Prague with its Theresienstadt concentration camp
The flight from Budapest with its Tabakgasse synagogue was quick and to not repeat the same mistake to take money, we avoided all Euronet’s ATM because they have a high fee, we found normal ATM at the exit, just after leaving the luggage area on the right side then we went to the public transport stand where we bought our 24h pass ticket (if there is a huge queue, go to the bus stop, there are ticket machines).
To reach our hotel Ibis Praha Mala Strana (plzeňská 14), we exit the airport and we went on the right side where there is the bus stop. We took the bus 100 and we got down at the last stop then we took the metro yellow line B to get off at the anděl station. There are 2 exits, the good one is the one showing “tram” and the
hotel is just at few steps. The other option is to take the bus 191 from the airport and to get down at the anděl stop so there is no need to do a change since it is a direct line. The hotel is located in a nice area with 2 big malls just next to it, also there are many tramway lines but only 2 lines are useful for us, the number 12 and 20 which bring us to the Petrin tower and the Prague castle for instance.
So after leaving our luggage in the hotel, we decided to visit the malls then we went to the downtown (old town) for a night walk. When we were at Budapest, the first day we bought single tickets and after the 24h metro ticket and for Prague, we decided to buy directly the 24h public transport ticket so I can’t tell you how the single one works. For the 24h one, if in Budapest we didn’t need to validate it; in Prague we had to do it only 1 time (the first time) either by taking the bus, the tramway, the funicular or the metro. Since we already did it by taking the airport bus so we didn’t need to validate it again by taking the metro to go to the old town.
We took the metro yellow line B and we get down at the můstek station (just 3 stops) then we walked about 10 minutes to reach the old town square. Unfortunately, the Astronomical Clock was in renovation but at least, people can go up to the tower, something that we didn’t because we favoured the fresh summer night air of August.
The next 3 days, we were delighted about the architecture that we found beautiful than Budapest so I always kept an eye up and also we bought the 72h metro ticket at the ticket stand (some ticket machines don’t offer this option). The terrain is very similar to Budapest, I mean, the city is divided bya river called Vltava, at the left side, there are “hills” (the castle, Petrin tower, etc.) and at the right side, it is flat (astronomical clock, church of Our Lady before Týn, etc.). Because the river is small, well comparing to the Danube river in Budapest, it is possible to rent a boat and have fun.
- Střelecky Ostrov island is located just below the Legions bridge. At the middle of the bridge, there are a stairway in one side and at the opposite side, a lift, both lead us to the island. It was very pleasant to enjoy a break in the afternoon of a hot summer, there was a local music concert, places to eat, people swimming into the river, people walking at the shore of the island into the water and no, it was not here to rent a boat. We found it later where meanwhile walking, located just in front of the krannerova kašna monument.
- Legions Bridge offers nice views to the famous Charles bridge and the other side to the Dancing House (we had to stay on the right side to spot it). For people who like the sunset, looking toward the Charles bridge, the sun goes down behind the hill of the Petrin tower on the left and personally it is not a good place to see itfrom this bridge because the hill is just hiding the sun.
- Mánes Bridge offers also a nice view and better view of the sunset from a bridge. In one side, we saw the Charles bridge and the Petrin tower and the castle at the right and the sun goes down behind the castle. On the other side, we saw the Rudolfinum concert hall and the Metronome hill. I think that if you prefer to watch the sunset from the high, you may go to the Metronome hill that offers a panorama view to the most important sites.
- Charles bridge is located between the 2 bridges above, we walked through it during the night time after a jazz concert at AghaRTA Jazz Centrum (železná 16) finishing at around midnight. The air was not so hot than during the day so it was very pleasant. Of course, we couldn’t see very well all the details of the most famous bridge of Prague with its many statues but since it was lighted in many spots, it was enough, creating a kind of romantic walk. There were few people as us walking, taking night pictures of the lighted castle, etc. The good thing of the city, they have night trams so to reach our hotel, we took it, it is just that they are less than during the day so the waiting time is longer.
- Lesser town is the area down the castle, we walked a little on its streets and most of the embassies are here. The streets go up (there are not flat like the other side) so little by little, we were at the top of a hill between the castle and the Petrin tower. Hopefully, we did it at the end of afternoon when it was not so hot.
- We did a free tour with New Europe Tours, the guy provided us useful information to understand better the city. Before the last 30 minutes, the guide brought us to a bar to do a break and it is also there that the company has its kind of “head office” where meanwhile we ate and drank something, people can book other tours with them that are not free. The tour lasts about 2h30-3h with 30 minutes of break.
- Theresienstadt concentration camp, also known as Theresienstadt ghetto, is located in a town called Terezín at about 1 hour from Prague. We booked a tour at 11h from the official website and to go there, first we took the metro until nádraží holešovice metro station (red line C) and we took the exit “dělnická výstaviště” (the one with a drawing of a bus). Once outside, there are some buses but they are going to the city so we went left then at few steps, on the left, there is an underground tunnel, we took it and going straight until the other side then we went right. The bus is located at the stand number 7 (there is an information stand so we asked the guy to be sure) which was scheduled to leave at 9h25 (the ticket is bought directly with the driver). To check the bus time table (departure/arrival), click here. Near to the bus station, we bought drink and sandwiches for the trip. Once we reached the town, we headed to the fortress (on the right once off the bus) and the tour started just at the entrance where the ticket office is located. The tour lasted 1 hour giving us time after to visit it again but at our rhythm then we went to the town to see the ghetto museum, a replica of an attic flat and the magdeburg barracks so we did only 4 on 9 Terezin memorial places included in the ticket before 18h (closing time) in summer. Perfect timing to take the bus of 18h35 to Prague. In the town, there is a map showing a total of 17 memorial places.
- Prague castle can be seen from the Charles bridge and some others, in fact, the towers, that we saw, are the church situated inside the castle complex. Since we are lazy, we took the tram that brought us at the top of the hill, the pražský hrad stop is just next to it. Meanwhile visiting the area, we walked toward the main entrance where there are nice panorama views. To go down, there are 2 options, by the stairs or by the small street, we preferred by the street since it is better for the kneels.
- Petrin tower is located near to the castle but instead to walk, we preferred to take the funicular located at the foot of the Petrin hill. So, once we were down the castle hill, we took the tram to get off at the hellichova stop and we walked just few meters to reach the funicular. The good thing is that with our 72h metro ticket, we didn’t need to buy a ticket. The funicular has 2 stops only and the nice panorama view is at the first stop because of the last stop, the area is surrounded by a wall.
After 3,5 days, it was time to go back home. For this August, we visited Budapest and Prague, comparing to Budapest, Prague is a little more expensive but still cheaper than Paris and Barcelona for instance. Since we didn’t plan to visit Terezín, only once we were in Prague, it would be better if we stayed 1 day more. My recommendations will be quite similar for Budapest, by a 24h or 72h pass metro ticket so you will have an unlimited access to the metro, bus (including the airport bus 100), tram and funicular. Places to eat, I didn’t find a place that it is worth to recommend.