Berlin to Prague: A city-crawl to be proud of!
For our #ThrowbackThursday article, we’ve dug out this rather fabulous piece from a few years ago, by Rebecca Day. She trains it from Berlin to Prague, with a pit-stop in Dresden to top things off nicely.
City hopping has become one of my favourite travel traits. I’ve realised that I’m far too fidgety to stay in one city for long, and so this new habit certainly gratifies my inquisitive nature. On a recent trip, my boyfriend and I travelled by train, from the hip and happening Berlin to the fairytale-esque Prague, with a short pit-stop in Dresden en route.
Berlin – cool & historic
Berlin was all we had envisioned – and more! Unlike other large cities we’d been to, Berlin presented us with sweeping open spaces, providing plenty of room to amble its streets, without getting our toes trodden on! During summertime, sprawling green oases provide the perfect setting for throwing down a blanket and chill-axing with a beer and picnic, backdropped by the dulcet sounds of talented buskers.
Contrasting with Berlin’s light and airy guise, is its gritty and gloomy past and walking tours are an informative way to explore the capital’s darker disposition. Sights such as the Reichstag* – a grandiose building constructed to house the German parliament – the Typography of Terror museum, and the Holocaust memorial offer a haunting insight into the formidable rise of Nazi Germany, while Checkpoint Charlie, the Eastside Gallery and the Berlin Wall memorial site provide a glimpse into how grim life was during a divided Berlin and Germany.
Come nighttime, Berlin’s streets swarm with party goers – particularly around the Mitte district where cool bars and trendy hang-outs are aplenty. Various recommendations pointed us in the direction of Kaffe Burger … undoubtedly the hippest bar we’ve ever been to! Its shabby exterior complimented its eclectic interior as revellers interacted and got down to live DJ sets and some old school hip hop beats.
Dresden – Florence of the North
Our stop-over in Dresden came as a pleasant surprise. We expected a contemporary but characterless city due to the devastating bombings of 1945 which flattened it to ashes. Venturing out of the city’s newly built shopping district, we discovered a beautiful panorama of elegant museums, dotted across the riverside. Although reconstructed, we could see why Dresden was once referred to as the ‘Florence of the North’.
After sauntering around Dresden, and enjoying our final taste of German cuisine (bratwurst with sauerkraut), we made tracks for our final stop, Prague…
Prague – a legendary goth!
We spent three days flicking through the Prague’s historical pages, uncovering its myths and legends, and jaw-dropping views. Free walking tours through Prague’s cobbled streets – available to join from Old Town Square – are a brilliant way to discover the city’s gothic treasures, and its history, which stretches back a thousand years. Our cameras didn’t stop flashing, as we captured attractions such as the Astronomical Clock, Tyn Church, Charles Bridge and Wenceslas Square. A stroll around the Jewish quarter and cemetery only added to our knowledge – acquired from Berlin – of how much devastation and turmoil was inflicted by the Nazis.
Behold postcard pretty views from Prague’s surrounding hills. We ventured out of the hustle bustle, up to Letna Park, where we were greeted with a picture-perfect vista of Prague’s bridges (selfie sticks at the ready!). The Castle district, which is mesmerising in itself, also provides exceptional scenes across the city.
A visit to Prague isn’t complete without sampling its beer – it’s recognised as being the finest in Europe. And don’t we know it … we drank more of the frothy, golden nectar, than we did water! A particular favourite of ours was Pilsner Urquell. One of the best places to sample the city’s home-brewed beverages is at the Strahov Monastic Brewery. Although the hill climb requires buns of steel, it was certainly worthwhile when we reached the top!
And it’d be rude to leave Prague without putting on your glad rags and attending the opera, darling! Sitting up with ‘the gods’ at the State Opera (not for the faint hearted!), we celebrated an evening basking it its regal ambience, watching Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutti. With tickets from £9 per person, it’s an affordable evening well spent.
Flying back to Bristol, we reminisced on our week-long trip. It really was a city-crawl to be proud of… rich history, stunning sights and beer-fuelled fun – now that’s what I think fairy tales are made of!
*I’d recommend booking in advance, particularly during the summer – it gets very busy!