I was sixteen years old when I first went to Prague , Czech Republic. I had traveled to Europe before but it was my first time in Eastern Europe and it certainly lived up what I expected – a fairytale location of castles, bridges, towers, and more.
My first visit to Prague was a quick tour, visiting the main sites, and a bit of free time to explore and all of this was with Trafalgar Tours. Trafalgar is a great way to travel since they show you the highlights along with a personal touch of a knowledgeable tour guide.
On that tour, years ago, we stayed in a hotel on the outskirts of the old town and thus had the opportunity to take the metro and since I was on this tour with my grandparents who are veteran travelers and eager to “go local” the metro was a must. I think we might have been the only ones of the tour group to take the metro. But that first night involved seeing the old town square at night and walking across Charles Bridge . I don’t think I stopped smiling the whole time.
Main Sights in Prague:
– Charles Bridge is a must see. The bridge was constructed in 1357 and completed in the start of the 15th century. The bridge crosses the Vltava river and served as the only connection between the Old Town and Prague Castle until the mid 19th century. There are 30 statues along the bridge of patron saints and saints (the originals can be seen in the National Museum ).
– The following day we toured the Old Town Square and watched the famous show of the Astronomical Clock on the hour every hour, as the figures of the apostles turn and move through the windows. The clock was built in 1410 and draws huge crowds every hour, so make sure to get there at least ten or fifteen minutes before the hour to get a good spot and hold your ground!
– We also visited shops full of bohemian crystal and purchased necklaces and bracelets.
– And then of course we visited Prague Castle . The castle occupies a large area and takes a whole day to see. One of the best ways to approach the castle is by crossing the Charles Bridge and making your way up to the castle, it give you the perspective of the grandness and fortification of the castle. The main attractions include St Vitus Cathedral (to be covered more later, in another post). The Church and monastery of St George has an interesting Basilica and the National Gallery is located in the monastery and has a wonderful collection of Bohemian art.
Visiting different sections of the castle provides a view of dungeons, large halls, and countless views of the city below. And of course there is the Golden Lane , a charming street with brightly colored houses that now hold shops but used to be were many goldsmith’s resided; the Golden Lane is like a scene from a Hans Christian Andersen story. And on the far side of the castle there is the St. Wenceslas Vineyard which you can walk through and it is also a great spot for panoramic photos of the city.
Those are the highlights.
Coming later will be other must see sites, at least on my list!