My love affair with travel began in a little city called Prague. I studied abroad in Prague one summer as a wide-eyed 20-year old and haven’t looked back since. Prague is no longer a secret, but to this day, Prague remains a city that I hold dear to my heart, although my liver might not be as fond. I’ve revisited Czechia’s capital city several times since Prague stole my heart. The magic seemingly never fades. Prague is a fairy-tale city by day and a chaotically Bacchanalian bash by night. It’s a top nightlife capital of Europe, while remaining a budget-friendly and culturally rich destination.
I could go on and on about Prague, but let’s get to what you’ll need to know before visiting.
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Things To Know Before Going to Prague
Despite Czechia being part of the European Union, they use the Czech koruna as their currency. As of August 2022, the exchange rate is 25 koruna to one U.S. dollar. Most places in Prague’s touristic center accept credit card or Euros. I didn’t take out any Czech koruna during my most recent visit to Prague, getting along fine paying with credit card or euros.
The language of Czechia is Czech. In touristy places, such as Prague, English is widely spoken. Most young people in Prague speak English. Workers at museums, restaurants, bars, and other establishments frequented by tourists will most likely speak English as well. The language barrier isn’t anything to worry about when visiting Prague.
Prague is a safe city and I never felt in any danger while I was here. My first time in Prague was in 2015 and I was living in a university dorm in a smaller village just outside of Prague’s city center. The only thing I would say is that older generations in Eastern Europe, especially in rural areas, tend to be a little more closed-minded. I don’t think anyone will have any issues within the city itself, but more “traditional” views are a bit more prevalent outside the city and rural parts of the country.
As usual, make sure you have good travel insurance handy while you’re off adventuring across the world. I use SafetyWing to keep me covered throughout my travels for as low as $45 a month.
How To Get To Prague
Prague is one of the most well-connected cities in Eastern Europe. It’s only a few hours away from big cities the likes of Berlin, Vienna, Bratislava, among others. Getting to and from Prague by bus or train is a breeze. RegioJet and Flixbus are two budget-friendly options for getting to and from Prague. From Vienna, I paid about $15 for the 5-hour bus ride with RegioJet. They also operate a train from certain cities. Flixbus can be an even cheaper option, especially if you book far enough in advance.
Prague also has an airport with affordable flights from most major cities in Europe. If you’re a backpacker on a budget, use Skiplagged to find the cheapest flights possible. It’s free to use and I’ve saved thousands of dollars on flights since I started using it religiously. Like most airports, it’s outside of the city but it’s easy to get to Prague’s city center from the airport. Take the bus from the airport to the metro station and then one can easily get anywhere they need. Uber is also an option, but taking public transport is significantly cheaper.
Where To Stay in Prague
Prague is a backpacker’s paradise. There are dozens of budget-friendly hostel options in Prague that cater to any travel style and budget. Be warned. Prague is a big party city. Lots of travelers come here looking to take advantage of the cheap drinks and wide variety of nightclubs. That being said, expect most hostels to be pretty social and lively. Some take it to another level, but even the quietest hostel will have a pretty social atmosphere.
The MadHouse Prague
If you’re looking for a party hostel in Prague, then The MadHouse Prague is the one for you. As the name suggests, things get quite mad there. It’s the perfect hostel in Prague to meet people to take on Prague’s incredible nightlife with. Despite the reputation that party hostels might have, The MadHouse is actually a nice, clean, and aesthetically-pleasing hostel. No grimy bathrooms and slimy bedsheets here.
Sir Toby’s Hostel
A little further outside the city center is Sir Toby’s Hostel, tucked away in the quiet neighborhood of Prague 7. The hostel is only one block away from the tram that can take you into the city center. Sir Toby’s is a great hostel with a good balance of social and chill. The common areas include a nice outdoor garden and a dungeon-y bar. They also offer a buffet breakfast (for an extra $6 or so), and the staff are very friendly and helpful. The dorms themselves are just okay. The bunk beds are stacked three beds per bunk, so it does get tight in the rooms, but hey, you’re in Prague. You’re not going to be doing much sleeping anyway.
There are a lot of hostels in Prague so don’t limit yourself to these two. You’ll find dozens of hostels on Hostelworld, and even more throughout the city without an online presence. Hostel One Home, Little Quarter Hostel, and Hostel ELF are among the most highly-rated hostels in Prague.
How To Get Around Prague
Prague is a pretty spread out city. It can be tiring walking everywhere. Take that from a dude who averages 20,000 steps a day. If you stick to the Old Town, then walking is the best way to get around, but the cool thing about Prague is that there is so much to see all over the city. Don’t limit yourself to just Prague’s Old Town.
Public Transportation in Prague
Public transportation in Prague is reliable, frequent, and very affordable. There are buses, metros, and trams that go all over the city and even outside. Since I spent a few months studying at a university about 30 minutes outside the city, I’ve practically memorized the entire public transportation system for Prague. Catch the bus to Dejvicka, switch to the metro, and get off at Staromestska. Like clockwork in my brain six years later. For a 24-hour public transportation pass, it costs about $5. Otherwise, it’s about $1.25 for a one-way ride.
