The only thing remotely as exciting as visiting a different country is that one immigration stamp you get to add in your passport, and I know I’m not the only traveller that feels this way. Lest the immigration officer decides to pound it down on some random page in between, (which unfortunately happens ALL THE DAMN TIME) flipping the pages filled with stamps from different countries gives you a bittersweet feeling and the motivation to continue travelling.
If you’re looking to travel to Prague someday, keep on reading for a list of travel tips you wished you’d known beforehand.
- Money, money, money
Contrary to popular belief, not all European countries use Euros as their primary currency. Czech Republic for one has its own currency and is often the best currency to use instead of the Euro. Although some places may accept your Euros, store operators tend to apply their own conversion rates and the last thing you want on your trip is to be outright ripped off. Unless you have extra cash to spare, best to convert your money directly to Czech Korunas (Kč).
- English, ano?
Unfortunately, most of the locals do not understand English, so if you’re trying to get somewhere or order something, I hope you’re good in charades and not a picky eater. Just kidding. More often than never you’ll know what you’re eating if it’s street food and you can always whip out your phone, and Google the menu if you’re at a restaurant. May want to brush up on ice-cream flavours though.
- Prague Castle
If you went to Prague and didn’t visit the castle, did you really go to Prague? I promise, this is the ONLY attraction worth paying an entrance fee to and the experience is hands down, one of a kind. Definitely worth spending an entire day here too.
The entrance into the castle’s compounds is open to the public but access into the buildings requires a ticket, which you can purchase over the counter. Concession passes are available for students by the way! There are different circuit packages you can purchase depending on what you want. I personally went for Circuit B, which included access to St. Vitus Cathedral, Old Royal Palace, St. George’s Basilica, and Golden Lane with Daliborka Tower for 125 Kč. I also bought an additional ticket to the Tower Vez for 150 Kč for the spectacular view but I’ll let the pictures do the explaining.
- Astronomical Clock
Time doesn’t seem to take its toll on one of the world’s most famous clock and the oldest one still in use. What is interesting about this medieval treasure is its mechanism in displaying astronomical details such as the position of the Sun and the Moon, a calendar dial that indicates the month of the year, and moving figures or various Catholic saints. It’s not a surprise people from all around the world and locals included, gather in front of the Old Town Hall Tower for approximately 45 seconds of pure wonder. During my visit, the clock was undergoing some restoration works but has since been unveiled to the public last September so if you’re visiting soon, you’re in luck.
- GOAP Gallery
Directly opposite the astronomical clock about a 100m away, you’ll see a pink building sitting tall and pretty in a sea of people at the Market Square of Prague. The gallery exhibits a diverse work of art from the likes of Salvador Dali, Alfons Mucha and Andy Warhol. I’m not very well-versed with art but I reckon a visit is due if you are, for an authentic experience with some of the original works from these artists. I suggest visiting the square sometime in the evening after your visit to the castle when the day is much cooler.
- Charles Bridge
Take a relaxing stroll on one of Europe’s most beautiful bridges, guarded with statues from one end to the other. The fairytale-like cobblestone paths are always busy with buskers, artists and street food that you’ll always find yourself pausing in your steps especially with a view like that. The best time to experience this is during the evening when the bridge is at its liveliest and when the sun begins to set, which makes a really good filter for your next Instagram post ;).
- Wallenstein Palace Gardens
The perfect location for a “Once upon a time” line, the garden is a Baroque oasis of lush greeneries and tranquillity from the busy streets of Malá Strana. It is quite easy to miss this gem of a place along the way to the castle so keep your eyes open for signboards and don’t be afraid to ask for directions. Inside, the best part of the palace grounds is the Sala Terrena where you will undoubtedly find yourself marveling at splashes of fresco painting and stuccoes of the Trojan war by Baccio Bianco opening up into the garden. You’ll also come across a stalactite grotto which is hard to miss and next to it, an aviary of exotic birds. If you’re lucky, you may spot peacocks wandering around the grounds like I did.
- John Lennon Wall
Over the Charles Bridge, there you’ll find the famous john Lennon Wall covered in graffiti. A symbol of the fight against oppression and freedom of speech, the wall is the only place in the city where graffiti is legal.
- Dancing House
A pillar of modern architecture compared to the Baroque, Gothic building for which Prague is famous for. The structure of this building was built on a house that was destroyed during the end of World War II by the US Army in 1945 and I would recommend visiting only if you have the time to kill.