Europe has always been at the top of my ‘to see’ list ever since I was little. You see, I’m half Portuguese and I’m extremely lucky to have grown up surrounded by Portuguese family. This meant showers of kisses and hugs (all the time), loud simultaneous conversations with lots of hand gestures, fresh fruit and veggies straight from the garden, plenty of flowers both inside and outside, speaking Portuguese before English and of course mountains of really good food. And so growing up surrounded by European influences meant that Europe was always that one place I wanted to see and experience for myself.
I’ve been to Europe twice now. On my most recent visit we chose to see new places, one being Prague. I’ve never really thought much about going to Prague actually and I arrived with little to no expectations but it was by far my favourite destination. Here’s some highlights and recommendations…
Walk and get lost
The first thing we did was walk from Castle District all the way into Old Town. I could walk this a hundred times and never get bored of it. Prague has some of the most beautiful architecture you’ll find in Europe, hands down. It also has some of the cutest cafes and antique stores. I recommend walking down Nerudova, my favourite street, which is lined with cafes, string puppet stores and cute little bakeries where you can see locals making Trdelníks (see below) in action. Also spend some time in Old Town Square where you can see the popular Astronomical Clock and the Church of Our Lady Before Tyn (which apparently inspired the design of the Walt Disney castle.)
Connecting Castle District and Old Town is the stone gothic Charles Bridge. I’m not a fan of crowded places at all. And yes, Charles Bridge is always packed out. But you can’t go to Prague and not see Charles Bridge (the same bridge featured in Kanye West’s Diamonds from Sierra Leone). It’s full of buskers, street artists, little jewellery stores, amazing views and beautiful statues (fyi it’s good luck if you touch the statue of St. John of Nepomuk, a Czech martyr saint).
In particular, eat goulash. Goulash actually originates from Hungary but is popular around Czech Republic. It’s simply a meat and veggie stew served with bread dumplings. It may not look appetising but is so delicious. Also try a Trdelník, the traditional Slovak pastry. It’s rolled, grilled dough covered in sugar with optional chocolate in the middle. To me it tastes a bit like a cinnamon doughnut but they are pretty cool to watch make and fun to eat by uncoiling the dough.
On our second day we went on a cruise down Vltava River and had a buffet lunch (more goulash ?). This is a good way to see Prague from a different perspective.
** a little side note to remember: in Prague they free pour so beware!**
I ran out of time to do everything I wanted but I have semi-planned my next trip which will include a trip to the Jewish Quarter, checking out the John Lennon wall, seeing the Dancing House with my own eyes and trying an Absinthe shot. Do you have any to-do or to-eat suggestions in Prague?