trdelnik-czech-dumplings-desserts

A Little Indulgence… Czech Republic’s Rich Traditional Desserts & Recipes

sweet czech fruit dumpling recipe
A sweet dumpling dessert that I found in Český Krumlov. It was so good I went back there for it several times!

There was a niggling fear in my heart when I arrived in the Czech Republic; I worried that I was going to have vegetarian food-related issues like those I encountered in Bosnia. I was pleasantly surprised to find fantastic Czech desserts. And they were everywhere! The country has a dumpling mania, with traditional Czech recipes for everything from sweet fruit dumplings to savory dumplings, too.

Visiting Prague was not an issue for me as a vegetarian—it’ a big city and there are several tasty places. Added to that, Prague has a good number of ethnic restaurants. This is often the case in the world’s capital cities, and it’s usually easy to find Chinese, Indian, and Thai. And while this makes a good choice for dinner, had I only stuck to ethnic restaurants, I would have missed the Czech Republic’s delicious dumplings craze. And that would have been a real shame.

Once I left Prague, I faced food issues in Český Krumlov, so I researched more creative food options. Like much of Eastern Europe, traditional Czech food includes a lot of meat. The daily specials in town? Always meat. And those lovely pastries in the windows? They also have meat inside. I had to double down on talking with the locals, because otherwise, what’s a hungry girl to do?

It’s in these conversations that I learned that a few traditional Czech dishes don’t involve meat. They both happen to be desserts, however. What a shame, right? It was a hardship to sample the Czech treats every day, but in the name of research I set out on a task to try all the fruit dumplings and trdelníks that I could find.

Traditional Czech Desserts

A yummy article about traditional #Czech desserts in the Czech Republic—including sweet and savory dumpling recipe links, history information, and so much more.

Dumplings are a specialty of this whole region, not just in the Czech Republic. Slovenia offered specialty dumplings as well, and I definitely sampled those during my time. But it has to be said, I far prefer the Czech Republic’s take on the traditional dumpling. They make several types, but the fruit dumplings are served with just the right amount of tart to counteract the sweet sugar and the pat of butter topping most traditional servings of the dish.

Dumplings are a staple part of the diet the world over, and I like them in just about every form they come in. I chowed down on Tibetan dumplings in Northern India and Polish pierogies and the even steaming hot Chinese dumplings. The Italians have a version of the dumpling—ravioli—and every culture has pulled flavors and ingredients into interesting fusion versions of all of these dumpling treats. In Czech, I fell in love with their version of the traditional dumpling.

Locals often eat the dumplings as a meal, or in a sit-down restaurant, but other desserts are eaten as a snack. While not a dumpling, the Czech like other sweets, too—especially the Trdelník. This was an easy way to munch on a sweet treat in the afternoons as I wandered the city. Let’s take a closer look at each dessert. At the end, I share links to my favorite recipes for these dishes, and cookbooks if you’re looking to make dumplings in your home!

Sweet Fruit Dumplings

The dessert dumplings come in a variety of sizes. They might be served as tennis ball sized mounds of warm jam-stuffed deliciousness. And sometimes they come out as smaller, cumquat-sized balls filled with gushy blueberry oozing out. Traditionally, the Czech use a potato or curd that cooks up doughy and soft. Inside of these potato dumplings, the most traditional fillings are plum and peach. The plain potato dough is not inherently sweet, which nicely counters the sweet fruits and sugar in the rest of the dish. I’ve marveled at this tradition of savory and sweet in traditional desserts all over the world. Although an American pie crust channels this concept, it’s a bit different in other regions of the world like Asia and Eastern Europe. They use foods we think of as dinner—potatoes or beans—and craft them into more nutritious dessert creations.

In Czech, one of the best parts of these sweet treats? They’re served with a generous dollop of melted butter over the top, heaps of whipped cream, and then sprinkled with crumbled cheese and/or sugar. It’s a bit decadent, but the flavors all blend well together!

