Pleasant Surprises in Prague

I’ve come to accept the fact that I am an emotional traveller. On more than one occasion, I’ve been moved to tears by places I’ve visited. Sometimes it’s because I’m overwhelmed by the beauty, other times it’s because I’ve waited so long to visit, I can’t believe I’m actually there. Prague made me teary eyed for both those reasons.

travelyesplease.com | Pleasant Surprises in Prague | Charles Bridge

I had been thinking about Prague since 2006, when I graduated university. It’s a place I didn’t know a whole lot about, but for some reason was forever dreaming about visiting. I kept hearing so many great things about Prague and its beauty. I was intrigued.

Even though I was fantasizing about Prague, I hadn’t been actively searching photos of it on the internet. Strange, I know. Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I waste so much time looking at travel photos. In this case though, I’m glad I didn’t do a lot of image searching. I walked into Prague with no preconceived notions, no expectations for what it should look like. I got to experience Prague for the first time, through my own eyes, not through the lens of someone else’s camera.

travelyesplease.com | Pleasant Surprises in Prague | Old Market Square

When I first stepped foot into Staroměstské náměstí, the old market square, I was… well, I was at a loss for words. Even now, I’m struggling for the right word to describe how I felt. Awestruck comes close. I was trying my best to fight off the tears, not wanting my new husband to think I was crazy, but I couldn’t help it.

“What’s wrong? Are you crying?” Mike asked.

“It…it’s…just so…so…beautiful,” was all I could choke out.

I was overcome- by the beauty, by the atmosphere, by a dream come true.

travelyesplease.com | Pleasant Surprises in Prague | View of Prague Castle

Pleasant Surprises in Prague

Prague surprised us in many ways, all good. That’s one advantage to not doing a lot of research on a destination- everything feels like an amazing discovery!

The Musical Culture

The first thing we noticed, was that Prague is a very musical city. There was always a band, or individual, playing music in the old market square. Great music too! These were talented musicians attracting a large crowd of people, who were tapping their feet and swaying to the music. It created such an energetic atmosphere, a positive vibe that seemed to reverberate off the surrounding historic buildings.

travelyesplease.com | Pleasant Surprises in Prague

travelyesplease.com | Pleasant Surprises in Prague

Musicians and artists line Charles Bridge.

Prague also has many concert halls and opera houses. The Prague State Opera, National Theatre and Estates Theatre present a repertoire of opera and ballet throughout the year. When we were in town, Prague was hosting an international music festival and we were able to watch a free performance on the steps of the Rudolfinum music auditorium. We also took in a concert at the Municipal House. The theme was Hollywood movies and there was a special appearance by the Pink Panther!

travelyesplease.com | Pleasant Surprises in Prague | Municipal Housetravelyesplease.com | Pleasant Surprises in Prague | Concert at Municipal House

English

It was such a relief to find out that English was widely spoken in Prague. We had no idea where to begin when it came to pronouncing Czech words!

Friendly Locals

Prague is such a welcoming place and everyone we met was very friendly and gracious. Hotel and restaurant staff, local vendors and artists, even fellow travellers, were all pleasant and easy to talk to.

There was one artist on Charles Bridge whose photography I just loved. Every day we walked across the bridge and would stop to talk to him. He told me stories about his photographs and let me in on his secrets about how he shot and edited them. We bought one of his prints because I knew I wouldn’t be able to capture Charles Bridge the way he did, free of people. He said that he gets his best photographs in the winter, when there are fewer tourists. Even then though, he said he only comes away with a great shot about one out of every ten times he comes to photograph the bridge.

IMG_4768

Exquisite Architecture

Even though I had kept hearing how beautiful Prague was, I was expecting to see more bland, ramshackle Communist era buildings. That could not be further from the truth! The architecture in the historic centre of Prague is exquisite! I loved the colours and the attention to detail was beyond impressive. We even came across some beautiful, historic wall art.

travelyesplease.com | Pleasant Surprises in Praguetravelyesplease.com | Pleasant Surprises in Praguetravelyesplease.com | Pleasant Surprises in Prague travelyesplease.com | Pleasant Surprises in Prague

Cleanliness

Prague is a very clean city, and this is one of the reasons why we kept saying that Prague was more beautiful than Paris (and it smells better too!) We always saw workers out and about sweeping up the streets, keeping everything neat and tidy. Considering the amount of tourists that come through Prague, keeping the city clean is probably not an easy task, but the city workers sure do a great job!

The Crowds

I wouldn’t exactly call the crowds a pleasant surprise. I honestly was not expecting to see so many tourists in the middle of September. The surprising part was that the crowds didn’t bother me.

travelyesplease.com | Pleasant Surprises in Prague | Crowds gather to watch the astronomical clock

Crowds gather to watch the astronomical clock welcome in a new hour.

