I jetted off to Prague the other month to have a little winter weekend away in a cold fairy-tale land of spires and gothic architecture. I knew all about it’s stunning architecture, I had seen countless photographs of the beautiful Charles Bridge (and had heeded the warnings of how busy it can get), I had heard about Czech food and the mysterious ‘goulash’, I had known that I would be pretty cold there and I was told to expect to walk a thousand miles on cobbled streets.

Photo 14-03-2015 17 12 26

I thought it would make a lovely break of exploring the city with frosty, misty breath and that I would spend chilly eves nestled in a dimly lit pub with some famous Czech beer. I expected minimal surprises, but every few hours I was presented by something new and exciting that I had no idea that Prague would possess! It’s so easy to look up a “guide to..” or “top things to do..” for Prague, so I thought I would share with you what I discovered during my visit. And yes, I WILL be mentioning the architecture as even though I knew it would be beautiful, seeing it in person was, well, incredible!

Photo 14-03-2015 17 05 57

1. Crazy drivers

I was picked up from the airport by a shuttle bus and getting into the city was an adventure in itself.

Organizing a shuttle bus from the airport was the way to go since I had arrived in the evening and taking public transport would’ve taken me more than an hour to meet my friend at Miss Sophie’s hostel. The shuttle was a speedy 20 minutes and since taxi’s in Prague are notorious for being a bit on the scam side, ain’t nobody got time for that!


I had managed to get to the airport in Bristol, get the plane and arrive at Prague airport with no problems and no near death experiences.

Hitting the road to Prague’s city centre though had me gripping the bus’ door handle and thanking the gods for the invention of seat belts. The drivers in Prague are NUTS. I’m talking high speeds, dangerous overtaking without a bat of an eye lid, high speeds (so true I had to say it twice) and an absence of horns. I’m used to the crazy driving in Asia that is always peppered with continuous honking to let others know you’re there/to get out the way, but in Prague, it was just manic driving with minimal noises.

Cars rule the roads so be careful if you want to try a cycling tour of the centre, but trams are the bane of everyone’s lives. They do not care who or what gets in their way, and my lovely Czech driver told me how they will try to hit cars on purpose if they loiter on their team tracks. Eep.


2. Hot dang, it’s cheap!

I headed to Prague with the expectations of just being pleasantly surprised by the new scenery which I had never had the pleasure of viewing before. I assumed it would be of typical prices as any other European hotspot; prices that aren’t super cheap but a little less than what I’d pay at home on the UK.

Photo 14-03-2015 16 59 33

But on my first evening, I sat with the Czech food menu at the traditional restaurant,  Pivovarsky Dum-Micro, and my little scrap of notes that had the conversions from Czech Crown to British Pounds, and I was in sheer disbelief. A full meal was clocking in at about 150 crown, which was about £4.

We ate till our stomachs strained and drank traditional Czech beer and the odd gin… And the price of our eve was about £16 altogether. I was in heaven. I’m a thrifty mofo so to see how much bang/goulash/alcohol I could get for my buck was astoundingly amazing!!! I could eat, drink and do a touch of shopping with no fear of overspending in this beautiful little city.

Photo 14-03-2015 16 57 47

We wandered the streets on our first night, lost and confused in the winding streets of the Old Town, and stumbled upon Jazz Club. A subterranean bar that had high vaulted raw cut stone ceilings, and ordered a cocktail while listening to the live band. Despite the club being relatively central and pretty cool, our perfectly poured drinks were only about £3.50. I was in heaven and it was cheap to enjoy!

Photo 14-03-2015 17 02 34

3. Great service

Although the locals aren’t overly friendly and are just getting on with their day-to-day lives, they never fail with their service. Tourism is pretty intense in Prague as its a stunning city that attracts hordes of visitors all year round to explore the delights, but the locals never seem bitter or pissed off that there are so many tourists. Perhaps they’re used to the influx of newbies but at every restaurant and cafe, I was greeted with prompt table service and attentive waiters. It’s the little things that make you feel welcomed!


One of our favourite places was Lokal, a huge long cafe reminiscent of a canteen, where both locals and tourists sit side-by-side to dine. Take in some Grog (hot rum) while you peruse the menu, and then get stuck into the food.  Perhaps it was because we were tucking into delicious goulash, stews and warming soups to heal from the skin shattering cold, and those dishes can easily be cooked up fresh then kept heated all day, but when you’re ravenous after a day of non-stop walking and your food comes out 10 minutes after you order, it definitely brings a smile to your face. A thankful and drooling smile.

