Visiting Prague With a Dog – Part 1

The name “Prague” will forever conjure the image of a pet friendly fairy-tale landscape. To us, it will always be a city we love for not succumbing to the Napoleonic grid system thus providing us with hours of entertainment as we got lost in the winding and “directionally unpredictable” streets.  It will remain in our hearts a city full of hidden gems, of special places and enchanted memories.  And WOW is it ever pet friendly!

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So much to see and so little time!

You’ve already tasted Prague a little; since I’ve shared with you the wonderful studio we stayed in, the magnificent wedding we attended and the joy of spending a day on Petrin hill.  So with that in mind I shall continue with three more posts. Yes, three posts. Each post will cover 2 districts.  This will make things a little more complete and give you a true sense of what this amazing city has to offer.  And it has a lot to offer.

Hradcany – Prague Castle

Like so many European cities, Prague’s history started with its castle.  Dating back to the 9th century it sits high above the Vltava River on its very own hill. And yes, it takes up the entire hill top. The castle is very much a town onto itself (section 1-5 on the map bellow). 

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To help you get situated! Top middle is the castle

Despite a bunch of fires and the “to be expected” invasions, Prague castle has somehow safeguarded its churches, chapels, halls and towers from every period of its history. That makes it pretty darn unique! For architecture buffs like us, it’s a joy since you get everything from the Gothic splendor of St. Vitus’s Cathedral

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I am here! Let me in!

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Imposing sight in the second square – St. Vitus’s Cathedral

… to the renaissance additions of Rudoph II, the last Habsburg to use the castle as his principal residence. The main courtyard dates all the way back to 1753, when joy Oh JOY the area was rebuilt in the Baroque and Neo-classical styles.

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No worries, there is a grill to prevent folks from falling in the well!

And if you think it’s just a museum you would be wrong.  It never stopped being “the seat of power”. The current president of the Czech Republic still has his office there.

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First courtyard – President offices. Photo by Sarah Stein for Flytographer (Engagement shoot)

The fantastic thing about the castle is that the grounds proper are pet friendly. You can’t enter any of the buildings, chapels and such with your pet, but you can easily walk about the outside and soak it all in. The restaurants (yes, plural), cafés and shops are all pet friendly (inside and outside) and the views are amazing.  So if you want to do the hand off thing it’s easy enough to do if there are two of you.

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It really is a small town!

For the one “staying with the dog” your pet friendly stroll will take you past the high security entrance (left of the Main entrance courtyard). Here your bags will be checked and you will go through a metal detector.

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Main entrance that is technically the exit. The security entrance is to the left.

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Here is the set up once we past!

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Time for a drink! Post security!

Once in … you and your dog are free to roam the castle village streets. And I mean free as in there is no fee. Fees apply to ENTER each of the buildings along the way but for your dog and you to just enjoy the outdoors it’s free.

First stop for us was the royal gardens Café at the left of the main entrance. After standing in line to go past security it was time for a drink and an ice cream. Service at the café there was absolutely stellar.

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Cool marble wall and my own bowl of water. Perfect!

 Then we wondered over to the Powder tower, used in the past to store, you guessed it… powder. Then onwards towards the White tower and the adorable Golden lane (there is a fee for this section), a row of picturesque artisan’s cottages along the inside of the castle walls built in the 16th century. It was mostly goldsmiths that actually lived there hence its name. It’s arguably one of the prettiest streets in Prague.

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How FREAKIN cute is this?? MY SIZE!

Then we took full advantage of the view from the Dalibor Tower before looping back to enjoy Jirska street.

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Enjoying the view from Dalibor Tower. Photo by Sarah Stein for Flytographer engagement shoot.

We stopped to see “The Youth” statue in the Burgrave Courtyard and ummm… did what one does.  I guess it is good luck to “rub the penis”?  No idea.  I admit it was hilarious to watch all the other tourists trying SO hard to ignore this shining golden penis! There it was, glowing from all the previous folks that had rubbed it. So many people wanted to take a photo but felt “weird” doing so. As a result they just kept “hovering” waiting for someone to break the ice.

Well, we had NO trouble whatsoever!  Our photo-shoot moment came complete with Mom happily shouting “Oh come on! You ALL know you want this photo!” … ah mom … our fearless one.

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The Youth – and us. Photo by Sarah Stein for Flytographer – proposal shoot.

As you can see you will have a lot to visit with your dog; even if the picture gallery, main palace, basilica and royal gardens are not pet friendly.

Mala Strana – Little Quarter

Occupying the slopes beneath the Castle all the way down to the river is the area known as Mala Strana. It’s pretty much been the way it is today since the 1700s. It’s a maze of streets with lavish baroque palaces and churches. It was the realm of the nobles that desired privacy outside of the palace walls while still remaining close to the seat of power. Now it’s mostly home to embassies, artists, cafes, restaurants and lots of music venues.

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Hradcanske Square view of the Castle gates and Cathedral.

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Loads of little workshops and food stalls in Hradcanske Square

If you are leaving the castle to head back towards the river and the famous Charles Bridge you’ll be crossing Hradcanske Square. This vast square right in front of the castle is a surprisingly large empty space. But it wasn’t always the case. Once home to a lot of small workshops, a fire in 1541 burnt that all to the ground. Quickly taking advantage of the newly liberated “prime real estate” a series of imposing palaces were built.  On the South side is the huge 16th century Schwarzenbersky palace.  Likely one of the most beautiful renaissance buildings in Prague with its diamond-point work (sgraffito) and hidden away pet friendly café with STELLAR view of the entire city of Prague. And off-leash time allowed too!

