On her tour of Budapest, Vienna and Prague, traveler Dana spent some time exploring the Czech capital. From taking in the views to relaxing in a beer bath, here she shares some of her favorite moments from her time in the “City of a Hundred Spires.”
What’s the first thing to come to mind when you think of Prague?
Beer, beer and more beer! In fact, upon arriving in the city, our Tour Director explained that “beer is liquid bread.” The funny (and sad) thing is that I don’t drink the stuff; beer and I have never had the best relationship. However, since I didn’t want to miss out on the experience, I made a point to try a few varieties while I was there. After dinner one night, I went out to a bar that a friend of mine had recommended. There, I tried a dark beer—and the fact that I took more than one sip is a pretty strong indicator that Czech beer is phenomenal, even if it wasn’t my preference.
Did you do anything on tour that surprised even yourself?
Continuing in the beer vein, on our last day in the city, some people from my group and I went to check out the local “beer bath,” which is basically a spa where you can soak in these huge vats of beer. I thought that the whole concept was ridiculous, so I naturally had to try it out. It actually proved to be quite a relaxing experience, plus it’s supposed to be good for your skin. And for all the beer drinkers out there, they have taps attached to the baths so you can drink as much beer as you please while you bathe.
What are some of the city’s must-see sites?
There are so many! I really enjoyed walking around Prague Castle and seeing the changing of the guard, touring St. Vitus Cathedral, walking across the Charles Bridge and watching the astronomical clock ring. While these are all great things to do, my favorite was the guided tour we took of the Jewish Quarter. I’m a history nerd, so I found it to be very interesting, and I was really moved by some of the exhibits within the Holocaust museum that we visited.
Any other memorable moments?
On the way to Prague, we visited a hilly little town called Mikulov. This is one of the advantages of going with a tour group - I never would have known this place existed if I’d been traveling on my own. And even if I did, I wouldn’t have had the slightest idea of how to get there. The area where we stopped was on top of a hill that had such a scenic view, it felt like we were in an alternate universe in some ways.
What advice would you give someone who’s thinking about visiting Prague?
Find the quiet side streets—they have the best shops, bars and restaurants. It’s these off-the-beaten-path places that make the best memories, and you never know what experiences you’ll miss out on if you just stick to the main sites.
What kinds of experiences?
One afternoon, for example, we found ourselves eating lunch at an adorably charming cafe that was decorated with a wealth of flowers and antique trinkets. While we were sitting outside it began to pour, so we went inside to wait for the rain to die down a bit. A French couple saw us walk in and welcomed us to join them since there were probably about three tables in the entire place. It was so fun to talk with them, and was one of those moments where you just feel so connected.