European weekend city trips are a great way to fit traveling into any schedule without taking time off of school or work. What can you do in 2-days in a new city? You’d be surprised! If you are visiting a new city for the first time create a list of things you want to see and do before going, then try to prioritize. Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor was it completely inspected by even the most ambitious of tourists!
This past weekend I took a bus from Berlin to Prague, which took about 4 hours and set me back 20 Euros, plus a good night’s sleep. I decided to depart at 3:55 AM in order to arrive in Prague bright and early Saturday morning.
Upon arriving at the bus station, I went to the Tourist Center and bought a 2-day Prague Card for about 50Euros. The Prague Card allows you to use all public transport, and to get into a number of tourist attractions free of charge or at a discounted rate. I would only recommend purchasing the card to first time travelers who want to do a lot of sightseeing. Prague is quite small, so put on your walking shoes! Oftentimes it would take just as long to walk somewhere as it would to take public transport.
Day 1 Sightseeing
- New National Museum Prague – The first thing I did after checking in to my Airbnb was visit the New National Museum, which is next to the National Museum. Note that the Nation Museum is being renovated until 2018. The New National Museum is rather small, featuring two main exhibitions Retro, and Noah’s Ark.
- Wenceslas Square – Just in front of the National Museum is Wenceslas square, one of the central squares of the New Town. In early January there were still some Christmas market stands, serving mulled wine, yummy trdelnik, and traditional Polish food, such as klobása, grilovaná zelenina, and bramborové halušky. Have a stroll along the nice shops and soak up the beautiful architecture.
- Old Town Hall Tower – Continue walking down Wenceslas Square to the Old Town Square. You will know once you’ve arrived, due to the swarm of tourists! Make sure to check out the astronomical clock, which is mounted to the Old Town Hall Tower when it strikes at the hour. I highly recommend going up the tower to take wonderful pictures, and to have a great bird’s eye view of the city.
- Charles Bridge – Once you’ve had a walked around the Old Town, cross over the Charles Bridge to the Lesser Town (Malá Strana). The bridge is absolutely beautiful, filled with artists, baroque statues, and pedestrians. Make sure to go early in the morning or late at night if you want to beat the crowds!
- National Gallery – The Prague National Gallery is split up into several locations most of which are in the Lesser Town. I went to the Salm Palace and Sternberg Palace, which are located adjacent to the Prague Castle. My one regret of the trip is not going to the Kinsky Palace. Have a look at museums’ short-term and permanent exhibitions to avoid missing out!
- Lennon Wall – The Lennon Wall served as a symbol of freedom and rebellion against the communist regime in the 80s. After John Lennon’s death, several teenagers decided to commemorate his death by making the wall his “burial place”. Now, the color wall hosts bright artwork promoting freedom and equality. Consider yourself warned that the wall itself is quite small, extremely touristy, and is a little too kitsch for my taste.
After a long day of traveling and sightseeing enjoy your evening with a tasty pint of Czech beer!🍻
Day 2 More Sightseeing
- Dancing House – Prague is known for its Baroque, Gothic and Art Nouveau architecture, and the Dancing House certainly adds an unexpected twist! Designed by Frank Gehry, the building was constructed from the rubble, as the former house was destroyed by an American bomb in 1945.
- Prague Castle – Supposedly the largest castle in the world, a trip to prague’s castle is a must! Be sure to explore the many beautiful churches and museums on the castle grounds, such as St. Vitus Cathedral and Basilica of St. George.
- Museum Kampa – For all interested in modern art, I highly recommend going to Museum Kampa. The gallery focuses on presenting works from Czech artists, such as Josef Istler, Václav Boštík, Jiří Kolář, Josef Moucha and Jindřich Zeithamml. It was by far my favorite museum of the trip!
- Czech Museum of Music – If you play a musical instrument or are simply interested in the history of music, be sure to go to the Czech Museum of Music. It boasts an impressive collection of around 70,0000 items, and the option to listen to various recordings, such as experimental 20th century piano tracks .
- Dox Center for Contemporary Art – Located a bit outside of the city center and close to central bus station, the DOX Center for Contemporary Art is a great final stop for your two day trip. The museum is very spacious and interactive, making it perfect for families.
That was my busy and exciting two day itinerary to Prague. Even with minus temperatures and snow, Prague is a true pleasure to visit!