The Golden City – Prague, Czech Republic

Travel Recommendations: Prague, Czech Republic

Length of Stay

I suggest you allow yourself four full days to explore the local area and take a day trip to a nearby country such as Slovakia. Don’t forget your passports!

Transportation

Prague has an excellent subway and train system; it is definitely the best way to travel. Uber is also available and we used it on two occasions; first, to reach Lokál Dlouhááá on our last night (to test it out) and secondly, to the airport.

Lodging

Rent a flat since it’s so easy to get around and many people speak English.

Clothing

Pack warm clothes if you’re traveling in the winter.

Local Cuisine

Goulash—be sure to try the goulash!

Tipping Protocol

While ten percent (10%) is the standard amount when tipping, adding the tip is slightly different. For example, if a waiter brings your bill and it’s 100 Kč and you use a credit card, you’ll want to tell him or her to run the card for 110 Kč. If you are paying cash, either give the exact amount plus the tip or if you have 200 Kč, ask for 90 Kč for your change.

Lessons Learned

Make certain the heat is working if you’re traveling in the winter! Additionally, when you check into your rental, make sure the hot water is turned on. We arrived at our flat rather late and discovered the hot water was not turned on which also impacted the heat.

I Love Trains

Traveling through Europe by train is amazing! We traveled by train from Vienna to Prague for several hours and it was a smooth and enjoyable trip. Another advantage is that you can see the countryside. After we arrived in Praguem, it was a beautiful day and we decided to walk to our AirBnB flat from the train station. This was a big mistake because it was much further than it appeared on Google Maps, with hills and sidewalks made of small, square stones to navigate. We arrived in about 20 minutes, which wasn’t too bad, but I would take public transit or a taxi if I could do it over again.

Food and Beer

First, we went out to get some lunch. I order gnocchi with a sheep cheese, bacon, and chives and it was so delicious! Eli ordered something with duck.

Sheep cheese gnocchi
Duck and dumplings

When I returned home, I attempted to recreate the gnocchi with some success. I used goat cheese and it turned out well.

We decided to check out Beer Geek, which has a lot of delicious beers and that I highly recommend. We were taking a tour to Kutna Hora the next day and decided to find the meeting location in the old town square. It’s a good thing we did because we got very lost. While down in the square, we checked out Pivovar U Supa and sat at the bar. It was the best seat in the house because the bartender only had one job and that was to pour beer! Seriously, he just poured beer after beer after beer non-stop.

 

The place with the never ending beer… Pivovar U Supa

Silver Gem of Czech – Kutna Hora

The next day, we set out for Kutna Hora. Named after a silver mine was discovered, it was once the richest city in the Czech Republic and also home of the Sedlec Ossuary, aka the Bone Church. The church ran out of space to bury people in the cemetery, so its members decorated the interior with the bones of people who wished to be buried there. You may be wondering why so many people wished to be buried there. Well, one of the priests traveled to the Holy Land and brought back dirt to the church and it was believed that if you were buried in the Holy Land you would have a direct line to heaven. The thought was that if you were already buried there, the church could dig up the bones and you would still have a direct line to heaven. The bones were then piled in the basement of the church until a family invested in the church and hired an artist to decorate. It’s quite interesting.

Archaeologists studying the surrounding area of the church.
In 1278, the abbot of the church traveled to Jerusalem and brought back with him a handful of holy earth. The abbot then sprinkled the holy earth around the cemetery. This photograph is the crest of the family that helped to finance the art project. The raven is plucking out the eye of a Turk, which represents the family’s victory over the invading Turks.
Once people learned the cemetery had holy land, everyone wanted to be buried there, so the church sold burial plots!
With limited space in the cemetery, they eventually ran out of room.
The church needed to make room for new clients, so an artist was hired to decorate the church with the bones of 40,000 people.
St. Barbara’s Church, Kutná Hora.
A church dedicated to the miners
Our guide told us this giant wooden [original] structure was LOST (misplaced). How do you lose something this large?
A painting from the 1300s…Lesson learned—do not steal the silver or you will get stuck with the job of holding silver while it’s pounded out to make coins.
Looking out to Kutna Hora, Římskokatolická Farnost

There are also some beautiful churches to tour around the area. Be sure to keep up with your tour guide as the last train leaves around 4 p.m. We got back to the Prague city center and decided to check out one of the local favorites Lokál Dlouhááá for some beer. This place was awesome! They give you a page with beers listed on it and the bartender just checks off the beer you order. So fun.

