Europe Hints & Tips Sightseeing

Not the predictable Prague

Prague is an intoxicating city; steeped in history and culture while embracing fun and forward-thinking. If you’ve done your homework, you’ll already know something about the must-see sights like the Jewish Quarter, Prague Castle and Charles Bridge. We’re not here to talk about that. Instead, we’ll share with you the best places to go once you’ve ticked off the famous tourist spots.

Wallenstein Garden

In the centre of Prague there sits a peaceful oasis where you can escape the bustle of the crowds. Wallenstein Palace is now the seat of the senate for the Czech Republic, but the gardens are open (and free) to the public. Inside, you will find the intriguing Dripstone Wall, which showcases artificial stalactites meant to imitate limestone caves. Many statues and fountains are dotted around the large garden, and an exotic bird aviary lends a somewhat tropical feel. The garden is open April-October and the summer brings a varied concert schedule, most of which are free to attend.

Strahov Monastary

A walk up Petrin hill takes you to the Strahov monastery, which dates back to 1142. A small entrance fee will grant you access; of particular note are the impressive ceilings in the 2 main rooms. The library is worth the extra charge; 16’000 medieval manuscripts and books have a way of overwhelming the senses. The smell of their ancient leather bindings is something quite unique. Outside, take a moment to appreciate the view over the city of Prague. Nearby, the Klasterni Pivovar Strahov (also called the Strahov Monastic Brewery), is a microbrewery known by locals as one of the best producers of classic Czech lagers and seasonal beers with a decent food offering to boot.

Letna Park

This hilltop oasis is THE place to go for sweeping views of Old Town Prague. If you’re on a budget, there’s no better place to sit for a picnic lunch. Although its popular with tourists, it is also where locals go to kick back and relax on a warm summer evening, so its a great place to meet people. The park has some interesting history, including the erection of a controversial Stalin memorial, which stood for only 9 years in the 1950s. Several cafes and restaurants are dotted around the park and occasionally live bands treat visitors to spirited performances.

Worthwhile Day Trips

Cesky Krumlov is a quaint town whose historic centre is heralded a UNESCO heritage site. Boasting the oldest Baroque theatre in the world, as well as an impressive castle complex, the town has plenty of offer those in search of some culture. Several museums and art galleries, as well as musical concerts and special events make it easy to spend a day or two here. Don’t miss the opportunity to float down the Vltava River on a wooden raft.

Kutna Hora is an hour’s train ride away from Prague, and home to one of the world’s most macabre buildings. The Sedlec Ossuary (or Bone Church), uses 40’000 pieces of human skeleton in its decoration. Perhaps most fascinating is the chandelier, which contains at least one of every bone in the human body. The church was done like this in memory of the 40’000 people who died from the plague after making the journey to Sedlec; believed to be a holy place. Although it might sound morbid, there is a strangely peaceful feeling here and a visit is highly recommended.

 

What are your favourite off-the-beaten-path things to see and do in Prague? Leave us a message in the comments below.

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