Category Archives: Czech Republic

What to do in the Czech Republic.

Municipal House in Prague

I stumbled across the Municipal House (Obecní dům in Czech) as I was walking around Prague. I detected several Art Nouveau elements in the exterior.

municipal house exterior

The wrought iron work and stained glass above the entrance is gorgeous. The ‘Homage to Prague’ mosaic sits at the base of the dome.

municipal house exterior close up

I wasn’t sure if I could enter the building, but I thought it was worth a try.

The Art Nouveau theme continued inside with a beautiful chandelier.

municipal hall art nouveau chandelier

It didn’t look as though it was possible to explore the Concert Hall on the upper floor, as I could see a security guard hovering at the top of the marble staircase.

municipal house stairs

The gift shop at the rear of the buidling sold a wide variety of attractive ceramics. There was also a toilet there.

municipal house shop

There were several tile murals as I descended the stairs to the lower floor.

municipal hall tile art

municipal hall tile art1

municipal hall tile art2

In the landing, there was a very unusual fountain with water cascading down the brightly coloured tiles. There were a couple of cafes/restaurants. It was too soon after breakfast for me to want to sit down for a drink, especially as I was trying to see as many attractions as possible with my Prague Card.

municipal house fountain

I’m really glad that I didn’t have a rigid intinerary and that I ventured into the Municipal House in Prague.

Photo Tour of the New Building of the National Museum Prague

The old building of the National Museum in Prague is undergoing renovation and not due to re-open until 2015.  However, the adjacent building, which originally opened in 1938 as the Prague Stock Exchange, now called the New Bulding of the National Museum, was open during my visit to the city in April 2014.

The Old National Museum was reflected onto the New Building, a great marriage of old and new.

national museum prague exterior

The Prague Stock Exchange closed in 1939, after the outbreak of WW2. The photo below depicts the trading floor of Prague Stock Exchange in 1938. This building served as the parliament fromn 1946-1992 and as a radio studio from 1995-2009.

national museum prague stock exchange 1938

I assume that the area in the photo below was fomerly part of the trading floor of the Prague Stock Exchange.

national museum prague

There’s a playroom just off the old trading floor.

national museum prague playroom

On the ground floor there was a ‘Money’ exhibition, exploring the phenomenon of money within wider contexts.

national museum prague commerce logos

There were a couple of screens showing comic strips on the money theme, which had captions in Czech and English.

national museum prague screen

There were information boards about two Brits. Adam Smith the Scottish economist and author of ‘Wealth of Nations’ and J K Rowling, author of the ‘Harry Potter’ series. I don’t know what Rowling would make of her surname having the ‘ova’ suffix.

national museum prague j k rowling information board

The vintage car was in good condition. but I didn’t know if it was road worthy.

national museum prague vintage car

I was curious whether the sliver tennis racquet would be heavy.

national museum prague silver tennis racquet

There was the recreation of a cimena.

national museum prague mine cinema

The tiara below, worn by the Czech opera singer Ema Destinnova, was beautiful.

national museum prague tiara

I loved the Art Nouveau style chandelier.

national museum prague art nouveau chandelier

I liked the sculpture of the family on the first floor.

naitonal museum prague family sculpture

It was a pity that it wasn’t possible to get into the garden courtyard.

national museum prague courtyard

There was an activity room based on business.

national museum prague activity room

I didn’t understand the Czsech comic strips.

national museum prague comic strips

These outfits were from the 1920s.

national museum prague 1920s outfits

I hope that you’ve enjoyed my photo tour of the New Building of the National Museum in Prague.

Entrance costs 110 CZK (around £3) per adult and 75 CZK (around £2) for seniors, students and kids aged 6-15, Kids under 6 are free. The admission fee to the museum was included in my Prague Card. The museum is usually open daily from 10.00 to 18.00, but check before visiting, as the museum may be closed when new exhibitions are being set up.

Review of Archibald City Hotel Prague

We stayed at the four star Archibald City Hotel Prague for two nights in April 2014.  I paid £255 (using an eBookers 15% discount code) for two rooms including breakfast; a double room for my husband and me, and a twin room for our sons. That worked out at around £64 per night per room.

I selected this hotel as it had good reviews, free internet connection and was close to Prague Railway Station, where we’d arrive on the intercity train from Budapest.

archibald city hotel exterior

Exterior of Archibald City Hotel Prague

It took us around 20 minutes to walk to the Archibald City Hotel from Prague Hlavni Nadrazi rail station. The receptionist who checked us in was charming.

archibald city hotel lobby

Lobby at Archibald City Hotel Prague

I’d emailed the hotel to ask for quiet rooms. I hoped that this request had been fulfilled, as rooms at the front of the hotel overlooked a fairly busy street.

