Prague Travel and Packing Guide

Prague travel guide and packing tips

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Images of walking across the romantic Charles Bridge at dusk are what might be conjured upon considering a trip to Prague. The history and culture are just a few of the features that bring in visitors every year. The capital of the Czech Republic isn’t quite the “off the beaten path” destination it once was, but it’s still a great destination to add to your European itinerary.

Prague Travel Expenses Tips

Traveling in the Czech Republic is not as cheap as it was even a few years ago, thanks in part to a steady influx of visitors to eastern Europe. But there are a handful of ways to keep your budget under control when visiting Prague.

Take advantage of the free stuff
A number of the attractions won’t cost you a dime, which is lucky as the exchange rate can fluctuate. Favorites like the Charles Bridge, Astronomical Clock and Prague Castle are all free to visit, as well as the Jewish Quarter and the John Lennon Wall. There’s also a free walking tour run by Sandeman’s New Europe.

Go beyond the Old Town
While most of the standard tourist attractions are located in the Old Town, get outside of it for more local experiences and reasonably priced meals. When it comes to tourist areas, expect to pay more for cabs, food and souvenirs.

Use public transportation
Using Prague’s public transportation system, which includes trains, trams and buses, is a cheap and easy way to get around. Tickets cost around $1 USD for around 30 minutes ride.

Make time for day trips
While there is so much to offer in Prague itself, it’s also a base for other regional trips. Take advantage of the train network to see Kutna Hora, the famous church made of bones, Terezin Concentration Camp, the Pilsner Urquell Brewery and the quaint town of Cesky Krumlov.

Prague's Old Town Square
Prague’s Old Town Square

Essential Gear to Bring to Prague

Check out our Prague winter getaway packing list for a more detailed run-down.

Light jacket– Temperatures can get a bit breezy, especially during the fall. Bring a light jacket that can be layered to keep you warm at night or in the winter. (There we go with those layers again!)

Boots or comfortable walking shoes– A structured pair of boots will both look stylish and hold up while walking around to see the sights. Just make sure they’re broken in before your trip! A pair of nice looking walking shoes will also do.

Crossbody bag or purse– Keep your essentials on hand with a nice crossbody bag that will deter pickpockets.

Smartphone– Download a few apps onto your phone with maps, language lessons and music to keep you entertained.

Books to Read Before Visiting Prague

Prague and the Bohemia region has long been an inspiration for writers in fiction as well as storytellers interested in portraying the World War I history.

    • Me, Myself and Prague: An Unreliable Guide to Bohemia by Rachael Weiss– A woman leaves her home and family to go to Prague to trace her roots and write the “great Australian novel.” She finds herself unprepared for the realities of learning the language and making friends as an expat. Grab on Amazon.
    • The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera– In the author’s most well known work, a woman is in love with an unfaithful man who is also with a woman who is with a faithful man. All of this takes place during the Soviet invasion. Grab on Amazon.
    • The Good Soldier Svejk by Jaroslav Hasek– In this work of satire that inspired the film Forrest Gump, a bumbling Czech soldier works for the Austrian army during the outbreak of World War I. Grab on Amazon.
    • The Castle by Franz Kafka– Kafka’s novel, published posthumously, The Castle follows Amerika and The Trial. In it a young surveyor arrives in a quiet village with an imposing castle that he seeks to gain entrance to. Grab on Amazon.
  • Waiting for the Dark, Waiting for the Light by Ivan Klima– In this New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a middle aged filmmaker is forced to work for the state run television station until the communist regime collapses. Grab on Amazon.

Movies to Watch Before Visiting Prague

    • Amadeus– Filmed throughout the Czech Republic, Amadeus is the story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as told by his rival that is now in an insane asylum. Grab on Amazon.
    • Closely Watched Trains– Based on the book, a young man works for a train company during the German occupation of Czechoslovakia when he begins an affair. Grab on Amazon.
    • Mission Impossible– In the original film, an American spy, played by Tom Cruise, must find the mole within his organization when everything goes awry during a mission in Prague. Grab on Amazon.
    • The Illusionist– Prague stands in for turn-of-the-century Vienna as a magician pursues a woman in high society. Grab on Amazon.
  • Everything is Illuminated– In another film that uses the Czech Republic as a stand in for another place, this time Ukraine, a young Jewish man goes looking for the woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis. Grab on Amazon.
Prague at Night
Beautiful Prague at Night

Top Things to Do in Prague

The majority of the top things to do in Prague relate to its history, which dates back to before 800 AD when the region was known as Bohemia. Today the city is full of heritage listed locations.

