Prague is amazing, easily my second favorite city in Europe (after Barcelona). Grand castles, cheap prices, great hostels, lively party culture, great beer, and unique culture are some of the reason why I love Prague so much. A trip to Central or Eastern Europe without checking out Prague would definitely be a shame.
What to do:
Prague has a never ending list of history, which is easily appreciated all over the beautiful city. Walking around makes you feel like you entered a different world, not comparable to North America or even other cities in Europe. Prague is a walkable city, with a great and cheap subway and tram system if you get tired from discovering the hilly streets. Because of the difference in currency, Prague is very cheap for most tourists. This allows you to splurge and spoil yourself without hitting your wallet too hard. During the day, walking around the city and taking in the grand castles and stunning views are easily the best way to enjoy Prague. The Charles Bridge is a must-see, with beautiful views and lots of merchants selling paintings, souvenirs and other cool stuffs. The Old Town Square is the heart of Prague, filled with tourists the majestic Church of Our Lady before Tyn, whose architecture which demands attention. At this same square, you will find the Prague Astronomical Clock, the oldest of its type still in operation. Every hour travellers and backpackers from all over the world come and meet at the square to hear the chimes and enjoy the little show the clock makes. Once you’re ready for a break after exploring, walk into one of the many bars and sample the many different beers. Instead of ordering a pint of beer, consider the popular trays where you get 4-5 different beers in smaller cups. The great thing is that not only is the beer great, it’s also very cheap, cheaper than water in many restaurants! Be sure to cross Charles Bridge to explore both sides of the river. Walk uphill (or take a tram) to reach Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral. I generally wouldn’t go to a library when I’m backpacking, but the Národní Knihovna České Republiky is by far the most beautiful library I’ve ever seen, many even in the world, and I’d highly recommend checking it out. There’s no area in Prague that I would avoid, because every corner of the city is just absolutely stunning. To see some more modern Czech architecture, check out The Dancing House. You can go up to the top floor to the public cafe and order a wine, or just look at the menu and the beautiful view, then return back down. Once it gets dark, you’ll realize that Prague has an awesome party and drinking culture, where most of the backpackers you’ll meet will be heading to a bar or club for a great time. Also, the pub crawls are the best I’ve been out of any country, with lots of bars offering all-you-can-drink for around $15-$20. A great club which is a bit of a tourist trap, but with good prices is Karlovy Lázně, which has 5 floors with different music, and is the largest club in Central Europe. The basement has an Ice Bar, and there is even a cool but slightly weird ‘Oxygen Bar’, where you insert a tube into your nose to supposedly add oxygen to your system. This club parties hard until 6am, and the top floor is always packed with people from all over the world. There’s a lot to do in Prague, and with the low prices this is city offers some of the best values in Central Europe.
Where to stay:
I stayed in multiple hostels in Prague, so I will list my brief thoughts below. My favorite hostel was The MadHouse, with Art Hole coming in a close second.
Art Hole – A very homey feeling Hostel which is located in someone’s house. This hostel had really kind staff, and due to the small size you will most likely meet owner of the house and hostel, who lives there with his family. I found it very easy to make friends here, as every storey had a common area with a main area on the main floor. Quiet at night, and a great atmosphere to really get to know people and become close with some friends. This hostel is less of a party hostel, but most days at night the staff will gather all the guests who want to party, and take them out to the best spots in town. Also there’s no bar, however you can buy very cheap beer at the front desk.
Mosaic House – This was one of my least favorite hostels, however don’t mistake that for being a bad hostel. This is the nicest hostel I’ve ever stayed at in terms of the look and feel, but the social element is really lacking. Staying in this hostel feels more like a hotel, since the common area is very small and not too social. There’s a bar, however the night I stayed there the bar was not open to the public, and hosted a public function. I was not able to make any friends in this hostel, but thankfully I bumped into an awesome group on the streets, whom I joined and headed to Karlovy Lázně.
Clown & Bard – This hostel reminds me of The Flying Pig in Amsterdam, cool grimey feeling where smoking weed is totally acceptable and even by encouraged the staff. This is a true party hostel, with a very loud bar and a bunch of people who want to party until they drop. Great place to stay if you’re into the party scene, and you don’t even need to leave the hostel to have a good night.
The MadHouse Prague – This was my favorite hostel in Prague, although it was also the most expensive. This hostel books up quick, so be sure to book it in advanced. There’s cheap beer in the fridge which you can take at any time, just don’t forget to put money into the piggybank, a.k.a the ‘Honour System’. A great kitchen and common area where everyone meets up in the morning and finds out what the hostel has planned for that day. This hostel is amazing because they have multiple activities happening all day, with a very high participation rate, so it feels like one big family exploring the city all day. The staff also go above and beyond to make them feel like your cool friends instead of being just staff. They take you out paddle boating, make you dinner, take you out to bars and clubs, and even take you to a beautiful hike to enjoy a pool in the middle of the woods. I highly recommend staying in this hostel, and it’s the easiest atmosphere to make friends in my opinion.