In the event, our rooms on the 6th floor faced an interior courtyard, so were nice and quiet. Our double room was small. However, it was well equipped, even having a kettle, which is unusual for hotels outside the UK.

archibald city hotel room1

 Our double room at Archibald City Hotel Prague

The free WiFi had an excellent signal. What a relief, when all too often hotel WiFi is slow and unreliable. It was a proper double bed, which although hard, was comfortable.

We could have done with a bit more shampoo and shower gel in the bathroom, the four sachets were quite small and hard to open with wet hands.

archibald city hotel room

Room at Archibald City Hotel Prague

I didn’t think that the breakfast was up to four star standard. The fruit juice tasted like squash and there was a limited choice of fresh fruit. It was more like a canteen that a hotel restaurant.

archibald city hotel breakfast buffet

Breakfast buffet at Archibald City Hotel Prague

I arranged for a taxi transfer to Prague Airport at reception. It cost 690 CZK (around £21). We had around 400 CZK left in cash, but were able to pay the balance by credit card at reception. The taxi driver turned up bang on time in a Mercedes people carrier, which had lots of space for the four of us.

In summary, the Archibald City Hotel offers clean, comfortable acommodation in a central location with helpful, friendly staff and offers very good free WiFi. It’s ideal as a base if you’ll going to be out and about a lot and mainly need a decent place to sleep.

Click here for availability and price for the Archibald City Hotel Prague

Review of Archibald City Hotel PragueKeep It Real Travel Review – No Fluff

Review of Florentina Boat Hotel Restaurant Prague

I had the 220 CZK  (around £7) three course set menu lunch at the Florentina Boat Hotel Restaurant in Prague in April 2014.

florentina boat hotel

Florentina Boat Hotel Prague

There was the option to eat up on the boat deck,, but as it was warm and windy I opted for the restaurant. There was free WiFi in the restaurant and the staff were friendly.

florentina boat hotel restaurant

Restaurant in the Florentina Boat Hotel Restaurant Prague

florentina boat hotel view

View over River Vltava from Florentina Boat Hotel Restaurant Prague

The Leek and Egg soup, served with two types of bread, was good.

florentina boat hotel leek soup

Leek and Egg Soup

There was a choice of two main courses, I went for the Seafood Pasta, as I thought I’d make a mess trying to eat the Pork Ribs. The pasta was ‘al dente‘ with a mix of mussels, squid and prawns.

florentina boat hotel seafood pasta

Seafood Pasta

The Sugar Cake dessert was a bit sweet for my taste.

florentina boat hotel dessert

Sugar Cake

I thought that the £7 set menu was terrific value for money, offering good food with a great view.

Review of Florentina Boat Hotel Restaurant PragueKeep It Real Travel Review – No Fluff

Views from the Old Town Hall Tower in Prague

One of the highlights of my visit to Prague was going up the Old Town Clock Tower, which dates from the 14th century. The entrance fee is 110 CZK (around £3) for adults and 70CZK (around £2) for students, seniors and kids. Entry is free with a Prague Card.

old town hall tower2

The famous Astronomical Clock is at the base of the Tower. There are three parts to the clock, the astronomical dial showing the position of the sun and moon in the sky, the calendar dial showing the month and the hourly performance of the Apostoles figures at the top of the clock.

astronomical clock

There’s a lift up to the Tower, but you can also walk up. Walking up is better as there are lots of information boards en-route.

old town hall tower1

There are lots of cafes, bars, restuarants and fast food stalls in the Old Town Square.

old town hall tower

You may have to wait a while to get out onto the walkway around the top of the Tower. Although the walkway is one-way, some people cause havoc by going in the opposite direction. You should leave plenty of time for your visit, so you can wait it out to get into the pole positions for taking photos. It is worthwhile to be patient to get the best photos.

view from old town hall tower

I was fortunate to have such a clear, sunny day when I visited the Old Town Hall Tower.

view from old town hall tower1

The ‘Prague Undergroud Tour’ takes you under the Old Town Hall to explore the medieval catacombs and chambers. Although the tour was included in my Prague Card, the next tour in English didn’t leave for another hour, so I decided not to wait.

Check the opening hours of the Old Town Hall Tower when you’re in Prague. It was open until 10pm when I was in the city in April. The Tower opened at 9am, except on Mondays when opening time was 11am. An early visit might avoid the crowds. I think that you could get some amazing views if you’re up the Tower at sunset.

