Prague: The land of Czech beer, medieval castles and Kafkaland

How do you make the most of Prague under a budget -- a not so inflated one?
By Prerna Madan | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON FEB 02, 2016 01:15 AM IST

“Praha” isn’t just a college student’s haven – with its cheap Czech beer and robust night life – but also a Harry Potter fan’s delight. The city will surprise you for its vivacity, sheer number of tourists even in the off-season, and its incandescent medieval alleys.

So how do you make the most of Prague under a budget -- a not so inflated one?

If Europe was all about walking, then Prague is where you epitomise the rule. In such a small city to cover, there’s no need to purchase a day-long metro ticket (which can cost 110 CZK or just over 4 Euros) since most destinations are at a walk-able distance. You won’t regret exercising a little when the smell of fresh sweet bread, intermingled with the aroma of coffee or chocolate hits your senses and more often than not, comes with a complementary stunning vista.

A world heritage site, the Prague Castle is in the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest coherent castle complex, covering an area of 70,000 square metres. (Picture courtesy: Mad Art Photography)
A world heritage site, the Prague Castle is in the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest coherent castle complex, covering an area of 70,000 square metres. (Picture courtesy: Mad Art Photography)

Opt for a hostel not too far from the hub of the city. A two-minute walk from the Old Town Square, the centrally located Prague TYN is a funky hostel with its interiors crafted keeping youngsters – who make up most of its guests – in mind.

Relatively expensive, it may cost 15-40 Euros -- depending on the number of roommates -- to stay there during peak season but its accessibility will save you a lot of travel and time.

While a lot of shops accept both currencies, it’s better to swap Euros for Czech Korunas (Conversation rates fluctuate around 30 CZK for one Euro) but find a local currency exchange to get better rates; avoid those at the railway station that usually charge high commission.

The best-kept secret for exploring European cities, including Prague, is the new concept of ‘Free tours’. Dig around and ask the hostel staff for details and you might find yourself walking with a bunch of strangers as excited about the city as you. Tour guides are witty and can tell you a lot more about Prague than fancy travelogues. As customary appreciation, you can pay whatever amount you deem fit at the end of the tour.

Prague is divided into Old Town and New Town, and boasts of 11 kinds of architecture -- ranging from gothic, neoclassical, Baroque, Romanesque and even traces of modern.

Surprisingly, Prague has not been admired enough for its rich lineage of history, which includes a synagogue and even an eerie Jewish cemetery, where victims of the Holocaust were buried after Czech Republic seceded to Nazi Germany.

Read | From Vienna to Rome: Here’s how you backpack across Europe on a budget

The capital is also the birthplace of literary god Franz Kafka, which is now called the ‘Franz Kafka Cafe’ -- it might be tempting but give it a miss simply for its overpriced menu. Instead, visit the Kafka Museum and the bronze statue nestled between a church and the synagogue on the Dusni street, aptly depicting ‘The Metamorphosis’ writer’s layered personality. A 15-minute walk from the Old Town Square and through Prague’s lively cobblestone-laden streets is all it takes to stand where Kafka once stood, possibly churning out his creations at the time.

Despite concealed masterpieces of Prague, it is the clichéd spots that will steal your heart. Walk in the shadows of the iconic Charles Bridge, bristling with tourists; lean on its boundary wall lined up with towering statues, feel the wind on your face and enjoy the sound of Vltava’s lapping waters, passing through the heart of this wondrous city.

Cross Vltava and climb the stairs to enter Czech Republic’s symbolic Prague Castle. Shrouded in shades of pink and blue during sunset, the view from the castle makes a breathtaking sight to cherish for a lifetime, eclipsing into a night lit up with lively crowds and the hustle and bustle of its innumerable bars and restaurants.

The castle or rather, a cluster of medieval structures, coupled with the Christmas market will be a joy to stroll in. Sip a warm, 25 CZK-cinnamon punch -- supposedly of Indian origin, although there’s no proof -- or go for a sweeter apple cider during a winter evening to keep you company. The scene can be replicated at the Old Town Square, which also hosts live performances during the festive season.

When it’s time to leave, Prague will be the city you’d want to come back to, although the next stop may just be where you find yourself amid the chaos.

