When we visited Prague, we checked out the Lennon Wall: a huge wall covered in graffiti that is mostly a tribute to John Lennon, peace, love, and Beatles lyrics.
Of course this art makes me think of “Imagine,” one of my favorite songs ever.
When we were visiting Prague, we wanted to explore a bit outside the city as well. We decided to take the train out from Prague to visit a couple of castles for some short day trips. It’s nice to see some of the regional countryside, and to get out and mix with some regular Czech folks instead of other tourists. If you dig fairy tale-ish castles in the countryside, Krivoklat and Karlstejn Castles are worth checking out.
We went to Krivoklat Castle first. It was about an hour and a half train ride from the train station in Prague. People working in the train station didn’t speak English, so buying our train tickets was a bit of an adventure. We got by with a lot of pointing at words on itineraries and universal gestures. There’s not much in the tiny town of Krivoklat other than the castle, and for that reason, there aren’t a ton of tourists all over the place. As recommended by various guidebooks and reviews I read, we paid to take the group tour of the castle. We were the only English speakers in our group and our tour guide didn’t speak English, but they did provide us with a room-by-room document that seemed to be the script that the tour guide had memorized. There was quite a bit of cool artwork and some horrible torture devices in a dungeon that seemed to typically be considered a highlight of the tour. All in all, it was definitely worth the trip, especially if you enjoy a train ride.
We also visited Karlstejn Castle, which was about a 45 minute train ride from Prague, on another day trip. The town at Karlstejn has tons of tourist-oriented shops and restaurants, so you can definitely grab an overpriced bite to eat while visiting this castle. You can wander the castle grounds and admire the exterior of the castle for free, but the tour of the interior was quite expensive and various guidebooks and tripadvisor generally did not recommend the tour (the inside of Krivoklat is supposed to be way more interesting). So we just had lunch at a cafe and then wandered around the castle grounds.
We visited Prague in June 2008 and we loved it! We felt like we were walking around a fairy tale, because of the beautiful old Czech architecture.
We stayed at The Castle Steps, in the Juniper Apartment. We had originally reserved one of their cheaper rooms, which shared a bathroom with another room, but they gave us a free upgrade to a studio apartment with it’s own bathroom, and a refrigerator and small table and chairs. I found the Castle Steps by reading reviews on http://www.tripadvisor.com, and it seemed rather common for people to get these lucky free upgrades. They had friendly English-speaking staff and computers available for guest use in the main office.
If you stay out of the most obvious tourist areas, you can get good food at reasonable to inexpensive prices. We usually ate dinner in the Castle Quarter, since after a long day of wandering around we wanted to eat near where we were staying and then have a short distance to bumble home on a full stomach. We ate at Maly Buddha a couple of times. They had good vegetarian options and reasonable prices. We also ate several times at an Indonesian restaurant a bit farther up the hill from Maly Buddha. Unfortunately I don’t remember the name of the place (some internet sleuthing leads me to believe it may be called Sate Indoneska), but the staff were super friendly and there was vegetarian food that was both delicious and inexpensive.
Here are some more photos of beautiful Prague!