Day 1. A weekend in Prague

The previous afternoon we’d taken an EasyJet flight from Manchester over to Václav Havel airport in Prague to enjoy a short break in the Czech capital.  Getting into the centre was inexpensive as 90 minute transport tickets cost only 40czk (£1.38).  For visitors aged 65+ travel on public transport is free of charge and no tickets are required to be purchased, just remember to always carry a passport in case of inspection.  From outside the arrivals hall we caught Bus 119 which connects with the metro and trams to the city centre.

Mama Shelter, Prague
Mama Shelter, Prague

We only had a few minutes to wait to catch a 26 tram which took us close to Mama Shelter, our base for the next four nights.  From the sound of its name you might be forgiven for thinking that we we’d booked to stay in a hostel but this fun, four star French mini-hotel chain, part of the Accor group is anything but.

Mama Shelter room, Prague
Our medium Mama Shelter room

Located in a former luxury communist hotel in Holesovice, north west of Prague it boasts a vast, brightly decorated lobby and extremely friendly staff.  Our medium sized room up on the 10th floor had splendid city views and though minimalist in design, there was everything we needed for a comfortable stay.  The neighbourhood benefits from a range of pubs and restaurants and after exploring the area we selected one where we enjoyed a hearty, reasonably priced meal.

Breakfast at Mama Shelter, Prague
Breakfast at Mama Shelter

The next morning we awoke to bright sunshine and after tucking in to the big buffet breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant we were ready to start exploring.  Before leaving the hotel we had downloaded the Prague Cool Pass, a mobile app version of the Prague Card.  The pass includes public transport and entry into museums, attractions and river boat trips.  Please note that although the pass is designated 72 hours it is actually valid for three consecutive whole days.  In order to get best value I’d recommend start using it after breakfast to make the most of the timeframe.

Convent of St. Agnes, Prague
Convent of St. Agnes

After taking a tram to the edge of the old town we started off our sightseeing with a visit to the Convent of St. Agnes which forms part of the National Gallery.  The convent is located on the right bank of the Vltava river in the historic old town.  Its collection is composed mostly of medieval church art with the galleries arranged in chronological order with the more recent artworks towards the end.

Artwork in the Convent of St. Agnes, Prague
Artwork in the Convent of St. Agnes

Of note are 14th century altarpieces and numerous wooden statues.  Even if you are not so interested in viewing the church art it is worth visiting to take a look inside the impressive building, chapel and beautiful courtyard garden.

Powder Tower, Prague
Powder Tower, Prague

It was then time for our morning exercise with a climb up to the top of the Powder Tower, one of the original gates to the city separating the old and new towns.  This Gothic tower also marks the beginning of Celetná Street, part of the Royal Way.  This route leads through Prague’s historical centre and connects the former Royal Court with Prague Castle, historically forming a significant part of the route of Czech kings’ coronation ceremonies.

Views from the top of the Powder Tower, Prague
Views from the top of the Powder Tower

The ascent to the tower’s observation platform is via a narrow spiral staircase which seemed to go round and round forever but once reaching the top at a height of 65m we were rewarded with some excellent views over the city rooftops.  The entrance ticket also includes a small exhibition detailing the history of the tower and of its construction.

The House at the Black Madonna, Prague
The House at the Black Madonna

A short stroll then followed to the House of the Black Madonna housing the Museum of Decorative Arts.  The building constructed between 1911-1912 is a masterpiece of cubist architecture featuring all kinds of cubist artefacts and furniture on its upper floors.  The building takes its name from a statue on the outside corner of the first floor which can be seen in the above photo.  It’s also home to the immensely popular Grand Orient Cafe with its cubist chandeliers, coffee cups and teaspoons.  There was a long queue to get a table otherwise we would have enjoyed our morning coffees there.

Cubist furniture in the House of the Black Madonna, Prague
Cubist furniture in the House of the Black Madonna

From the House of the Black Madonna we then moved on to the equally strangely named House of the Golden Ring tucked away on Tynska Street near to the Old Town square.  This 16th century house was formerly two separate buildings that were later merged into one.  The museum forms part of the city gallery with standard entrance 180czk (£6.25).  It’s another of Prague’s beautiful buildings with its barrel vaulted ceilings and well preserved Gothic cellars and home to contemporary 20th century Czech artists.  Before leaving, we discovered a pretty little courtyard to the rear with a small cafe.

