Prague, as the say about Rome, was not built in a day. And hence, can’t be seen in a day. Or even 3 days. Woefully, we had scheduled 3 days for the city, only to realise, upon reaching Staromestske Namesti, the old square, that it’d be best to enrol in a history class for at least six months to unravel Prague the way it should be! The city has layers and layers of history attached to it. One of those rare cities in Europe that wasn’t touched by the World War II bombs, its buildings, sculptures, streets, bridges, are intact to this day and tell the tales of many generations gone by.
With the Vltava river flowing through the middle of Prague, it is easy, so to say, to make your sight-seeing plans. The best way to crack this is, do one bank one day and go for the other bank the next day. Each bank tour takes about 4-5 hours, and can be somewhat overwhelming. Which is why, it is best to do the two banks on two separate days.
Here’s what we put together that we had given to Prague:
Old City Tour: This is the right bank. And is dominated by the Staromestske Namesti, the Old City Square. Our hotel manager had advised us to walk up to the Square from our hotel since we were only a few blocks away. What he did not prepare us was the sight that would greet us upon reaching the Square. A massive cobbled square, surrounded by churches, magnificent buildings on all sides, an overbearing memorial almost in the middle of the square, open restaurants teaming with people, yet more people on the streets clicking pictures, eating ice-cream donuts, gazing around, we only gaped in wonder. Thankfully, we had signed up for the a tour, and spent the next 4-5 hours walking through the cobbled streets, gazing, in anticipation, at the famed astronomical tower, learning about the history of important buildings and churches, the Jewish settlement. We followed our guide like school children, looking up at church spires and building domes, memorising what she said about Prague’s heroes, politics, role in affairs around the region.
Charles Bridge: Equally splendid is the left bank that houses the magnificent Prague Castle, St Vitius Church atop the hill across Charles Bridge. Mind you, Charles Bridge too, can take you a good while lined as it is with breath-taking sculptures and views of both banks. You can almost spend an afternoon loitering on the bridge listening to music, checking out the wares of the hawkers, looking at the impressive sketches, paintings of many artists.
Castle Tour: If you thought that Staromestske Namesti was overwhelming, get ready to be overwhelmed even more when at the Castle Tour. We will advice you to sign up with a tour guide, since the castle premises is thick with history and a potpourri of architectural styles, none of which you’d want to miss out on while on a tour. Touted to be the most ancient castle in the world, and certainly one of the biggest, you will see here impressive palaces, majestic churches, halls, towers and a beautiful garden too. The famous St Vitus Cathedral, whose spires you can see from down below in the city, is also in the castle grounds.
Underground Tour: As if what lies above the ground was not good enough, the city has interesting tales of its bunkers under the ground. Dating back to centuries when the houses built were much lower and had to be elevated to escape flooding by the Vltava river and then of course a few tales from the World War II era, we signed up with a guide who took us ‘underground’ at various parts of the old city. Strongly recommend to you too should you be a history buff like us…
(Want to plan a holiday in Czech Republic? We help you with the itinerary, sightseeing suggestions, places to stay, where and what to eat. Read our post — All about a Czech Holiday)