One of my favorite places in the world is Prague. Just the mention of this grand city’s name makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside and brings back a flood of wonderful memories from the last 14 years. Memories from the many times I visited Prague, usually with a friend or family member but a couple times alone. First on very cold days with snow blanketing the city, but later on hot summer days, some that extended late into the night. Originally as a very young woman on a European adventure, soon after as an expat living in the Czech Republic, and the last time returning after 7 years, full of nostalgia, and introducing the city to my husband.
Prague is one of those cities that you must allow yourself to get lost in. Wander off the main tourist drag and let yourself to discover the real beauty of this city. Here are a few things you will find if you treat yourself to some wandering time around Prague Castle:
This is one of my favorite parts of Prague. Hradčany is the area of Prague Castle and its surroundings, but don’t get it confused with Malá Strana (the Little Quarter), which is the historic area that clusters below the castle. You have to climb stairs or hills from Malá Strana to get to the castle, and once you are there, continue walking the area beyond the castle (without descending into Malá Strana). Those quaint areas are Hradčany. If you’re facing the castle gates, go to the left and continue on for large gardens and castle walls. Again, if you’re facing the castle gates, turn around 180 and go through the square until you get to some smaller streets. Wander around, be sure to go down Nový Svět, and don’t miss the tiny pink house at the end of that street.
This quiet, cute area used to be the poor district next to the castle. When you get to the pink house, you can go up the side street and you’ll wander through quiet walled streets and pass funky little houses and an art gallery, and finally you’ll come to a square and the impressive Loreta. You can also walk up to the Strahov Monastery, visit its gardens and beautifully-decorated libraries,and admire really, really old books– fun!
Finally, try to go to the castle and the above mentioned areas at night! The castle is fantastic at night– wander practically alone through the amazing complex, experience the lit-up cathedral, and try to get a peek at government officials meeting in the castle’s offices, including the offices of the president. The surrounding Hradčany area is also tourist-free and beautiful at night.
We stayed at a little place just outside of this picture, and the view from our room was of a plot of land behind an old building that was being used for a large garden. This charming area gives visitors the feeling of being in a really old, historic, peaceful area while not being surrounded by tourists but still being close to the sights and public transportation.
Do you have a favorite place in Prague that you discovered while wandering off the beaten track? Leave a comment and share your experiences or questions!