House of the Golden Ring, City Gallery, Prague
City Gallery – House of the Golden Ring

After that we were just in time to view the magnificent Astronomical Clock strike 12.00 noon in the old town square.  It was fortunate that we were there by 11.50 a.m. as we were stood in a good position just as large crowds started to form around us.

Astronomical Clock, Prague
Astronomical Clock, Prague

The medieval astronomical clock is attached to the southern side of the old town hall and its an unmissable sight on a visit to the city.  At 12.00 noon precisely a trap door opened to reveal Christ marching out followed by his apostles along with the chiming of the clock tower bells.  Below the clock 12 medallions feature the signs of the zodiac which were added in 1865 by the famous Czech painter Joseph Manes.  You don’t need to be there just at midday to view this spectacle as it takes place on the hour between 9.00 a.m. and 11.00 p.m. daily.

Prague Astronomical Clock
Prague Astronomical Clock

It then started raining so we popped into a nearby cafe/restaurant for some lunch.  There we both enjoyed bowls of soup served in large bread rolls which we accompanied with glasses of local beer.  With good timing, the rain showers had stopped as we were ready to leave.

Old Town Square, Prague
Old Town Square

Next on our list, was a visit to the Naprstek Museum of Asian, African and American Cultures.  Entrance 129czk (£4.15).  This collection of non-European ethnography is a branch of the National Museum and is housed in a former brewery.

Around the World in 80 Days exhibition at Naprstek Museum of Asian, African and American Cultures, Prague
The Jules Verne Around the World in 80 Days exhibition at the museum

It contains a wide range of objects from archaeological to more recent times with an interesting gallery on the ground floor devoted to Jules Verne’s novel ‘Around the World in 80 Days’.

Charles Bridge, Prague
Charles Bridge

A river boat trip was next on our agenda so we made our way to another of Prague’s iconic sights, the Charles Bridge.  This bridge, spanning the river Vltava river was the only means of crossing the river until 1841 and it was at that time the most important connection between the city’s old town and Prague Castle.

Boat trip from Charles Bridge, Prague
Pleasure boat trip from Charles Bridge

At the old town end of the bridge stands the Charles Bridge Museum which offers combined tickets including a visit to the museum with a 45 minute boat trip for 340czk (£11.80).  As a boat was due to depart, we decided to climb on board and enjoy this first.  To our surprise we discovered that drinks and snacks were complementary, ranging from tea, coffee, lemonade or beer plus either a gingerbread cake or an ice cream.

On board the pleasure boat trip around Charles Bridge, Prague
On board the pleasure boat trip around Charles Bridge

We both happily sat back in our seats sipping cool glasses of beer and nibbling the tasty gingerbread as our boat tour passed alongside the Charles Bridge and through the smaller waterways of the city that the larger tour boats can’t fit through.  A pre-recorded commentary was available in various languages and this gave an informative account of the history of the bridge and the landmarks that we passed along the route.

Prague boat trip along the city's narrow waterways
Our boat trip took us along narrow waterways unsuitable for the larger tour boats

Afterwards, we just had enough time to explore the museum before it closed for the day.  The exhibition displayed how the bridge had been constructed and the history of the 30 statues adorning it.  As with all the other museums visited during the day we gained entrance via our Prague Cards (Cool Pass) but even if you were just paying to visit individual attractions, I would highly recommend this boat tour for its friendly service and complimentary refreshments.

Comfortable seating at Mama Shelter, Prague
Comfortable seating in the hotel lobby

We’d both enjoyed a fun filled day which we ended with a delicious meal in one of the cosy pubs close to the hotel.  Tired but happy, we were then soon fast asleep in bed.

