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Prague Travel Guide: 48 Hours in the Czech capital

 

After my friend Toni and I kicked things off in Warsaw, the next stop on our inter-railing adventure was picture perfect Prague. I had already visited the Czech capital a few years previously, but was excited to go back and experience the city in warmer weather instead of in winter as I spent the whole of my last trip being FREEEEZING!! I spent my second visit to Prague seeing the sights again and finding new things to discover. Brimming with cobbled streets, stunning gothic architecture and an enormous amount of history, there’s so much to see in Prague and its hard to do it all in just 48 hours, but here are my tips on making the most of your short time in this fascinating city…

 

Take a walking tour

 

There’s nothing I love more than discovering a new city by foot, and the cobbled streets of Prague let you do exactly that! There are many different walking tours that’ll show you the city’s best sights and some of them are even free too. We took a free walking tour of the old town in the morning and then paid for a castle tour in the afternoon, which gave us access to the wonderful castle complex before finishing up at the iconic Charles Bridge. I know what you’re thinking, two tours in one day? Yep. Seven hours of walking? Yep. Our feet hurt and we barely sat down all day, but we made friends with everyone in our group and hung around afterwards with them for dinner, then for drinks, then we partied til 3am and we had the BEST TIME EVERRRR!

 

Explore Old Town Square

 

 

 

The focal point of the entire city is undoubtedly the old town square, with its astronomy tower, gothic church (Our Lady Before Tyn) and cobbled streets oozing character, charm and history. In and around the square you’ll find horse drawn carriages, souvenir shops and plenty of cafes, bars and restaurants to keep you occupied. At night the square totally comes alive and the tower and church are both lit up beautifully. Don’t forget to stand in front of the astronomy tower on the hour to see its enormous clock face come alive and create something very special. Prague’s New Town, with its Dancing House and famous Wenceslas Square are well worth a visit, but it’s the Old Town that totally steals my heart every time I visit this spectacular city.

 

Wander across Charles Bridge

 

Charles Bridge is one of the most amazing bridges I have ever walked across, and I’ve found myself just stopping in my tracks and gazing at it every time I’ve been lucky enough to be there. Built under the order of King Charles IV in 1352, the bridge crosses over the River Vltava and is part of the so called Royal Route. With statues, gargoyles and gothic towers at either end, the bridge is rich in history and is an absolute must see on your visit to Prague. Don’t forget to visit at night to see it lit up in all its glory!

 

Leave your mark on the John Lennon wall

 

 

I didn’t get to do this on my last visit, mainly because I didn’t know it existed and I had no idea what it was! Basically this wall is designed for anyone to come and leave their mark and express themselves, and is in memory of the late great John Lennon. The colours on the wall were so striking and it was such a cool, alternative thing to do in a city as historic as Prague. You can also stop by the world famous John Lennon pub if you fancy a pint – it’s conveniently located just across the road!

 

Discover the largest castle complex in Europe at Prague Castle

 

 

I’d been to Prague castle before on my last visit but kind of forgot how beautiful it was, especially when I was at the top of the fortress where the sun was shining and illuminating the pretty red roofs below. Our afternoon walking tour gave us access to the castle complex, including the grounds of the royal palace, the cobbled courtyards of the beautiful basilica and the inside and outside of the impressive St Vitus Cathedral. You could easily spend a few hours wandering around the complex, and exploring it’s many historical buildings too, and it was definitely a highlight of our visit to Prague.

 

Where to stay

 

 

We stayed in the super cool Sophie’s Hostel, located in a quiet neighbourhood just a 10 minute walk from Wenceslas Square and a 25 minute walk from the Old Town. The hostel had a real boutique hotel feel about it, and was much more glamorous than a standard hostel you’d expect to find. We had booked a private double room and we’re delighted to have been upgraded to an enormous apartment on arrival for the duration of our stay! We made the most of our giant bedroom, separate kitchen and big rainforest shower in the bathroom and loved having so much space all to ourselves. The bar and reception staff couldn’t have been more helpful throughout our stay, and we loved our pancakes at breakfast too! I would highly recommend Sophie’s Hostel as a fantastic place to stay during your visit to Prague, and it’s a great base for access to both the old and new town, as well as the airport and train station too.  Special thanks must go to the Sophie’s team for making our stay so wonderful!

