Prague is the perfect Easter destination, well, at least for those who are not too religious.
One of the biggest challenges with Easter in Europe is that most everything is closed for Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and in many cases, Easter Monday due to religious festivities (although there are often nice parades). Prague, being a 70% atheist city (and country for that matter), takes a different approach for Easter – the city is decorated with Easter eggs and filled with Easter markets, but it is more of a celebration: Beer, mulled wine, potato pancakes and trdelnik are sold, and people are out and about, with all of the shops, restaurants, bars and attractions operating in full swing.
Prague is a great city, but it’s easy to be awed by its beauty, and yet at the same time, frustrated by the rapacious tourism that fills the old town (especially on Easter weekend!). We still decided to be tourists, but took a diligent approach to this:
This was the most painful part of our visit due to the number of tourists. That said, if you can bear it, the free walking tour is worth it because it provides you with a good overview of the key sights. There are many different tour operators, all starting from the old town square. Just note that there is so much more to Prague than the old town, so don’t let this tour be the only thing you see.
The Jewish Ghetto
The Old Town
We opted to walk around late at night, where there were few people on Charles Bridge, making it for a gorgeous view. We also took the town hall tour which was a great way to see some of the existing town halls, and also to go underground – in the 13th centure, the city level was several meters lower than today. When the new town was developed, all the dirt they excavated from the area was brought back to the Old Town to increase the level of the city and prevent flooding!
We expanded our view of Prague but doing the Communist tour. The Czech Republic has a dark period in its history, so we had a chance to discover some of the background from the communist era, including the fear of nuclear war. We had a chance to see sites such as the STB headquarters, the prison (which coincidentally, was our Hotel – Hotel Unitas!), the memorials at Wenceslas Square, and a 1950s nuclear bunker!
From the communist tour, we learned about the Stalin statue that was blown up, and current replaced by the metronome, so we made a visit over there. The metronome itself isn’t much of a site, but the view from the top of the hill is worth it!
We had a chance to visit a few great restaurants, that I would recommend:
- Marina Grosetto: This restaurant has average food, but it completely worth the view. Read my review here: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g274707-d1889054-r264085836-Marina_Grosseto_Ristorante-Prague_Bohemia.html#REVIEWS
- Varesina Cafe on Kampa Island: Just between the John Lennon pub and the brige with all the locks tied to it (over the canal), there is a little cafe that is charming. There are two tables on the balcony with a view of the water wheel & the mystical water spirit, Vodnik.
- V Zatisi: We were trying to get into Bellevue, from our hotel staff’s recommendation, but it was fully booked, so we ended up at this restaurant from the same group. It was well worth it – they were delayed getting us seated, but it was seamless after that. The menu is a mixture of Czech, International and Indian (the sous chef is Indian) but I wouldn’t call it fusion – rather a menu with a few different cuisines. The atmosphere was nice, and both the indian and international were delicious – and the wine pairings were great as well.
- The Choco Cafe: a cute independant cafe with nice cakes! The place was full and some of the tables were reserved, so can’t hurt to book if you know you are coming.