4. Relaxed & Loved

The vibe of Prague is totally relaxed. No one’s in a hurry (apart from the motorists), everyone is taking life in their stride and the expats we met were absolutely in love with their new city. We went on a free walking tour of the Old Town and our guide was an American ex-cheerleader coach (say what?!). He had come over to Prague to teach and was soon so devoted to the city that he became a tour guide to help showcase the place to visitors. He spoke so passionately about the history & the people, you could clearly see that Prague had got him hook, line and sinker. His passion for the Czech city was infectious.



One of my shuttle drivers was from Prague and had been away in Australia for a few years holidaying and studying. He became so homesick  that he had to return despite job opportunities not being as rife as they were in Australia. The love for the city by both locals and tourists-come-locals is astonishing and really lovely to see.

The longer you stay in Prague, the more you get sucked into its vibe and it’s an easy city to holiday in as you can really relax. Days seem to revolve around great coffee & wholesome food, and that’s something that I can get onboard with!


5. Obsessed with jazz

For some bizarre reason, Prague is a city obsessed with jazz. Jazz clubs litter the streets and if a place hosts any live music, it’ll be labeled as jazz. Jazz Club was a lovely find that called to us from a basement window that was blasting the music. However you do need to be careful as many places that advertise ‘jazz’ won’t actually follow through on that promise. On a weekend night, you usually have to pay for entrance to a good jazz bar but if you can, look up the band that’ll be playing before you get paying.

Photo 16-03-2015 19 22 44

We visited Jazz Republic in the city, and again it was underground (not as rustic as Jazz Club though). Since we paid for entrance, we were hoping for smoky and throbbing jazz that would get our fingers clicking as we sipped on whiskey. Instead, we chugged  on uber cheap Aperol spritzers (hi new favourite drink!) to the sounds of a band that was more Czech dads than dirty jazz. Disappointing, but we definitely learnt to be a whole lot more picky about the live music we paid to see – research is paramount!

If jazz isn’t your scene, Prague also had a pumping House music scene. Cross Club has been labeled as one of the best clubs in Europe and Chapeau Rouge is a three floored club of free and awesome house music. We happened upon a DJ duo in the basement whose mixes blew my mind!

6. Gothic to the max

If you’ve heard of Prague, then you’ll know that it is famed for its incredible architecture. It received minimal bombing during the wars so has a lot of original buildings that date back centuries ago and is steeped in history. From gothic spires of the Powder Gate and the churches; from the astronomical clock to the rich Art Nouveau Jewish quarter; the city is an architect’s wet dream.

Photo 14-03-2015 17 00 27

Photo 14-03-2015 17 10 03

My personal favourite was the incredible Prague Castle that sits regally on the hill overlooking the city. It’s a quick walk once you’re over the Charles Bridge and is one of the largest castle complex’s in the world. It’s a mismatch of architecture from the many ages that has seen the castle in use, but the spires and intricate detailing of the main gothic castle part is jaw dropping.

I’m a big fan of gothic architecture as its so moody and ethereal – reminiscent of fairy tale castles – so my camera was steaming from the overuse of snapping pretty much the same pictures over and over.

Photo 14-03-2015 17 13 48

Although the Ossuary isn’t technically in Prague, I highly recommend the short train trip to Kutna Hora to see the creepy bone chapel.

It’s estimated to contain between 40,000 – 70,000 people. In 1400, a gothic church was built over the cemetery and this lower chapel was used to store the bones of the graves that were disturbed in the construction. The job of arranging the bones was given to a blind monk, and he put them in incredible patterns. The myth is that he regained his sight after this job, and the arrangements are truly fascinating. The piece de la resistance is the chandelier that contains every bone of the human body.

Photo 14-03-2015 17 17 35

Photo 14-03-2015 17 18 03

7. The cocktail & coffee scene

I’ve already mentioned how cheap drinking in Prague is, but I must not neglect to relay the quality of the drinks! We outdid ourselves by navigating the streets with crumbled and torn tourist maps (with biro scribbles that usually accidentally scrubbed through the street names – whups) to find recommended bars and cafes.

Photo 14-03-2015 17 03 09

My ultimate favourite cocktail bar was Bar and Books. The sister bar to the one in NYC, the place was tucked down a quiet cobbled street and was dark, red, candle lit and opulent. Elegant hostesses greet you at the door and take your coat before presenting an expertly thought out menu of cocktails. I had a basil martini and it was flawlessly matched to the perfection of the bar!

