Prague is a bit of a special place to me because it was the first place John and I traveled to outside of Germany when we first arrived in 2013 (original recap here, written in October 2013). We agreed then that it was somewhere we wanted to revisit, because it was gorgeous and inexpensive. At the time when we said that, we had no idea that we would be back four more times, with friends during an Eastern European road trip, for a half marathon and an Easter market, for the Christmas markets, and most recently, for a family road trip.
Prague is an absolutely gorgeous city, but it’s not terribly large and it’s easy to see all of it by foot – which makes it quite amazing that every time we have gone, we have experienced something new or different.
Eastern Europe Road Trip 2015
When: May 2015
Hotel: Apartments Pushkin
Why Prague: I had written in blog at the end of 2014 that I wanted to go back to Prague and Budapest at some point, and my friend Renee said that she and her husband would be interested in going with us – and the Eastern European road trip was born. We would start in Prague, work our way to Budapest, then Vienna and close with Salzburg before heading back into Germany. (More on those destinations in a later post).
The Trip: Drawing off our earlier experience, the obvious must visits were the Prague Castle, the Old Town Square, and Wenceslas Square. From there, there were a couple of new additions – Church of St. James with a mummified arm, a beer festival, with a walk through Letna Park, and Petrin Hill (which John and I ended up skipping).
We had one and a half days in Prague, which tends to be plenty of time to see it all – but add on if you want to really take your time or if you want to do a couple of close days trips.
Final Impressions: The itinerary the second time around was very similar to the one the first time around and was a perfect introduction to the city. (And it’s lots of fun with good friends, so bring them along with you, if you can!) I was super happy we were able to go back on more time as we were scheduled to return to the states in September 2015. And while we had plans to make it back to Europe, we weren’t sure if Prague was in those plans.
Prague Half Marathon 2017
When: April 2017
Hotel: Iron Gate Hotel
Why Prague: The best way I have found for me to keep my running up is to sign up for a race, and with Prague just four hours away, it was the perfect option. Because we were just going for the race and the weekend, I didn’t make any other plans, and some of the times, it’s the unplanned that equals the most fun!
The Trip: We showed up late Friday and took a stroll around town, but had to get to bed early because the race was Saturday morning. I love European races because of the three halfs I have run here, two of them started at 9 am – so no early mornings here. It also meant I was able to pick up my bib the morning of – in a place outside of town so it was an adventure getting to the expo. But I made it, and finished the race! It was so much fun – the atmosphere was positive, the course was pretty and it was just a really good time…even with the 13.1 miles! 🙂
It was unseasonably hot during the race, so I needed to take a little break before we headed out for a walk around. We got lucky with the timing – in addition to the race, we were there for the opening of the Easter Market! After browsing the stands (and picking up some cute handmade goods), we made the decision to go up the astronomical clock tower, which we had never done before. It was the best choice! We were there later in the day so there was no line, and there was an elevator up, which was good on my legs. And the cherry on top was the view – it is the best view of the square, hands down.
Final Impressions: This entire weekend was super fun, and was a good example of how not having a plan can lead to super fun discoveries! So add this to the list of things to see and do – ride the elevator up the Astronomical Clock to see the view!
Prague Christmas Markets 2017
When: April 2017
Hotel: Cloister Inn Hotel
Why Prague: I had visited so many of Germany’s Christmas markets, that I always try to branch out. As I have said repeatedly, Prague is so pretty that with Christmas lights and Gluhwein, I was sure it was going to be magical.
The Trip: We left after work with two of our friends to head to Prague. The nice thing about Prague is that it is a city you can walk around safely any time of day, and even though we were getting there later…we still had time to walk around the markets. Because it was our friends’ first trip to Prague, we had the usual stops planned, and thankfully Brian really wanted to see the Klementinum library, which is voted one of the most beautiful in the world. You sadly can’t walk through it, but it is as pretty as they say. The Prague Christmas markets are tucked in various parts of town, and we were surprised with some of them along the way. It is important to note, however, that the only place to get a glass Gluhwein mug is at the Christmas market in the Prague Castle.
Final Impressions – Prague Christmas Markets did not disappoint even a little bit – the town all lit up in Christmas lights, with yummy food stands and delicious gluhwein. Prague is pretty anytime, but it just a little more special at Christmas, and if planning a trip to Europe to see the markets, don’t miss this one!
Our most recent trip to Prague was in 2019, during a road trip with my family…and I’ll wait to chat about that one and our new discoveries of Prague in a later post.
We’ve been incredibly lucky to get to experience Prague in multiple ways, during different festivals and seasons. I am awed every time I go – even as it has changed a little bit from our first visit in 2013. It’s definitely gained more tourists, and has picked up on its popularity, which is reflected in the higher costs of food and hotels – but the charm is still there, and that’s really the best part.