Prague, Czech Republic

I actually had plans to visit Prague on my previous visit to Continental Europe but the various transportation options didn’t quite work out, meaning that this was the first time that I’d made it to the Czech capital.

Tube station in Prague

My visit here was the bread to my cycling sandwich. I started and ended my trip here, so the pictures that follow were taking on two consecutive weekends, over three days.

Memorial to Prague Spring

The hotel was five stops on the metro system from the city centre, so the first stop of the trip was Kobylisy station. Impressively large, bright and clean compared to what I’m used to in London.

Alighting at Muzeum, I found myself in Wencalas Square. When I arrived it was forty years since the ending of the Prague Spring, when Russian tanks rolled in to end a more liberal reformist politician. Outside the National Museum was a tank with large speakers making rumbling noises. Nearby were posters, mainly in Czech or Russian, from or about the time.

Prague street

At this point I had really just arrived and did not know Where Stuff Was, and so randomly chose to head south. The first thing that struck me was that it looked more affluent than I was expecting, more so than Warsaw for example.

The second thing that struck me was a tram. Well, nearly. Everywhere you go there were trams and tram lines.

South, it turns out, probably wasn’t the best option. I head towards the river and stumble across The Frank Gehry Fred and Ginger Dancing House before heading back up towards the Charles Bridge (Karlův most).

River view in Prague

The bridge itself was a bit of a disappointment in all honesty. I’m sure it looks great, but between all the building work, artists, vendors and large throngs of tourists it was difficult to make much of anything out up close. Oddly this was the exception. There were clearly a lot of people around, but Prague generally kept a much more laid back vibe. Certainly the service in restaurants and cafes was so relaxed that at times it became non-existent!

View over Prague, Czech Republic

I cross and head up towards the castle. This side of the river is older (very much like Budapest) than the other. Still, it’s all relative. I forget who said it, but it’s worth noting that Prague’s new town was founded in the 14th century.


The view from the top is impressive. The whole town can be seen from here, the churches, bridges and the Vltava, the river that I’ll be following by bike for the next few days.

Clock tower, Prague

A square in Prague

Also in this area I managed to see the changing of the guards outside the palace. It was probably the quickest, least formal change over that I’ve seen in a while. I never thought that an ex-Communist country would be less formal than a Nordic country.

The weather on my return at the end of the trip was better. It was nice to see many of the same sights but in bright sunlight rather than oppressive, grey cloud.

I was impressed by the astronomical clock, although the sequence played out on the hour was a let down after the beautiful dials and carvings.


The last day I just spent bumming around. I went up the clock tower and, generally, sat around eating and drinking. As I mentioned earlier, the latter two activities take some time here and the results were variable. We’ll see more of this as the week progresses.

Overall I really liked what I saw of Prague. It’s compact — definitely walkable — with a lot to see and a relaxed atmosphere.

This is the second of a series of posts about my cycling holiday from Prague in the Czech Republic, to Meißen, in Germany. See the index page for more details or subscribe to my RSS feed for updates as they arrive.