Continue the series here:

Backpacking in Italy? When in Rome, don’t do as the Romans do
Berlin, a beautiful mess: You would love to lose yourself here

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
Chinese delegates to propose vaccine passports to boost international tourism(Twitter/IBCIG)
Chinese delegates to propose vaccine passports to boost international tourism(Twitter/IBCIG)

Chinese delegates to propose vaccine passports to boost international tourism

Reuters
UPDATED ON MAR 03, 2021 07:59 PM IST
According to Zhu Zhengfu, a member of the national committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the international arrivals could be exempted from quarantine requirements if they have a negative nucleic acid test and a vaccine passport.
Close
Tourism body urges Goa government to allow chartered flights from 'safe' places(Photo by Sarang Pande on Unsplash)
Tourism body urges Goa government to allow chartered flights from 'safe' places(Photo by Sarang Pande on Unsplash)

Tourism body urges Goa government to allow chartered flights from 'safe' places

PTI
UPDATED ON MAR 03, 2021 07:46 PM IST
While suspension of international commercial passenger flight services have been extended till March 31, tourism body in Goa suggests government to form travel bubbles with Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, other CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries, the UK, Poland and Finland
Close
The state has mostly been open since last summer, and Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis opposed to any return to “lockdown.”(Unsplash)
The state has mostly been open since last summer, and Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis opposed to any return to “lockdown.”(Unsplash)

Florida expects spring travelers amid pandemic

AP, Tallahassee
PUBLISHED ON MAR 03, 2021 12:38 PM IST
Florida isn’t expecting Spring Break travel to return fully back to normal, pre-pandemic levels, but is expecting many more travelers than last year when the US outbreak was just getting started.
Close
(FILES) This file photo taken on September 17, 2018 shows SpaceX founder Elon Musk (L) and Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa (R) speaking before a Falcon 9 rocket during the announcement that Maezawa will be the first private passenger who will fly around the Moon aboard the SpaceX BFR launch vehicle, at the SpaceX headquarters and rocket factory in Hawthorne, California. - It's the sort of chance that comes along just once in a blue Moon: a Japanese billionaire on March 3, 2021 is throwing open a private lunar expedition to eight participants from around the world. (AFP)
(FILES) This file photo taken on September 17, 2018 shows SpaceX founder Elon Musk (L) and Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa (R) speaking before a Falcon 9 rocket during the announcement that Maezawa will be the first private passenger who will fly around the Moon aboard the SpaceX BFR launch vehicle, at the SpaceX headquarters and rocket factory in Hawthorne, California. - It's the sort of chance that comes along just once in a blue Moon: a Japanese billionaire on March 3, 2021 is throwing open a private lunar expedition to eight participants from around the world. (AFP)

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa seeks crew for ‘fun’ trip around the moon

By hindustantimes.com, Hindustan Times, Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 03, 2021 11:03 AM IST
Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has kicked off a global contest to select eight crew members to join him on a private SpaceX flight around the moon in 2023, the first such mission conducted on a commercial basis.
Close
The researchers tasked 380 people to respond to questions about three hotel reviews - some authentic, others fake - based on their perception of the reviews.(Unsplash)
The researchers tasked 380 people to respond to questions about three hotel reviews - some authentic, others fake - based on their perception of the reviews.(Unsplash)

Travelers booking hotels online should trust instinct more than algorithms

ANI, Washington [us]
PUBLISHED ON MAR 03, 2021 10:17 AM IST
A recent study suggested that travelers looking to book a hotel should trust their gut instinct when it comes to online reviews, rather than relying on computer algorithms to weed out the fake ones.
Close
Travelers who have been in the two central African countries within the past 21 days must fly to New York -JFK, Chicago, Atlanta, Washington Dulles, Newark or Los Angeles.(Unsplash)
Travelers who have been in the two central African countries within the past 21 days must fly to New York -JFK, Chicago, Atlanta, Washington Dulles, Newark or Los Angeles.(Unsplash)

New US CDC rules for DRC, Guinea travelers take effect Thursday

Reuters, Washington
PUBLISHED ON MAR 03, 2021 09:35 AM IST
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new public health requirements for US visitors who have recently been in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or Guinea because of concerns about Ebola.
Close
In the search of spiritual solace
In the search of spiritual solace

