Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic and one of the most exciting cities to visit in Europe. The city was spared much of the destruction of 20th Century Europe, leaving the major historic Gothic and Baroque buildings intact. Many of Europe's finest cities such as Dresden were rebuilt, but here in Prague, you can see magnificent churches and impressive monuments in their original state.
We arrived via train from Berlin, a 3 hour ride (that turned out to be much longer). Luckily the Prague train station is centrally located in the historic town center, so we were able to walk to our hotel and all the destinations listed below. We spent a weekend in the city and discovered the top 5 beautiful sights to visit.
1. Old Town Square:
The square is the center of the historic Praque and features many notable architectural sights, including the Tyn church (below) dating back to the 14th Century. Additionally, you will find the world-famous Astronomical Clock, one of the world's oldest clocks. It is currently under construction to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Czechoslovakia (set to reopen at the end of October 2018).
2. Prague Castle - The largest castle complex in the world (at 70,000 square meters) is perched on a hilltop with panoramic views of the city. Be sure to take the "Free Walking Tour" to learn the history of this magnificent complex. If you arrive at noon, you will also be able the see the ceremonial changing of the guards.
Free Walking Tour:
One of the highlights of the Prague Castle is the St. Vitus Cathedral, a stunning Gothic Cathedral with a gold mosaic facade.
3. Charles Bridge - One of the oldest bridges in Europe built in 1357, this historic bridge is excellent for people watching and views of the city.
4. Lesser Tower - The tower is adjacent to the Charles Bridge and offers a bird's eye view of the city and the Prague Castle.
5. Prague Beer Tour -
Last, but certainly not least is the Prague Beer Tour. Prague prides itself on being one of the top beer destinations in the world. In fact, the world's first golden beer "Pilsener" was invented in a town called Pilsen in Czech Republic. There are many other varieties of beers found here in Prague and the best way to learn about the culture and tradition of this drink, as well as meet other locals and tourists is through the pub crawl.
"Nazdravi" - or Cheers!
We barely scratched the surface of things to do in Prague, but if you are here for a short time - be sure to check out these sights.
What are your favorite things to see in Prague?
I was not prepared for how dramatically beautiful Dresden is to visit. Dresden is considered the cultural jewel of Germany's Saxony region. The city center is a wonder world of baroque architecture, thought provoking museums, and scenic river landscapes. Best of all, it is easy to get to from Berlin and offers some of the most unique accommodations we have ever encountered.
Dresden Travel vlog:
Getting There from Berlin:
Dresden is about two and a half hours from Berlin - which makes it the perfect weekend trip. We arrived via Flixbus, which is a comfortable and affordable bus service.
Dresden has one of the most memorable hostels - the Lollis Homestay. The hostel has vintage DDR "ostalgie" decor, and our room even which featured a East Berlin TRABI station wagon-turned bed. The headlights served as the lighting for the room!
► ►Lollis Homestay: https://www.lollishome.de/en/
We were quite excited to stay in this awesome hostel:
Getting Around The City:
Once we arrived in the city, many of the attractions were either walkable or accessible via the city's excellent tram service.
We took the hop on hop off bus to explore the city's highlights.
The city center is alive with baroque architecture, including the iconic landmark Frauenkirche. This church was originally built in the 18th century and stood in ruins for decades following the war until it was rebuilt to its historic glory.
Pfunds Molkerei :
This shop is the perfect place to pick up souvenirs, including porcelain, soap, cheese, and chocolate. The interior of this shop has floor to ceiling embellishments and was featured as a filming location for the Grand Budapest Hotel.
Cruising the Elbe -
Dresden is situated on the Elbe, and a visit is not complete without a river cruise. The cruise takes you past some of the most stunning bridges, palaces, parks, and vineyards.
A visit to Dresden is not complete without learning the history. We visit the Military Museum, which has thought provoking exhibits on the events that shaped the city.
This 18th century baroque palace is a must see in Dresden. It was bombed during the war and was stunningly rebuilt to its pre-war state. The complex includes picturesque museums, fountains, and gardens.
We truly enjoyed our stay in Dresden. It was not only beautiful, but cultural and historic. What are your top places to see in Dresden? Comment below!
For many travelers, Germany has been synonymous with lederhosen, biergartens, and bratwurst. However, we discovered an entirely different German experience during our weekend trip to the second largest city, Hamburg. In Hamburg, we were greeted by a cosmopolitan, waterfront city filled with diverse attractions. The city has a maritime culture that feels almost Scandinavian, and the streets are lined with historic red-brick architecture and modern cityscapes.
Famous of being one of the largest ports (and third largest in Europe), Hamburg is situated on the Elbe and the North Sea. In fact, it is nicknamed the “Venice of the North” for its numerous picturesque canals. The water is never far away and you can feel the ocean breezes throughout the city. Hamburg is also filled with architectural gems, some of which were recently designated with UNESCO World Heritage status. With so much to see and experience in Hamburg, we knew we had to be there.
Here's how to tour Hamburg:
To get to Hamburg, we took the DB train from Berlin, which runs about every half hour. Tickets start at €20 (about $23) and the train includes a cafe cart. You can also take the Flixbus, a comfortable bus service that starts at $5.99. The transit time is about 2 hours from Berlin, which makes it a great weekend destination.
We stayed at the Generator Hostel, which is conveniently located adjacent to the DB train station. They offer spacious communal spaces such as a business area, lounge, and bar as well as a variety of types of accommodation including private and shared rooms, starting at around $50 USD.
Where to Eat:
Since Hamburg is situated on the water, the cuisine includes delicious seafood dishes. Our favorite is Carls Brasserie, located right outside of the Elbphilharmonie - the perfect place to enjoy lunch or dinner before seeing a performance.
1. Hamburg Maritime Museum -
Located in the HafenCity, the Maritime Museum offers exhibits on Hamburg's ship building and port history. Explore the HafenCity neighborhood surrounding the museum, which is the largest urban redevelopment centre in Europe.
2. Chilehaus -
Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015, this building is an architectural icon of the city known for its expressionist architecture. The sharp angles of the building's facade are reminiscent of New York’s "Flatiron" building.
3. Elbphilharmonie -
The icon of the city, the Elbphilharmonie was built in 2017 . The exterior glass design includes resembles a hoisted sail. The interior features a curved escalator that leads through an "iPad" looking tunnel to a viewing platform with 360 degree views of Hamburg's harbor, old town, and new city.
4. Historic Architecture -
While many buildings in Hamburg are done in modern design, you can find plenty of unique historic treasures. For example, check out the interior of the Chilehaus which contains vintage details, including a never-ending stairwell and a revolving open-door elevator called a paternoster.
5. Biking the City
Hamburg is a huge city at 292 square miles, so the ideal way to get around is via Hamburg's efficient bike program. The red bikes are located throughout the city and maintained via the Deutsche Bahn. Rent a bike for a half hour for free, perfect for getting from point A-to-B, or for a full day for 12 Euros. Best of all, it comes with a bike lock and is managed via an app.
The largest warehouse complex in the world and UNESCO site, Speicherstadt appears to float on the water. It was built atop the islands of the Elbe and contains a seemingly endless network of brick structures connected by bridges. This architectural monument is one of my favorites to photograph in the city.
Our guide Tomas offers tours in German or English. To book a tour, visit his site.
We hope that you get to visit Hamburg soon. It truly is one of the most beautiful and photogenic cities in Germany. What are your favorite places in Hamburg? Comment below!
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We are two adventurous young professionals who turned our passion for travel into a blog to help others travel more.