20 Feb Prague, delights for the Senses
by Emma Dupont-Brown from Australia
Rooftop beauty over Prague by Emma Dupont-Brown
Rooftop beauty over Prague
Prague, said to be the city of 100 spires is rich in life, history and romantic charm. I was fortunate enough to visit here a few months ago and explore all this gorgeous place has to offer and by the end of my week I had come to the conclusion Prague truly is a city that has something for everyone. Whether you’re visiting for the first time or returning again, thee is always more to discover. Here’s a quick highlights package to help plan your next visit to the Czech capital.
Where to start? Just get walking by Emma Dupont-Brown
Where to start? Just get walking
One of the most fabulous things about Prague is that it is truly a walking city. Everything within the Old Town area is very close, and the walk up to Prague Castle, over the Charles Bridge is just beautiful. To get the most from the history, culture and people of this city, a free walking tour really is the way to go. The Czech people are not only incredibly friendly, but they also have a great sense of humour mostly poking fun of themselves, the tour guides make no exception. The majority of walking tours start in the Old Town Square late morning; Sandemans New Europe Tours is my personal pick. No need to book in advance, just arrive 15 minutes before the departure time.
The lively heartbeat of Old Town Square by Emma Dupont-Brown
Bit of a foodie?
Czech food is far more than schnitzel and goulash. When it comes to finding a great meal, it pays to do some homework and look for some of Prague’s great gastro-pubs. My personal favourite is 15th century Pivovar U Tří Růží, not only does it brew its own ales on site but also delivers tasty pub-grub with more than the usual suspects on the menu including grilled salmon with sautéed beans and pepper sauce (not always easy to find good seafood in Eastern Europe). Definitely make a reservation, as seating is limited. As for Czech desserts, strudel is a staple but you really can’t go past the sweet taste of the local favourite, a trdelnik. You can find little hole-in-the wall stores all throughout town cooking these sweet cinnamon scrolls fresh. The only question will be to have it with ice-cream, chocolate or just plain. You choose!
A Czech Delight – Enjoying a Trdelnik, a traditional pastry sweet by Emma Dupont-Brown
Arias, Symphonies, Sonatas and more…
Throughout all of Prague music abounds – buskers on the Charles Bridge, majestic organs in grand cathedrals and full orchestral ensembles in some of the most beautiful concert halls in Europe. Our visit coincided with the annual Dvorak Festival in honour of the renowned Czech composer. The programme attracts international artists each year and affords a range of music delights hosted in landmark buildings including The Rudolfinum and the beautiful Smetana Hall, where the painted mural ceiling and stunning architecture is as captivating as the performance. Tickets to all sorts of performances are readily.
Classical concerts in the stunning Mirror Chapel of The Clementinium by Emma Dupont-Brown
A Photographer’s Paradise
Abundant in 14th century architecture, spectacular riverside scenery along the Vlatva and all the Prague is a photographer’s paradise. That said, when time is precious, it helps to know where the best spots are to capture this city. My best tip is to get elevated. I fell in love with Prague when I saw her from above, up in the towers, from high in the castle, from above the river walking in the parks.
Crowds gather for the hourly Astronomical Clock Performance by Emma Dupont-Brown
My favourite spots to shoot Prague from above include the Old Town Square Tower, try to get up there ahead of the Astronomical Clock chiming on the hour, that way you will see the crowd below in full force. The tower at the Old Town end of the Charles Bridge provides a beautiful spot to watch sunset fall over the bridge with the Castle sitting high on the horizon. Lastly, take either the tram or take a steep walk up to Letna Park, part of the enjoy the vista looking down on all the bridges that reach across the Vlatva River.
Stunning vistas over the Vlatva River from Letna Park by Emma Dupont-Brown
If you’re after the postcard shot of the bridge with no one on it, you’ll have to do as I did and be up for sunrise. Although be prepared, you will no doubt be joined by a few other photographers, you might even make some new friends.
Dawn Magic on the Charles Bridge by Emma Dupont-Brown
Got a spare day to leave town?
Thinking of heading a bit further afield… then lose yourself in what has to be the living version of a Hans Christian Anderson fairy-tale village. Cesky Krumlov is a short 2-hour drive south of Prague, a tiny town nestled in the nook of a river bend, sitting under the watchful eye of hillside castle towering above. The scenery is just spectacular.
Fairtytale landscapes at Cesky Krumlov by Emma Dupont-Brown
Fairtytale landscapes at Cesky Krumlov
In summer, crowds descend on this town for a whole spectrum of water-based sports including white water rafting. In the cooler months, the town is far quieter and provides some respite from the hustle and bustle of the capital city. Visit the stunning Castle and it’s gardens, enjoy a culinary walk through the weekend farmer’s markets in the square or just sit back and savour a beer by the river. Getting there is quiet easy with CK Shuttles who run return trips in clean, modern vans several times a day. You won’t be disappointed.