when i went: april 2016

This post is part of a series that looks back at my travel journals from years past. These journals, as some of the pictures will show, documented my travels in a visual and stream of conscious way. Therefore, the posts in these series aren’t quite as robust as my current blog posts—but will hopefully give you some ideas for what to do in the places I visited nonetheless! 

If you Google “must-see” cities in Europe, chances are Prague, Czech Republic is pretty high on the list. And for good reason! When I took a solo trip there back in April 2016, I was completely smitten by it. In fact my travel journals made frequent references to the fact that I felt like I was constantly surrounded by castles. 

If anything, it’s one of those cities that feels like it’s 100% tourists, which is sometimes a bit of a turnoff for me. However I would say it’s a place you absolutely need to visit for a few days. My days were spent on tours, seeking out good viewpoints, wandering around, and of course enjoying the very cheap beer that they’re so known for. 

See below for a list of some of the things I did & places I visited!

things to do

Start with a free walking tour 

I kicked off my visit to Prague as I usually try to: with a free walking tour. We covered a lot of ground, including the Old Town Square, Charles Bridge, and Jewish Quarter, and it both gave me ideas for other things to do and try around the city, and introduced me to a fellow solo traveler to spend the day with. After the tour we walked up to the Prague Castle and sought out the John Lennon wall (for our Instagram pics, obvi). 

Visit the Jewish Quarter

One thing that I talked about a lot in my travel journal was the devastating impact WWII had on the city’s Jewish community, and there were several impactful things to see within the Jewish Quarter. We saw a synagogue that had the handwritten names and dates of the 70,000 Czech Jews who didn’t return from concentration camps after WWII (only 10,000 survived). We also saw an incredible exhibit of artwork done by the children deported to the Terezín ghetto, which was incredibly moving. These things are always hard to learn and hear about, especially when you think about how recently they really happened, but I think it’s important to learn about the histories of the communities we visit nonetheless. 

Take a walk to Letna Park

This is a park up on a hill across the river, and it’s worth climbing up for a great view (and a little exercise, of course). My journal entry reads: “Climbed up Letna Park for a great view & a beer & sunshine & eavesdropping on girls talking shit about their friends,” so, I hope that inspires you to do the same. 

Climb the Petrin Tower

Another viewpoint! This structure looks like a small Eiffel Tower, and it’s 300 steps to the top for a great view.

Take pics at the John Lennon Wall

Of course you can’t go to Prague and not see (& take pics) of this iconic mural. The interesting thing is how much it changes day by day with people tagging it. I passed by it a couple of times during my time there and was amazed at how different it looked each day! 

People watch in Old Town Square

The main square is beautiful and bustling. Definitely check it out, although I usually don’t recommend going to any restaurants and shops in the main square, as they’ll be catering only to tourists so prices are likely a bit high. 

Walk over the Charles Bridge

There are a few bridges connecting the Old Town of Prague to the other side of the river, and Charles Bridge is the main one. Walk over it to get to the other side (but be very careful of very talented pickpockets!). 

Visit the Prague Castle

Take a walk to the other side of the river and up to the castle for some history, architecture, and views. 

Go on a beer tour 

Since Prague is known for their beer (and their cheap beer, at that), this was a really fun way to experience that and meet other travelers. I don’t have the exact link of the tour I booked, but nowadays Airbnb Experience is my go-to place to look for tours, so I would recommend checking there! 

Simply wander around

As with almost every city I visit, wander! Prague is small and totally adorable. Let yourself get lost, take pictures, and stop for the occasional beer or coffee.

where i ate & drank

U Fleků → Google Maps describes this as a “famous historic venue” that serves traditional dishes & beer. We came for beer! 

Kolkovna → Came here for a traditional meal (I think I got goulash). Looks like there are multiple locations across the city.

The Globe → This is an American run bookshop & café that came recommended to me from many people. I came for breakfast & it didn’t disappoint!

Den Noc → Breakfast spot (According to the joural I got pancakes & coffee and loved it)

Bakeshop → Came here for coffee.

Pastacaffé → Came here for breakfast (according to the journal I got coffee + avocado toast)

This is far from an extensive list, but I remember finding lots of little hole-in-the-wall places for a meal, a coffee, or a beer on the little side streets that aren’t on this list, and I would encourage you to do the same. 

where I stayed 

I went to Prague back in the day when I was still willing to share a bedroom with a bunch of other snoring (and sometimes smelly) strangers, so I stayed in a hostel called Art Hole Hostel. Even though I prefer to um… not stay in hostels anymore… this one was really cute, extremely budget friendly, and in a great location. As its name suggests, all of the walls are covered with artwork and murals. There was a cozy communal area, but no restaurant or bar like some of the other hostels I’d been to, so I didn’t really meet anyone while I was staying there. 

If I were to go back, I’d scope out an Airbnb in or near the Old Town. 

Overall, this note in my travel journal sums it up nicely:

“This city is majestic and the skyline looks like a never ending castle.”

I hope you can make it there one day!

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