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Europe

The best of Old Town Prague

July 22, 2019
Colloredo Mansfeld Palace Prague

Our airbnb (sign up through my link for $40 off) wasn’t very close to Old Town Prague, but it was the most serene oasis! We loved the outdoor area and everything was so comfortable. There are a lot of coffee shops nearby so we picked up lunch to go and ate in the garden. It’s too far to walk to the center, but transport in Prague is really cheap against the dollar. We found that the Czech Republic is one of the cheapest countries to visit. We started by taking Ubers (get $2 off your first three rides using my invite code) but found Bolt was most economical (get 150 CZK if you sign up using my code 949D2). Small tip, Bolt doesn’t have an option to add gratuity like I was used to with Uber so hang on to those coins.

One of my goals for this Europe trip was to attend an opera in Prague and it did not disappoint. Serendipitously, The Magic Flute was playing at the Estates Theatre – the only theater left standing where Mozart performed. He also debuted Don Giovanni there and lived right down the street in Old Town Prague. Tickets are very inexpensive: we were able to sit in the “Kaiser Box” for $28!

The interpretation of The Magic Flute was fairly modern and had a character off to the side playing the composer himself dreaming up the famous work and arranging actors. As the production went on Mozart started to interfere a lot and stumble around. I was a little confused and found myself constantly thinking “what’s drunk Mozart going to do now?” After a little research I found that Mozart was often inebriated. Sometimes he would even pass out in the street after frequenting his favorite pub (where he met Casanova). Pretty funny!

If you’re a Mozart fan you may have seen the film Amadeus and will recognize the next landmark I recommend visiting in Prague. The Colloredo-Mansfeld Palace has a stunning ballroom and hardly anyone knows about it! Although they hold weddings and musical performances here, it was empty mid day. We only paid a small entrance fee. It is like being transported back to the 1700s – but it is in disrepair and desperately in need of some restoration. If anyone knows more about the process for restoring historic places in Prague let me know. (I think lack of funds are the issue for this particular site). It was truly magical to visit the Palace – go here!

A good way to orient yourself with the city is through a comprehensive walking tour. Our guide took us to 30+ spots in just a few hours! Plus he mentioned a few places I never would have known about like the Colloredo-Mansfeld Palace. Toward the end of the tour we got a great view of the famous Charles Bridge. Later that evening we walked across the landmark at night. Go now because the UNESCO World Heritage Site is soon to be undergoing two decades of renovation and closed to pedestrians.

The walking tour was pretty fast-paced so it may be hard to take more than snapshots while hustling around the city. But I was able to get some good advice on the best spot for photos.

I’d seen a lot of Instagrams obviously taken from the same vantage point and had no idea where to find it – it’s the rooftop bar of U Prince! This is a really busy bar and they only take reservations if you plan to eat (book way in advance!). However, when we arrived late afternoon we were able to get in. The previous groups were turned away because the rooftop was full but we offered to wait until they had an opening. After only a few minutes of sitting politely out of the way we were shown to a table with the BEST VIEW! Not to mention the cocktails are stellar. I highly recommend the Princ Julep and the Basil Swizzle.

If you’re looking for a more traditional setting try the historic beer hall U Fleku! Their house beer is dark, but really tasty. Plus, the brewery dates back to 1499. The menu is meat-centric but it’s a good spot for a quick drink. There are also accordion players to serenade you.

Vegan restaurants are plentiful in Prague and have a lot of great options. I loved Puro where you can grab delicious salads, sandwiches/wraps and quiche to go. The Moroccan carrot salad with chickpeas, bulgar and almonds was out of this world. I also had the tofu egg wrap and coleslaw bbq tofu bagel. We also went to Maitrea (reservations required), which was pretty good, but not the best vegan food I’ve ever had. However, the aesthetic is really nice: think garden fountains and yoga vibe.

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  • Reply
    Emily Luxton
    August 16, 2019 at 10:52 am

    Oh my gosh, I absolutely LOVED Prague when I went. Especially the John Lennon Wall – how cool is that?! I actually found it quite moving how many messages of love there were in one small place. Your trip to the Colloredo-Mansfeld Palace looks particularly amazing, I had no idea it was there. Definitely a reason to go back!

  • Reply
    Clarice
    August 19, 2019 at 6:11 pm

    Thank you for the heads up! We had no idea that they have plans of closing the site for renovation. We were delaying our trip to Prague for quite some time but I think now is the best time to visit. Thank you too for sharing your wonderful experience. Happy to know that there are a lot of vegan restaurants available.

  • Reply
    Daniel
    August 19, 2019 at 9:02 pm

    This brings back memories; I have been to most of the places you listed and I absolutely loved it. As my girlfriend is a vegan and we didn’t have many difficulties for food and restaurants as the options were bounty unless like some cities we visited. Your guide is really comprehensive in particularly for the first time travelers and the picture you took are inspiring me to take another trip to Prague.

  • Reply
    Paula
    August 19, 2019 at 9:19 pm

    First, I really your photos and your blog! I have never been in Prague but I hope to visit in upcoming years soon. I have only heard good things about it, and there is so much history and beautiful buildings that we would enjoy. This just inspired me to make it happen for my family!

  • Reply
    Clare
    August 19, 2019 at 11:41 pm

    How beautiful is the Estates theatre? As a ex-classical musician and concert pianist myself, I do have a soft spot for all things Mozart. I’ve never been to Prague however it has been on my list! Your photos are really giving me the push to actually commit and book tickets as soon as possible! I didn’t even know about the John Lennon wall! How interesting. I personally find street art really gorgeous and unique, but there is a line that should not be crossed, so I’m glad that there’s a beautiful momento and designated spot for people to express their creativity.

  • Reply
    umiko
    August 20, 2019 at 1:39 am

    Prague is absolutely one of the cities in the world that I want to visit. The walking tour seems like the best thing to do since you got to visit more than 30 spots in just a few hours! I like Mozart, so, yeah, it will be cool to visit the Colloredo-Mansfeld Palace. You’re so lucky as well to be able to attend an opera while there.

  • Reply
    Annick Lenoir-Peek
    August 20, 2019 at 2:49 am

    One day I’ll make it to Prague- it’s been on my list forever! We had the same tipping issue with DiDi in China so nice to know to keep cash to tip. That rooftop bar view is marvelous, proving that politeness and patience frequently pay off. Your tour sounds really comprehensive too. Who do you recommend?

  • Reply
    Parnashree Devi
    August 24, 2019 at 9:08 am

    I think that Prague is the most photogenic city in Europe. Everything looks so good. I am spellbound by the grandeur of Opera house. It’s on my list to see it myself. Walking tours are the best thing to know in a new city. Loved reading about it

  • Reply
    Maria
    September 11, 2019 at 8:38 am

    It looks like an exciting place to visit. I will plan my next trip to Prague. lovely blog!

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