Best European vacations: Why Prague should be on your list

By Dan Koday, Feb 2020

Old Town pier architecture, Prague, Czech Republic

Picture-perfect scenery aside, the Czech capital city of Prague offers one of the best European vacations that any traveler could hope for. Vibrant history and well-preserved architecture meet a thriving arts scene in the center of Europe, producing an unrivaled boho culture and a primo travel experience. Here's everything you need to see, do and eat in what's quickly becoming one of Europe's hottest destinations.

Golden Lane, Prague castle, Czech republic

Take a stroll down Golden Lane, once home to Prague Castle's guards.

What to do

The 14th-century Charles Bridge, which spans the Vltava River that separates Prague's Old Town and New Town sectors, is a sight to behold; the multiple angles you can shoot the bridge from as you walk along the river banks are endless. It's hard to capture the stone bridge's arches at a bad angle from behind the Franz Kafka Museum (where many tourists flock), but for a more ideal vantage point, climb to the top of Letná Hill.

Also ripe for your camera is Prague Castle, the longtime home of Czech rulers and the official office of the Czech president. Carve out a good chunk of time to meander through the stately buildings, including the ornate St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George's Basilica and Golden Lane as well as the castle itself. You can tour the site on your own or with a guide; if you time your visit just right, you can catch the changing of the guard ceremony outside the castle's walls.

John Lennon wall in prague czech republic

Visit Prague's Lennon Wall to see the grafitti and pictures that honor the revered singer-songwriter.

Even if you aren't a music buff, a stroll past the Lennon Wall, a tribute to former Beatle John Lennon, is sure to pique your interest (and your camera's). The wall is adorned with graffiti and pictures of the famous singer-songwriter; if you look closely, you can spot quotes and Beatles lyrics, as well as messages about historic global events, which explains why it's maintained such significance well past the musician's death.

Lennon isn't the only historic figure to have a physical presence in Prague. Keep your head up in Staré Mesto (what the locals call Old Town) and you'll see a statue of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud dangling from the top of a building.

Where to grab coffee

Coffee and tea are cherished parts of Czech culture, and a stop at a káva shop, whether to enjoy a hot beverage or to just do some people-watching, is a must in Prague. The city's many hipster-packed cafes serve up good-to-the-last-drop beverages alongside mouth-watering pastries and lighter snacks, including plenty of vegetarian and vegan fare. La Boheme Café and EMA Espresso Bar are both known for their serious joe. The vibe at Tricafe invokes a chic apartment, with comfy seating, cozy reading nooks and lots of vibrant art on its walls. It's the kind of place you can easily spend an entire afternoon.

Where to eat

For every trendy restaurant in Prague, there's a traditional one. At La Degustation, the eight-course tasting menu, served from its open kitchen, celebrates both. The restaurant's farm-to-table dishes are rooted in traditional Czech cuisine and are served in a handsome, sophisticated environment filled with dark woods, leather club chairs and moody lighting. While all the best European vacations include a little splurge, La Degustation is more ideal for special celebrations than, say, Bistro 8, a lively brunch haunt with trays filled with variations on avocado toast and an out-of-this-world white bean dish with chorizo and fried egg.

Because beer culture has long been an integral part of Prague, the historic Pivovar Marina (which also houses a tasty Italian restaurant) should be high atop your hops list, as should the storied Staropramen Center. The latter serves its signature Staropramen Premium lager and Granat semi-dark lager in addition to many other beverages and a full pub grub menu. They even offer a beer tasting flight for just 5 euros.

Where to stay

The affordable boutique hotel Mama Shelter's playful design makes it a favorite. It sits just steps from the lush, impressive Stromovka public park and is set in a creative enclave that will give you a feel for a Prague that most travelers don't see. The Grand Mark Prague is the city's grande dame, offering posh rooms that blend the modern and the traditional. It's also housed in a 15th-century Baroque palace, which is sure to impress your significant other.

Whether from its quirky sites or its famous beer, Prague provides a unique taste of Central Europe. A visit will have you (and all your friends) talking for a long time.

Ready to get your Czech adventure started? Browse our Prague vacation packages today!

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