In 2015, with a group of friends, I went to Budapest, day tripped to Vienna, and ended up in Istanbul. It was a fun and eventful trip. One of my favorite cities in the world, Istanbul, Turkey, I had visited before, but I never explored eastern Europe. During that trip, I wished for a few more days to explore more of eastern Europe while I was there, specifically Prague.
A few weeks prior to the 4th of July 2017, I decided to think about where to spend my holiday. It was going to be one of the slower working weeks during the summer because the holiday fell in the middle of the week. I had no plans. I didn’t want to stay home, and I realized traveling in the US would be the same cost as traveling overseas. Prague, Czech Republic had always been on my radar, so I decided why not?
Prague is a wonderful place to visit for a week’s getaway. All visitors can stay busy, but a busy Virginian can officially shut down and relax. I stayed at a modernly designed hotel called Hotel Josef.
It was everything I wanted as a solo traveler. I stayed in the roomy, stylish signature room that became my retreat after a busy day out on the town.
My first day in Prague I had decided to dive in and do something that I love doing which is exploring the land. Prior to my trip, I booked through Viator a day hike through the Bohemian and Saxon Switzerland National Park. I, along with a small group, spent the day hiking through the park and hiking up to the Pravcicka Gate.
Also, I visited the Falcon’s Nest, and walked through villages circling back to where we started. It was probably one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever had. It also broke any potential jet lag.
The next day I spent the day touring through the city of Prague. It may seem touristy to take a guided tour, but I was traveling solo, and I usually find it the easiest way to get my bearings of the city so I could explore on my own throughout the week. You must see the Prague Castle which is quite extensive and the gothic St. Vitus Cathedral, the burial place of the Czech kings and patron saints.
There are quite a few sites to see within Prague, and in two days, you can take your time touring most historic sites, places like Old Time Square, the Astronomical Clock, Charles Bridge, and the Powder Tower.
In addition to these activities, I do suggest jumping on a bus and visiting the towns outside the city. I took advantage of the time and went to Cesky Kumlov and Kutna Hora. Two cities where world heritage sites are located. The sight of these places is as if you shook a childhood storybook upside down and the pictures fell out. There are stunning castles in both cities, two of the more than 2,000 castles and chateaus in the Czech Republic and both equally stunning.
There are many places to dine in Prague. It is very affordable to eat if you want to eat casually and fine dine. A good meal can range from as low as $5 USD to a higher end location for $40 USD after currency converting. These prices include dinner, wine, and possibly a desert. Lokal is truly a local place where you can eat a quick traditional meal like beef goulash with dumplings and a Pilsner.
You will find it inexpensive but filling, and there is always a nice crowd. La Bottega Bistroteka is a place I strolled by after going to the mobile store. The food, the wine, and the service was excellent. The octopus with black squid arancini and a nice red wine was perfect way to end the day. Marina Ristorante is a great stop with the perfect view along the Vltava River while walking through the city. I felt like a carnivore during this trip, so a stop at Lifehouse health food bistro was a pleasant change for vegan and raw food. I had the strawberry smoothie and veggie summer rolls. If you want a rooftop view of the city, you can go to the Dancing House during sunset and get a magnificent panoramic view of the city.
The food in Prague is hearty and the portions are healthy. With so many options, it’s best not to stay in your hotel. Just walk down the street and you will find something.
Overall, Prague is a stunning city. When I make a return visit, I know there will be so many more things to do and see. There are a lot of free activities, and the city is so easy to navigate. If you do not like the tourist vibe, simply skip the tour buses. Prague is very safe, so just move about the city with ease.