A pizza shop in an alley in Prague

Prague. Cobbled streets. Architecture dating back to the 13th century. Quirky statues. Sausage vendors. Street cars that look like they’ve been in operation since the 1940s. Heavy delicious pub food.

Travelling to a new city is like giving yourself a fresh start. Nobody knows you. In some cases the language is different, the architectural styles are different, the food is different; for the most part everything is different. In a new place anything is possible. It’s one of the reasons why I love to travel; and one of the reasons why I rarely travel with a guidebook or map. I don’t do this because I think they’re evil, I do it because I find that my eyes (and mind) are more open without them.

Although booking a Prague hotel near the city centre makes life  easier, there are also some great hostels across the river. The trick to picking your hotel (if you’re travelling without a car) is to look for one that is near a metro station, that way you can travel into the city centre without the headaches of traffic, or parking! It’s also a lot cheaper to use the metro, than to drive or take a taxi (did you know you cannot hail a taxi in Prague? Nope, you can’t. You have to call them ahead of time).

Old Town Square in Prague

Old Town Square in Prague

Exploring Prague without a Map or Guidebook

Prague (or any city for that matter) is full of treasures; finding them is the trick! Whenever I left the apartment in Prague 4 (across the river and roughly 5 metro stops from the city centre) I carried my money, camera, and notebook. Nothing else. I knew the name of my metro stop, and the name of the metro stop where I was getting off, and that was all I needed to know.

As a history lover and antique collector, exploring Prague was like having a wet travel dream. The smell of must in an old building, or the feel of rusting metal would make my skin tingle. Allies filled with graffiti were as exciting as a promised love affair. Prague is oozing with history, and sometimes the small allies were more interesting then the popular tourist sights, with their small bistros, graffiti, courtyards, and doorways; and some times those small side streets or allies would lead to art gallies I didn’t know about; which were home to some interesting sculptures by David Cerny.

Shark by David Cerny

Shark by David Cerny

Getting lost was never an issue. In fact, it was the goal. Whenever I get lost in a city, I almost always find something interesting, and when that happens I feel like I’ve hit a travel lottery. This is how I came across the French market across the river, the one selling all kinds of yummy french food; which still makes my mouth water! Oh, how I love getting lost in a new city. I always find cool little nooks and crannies that I share with others – and return to if I revisit the city at a later date.

Getting lost is a great way to discover the city you’re travelling in.

Do you explore without a guidebook or map?

 

About The Author

I'm a travel writer and photographer who specializes in bespoke travel experiences. I write about boutique, savvy and cultural travel. My writing has been featured in Outpost Magazine, Travel + Escape, and UP! Magazine.

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One Response

  1. Melissa

    I’m definitely someone who needs a map, especially if I’m somewhere where I don’t speak the language. I will explore side streets and wander but I need to know that I can find my way back to a metro station or my hotel without having to leave a trail of breadcrumbs. I also get disoriented in cities that don’t have huge landmarks to navigate by. For instance, in Toronto I can tell North from South if I can see the CN Tower. In NYC, it’s all about the street numbers. I start to feel panicked if I feel lost. I may get over that the more I travel.

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