Ovocné Knedlíky dessert
My nightly plate full of Ovocné Knedlíky, often eaten as a meal by the locals. For me, these dumplings were a bit too sweet to eat as a full meal so I always saved room and ate the Ovocné Knedlíky after my meal.

I can’t claim that they are even remotely healthy. Not a chance. But man, they are a piece of warm and pleasantly sweet heaven right in your mouth.

In addition to the dessert dumpling, the sliced wheat and potato dumplings are quite traditional and worth a try. For me, I tried them just once, but they aren’t objectionable in any way, just a bit bland. Locals eat these as a side with their meaty-tastic dishes that I avoided like the plague. If you are a meat-eater, these savory bread dumplings are often served in the same way that a North American dish might have a side of bread.

Trdelník

Trdlenik Cinnamon Dessert
A delicious Trdlenik cinnamon dessert served out of a window.

This tasty dessert is a tradition born right in the Czech and Slovakia region and the two trdelník stands in Český Krumlov harken back to different time altogether as you pass the delicious-smelling street-side window stands.

Street-Side Trdelníks in Český Krumlov.
Street-Side Trdelníks in Český Krumlov.

The sales window of the shops look directly onto the street so that you can get your trdelník fix in only the time it takes you to dig out 20 crown from your pocket (about a dollar).

These treats are made from rolled dough and then grilled on a stick and coated with both sugar. You can also add an extra topping from their list. The most popular addition, and the only option they offered most days, is cinnamon. The limited choice was fine by me though as I have a love affair with cinnamon. If you’re partial to other flavors then you’ll have to arrive earlier in the day before they sell out.

These desserts are hollow and you can wear them like a bracelet as you eat them—just like those day from childhood when we gnawed on candy necklaces. It’s not the classiest way to eat a trdelník but it made it a bit more fun and interesting!


Czech cuisine may not be particularly ideal for most vegetarians, but at the end of the day I was more than willing to fill any empty space in my belly with the tasty, traditional Czech desserts. Between the sweet treats and Laibon, a wonderful vegetarian restaurant in Český Krumlov, I ate well. Laibon comes highly recommended. It’s set right on the side of the Vltava river and serves amazingly nuanced vegetarian food.

Enjoy Czech Cuisine at Home!

rafting in Cesky Krumlov

A Little Adventure… Rafting Through Czech’s Idyllic Southern Bohemian Countryside

Rapid confusion set in on my face as a huge, silent, sturdy Czech guy plunked my raft into the Vltava River, hoisted a water-tight barrel with my purse and camera tucked inside, aggressively shoved the barrel under the front lip of the raft in one giant thrust, and then sauntered away.

Our guide’s broad shoulders departing swiftly up the slope to the cozy, warm van confirmed what had just been an inkling: my cousin, friend, and I were about to raft down the river all by our lonesome selves. We had been left without a guide and in a truly tiny raft with dinky life jackets strapped around our chests.

rafting around Cesky Krumlov
Views of the utterly charming Cesky Krumlov, including the Vltava River wrapping through town.

On my way to book the rafting trip the day before, I had passed a sopping wet but widely smiling gentleman who I had previously chatted with on the bus ride from Prague to Český Krumlov. He had just completed a short one-hour trip down the river and he and his buddy completely flipped their boat by incorrectly going over the man-made rapid. They didn’t seem too concerned with having biffed it and he gave me a huge thumbs up when I told him that we planned to take the same trip, but slightly longer, the very next day.

He gave us one warning—stay left on the first rapid, right on the second, and right on the third.

I walked away telling myself: “Left, right, right. Left, right, right. Left, left, right … wait? No! Left, right, right!”

Let’s just say, the mantra didn’t stick. When the huge Czech guy left us riverside, I was worried. But the three of us figured that there was little chance that we had been offered independent rafting on a dangerous river, so it couldn’t be too bad. The worst that would happen is we would end up soaking wet and swimming to shore.

