Buy a Prague one day travel pass and rumble along on a number 22 tram from the National Theatre across the River Voltava. Then let the quaint funicular railway take the strain up Petrin Hill. Built in 1893 the Petrin Observation Tower is an Eiffel lookalike and sways slightly in the wind. You can go up by lift or climb the 299 wooden stairs on the outside to the viewing platform with its superb panorama over Prague. Stroll back to the city down through gardens and apple orchards. Two hours, all in, for a fiver.
The Czech Repulbic is just about the best in Europe for a self-planned walking trip. There is an amazing network of well-marked colour-coded footpaths across most of the country. Outside almost any railway station (and there are often railway stations in the smallest of villages) you'll find a sign indicating a variety of walking routes, with distances and likely times. And the routes, over hills and through forests and meadows, past castles and manor houses, up mountains and into old villages and towns, can be fantastic. Good walking maps (I found four different publishers) are widely available for much of the country at reasonable prices. And at the end of the day it's always been my experience that it was possible to find a guest house or cheap hotel in the village and a hearty dinner washed down with lots of pilsner beer.
If you’re planning a romantic winter break to Prague, be sure to check out one of the city’s outdoor ice-rinks. If you’re keen to get in touch with your inner Torvill (or Dean) then go to Ovocny Trh, a small square a short walk from Staromeskske Namesti, where you can whirl around the ice while admiring the pretty architecture of the Estates Theatre where Mozart’s Don Giovanni once premiered. While the rink not exactly huge there are skaters of all ages and abilities so you needn’t feel self-conscious if you’re more likely to stumble around than effortlessly glide. The best part? Skating is free and skate hire is a super reasonable 50kc for 60 minutes.
* Lisette is our Been there local for Prague. You can read her profile here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/prague-local-lisette.jsp and follow her tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/LisettePrague
The charming Franciscan Gardens are tucked away just off Wenceslas Square, between Jungmannova and Vodičkova - a cool, peaceful oasis in the heart of central Prague.
The gardens have benches a-plenty, fragrant rose bushes and spots of shade under trees, making this a good place to escape to in the summer months.
Enjoy an ice cream bought from the adjoining Pasáž Světozor on a hot day, or simply rest your feet as the rest of Prague rushes past.
The gardens also have a small children's playground with a sand box and swings.
Open daily from 7 or 8 a.m. to 7, 8 or 10 p.m., depending on the month.
Enter from Jungmannovo náměstí, or through Pasáž Světozor from Vodičkova Street.
Nearest metro: Mustek
Google map: bit.ly/MYWAZ4
* Helen is our Been there local for Prague. Her page is here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/prague-local-helen-ford.jsp and she has her own blog here: czechingin.wordpress.com/
Podoli pool, about fifteen minutes south of central Prague by tram, is an absolute dream of a place. It has inside and outside (heated) pools, all open year-round, come rain, snow or shine. Time your visit carefully to come mid-week or very early on the weekend, as it’s very popular among Prague swimming clubs, old ladies in lilac swimming caps and flirtatious teens showing off on the diving boards.
Very good facilities including three pools, diving boards, waterslide, sunbathing spots and cafes. The changing facilities are functional but very clean. The warm post-shower ‘drying room’ is a particular favourite in the winter.
Like most pools in Prague, Podoli charges by time: 90 minutes - 80 CZK, 120mins – 100 CZK.
Bring 100 CZK in cash for a locker.
Open Daily 06:00-21:45
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