Life as a freelancer can mean a week or two off in between jobs and what better way to make use of the time than travel? When I was back home at Christmas Mama T and I pored over every airline we could think of in search of some travel bargains and Prague seemed to tick all the boxes: relatively inexpensive; easy to get to from Heathrow and somewhere my mum had never been but always wanted to visit.
We spent 4 nights, 5 days in the Czech capital and it was just a nice amount of time to explore the city without the pressure of trying to cram too much into a weekend, say. In this post I’ll share with you how we experienced the Prague the locals love and in part II I’ll take you to our favourite tourist spots.
We stayed at a lovely Air BnB apartment in Smichov with terrific views of Prague Castle. Our host, Katka, recommended us some of her favourite places to visit and so we kicked off our first full day in the city with an amazing breakfast at Cafe Savoy.
The cafe was bustling and full of locals catching up over coffee (served with sparkling water) and breads. We were recommended the Savoy breakfast which cost 195 Czech Koruna (CZK). This works out at just over £6 per person and, as you can see you get lots to eat! To be truthful we were a little embarrassed that our breakfast took the waitress 3 trips to bring out! But it was delicious and we were able to wrap some up to take with us later in the day when we felt peckish.
One of Cafe Savoy’s specialities is their hot chocolate which comes in a pot and is poured over frothed milk. It’s actually a wee bit bitter – nothing like the sickly sweet hot chocolate you get in Starbucks – but was a nice treat to have. It felt a little too rich to have at breakfast but I imagine it would have been just the ticket after exploring the city on foot all day.
TOP TIP: If you visit Cafe Savoy make sure you pop downstairs to use the loo – you’ll pass their patisserie where you can see pastry chefs create edible works of art which are also available for purchase in the main cafe. It’s also best to book a table in advance if you can or be prepared to wait a while – it’s a very popular place!
We walked pretty much everywhere and as a result we stumbled across some fantastic spots just slightly off the beaten track. The Smichov area of the city is right by the river and around 20 minutes on foot from Charles Bridge. You can either walk by the river or detour a little inland and take in some of the gorgeous city parks, as well as marvel at the stunning architecture. We saw a terrific array of wildlife including peacocks unsuccessfully attempting to attract mates – ‘A’ for effort but they didn’t seem to have much wit about them with one male displaying his impressive plumage to a wall as the female peacocks ran away!
All that walking left us a little parched so we took note from the locals that pilsner was the ideal nectar to quench our thirst so we gave it a go. I can’t remember what pilsner we had but it was pleasant and refreshing and didn’t cause us to burp like builders so, you know, I consider that a win.
After the walking and the boozing we thought it best to line our stomachs and went to another of our host’s favourite haunts called Kolkovna Olympia in Mala Strana. Don’t be fooled by the name, this restaurant was packed with locals tucking into Schnitzel and various dishes with ‘cream sauce’. In terms of value for money it’s an excellent location with 2 main courses and 2 beers coming in at under €20 but be warned, portions are extremely generous so we only went the once for fear of having to spend the remainder of our trip at the mercy of stretchy trousers. And where the menu reads ‘cream sauce’ expect to see a squirt of aerosol cream appear with your meat.
Part II will take you to our favourite spots where the city’s rich cultural history takes centre stage. We’ll visit castles, cathedrals, go to a concert and make like cool cats at a dockside jazz bar.
Here’s a sneak peek of what’s on its way later on next week.
Until next time,