Our boat gently floated down the calm river for a while until we approached town. The river does a lovely loop (remember the Omega Ω shape I mentioned) through town—which would be a beautiful vantage on the historic architecture. Just one problem. The river changes level three times, meaning we would need to navigate the boat down three mini “rapids.”

This is when the mantra was supposed to come in handy. We approached the first one and I questioned, “So it looks like we should go down on the right?”

Caitlin vetoed my suggestion, noting that she thought I had said left first yesterday. So, despite my reservations—I was sure it was right first—we headed down the rapid.

Thank the universe they ignored me! We proceeded uneventfully over the next rapids and then began our two-hour gentle drift down the river.

These people, however, did not get the memo:

people swimming to shore in Cesky Krumlov
Not all rafters remembered the instructions!

rafting Vltava River
Tried not to laugh at them knowing it would ruin my own rafting karma!

Along the way, we played an unintentional game of pass and then be passed with a group of Czech tourists spread across three boats. They would issue forth a hearty ahoj and then release a string of excited and rapid Czech thrown in the direction of our boat. Given that I know absolutely zero Czech, the best I could do was shout a cheery ahoj back at them with a huge smile plastered on my face. My big cheesy smile was meant to communicate that we were friendlies!

This exchange of ahoj hellos continued unabated for the full two hours down the river. At one point, the three boats gained on us from behind and a drunk reveller from the nearest boats adamantly gestured and talked at the three of us. The rest of the people from this man’s boats fell out of their seats laughing—there is no doubt in my mind that we were the butt of a very, very hilarious joke.

The man continued shouting, pointing, and laughing at us until his boat was a speck in the distance and the three of us could only give forth a puzzled chuckle. What was that about?!

rafting Czech Republic
One of the “rapids” in town.

Fast forward through the rest of our drift down the river—it was rainy and cold (where, oh where did the sunshine go?!) but peaceful and calm at the same time. Although we had paddles, we didn’t use them, preferring to instead gently drift until we hauled our raft to shore at a large outdoor rest point—our designated pick up point.

After a quick phone call back to town, our rafting company picked us up. As we loaded our raft onto the trailer, our group of friendly Czechs from the river began pointing and laughing good-naturedly at us once again.

I was dying to know the joke. It was really over-the-top and I just couldn’t imagine what they thought was so funny for so long. So, I questioned the man loading up the truck. He chuckled and told us that throughout our many shouts of “ahoj”  down the river, that we had understood Czech but chose not to only say that one word.

Once they had figured it out, hearing us speak to the rafting guide, they wanted to make up for the unceasing laughter now. The leader of the group trotted over with a peace offering—a bottle of cheap rum. He was eager for us to take a sip . . . I went last and disgraced myself.

me drinking czech rum
Try a local liquor? Sure, why not!

sipping rum
Giving it a go with a pretty good attitude!

disgusted face tasting rum
Yeah, I’m clearly not a heavy drinker!

In my defence, that stuff was nasty! I still don’t quite understand the reasons for all of the guffaws on the river from this group, but they were so joyous and friendly that it was impossible to hold it against them. Plus, I mean, I don’t really mind being the butt of a joke; I found that it made the entire day more fun.

A Little Town… 8 Reasons You Should Visit Cesky Krumlov!

The heartbeat of most countries pulses from the towns, villages, and small cities dotting the countryside. Even in well-developed countries, the pace of life changes outside of urban city-centers. This proved true throughout much of my travels this past year, and also in the Czech Republic, where three days sightseeing in Prague offered just a tantalizing glimpse of Czech culture.

South of Prague, however, is another very touristy Czech city—but this one is small and easily navigated with a ton of things to do. Bonus? Interactions with the locals aroundČeský Krumlov is unavoidable if you visit for a couple of days. Or in my case, ten days! I loved charming Český Krumlov so much I canceled some onward travels to stay a few extra days.

