Prague is a magical city full of cobbled streets, winding lanes and the most amazing architecture. The City of a Thousand Spires has inexpensive options for the impoverished traveller, too, like the Old Town Square, one of Europe’s biggest urban spaces and home to jazz bands and buskers. It’s a wonderful introduction to the city and it’s free, which makes the next item, Prague Castle, a little more bearable.
The castle is a melange of styles dating back to the 10th century, and tickets are valid for two days, so you can go back and see everything properly. You must also visit the Strahov Monastery with its Mozart-related history and wonderful library.
Take a free walking tour of the city with locals and you’ll enjoy the city even more. The John Lennon Wall, a structure where students started writing his lyrics to express themselves, is iconic and vibrant – you can leave your favourite lines, too. The Prague Underground Tour is fascinating, with a walk through the erstwhile labyrinthian hiding places of churches and monasteries.
You must also visit Prague’s National Marionette Theatre, which, while not inexpensive, is fantastic, both for its Art Deco look and its programmes. Take a walk in ethereal Petrin Park, with its rose garden and fruit tree-filled Seminary Gardens, as well as Divoka Sarka Park, with its ice-cold public pool. Indulge in some shopping at Europe’s largest flea market in Praha 9, as well as the fresh vegetables and fruits at Havelsky Market.
After all that shopping, cool off with a beer spa – that’s right, a beer spa – and the good news is that you get to drink it too.
LEAVE ON A JET PLANE: Return flights start at 567USDfrom Mumbai and 541USDfrom New Delhi.
VISA: 68USD. ATMs are widely available, and credit cards are accepted almost everywhere.
GET AROUND: Prague has an integrated metro, tram and bus network.
STAY: If you’d like to stay in the centre of Prague without breaking the bank, Airbnb is your best bet. Hotels outside the centre are cheaper. Otherwise, try Sophie’s Hostel, Czech Inn or Sir Toby’s Hostel.
EAT AND DRINK: Local bars offer delicious meals on a budget – so get ready for carb-heavy abundance to feature heavily in your life. Avoid bars near tourist attractions and ask locals for recommendations- the average Czech meal costs approximately 8USD, with beer being really cheap and sometimes included in this cost. For example, U Houdko and the old town’s U Sadlu have menus of goulash, dumplings, pork and potatoes. Bohemia Bagel is intensely popular among the Czech. The historic U Fleku Brewery and restaurant is a cultural and culinary must-visit with classic Czech dishes and different beers.
WHEN TO GO: April to June, September, October and the Christmas to New Year seasons are busy- although the busiest time is May, during the Prague Spring festival. The cheapest and times to go are January to March; bundle up for the cold! Or, if you’re slightly rich, July and August.