We arrived to the Outskirts of Prague late afternoon and found a good spot to stay south, east of the city, in a nature reserve area with a lake with various walks and cycle tracks. We had a nice wonder around in the evening before getting an early night as we planned to get up at 6am to drive right through the centre of Prague to the west of the city, where we had researched and found a free park up that was closer and safer for exploring the city over the next couple of days.
It was quite an experience taking the van right through the centre of Prague. The roads were nice and quiet as we drove through at around 6.30am and we got our first look of this wonderful immense capital city. It was the perfect way to get a quick taster before the commuters started their day and gave us an idea of how big and tremendous the city really is. Driving along huge roads, surrounded by high buildings, crossing a number of bridges and numerous train tracks, we were able to navigate with the help of google to get from one side to the other!
We had researched places to stay in Prague as we knew we wanted to spend a few days exploring and needed somewhere safe and convenient to do so. We had checked out all of the campsites, but the reviews were terrible and it would have worked out expensive, also the campsite were further away from the centre.
The spot we found was on Park4Night and it was brilliant. We were so happy that we had found this awesome free parkup only a few kms from the centre. There’s a huge, beautiful Monastery with absolutely stunning grounds, which included a lovely park with a couple of big ponds and pretty walkways and in front of the Monastery, there’s a small selection of bars/restaurants, one of which is a brewery and there was a fairly exclusive Hotel on the grounds too. We stayed in our van in a quiet car park around the side of the Monastery, overlooking the grounds, its so peaceful, great for the dogs, safe and a perfect place to relax after a hectic day exploring the city.
Coordinates to this awesome parkup; (50.083599 14.3567)
We ventured out that evening on our bikes for a quick look around, and we quickly realised that Prague is definitely not bicycle friendly, all cobbled streets making it hard going to cycle and its actually forbidden to cycle around the centre. The public transport, trams/buses and trains are plentiful, cheap and a great way to get around the whole of Prague, so it wasn’t a problem and we thought it would make a nice change to use public transport.
The following day, we planned to head into Prague and take the boys with us. We found out they are able to come with us on the trams/buses as long as they are muzzled. We started our day (after breakfast) with a couple of beers from the wide selection at the Brewery. We are in Prague after all so it would be rude not to! We didn’t realise we had to buy tickets in advance for the tram, so we naughtily got on for free on the way in. We headed straight for Letensky Park, a beautiful park overlooking the city, offering a stunning city view from above and lots of shaded, relaxing areas to chill out during the summer afternoon. The many steps climbing up to the park were a challenge in August so we were happy to escape the heat in amongst the trees. The huge, popular, beer garden in the park was a welcoming sight and we enjoyed a beer with the terrific views of the city and had a relaxed early afternoon enjoying the atmosphere in the park. After cooling down we headed into the city.
Prague certainly lived up to the hype. Its a mix of Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance architecture and more huge, impressive buildings than we both had seen in a City before, with Churches, Cathedrals, Monasteries, the impressive Town Hall and other dominating buildings. The main square was amazing, showcasing the best of Prague and one of the busiest places in the city, an absolute hive of activity, entertainment galore going on around the clock. We got lost in the alleyways surrounding the square, admired the architecture, sampled a few beers and local food, sat and people watched for a while and sampled a few more beers! We had a great day, many hours wondering around. We were all tired, so decided to call it a day just after visiting Charles Bridge for sunset. The plan was to get a good night sleep and come back in the morning for round 2….
The following morning the boys were still exhausted, we decided to leave them in the van, parked in the shade. It was a little bit of a cooler day, so they would be fine and happier to sleep rather than another hectic day in the city. We again had a couple of cheeky beers and tried some traditional Czech food from the menu. This time we managed to purchase tram tickets from the hotel, so a more relaxed tram ride in to the city. Again we got lost around the streets of Prague, admiring the structures that loomed above us. We spent some more time in the main Old Square entertained by the various exciting street performers, there are statue people, acrobats, comedians, magicians and huge blow up pandas, just to name a few. Then out of nowhere came an old school fire truck, it parked up right in the centre of the square and began spaying a huge jet of water into the air, everyone running in and out of the cooling water spray on a warm August afternoon, great fun.
We took advantage of not having the boys with us and ventured in some Prague bars including the Prague beer museum, which has 30 beers on tap, quite difficult to just have one! The old town close to Charles Bridge is absolutely bustling day and night. So busy with tourists, its like a rabbit warren, a labyrinth of streets crisscrossing in all directions, very authentic and traditional stools and shops selling everything from ice cream to marijuana seeds. After meandering through the tight alleyways dodging the people and stopping for a beer here and there, we crossed Charles bridge to explore that area, again another wonderful place to wonder around. There’s so much to see in Prague and you can quite easily fill a few days just wondering around in ore. We stopped in an authentic Chinese Restaurant where we were the only non Chinese customers before heading back on the tram to the boys.
Our last morning in Prague was very relaxing and we enjoyed our little free park up area, giving the Brewery some more business and enjoying the Monastery grounds. We headed off late afternoon on our bikes to checkout the famous Prague Castle which was only a short cycle from the Monastery. We had read a little about the Castle and decided we didn’t really want to pay and go inside as this would be a whole day thing. We thought it might be nice to have a wonder around the grounds and see it from the outside before we leave Prague. The Castle is really impressive and the top tourist attraction in Prague and therefore very busy. it was great to get there late in the day to avoid all the crowds. Its not a traditional rock and stone Castle, its more like a Palace and alot of it looks kind of like Office blocks. The views over towards the city and down to the river are stunning and you can see the sheer scope of the metropolis below. The Castle was closing by the time we arrived but fortunately for us you could still go into the grounds and wonder around the whole place for free after 5pm. We even got to wonder down golden Ally, which you normally have to pay for, a tiny cobbled alleyway with cute colourful little houses, very unique area.
The most impressive part for us was the huge Cathedral in the centre of the palace. We were surprised we could see all of this for free and it was alot quieter than what it would be like during the day. We spent a good couple of hours in the grounds which was like a tiny city, grand squares, numerous beautiful buildings and the centre piece was that insanely amazing Gothic Cathedral. We sat in the ramparts of the castle walls for a short while admiring the panoramic views down to the city before heading back on our bikes to the van, satisfied that we had seen enough and experienced this diverse, magical, brilliant capital City.