My time in Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic, was very short—just about 24 hours total—but long enough to make a lasting impression on me. The city is immense, with about 2 million residents. It is more than 1,100 years old, with a complex and significant history; the city often influenced political and religious movements throughout Central Europe. The city also is rich in arts and culture, much of which you can admire by just walking the streets and marveling at the varied architectural and public exhibits.
English is not always a guarantee in Prague, though many hotels in Prague are definitely improving in this area. The language barrier didn’t stop me at all. The more I explored this great city, the more the cultural nuance intrigued me and inspired me to dig deeper. Here are some of the sights and bites I enjoyed in the 24 hours I was there.
Prague in Spring
If you’re looking for stellar service, The Art Nouveuv Palace Hotel is one of the places that comes to mind. Centrally located between Old Town and New Town, visitors are within walking distance to many shops, eateries, and museums in the area. This former-palace-turned-publishing-house-turned-luxury-hotel was a favorite stop for performer Josephine Baker and other celebrities, and remains one of the most treasured historical landmarks in the city.
See and do
Choosing what to see and do in 24 hours is tricky. There are so many sights and experiences that I absolutely loved. Like watching the apostles dance with death every hour on the hour on the Astronomical Clock in Old Town square. Or admiring the morning sun gleaming through the colored glass windows of St. Vitus Cathedral, located on the grounds of Prague Castle. Or taking a sunset stroll across Charles Bridge while the ships sail on the Vltava River.
The Jewish Museum was the one place that impacted me the most. During the Holocaust, this synagogue was a place where the Nazis stored many of the items of Jewish families they victimized as plans for a museum of extinct races. Now the building serves as a memorial, with a cemetery that brings to the forefront the reality of Prague’s past. As a visitor who has read so much about this time in history, it was very different to walk along the streets where so much of it happened.The experience stuck with me long after I left.
Viewfinder Tip: The people of Prague may come off as somewhat rough around the edges at first, but give it a chance and you might get to experience the warmth they have to offer their guests.
Dinner in a 12th Century grotto is not something I suspect most people have experienced in their lifetimes. For this, at least in Prague, you must go to Peklo Restaurant, where dinner is served in a dimly lit cave that formerly was used as a wine cellar. Water from a natural spring drips through the walls and collects in a small pond in the cellar. The pond is inhabited by trout, which are available to order for dinner should you wish. Reservations are a must.
The 14th Century Strahov Monastic Brewery is a must stop. With seating for 350, this is not the place for an intimate experience, but, depending on the weather, the seats out on the courtyard make for great people watching. Once you’ve had your fill of delicious beer, you can walk it off with a stroll on cobblestone streets that lead to an overpass with a spectacular view of the city and Prague Castle.
I am pretty sure that after one day in Prague, you will be left with a desire to come back for more. I explored the city as part of a tour group with Insight Vacations, and I’d do it again. Next time, however, I’m staying longer. For sure.
What kind of activities would you cram into a 24-hour vacation?