Looking for the best walking tours in Prague? Look no farther!
Texans love their koláče*.
So much so that I get emails like this from Texas Humor on the regular. They really do know their audience.
One of the most distressing parts about going to university in Massachusetts was when I asked for a koláč at a breakfast meeting (as they are p much synonymous with donuts in my breakfast vocabulary…you can’t have one without the other) and was met with a blank stare and a “wtf are you talking about what are those?”
Side note: no wonder you damn yankees are so cranky all the time. You don’t have koláče and y’all are just now getting Chick-fil-A.
So, when I decided to visit Prague, literally the only thing on my “must do” list was to eat some ~*authentic*~ koláče in their motherland.
I didn’t know much about the Czech Republic before going (other than two wild and crazy guys are from there), so I figured my koláče goal would be easily accomplished. But, story of my life, I got so distracted by how much I liked Prague that I forgot to get some!
Guess I’ll have to go back.
The Best Walking Tours in Prague
Smoky and I had about 30 hours in Prague. Just enough time to be content, but not enough to be completely satisfied. Given our limited timeframe, we didn’t want to strike out on our own and miss anything important, so we decided to go on two adventures with Discover Prague Tours.
I’d highly recommend them if you have limited time in the city, or just want an entertaining afternoon with a knowledgeable AF guide. They’ve got free walking tours (but you still gotta tip at the end...don’t be that guy), pub crawls, bike rides, and the two we took: the World War II and Communism Tour of Prague and the Prague Castle District Tour.
“Unimaginable suffering, unspeakable courage, crushed dreams, and glimmers of hope: Prague tossed and turned in the 20th century’s storms, whipped up by the great powers surrounding it. This tour sheds light on the dark times and their defeat.”
We had Tate as our guide. Easy enough to remember his name since he’s an Idaho native and (allegedly) his parents decided to name their son after the state’s claim to fame. I was honestly glad I met him, because I had never actually met anyone from Idaho before and was beginning to doubt that it really exsisted. I mean…think about it. Have YOU ever met anyone from Idaho?
This is one of the best walking tours in Prague because it’s a crash course in Czech history. American education likes to pretend that WWII started on December 7, 1941, so going into this I had no idea how important Czechoslovakia was to the conflict (hello Sudetenland and Czech manufacturing) and just how overall wild things had been over there for the last 100 years or so.
One of the most intense moments was at the end of the tour when Tate reminded our group of all the regime changes the area has survived in recent history. And you learn about all of them.
Basically, the first half of the tour feels like Tate (or whoever your guide happens to be, but try to get Tate) is walking you through this Wikipedia article, except it’s a lot more exciting than sitting at home down a Wikipedia rabbit trail (which is the only other reason I can think of that you’d be reading about the German occupation of Czechoslovakia) because you’re actually walking where it happened.
The second half covers things like the Prague Spring and Velvet Revolution. Again, feel free to read up about the events and walk around Prague on your own time, but it’s not going to be nearly as fun as going on this tour.
“See the world’s largest medieval castle and Hradcany, Prague’s famous castle district. Enjoy the most spectacular Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque architecture the city has to offer.”
We had Givi as our guide. The man, the myth, the legend. One of the first things he did was take off the yellow vest the guides wear so you can find them easily because he didn’t want to lose his street cred. We knew we were in for a great time.
Unlike the WWII and Communism tour, the Castle District Tour is more location-based. Instead of walking and learning general history, you learn the specific history of
- Places to avoid in Prague (like the Charles Bridge…”Don’t go there guys. It’s the most annoying place in Prague.”).
- Monasteries (like the Strahov Monastery, which idk about you guys, but looks like it’s realllly just asking to be burned down).
- Why the Czechs have hella beef with the Swedes.
- What a defenestration is and why Prague has so freaking many of them.
Bonus: I’m unsure if every tour has a “modern politics of Prague” sharing circle, but Givi took the time to fill our group in on the drunken antics of the current Czech president, how Czechs are reacting to the migrant crisis, and more. We all appreciated his honesty, got a great laugh from his sarcasm, and felt reassured that Americans aren’t the only ones constantly “wtf” ing at our elected leaders.
This walking tour lasts about three hours, but feels like about 30 minutes because of how interesting it is. It seemed more like a elongated stand up set with some history thrown in. There’s never a lull where you’re kicking your shoe on the concrete wondering when this dang thing will be over so you can go get a koláč…which is probably why I forgot to go and get one after.
We booked both of the tours about 10 minutes before they started. You can book online here if you’d like to, but don’t feel like you have to if your plans aren’t set in stone.
*Koláče is the artist formally known as kolache. You can file this under things that make me a pretentious traveler like saying Barthelona and Budapesht.
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