Prague is the capital of, and largest city in, the Czech Republic. Although many of us who PCS to Germany don’t necessarily have it on our list of places to see, this Bohemian city will steal your heart if you make the trip.
Prague (pronounced “Pra-ha” by the locals) is driving distance from many U.S. Army and Air Force bases here in Germany: 5.5 hours from Ramstein, 5 from Wiesbaden, 4.5 from Stuttgart
and only 2.5 from Grafenwöhr. If you would prefer to go with a tour, the USO has a great overnight trip a few times a year, so contact them for more details.
With a little planning, Prague can be a much more affordable trip than Paris, London or Venice, without sacrificing the incredible architecture, wonderful restaurants and conveniences of Europe’s more well-traveled cities. We recommend you grab a book from the library or bookstore to accompany you on your trip, as Prague is a city deeply steeped in history, much of it utterly fascinating.
Being a mainly pedestrian city, you’ll easily be able to explore with just a map and a comfortable pair of shoes. The vibe here is much more laid back than Paris, but the architecture will astound you. From the many different patterns of cobblestone streets to the etched stone facades and intricate sculptures on nearly every corner, you will be hard-pressed to find a better place to test your photography skills.
Get an early start to beat the tourists and make your way to Charles Bridge with camera in hand. This 1,700-foot cobblestone bridge has some of the most beautiful views of the river and 30 baroque statues to line the way.
The Museum of Communism in Prague is an interesting look back at the hold communism once had on the country and how the citizens rose up against it in the so called “Velvet Revolution.” You can learn more at the museum’s website (in English) at www.muzeumkomunismu.cz/en.
If you’d rather sleep late and explore the nightlife, Prague is a great place to visit. While very family-friendly, Prague is also the home of great beer and a very healthy nightlife scene. The local universities and arts culture provide an abundance of active pubs and dance clubs located throughout the city and in the near suburbs.
The weather in Prague ranges from quite hot in the summer to very cool in the winter, so dress accordingly.
If you plan to visit in early spring, be sure to check local news reports for information about flooding in the city. The Vltava River runs through the city center and has flooded on numerous occasions (including this spring).
If you are driving to Prague from Germany, be sure to stop at ADAC (or just before the border) to purchase a registration sticker. The stickers are normally less than €20 and are similar to a toll, allowing you to use the Czech highways as a tourist.
Czech police are infamous for searching cars at rest stops and gas stations near the highway, and the tickets they give out cost far more than the original toll price, so don’t try your luck. Also, don’t forget your passport!
• • •
For more great places to visit in Germany and around Europe, visit www.militaryingermany.com.