As beautiful as Paris, as old as Delhi, and in many places the beer is cheaper than water… Yep, I’m talking about Prague, aka your next European city break.
Prague is one of Europe’s secret heroes, exploding onto the tourism scene as a mini-break destination after the 1989 Velvet Revolution. Free from communism, the city is now one of the most visited cities in Europe and there is literally so, so much to do.
Easily the best way to see the city is by car. With so many sights to visit, it would have been impossible to check as many boxes as we did in one weekend any other way, and parking was surprisingly easy. We chose the new Skoda Fabia, which is the latest compact-but-clever model from the native Czeck brand. Inkeeping with over 100 years of Skoda’s brand identity, the Fabia’s thoughtful details (things like in-door umbrella storage, a mini bin for fruit peels by the driver’s seat, and back-seat USB charging ports) make the car perfect for road tripping or city exploring. And the fresh, bold aesthetics are a real bonus.
The car is incredibly easy to handle (there’s automatic or manual options), and even the narrow, cobbled streets of Prague were a comfortable ride. Here’s the stops you need to make when you visit…
Food wine market – Prague is big on communal eating, and FWM is a good example. The seating area is divided into long tressel tables, and is hugged by food outlets offering different food types. Note: if you go for a pizza, you may as well choose the bigger one – it’s almost double size for about an extra £1. You’ll probably need to share it, though…
Charles Bridge – A total show-stopper of 12th Centuary architectural prowess, joining the north and south banks of the Vltava river. Best done first thing in the morning, unless a sea of tourists is your thing..
Mandarin Oriental Hotel – One of the magical things about Prague is getting lost in the maze of cobbled streets and secret squares. We stumbled upon the Mandarin Oriental on our way to the John Lennon wall, which happened to be the exact moment we fancied a drink.
Tyn Cathedral (aka Chrám Matky Boží p?ed Týnem) – Prague’s nickname is city of 1000 spires, and it’s easy to see why. Every way you look is rewarded by an imposing, gothic-style spire – often with Quasimodo-esque gargoles. The most impressive of the lot is the Tyn Cathedral, in the Old Town. Literally looks like something out of Malicifent.
Astronomical Clock – Ah, the infamous clock. Let social media know that you’re off to Prague and I gaurentee you’ll have at least seven responses imploring you to go see it. The clock has special mechanisms and dials to display things like the relative positions of the sun, moon, zodiacal constellations, and sometimes major planets. If you can’t find it, look for the crowd gathering for 45 seconds, every hour, on the hour.
Mama Shelter – We split our two nights between two hotels (only fair that way…). Stop one was Mama Shelter, which is super modern and designed for curious city explorers. Everything is bright and urban and there are cool twists like Looney Tunes masks in the rooms, and Pink Pantha screenings in the foyer. Because why not. Perfect as a base for exploring because of its super-central location
La Romantica – At the total other end of the hotel spectrum, La Romantica is (as the name suggests) a romantic, cute boutique hotel in the hills. Think greige decking, Farrow & Ball paintwork, and hidden mini-gardens to explore.
Prague Aviation Museum, Kbely – If planes are your thing, Kbely will blow your mind. It’s the first air base built after the creation of Czechoslovakia in 1918, and is one of the largest aviation museums in Europe.
John Lennon Wall – This is exactly how it sounds. A huge graffiti’ed wall in central Prague that has been covered in decades of poems, flowers and doodles, all declaring global wishes for love and peace. The wall started in the 1980s with a single portrait of Lennon – this is now buried under layers of new paint. Because of the tradition of adding to the wall upon visiting, it’s very likely that what you see will be entiresly different to what I saw, and to me that is completely fascinating.
Old Town – Prague’s old town is basically the middle bit, but it’s worth winding your way through the narrow cobbled streets to find it. The largely pedestrianized streets are littered with cafes, cellar bars, and curiosity shops, and there is literally zero sense of urgency. The old moat is now buried deep under new town streets, but the original marketplace remains, in the aptly named old town square.
Road trip – Although Prague a big city, it doesn’t take long to get out into the Czeck countryside. Our Skoda Fabia nailed the faster roads, plus the SatNav’s functionality is great, with flawless bluetooth connectivity.
So far as things like dress code go, Prague is pretty casual. I didn’t take a single pair of heels, which turned out to be very wise, since the cobbles are literally everywhere! I kept my make-up minimal, so I didn’t have to keep topping up. Shop my look below.