Wednesday 19 April 2017

A city break in Prague

If you have been keeping up to date with my travel week posts, you will know this is my last installment. If you missed any you can catch up on my what I ate in Prague post and also my how to write travel posts as a newbie post. Today's post is all about my whole trip to Prague and what we actually got up to I went with my mum and dad.

We flew out on a Sunday evening quite late in the afternoon which was actually a great time. We got to the airport at 4pm and had some food before our flight at 7pm. The flight time from Manchester to Prague was just over the 2hr mark; there is also a one hour time difference when you arrive. We organised to be picked up from the airport by Prague airport services and I have to say they were brilliant. The service was exceptional and the driver gave us a guided tour of the city on the way to our hotel. We had booked to stay in the Jury's Inn in Florenc. This was a very last minute holiday we booked it about 10 days before flying which we have never done before. It was the first week of the Easter holidays (so it is always going to be a little more expensive than usual) it cost just over £300 each for flights and 5 nights in the hotel.

The first full day we spent looking around the Easter market located in the main square of the old town. We were those classic tourists who decided to buy tickets for the hop on/hop off bus. We often decide to go on these tour buses on the first day of our city breaks and holidays as it gives you an insight into where everything is and you are able to get your bearings. You also get some background history into where you are visiting which is great if you are only visiting for a few days. As the bus advertises the hop on/hop off aspect is a great way to see the city, we found it extremely helpful in Prague and we did get on and off throughout the day.  As part of your ticket their was a free river cruise ride included. The weather was okay this day and it was a nice extra treat to go along the river and see the sites from a different perspective.

After exploring the full city on our first day, we decided on the second day to go to Prague castle which is one of their main attractions. We got on the tram to the castle and the system is very easy to follow.  We bought a 3 day transport ticket which cost approximately £10, this was great and there was no restrictions and you could use it as many times as you wanted. We were able to buy the tram tickets from out hotel which was even more convenient. Once we got to the castle which was only about a 10 minute journey from our hotel, we had to queue for 20 minutes to go through the security system before we got into the castle to buy our tickets. Once we got into the castle grounds the process of buying the ticket was not simple in the slightest, there was no signs telling you where to buy the tickets and everything was a little bit hectic. The place where we were queuing to buy the tickets from closed then everyone manically moved into another box office where we felt as though we were in a cattle market. Throughout visiting the sites in Prague if you are a student/ have a student card take it with you as you get discount on all the main attractions. The tickets for the castle were 250 crown for adults and student tickets were 125 crown. The castle itself was such a beautiful place to visit and there is so much to see and do. They have a market within the castle grounds which had amazing food. The castle was very busy but it was half term and there were lots of tour groups. As there were lots of different parts to the castle, there was not too much queuing and we were able to see all of the sections without too much difficulty. This is a must see attraction!

We also try and always go to a city zoo on our breaks. I know that we can go to zoos in the UK but we all love family trips to the zoo and this one definitely did not disappoint. We found out that the tram ticket which we bought the day before also worked on the buses which was great as we got a quick tram ride to the closest station, and then the zoo provided regular buses which started at this tram stop to the zoo. We were not sure how the big the zoo was, and we were really surprised at just how big it actually was. It took us a good 6 hours to get around the entire zoo. They had polar bears which totally made my visit as they are just such beautiful animals. We managed to walk 15,000 steps this day and my feet were killing!

On the 5th day we took a visit around the Jewish quarter part of the city. Instead of buying tickets to go into all of the different sites we instead decided to just have a gentle wander around and see all the variety of buildings. We also managed to fit in a little bit of shopping on this day to my delight. There is a huge shopping centre called the Palladium located at Namesti Republiky. This centre has over 200 shops and the biggest Sephora, there are actually 3 Sephora's in various locations across the city (and yes I went into them all!). The shops are more high street than high end which I loved as I had some money left to spend so I had a little shop around and picked up some great things. There is also a street just off the square which hosts lots of high end designer shops.

On the last day we had an evening flight so we didn't want to waste the day, but we also did not want to venture too far. We went back into the old part of the town for a last look round. We also went to Charles Bridge which is a main tourist attraction, it is lovely and you can see some really beautiful views from standing on the bridge. The weather was awful on this day and we were not wanting to tramp around in the in the pouring rain, so we went for some lunch and then headed back to the hotel to collect our suitcases and head to the airport. 

We overall had a good time in Prague we were all impressed as to just how well priced everything was. If you read my what I ate in Prague post you will have seen that we were as surprised as to just how well affordable yet great quality the food was. As already mentioned we found that with the attractions within this post, nothing was overpriced and we really felt as though we were getting value for money. 

On the way back home me and my mum were discussing whether we would recommend to others to visit Prague or not. Since I have been back I have found myself saying the same thing numerous times to people who have asked how my holiday was. I thought it was important to mention that as soon as we got into our taxi in Prague, the driver informed us to be careful with pickpockets. He stated that unfortunately they have had an influx of people coming into the country and especially into the city who have created this kind of unfortunate pick-pocketing culture. I know you get pickpockets wherever you go, its life. I have been to Venice which is one of the most beautiful places I've ever visited and we were warned of the same the problem by the tour company. However in Prague I have never seen anything like it. 

On the first night in the supermarket 50 metres away from our hotel, a man approached me in a very strange way I instantly grabbed hold of my bag tight and I felt extremely uncomfortable as he tried to put his arm around me. Thankfully my dad was there, but he followed us outside and we were all shocked by what had happened considering it was such a public place. Unfortunately, it left a really bad taste with us and we were all constantly on edge the rest of the holiday. I saw someone get pick pocketed at the metro stop, they simple rife through wallets and purses for cash and then throw them away instantly. I would not have left the hotel or gone anywhere in fact on my own as I simply did not feel safe. I do not want to end this post on a bad note but I think it is important to inform my readers and be honest as to how I really feel about the trip. On my return home I have said to people I would suggest visiting Prague as the place overall is great and there is so much to see and do. However, I would not necessarily rush back.

Have you ever been to Prague?

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