My hubby turned 27 a few weeks ago, so we decided to celebrate with a weekend road trip to Prague. This trip was a bit last minute, as I was still waiting for my residence permit and my temporary had expired a few days before, so not much planning or research happened. Luckily we were able to get in to get permits before the weekend, and off we went.
We are continually learning that European traffic has a mind of it’s own, so if you are visiting by car I would recommend heading out early and expecting it to take longer than the Google estimates. You do need a window vignette to drive on the highways in the Czech Republic, but these are super easy. We just pulled off at a rest station about half an hour or so from the border and purchased the sticker inside the gas station. Be sure to fill in the information on the sticker and remaining tab or it won’t be valid!
With the lack of planning, we also found ourselves lost as we tried to make it into downtown. Don’t be like us- look up the stops before you try to take the underground. 🙂 Once we finally made it though, Prague was wonderful! I have to say, Prague so far is one of my favorite cities we’ve visited. It has such a wonderful energy, and is easily walkable.
We ended up giving up on the underground near the Opera I believe. We were greeted with an open street that reminded me a bit of the Champs-Elysee in Paris. We were luckily also greeted with the Easter market, as we had anticipated arriving much earlier and were therefore starving! After grabbing a couple Czech sausages, and trying the popular trdlo we tried to avoid getting lost again by following the crowds through the market until we finally saw the towers of the Tyn Church.
One thing I will say about travel in general, and Prague in particular, is that the sites are the sites for a reason, but they also tend to draw the crowds of thousands of other tourists. The main square with the Tyn Church and the Astronomical clock was also hosting the bulk of the Easter Market and was therefore packed.We wandered a bit, grabbed some photos, and then decided to ditch the crowds.
We wandered towards the mostly deserted Jewish Quarter as it was Saturday and the Sabbath the museums and cemetery were closed, but I would highly recommend a quick wander if you find yourself there on a Saturday. It was blessedly quiet. From there we took a bridge across the river towards the castle, but were detoured by the Senate gardens. This was not a stop we had been planning to make, but there was a photo shoot that had obviously just wrapped up and models still dressed in costume were wandering out of the gates so we decided to peak in and see what was going on.
This was one of our best decisions of the trip. The gardens were beautiful, but what really caught our attention was the interesting drip wall that accompanied the aviaries and wandering peacocks. I would definitely recommend stopping here, as it’s not only beautiful, but it again gives a much needed break from the crowds.
Next week I’ll share our trip up the hill to the castle as well as our walk across the Charles Bridge!
Have you ever been to Prague? Is it on your Wanderlust list? What are some of your tips for avoiding crowds when traveling?