 

Where to eat/drink

 

There are plenty of bars, restaurants and cafes to choose from in Prague, and most of them can be found in and around Wenceslas Square and the Old Town Square. We chose to eat in some of the side streets in the old town, as they generally tended to be much cheaper than the eateries that were situated on the square itself. We ate beef goulash in traditional tavernas and enjoyed wonderful meals both evenings – with so much choice you’ll find good food everywhere in Prague. We also ended up in the super cool Absinthe Bar on both of our evenings and had absolutely no regrets the next day – it was such a cool place to visit and our new friends from the tour loved it too!

Although I’ve been to Prague twice now and have seen such a lot during my time there, I know there are tonnes of other things to see and do that I haven’t even discovered yet. If you’re short on time though, this 48 hour guide should give you a good starting point on the main sights to cover and will stand you in good stead for your trip. Have you ever visited Prague before and would you go back like I did? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Love Jess X

 

*NEW BLOG POST* September Newsletter: Read what I've been getting up to this month! ((link in bio)) #wordpress #newpost #newsletter

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HAPPY NEW YEAR! Top 15 InstaTravel Moments of 2015!

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

I hope you all had fun partying last night.. I know I did! I thought I’d kick-start the day/year/month with a round up of my Top 15 InstaTravel Moments of 2015! This has been my first EVER year of using Instagram and it has fast become my favourite social media platform! So here are my top moments of the past 12 months…

JANUARY

Spending my birthday in London with an epic walking tour across the city with one of my best friends! We walked from Kensington to Tower Bridge and took in all the major landmarks- what a way to start the year!

FEBRUARY/MARCH

Taking in the beautiful sights of Prague by climbing to the top of the Old Astronomy Tower! This was my first city break of the year with my sister and what a trip we had!

APRIL

Myself and my sisters purchased season tickets for our family to the beautiful Blenheim Palace which is just down the road from us! We’ve had so many lovely days out at this place!

MAY

For my nans 80th birthday celebrations we headed for a family weekend away in the nearby Cotswolds. We had a wonderful weekend and the weather was just perfect!

JUNE

I had a fantastic day out to Royal Ascot this month along with my sisters, cousin, mum and aunty. We got all dressed up, bet on lots of horses and even saw the Queen!

I also headed to London at the end of June for a fantastic day out at Hyde Park’s annual British Summertime Festival. Myself and my close friend had great fun watching Kylie in concert who was incredible live!

We have had the besstttt dayyy!! Roll on next year wooo 😁🎉🐴👑 #ascot #races #family #love #girls #dayout #weloveascot #wesawqueenie

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JULY

This month brought our annual family holiday and we headed down to Cornwall to spend a week in our own holiday cottage right in the heart of lively St Ives. The weather was fantastic ALL WEEK and we had the best time with each other making lots of memories and revisiting places from our childhood!

AUGUST

August Bank Holiday weekend brought a fantastic day out filled with music, fun and laughter! I took my sisters to their first ever festival, Fusion Festival near Birmingham, and we had a brilliant day out seeing lots of top artists perform- the highlight was McBusted who were amazing!

SEPTEMBER

This month it was time for my second city break of the year so my sister and I flew to Budapest for a long weekend of sightseeing. We both fell in love with the city; it was beautiful and we had the best time away!

OCTOBER

This month was super busy for me but my highlight was a personal achievement which saw me run a 5k charity fun run for The Pituitary Foundation. I raised over £300 on my Just Giving page and beat my personal best! I had a fantastic day and was so proud of myself. A big THANK YOU to everyone who has donated to this fantastic charity who have supported my since my prolactinoma diagnosis in 2011.

NOVEMBER

I had a jam-packed November but my highlight was getting my first EVER paid job as a freelance travel writer! I was absolutely over the moon and it still hasn’t quite sunk in yet- hopefully I’ll take on more roles which will allow me to become a freelance writer full time!

DECEMBER

The last month of the year was kick-started with a magical trip to the beautiful Disneyland Paris! I went with two of my closest friends for a pre-Christmas treat and we had the most amazing time, it really was beautiful and certainly got us in the festive mood!

Hope you’ve enjoyed my whistle-stop recap of my InstaTravel highlights from 2015! I’d love to hear what your favourite was? I just can’t pick one!

