I had the pleasure of visiting Prague for a few days last year for my birthday whilst interrailing. Although I only spent a few days in the city, I managed to squeeze in as many tourist hotspots as possible, following free tours and experiencing a snippet of Prague’s nightlife.
Admittedly, I didn’t fall in love with Prague at first sight.
Don’t get me wrong, I really LIKED the city, but the unfortunate dreary weather and the overcrowded streets didn’t stand out when looking back on my European experience, and felt very focused around tourism.
However, I can certainly say that after having been in Prague for just over a week, my opinion of the historic centre has really taken a turn for the better.
When I arrived, I didn’t notice any significant differences to the city from last year. It’s bustling, energetic streets are still as crowded as ever, it’s mix of both new and old buildings still stand tall amongst the cobbled roads, and the smell of its famous donuts still waft down every nook and cranny.
This smothering atmosphere changed as I began exploring though. Despite the fascinating monuments and churches in the Old Town, as soon as you escape the cramped city centre, the true beauty of Prague comes bursting out of the woodwork. The Petrin Tower, only 120Kč for entrance, provides an alternative view over the entire city without the queues of the more popular Clock Tower, and the Botanical Gardens, a short stroll away from Prague Zoo, not only satisfies that desire for the perfect panoramic view but acts as a tranquil contrast to the opposite side of the river.
Food is another way to make stark contrasts between the Old and New Towns. A coffee and piece of cake in the charming city centre would cost a small fortune, whereas walking a short distance to a slightly less populated part of town costs you only a slice of the price. Even whilst writing this post, I am sitting in an independent cafe named Le Petit in the New Town, where food and drink is half the price but double as tasty compared to the Old Town Square (honestly, the Nutella cheesecake is worth the 10 minute walk).
The John Lennon Wall was another favourite of mine, as although close to Charles Bridge, the soft humming of buskers and people coming to write words of wisdom along the graffitied wall really give you a sense of the true ‘Prague vibe’.
Although it is almost time to say farewell to Prague once more, this time I will be saying goodbye to a city that I have learned to love.