Cesky Krumlov from the Castle Tower in Czech Republic

Český Krumlov is cute and friendly despite being overrun with tourists. Well, actually it’s only touristy during the day, but once the day trippers return to Prague, Vienna, or Salzburg, it quiets down and the dynamic between the remaining tourists and locals changes completely.

Český Krumlov is a popular day trip spot not only because it’s close to other capital cities, but also because the town’s center is a UNESCO site recognized exemplary examples of medieval, renaissance, and baroque architecture. Since my cousin and I had time to spend exploring, we decided to stay for quite a bit of time in an amazing little hostel we found, Hostel Postel—the women running it were as sweet as could be, it was cozy and warm, and free wifi and tea took it up a notch to downright special! (If you’re visiting on a mid-range budget, Pension Tiffany is completely lovely, or you can find a nice apartment for rent on Airbnb).
tredlnik stand in cesky krumlov old town

1. Get lost wandering around town.

The town seems as though it was pulled straight from a fairytale. The city center fans out from around an ornate tower and castle that rise from the banks of the Vltava river (this is the same river that runs through Prague and under the famous Charles Bridge). The river makes a Greek Omega shape around the center of the town ( Ω ) so throughout your wanders to continually pass over the banks of the rushing river. And wandering is the name of the game here. The town bursts with cute boutiques and shops selling everything from handmade soaps to carved wooden children’s toys.

2. Follow your nose to the coffee and sweets.

As you explore and familiarize yourself with charming Český Krumlov, catch the scent of freshly brewing coffee and sweet cinnamon-y dough. The city boasts a number of coffee shops (if you’re into the coffee scene, Nonsolocaffé at Latrán 72 does a great pour) and you can easily find trdelník, which is a sweet treat you cannot leave Czech without trying.
The pretty pink castle tower in Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

3. Climb 162 steps to the top of the castle tower.

The castle tower stands guard over the city and is a gorgeous, unique tower you won’t find elsewhere. In the renaissance style, this tower stands six-stories tall and the bright, marbled pink exterior glistens in the sunlight. The view from the top is worth few dollars for entry because you’ll have sweeping views of the green countryside. You can see for miles, and it’s from here that you can admire the unique pattern of the Vltava River as it snakes through the city center.

4. Tour the castle complex.

The castle grounds are extensive and lovely in the summer—shady and verdant, making it easy to feel you are subsumed in nature as you explore. My friends and I packed a budget lunch of cheese and tomato sandwiches and boiled eggs, so we feasted in the castle grounds after we had climbed the tower. The castle, once belonging to the Rožmberk family, is one of the best preserved in Europe, and the second largest in Czech Republic, so it’s unmissable when you are in town. Be sure to take the guided tour of the Baroque Theater, which is a real highlight.

There are captive bears in the castle complex, and this is my one complaint about visiting the castle. I don’t recommend that you spend money to see the bears up close. You will see them in the moat-pit from the tower, but it’s not the most ideal situation for the bears. Unlike some zoos in the world, or wildlife attractions, there is no educational or conservation element to the zoos, so it’s ethically sketchy that they are still there, in such a small space. The story goes that two bears have been at the castle entrance since 1707, which is fun and interesting until you see the concrete pit where they live. Consider this your warning that it’s all a bit sad.

views from the castle tower in Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

5. Enjoy riverside vegetarian eats.

Although Czech Republic is not, generally, vegetarian-friendly, you won’t starve in Český Krumlov. Laibon is delicious Indian and Middle Eastern restaurant with a stunningly pretty location right on the water.

6. Find a cozy pub to share a drink and conversation.

vltava river cesky krumlovChat the evening away with locals as you sip a frosty pint of Czech beer. Because many tourists leave by the late afternoon, the pubs are friendly places to pass the time with friends you’ve met at your guesthouse or hostel, or locals. Gypsy Bar is always hopping and offers live music and a great experience every night of the week. (And if you are a beer lover, there is even a brewery tour in town).