Wishing you every happiness for 2016!

Love Jess x

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European City Break: Prague!

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Hi everyone,

So I’ve just returned from my first city break of 2015 and I headed to the beautiful Czech capital of Prague for a quick getaway with my sister! Prague is such a beautiful city and, with so much to see and do, we had the most amazing time! We took off from London Gatwick airport on the morning of Friday 27th Feb and after a short 1hr35 flight (which literally flew by!) we landed safely at our destination. And as if by magic you can now BOOK the exact same trip I planned in one easy step – scroll down and read the last paragraph for details! In the meantime though, here’s what we got up to in Prague…

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During our adventure we stayed at the 4 star Hotel Louis Leger, located on Lergova Street a 15 minute walk from the famous Wenceslas Square. The hotel was clean and comfortable although a little old fashioned and dated in my opinion but I guess that’s just because I’m used to staying in big modern chain hotels, so this one definitely made a nice change! You can read my Trip Advisor review on Hotel Louis Leger here: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g274707-d510395-r258188149-Hotel_Louis_Leger-Prague_Bohemia.html#REVIEWS

DAY 1

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On our first day we spent some time checking out the local area, shopping in the various boutiques, and getting our bearings right before heading down to Wenceslas Square and then onto the Old Town to stop for some lunch. Food and drink prices in Prague are notoriously cheap and were amazed at how much we could get for our money; we definitely overindulged while we were there, but it was totally worth it! Once we had finished exploring and had been back to the hotel to freshen up we then headed to a nearby Italian, The Coloseum, for some yummy pizza, pasta & ice cream and enjoyed the evening together. The location of the hotel was quite a walk from the Old Town (30-40mins) but a manageable 15min walk from Wenceslas Square which wasn’t too bad. There were shops and restaurants lining the streets up to Wenceslas Square though so if your like us and didn’t fancy walking far on the first night you’ll have plenty of other choices for dinner a bit nearby! You can see my Trip Advisor review of The Coloseum restaurant here: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g274707-d795457-r258189275-Pizza_Coloseum_Original_Pizza_Pasta-Prague_Bohemia.html#REVIEWS

DAY 2

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We had booked a 4 hour tour for our second day and were so looking forward to seeing all the sights of the city. Martin Tours booked us on to The Grand Tour of Prague and we spent most of it on foot exploring everything there was to see. Trip advisor review here: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g274707-d4960295-r258190924-Martin_Tour_Prague-Prague_Bohemia.html#REVIEWS Our guide was very friendly and knowledgeable and gave us plenty of time to take photos and ask questions etc, there were only a few of us on the tour so it was very personal which was great. We started in a minibus that took us from Wenceslas Square through the New Town, past monuments such as The Dancing House and The Rudolfenium, all the way to the top of Prague Castle.

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We then made our way around the complex, seeing the inside of the stunning St Vitus Cathedral, passing the Presidential suite (the flag was flying so the President himself was home!) and enjoying panoramic views across the city before beginning our descent towards the Old Town. Once we’d reached the bottom of the castle area we headed on foot to our next star attraction, Charles Bridge, which was truly a wonderful sight. Dating back to the 13th century, the bridge spans the width of the River Vltava and it’s history is etched into it’s bricks. Walking across the bridge was quite an experience, with our guide giving us the background on it’s purpose and it’s origins, and we could see for miles down the river.

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Next we headed to Old Town Square and saw the Gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn and the picturesque Old Town Hall before ending up at the breathtaking Astronomical Clock Tower to watch the clock strike on the hour – definitely a sight not to be missed! The figurine of a skeleton below the clock face pulls a cord which in turn opens four windows above to show the 12 disciples rotating around and the chimes can be heard loudly. There’s something quite eery and mystical about the whole thing and it’s worth seeing just make sure you are there on the hour!

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Later in the afternoon we were booked on to a river boat cruise which sailed up and down the Vlatva. The cruise lasted for an hour, complete with English speaking guide who gave a running commentary, and there were plenty of photo opportunities throughout as we made our way up towards Charles Bridge and back. We passed Prague Castle, the Prime Minister’s residential home and a few other attractions on our way downstream and the boat then dropped us back at the port where we had to walk back into the city.This only took 5 minutes and we were back in Old Town Square before we knew it!

