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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.
- 7 Free Things to Do in Prague, Pack Me To
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.
- Insider’s Prague: Tourist Traps to Avoid, What to Do, Where to Eat, Uncornered Market
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.
- How to get tickets for the Prague metro, tram, bus, Czech Transport
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.
- Places to Visit Outside of Prague, Seattle’s Travels
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.
- What to Pack for a River Cruise in Europe, A Dangerous Business
- Eurotrip Packing Essentials, The Everygirl
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.
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.
- Off the Beaten Path in Prague: 5 Suggestions, This Is My Happiness
- Offbeat Prague: Top 10 Things to Do, Bruised Passports
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!
- Vegetarian and Vegan restaurant options in Prague, Happy Cow
- Get Cultured: Prague- A Local’s Guide to the City’s Best Bars, Restaurants and Galleries, The Culture-ist
- 10 Food Everyone Should Eat in Prague, Business Insider
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.
If we’ve left anything out or you’d like to add to the conversation, please leave comments below!
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And now for the giveaway!…
[ENDED] HPL’s Prague Weekend Giveaway
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 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
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, 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!
- Get more Prague foodie inspiration by following the Ambiente group on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
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!
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.
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