In the search of spiritual solace

By Swati Chaturvedi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 03, 2021 01:25 AM IST
From quaint ashrams reverberating with Vedic chants to Sufi shrines with magical and divine qawwalis, India offers a healing balm to the worn out soul
Close
Business travel estimated to not recover to its pre-pandemic peak until 2025(Photo by Kelsey Knight on Unsplash)
Business travel estimated to not recover to its pre-pandemic peak until 2025(Photo by Kelsey Knight on Unsplash)

Business travel estimated to not recover to its pre-pandemic peak until 2025

Bloomberg
UPDATED ON MAR 02, 2021 08:51 PM IST
Business travel to miss out on recovery until 2025 since only 27% of companies expect to spend money on travel in the next six months as many have found better substitutes to reach customers via teleconferencing and saved billions in transportation costs during the Covid-19 lockdown
Close
Ahead of Easter holidays, Germany drafts plans to start easing Covid-19 lockdown(Photo by Stefan Widua on Unsplash)
Ahead of Easter holidays, Germany drafts plans to start easing Covid-19 lockdown(Photo by Stefan Widua on Unsplash)

Ahead of Easter holidays, Germany drafts plans to start easing Covid-19 lockdown

Reuters
UPDATED ON MAR 02, 2021 08:35 PM IST
Germany to tentatively start easing Covid-19 restrictions from next week given that months of lockdowns have pushed down infection and death rates. However new daily cases have begun creeping up again amid the spread of coronavirus variants while vaccine roll-out is sluggish
Close
Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul applaud next to a container as they attend the arrival of a plane with a shipment of 200,000 doses of the Sinovac coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine from China at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Thailand, February 24, 2021.(Reuters)
Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul applaud next to a container as they attend the arrival of a plane with a shipment of 200,000 doses of the Sinovac coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine from China at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Thailand, February 24, 2021.(Reuters)

Thai PM orders study on "vaccine passports" to boost tourism

Reuters, Bangkok
UPDATED ON MAR 02, 2021 02:21 PM IST
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said Thailand will proceed with caution, waiting to see how effective vaccines are first in preventing the spread of Covid-19.
Close
Austria plans to let cafe and restaurant terraces reopen this month(Pexels)
Austria plans to let cafe and restaurant terraces reopen this month(Pexels)

Cafe and restaurant terraces to reopen this month in Austria

Reuters, Vienna
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 07:22 AM IST
On Monday, the government officials announced that coronavirus lockdown restrictions will become less stringent in Austria and as a result, the cafe and restaurant terraces can reopen this month.
Close
Valdes’s comments come amid optimism in the European tourism industry sparked by the announcement last week of the U.K.’s plan to lift all coronavirus related restrictions by June 21. (Unsplash)
Valdes’s comments come amid optimism in the European tourism industry sparked by the announcement last week of the U.K.’s plan to lift all coronavirus related restrictions by June 21. (Unsplash)

Spain to consider bilateral deals and travel corridors

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON MAR 01, 2021 07:53 PM IST
Spain is ready to consider bilateral deals and corridors “with third countries” if a solution on vaccine certificates cannot be reached at the European Union level, according to Tourism Secretary Fernando Valdes.
Close
Round-the-world cruises are selling out (Unsplash)
Round-the-world cruises are selling out (Unsplash)

World tour cruises for the next year are selling out already

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON MAR 01, 2021 11:58 AM IST
Globetrotters who have been staying put for the past year are trying to make up for lost time and booking expensive multimonth cruise itineraries for the next year.
Close
Jammu and Kashmir(Unsplash)
Jammu and Kashmir(Unsplash)

Union Tourism Secretary: Sustainable tourism only way of expanding sector

PTI, Srinagar
UPDATED ON MAR 01, 2021 07:32 AM IST
On Sunday, Union Tourism Secretary Arvind Singh said that sustainable tourism is the only way of expanding and it will bring a much-needed change in Jammu and Kashmir.
Close
Australian regional airline Rex to launch more flights amid Covid-19(Twitter/THE_Russell)
Australian regional airline Rex to launch more flights amid Covid-19(Twitter/THE_Russell)

Australian regional airline Rex to launch more flights amid Covid-19

Reuters
UPDATED ON FEB 28, 2021 07:01 PM IST
At a time when domestic air traffic remains low due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Australian regional airline, Rex, to challenge Qantas and Virgin on the country's big-city routes by launching more flights in competition
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP