Prague seems to be enjoying a moment in the spotlight as one of the latest Instagrammable destinations, particularly for the cash-strapped Brit. It is a really charming city, with plenty of old buildings and pretty streets, as well as the meatier history of its past as a Communist state for those on the nerdier end of the scale (such as myself). The cost of living is really low, and you can find some lovely hotels and AirBnBs for very little. Food is high-quality but cheap, and beer is literally cheaper than water (if that’s your thing).
One of the icons of the city is the wonderful Charles Bridge, built by Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV in the second half of the fourteenth century. It reaches across the Vltava River with a slight wiggle, designed to help repel invaders, connecting Prague’s Old Town with the Castle. It helped to build Prague’s position as an important trade route between East and West Europe, and has been at the heart of some of Prague’s more dramatic historical events.
It is now one of the city’s main tourist attractions, and its towers offer spectacular views across the rooftops. The Old Town Tower is the more distinguished of the two, and is set up as a small museum. The main attraction is undoubtedly the view. Even climbing the staircase to the ticket office offers charming glimpses through small window out to the city. There are several storeys to work your way up through, culminating in the roof of the building, where the braver among you will be rewarded with unrivaled views over the city. You can see across to the Castle, and back over the Old Town and out to the city’s most obvious communist survival, the Žižkov Television Tower (which somewhat divides opinion, but as a concrete lover I rather like it).
One of the floors hosts an exhibition, charmingly illustrated with images from illuminated manuscripts, and the basement contains a slightly weird but amusing display of items dredged from the Vltava. They span the whole history of the city, right up to present day – one poor chap’s driving licence even made it in!
It won’t take you that long to explore the Tower (depending on how seriously you take your cityscape photography), but it is a great way of seeing the city, and learning a bit about its history. Admission costs a mere CZK150 (about £5) so, like everything else in Prague, it is highly affordable. You can visit their website for more information on opening hours, exhibitions, and how to get there.
So check it out next time you’re in Prague, and let us see your pics! Do you have any recommendations for other things do get up to in Prague? Let me know what I should do next time I’m there.