Prague offers visitors good value for money. You can buy a beer for around £1 in bars away from the main tourist drags. An evening meal in a mid-range restaurant costs around £15 per person. Staying in an apartment in Prague can be a great option, especially if there are a few people travelling together. I saw two bedroom apartments in a central location costing from 60 Euro a night in low season. I was surprised how cheap it was to buy groceries from a small convenience store, so self catering would keep your costs down.

Getting the Most from Your Prague Card

We were given complimentary Prague Cards when we visited the Czech capital. The Prague card offers free entry to 60 attractions, a free city walking tour, bus tour and river cruise, plus discounted entry to over 30 attractions.

Prices for the Prague Card from 1 April 2014 are:

  • 2 Day Card – 48 Euro per adult, 30 Euro per child /student
  • 3 Day Card – 58 Euro per adult, 42 Euro per child/student
  • 4 Day Card – 67 euro per adult. 48 Euro per child/student

Child prices apply for ages 6 – 16, under 6s are free.

There’s a small discount if you buy your Prague Card online. You can arrange to pick up your Prague Card at the airport, which means you can get free travel on the Airport Express bus service into the city centre.

prague card

We used our Prague Cards at several locations.

I visited the National Gallery (free entry wht card) in the Old Town Square.

naitonal gallery prague japanese ceramics

Japanese ceramics at the National Gallery Prague

The views from the Old Town Hall Tower (free entry with card) are fantastic.

view from old town hall tower

View from Old Town Hall Tower

I enjoyed the National Museum (free entry with card). As well as exhibits about Hungarian history, there were displays on the topic of finance. (Wearing my other blogging hat, as I’m also editor of the Help Me To Save UK personal finance blog.)

national museum prague traditional costume

Traditional costume at the National Museum Prague

I had a quick look around the Decorative Arts Museum (free entry with card). I was irked that you had to pay an additional fee if you wished to take photos.

museum of decorative arts prague

Museum of Decorative Arts Prague

I tried to get into the Jewish Museum, which it says is free of charge on the Prague Card site, but they wanted to charge me 225 CZ.K (around £7). I can’t speak Czech and there was no-one around who could speak English, so I gave up. I was able to get a photo of the Jewish Cemetery from the Decorative Arts Museum.

jewish cemetery prague

Jewish Cemetery Prague

Although I walked past the Powder Tower, I didn’t realise you could visit it (free entry with card).

powder tower prague

The Powder Tower in Prague

This illustrates that you need to be super-organised to get the most out of your Prague Card, planning a route and checking venue opening days and hours in advance. I found the writing in the Prague Card guidebook too small to read easily, even wearing my glasses.

I’d planned to go on the free River Cruise, but the departure times weren’t convenient for the time that I was in that area.

Ours sons visited St Vitus Cathedral and Golden Lane at Prague Castle (free entry), the Franz Kafka Museum (20% discount on the full price when using the card) and went on a Prague Beer Tour (discounted price when using the card).

SAMSUNG

Peeing sculptures outside Franz Kafka Museum

There’s a handy calculator on the Prague Card website, which allows you to work out if buying the card will be cost effective for your planned itinerary.

 

10 Places to Visit in the Czech Republic

During my time living in Slovakia and Germany, the Czech Republic was on my doorstep and I ventured over for weekend trips quite regularly. Prague, of course, is a huge drawcard, but it’s often quite full of tourists and that’s one reason why heading to places beyond the Czech capital can be a whole lot of fun.

There are numerous great destinations but I’ve put together a list of ten travel tips for things to do in the Czech Republic outside Prague to give you some ideas. Of if you prefer to be based in the capital, you could always book a taxi in Prague for a day trip.

Brno

Brno is the Czech Republic’s second city and with a population of around half a million it’s a friendly size. It’s also a university town so it’s full of great bars and places to eat – have a look at Andy’s post on Brno as he was quite smitten! One of my dearest friends lives in Brno so I love the place too, and also like that it has a few quirks – like the stuffed crocodile hanging in the Brno Town Hall!

things to do Czech Republic

View in Brno by Amanda Kendle

Click here to check availability on Brno hotels

Teplice Rocks

In the north of the country on the Polish border, the Adrspach-Teplice Rocks is an amazing landscape includes gorges and pinnacles and has plenty of good hiking routes. It’s also popular with rock climbers (and apparently some rock jumpers too).

things to do Czech Republic

Teplice Rocks by burge5k

Karlovy Vary

One of the most popular tourist destinations in the Czech Republic ouside of Prague is the spa town of Karlovy Vary. It’s also well known for its annual film festival, and it’s even home to Becherovka, a very strong-tasting herbal liquer (very strong – but I did kind of like it!).

