Prague – April 2015
There are literally hundreds of blogs out there describing all the cultural and historical places to visit in Prague – the Castle, Astronomical clock, Library, King Charles IV Bridge – So I’m not going to write about these here (All are well worth a visit though!)
As this was my second trip to Prague, we decided to spend most of our time drinking and partying. Prague is, after all one of the Stag/hen party hotspots in Europe.
During my first visit back in 2006 I did more of the cultural thing. I took in all of the historical sites mentioned above but was left disappointed by the nightlife. I visited in February when most of the pubs were still closed, there was snow everywhere, and the temperature was minus 15 degrees centigrade! I spent most evenings trying to find somewhere, anywhere to go for a drink and had to make do with a terrible Irish theme bar as it was the only place open at that time of year. I even opened a door to what I thought was a nightclub, only to find a brick wall behind the door! – True story.
I was rather sceptical about returning for a party weekend, but it was Andy who convinced me that literally everywhere you go in Prague there’s a pub. So I agreed to give it another chance. Here’s where we went and what we did.
Where we stayed
This was our first time using the website Airbnb, which was recommended by a friend. Basically local residents all over the world rent out their apartments for a very reasonable price. Both Andy and I were well impressed. Instead of a low-budget hostel in the centre, or a semi-decent hotel miles out of the city, we were able to get a gorgeous apartment for the same price. It was only a ten-minute walk from the centre, which was ideal.
Our host, Jaro, was very helpful and met us off the tram to hand over the keys to the apartment. He welcomed us in and showed us around, before leaving us to spend the weekend there. He even left a welcome pack, listing his favourite restaurants, cafes and bars, so it was great to get some local ‘insider’ knowledge. We’ll definitely be using Airbnb again in future.
How we travelled around
We mainly walked everywhere – The tourist areas are all within easy walking distance, so you won’t really need public transport unless you’re living further out of town. If you are then the trams are cheap and simple, and there is also a metro system. You need to buy a ticket in advance for these, which you can do from machines near each stop. If you are found to be travelling without a ticket there is a hefty fine.
George and Dragon – old town square
Normally I try and avoid any sort of British or Irish theme pub, however, Andy wanted to watch the Hibs football game and the staff were very friendly and accommodating. There was live music on every night, which was brilliant, however, the crowd were mostly drunken English lager louts.
Just a short walk from the square we found the Hangar cocktail bar, which was a vintage aviation themed cocktail bar. The waitresses were all dressed in skimpy pilot and airline uniforms, the decor was very sleek and sophisticated, and the cocktails were among the best I’ve ever tasted! I recommend the “Pan Am Mail” which was Hendricks Gin with honey and thyme.
Prague Beer Museum
We accidentally stumbled across the Prague beer museum, which was also a short distance from the old town square. It hosts a selection of over 30 beers from Prague and around the world, so it’s a must-stop for all beer lovers
There were numerous other bars we visited, none of which I can remember the name of. You know how it is after a few too many! The price of beer was usually around 40czk (£1.25 / €1.50/ $1.80) however we found one pub selling beers for 25czk! (£0.70 / €0.85 / $1)
Old Town Square
There are lots of historic squares and spaces throughout the centre of Prague, containing markets, street entertainers, public artworks and even a cider tent where you could buy an ice-cold pint. There was a stage set up too which had daily performances from dancers and choir groups.
Everywhere you go in Prague there is always something to see. The place was buzzing and I couldn’t believe the difference visiting in April, compared with February when I’d last visited the city. One of the highlights for me was getting my photo taken wearing a crown and holding a parrot – totally random!
There are hundreds of bars and restaurants all surrounding the square, so you needn’t travel too far in order to find something to do.
The Karlovy Lázně nightclub is the largest in central Europe, with five floors of fun. We had such a good time here that we went back again on the second night of our stay.
The Entrance fee is between 180 and 200czk, which is about £5 (€7 / $8), so won’t break the bank. This was probably the largest expense of our whole trip, as everything else was so cheap. Each of the five floors has a different theme or style of music.
First we went to the chill out room to have a few drinks, but ended up spending most of our time on the “Kaleidoscope” floor with a light-up dancefloor. The music was mostly cheesy disco hits from the 70s and 80s – everything from Michael Jackson to Bryan Adams and Wham, so we danced the night away in here both nights. There is also a proper dance music area with DJs and lasers, an R&B floor, and even an ice bar. Warning, whatever you do, don’t drink any “Absinthe energy” drinks. We asked for Jagerbombs, but they didn’t have any and suggested absinthe instead. It’s lethal!
Hints & Tips
– Keep your belongings secure at all times – as with all other major cities there are hundreds of pickpockets operating in Prague. Drunken revellers are an easy target.
– Don’t drink “Absinthe energy” which is a shot of absinthe mixed with Red Bull. Not unless you want to end up wasted.
– Also don’t drink the ‘traditional schnapps.’ The waiter in the first pub gave us the spiel about how this was a traditional drink in Prague and asked if we’d like to try some. We didn’t realise it would be 70 Korunas each (£1.80). Probably a silly idea to drink these before breakfast too!
– Do look for an apartment on Airbnb, there are some excellent deals out there, and the local knowledge from our host was invaluable.
– Do check what is open at the time of year you are travelling. We found most of the bars to be closed in winter.
– Do buy tickets for public transport. You don’t want to be fined a hefty sum! What a way to ruin your trip.
-Most importantly – have fun!
Here are some of the touristy and cultural bits, just for those who are interested.
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