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Later on in the evening we made our way to Wenceslas Square for dinner and ended up in a delightful restaurant, Como, which was part of the Javert Hotel right on the strip. The food was incredible, I had a tradtional Czech beef goulash whilst my sister opted for the homemade lasagne. Although the restaurant was quite fancy the prices were great and we thoroughly enjoyed spoiling ourselves! View my review of Como Restaurant here: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g274707-d1568048-r258189073-Como_Restaurant_Cafe-Prague_Bohemia.html#REVIEWS

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DAY 3

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On our third and final full day we had booked an afternoon World War Two Tour with a different company, Prague Tours and were very much looking forward to seeing what was in store for us. In the morning though we needed something else to do for a few hours and so decided to climb to the top of the Astronomical Tower (as you do!) for a panoramic view across the city. We paid 120 korona each (just £3!!) to climb right to the top of the tower and when we got there we saw the most amazing sights and the views were incredible. Plenty of photos were taken and we made the most of our view by just enjoying the atmosphere and admiring the city for a while before we had to come down!

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After a short stop for lunch we met our tour guide, Marketa (who was fantastic), outside the historic Powder Tower and were taken round the streets of the Old Town for the first part of our tour, passing various parts of the city which were heavily involved in WW2. We were taken on foot through the Old Town and then gained access to the lower part of the Astronomical Tower, exploring the underground chambers which we learnt were used for hideout by members of the Prague Resistance. This was a fascinating part of the tour and it was so interesting to walk through the areas that were used in such an important historical time period. We also learnt a lot about the assassination of Nazi SS leader Reinhard Heydrich by local Czech residents, and the terror that Nazi occupation brought to a city desperate to be free from invasion although it was key to Hitler’s quest for world domination.

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Next we headed into the Jewish Quarter to see the areas known as Ghetto’s during WW2 and learnt about how badly they were treated by the Nazi’s. I found this part of the tour very emotional, and so did a lot of the others as Marketa explained the horror that was bestowed upon these innocent people during one of Prague’s darkest times. At points, Jews were shot at by Nazi soldiers if they so much as walked on the pavement! Shocked and disgusted, I couldn’t even imagine something like that happening in today’s world; Marketa spoke with such deep emotion when she explained things that had happened and it moved a lot of us in the group to tears. We ended up near Charles Bridge again and wound up our tour having an open conversation, raising questions and pointers about the main areas before saying goodbye and returning back to the city centre. My sister and I thought this was the best city tour we had ever been on and had real admiration for Marketa; she knew her facts, was very passionate and extremely friendly. You can view my Trip Advisor review on the tour here: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g274707-d2254923-r258191625-World_War_II_in_Prague_Tour-Prague_Bohemia.html#REVIEWS

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Dinner that night was at the incredible Hard Rock Cafe, the biggest one in Europe, and we certainly had a dining experience to remember! We each chose huge burgers for our main and had a couple of cocktails, the music played in the Cafe was shown on big TV screens on the walls and really added to the ‘rock’ vibe that was present. The food was great, the atmosphere was brilliant and we couldn’t fault the friendly service; we even wandered around the shop afterwards in search of some merchandise! Read my rocking review of this place on my Trip Advisor account: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g274707-d1516182-r258189525-Hard_Rock_Cafe-Prague_Bohemia.html#REVIEWS

On our fourth and final day we woke early for breakfast, checked out of our room, and headed to nearby Praha airport (a 30 min taxi ride away) to catch our flight back to London Gatwick. We had a brilliant time in Prague and I’d highly recommend it to anyone looking for a short European break in a cultural, historical and beautiful city. With so much to see and do you are certainly spoilt for choice, although three nights was plenty of time for us to explore everything we needed to.

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My next trips are concerts & day trips in Oxford and London so I’ll keep you posted on these, I have family down for a couple of weeks for Easter and then I’m heading back to Liverpool again in April so I’ve got plenty to be blogging about!

As mentioned above, you can now book the EXACT trip I did in one easy step – just click on the link below for more details and to request a quote!

Get a quote for this trip

Love Jess x

End of the month round up!

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Happy Sunday everyone!

So as its the start of a new month today I thought I’d bring you a round up of everything that’s happened throughout my January and also give you an insight as to what’s coming up for me in February.