Limes and Electric Scooters
If you have an app for one of those electric scooters, that’s also a good way to get around Prague. It’s way more affordable than in the U.S. It costs $1 to rent one and then $.25 per minute. Scootering around Prague is way more enjoyable than being cramped in public transportation, so if you’re comfortable on these bad boys, then I’d say take advantage of them.
Ubers and Taxis
Uber is quite affordable in Prague. Outside of peak hours, one can get anywhere within the city for a little over $5 USD. However, Prague is a late-night city. People will be partying well into the morning hours. Ubers can be significantly pricier then. I never had any problems with Uber and found them to be reasonably priced. I tend to avoid hailing taxis off the street, Prague included. Use Uber if you can, but if you need a taxi, then make sure to book one with your hostel or accommodation so that you know it’s legit and you won’t get overcharged.
The Best Things To Do in Prague
Prague is a city that’ll keep you busy. Whether you’re adventuring through epic castles or just kicking back and having a drink with a view at one of Prague’s many parks, you won’t have any problems filling your time.
Old Town Prague (Stare Mesto)
I can still hear the metro station signaling for me to get off, “další zastávka: Staroměstská.”
You’ll inevitably become familiar with this part of town. It’s the most famous tourist hangout, and where you’ll find lots of restaurants, bars, museums, churches, and more. Whether you’re the type to check out every building and museum, or just wander aimlessly through narrow alleyways, Prague’s Old Town can’t be missed. No matter how touristy it may be, it’s undeniably the liveliest and most beautiful part of the city.
Make sure to climb up the tower where the astronomical clock is. It’s one of my favorite views of the city, and is the one pictured above.
Prague Castle (Prazsky Hrad)
St. Vitus Cathedral towering over the Vltava River is one of the most iconic views of Prague. Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world. The whole area known as Prague Castle is full of stunning architecture, intricately designed facades, and beautiful views overlooking the city. Grab a hanging coffee with a view from U Zavesenyho Kafe while you’re in the area.
Have a drink at Letna Park (Letenske Sady)
Looking for killer panoramic views of Prague? Take a walk through Letna Park, home to what might be my favorite view of Prague. It helps that there’s a bar with cheap drinks right in the center of the park. Grab some friends, get a $1 beer from Stalin Bar, and watch the world go by from Letna Park.
Catch a Sunrise from Charles Bridge (Karluv Most)
Charles Bridge is inevitable. You are going to end up here no matter what, but if you want the most enjoyable experience without tourists, then sunrise is the best time to go. I’m not saying wake up for sunrise. I’m saying stay up. You’ll likely be partying until the early morning anyway, so might as well take the scenic route back home. Sunrise at the Charles Bridge is the best way to cap off a night out in Prague. The only other people you’ll find here are your fellow drunk party-goers, which makes it one of the most entertaining sunrises you’ll see in your life.
I’m a sucker for libraries, and Klementinum is one of the most beautiful out there. You aren’t allowed to actually enter this historic library, but even a glimpse from the outside is worth the visit. The library is beautiful, but there is much more to this amazing building than just the library. For 140 Czech crowns, one can take a tour of the building, highlighted by a stunning view of Prague. There’s also the chapel where Mozart performed and dozens of rooms and astronomical lookouts where some of history’s greatest scientists and astronomers have made historical breakthroughs.
Take A Day Trip to Bohemian Switzerland
Some of the most stunning landscapes in the Czech Republic can be found at Bohemian Switzerland. It’s a long (and quite pricy) day trip from Prague, but worth the visit. If you don’t have your own car or means of transportation, a guided tour leaving from Prague like the one below may be your best bet.
Gobble Up a Trdelnik
This life-changing pastry is ubiquitous all throughout Prague. Don’t resist the urge. Forget your diet. Eat one. Eat two. Fill it with ice cream. Drip some gooey chocolate on it. Treat yourself.
Vysehrad Fortress is a little further out of the city center, but well worth the detour. Hop on the metro and get off at Vysehrad station and you’ll find yourself in this historic fortress, believed to be the first settlement in the area. Within the fortress grounds, you’ll find a beautiful basilica and many other historic buildings. And, to make the journey even more worth it, my favorite beer garden in Prague is just minutes away. Be sure to stop at Hospudka na Hradbach for a beer and a bratwurst with a stunning view of Prague.
Queen Anne’s Summer Palace and the Royal Gardens
Between Letna Park and Prague Castle, you’ll find Queen Anne’s Summer Palace and its royal gardens. Intricate architecture, well-kept shrubberies, and beautiful views await at this oft-overlooked palace.