7. Raft on the Vltava River one sunny morning.

Rafting in Český Krumlov is one of the most fun adventure-filled activities you will find in the region. It’s a fast-paced river at points, and slow and gentle at other points. And although it’s easy and caters to tourists, during the summer you are just as likely to meet locals as you float down the river, past smaller villages, pretty nature, and so much more. You’ll end at a 13th-century abbey and the rafting company waits for you there and shuttles you back to town. (There are a few companies in town, we used Malecek Rafting & Canoe).

8. Settle into a slower pace of life.

It’s not that there’s a lot to do in Český Krumlov—there’s the rafting and the castle, of course. But it’s not a city where you should plan to fill every moment with activities, but instead plan on many hours relaxing in pubs, cafes, riverside restaurants conversing with friends. It’s this precise element that made me love the town.

A quick video of my wanders through town so far, with a tour from Tower:

Quick Facts: Visiting Cesky Krumlov

8 Things to Do in Cesky Krumlov, Czech RepublicSleepHostel Postel is a phenomenal budget spot in town, while Pension Tiffany offers a nice mid-range experience.  No matter which property you choose, ALA get a discount on their first Booking.com reservation. And although I stayed in a hostel, if you want an entire home or apartment, Airbnb has some beautiful options—this is my go-to when I want comfort and space.

Eat/DrinkLaibon is the best spot in the city for vegetarians, and offers tasty food anyone would enjoy. Rožmberská bašta is a fun and completely local spot that is hard to find, so mark it on your map carefully. Gypsy Bar is a must-visit for live music and a great atmosphere.

Do: Talk a morning walk through town, pop into shops and cafes. Sit by the river and sip coffee or tea. Raft on the Vltava for a full morning. Eat all the things. You can’t go wrong with a few days in town—trust me, you won’t be bored!

Transport: The town is completely walkable. You can easily take a bus from Prague (3 to 4 hours) or any of the close capital cities.

Guidebook: For more nuance and town history as you wander, use the Rick Steves Prague & Czech Republic.

Three Days in Prague

A Little Visit… Three Days in Prague & Five Things I Loved

Lauded as one of the top cultural centers of Europe, and a city almost unparalleled for architecture and beauty, I have always wanted to see Prague for myself. I have long held a romantic nostalgia for Prague thanks to Hollywood using the city’s medieval streets as the backdrop for intrigue and romance.

As an American, much of the city’s architecture is older than my entire country.Prague—or Praha to the locals—suffered far less damage and destruction than most European cities during World War II, making it a showcase of the best preserved European architecture from the past centuries. And the downtown city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a designation of cultural significance for the world. So it was a shoe-in that I would head to the Czech Republic on my round the world trip. I had already planned to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Slovenia, so Prague would require just a short train ride.

sunset from up high in prague of charles bridge
Dusk in Prague on a three-day visit to the “City of a Hundred Spires.”

But as my travels moved into Eastern Europe, other travelers warned me that the city doesn’t live up to the hype. It’s not the first time travelers have said this—sometimes others claim a town has lost its authenticity: it’s too busy, too slow, or just too something that they don’t like. But each person is unique, so I decided I would continue on toward Prague, I would find all the interesting things to do, dive into the food scene, and wander the maze of streets. I would discover for myself if Prague was, in fact, the destination of a lifetime and a must on any round the world itinerary, or an overrated touristy city glamorized by Hollywood.

Arriving in Prague

spires at sunset in prague
Sunset over the pretty castles and churches in Prague!

My train from Slovenia arrived in the late evening, which was not an ideal introduction to Prague. I prefer to enter a new city late during daylight—this is one of the ways I stay safe as a solo female traveler, plus, darkness is just not ideal for locating transportation and then plodding through the streets of a strange city with my 45 pound backpack strapped to my back since the hostel is almost never precisely where I think it should be.