Photo 14-03-2015 17 15 57

As I’m the mojito cheerleader of the world, I was so happy to stumble across El Mojito, a spanish bar that specialize in Latino cocktails, especially mojitos! Again, dimly lit and really comfortable, it was one of my fave bars to sit and have a natter with an occasional flirt with the happy Spanish waiters.

The coffee in Prague never failed me. Every single cafe or coffee stand had bean grinders and expertly poured milk. I never had a bitter or burnt beverage here and they powered me through the epic walking and exploring of the city! Kavarna Prazirna is just one of the great cafes I frequented. It is a hole-in-the-wall cafe that is full of locals sipping on coffee and their paninis are the perfect brunch on the go.

Photo 14-03-2015 17 16 32

Photo 14-03-2015 17 28 16

8. Goulash is amaze

I had no idea what the cuisine would be like in Prague. I had heard of goulash, dumplings and other mystery things that I had jotted down as a reminder to sample. Little did I know that goulash would become one of my favourite foods despite not being a huge meat-eater!

Photo 14-03-2015 16 58 17

The rich gravy contains chunks of slow cooked beef that literally melts in your mouth. The thick sauce begs to be mopped up with thick wedges of bizarre doughy dumplings making it a truly hearty and warming dish to replenish your strength after a winter’s day in Prague.

We tried a few different types of dumpling and none were similar to the asian dumplings that I was used to! The first was a mix of meat, dough and herbs that was similar to sausage meat stuffing. The second was served at Hajnovka and was more like undercooked slices of baguette (Knedliky dumplings) that was impossible to stop after just one.

Photo 14-03-2015 17 15 11

We dined on goulash dishes to the point where another dumpling made us a bit green around the gills, so to find Cafe Louvre was like finding a healthy oasis in a city of hearty meals. It opened in 1902 and served famous people, such as, Franz Kafka and Albert Einstein.

Photo 14-03-2015 17 18 36

They have a huge amount of healthy veggie dishes, such as, inventive salads and an amazing spinach roll dish that I devoured in a heartbeat! It was a welcomed relief and a much-needed dose of veggies after our stodgy love affair with goulash.

We didn’t go too crazy with desserts, but at Lokal we did get to try Czech Cannoli – biscuit filled with sweetened cream. #NoRegrets.

Photo 14-03-2015 17 11 29

9. Golden hour light is magical here

We were totally lucky with the weather while we were in Prague. It was winter but the sun peeped out and gave us blue skies and golden sunshine throughout our trip! It blessed our photos and our faces with warmth and light, it really made our trip memorable!

Photo 14-03-2015 17 27 27

Photo 14-03-2015 17 14 45

If you’re a keen photographer, you maybe familiar with the golden hour, when the sun is bright yet low making photographs bathed in a golden light that highlights brilliant detail. We saw Prague Castle and the Charles Bridge in such a light and it was astounding and made Prague a beauty to behold. The Charles Bridge is a famed attraction of Prague and gets jam-packed with visitors who walk across the iconic structure. If you go early in the day or late in the evening you’ll get a better experience that is quiet. Or walk alongside the river and look back at the bridge to get stunning views that aren’t obstructed by an extended family of sightseers.

Photo 14-03-2015 17 19 26

10. Smoking inside reigns strong

I’m not sure why this came as a massive surprise, but maybe I’m just sheltered from the years of the UK ban of smoking indoors. But when you head into some of the local traditional restaurants and bars, ashtrays are out and the smoke hangs in the air in a hazy stench. It’s a great reminder as to how crap things are when coated in cigarette smoke and it does suck to dine besides the smoking area (it just doesn’t make sense!). Not to mention  getting accidentally burnt by cigarettes in crowded clubs.

If  you’re traveling with hand luggage and minimal clothes, it’s real annoying to end your evening stinking of smoke, so be sure to take some clothes deodoriser to spritz your clothes when you get back to your hostel. It’s not a hugely negative factor of Prague, but just something to bear in mind when you’re packing your luggage for the trip!


Prague is a genuinely awesome place that I can’t recommend enough. It surprised me and fed me to the max, making a brilliant weekend away!

Have you been to Prague? Were you surprised by anything there?

all photographs by Sophie Saint

Sophie Saint was one of the original travelettes, from 2009 – 2017. After fleeing the UK with ink barely dry on her graduation certificate, she traversed the world with a backpack and spent a few years living in Melbourne – one of her favourite cities in the world.

She finally returned to the UK after a few years where she now whiles time away zipping off for European escapes, crocheting and daydreaming of owning her own hostel somewhere hot to live out eternal summers. See what she’s up to over on her blog saintsonaplane.com and instagram: @saintsonaplane