As I’ve mentioned in my previous posts, I saw in the new year with all my lovely family up in Liverpool. We spent a good few days with everyone and even had time to go into the city centre to rediscover some places that I hadn’t been to since the early part of last year. You can see my write up of my Liverpool trip here: https://journeyswithjessica.wordpress.com/2015/01/04/welcome-to-2015-happy-new-year/

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The following week I headed to Essex to see the other side of my family as we had a big family party to go to. My aunty was turning 50 so she threw a big get together in the local village pub complete with a band and some scrummy food. Unfortunately as we were only down for the night we didn’t have time to head into Essex itself so didn’t see anything whilst there, but we had a brilliant time and loved seeing everyone!

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The week after was my 22nd birthday weekend and I had a few days of celebrations to make the most of it! I went into Oxford on the day itself and then for a family meal in the evening at a gorgeous restaurant called The Blue Boar in Witney. You can read my Trip Advisor review of the restaurant here: http://www.tripadvisor.ie/ShowUserReviews-g504093-d2437859-r250158750-The_Blue_Boar-Witney_Oxfordshire_England.html#REVIEWS

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The next day I headed into London with my best friend to do some major sightseeing and we had such an amazing day! The sun was shining brightly across the Thames and, although it was cold, we made the most of the sunshine and walked everywhere rather than catching the tube which certainly made a difference. We strolled on foot from Westminster to Tower Bridge taking in all the famous landmarks along the way, including St Paul’s cathedral, The Shard, Big Ben and The London Eye. View my write up of my London day out here: https://journeyswithjessica.wordpress.com/2015/01/23/london-day-trip-from-kensington-to-westminster-to-tower-bridge/

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Finally, this weekend I went into Oxford on the Friday night to see a theatre production of The Woman in Black at The Oxford Playhouse which was amazing! The next day I went back into the city centre again for the day to do some shopping but also found myself with a spare few hours to kill whilst waiting for a friend so I decided to turn into a tourist for the day even though I was in my home city! As I’ve grown up around Oxford I’ve never really had chance to do the sightseeing stuff but I really enjoyed myself and got truly immersed in the tourist spirit! I took a wander round the famous university colleges, stumbled across the stunning Radcliffe Camera and took a tour round the incredible Bodleian Library. My blog post on my Oxford day out will be posted in the coming days!

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As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve also been busy collaborating with a couple of fellow travel bloggers this month so I’ll be posting updates of those once they’ve been published! Find out more here:

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So as you can see I’ve had an incredibly busy January but I’ve loved every second! February is also going to be jam packed for me as I have exciting news.. I’m moving out of home for the first time! I’ll only be moving out for three months but I’m excited at the prospect of having some freedom although I know I won’t want to return home afterwards! We have family coming down in the middle of the month and then I’m off to Prague for a weekend city break on the 27th, so I’ve got plenty to be blogging about!

Speak soon!

Love Jess x

Welcome to 2015: Happy New Year!

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Happy new year everyone, and welcome to 2015!

I had a brilliant time up in Liverpool celebrating the new year with all my closest family. We stayed for three days and managed to squeeze in a bit of shopping in the city centre to make the most of the time we had up there!

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I know I’ve said this before, but Liverpool truly is one of the best cities in the world. There is so much to see and do and the whole atmosphere is just incredible. I fit in as many trips up there during the year as I can so that time can be spent with the family, but I also try to visit the city centre as much as possible.

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Rather than heading back to the city for a night out to celebrate new years eve we decided to have a big family house party instead which was amazing! I love having everyone together, and singing Auld Lang Syne whilst watching the local fireworks was truly magical. 12 months ago I went to London’s embankment to see in 2013 which was amazing and an experience I will never forget, but this time I really wanted to spend it with the whole family instead.

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I had a magical end to the year, and I hope you did too! What did you all get up to? Please tell me your new year stories I’d love to know how and  where you all celebrated!

2015 has some big things in store for me, and I can’t wait to share all my new adventures with you! First of all I’m planning a European city break in February but need to figure out the best destination to go to; I’ve heard places like Budapest, Vienna and Krakow are incredible but I’m veering towards Prague at the moment. If you would like to share any suggestions with me for my city break please get in touch!

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Happy new year everyone, see you on my next post!

Love Jess x