by Rachel McLaughlin
If you’re thinking about taking a city break this summer, consider Prague. Think real-life Disneyland, minus the kids. The Czech Republic capital city’s spire-sprinkled skyline features castles, cathedrals and impressive bridges, and every corner has a story to tell.
Things to do:
A free walking tour through the entire city will teach you all you need to know about the royalty and rebels of the country. Admire the beautiful blend of architectural styles, from Art Nouveau to Baroque.
In a city where beer is cheaper than water, it’s easy to chill out with a beverage at any time of the day. Have some wine in the grand Prague Castle vineyards or sip beers in boat hotels along the Vltava River.
Prague’s Old Town Square is the perfect place to relax beneath the intricate astronomical clock and watch the world go by. The open space is a feast of smells and sounds. Pigs roast on spits, potatoes are stirred in huge pots over open fires and street vendors beat and weld medieval trinkets.
At night, Old Town Square pulses out a fairytale feel as the gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn lights up and looms over night-time revellers and street entertainers.
Scaling the heights is a must in Prague. The Old Town Hall observation floor provides impressive views of the castle district from right above the city’s beating heart. The entire city is also viewable from a miniature Eiffel Tower on Petrin Hill. The Petrin Tower is set among landscaped gardens which make for a perfect quiet retreat from the hustle of the city streets.
Make sure to sample the traditional Czech cuisine of Svíčková – beef swimming in cream sauce topped in cranberry, with dumplings on the side. To say that Svíčková is filling would be a major understatement. Wander away from the major tourist areas and you will be rewarded with interesting restaurants like ‘Nostress’, a chic Asian-French fusion restaurant, or the hip rooftop terrace eatery ‘Cowboys and Cocktails’.
Prague is great for the culture vulture who can visit the many opera houses and art exhibitions.
A more interactive culture experience can be had by taking a Ghost Tour through Old Town. A cape-clad storyteller leads the way through lamp-lit alleys while he tells stories of the gruesome and alchemic happenings that took place on those very streets. A more relaxed exploration of the city can be taken through one of the many river cruises.
Flights to Prague take approx 2 and a half hours. Aer Lingus fly direct from Dublin. When choosing a hotel, consider somewhere outside the city centre as a cost-saving option. The Prague Metro is very regular, and will bring you into the heart of the city in no time.