I have to admit that I only spent around three full days in Prague due to the fact that I had to return to Paris (what a burden), hence the term ‘mini’.
Although we didn’t see everything we possibly could have in those three days, we were pretty laid back and our mornings hardly existed, so I would say if you are strict with yourself and plan before you go then you could definitely do the whole city in a long weekend. It is a small city geographically, packed full of things to see and do, which makes it perfect for a short getaway.
I won’t take credit for finding this gem because it was my friend, who always seems to find us pretty perfect accommodation for our group city breaks as a matter of fact.
We stayed at Hostel Santini, and one of the things that drew us to it was the fact that we could all stay in one dorm. With a whopping 10 of us travelling, we would have had to split up in most places, which isn’t a big deal but it’s still more fun to be all together. Our room was spacious, with three kind of ‘segments’ to it with a number of beds in each, and incredibly clean, which is more than I can say for some hostels I have stayed in. The bathroom was large, although it was a tad tricky to schedule showers for 10 people in the mornings.
The location could not have been more perfect, we were about a 5 minute walk from the famous Charles Bridge which took you over the river into the city centre, and the steps up to the castle were literally right behind the hostel.
For the price it was incredible, and I would recommend it to anyone. Bear in mind however that if you choose to go here you have to pay in Czech currency (koruna), despite the fact that they do tell you online/in emails that you can pay in euros.
We flew from Edinburgh to Vaclav Havel Airport in Prague with Ryanair for a whopping £17. It almost felt like burglary. I had to pay more for luggage since I was going straight back to Paris for 6 months afterwards, but the rest were fine with free hand luggage.
One mistake we made was getting regular airport taxis to our hostel when we arrived. In our defence, it was after midnight, we had missed the last busses and none of us had the Uber app (yet). It cost us around 650 koruna which wasn’t too bad split between us, but compared to the Uber I got on the way back, which was 320, it was a bit of a splurge.
We didn’t use public transport once while actually in the city, which was a real money saver, because small prices of tickets always add up over a weekend abroad. Everywhere we went was walkable, all the streets were so pretty and the weather was nice and dry, so we didn’t mind walking at all.
Things To Do
Now onto the fun bit. As I said, I probably didn’t do half the things there are to do there, but I can certainly give my opinions on the things we did do. I’ll put them in the order we visited them in, just so that I don’t forget anything.
Charles Bridge – We went over this multiple times a day, and I would have gone over it multiple times more. Having seen it in photos (it’s number 34 in my ‘500 things to see before you die’ book) it was longer than I expected, and actually took a decent amount of time to cross as far as bridges go. The views from it were really cool, especially at night when you could see all the city lights along the banks of the river and the castle lit up towering over it all.
Toy Museum – We kind of went to this by accident because we thought there was a statue of a man with a golden penis that we could stroke for good luck. Turns out we had the wrong toy museum, so you can read about that a bit later. The museum wasn’t expensive so we decided to go in anyway, it was small but still pretty cool, and I will admit a little creepy at times. It was kind of what you would expect from a toy museum, dolls houses, old collectables and a whole load of barbies in different outfits.
Astronomical Clock – As one of my friends pointed out, we have a bit of a bad habit of ending up in places when they are having work done to them. Sadly, the astronomical clock had some kind of scaffolding up around it while we were there, so I feel like we didn’t see it in all its glory. We also weren’t there anywhere near it striking an hour, which is apparently pretty amazing to see. Despite these things, I can imagine that it would be amazing to see it go off when it isn’t having a facelift.
Old Town Square – Prague’s Old Town Square is famous worldwide, and you can easily see why when you’re there. The architecture is amazing, and my camera roll was full of pictures of buildings after we left. It was a tad annoying that while we were there there were still dribs and drabs of the Christmas markets left in the square. Don’t get me wrong, I am the world’s number one Christmas fan, and I can imagine that they would have been spectacular when in full swing, but by the beginning of January it was as if they were just kind of mid clean-up, and distracted from the square itself. This of course wouldn’t be an issue at any other time of the year however.
Powder Tower – I’m not sure why it is called this but, having looked it up, I now know its’s one of the old city gates in Prague, separating the Old Town from the New. It was essentially a tall tower that you could climb to get some incredible 360 views of the city. It wasn’t free, and I can’t remember the exact price of it, but it wasn’t at all expensive, and it was well worth it to be able to look out on the town from somewhere in its centre. You can’t beat a bit of people-watching too.
Hamleys – Right I know what you’re thinking, this isn’t exactly a landmark, it’s a toy shop and we aren’t even teenagers anymore, but oh my goodness it was amazing. They have an actual carousel inside. And a three-storey slide. The 20 year old boys definitely looked a bit dodgy racing their lego cars amongst the Czech toddlers, and in reflection we probably should have let the growing queue of 3 year olds onto the slide before all 10 of us, but we had a whale of a time.
Prague Castle – I can still feel my legs from the number of stairs we climbed to get to it, but it was worth it, and we had the most perfect pre-sunset weather to admire the views with. We spent a decent amount of time up at the castle because once you go in there’s a lot to see and do. You don’t have to pay to go into the castle grounds, just go through one of those awkward security things where they ask you to open your bag then don’t actually look in it before telling you to go in. Inside there are a number of statues, monuments and museums, as well as a huge and really stunning church. We did an audio-tour in one of the museums which was a nice way of making our trip at least a tad educational and also getting out of the cold. There were still a few Christmas markets dotted around the city, including one in the castle grounds, so we had some dinner there which was probably the only freshly cooked thing we ate all weekend.
Golden Penis Statue – This was within the castle ground but it deserves a mention of its own. It’s a bit of a strange one, it’s basically a black statue of a naked man, whose penis has gone gold because of so many people rubbing it over the years. Apparently it’s for good luck, and yes I did rub it too. The awkward thing is that it isn’t really a man at all, it’s very obviously a teenage boy, whose mother probably wouldn’t have been too happy had she known that, in the future, people from all over the world would take day trips specifically to rub the genitals of her son’s statue.
John Lennon Wall – You don’t need to set aside a lot of time for this, so it’s a really cool thing to stop off at if you’re near it. There are layers and layers of art and graffiti on this wall as a tribute to John Lennon, and a loads of quotes and colours. The only downside is that it’s mega difficult to avoid accidentally ending up in the background of other people’s photos, I bet we all feature on about 4 strangers’ Instagram accounts right now.
Pissing Men Statue – Imagine a statue of two men standing in a water basin shaped like the Czech Republic and pissing in it. A funny statue with a more sinister message. The statues have rotating hips and moveable private parts, so you can text a message to a number (which we couldn’t find) and they will write the message out in the water with their ‘pee’. I couldn’t help but think that this would be quite the romantic way to propose to someone.
I am ashamed to afraid that I am going to be a bit of a letdown in this section. We ate mostly fast food while we were there, mainly for cost and convenience. It’s not that there weren’t nice looking restaurants around because there most certainly were, we just decided as a group that we would rather spend our limited time and money on our experiences as opposed to our tummies.
That being said, there were a lot of options, with stalls and food trucks within reach pretty much everywhere. One of my favourite things to pick up while on the go were pizza slices, because they were huuuge and cheap, and it was proper good quality pizza with a thin base and various toppings.
One thing we saw everywhere but never got to try were chimney cakes. I am a little regretful of this, because they smelled absolutely divine, but I guess that’s just the perfect excuse for me to go back in the future.
If you’re planning a trip to Prague you should look forward to it immensely if you aren’t already. I am incredibly jealous. Don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or for any further recommendations, I would be happy to help.
Best wishes from Paris x