When you exit the main train station, there is little information available about getting around. Although I cautiously used a taxi (again, nighttime and all, but there are some taxi con-artists to be aware of), it’s a short walk downhill into Old Town, or it’s easy to take the metro, too. If you have a smartphone (I didn’t on our first visit!), load the maps onto your phone and use that to walk. Like most transport hubs, I faced a few predatory cabbies stalking me as I searched for the official taxi stand, but they left me alone once I found a low-key driver, handed over the address, and dumped my bags into the trunk. My hostel was a bit outside of Old Town, so the private transport was pricier than I anticipated, but still worth it. Since Uber is in Prague now, I wouldn’t hesitate to summon one as soon as my train arrived and avoid the entire mess. (It is a great option from the airport, too).

Best Places in Prague’s Old Town

What a gorgeous city. I mean, it’s huge—the city itself is massive, but the bulk of tourism centers on Old Town. Staré Město is small and easily navigated as a tourist. It’s a section of Prague filled with delightfully narrow cobbled paths. Lanes wind through towering buildings, each one ornately decorated with spired Gothic and baroque architecture.

One fellow traveler recommended that I always remember to look up. What good advice!

Old Towns buildings all have some sort of ornate decoration along the top edges. Eroding carvings of a beautiful woman emerge from a stone wall of one building, while a wandering minstrel is juxtaposed on the very next. (There is even a seven-foot tall statue of Sigmund Freud hanging from one building!) The city is a fascinating hodgepodge of architectural styles: art nouveau, neoclassical, cubist, renaissance, gothic, baroque. And although I can’t readily identify the differences between each one, the varied styles make for a never-ending parade of impressive buildings.

The beauty of the buildings is a feast for the eyes for even the least art-inclined. History has carved itself into every corner of Prague. Life and humanity spanning hundreds of years is visible in the worn stone steps that lead to Prague’s castles and churches.

old town prague
Vibrant and old, it’s this contrast that makes Prague so interesting.

Even busy touristy areas shine above the chaos. The Charles Bridge teemed with tourists just as expected, but the bridge still oozed charm. This current crush of tourists is simply the latest incarnation of this bridge’s journey through history. It’s the latest incarnation of a bridge, stones, and carvings that existed before me and will continue after me as well. So when I passed the busking musicians and artists offering cheesy caricatures of young preening couples engaging in some incredibly showy PDA—I simply smiled and continued my stroll.

Three days in Prague is enough to eat all the things and see a whole lot, too. I recommend budgeting time into your days to simply relax, shop, and wander in Old Town, as it was a real highlight.

petrin park
Views over the city on my walk uphill through Petrin Park in Prague.


Planning Your Three-Day Itinerary for Prague

What to See and Do in Prague, Czech Republic

Above covers the five real highlights you should slot into your trip no matter the length, but if you have three days in town, here is an itinerary that takes in all the highlights while leaving plenty of time to explore your own interests, too.

Day One: Take a free walking tour of the city (there are many). Most end near Prague Castle, so buy a ticket and explore. Be sure to visit the castle and St. Vitus Cathedral, too. Once done, wander the picturesque streets of Mala Strana, the “lesser quarter” and find lunch, coffee, etc. Then continue your meandering through Mala Strana, finding the Lennon Wall (tourists can add to it!). As late afternoon hits, wander into Petřín Park for sunset—hike to the top through the shady paths, or take the funicular. Enjoy the sweeping views of sunset before taking the funicular down to the bottom. Dine in Kampa, it’s not a far walk from the base of the park and there are many options.

Day Two: Head to Old Town and plan to spend hours here. Wander past the Astronomical Clock (seriously impressive), and perhaps have your morning coffee and croissant in the busy town square. The Mucha Museum was my favorite, but there are others in town, too. After the museum, head to the Jewish quarter nearby and continue your wanders, museum visits, and history lessons. Buy lunch and make a picnic of it at Letna Park nearby (just across the river) and enjoy gorgeous views. Then either head back to change, or go straight to your meeting spot for a beer and tapas tour that offers local insight from your guide alongside the chance to sip the best drinks in the city. This will start your evening off, and you can head to additional beer spots (recommendations below), or home for the night.

