Travis and I are really still such outdoor folks at heart that sometimes it’s hard for us to get excited about trips like our Easter road-trip to Prague. Despite typically having a long list of cool attractions to see, planning a trip to a big city requires an attention to practical details we’d much rather avoid – the necessity of pre-booking accommodations; weighing the hassle of figuring out public transportation in an unfamiliar city vs. the convenience of driving; knowing we’ll be visiting popular attractions with thousands of others in a constant crush of humanity; and the dilemma of what to do with our dog when she’s with us and we have a mixed itinerary of dog and non-dog-friendly sites to see. Sometimes the stress alone of just planning a big-city trip sometimes leads us to procrastinate right out of going.
So when we woke up at Triocamp our first morning in Prague, it was almost with relief that we poked our heads out of our tent fly and realized the gloomy weather hadn’t yet lifted. It was an easy decision to postpone visiting the city in favor of first driving to the nearby town of Kutná Hora, small and more manageable, to spend the morning at an indoor attraction out of the rain. After a thoroughly enjoyable half day exploring Sedlec Ossuary and the Cathedral of St. Barbara in Kutná Hora, it was finally time to drive into the heart of the big, bad beast – Prague.
With trusty map app in my hand and Travis bravely at the wheel, we entered the city from the east, driving straight toward its famous Old Town district. Impressed by the light traffic on the Saturday before Easter, I actually started to wonder if folks had left Prague for the holiday weekend. (In reality, they had all just beaten us to Old Town!)
We were doing great until our route abruptly ended in a barrier across the road with no marked detour. A mass of construction blocked our path. With no place to go, Travis abruptly turned right down a narrow cobblestone lane, drove up a few stairs, and a block later, descended a curb to return to the main road from where he’d been driving on the sidewalk. I think we’re even now for my mishap driving down the train tracks in Zaragoza.
Minutes after pulling over to scope out a new route on our map, we were back en route. Not five minutes later, we crossed an intersection and entered a one-way street the wrong way. Immediately realizing our error, Travis pulled wide to swing a U-turn out of the way of oncoming traffic, pulling up right in front of a parked police car. When they immediately hit their lights, I started fishing around for our car registration, already expecting a ticket. (
At least Travis hadn’t still been driving on the sidewalk while going down the one-way illegally.
One of the officers approached our car, listened briefly as Trav explained our mistake, and realized we were obviously tourists. Nodding in understanding, he merely waved us on our way! But that wasn’t the end of it.
Incredibly grateful and eager to put some distance between the police car and us, we heaved a joint sigh of relief, then allowed them to pull out in front of us. Falling in behind, we turned left in the direction they’d pointed. They turned left also. At the next intersection, we still were unsure where to go but continued to follow them, afraid to make a colossal driving error while behind a cop.
We were still behind them several blocks later when they came to a near stop in our lane, put on their blinker to go left, then slowly continued straight. Even though they didn’t know for sure where we were going, they’d led us back to the main highway to downtown. They’d even signaled us where to turn! On Easter weekend somewhere in downtown Prague, we received a personal police escort.
A million thanks to the helpful police officers of Prague!
After finding a spot in a parking garage where we could leave our car for the rest of the day, we hoofed it to Old Town Square, where we were finally able to relax and see the sights. These are our favorite highlights from exploring Old Town Prague at Easter.Planning to visit #Prague for #Easter? Don't miss these highlights from Old Town: the Astronomical Clock, vendors selling hand-painted eggs, sunset over the Vltava River, and more! #TatersTravelsClick To Tweet
The most famous attraction in Prague is probably the Old Town Hall’s 600-year-old Astronomical Clock. Built in 1410, Prague’s Astronomical Clock has survived wars, uprisings, and fires.
Every hour between 9 am and 11 pm, the 12 apostles appear to mark the passage of time.
Our Lady Before Tyn
Immediately across the square, the Gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn towers over the numerous booths vendors set up every year for Easter.
St Nicholas Cathedral
Another massive cathedral, St. Nicholas’, squares off with Our Lady before Týn – because one imposing cathedral in a square is never enough.
Traditional Hand-Painted Eggs
You can easily spend several hours wandering among the rows of vendors selling handmade wool slippers, silver jewelry twined around gemstones, and delicately painted eggs for Easter.
The sweet smell of trdelniks cooking over a bed of hot coals fills the air. Similar to kürtőskalács in Romania, trdelniks are a sweet pastry – a spit cake made of dough grilled around a wooden stick and brushed with sugar and often crushed walnuts.
Though we didn’t see any Becherovka for sale (a Czech bitters recommended by a friend), the festival offers plenty of stands selling hot apple cider, punch, and medovina, a type of mead.
Beneath a tree hung with brightly colored Easter balloons, a petting zoo is set up with a handful of farm animals.
We watched in amusement as a feisty horned goat rammed full-on into the perimeter fence to ward off an obtrusive Husky.
The waterfront is not far from the Old Town Square. Following the curve of the Vltava River, you’ll reach the Old Town Bridge Tower at the entrance of Charles Bridge, then the famous bridge itself.
Standing since the 12th century, the bridge was once a path for kings during coronation. Now, it’s an incredibly popular tourist attraction.
Sunset over the Vltava River
The waterfront is a superb place to watch the sun set over Prague Castle above the river on the west bank.
Old Town at Night
If you have the chance to visit Old Town Prague during the night and night, we highly recommend it. It’s a great place to track down dinner from one of the many food vendors on Easter.
Even more, the square is transformed at night, resembling more closely what it might’ve been like hundreds of years ago. In particular, the Church of Our Lady before Týn is lit up in Gothic splendor.
If you’re exhausted from exploring all the Easter festivities, you can treat your feet to a fish pedicure. They’re banned in a handful of US states due to safety concerns, but they’re growing in popularity across Europe and Asia.
Back at the parking garage, we sank gratefully into the VW’s semi-comfortable familiar seats and plotted a course for “home” – Triocamp. The next day would be Easter – another fun-filled day exploring Prague Castle, sampling our first “stuffed chimneys”, and for me, getting my first bona fide Czech spanking. Yes, you read that correctly. I got spanked at Prague Castle. And Trav let it happen.
- Parking options near Old Town Prague
- If you’re visiting on Easter weekend or during other festivities when street vendors are set up in Old Town Square, it’s a good idea to bring some local currency – the Czech koruna (also called the Czech crown or written as CZK). If you don’t have it, some booths accept euros and will give change in korunas.
- Official site for Prague (and it’s in English!)