Prague Castle– This castle is one of the first landmarks you’ll notice upon arriving. It was founded in 880 and is now an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you can learn about the city’s early fortifications and watch the changing of the guards.

Charles Bridge– The historic bridge was built in 1357 and named for King Charles IV. It holds a number of statues on each side and is popular with tourists stopping for photos and for vendors and buskers.

Jewish Quarter– This section is one of the oldest Jewish Quarters in Europe, as it was settled in the 10th century. It was also the site of the first pogroms. You can learn more about the ghetto’s history at the Jewish Museum.

John Lennon Wall– A popular stop with Instagram-loving travelers, this wall was first painted in 1988 as a reaction to the communist regime. Over the years, lyrics from Beatles songs covered the wall and also portraits of John Lennon.

Astronomical Clock– Located in the historic Town Square, this clock was installed in 1410 and has figurines that move around every hour. This brings in a number of tourists just to see it.

Free walking tour– As with other major European cities, there are free walking tours of Prague run by Sandeman’s New Europe tours that will provide you with the history of the famous city. They also run paid tours to Kutna Hora and Terezin Concentration Camp as well as the castle and pub crawl tours.

Traditional Czech food.
Traditional Czech food.

Food and Drink in Prague

Czech food is hearty and reminiscent of other types of European food. You’ll find much of the same meat and potatoes dishes but with a Bohemian twist. To learn more about the food in Prague, check out the Eating Prague tour.

Chlebicky– These open faced sandwiches are the ideal lunch or snack on the go, topped with cold cut meats and cheeses.

Svickova– This hearty dish is made up of sirloin and dumplings or potatoes with a cream sauce.

Kolache– The yeast pastries are often filled with sweet or savory items and are best as snacks.

Pivo– You can’t come to the Czech Republic without enjoying pivo, or beer. This is home to the original “Budweiser,” named Budweiser Budvar and Pilsner Urquell. The locals drink more beer per capita than anywhere else in the world!

Czech Language and Additional Prague Travel Help

The Czech language can be a difficult one to pick up, especially due to the accents, but if you learn a few key words, mostly about food, you should be fine. Download a language podcast onto your iPod or check out this YouTube series that teaches language to travelers.



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If we’ve left anything out or you’d like to add to the conversation, please leave comments below!

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how to prep and pack for prague

And now for the giveaway!…

[ENDED] HPL’s Prague Weekend Giveaway

Win a Weekend in Prague via Her Packing List

This is so exciting! One lucky reader is going to get the makings of an awesome weekend in Prague, for 2! Big thanks to CzechTourism for helping us put this fun package together.

The prize includes 2 nights hotel + breakfast, 1 Prague city walking tour, and 1 Czech dinner. More about the prizes to follow.

The Prague Giveaway Prizes

2 Nights + Breakfast at The Emblem Hotel

The Emblem Hotel's living room

The Emblem Hotel in Prague is a 5-star accommodation located at the edge of the Old Town Square and close to many major attractions. And I’m not sure if you’ll even want to leave the hotel after looking at some of the pictures of how beautifully it was designed! Trust me, I’m jealous of the winner of this prize!

Prague City Walking Tour from Prague City Tourism

Prague

The winner will be introduced to the best parts of Prague in a walking tour, and who better to do that than Prague City Tourism themselves!

Czech Dinner from Cafe Savoy

Cafe Savoy

Cafe Savoy, part of the Ambiente restaurants group, is the perfect place to get a taste of what Prague has to offer. Perks of the restaurant include daily gourmet menus, a delectable on-site bakery, and awesome atmosphere thanks to the interior and a massive Neo-Renaissance ceiling dating back to 1893. It’s a grand throw-back to old Prague- have a look at their gallery for more!

Please note: Giveaway does not include transport to Prague.

