Prague is a perfect destination for a long weekend; after London, Paris and Rome it welcomes the most international visitors of any European city. The flight time is relatively short, and the city extremely pretty with some great architecture. It’s easy to walk around and has plenty of relatively inexpensive bars and restaurants both above and below ground, many of which are brimming with character. Given all this, my return flight in Club Europe earning 80 tier points, and with 2 nights in a basic but centrally located hotel in Stare Mesto (the old town), was a bargain at just £285 in the BA sale.
Like Helsinki, Prague is another destination BA runs out of Heathrow Terminal 3. At the time of writing, all of BA’s A320 Neo’s operate out of this terminal, so if you are flying short-haul with BA from here, there’s a decent chance you will get one. Winter months and a mid afternoon departure mean it’s very dark upon arriving at Vaclav Havel airport. Public transportation options from the airport to the centre are slightly awkward – there’s no direct route and it involves a bus ride before switching to the metro. Fortunately the airport is well served by Uber, the 25 minute Friday evening ride to the old town costing 475 CZK (about £16).
The city is very pretty by night, both in and out of doors, and after a stroll around the old town square, it’s easy to find some good cellar bars in which to spend the rest of Friday evening and the early hours of Saturday. Like many European cities, the bars are relatively quiet at what would be peak drinking time in London, but get much busier as midnight approaches.
Saturday and it’s time for a bit more walking and sightseeing. Prague is situated on the Vltava river which divides it into two distinct halves. On the east and relatively flat side sit the old and new towns with their respective squares.
The west side is distinctively hillier, and is home to the Castle, the Cathedral and numerous other interesting buildings. Karlov Most, or Charles Bridge, is an iconic 14th century bridge with distinctive fortress-like towers at either end, and which joins the two. Despite being free from city centre traffic, transit across is slow almost regardless of the hour of day due to the sheer volume of tourists.
The Czech Republic is renowned for its high quality crystal and the roads from the Charles Bridge up to the castle are the home of numerous boutique vendors. These beautiful teal crystal glasses, deliciously weighty due to the concentration of lead-oxide in their manufacture, prove too hard a souvenir to resist on this occasion.
The flight home on Sunday is early afternoon. Time enough for a leisurely brunch, but little in the way of further sightseeing before heading back to the airport. The BA lounge at the airport is quite full, making it slightly awkward to take photos. As lounges go it’s basic, compact and comfortable, but absolutely not a place you would aim to arrive at the airport extra early to savour. Fortunately the flight back to London – on a classic A320 for the return – is on time.