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79 thoughts on “Day 1. A weekend in Prague

  1. Pingback: Day 1. A weekend in Prague – Judul Situs

  2. It seems like your first day was a great one! I remember that I only went to Prague for two days and immediately regretted not booking a longer stay as there were so many beautiful things to see! I didn’t climb up the Powder Tower but I remember the impression it gave me the first time I saw it! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hello Marion. Apologies for lack of comments recently but life has just got in the way! I’m catching up – at last. Prague has long been on my list of cities to visit, and your posts have convinced me that I should make it sooner rather than later. Your photos have conveyed the beauty of Prague and I always love a city boat trip! I’m rather taken with the idea of visiting the House of the Black Madonna and seeing the cubist furniture. Happy travelling!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Prague was by far one of my favorite places in Europe. If you ever get the opportunity to sit down at a cafe, I highly recommend a coffee shop called “coffee heaven”. I’m convinced they put crack in their drinks because I HATE coffee but their coffee is the ONLY coffee I’ve ever enjoyed drinking. It’s smooth, not acidic and has the most lovely flavor to roll around on your tongue. It’s amazing!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I actually had your post up on my computer when a Czech student came in my office. He looked at your pictures and said that you so beautifully captured his hometown and that it made me feel a good kind of homesick 🙂 A really wonderful tour of this city that I’ve always wanted to visit. I love that they have a Jules Vern exhibit! I would really love to see that.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. How lovely that a Czech student came into your office just as you were looking at my post. It made my day to read that he was impressed with my photos, a compliment indeed! Hopefully, you’ll get to visit Prague one day yourself as it’s so beautiful!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. ThingsHelenLoves

    Mama Shelter sounds intriguing- it has quite the history! Prague is a city I’d love to return to, so I’ll file that one away for future plans. I first visited Prague in the late 90’s, and again in 2016 and so much had changed in and around the city. I’m sure there’ll be much to discover again on a return journey!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. We visited Prague back in 2019 and had such an amazing time. Thanks for bringing back so many fun memories and for highlighting a few places that weren’t even on my radar, like the Convent of St. Agnes and the House of Black Madonna. You covered a lot in a single day and it sounds like you made the most of your Prague Cool Pass.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. About ten years ago, in company with another couple, we had five nights in an apartment close to the astronomical clock. Even though we explored so much of Prague, you have included many things I didn’t even know about. So much to see in this beautiful city, one of the most stunning in Europe (if its spires are anything to go by).

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Ah, I haven’t been back to Prague in over four years! I’ve actually never been to many of the sites you mentioned, as I didn’t check out many museums during my stays…all the same, it’s always wonderful checking out the Old Town, and you certainly relaxed with beer and gingerbread on that calming boat ride! Looks absolutely beautiful, and I can’t wait to read more about Prague. 😊

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Oh lovely, another city to explore with you! The Powder Tower is quite impressive … and so are the views from the top. I like the idea of exploring the city from a boat (and with some nibbles and beer, that’s just perfect)! Thanks for a great first day Marion, I’m looking forward seeing more of Prague.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Great post on this historical city Marion. Yes, the hotel name did sound a bit unusual. The lobby décor makes it look like they are trying for modern and trendy vibes. Love the view from the top of the tower. Happy Monday. Allan

    Liked by 4 people

  12. Hi there…So pleased to see you enjoying Prague. Years ago now…we celebrated our Golden Wedding in Prague (a treat from friends and family…). We loved the atmosphere of the various places we explored, especially the river, Charles Bridge, the main square, the cuisine, the quaint alley ways, the music ( attended a wonderful concert) the architecture and also took loads of pictures. Great memories… Happy travelling and thanks for great pics. Cheers! x

    Liked by 5 people

  13. Have been to Prague a couple of times, so enjoyed a few Memory Lane sights here Marion. However, there is plenty I didn’t catch to entice me into a possible third trip someday. Particularly the Convent of St. Agnes and the boat cruise.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Prague has so much to offer I doubt one could tire of the city. This was actually my third visit but the first time I’d been on a boat cruise too. Those small wooden boats are great and offer such good value! Thanks for commenting and hope your week goes well.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Prague is such an interesting city to explore Coral. I think that COVID restrictions have been lifted throughout Europe now and over the last few months airports have not asked to see our certificates. Thanks for commenting and hopefully you’ll be travelling far and wide again soon.

      Liked by 3 people

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