things to do Czech Republic

Karlovy Vary by Jim Linwood

Click here to check availability on Karlovy Vary hotels

Karlstejn Castle

Found in central Bohemia just a short drive south-west of Prague, Karlstejn Castle is the most visited castle in the country. It dates back to the 14th century and is a huge Gothic castle, looking straight out of the pages of a fairy tale.

things to do Czech Republic

Karlstejn Castle by Triviality

Moravian Karst

My very first experience in the Czech Republic was visiting some of the Moravian Karst caves. Apparently there are some 400 caves in the area but I only made it through two, the Punkva Cave and the Katerinska Cave, and I found both spectacular.

things to do Czech Republic

Moravian Karst Cave by Amanda Kendle

Kutna Hora

For something a little different, a day trip out of Prague to Kutna Hora was recommended by Suchi. It’s particularly known for Kostnice Sedlice – the “bone church” or ossuary, which basically means many of the bones of those buried there have been used for decorative purposes!

Kostnice Sedlice by Rauch

Plzen/Pilsen

Beer lovers in particular will be intrigued by the idea of visiting Plzen or Pilsen, the home of famous Czech beer Pilsner Urquell. You can check out the beer being made with a brewery tour, and the rest of the town of Plzen is attractive too (apart from, perhaps, the massive Skoda plant!).

things to do Czech Republic

Czech beer by bad9brad

Click here to check availability on Pilsen hotels

Cesky Krumlov

One of my personal highlights of the Czech Republic was the scenic town of Cesky Krumlov south of Prague. It’s on the UNESCO heritage list and has such a picturesque setting, with the Vltava River flowing through and meticulously renovated buildings. They have quite a cultural and arty scene so do look up what’s happening in town when you’re there.

things to do Czech Republic

Cesky Krumlov by Amanda Kendle

Click here to check availability on Cesky Krumlov hotels

Sumava

Sumava or the Bohemian Forest is a region found on the Austrian border, and is a national park area which includes the Boubin Virgin Forest. It’s one of the best places in the Czech Republic for outdoor and nature lovers.

Forest in Sumava by donald judge

Terezin

For those intrigued by war history, the town of Terezin makes for an interesting destination. A fortresses built here by the Habsburgs became a political prison in the first World War and then a Nazi concentration camp in the second World War.

Terezin fortress by Tjflex2

 

Is Plzen (Pilsen) Worth Visiting?

Plzen is the Czech town that’s home to Pilser Urquell, a (in)famous Czech beer.  If you’ve had a Czech beer, you’ve probably had this one.

But is it worth trekking your way all the way to Plzen (which isn’t exactly on the beaten path – it’s a bus ride, which can be tricky if you don’t speak Czech, or a train ride, which takes awhile.)  The short answer?  Yes, definitely worth it.

Beer

So you’re probably here to enjoy a cold draft of beer and see those two iconic arches that up the stamp that’s on any bottle of Pilsner.  I have to say, though, that the site itself is rather unremarkable.  The arches are nice, but it’s all just kind of industrial.

Having said that, if this is your favourite beer, I’d be remiss not to tell you to go and have a look.  It’s an inexpensive tour, and they do highlight some other brands of beer they sell in the Czech Republic you might not be familiar with.

Oh, and the souvenir shop has some nice t-shirts with funny Czech sayings on them.  Ask a friend to translate!

Other Stuff in Plzen

At first glance, if you only see the bus station and brewery, you’ll think this is nothing but an industrial layover, because behind the bus station is the enormous Skoda plant, a popular Czech car.  But I’d encourage you to linger and walk around the history city centre, which has other highlights, including:

  • The 3rd largest synagogue in the world (second only to Budapest and Jerusalem)
  • The tallest church spire in the country, which you can climb for a bird’s eye view.

The city also has several very tasty restaurants, where you can have another beer if you so wish.  Plzen isn’t a place to spend a week, but for a day or two, it is a very lovely trip indeed.

Photo by bad9brad

St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague

Some things are worth waiting for. Prague waited about 600 years for St. Vitus Cathedral to be completed.  It was one of those things worth waiting for. The Cathedral is the dominant building in the area surrounding Prague castle and is not only the final resting places of several saints, but also the seat of the Archbishop of Prague.

It shows. The tombs are amazing gilded monuments. The stained glass gives off bursts of color when the sun shines through. It is an impressive display of riches. Along with the sheer beauty, the cathedral gives an impressive historical account of Prague. There is a wealth of knowledge to be had accompanying the different chapels.

Considering the extent of my knowledge of the Czech lands was limited to a medieval history class seven years ago, the information given was a great introduction to the city and the rich history of Bohemia.

