When I think of Prague I think of heavy meat stews, beer and snow. Partly because we visited in the winter, and party because I spent the entire 4 days waddling around like a giant leg of lamb. I was dirt broke when I decided to book a last-minute trip to Prague with my boyfriend, so believe me when I tell you that you can have an awesome time in this incredible city without the need to spend, spend spend. I am no expert, but these are the general rules I stick to when heading off on a city break. If you have plans to visit Prague over the summer, there are definitely a few tips below that will make your purse strings stretch a little further.
We did a three night break and stayed in Hotel Seven Days, which is a characterful 4* hotel that was central enough to be able walk everywhere, but distant enough to be more affordable than the very centre of Prague. It only took us around 5 minutes to walk to Wenceslas Square and the National Museum, and about 15 to walk down to the Old Square so it was a fantastic base for exploring the city. We made sure to choose a deal that included breakfast, so that we could eat well before a day on foot, and make a few sandwiches on the DL to stuff into our rucksack. The decor was a little dated, but still clean and luxurious and our double room was really comfortable, with a stocked mini bar, tea and coffee, free wifi and a spacious bathroom.
Wenceslas Square and The Old Town Square are both full of gorgeous restaurants and bars. The trouble is, if you look even vaguely foreign then the undercover staff who lurk outside the premises will do everything in their power to seat you and feed you overpriced steak. Just head out of the hustle and bustle of the square and find an unassuming street food vendor or do everything your mama told you not to do and head down a creepy-looking alleyway as there are always small boutique places there that will cost you far less than the tourist traps. Beer is cheap, and there is live music everywhere so you can enjoy an afternoon in the pub without the price-tag you’re used to.
Nothing says city break sophistication more than the theatre right? Thanks to this website serving up affordable tickets you can channel your inner royalty and enjoy a night at the opera! Granted we went out of season but I’ve just had a sneaky peek and there are still some mega cheap options for theatre and concert. We were lucky enough to see Mozart’s The Magic Flute for a mere 290 CZK, which works out at about £7 each. We got dressed up, walked down to the Opera House and experienced an evening that felt as if it should have cost hundreds.
There are so many places to see in Prague that don’t require any cash. The Astronomical Clock in the Old Town Square is totally magnificent and totally free. Every hour the clock chimes with the “procession of the twelve apostles” and it’s a really lovely experience. The Old Town Square is absolutely stunning in itself, and a great place to explore and admire the architecture.The Charles Bridge is a marvellous sight and offers the best views over the Vltava River, and Prague Castle is instantly recognisable on the skyline and free to explore. The grounds are simply stunning. Then there’s the gothic-looking Church of our Lady before Tyn. All free, and is rumoured to be the inspiration behind Disney’s sleeping beauty castle! Inside it’s a Baroque feast that will awaken your senses.
I always find that a great way to live a rich and decadent city break is to learn something new or immerse yourself in the culture of the city. The Museum of Communism is an emotional, gut-wrenching experience and well worth a visit if you want to further understand how this incredible nation lived through such a dark and difficult history.
The Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius, which is home to the National Memorial of the Heroes of the Heydrich Terror, is a humbling experience that is well worth a trip. The building houses an emotional memorial for seven brave men who were hiding in the crypt after being involved in the assassination of high-ranking Nazi official Reinhard Heydrich. Bullet holes still pepper the walls and the crypt itself attempts to re-tell their terrifying final moments.
Put down the map, and just go with your instincts! If you don’t have the cash to pop into endless museums then just wander the beautiful bohemian streets with nothing but a sense of adventure. Prague is so picturesque that it’s easy to find inspiration around every corner. Walking is always my preference (what’s a city break without a few blisters?) but the trams are so cheap so getting around really isn’t difficult.
Have you ever been to Prague? Do you have a trip planned this summer?