After Belgium and Austria I entered the Czech Republic from Vienna, Austria. Brno first, then Prague, Budějovice and Krumlov. Then I returned to Prague again and left the Czech Republic for Bratislava and then Budapest. Originally I had planned to go through Vienna after the CR on a different and more optimized route in which I would exit the CR into Vienna and then fly to Italy. I decided not to go to Italy and will be making my way through to the Balkans soon to see Montenegro.
Brno was a pleasant city to spend a few days in, but much like the rest of CZ, I didn’t walk around nearly as much as I did in other countries, but I did trek up to Spilberk Castle twice. I had hoped for some interesting long exposures at night from the castle, but the most interesting photo that I managed to get was of the sunset.
I stayed at Hostel Jacob right next to the Kostel svatého Tomáše church in Brno. Each night the streets adjacent to the church fill with over a hundred people sitting outside on the street drinking. I awoke one morning to broken bottles and a guy passed out on the curb.
By the time I was in Prague in early October the weather became disappointing: light scattered rain and cloudy with an occasional break of sun every few days. The first time the sun broke through I rushed to the Žižkov Television Tower and got a ticket to the top for a 100 meter high view of Prague for about 200 CZK ($8.29). This is the highest view in Prague, but definitely not the “best view” of Prague in my opinion. The city just doesn’t look that interesting from 100 meters up. You won’t get any good photos from here through the glass either.
Then I walked up to Vitkov Hill where there is a great view of the surrounding area of Prague. The view is the perfect elevation for photos of the immediate area, television tower and some other landmarks (including the National Monument on Vitkov hill). I took this photo from Vitkov Hill.
In Prague I stayed at the Brix Hostel. I gave Brix the first perfect 10 rating on Hostel World. It was the best Hostel experience that I’ve had so far. As I was telling one of the employees there: you always hear about the hostel experience before you go backpacking, but in most hostels you don’t always get that experience. They have very friendly staff and a great facility that feels cozy and homely. Some tenants left a mess in the room that I was originally assigned and I was offered to move to a cleaner room with less beds. After I visited Budojovice and Krumlov I decided to return to The Brix for about another week before heading towards Bratislava and Budapest. Then I extended my stay twice. I didn’t want to miss that last bowling night for the third time.
I didn’t spend a lot of time sightseeing in Prague and never crossed the Charles Bridge to the other side of Prague while exploring. I wasn’t able to do much exploring because of the weather, but I did eventually make it to the Charles Bridge (where a lot of tourists go) and some other areas of Prague.
The last day in Prague on my first visit I went to an Escape Room game with a British guy and girl from London which was about 300 CZK ($12.44) a piece. We didn’t finish the game without hints and it actually took us about an hour and 20 minutes, but it was fun and I would highly recommend trying these while in Prague. I’ve also seen them on the street in Budapest, which is where I am now.
Cesky Budejovice was my next stop after Prague. It’s a small town and there isn’t a lot to do there. I was almost fined 10,000 crowns ($409.15) for smoking outside of the bus station there and got reamed for doing so.
After Budejovice I stopped in Cesky Krumlov which is a gorgeous town. It was very cold. A lot colder than Prague. The day that I got there I watched over a hundred rafts and kayaks pass by on the Vltava River. Men which I expect worked or the kayak and raft companies were standing in the river when the temperature was close to freezing.
If you asked me to pick two cities to visit in the Czech Republic and I had to choose between any of these cities which I visited I would recommend Prague and Krumlov. If you do visit Krumlov, do it when it’s warm and do it before the city shuts down completely. Get some friends together and make an appointment for one of the escape room games in Prague. When you get to Krumlov just start walking. It’s a very small city.
Prices in the Czech Republic are close to what you would expect for many things in the United States and significantly less for other things like a taxi fare.
- Meal at McDonalds $4.83 or 183 Korunas
- Coca Cola $1.21 or 30 Koruna
- Taxi (1km) $2.62 or 65 Koruna
- Hostel (one night) about 398 Koruna or $16