…and I literally did need to jog around Prague, because I was there for less than a day-and-a-half and there is so much to see. I’d heard so many good things about this city, and was excited to finally experience it for myself.
When I visit a new place, I often go into comparison mode, and my first thought of Prague was: “Bavarian Paris”. My perspective may change if I spent more time there, but as a single-day tourist, that’s what I came away with.
I arrived via Easy Jet (Europe’s version of Southwest Airlines) from Amsterdam on a Tuesday night, checked into my hotel (The Three Storks on the west side of the river – take a pass on this “boutique” hotel if you visit, good location but overpriced with tiny rooms) and got ready for a hot & muggy marathon the next day.
Prague (known locally as “Praha”), the capital of the Czech Republic, has a long and storied history. Here’s the Cliffs Notes version…it flourished in the 1300’s during the reign of Charles IV (Holy Roman Emperor and the king of Bohemia), and he is responsible for many of the architectural gems in the city, including Charles Bridge (Karlův Most), New Town, Charles University and the stunning St. Vitus Cathedral on the grounds of Prague Castle. Over the years it’s suffered many of the same crises as other major European cities: plagues, fires, floods, 2 world wars, and communism, and sections have been rebuilt and renovated in its 1000+ year history, but this has added to its appeal and provided a visual feast of architecture from all different periods of history including gothic, Romanesque, baroque, neo-classical and more modern styles.
The city is separated down the middle by the River Vltava, with Old Town and New Town on the east side and Prague Castle and Lesser Town on the west side.
I decided to begin the day on the east side, and spent my time wandering around the streets of old town, climbing up the tower of Old Town Hall (which houses the famous astronomical clock) to see the views from above, checking out the town square, taking a cruise on the Vltava River and then finishing the day with a Vivaldi concert (the Four Seasons) at St. Nicholas Church in the old town featuring an orchestra of historic instruments. It was beautiful. On my way back, I splurged on a dinner at the highly rated CottoCrudo restaurant (very good) and then hit the hay.
The next morning, I ran up the hill to Prague Castle to check out as many sights as I could see in a couple of hours. There is a treasure trove on the grounds of the castle, including the stunning St. Vitus Cathedral. Wish I had more time, but then had to run (yes, run) back down the hill, pack up my things and head to the airport for a flight to Croatia.
Whew, talk about a whirlwind! Next stop: Croatia.