Prague walking tour: Stare Mesto and Josefov areas

titlepraguePrague has been on my bucket list for ages, together with Istanbul it was one of the  cities I wanted to travel to for a very long time but somehow it never happened. But then, one day, thanks again to Mr. Robbie Williams, I was finally on a flight to the Czech Republic. It was the Easter holidays 2014, Mr. Williams was giving a gig in town, and my friend Isa and me decided to spend a few days sightseeing before the concert.

We took a bus from the airport to the town centre, we were dropped off in front of a huge hotel in the old part of town, and  then we  had to walk to our accommodation, and that’s when I knew: I would love this city. The beautiful buildings, the cobbled streets, the winding roads, the Gothic spires and the wonderful bridge. And in the middle of all of this historic goodness, the trendy cafés and charming  restaurants. prague-4

I admit, it was quite hard to put together a walking tour for this city. In the old town almost every street is scenic and worth walking through, but I had to make a choice. Feel free to leave the path now and then to see some more wonderful old pastel houses or pretty churches. Also leave the high heels at the hotel and wear your most comfortable shoes, the cobbles may tire your feet more than you expect. Oh, and if you just peaked at the map at the end of the post and wondered why I left out the castle district and all of Mala Strana, just know that I will provide a second Prague walking tour very soon, so stay tuned.

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Good, now let’s start. The walking tour starts and ends at Wenceslas Square, right in front of the national museum. We didn’t visit the museum, but if you have a lot of time you could consider visiting. The first and last part of the tour is all about shopping as this broad boulevard (1) is lined with stores and restaurants. If you don’t like shopping you may want to skip the street and start the tour at the Mustek metro station down the road. That’s where the street becomes pedestrian and some stalls sell typical Czech trinkets. It’s also where we had our first trdlo (or trdelnik), a sweet pastry that originally comes from Transylvania. We had many more after that, often filled with nutella. Yum! They were the perfect snack and I was very happy to see that they sold them in Budapest too.

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Walk down Na Prikope for more shops, until you reach the Powder Gate and Tower (2) and the Municipal House (3), a beautiful art nouveau building which serves as a venue for concerts, ballets and fashion shows. Pass through the Powder Gate, a restored 15th century city gate, and at the Grand Café Orient turn left on Ovocny trh. Pass the Estates theatre (4) on the right and then turn right again into Zelezna street to finally reach the Old Town Square (5). That square, just wow, there is so much to see! Take your time to soak in the atmosphere, maybe sitting in one of the many cafés. Explore the whole area, there are some interesting museums to discover, churches to visit, market stalls, restaurants, and of course the famous and marvelous astronomical clock. When you’ve seen it all, continue to the Jewish Quarter.

prague-3 prague-8 prague-9 prague-10 prague-6 prague-5prague-12Prague has one of the best preserved Jewish Ghettos in Europe, where you can see six synagogues, an old cemetery (7), the Jewish town hall (6) and the Jewish museum (8). I really wish I had more time to explore this area in depth, I know there are guided tours and I bet I would have learned a lot of interesting facts by taking one. It’s certainly going on the list of things to do during my next visit to Prague.

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After the Jewish ghetto it’s time for THE NUMBER ONE sight in Prague: Charles Bridge (10). Walk along the river (9) for a nice view of the bridge, then walk on the bridge to the other side and walk back again, repeat as many times as you want. Seriously, I think this bridge is amazing, the statues, the view, the cobblestones, the stalls, the gates, just all of it… well, maybe except the crowds, it is really busy all day long. Come to the bridge at different times of the day for diverse sights.

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Walk through some more narrow streets to reach the quiet Bethlehem Square (11), with its galleries, shops and cafés. Then continue to Havel’s market before you’re back in the main shopping street where the tour is ending.

… and here‘s the map to download.
Happy Prague tour everyone, I’m sure you will love it! :)

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