“Prague won’t let you go, the little mother has claws,” so said Franz Kafka, the capital’s most famous son.
And while Franz Kafka obviously had a deeper connection with the city, once you’ve been to Prague, it doesn’t quite let you go. One moment you’re walking to work, running through your never-ending to-do list in your mind, when a sight of an old rusty street lamp brings you back to Prague’s narrow and dimly-lit cobbled streets, the smell of roasted duck intermingling with the sweet aroma of cinnamon, strains of classical music and that unmistakable sound of clinking beer mugs spilling out onto the streets.
There’s much to love about Prague. While it is certainly a grand example of an old medieval city, with centuries’ worth of Gothic, Romantic, and Baroque architectures splendidly preserved and standing proudly after world wars, fires, and natural calamities failed to bring them down, there’s also always something new going on in the city. It could be a new row of restaurants, a new edgy café in an up-and-coming neighborhood, or a new quirky art installation.
All these led to the Prague of today: a city that goes from medieval to modern, conventional to quirky, historic to hipster, and sacred to scandalous in a few blocks.
So it goes that your experiences in Prague can depend heavily on which neighborhood you choose to spend your days and nights. Whether you’re up for a crash course in European history and arts, a romantic holiday peppered with food and shopping trips, or you’re here for the beer, there’s a lovely Prague district that won’t let you go. Continue reading “Where to stay in Prague – a complete guide to the city’s best neighborhoods and hotels”
Here’s how the typical Central European travel itinerary goes: you spend a few days in Prague with several early morning attempts to take pictures at the Charles Bridge, board a train to Vienna where you blitz through the many historical churches and museums, maybe even spend an evening at the opera and have a slice of sachertorte, then take another train to Budapest, where you fill your camera with more crowded pictures of the Fisherman’s Bastion. By the end of this trip, you hardly remember anything and you just want to collapse in bed and take another vacation.
I get it. For most of us non-European travelers, Europe is this shiny, star-studded continent filled with some of the world’s best, most romantic, most historical – most superlative – cities in the world that we just want to cram our itineraries and see ALL. OF. THEM. The lack of borders and ease of movement is also mind-blowing for most of us that we get a little bit (or a lot) trigger-happy when planning our trips.
But here’s a radical suggestion: take it slow. Instead of rushing from one country to the next, take some time to really explore a place. While capital cities like Prague and Vienna are, of course, must-visits for first-time travelers, you can make your trip a lot more interesting with stop-overs to the little towns in between. You’ll establish a deeper connection with the places you visit, gain a better understanding of the culture, and have a more fulfilling holiday experience.
Continue reading “Driving from Prague to Vienna, slowly through Czech Republic’s scenic south”
The Czech Republic is an amazing country with a wealth of culture, history, architecture, and natural beauty. In this 5-day itinerary for first-time visitors, you’ll fall in love with two of Europe’s most beautiful cities and get a taste of the great outdoors that makes hiking one of the Czechs’ favorite past times. By the end of your trip, you’ll realize 5 days is hardly enough. These are the sights that will surely make you come back. Continue reading “5 days in the Czech Republic – the best sights for your first visit”