Prague’s Attractions: Gothic Architecture, Grand Museums and Ghastly Ghouls!

Astronomical Clock, Old Town, Prague.

Astronomical Clock

While in Prague, we went on several walking tours and to a couple of museums. All of these were entertaining and even better: they were cheap! The free walking tour is a brilliant introduction to Prague. It brought us around Old Town, New Town, the Jewish Quarter and other interesting places. The Prague Royal Walk was good fun as our guide gave us loads of information we hadn’t read about before. All of tours I talk about meet to the left of the Astronomical Clock in Old Square. For this tour, look for people wearing yellow t-shirts and holding yellow umbrellas. The tour is at 11am and 2pm daily. You should get there 10mins early as they operate on a numbers basis and leave once they get the required amount. As it is a “free” tour, you don’t have to pay but it is expected that you tip your guide at the end. Check out their details on tripadvisor here: Prague Royal Walk

Owl at Prague Castle

The castle tour was a hoot!

A trip to the Museum of Communism is really worth your while; not only for its cool displays, but also for the free tickets to the Prague Castle Walkgiven to patrons; normally 250 CZK (€10). Look at my TACTICAL COUPON RECOUP CHART below. I’ll come back to the museum later. The Prague Castle Walk runs daily at 11am and lasts around 2.5hrs. This group have red t-shirts and umbrellas with “castles of Prague” written on them. The guy we had was new to the job so he had all the information but his delivery wasn’t great. However, his enthusiastic supervisor stepped in any time he’d need some prompting and saved the day. The tour is really worthwhile as they took us through the Royal Gardens giving us loads of cool facts and folklore about the castle, its surroundings and St. Vitus Cathedral. An added surprise was meeting some super cute owls, eagles and falcons (including a GOLDEN EAGLE) and learning a bit about them – this was absolute joy for me, people! For those interested, there are separate in-depth tours available for St. Vitus Cathedral’s interior. To end, our guide gave us a 50 CZK (€2) coupon for the next tour I’ll talk about. More details are here. (check the COUPON CHART).

When it comes to McGee’s Ghost Tours of Prague, Jer and my opinions divide. There are 3 evening tours: Ghosts and Legends of Old Town, Prague Castle After Dark and Haunted History Of Bridge. All these are paid tours. For an additional 50CZK you can do the Underground Walk afterwards – a ghost tour under the Astronomical Clock. Jer and I did it following Ghost and Legends of Old Town. While I LOVED them both, he HATED them. Of the tours we did, these were by far, the ones that were the most superficial; very much a fun tour as opposed to an informative one. The Ghosts and Legends tour involved visiting “haunted” spots around Old Town and hearing their folklore. I enjoyed the stories, but Jer was hoping for a more “genuine” tour about Czech folklore. The Underground Walk is essentially a “try-to-scare-them-witless” tour. Our guide created a scary atmosphere and going under the Clock Tower holding my own ghost-hunter lamp was a great, albeit incredibly cheesy, novelty. I definitely recommend it to those looking for some light-hearted banter or a bit of a scare, but do appreciate that if you’re travelling with others, this is certainly one of those hit-or-miss things. As the times and prices of all the tours vary, check out their site if you’re up for a creepy, fun-filled evening: http://www.mcgeesghosttours.com/

Jewish Ghetto Tour Umbrella, Prague

Nothing was going to rain on my parade!

The last two walking tours we did were with a man called Roman Billy – by far, the best guide we had over there. Look for the white umbrella with “Jewish Ghetto” on it. Every day at 11am, he’ll take you on a 3hr tour of Prague’s Jewish Quarter with a good sense of humour and a passion for what he’s teaching. For this tour, Roman takes you through the area and explains everything in great detail. You won’t go into any of the buildings you’re taken to but you’ll learn so much about them that it won’t matter. Being a collector, he’ll show you his vintage postcards and photos of the Jewish Quarter from WW2 which really helps give you a sense towards the horrors that happened. Roman’s tours are paid ones, but at the very reasonable price of 250CZK (€10) for students or 300CZK (€12) for adults, it’s well worth it. If I could only do one tour in Prague, this would be it. Be aware that Saturday is the Jewish Sabbath day so the Jewish Ghetto tour doesn’t run then. So impressed with the Jewish Ghetto Tour, we returned for Roman’s Underground Tour at 6pm. This is also a paid tour; same prices as above and lasts an hour. This follows the same route as the McGee’s Underground Walk, but the information given on the two tours is completely different. With Roman’s underground tour, you go deeper underground and you get the actual historical details about it. Roman has more of his cool collector photos comparing the damaged Astronomical Clock and Old Town during WW2, to how they are today. Just like the previous tour, we walked away feeling it was most definitely money well spent. Roman gave us coupons (CHART!!!) for the Museum of Communism, unfortunately, we’d already been. He also runs a Communism tour, but sadly, we didn’t have enough time to go on it.

Communism Museum Poster, New Town, Prague.

You'll be surprised at what pops out at you here!

On that topic, the Museum of Communism got my attention by funny advertisements around Prague. While advertised light-heartedly, it handles the subject seriously. There’s a lot in it, but is presented in a somewhat clustered manner due to its small size. There is a wide range of engaging displays starting from the birth of Czech Communism, leading all the way to the people’s rebellion. An absorbing video (poorly subtitled, mind you) shows news reports during Communist Rule giving fascinating insight on what Prague was like during this time. Enlightening and eye-opening, the Museum of Communism is stopping by. Entry is 140 CZK (€5.70) for students or 180 CZK (€7.40) for adults. You also get a voucher for The Iron Curtain restaurant. Located off the main shopping street of New Town, the ads make it very easy to find. Here’s its mapped location:http://www.muzeumkomunismu.cz/

On our last day, we went to the Mucha Museum. Entry was 120CZK (€5) for students. The museum, while small, is really enjoyable. You can see a good range of Mucha’s famous Art Nouveau prints, both those produced during his time in Paris and those after his return to the Czech Republic. Sketches and oil paintings are also on display, as well as photos of his studio and models. An informative video (in English) about Mucha’s life and his work, lasting about 25mins, is at the back. Check it out at: http://mucha.tyden.cz After doing all this, we happily headed to the airport feeling we’d made the most of our time. If you’ve done any other tours, or have any comments about the ones I’ve spoken about let me know! Hope I’ve been of help.

Follow @LucyBofin

BEHOLD: The TACTICAL COUPON RECOUP CHART

Tactical Coupon Recoup Chart

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2 thoughts on “Prague’s Attractions: Gothic Architecture, Grand Museums and Ghastly Ghouls!

  1. This article is awesome- really makes me want to visit Prague and see everything there is to see. This other article I was looking at also talks about Prague–mostly about the architecture– in a travel magazine called Stowaway.

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