Day Three: Venture a bit further in the city today. Head south to Vyšehrad Castle, then walk along the river back to town. If food is your thing, consider scheduling a food neighborhood tour for the afternoon, which will take you to  hidden spots and provides a lot more backstory and tasty eats. Otherwise, visit any of the other museums you find interesting (there’s everything from a KGB museum to a Kafka one on offer). And if you need some shopping time, head back to the antique places in Mala Strana, or the souvenir shops in Old Town.

Where to EatLehka Hlava offers fantastic vegetarian fare near the Charles Bridge; Maitrea is a sister restaurant with a large menu and convenient for Old Town wanders. Country Life offers a veggie buffet and it’s one of the best values for budget food in the city, even if you’re not vegetarian. Vegetarian food is tricky at general restaurants and markets, but the Czech sweets are phenomenal and I collected several memorable favorites.

Where to Drink: For a large beer selection and a hip vibe, head to Lokál Dlouhááá (it has local Czech food too, but the beer menu stands out). The Prague Beer Museum (multiple locations) also has an enormous selection of beers on tap. For wine lovers, Vinograf can be pricier than some places but is a good bet.

Where to Stay: There are a lot of options on neighborhoods, each one with a different vibe and convenience factor. The city center/Old Town is Prague 1, while Letna (Prague 7) is adjacent and walkable. Both of these have mid-range prices to astronomical. If you are on a tight budget, most of the affordable guesthouses, Airbnbs, and hostels are in the other neighborhoods. Consider that Vinohrady (Prague 2) has a good vibe while Žižkov (Prague 3) is funky and fun. I consistently find good guesthouses and hostels through Booking.com (Receive a discount on your first booking!), but for longer visits always use Airbnb.

vltava river, prague

My Five Favorite Experiences:

  1. The Mucha Museum: I recently discovered Alfons Mucha and I thought the works were simply stunning. It’s well laid out and a great stop if you like his art—I enjoyed it more than I expected.
  2. The Charles Bridge: Artists and kitschy knickknacks converge on this bridge with an unbelievably gorgeous backdrop of the river and castles all set off with the tinkling music of roving buskers. It’s charming and a must for any visit.
  3. Prague Castle: You just have to visit this, even on a tight budget. The views over the city and the river are worth the price alone.
  4. Wandering the neighborhoods: Put away your map and just wander through the streets of Old Town and Mala Strana. Get very, very lost and explore until you find a little nook and cranny pub. Sit down, have a Czech beer. Then, pull out the map and navigate back to the next item on your to-see list.
  5. Beer!: Czechs drink a whole lot of beer, and taking either a formal tour or a self-guided tour of pubs and brews is a highlight for any beer-lover.

Prague has one of the most charming skylines I have ever seen; it’s for this reason that so many guides like mine include recommendations to get higher views and visit during the sunset magic hour. There is no chance that you won’t find beauty in Prague. Even though it’s a big city (and I don’t love big cities, as a rule), it’s fun, historic, and interesting. There is never a shortage of activities, which makes it an ideal spot to spend at least three days. Although I don’t want to live in Prague, the city has earned a place on the itinerary for any trip. Whether you’re on a weekend break or an epic trio through Eastern Europe, Prague only enhanced my trip with its beauty and European charm.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/yDbC8JiDr6Y

Quick Tips: Need More Information?

Guidebook: If you’re just visiting Prague, the DK Eyewitness guide is best, but if you’re exploring other areas, go with the Rick Steves Prague & Czech Republic.

Backpacking the region? I have free travel guides covering Ljubljana, Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and stories of my time in Cesky Krumlov.