Heading to Prague
Rail travel through four central European countries. Starting in Berlin Germany, heading south through the Czech Republic, Austria and ending in Hungary. When planning this trip, we quickly learned rail travel would be the most efficient way to travel. Each stop we will share the sites we visited.
Czech Republic's Capital City Prague
It is the capital city of the Czech Republic, known for its spires, Old Town square and medieval Astronomical Clock. Architecturally, filled with colorful baroque buildings, Gothic churches, the Charles Bridge lined with Catholic saints and the famous Prague Castle.
Arriving in Prague
After the almost five-hour train ride from Berlin, we arrived in Old Town, for the quick taxi ride to the Emblem Hotel which is in the heart of the city center. If you stay in Old Town many of the top attractions are within walking distance hence no public transportation needed. Similarly, to other cities we have shared we will highlight some of the key attractions we visited in the next several paragraphs.
Heading to the Castle
As we crossed the Charles Bridge on our way to Prague Castle, we took in the history. As with many central European countries it has come along way since the destruction of WWII. The bridge spans the Vltava river construction was started in 1357 by King Charles IV and finished in the beginning of the 15th century.
Inside the complex
Prague Castle dates back from the 9 th century, this is the president's official office. The castle complex includes St. Vitus Cathedral, Golden Lane, St. George Basilica, and Old Royal Palace. The castle was also a seat of power for the kings from Bohemia and Holy Roman emperors. You can buy tickets online, pick what you want to do based on your interests.
Within the grounds of Prague Castle, St Vitus Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic cathedral. Building started in 1344 but didn't finish until 1929. It is the coronation site for many kings and queens. There are several Roman Emperors buried beneath it. After touring the castle, its many structures and grounds we headed back to Old Town.
In Old Town is the Prague Astronomical Clock, it is a medieval astronomical clock first installed in 1410, it is one of the oldest clocks still working at the top of each hour the twelve Apostles perform, it was rather underwhelming. As you enter Old Town, you will travel through the Powder Tower, a Gothic tower, it is one of the original gates. Through the cobblestone streets of Old Town, you can wander through Gothic Churches, the Old Town Square, stop at the local concert halls or attend performances on the numerous stages. Similarly, to other European Old Towns, in layout, it is well worth a stop.
As we mentioned we stayed at the Emblem Hotel, a newer boutique hotel in the center of Old Town. It is considered one of the top hotels in Prague because of there level of service we enjoyed our stay and would recommend it. Breakfast was included in our room rate. They have a bar on the top level which was very good and also in the restaurant both we frequented during our visit before and after dinner.
After contact with the hotel for dinner recommendations we chose for the first night Mlynec since it overlooks the Vltava river and their onsite steakhouse, George Prime Steakhouse for the next two nights.
Mlynec provided a relaxed atmosphere with exceptional food and service. We had the seasonal three course menu. The courses provide traditional Czech food served a creative way. You have a view of the bridge, light up at night it was lovely. It is a must to try.
Food and service at George Prime could compete with a high-end New York City restaurants. If you want a true traditional steak house try this place. Steak portions are large & seasoned perfectly and service was exceptional.
Outside of Prague: Karlstejn Castle
After two days of visiting the top sites in Prague on the third day we headed to Karlstejn Castle. You will need to take the subway to the train station or a taxi because it is too far to walk. When using the subway make sure to validate your ticket prior to boarding the train as there are people that check and if it isn't validated you will be fined 200 Euros. To validate use the yellow machines prior to heading down the stairs to the train.
On our way to Karlstejn Castle it is only 38 minutes ride and 15-minute walk uphill to the castle. Their website does allow you to purchase tickets online. Karlstejn Castle was founded in 1348 by Charles IV as his private residence. Hence it would become the place for royal crown jewels and other important treasures. Construction was completed in 1365. It is a very well-appointed castle richly decorated. It was a very short train ride hence making it a very easy half day trip. After the castle you can also visit the surroundings shops as you proceed back to the train station. Make sure to buy round trip tickets in advance prior to leaving the Prague station.
After returning to the hotel we needed to pack since we had to get ready for the next stop, Vienna, Austria. The next morning, we took the subway to the train station since it was the most efficient way. Two countries down two to go.
Overall Prague Travel Tips
Buy second class train tickets because they are cheaper and have a lot more seats available Validate your subway ticket prior to boarding the subway The Czech Republic has their own currency they don't use the Euro so you will need to exchange currency Be prepared to walk, because it is the easiest way to get around We were there for 2.5 days which allowed us to see everything in the city and visit Karlstejn castle Bundle several countries together because it can easily be done in central Europe Other Travel Trips