A Little Bit of History

We enjoyed our Kutna Hora tour so much that we decided to join a walking tour the next day through the same tour company. We LOVE these free walking tours (they are free, but make sure you tip your guide) and are a great way to learn about the local history. You also have someone to help you take photos—an added bonus.

Astronomical Clock

We learned about the astronomical clock and the person who designed it. The clock was so popular that the king worried the designer would go to Vienna and create a bigger and better one. So, the king ordered the designer’s tongue cut our and his eyes gouged so he would be unable to tell or show anyone else how to make the clock. The designer made his way up the clock and threw himself into the gears, killing himself and breaking the clock. It was not fixed for over 100 years. The clock is quite beautiful and complex—it tells time, the current astrology sign, the moon phase, where the sun is in the sky, pictures of the farming phase (e.g., tilling, planting, harvesting), and the name of the day.

Created in 1490, the clock shows the time, representing the position of the sun and moon in the sky, the moon phase, and the various astronomical details.

Jan Hus

We also learned about Jan Hus who spoke out against the Catholic church about 100 years before Martin Luther! We learned much more while on this tour, which I highly recommend. We used Discover Prague for our tours.

Jan Hus – 100 years before Martin Luther but with the same goal
Jan Hus – Burned at the stake by the Catholics

Prague Castle

We decided to check out the Prague Castle while visiting on our own. Having survived World War II, it has the most diverse buildings and an impressive view of the old town square. Be sure to walk across the Charles Bridge after you visit the castle.

I am not sure why people rub this statue’s penis but I am sure it’s for good luck! Get your luck at the Prague Castle.

In Good Spirits

While visiting Prague, be sure to indulge in some absinthe! This spirit garnered a bad reputation when it started to become more popular than wine. Rumors swirled that is was a hallucinogenic. We enjoyed the drink in the traditional French way, the Czech way, and in a mixed drink. I personally liked the French way.

Check out Absintherie
The traditional Czech way to drink absinthe. It burned so good on the way down.
Trying absinthe for the first time. The traditional French way to drink absinthe.

Czech-ing Things Off the List

During our last full day, we decided to check off our list and visit a few more sites, including the Žižkov Television Tower, Old Town City Hall, Dancing House, Museum of Communism, and U Flecků (the oldest bar in Prague). We ended our last day at Lokál Dlouhááá where I ordered beef tartare (raw ground beef) served with fried bread and a raw garlic clove. I had no idea it was raw, let alone how to eat it, so I began to awkwardly look around to try and see if anyone else had the same dish. Well, you take the garlic clove and scrape it on the toast, and then you add the beef and enjoy. It was actually pretty good, although I must say I was surprised to find it was raw.

Žižkov Television Tower, can you see the baby figures on the side? Added in 2000 but only for a short period of time. The people loved them so much, they were added back to the tower.
Beef tartar with deep fried bread and a side of raw garlic. You rub the garlic on the bread. Pretty good!
Near the Museum of Communism, this is in remembrance of the Velvet Revolution.
The towers of the church are different sizes… Taken from Old Town City Hall, Prague.

We Came, We Saw, We Selfied

From Prague Castle

Comments

  1. Christie says:

    This post had something for everyone. What I love is how accessible you make unfamiliar places, addressing not only the wonderful sights and experiences, but sharing tips and lessons learned about the things that didn’t go to plan. Reading about your adventures makes me want to plan one myself. Thanks for sharing Rohlfs!

    1. Kristi Rohlf says:

      Thank you Christie! I hope you get the chance to travel to Prague, it was beautiful.

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