This week’s virtual travel journey takes us to Prague, Czech Republic.
Prague, lying at the heart of Europe, it is one of the continent’s finest cities and the major Czech economic and cultural centre. The city has a rich architectural heritage that reflects both the uncertain currents of history in Bohemia and an urban life extending back more than 1,000 years. From its original small riverside settlements, Prague has spread over its hills, up river valleys, and along riverside terraces.
The physical attractions and landmarks of Prague are many. Amongst the finest is the Charles Bridge, which stands astride the Vltava river. The winding course of the Vltava, with its succession of bridges and changing vistas, contrasts with the ever-present backdrop of the great castle of Hradčany, which dominates the left-bank region of the city from behind massive walls set high on a hill. The narrow streets and little taverns and restaurants of the older quarters contrast with the broad sweep of Wenceslas Square and modern parks and housing developments, while the great 18th-century Baroque palaces have their own elegance and splendour. Seen from the surrounding hills, the many church towers make up a unique perspective, giving Prague its description as the “city of a hundred spires.”
Prague is famous for its cultural life. Mozart lived there, and his Prague Symphony and Don Giovnni were first performed in the city.
Prague has a humid, continental climate with mild summers and very cold winters. The most popular time to visit Prague is summer, when temperatures are around 20°C-24°C and the city enjoys an average of 10.5 hours of sunshine every day.
The top 3 activities to do/see in Prague;
Prague’s most popular attraction. Looming above the Vltava’s left bank, its serried ranks of spires, towers and palaces dominate the city centre like a fairy-tale fortress. Within its walls lies a varied and fascinating collection of historic buildings, museums and galleries that are home to some of Czechia’s greatest artistic and cultural treasures.
Strolling across Charles Bridge
Strolling across Charles Bridge is everybody’s favourite Prague activity. If you want to experience the bridge at its most atmospheric, try to visit it at dawn. In 1357 Charles IV commissioned Peter Parler (the architect of St Vitus Cathedral) to replace the 12th-century Judith Bridge, which had been washed away by floods in 1342 – you can see the only surviving arch of the Judith Bridge by taking a boat trip with Prague.
Ride up an endless elevator
One of the most crazy things to do in Prague is something that few tourists even know about: riding a paternoster lift, which is essentially an elevator that never stops. This contraption looks like a normal elevator, but is actually made up of several compartments that travel in a loop up and down the building without a door. That means users have to perfectly time their entrances and exits by quickly hopping in or out when the platform gets to their floor which takes some getting used to, and hopefully you won’t have your hands full with say, groceries, while trying to attempt this.
Another quirky and exciting activity is to embrace the Czech Republic’s love for beer and soak in a beer bath. Yes, that’s right, an actual beer bath! There are a number of beer spas found throughout the country, including a handful in the capital where guests can experience the therapeutic benefits of a spa while simultaneously enjoying happy hour. The concept sees guests soak for half an hour in a wooden tub filled with – you guessed it – beer, then relax for another 20 minutes on a straw bed or heated lounger to allow the nourishing ingredients found in the combination of brewer’s yeast, water and hops to absorb into their skin. Benefits are said to include increased circulation and metabolism, softer hair, and treatment of skin conditions like acne and psoriasis. Oh, and there just so happens to be a personal keg within arm’s reach of the tub, so you can fill your belly with beer at the same time.
The traditional foods of Prague are warm, hearty with ancient influence from surrounding European countries
More commonly known to outsiders as goulash, this dish is arguably among the best food in Prague, and certainly makes a well-earned appearance on any Prague food guide worth its salt. While goulash is a prime example of external influence on Czech cuisine, having its roots in Hungarian cooking, it is nowadays considered one of the most typical and easily found Czech meals.
Czech Apple Strudel
Apple strudel is a traditional Czech pastry that dates back to the late 15th century. It’s a very popular dessert in Czech cuisine.
Look out for another exciting virtual travel journey next week, where we take you to somewhere a little bit colder.