Plenty of people argue that Prague is one of the best cathedrals to visit in Europe. I don’t know if I would argue with them too much. Especially after seeing St. Vitus Cathedral.

A couple of tips: one, don’t pay for food or drinks in the area.  While it is a beautiful part of the city, it is also ridiculously expensive compared to other parts of Prague. And two, make sure you go back to the cathedral after nightfall. After fighting the throngs of people during the day, you will have the area to yourself at night. The building is lit up and the Gothic architecture is intimidating. Story-like. Beautiful.

Our Best of Prague Tips

Read The best of Prague: Travel tips & places to stay in Prague to help plan your trip to the city.

Click here to find the lowest prices on Prague hotels

The best of Prague travel tips

The best of Prague: Travel tips & places to stay in Prague

To help you have a great trip to Prague here is our “Best of Prague” – travel tips about the best things to do in Prague and the best places to stay in Prague.  I’ve collated the Prague travel tips of the Europe a la Carte blogging team and done some research into the best places to stay in Prague which receive good feedback from guests. Prague is featured our the best cities in Europe to visit post.

prague

Prague by Panoramas

Best Things to do in Prague

Amanda enjoyed Pedalling Under Charles Bridge along the River Vltava, giving the city a different perspective.

Best Prague travel tips and places to stay in Prague

Charles Bridge by Jim Linwood

Neha outlines a Kafka Trail following in the footsteps of the Czech writer by going to his favourite cafe, his childhood home, his tomb and the Kafka Museum.

Best Prague travel tips and places to stay in Prague

Kafka House, Prague by luisvilla

Suchi reckons that getting up at dawn around 4am will give you some great photos of sunrise over the city and you won’t be jostling with other tourists to get that perfect shot.

Prague at dawn by suchi

The John Lennon Wall is a tribute to the former Beatle who died in 1980.  Neha describes how what started as a protest against the Communist regime is now adorned with messages of peace.

Best Prague travel tips and places to stay in Prague

John Lennon Wall, Prague by jon

Suchi recommends a walk up Petrin Hill as a great spot for views over Prague and to escape for all the tourists in the city centre.  The Petrin Cafe half way up the hill is very good.

View over Prague from Petrin Hill by donaldjudge

Neha describes the Prague Museum of Communism as a fascinating insight into the Communist era.

best prague travel tips and places to stay in Prague

Prague Museum of Communism by Mark Surman

Marcus advises that the Jewish Museum of Prague is a collection if six sites and you can only take photos at the Old Jewish Cemetery.

Best Prague travel tips and places to stay in Prague

Old Jewish Cemetery Prague by kyle simourd

Best Prague Day Trips

If you have any time to venture beyond the city here are our travel tips for the best Prague day trips.

Suchi recommends some chilling beauty in the bone church at  Kutna Hora.

Best Prague travel tips and places to stay in Prague

Bone chandelier by lyng833

Cesky Krumlov is christened a super scenic Czech town by Amanda.

Prague travel tips and the best places to stay in Prague

Cesky Krumlov by Amanda Kendle

Best Places to Stay in Prague

These 11 places to stay in Prague receive consistently high ratings from guests.  I’ve added links to  a hotel price comparison site from each property, so you can find the best prices at each place to stay in Prague.

Budget Hotels in Prague

The 2 star Pension Jana Domov Mladeze is close to the Exhibition Centre, its cheapest rooms have shared bathrooms.

Park Hotel Praha is located close The National Gallery of Modern Art and Stromovka Park.

Best Prague travel tips and places to stay in Prague

Stromovka Park by vigour

The City Partner Hotel Victoria is situated near the Vitkov Memorial.

Mid-range hotels in Prague

The Czech Inn Hostel is a bit of a misnomer as all it’s all private rooms with ensuite bathrooms. It’s located on a main tram route into the city centre.

Best places to stay in Prague

Czech Inn Hostel by kalleboo

The Seifert Hotel Prague is a mile from Wenceslas Square.

The Archibald City Hotel Prague is a modern architect designed hotel.

Luxury Hotels in Prague

The five star Aria Hotel is next to Charles Bridge.

The Alchymist Grand Hotel & Spa is a five star property close to Charles Bridge. The centrally located five star boutique

The Golden Well Hotel Prague has a garden and roof terrace.

best places to stay in Prague

View from roof terrace at Golden Well Hotel Prague by monroet21

Apartments in Prague

Arcadia Residence offers studios and 1 & 2 bedrooms apartments with kitchen areas, close to the Old Town.

Tower 2 Apartment Prague offers studio apartments a 15 minute walk from the city centre with free internet connection.

Click here to find the lowest prices on Prague hotels