Spending diary: what I spent on a two-day trip to Prague
I went to Prague in June before heading on a short road trip around the Czech Republic. It was the most expensive part of our stay but we could afford to splurge as it was a whirlwind visit. Forty-eight hours was just enough time to see the main sights and get a taste of the nightlife before recovering for a few days in the quiet town of Cesky Krumlov, (three hours south of Prague) and Kutna Hora(1 hour 30 mins east of Prague). I booked flights and accommodation well in advance leaving me with extra Koruna for Czech beer.
Flights: £93.98 return from London Luton to Prague Václav Havel with Wizz Air. I booked these flights a few months in advance to get the best possible price.
Accommodation: £58.05, which was split between my friend and I for two nights. We got lucky and found a huge room in a shared Airbnb about 10 minutes walk from Charles Bridge in Praha 1 district. When on short trips I prefer to book a private room in an Airbnb rather than an entire property. It’s a fraction of the price and, if you’re like me, you’ll spend most of your time out and about anyway. We also saved on transport costs; there were cheaper Airbnb’s further out of town but then we’d have to use public transport.
Car hire: £7.52 per day. We hired a car at the end of our time in Prague to drive down south to Cesky Krumlov. Public transport options are available but we opted for the freedom a rental car gives you.
On the ground
11pm: We landed delayed and stressed at Prague Airport to a barrage of messages from our Airbnb host saying we’d missed the check in time. Not ideal. We booked an Uber (£6.50 each) while going through passport control and were on our way in no time. Public transport would be my usual (normally cheaper) option but we didn't have time to spare.
Midnight: Luckily, we were not homeless for the night and arranged for the room key to be left in a newsagents' below the Airbnb. We picked up some snacks along with the key to tide us over until the morning. The last thing I ate was an overpriced sandwich at Luton Airport, so I hurriedly grabbed a selection of crisps, nuts, chocolate and two beers without checking the prices (these were actually the cheapest items at £1.50 each) to have in our room. I mindlessly tapped my Monzo card to pay and it wasn’t until I opened up my app later than I realised I’d been charged £24! I thought it must be a mistake and ran back downstairs to a bemused shopkeeper who explained that nuts and Pringles really do cost the equivalent £5 each. The worst part? We didn’t even like them. I’m glad I learned this lesson early on. Every cloud.
11am: After a well deserved lie-in, we scouted out a nearby breakfast place for coffee. Ignoring the tourist traps on the bank of the Vltava river, we chose a small cafe on a side street called SmetanaQ. It had a substantial breakfast menu and a quiet terrace to enjoy the morning sun. I got a flat white (£3) with avocado and poached eggs on sourdough bread (£5.45).
1pm: The next few hours were spent walking off our breakfast and dodging the crowds on Charles Bridge. I was a bit disappointed with how busy the bridge was; I just wanted to cross it and escape the crowds. We got the funicular up to Petrin Hill (£0.90 for a single). Disclaimer: this price could be totally wrong. I panicked at the machine and pressed the first button I saw. I was reluctant to queue as you could walk to the top but my friend persuaded me that it would be fun – and it was! The city’s incredible architecture slowly came into view as the funicular climbed higher. At the top we were treated to a spectacular rose garden and shady wooded walks towards Prague Castle.
3pm: We’d been in Prague far too long to not have tried the local beer yet, so we made a pit stop at a small bar dubbed an ‘alchemical lab pub’ called Kellyxír. It was tucked away in a quiet courtyard and served smoking cocktails. It felt a little early for a chemistry experiment and we settled for the local beer (£1.57 for a large). When beer is this cheap it would be rude not to, right?
5pm: Amidst the excitement of funiculars and beer we forgot to have lunch and opted to have an early dinner instead. We found a gorgeous spot overlooking Slovanský ostrov (one of the small islands on the Vltava River) and ate on the roof terrace of Art Café Manes. The excellent food was cooked on large grills near the tables. I had a vegetarian burger (£9.60), a White Russian (£4), and a small beer (£1.72) for dessert.
6pm: Time to burn off the burger with a self-powered river cruise on a pedalo (£3.50 each for an hour). The scale of the river makes it feel more like a lake – it’s a popular spot to relax by (or on) the water. Floating bars add to the relaxed, fun atmosphere. This was one of the highlights of my time in Prague – it’s such a good way to see the city from a new perspective and get up close to The Charles bridge without the crowds.
7pm: Afterwards, we made the short hop across the bridge to Prague Beer Museum. We hit luck with an outside table and stayed for hours watching the crowds go by until well after the sun had set. Although quite touristy, it has 30 beers on tap and is an excellent place to sample Czech beer from different regions. I ordered the ‘Hop Lovers’ tasting flight (£7), a ‘Mix Number One’ (£6.30) and a ‘Flying Cloud IPA’ (£3.30). Full disclosure – the rest of the night is a bit hazy.
10pm: In the next bar whose name escapes me (see above...) we made friends with two generous tourists from Ireland who handed us a Jager Bomb each (£0). This was probably the last thing I needed but by this point I was in full on party-mode on our one night out.
1am: We made more friends – this time locals – who took us under their wing and introduced us to their favourite basement bar: Rock Café. We used a free app called ‘Bar Box’ to be DJs for the night on the jukebox. The details are unclear at best but we went in with £28 worth of Czech Koruna and left with nothing. I’m reliably informed that we bought shots for each member of staff behind the bar (who were very friendly) as well as many beers for ourselves. I guess in that case it’s safe to assume I spent £14 which doesn’t seem too bad, considering.
2am: KFC isn’t my usual go-to cuisine when I’m on holiday, (especially as a pescatarian) but on a late-night hunt for food I settled for some chips and onion rings (£3.50). Some soakage was definitely a sensible idea and something I was grateful for the next morning.
Midday: Feeling fragile, we checked out of our Airbnb and walked a few meters to the nearest cafe for coffee and a croissant (£3).
2pm: Road trip time! We had a few hours to kill until we picked up our hire car and headed to Cesky Krumlov. We got an Uber (£2.50 each) to Prague Train Station as the temperature was a little high for a hungover walk.
3pm: Lunch today was an unglamorous panini (£4.30) which was consumed on the marble steps of Prague Train Station while nursing a hangover.
The final tally
Overall spend: £92.14 + flights (£93.98) + accommodation (£58.05) + car hire (£7.52) = £251.96
Notes: This was a quick visit to Prague before we embarked on a longer road trip around the country. For a less expensive, quieter alternative to Prague, I’d recommend Kutna Hora. It’s about an hour by train from Prague and has some exceptional architecture, including the Sedlec Ossuary (Bone Church) and Cathedral of St Barbara.