Travel writer Jack Levitt talks us through his explorations of three major cities in the Far EastWritten by Jack Levitt on 10th December 2017
A Postcard From: Prague
Travel writer, Amber, recommends Prague as a perfect summer weekend away
Following my Christmas trip to Amsterdam, another European gem had stolen my eye: Prague. Appropriately known as ‘the city of spires’, Prague is relishing in fine architecture and pulsating colour that left me extremely sad to say goodbye. My favourite spot in Prague was the classic location of Old Town Square, where stunning gothic buildings are erected alongside the popular tourist attraction of the Astronomical clock. Prague’s charm was undeniable. The stunning St.Vitus Cathedral, palace, and colourful streets gave Prague its fairy-tale, idyllic quality that made it look as though its picture-perfect streets were cardboard cut-out TV sets.
Although Prague is well heard of, I have never spoken to anyone who has visited before, as it is seemingly overtaken by other popular, cosmopolitan destinations - Amsterdam, Barcelona and Copenhagen to name a few. Prague’s beauty is uncompromised by English-speaking tourists, so if you’re looking for somewhere where you can fully immerse yourself into the city, this is a great option. That being said, it definitely seemed to attract a lot of tourists in general. Don’t let its touristic nature put you off though, as moving out of the very centre of popular spots such as Old Town Square you can absolutely find some real hidden gems, and the food scene is particularly attractive. Being a vegetarian, I had researched some amazing vegan and vegetarian restaurants which were highly popular with the Czechian locals. Our favourites included Thai Box Food, Pastva (which enticed us twice!) and Estrella, a cosy and intimate spot.
Having said that, it brings me to my next point, and also my number one top tip of Prague: to do lots of research. I’d say this is especially important for visiting Prague, mostly because, in our experience, the locals can come across quite cold which means you feel you can’t approach everyone as you would do anywhere else. If you’re someone who loves to talk to the locals, maybe this place isn’t for you. And perhaps we just had an unusual experience, but even many of the waiters we came across unwelcoming. Besides this, by doing lots of research of top spots and transport (we used the metro which was super easy to use, even for an absolute navigation-novice like myself!), you’ll be able to see the absolute best of Prague in the most time-effective way. As with anywhere, watch out for the tourist traps! Although every holiday destination has them, Prague’s currency can be particularly confusing (1000 CZK equates to approximately £32) and a spontaneous lunch-to-go cost us £8 for a single mini quiche, whilst at the market, a 150g photogenic punnet of berries (I was tempted) equated to an extortionate £6.50. Again, though, it isn’t difficult to avoid these traps, and generally speaking the restaurants were very reasonably priced with the bill coming to approximately £13 for two people. This also included two rounds of drinks - beer costs around £1.20, whilst good quality cocktails (I’m a sucker for a good mojito) were priced at around £3.
Since we were blessed with such great weather, we spent much of our time wandering the streets of Prague and absorbing the local culture whilst hitting some of Prague’s most renowned attractions; Prague Zoo – the fourth best in the world – Charles Bridge – populated with vast amounts of statues – and we also visited a few of the green spots. If its indoor activities you’re after though, the Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol exhibition was another one of our favourites, alongside our first day activities of the Jewish museum, old cemetery, and, in particular, the Spanish synagogue boasted the most unbelievable beauty.
I’d highly recommend going to Prague if you’re after chilling out whilst also doing some sightseeing. We were lucky with the weather though, since we went in March, so to guarantee an amazing time I’d probably recommend visiting in summer, as the majority of our most treasured memories were spent people-watching, eating strawberries in the sun (though not those from the market!) whilst gawping at some of the most fantastic spires against the backdrop of an unbelievable sunset. Czeck. It. Out.