Prague in two days: travel tips
Arriving at Prague airport, we head straight to the exit, not before passing by the automatic ticket machines for public transport. To move around the city we have chosen a 72-hour ticket that can be used on all public transport at the price of 310.00 Crowns (CZK), about € 12.00. On the official website all information on all types of tickets available. To go to the city center we used the combination bus plus tram which took us about 500 meters from the apartment where we stayed, located in the new city area. After checking in and settling in for a moment we are immediately out to discover the city.
Sculpture by David Černý
We take the metro line B from Florenc station to Mustek station where David Černý’s sculpture is located about 200 meters in front of a shopping center. It is a rotating sculpture dedicated by the artist to the writer Franz Kafka. The sculpture is made up of 42 mirror stainless steel layers, which rotate independently and continually compose and recompose the face of the writer. It is 11 meters high and weighs 45 tons.
David Černý’s Sculpture
Walking through the city, we reach one of the main attractions: the Charles Bridge. It is the oldest bridge in Prague, which crosses the Vltava river and connects the old town (Starè Mesto) with the Malà Strana district. It is very popular with Prague people, street artists, street vendors of souvenirs, but above all it is always full of tourists, day, night, all dawn … practically it is impossible to find it empty.
On both sides there are numerous statues of saints, and the famous oil lanterns that illuminate. These lanterns create a mysterious atmosphere and dreaming especially in the misty evenings … All the end of the side of the city there is a tower, which had been created in defense of the city. In fact, the first floor housed the guardhouse, the second a prison for wealthy families. Today, paying a ticket, you can visit and enjoy the splendid panorama of the Mala Strana district, the Charles bridge and the Vltava river. On the side of the Mala Strana district, however, there are two towers, one higher and one lower, which were to imitate the tower of the old city. It is the tallest tower that can be visited, also it is possible to admire the panorama of the Vltava river and the old city.
On the official website there are the timetables and the cost of tickets.
Arriving in the Mala Strana neighborhood, it was dinner time now, so we went back to the old town and had dinner in a typical trattoria.
After dinner we were always in the old town along the Vltava river from where I took numerous panoramic photos towards the Charles bridge, the Mala Strana district and the castle.
Old town square
The next morning we start our itinerary again, so through the urban bus we go to the Old Town Square, another landmark of the city. The square is also known as Clock Square, due to the presence of a large astronomical clock on the Town Hall building. In the town hall, paying a ticket, it is possible to visit the historical rooms, the basements and the tower. On the external wall of the tower there is the astronomical clock that from 9.00 to 23.00 at the stroke of every hour the twelve apostles appear. In the square there are also the Church of San Nicola, the Church of Santa Maria di Tyn and the monument dedicated to the theologian Jan Hus.
We proceed with the itinerary and by tram no. 22 we went to Prague Castle. The castle is one of the symbols of the city and is also the largest castle in the world. It is composed of numerous palaces and courtyards, the buildings that can be visited are: the Old Royal Palace, the Rosenberg Palace, the Tower of the Cathedral of San Vito, the Pinacoteca, the Tesoro di San Vito, the Basilica of San Giorgio, the Cathedral of San Vito, the Golden Lane and the history of the Castle.
Visiting them all takes a long time, for this reason it is possible to choose the itinerary that most interests us from those proposed. On the official website there is information on all the available itineraries, the relative costs and the entrance times. For an additional fee, in some buildings it is possible to take photographs, but without a tripod and flash. The Cathedral of San Vito has two itineraries, one of which is free. Outside the castle is the Hradčanské Náměstí square, where the main entrance gate is located. From here every hour it is possible to watch the changing of the guard, at 12.00 the changing of the guard is done with the fanfares and the changing of the banners.
After spending about two hours at the castle, we moved to the Mala Strana neighborhood, to have lunch in one of the many places present. Given the busy morning, we thought about getting some rest, so we went to Kampa Park. It is an artificial island park, located in the Mala Strana district between the Vltava river and the artificial canal called “Devil’s Channel”. Due to its shape, the island is also known as the Venice of Prague.
In the park, there are large tree-lined lawns, with several benches, which are often used for picnics or for relaxing. On the island there is the beautiful Na Kampé Square, which is connected directly to the Charles bridge via two stairs. In the square there are some clubs, restaurants and hotels. There are also the Kampa Museum, two bronze sculptures by the Czech artist David Černý, the Gran Priore Mill, and the John Lennon Wall, a wall in the Maltese Gardens decorated with graffiti and drawings inspired precisely by John Lennon.
Petřín hill and Josefov (Jewish quarter)
After wandering all the picturesque alleys of Kampa Park far and wide we went to the Petřín Funicular (included in the day ticket for public transport), which from Újezd station took us to the Petřín hill. It is one of the main hills of Prague, unmistakable for the presence of the panoramic tower, also known as the “small Eiffel tower”. The tower can be visited for a fee. There are two types of tickets: one provides for the lift, the other 299 steps … On the official website, the cost and times for visits. On the hill there are also: the Labyrinth of mirrors, the Štefánik Astronomical Observatory, the Petřín Gardens, the Hunger Wall, the Church of San Lorenzo (under Petřín) and the Church of Archangel Michael.
We take the funicular back and return to Mala Strana, cross the Charles bridge and arrive in Josefov, the Jewish quarter of Prague. It is one of the most beautiful and elegant neighborhoods in Prague, the name Josefov derives from Giuseppe Secondo, who put an end to discrimination against Jews.
In this area we find many large and elegant buildings, luxury shops, beer gardens, restaurants and various clubs. There are six synagogues, a museum and a cemetery. With a single ticket you can visit the museum, the cemetery and some synagogues.
Vítkov Hill and Dancing House
After visiting the neighborhood, by bus 207 we went to the Vítkov hill. We got off at the Tachovské náměstí stop and from there, about 500 meters uphill, we reached the top of the hill. From here, you can see the whole city, the ideal would be to get there at sunset, we instead arrived in the dark. In any case, I managed to take beautiful night photos. On the hill there is the National Memorial which includes, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the equestrian bronze Statue of by Jan Žižka and a café with panoramic views.
On the official website all information on timetables and prices. Admiring the view, taking the photos, we went the first way backwards and we arrived again at the Tachovské náměstí stop and from there always by bus 207 we went back to the old town area for dinner.
After dinner, one last walk along the river until we get to the famous Dancing House hotel, then we went back to the apartment to rest and prepare for departure the following morning.
Even this trip has come to an end, the city is very beautiful, we liked every place we visited, even just walking in the alleys of the old city is very fascinating.
There would be much more to see and there will be an opportunity to return, perhaps in winter with the city covered with snow. The atmosphere will certainly be even more mysterious and surreal. The city is quite cheap, especially as regards transport and catering (beer in particular).
As for accommodation and hotels, the prices are a little more expensive than in other Eastern European cities. However, you can save money by choosing apartments that are much cheaper than hotels. Unlike Poland (see Krakow in two days – travel tips and Warsaw low cost in two days !!) credit cards are not accepted everywhere, so it is better to withdraw some cash in the ATMs. Some businesses accept euros, however they don’t give change or some give change in crowns.