I don’t enjoy being surrounded by large groups of people- it feels too chaotic. In Prague though, I didn’t feel stressed as we merged into the huge crowd, walking down the narrow street towards Charles Bridge. It just added to the excitement and anticipation. I’ve never seen such a big group of people all heading to one place, that wasn’t a sporting event!

travelyesplease.com | Pleasant Surprises in Prague

Of course, I would have preferred if there were less people around. Walking down the narrow streets became tricky when it rained, umbrellas bumping each other as people passed. The reason why I didn’t get as annoyed as I normally would have, was because everyone was in great spirits, being respectful of each other. There was an unspoken understanding that we were all there for the same reason- to experience the wonderful city of Prague.

travelyesplease.com | Pleasant Surprises in Prague | Old Market Square

More About Prague

A Walk Through Prague: Part One- The Old Town

A Walk Through Prague: Part Two- Lesser Town and Castle Quarter

Prague at Night: Photo Series

Prague’s Famous Astronomical Clock

Tours in Prague

Here is a trusted site that has a large inventory of tours and tickets for activities in Prague. You can book everything from walking tours, river cruises, concerts, pub crawls, airport transfers, and day trips out of the city.

Accommodations in Prague

For your convenience, here is a list of hotels in Prague. Please consider booking your Prague accommodations through the included link. It costs nothing extra and helps support this website. Thank you!

 

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  • Frank - Nice reading this post – I intentionally skipped the photos because we’ll be there this coming summer, using Prague as a base for 2 months. I like being surprised and prefer to leave the visual for when we get there. But sounds like you loved it which is reassuring!
    Frank (bbqboy)January 29, 2014 – 11:04 pmReplyCancel

    • Rhonda Krause - 2 months! Wow, I just got very jealous! I would love to go back and explore more of Prague and the Czech Republic.January 29, 2014 – 11:08 pmReplyCancel

  • Lizzie - I didn’t really know what to expect from Prague either when I visited… But, like you, I was very pleasantly surprised. It’s such a lovely, friendly city and I can’t wait to go back!January 31, 2014 – 2:47 amReplyCancel

  • Maria Vars - WOW………….. Beautiful…………………February 1, 2014 – 2:26 amReplyCancel

  • Davide - Prague is one of my favourite cities in Europe, I liked it so much that I have been there twice; thanks for sharing your post and your beautiful pictures!February 1, 2014 – 5:14 pmReplyCancel

    • Rhonda Krause - You’re welcome! Thanks so much for taking the time to read it. Prague really is one of Europe’s best cities and I would love to return for a second visit!February 1, 2014 – 5:17 pmReplyCancel

  • The Traveling Fool - Prague is a great town. A little touristy now but still great. I spent a month there a few years back and took a few side trips. Pilzen is a great town and about an hour train ride away.February 3, 2014 – 12:11 amReplyCancel

  • NZ Muse - The street music really was amazing in Prague, the only other place I can think of that rivals it is New Orleans and that’s a totally different style. The street food stalls look and smell fantastic in Prague too.

    Prague was never really on my radar but friends rave about it, so we got cheap bus tickets over from when we were in Berlin and I’m so glad we went.February 9, 2014 – 2:45 pmReplyCancel

    • Rhonda Krause - Yes! We were always saying how the atmosphere in Prague reminded us of New Orleans, another great city. Both places are very musical and have a similar relaxed, welcoming vibe to them.February 9, 2014 – 2:50 pmReplyCancel

  • Marina K. Villatoro - I love places like Prague. There is so much to see, do and learn that it doesn’t matter how long you stay, you always find new stuff that will keep you interested. Great photos.March 6, 2014 – 11:54 amReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - I really like Prague. There’s really quite a lot to see and do there. That’s fantastic that you got to see a free performance! That theater looks amazing.March 12, 2014 – 4:10 pmReplyCancel

  • Soha's Prague Trip itinerary - I went through your Prague trip report and wanted to read more about you..As you have been to Prague please can you give me some travel tips about it…I have also planned an Prague trip itinerary..feel free to add some taste to it from your side…
    Thanks a lot..All d best for future traveling..March 14, 2014 – 4:08 amReplyCancel

    • Rhonda Krause - I looked at your itinerary & it looks pretty good. You’ve included some things that we didn’t get a chance to see. The only thing I would add, is to walk across Charles Bridge to the Lesser Town (Mala Strana) and visit the Castle Quarter. We didn’t go inside any of the buildings, but it still was nice to wander around the complex. Plus, you get some great views of the city from up there! Have fun on your trip!March 15, 2014 – 10:41 amReplyCancel

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