Imagine a Gothic Disney-style castle with dark towering spires. Overlooking a cobbled square with copper statues, horse carts, hog roasts and crepe vendors. Add craft beer and strip bars to the mix and you’ve got Prague, a city of sleaze-and-beauty, rather than Sleeping Beauty. It was my first trip to the Czech Republic and my fellow travellers were Prague-virgins too.
- The digs Our crew rented a six-bed apartment in the Downtown Apartments complex, a five-minute walk from the Old Town central square. The apartment was spacious and warm, with a wee kitchenette for much-needed morning fry-ups. It worked out to £37.50 per person – bargain much?
- The airline We flew Easyjet from Gatwick. It was shithouse actually – our flight was delayed by five hours. But on the plus side it turns out Easyjet pay each passenger €250 compensation when this happens. Who knew? Effectively our flights were free with spare change on top 🙂
Prague in a day-and-a-half
So here’s the deal: you’ve made it to Prague, finally, but you’re dishevelled and harassed from the previously-mentioned flight dramas. Here’s what you should do to perk right up again.
1. Eat at Bakeshop Because you’ll want an awesome feed for the day ahead. You’ll have to fight for a window table but it’ll be worth it. I sampled the pumpkin and feta tart, side salad and some of the ham & cheese quiche. The lattes are decent enough, bit on the giant side. This ain’t a cheap place, I spent 500 koruna (roughly £15) to feed two of us. But the rest of the city is so cheap you won’t care. Bakeshop: Kozí 918/1.
2. Explore the square. The buildings in the Old Town Square are amazing and there are crazy gargoyles everywhere. See the famous clock if you must (it puts on a little show every hour on the hour) but it was pretty underwhelming. Hell, I’d even say it’s shit and don’t bother – but you probably will, coz someone said the same thing to me and I went anyway. The food stalls in the square are delish, especially the hog roast.
3. Beer stop! It’s tough work being on holiday. You’re lucky there’s an amazing hidden bar underneath the square. Opposite the clock is an unassuming alleyway that takes you past a Starbucks. Go just past the Starbucks and you’ll see the signs for U Zlate Konvice, an underground haven of delicious beer and taxidermied animals. Very Gothic. As far as Prague goes the beers are pricey at 98 koruna each (roughly £3), compared to 30-ish at other places (£1). U Zlate Konvice: Melantrichova 477/20.
4. Shop at the junk markets behind the square. Buy shit you don’t need. Someone in our crew bought a Russian doll toy that was painted to look like members of the All Blacks rugby team, complete with a teeny tiny Piri Weepu in the middle of it. As you do, Prague. As you do.
5. Another beer stop! Since the first one didn’t quite hit the spot, you need another beer, obvs. Our second stop was for an outdoor beer at Lavka Club, overlooking the famous Old Town Bridge. The beers were cold, the blankets were snuggly and the sun was starting to set. Nice. Lavka Club: Novotného lávka 201/1.
6. Photos on the famous ‘statue bridge’ as the sun sets. The Old Town Bridge is one of the prime landmarks and is also an ace spot for photobombing other people’s pictures…
7. Yet another beer stop! With chips! It was getting cold, so we needed even more beer. A friend had recommended we try The Pub, where you can order casks for your table, but it turns out you need a reservation to get a seat on a Saturday so we couldn’t get in. Just around the corner from The Pub we stumbled across Kozlovna and I am Glad That We Did. The beers were cheap and plentiful and the staff were hilarious. My memory gets a bit hazy here but I am pretty sure two rounds of large beers, plus chips and some shots of the local nut liquer, set us back about £20 equivalent. Tops. Kozlovna: Křížovnická 4
8. It’s probably time you eat something. Yes, that’s a good idea. I can’t quite recall how we chose our dinner location. Or what it was called. Or where it was. What I do know is that I ate goulash with potato dumplings. At a really nice place that was stumbling distance from Kozlovna. Sorry I can’t be of more help.
1. Get your hungover ass out of bed and eat something. You won’t want to but you’ll thank me later. Grab a coffee and a snack from one of the plentiful bakeries (but don’t get one of the star-shaped fruit pastries you’ll see everywhere, because gross).
2. Get thee to the Strahov Monastery. The views are great. The monks brew good beer. They make damn tasty goulash-in-a-bun. And it’s pretty. Strahov Monastery Strahovské nádvoří 1/132
3. Check out the castle. Take some photos, the view is great. We didn’t go inside. It was too much. Prague Castle: Pražský hrad, 119 08 Praha 1
4. Have another beer, on a boat. A floating restaurant is still a boat. We sat here as the sun set and it was a beautiful way to end a rowdy, lovely weekend. The swans floated by as we sipped our ice teas and eventually felt brave enough for a beer. Marina Grosetto Ristorante: Alšovo nábřeží, 110 00 Praha 1
Listening to: Spacing by Shihad (yes, old school)