Thursday, 17 September 2020

Get In The Car! We're Going To Prague

jeshoots-com-romantic views over prague and the charles bridge

Last summer I took my car to Prague for a very spontaneous day trip. 

There's something incredibly liberating about the idea to just get in your car and go wherever you like. I guess that's why I love road trips and exploring. The independence when being on the road just screams adventures and epic driving stories to me. I'm also very, very good at carpool karaoke.

Sounds good, right? 

My parents' house in Germany is conveniently located between Berlin and Dresden. From Dresden, there's a new motorway extension which makes driving to Prague way faster than before - a perfect opportunity to venture out and only a 250km drive away. 

Driving In The Czech Republic 

The downside of taking your car to Prague is the toll network, meaning you have to pay for using the roads. Therefore, you'll need to get a vignette, a sticker that allows you to use the roads in the Czech Republic. Ideally, you *should* purchase the vignette in advance - but for the spontaneous traveller like me....oh, well you just gamble and hope the first motor service will come shortly after you've entered the country. 

The vignette needs to be placed on the bottom right-hand side of your windscreen and carry the date of your first day of use. There are several options to buy. Short-term permissions which are valid for 10 days, cost around 13 EUR, which is a fair price.  

xiaofen-busy streets with tourists in central prague

Petrol is cheap, so the day trip to Prague from Germany won't break the bank. 

From Dresden, the E55 will take you straight into Pragues' city centre. It is easy to drive into the city and navigate around. Even though I had my sat nav with me I didn't fancy going on a search for a car park. Unfortunately, Czechs are very, very strict and have tonnes of parking rules, so better not risk a ticket and go the way of least resistance. 

The Palladium Shopping Centre Was An Ideal Parking Spot

The parking guidance system leads you automatically into the underground car park of the Palladium, a huge innercity shopping centre. Given, that the Palladium is super central, the costs for parking are only 2 EUR per hour. 

The shopping centre itself is quite nice and even has a few shops from the UK, such as a Tesco and Marks & Spencer. In general, Czechs are very modern and forward-thinking. They are miles ahead when I think of Germany in comparison. Paying with Euros, even though the Czechs are not in the EU, is absolutely no problem. They all speak fluent English, some of them even offer to speak German, and are very friendly.

remi-boyer-prague streets and charming houses

With my car securely parked, I was in a great spot to explore the city. The central square with its world-famous astronomical clock is close by. You get lost in the maze of picturesque streets, admire timber-framed grade listed houses, which ooze charm and fairytale character and there are tonnes of statues.   

Even though Prague attracts 8 million visitors per year, there's enough space to walk around. The souvenir shops are cute, there are lots of bars and outdoor beer gardens serving absinthe and beer for as little as £1.50. The city is also very cultural and artsy so if you come for a longer stay, do check out a black light theatre performance. 

medieval astronomical clock in prague
hanna-balan- pargue astronomical clock souvenir shop

From Prague's' New Town To Its Medieval Old Town And Anywhere Inbetween 

For a quick breakfast stop, I can recommend Coffee & Waffles in Staré Město, before crossing Prague's main attraction, the Karlův Most (Charles Bridge) towards the Old Town district. The bridge is always busy with tourists and street sellers but offers stellar views over the river Vlatava and the towering 9th-century castle. A tourist tradition is to rub the feet of the statue of John of Nepomuk, which is a promise to the city to return one day. 

The Kafka museum lies straight to your right when entering the Old Town district, in between narrow houses and can easily be missed and overlooked.  If you prefer to stay on the main street in the Old Town, you'll see it buzzing with life and seamed with traditional bakeries. From here you can easily walk up the hill to the castle and admire gorgeous views over the roofs of the city. If you look very, very closely and know the direction, you can even spot The Dancing House. 

views over prague from the castle
roof views over prague

On your way back to the new part
 of town, you should definitely pick up a Tredelník, the Chimney Cake. It's sweet pastry rolled up on a cone and traditionally, the pastry is coated in sugar and cinnamon. As it has proven to be a very popular dessert, the various shops on the Old Town main street down to the Charles Bridge have invented a variety of deliciously fruity, savoury or sweet fillings. My favourite is a caramelised apple mixture, but you can also get strawberries and cream or chocolate and pistachio. 

trdelnik chimney cake sweet pastry prague

When strolling through Prague, other points of interests are the main shopping mile in central, the 
Na Příkopě, which has luxury and High Street brands. Close by is a Mucha art nouveau museum which is on my list for my next visit. There are hidden local markets and the streets are neat and well presented. Just looking at the houses and losing yourself in the city's' maze of cobbled streets will lead you to some incredible mews, little fountains or squares bursting with life and hospitality. 

Especially in the summer, people love to be outside and have food in the streets. For dinner, I found a great place outside of Adele Restaurant, a very chic and trendy restaurant as part of the upscale Kings Court Hotel. The restaurant offers a changing menu of Mediterranean cuisine and I was very impressed when the waiter brought me a tablet. The entire menu was displayed with a little preview of the food. Very high-tech but never pretentious. I opted for the Italian chicken breast which was served with a salad and fries. It was a perfect meal to prepare me for the drive home. 

adele restaurant dinner in prague

Is Driving To Prague For A Day Worth It?

I love day trips and exploring in my area. However, I always make sure time efficiency is given. What do I mean with time efficiency? So I know this sounds very German, but to me, a day trip is only effective if the time spent at the destination exceeds the time of travelling. Even though I love driving and travelling, there's just no point in going to a place, spending a huge effort on trains, cars or flights and then only spend an hour or so at the destination. 

For my Prague trip, I invested 3h of driving each way (6h in total), which meant I had to spend at least 6 to 7h in Prague to make the trip and the investment of effort worthwhile. It's going to be a long day, but it is doable when you leave early and I would probably do it in the summer when European summertime allows a longer day in general. 

Prague itself is a beautiful town, regardless of the season so I can recommend a visit whenever. It does get hot in the summer, but being outside in a beer garden or enjoying a meal in the streets is priceless. The friendliness and hospitality are second to none and I'm sure you'll fall in love with the city's enchanting character in no time. 

Thanks so much for reading, 

Till next time, 

1 comment

  1. So lucky to be so close to Prague! The trdelnik is one of my favorite things, yummy!


© Style Lingua. All rights reserved.