There are many perks of working for a universal travel company. Getting discounted flights, deals on hotels/ hotel packages and being part of an industry which has the primary aim of bringing happiness to it’s customers are a few of the benefits. I would have to say though, the best part which I have experienced is the opportunity to connect with people all over the world. Through having offices worldwide, we work daily with teams in North America, Asia and beyond, enabling us to make professional and personal relationships with people from all over. Because of this and the industry itself, we are encouraged to visit these offices and explore the company and all its facets.
In light of this I fully embraced the opportunity to work from another office. I decided to stick within Europe for ease, money and time zone purposes (can still work pretty much the same hours as my team in London). Excitedly scanning the list of our offices around Europe, my eyes became fixed on one city, Prague. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel a fair bit in Europe, and have already visited some of the surrounding countries of the Czech Republic, including Hungary, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, but never to the Czech Republic itself. I had heard extremely mixed reviews of Prague, some saying it was beautiful and majestic, and others saying it was ‘Stag-do hell’ due to the hundreds of hen and stag groups that go to the city for their celebrations. Despite this, me and a colleague decided to go and make our own minds up.
Upon arriving, the first thing that really struck me was the beautiful architecture. It reminded me a bit of Budapest and Vienna, due to the old and decorative buildings. In most places in London, there is such a big disparity between one building to the other. We have huge skyscrapers next to old churches and structures, which creates quite a rigid and random dichotomy. However in central Prague and beyond, pretty much all of the buildings look extremely old and have the same ornamental theme from street to street- thus making it very architecturally romantic. It appeared that even global businesses inhabit these old buildings (unlike London and its new build skyscrapers), keeping the olden structures and continuity of their style and and beauty.
After spending the first full day we had exploring via walking around (blister galore), it became clear that Prague is not only full of colour and vibrancy within its architecture. The city is alive with tourists and people enjoying what it has to offer. Unfortunately, on the weekend (like I had been previously warned), it was ram packed with rowdy drunken tourists from all over Europe. They could be seen in packs, often outside Mcdonalds and usually wearing some obscenely funny stag-do-esque outfit. This calmed down after the weekend though, and the whole city became a little more peaceful again.
After getting various recommendations for things to do, we explored various parts of the city, eating (a lot), drinking (a lot), shopping (not enough!) and sightseeing. We had two full weekends plus after work hours Monday-Friday to explore, more than enough time to get to know the city quite well. Instead of going through every single thing we got up to I have narrowed it down to a small list of my favourite things and recommendations for those interested…
…here are my top 5 things to do in Prague❤:
>>1 >> Charles Bridge (preferably at dusk)
We visited the Charles Bridge a number of times and I can honestly say it is one of the most beautiful things about the city. The bridge itself dates back to the 14th century and is as grand as you can imagine, ornate and decorated with various statues. The only downside to taking a stroll across the bridge is that it can get extremely busy, which does require you to be on guard (who knows when a rogue selfie stick held by an over excited tourist may hit you in the face..) On the weekend it is uncomfortably busy, but mid-week when it is more quiet it is lovely to walk over and gaze across the two sides of the city separated by the Vltava river. It really is as picturesque as the pictures on Time Out/ Lonely planet show it to be. Sadly, some of my photos were taken on my iPhone (as I left my DSLR in the apartment on some days, doh!) so some of the photos below do not do it any justice.
>>2 >> Dinner on the Marina
By complete accident we stumbled across the Grosetto Marina Restaurant one night whilst strolling through the city. Sitting on the edge of the Vltava river, the restaurant provides the most amazing views of the castle and surrounding buildings. Maybe I’m a bit biased as Pizza is my favourite food (and this is primarily a pizzeria..) but it was a really cool place. Very elegant but still cheap!
>3 >> Views from the castle
After a few days of eating and drunkenly walking over Charles Bridge a couple hundred times a day, we decided it was time to do some proper organised sightseeing. Prague castle was an obvious choice as you can see it on the sky line from the river and is a popular attraction. The castle itself is a beautiful structure and you can walk through the courtyard and read the tourist information provided. Although the castle itself is very beautiful, the views on the way up to it, for me, were even better. You can see what I mean below!
We were fortunate to go up on a really bright and clear day, not a cloud in the sky.
>>4 >> Local beer from… just about anywhere!
If your a big fan of beer like me you will LOVE Prague.. A LOT. Beer is cheap, cheap and delicious. (Not a single better combination of things exists in this world, right!) Anyway, Pilsner is the local beer and therefore dirt cheap. In most taverns and local restaurants we worked out that a pint cost roughly 70p. As you can imagine, there was a lot of beer drinking that took place on this trip. I would recommend drinking in the day at somewhere in Old Town Square as you can sit outside in the sunshine and people watch.
>>5 >> The Sedlec Ossuary, Kutná Hora
Now this attraction isn’t in the city but about an hour local train away and is a popular tourist attraction for those in Prague with a little time to spare. We got the idea to visit the Sedlec Ossuary (a.k.a the Bone Church) through recommendations from our Czech colleagues in the office. Basically, it is a small chapel filled with between 40,000 and 70,000 people’s bones (creepy or cool!? I’m still undecided) arranged to decorate the entire inside of the building. It is one of the famous historic sites of the Czech Republic and really is a strange but fascinating site.
Overall as you can probably tell by my words, Prague is an awesome place to visit and I would definitely recommend a visit there for a few days. I would say about four full days is enough to really see a lot and to make the most of the city. Anyway, that’s enough from me for now. Thank you for reading .. (especially if you have made it all the way down here 🙂 ). Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below. You can see more photos on my instagram too <3 : jessylaw.