Wallenstein Palace Gardens
This was the first place I ever saw a white peacock. These gardens also have this big wall that looks like molten lava. It’s one of the strangest things I’ve seen in Prague, and the last thing I expected to run into while I was wandering aimlessly. Part of me felt like I had lived my own Alice in Wonderland moment. I accidentally ended up here, so I’m pretty sure it’s free to enter so well worth checking out while you’re in the area.
I am only scratching the surface here. Prague is so full of hidden gems and well-kept secrets that no matter how much time you spend here, you’ll always discover something new. I’ve left off a few things that I didn’t consider to be worth it. I didn’t really get the hype of the John Lennon Wall, for example.
Prague also has a lot of museums, but this post is getting long enough as is and we haven’t even made it to the nightlife section. Someone else has better knowledge on what museums in Prague to go to, so check out their blogs. Let’s get to the good stuff.
Nightlife in Prague
Y’all already know that this is my specialty. I’ll give you a brief overview of Prague’s nightlife here, but for a more comprehensive guide to Prague’s nightlife, check out my other post.
Let’s start with where to begin your night out. Be prepared for a marathon, because partying in Prague starts early and ends late. You could be out for half the day and that’d be standard for Prague.
A few places I’d recommend to kick off your evening would be Naplavka, Hospudka na Hradbach, and Stalin Bar. These are great spots to watch the sunset and drink cheap drinks, or even bring your own booze. Naplavka is right along the river and has several bars to choose from. You could also just grab something from the market and drink it along the river to save money.
Beer gardens are also a popular spot for locals and travelers alike. My personal favorite is Hospudka na Hradbach in Vysehrad. Stalin Bar at Letna Park is another incredible place for a laid-back drink with a view. The drinks are reasonably priced, especially for the panoramic view you’ll get from Letna Park.
Once you’ve had a few drinks, it’s time to move to one of Prague’s many unique bars. There’s something to fit anyone’s taste out here. Some popular ones are James Dean and Harley’s, and you will usually find a good crowd of people there. They aren’t my personal favorite as you will leave reeking of cigarettes and shame. The atmosphere there is dark with loud classic rock and oldies playing all through the night, which can be fun sometimes.
You’ll come to find that poor lighting and cramped spaces are mandatory in all of Prague’s bars. U Sudu is a bar that makes it work, and one of my favorites in the city. It feels like a dungeon and their lowest floor is even known as Hell. It’s a good, centrally-located bar to start your night off at.. A little similar to U Sudu is a spot nicknamed Dog Bar. The actual name is Vzorkovna, but Dog Bar is significantly easier to say. There are some dogs that just roam around the bar, hence the nickname “Dog Bar”. That’s not even the least of it. Apparently sometimes the owner sometimes goes on stage and plays the piano or some other instruments. Seems pretty normal until I add that he’s usually naked when he does so. Prague knows how to keep you on your toes.
The Best Nightclubs in Prague
Finally, let’s get to the dancing. Chapeau Rouge is one of my favorite places to go. There’s always a big crowd here with DJs that play some great music. There are three dance floors in this club, so odds of you finding one that you like are pretty high. My favorite floor is the one where you get really sweaty, dance on top of couches, and make a complete fool of yourself. You’ll know it when you see it. Lucerna is one of the only oldies clubs that I liked. It will play the most random music and you just have to roll with it. They literally played Never Gonna Give You Up unironically here, but hey, I’ll boogie to anything. It’s a great set up, with a huge dance floor, loud music, bright lights, and a great location right by Wenceslas Square.
One of the most famous clubs in Prague is the five-story mega-club, Karlovy Lazne. It is extremely touristy, but understandably piques a lot of people’s interest. I honestly didn’t mind it. It is a big club with several dance floors to choose from and each one has its own vibe. When I went, there was one floor with old American disco music, one that played EDM, and one that plays hip-hop and R&B, and others. Drinks are expensive and they did not take card when I was here. It is smack dab in the middle of Prague, and just one block away from Charles Bridge. Expect it to be crowded, touristy and expensive.
Now, onto something much less mainstream. Fuchs2 was… an experience. My friend from Berlin recommended it, and as soon as I walked in, it made sense. It was indeed what you’d expect out of someone from Berlin, except on steroids. Even she said it was one of the most intense places she’s ever been. If hardcore industrial techno is your vibe, then I’d highly recommend this nightclub. It’s got such a sweet setup, with a grungy indoor dance floor with a booming sound system and blinding lights. For a breath of fresh air (trust me, you’ll need plenty), there is a huge outdoor area to sit down, cool off, and talk to people. This club is located on a small island close to the city center, so I guess they probably don’t have to adhere to the usual rules of other nightclubs within the old town.
It took me a while to get into the swing of things, but when I say I will dance to anything, I mean it. I ended up staying until 5 AM, and that was without the help of any external paraphernalia.
These are just my recommendations of course. Maybe we have completely different tastes in music. Don’t ask me for hidden gems because I like the big clubs with lots of people. That’s what a party is supposed to be, y’all!
Anyway, Prague is a crazy good time, and I have no doubt you’ll fall in love with it like I and so many travelers before me have.
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