When I was growing up, Bohemia was a place of fantasy for me. I knew I was Bohemian. Still, what that meant couldn’t encompass what it felt like to be in my ancestral homeland. What was once Bohemia (with Prague at its center) became Czechoslovakia and later the Czech Republic (or Czechia.) Yet, despite all the name changes, Prague is still there at the center of it all.
During my five-week European adventure in the summer of 2022, I can say without hesitation that Prague was my favorite stop. Not that other cities didn’t take my breath away. Prague just had something different.
Plus, it held my familial heritage in the palm of its hand.
Prague is so much more than its beer scene
If you look up what to do in Prague, you undoubtedly find site after site noting the city’s beer scene. Sure, you can get a really cheap beer in Prague or Czechia in general. Cool. There has to be more reason to visit this magnificent city than just a cheap beer. It breaks my heart that the City of a Hundred Spires amounts to getting a pint for €3.
The city is home to Bohemian culture, glass artisans, centuries-old artworks, and the world’s only working Medieval astronomical clock (the Prague astronomical clock.) You can uncover secrets of the city’s past beneath the cobblestone streets with underground tours, take in the history of how it largely survived WWII, and eat your weight in chimney cakes (Trdelník.)
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the perks of cheap beer while you’re abroad. That said, don’t let that rob you of a real Prague adventure.
Savings extend far beyond the booze
Prague has a reputation for cheap beer, though it is also far and away an affordable place to visit. Of the seven cities we visited this summer, Prague was the most affordable by far. (Particularly since we ended our tour in Reykjavik which was far and away the most expensive.) There was a time when Prague was an even cheaper destination. But it is still easy to see it on a budget.
US News named Prague the 2nd cheapest European vacation spot in 2022. It’s been on such lists across the web for years despite rising costs across the European Union. It may be known as The Golden City, but don’t let the nickname fool you. You don’t have to be drowning in gold to have a good time here.
Sit-down restaurants, like anywhere in the world, will run up your bill. However, Prague is blessed with cafes, bakeries, and Trdelník spots galore. It’s easy to get by on $40 or less per person per day in food–particularly if you score a hotel with free breakfast. Though not a budget option, the Four Seasons Prague has an incredible breakfast spread. You can even get it included in your room rate. (Not to mention their hotel rooms are too dreamy for words.)
I couldn’t resist starting each day with a kolach (a sweet Czechia pastry with cream cheese or preserves in the middle.) My family has a recipe for these that I’ve been obsessed with since childhood. If you’ve never had a kolach, I can’t recommend them enough.
Being in your own fairytale
There isn’t a better way to describe Prague than to say it is like living in a fairytale.
When you’re surrounded by cloud-piercing spires, medieval architecture, Baroque aesthetics, and to-die-for views of the Vltava River, you’ll want for nothing. You can even meander the Charles Bridge in Prague over the Vltava and admire some 14th century statue work.
It’s impossible not to look around in awe whether it’s been a day or a week of being in Prague. The moment I stepped foot in the city I knew it would be a place that would stay with me long after I’d left it.
My husband and I spent a lot of time just wandering the cobblestone streets of Prague. You don’t need a daily agenda to enjoy the majesty of this miraculous city–all you need is a sense of wonder.
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