St. Vitus Cathedral, Spanish Synagogue, St. Nicholas Cathedral are all incredibly gorgeous and ornate inside. Each is full of gold plating, bronze, and exceptional stained glass windows! Needless to say, the beauty of Prague is all on the exterior!