How to Enter

To enter you simply need to go through the options in the rafflecopter widget below. Entry options include:

  • 5 POINTS: Join the HPL Mailing List. Or confirm you are already subscribed. New subscribers will need to check for follow-up confirmation email. By joining our list, you will be introduced to our best content, stories and favorite gear over the coming weeks.
  • 3 POINTS: Pin a specific image on Pinterest.
  • 2 POINTS: Tweet about the contest.
  • 1 POINT: Follow us on Pinterest.
  • BONUS 2 POINTS: This one is ONLY available for people who were subscribed to our mailing list BEFORE this contest launch. You were given a special message in an email newsletter sent out on September 14th that you need to insert into the empty field. Only entries with this exact message will be counted.

That’s all it takes! Choose one or all four (5 if you’re a previous mailing list member!). Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Fine Print

Prize: The prize will be awarded to one winner and is good for a couple (2 people traveling together). Use of the prize must occur before the end of 2015. Hotel booking is subject to availability, and does not have to coincide with a weekend. Prize is fully transferrable.

Duration: We will be accepting entries to our giveaway up until September 28, 2015 at 11:59 PM EST.

Winner: Will be drawn and notified by email within 48 hours of contest ending. Winner must respond to our notification email by 11:59PM (EST) on October 7th or else prize will be forfeited and awarded to new winner. Drawing will occur through rafflecopter widget.

Eligibility: Participation is open to HPL readers worldwide, 18 years or older. The method for which the entrant entered must still be live and active at time the winners are drawn (ie – winner must still be following on Pinterest if that is the method for which she entered/was selected).

Exclusions: The prize does not include airfare or transport to Prague. The only meals that are included are the hotel breakfasts and dinner at Cafe Savoy. All other food, drinks, expenditures will be at winner’s own cost.

Written by Caroline

Caroline Eubanks is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, but has also called Charleston, South Carolina and Sydney, Australia home. After college graduation and a series of useless part-time jobs, she went to Australia for a working holiday. In that time, she worked as a bartender, bungee jumped, scuba dived, pet kangaroos, held koalas and drank hundreds of cups of tea. You can find Caroline at Caroline in the City.

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Gear We Use

Organization

Packing Cubes – Organize your luggage with the lightweight, durable and compressible Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes.


Backpacks + Daypacks

Pacsafe – Since they come with extra theft-resisting features, Pacsafe bags make you a more confident traveler. We especially love this bag.

Sea to Summit – Of all the Sea to Summit products, our most recommended is the fits-in-your-palm, super packable Ultra-Sil Daypack.


Personal Care

Nalgene Toiletry Bottles – These leak-free toiletry bottles and tubs come in all sizes – even super tiny, helping minimalists pack it all without bulk.

Turkish Towels – They’re thinner than most travel towels, and they actually cover your body! We can’t get enough of Turkish towels for travel.


Clothing

Speakeasy Supply Co. – They make the awesome hidden pocket infinity scarves that are perfect for stashing secret cash, lip balms, and passports.

Anatomie – Anatomie travel pants come with luxury prices, but they offer many benefits for travelers. See our review of the famous Skyler pants.

Travel Resources

Booking Airfare

Dollar Flight Club – Get flight deal alerts for your preferred departure airport. There is both a free and premium version (recommended for more sweet deals). Members save on average $500 USD per flight!

Skyscanner – Skyscanner is our preferred site for searching flights. They offer unbiased search results and are free from hidden fees. You can also book your hotels and rental cars.


Accommodation

Airbnb – Airbnb is the best place to book out apartments around the world. Sign up using this link to get $37 USD off your first stay booking + $14 USD towards an experience booking!

Booking.com – Search for hotels, hostels, and apartments using this one resource. Use it for flights, car rentals, and airport taxis as well.

Hostelworld – For hostels, Hostelworld remains our number one source for booking stays. Choose from straight up hostels, budget hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Trusted Housesitters – Save money on travel accommodation by becoming a housesitter. Housesitters often have extra duties, like caring for pets and gardens.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Jenna says

    This post is such a great resource! Thanks for including my post of things to do in Prague! And I agree with your recommendation of Waiting for the Dark, Waiting for the Light under books to read before you go. I loved that book, and it brings Prague to life.

  2. Leah says

    This sounds like such a great trip! I’m currently studying abroad in Denmark and my boyfriend and I are going to Prague when he comes to visit me in November. This would definitely be nicer than a hostel! Either way, the list of things to do/see/eat will be really helpful! Thanks HPL =]

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