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Sgraffito! and ANOTHER place to have coffee or a full meal!

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diamond-point work and wait for the view beyond that door! wait for it!!

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Oh HELLOOOOO!

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Okay let’s go!! More to see!

The West end of the square has the Thun-Hohenstein Palace, a heavy and austere thing built in 1689.  You’ll recognize it by the statue on its roof. North side will regale you visually with the pink and white Rococo façade of the Sternberg Palace built in the 16th century palace for the Archbishop at the time.

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Sternberg Palace straight ahead!

From here we took the Nerudova Street back down towards the river. It’s a picturesque if narrow street named after a poet and journalist. His house is there … with two suns over the door (#47).  It’s normally a crazy busy, noisy street but because we were there a little off season and earlier in the day than most we got to enjoy it fully.

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Beautiful Nerudova Street – a GEM!

Delightfully this street has tons of signs on and above the houses. This use to help people find the right home before they introduced house numbers; these signs are such fun! Top to bottom we figured out White Swan (#49), Green Lobster (#43), Golden Horseshoe (#34), The Three Fiddles (#12) and the Red Eagle (#6).

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Every building is unique!

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Aw…. SO SO NICE!!!

Most of these buildings are now embassies so keep your eyes open to see if you find yours! We saw many but not the Canadian embassy ….hmmmm…..

Then it was onwards to the Little Quarter square is sort of the hub of Mala Strana. It’s the center point of all access. Behind you would be the castle way up on its hill, ahead the Charles Bridge to cross the river, to your left the massive Church of St. Nicholas and to the right is Petrin Hill.

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Church of Saint Nicholas and the black baby Jesus statue inside! Not pet friendly so hand off needed.

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Entrance tot he little quarter square and Nerudova Street fromt he Charles bridge

 

But before you cross the Charles bridge and leave…

Do take a moment to enjoy the area on the banks of the river just before the Charles Bridge. We found it to be full of wonderful museums, amazing restaurants including one with a patio right ON the river bank.

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I am sensing a theme!

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Nudity is a thing in this city! Wooohooo happy naked time!

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LOVED how this museum had the juxtaposition of the ultra modern on the old. very us. Sadly I can’t remember the name of the museum! ACK! Modern art.

There we sat down, caught our breath, enjoyed the view of the bridge and the hordes of tourists now on it while peacefully enjoying the freshly prepared trout we chose out of the barrel of live fish marked “catch of the day”.

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Charles bridge and the yellow penguins – a moving exhibit that happened to be in Prague when we were!

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Helllloooooo pretty!

Take a moment to walk the park, see some modern art – much of it outside and free to see – and relax away from the crowds. It’s a great chance to let your dog run off leash too and if you have time head out to the Lennon Wall.

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Lennon Wall Discovery – Photo by Sarah Stein for Flytographer engagement shoot

In 1988, the wall was a source of irritation for the communist regime.  It was where young folks would gather and often write grievances. Today, the wall still undergoes change as message upon message is written. Sadly the original portrait of Lennon that gave it its name is long lost under layers of new paint. But it endures.

It is in that endurance that the real message lives on. Once, when the wall was repainted by local authorities… well, two days later it was again full of poems and flowers. And so, it survives as a symbol of the ideals of love and peace.

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Our own Love and peace. Photo by Sarah Stein for Flytographer engagement shoot

The wall is owned by the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, which allows the graffiti to continue, and is located at Velkopřevorské náměstí (Grand Priory Square).

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The spot where mom would propose.

On that happy note, I shall leave you.  Next week I’ll pick up by crossing the famous Charles Bridge with you over to the other side to tell you all about the Stare Mesto and Josefov districts.

40 Comments on “Visiting Prague With a Dog – Part 1

  1. Prague is one city I haven’t seen yet. But your pictures make me very jealous.

    I wish the U.S. was as pet friendly.

    We live on a sailboat with our golden retriever so we do quite a lot of traveling in the coastal U.S. But we come up against a lot of restrictions for where we can visit with Honey.

  2. I love reading about all your cool travel adventures with Montecristo. Prague sounds amazing! And it definitely has some interesting statues… lol! I love how pet-friendly everything is! Glad you guys enjoyed such a fun trip!

    • Europe is always a reminder of how less friendly it is for pets on this side of the Atlantic. It is why I think we return so much! And yeah … lot of penis! Kinda funny! We only notices once we were collating the photos. Prague is amazing.

  3. I thought, just for a moment… the sign above the door said *NIP*!!! OH my Cat!!!!

    This is a visionary city and, yup, not gridded to death. (I am the only person I know who gets lost in New York because I have a phobia about numbers and they are ALL numbered strees AGH!!)

    Thank you for the most gorgeous images ever!

    • WOW finally another person hat HATES the number thing. It isn’t a phobia as such but we just feel it strips a city of a certain charm and character and of its messy past.

  4. Hi Monte,
    You did it again! Another wonderful post. I’m so glad you and your bipeds got to experience my country. :-)
    I’m looking forward to the next week post.

    Love,
    Michaela, Oliver, & Chloé

    • I have never had to break up a city into THREE posts but Prague needs it. DESERVES IT!! So glad your wedding gave us the perfect excuse to go! See you all soon!

  5. I love the architecture of the cathedral and would love to see all of the ancient cathedrals in Europe. I admire your mom’s outgoing personality and willingness to pose with the statute.

    • That sounds like a great idea! There are Millions of them so BIG trip!! And thanks … yeah Mom …. she is fearless a real “Who cares what they think” kinda gal!

  6. It really is fantastic that you are able to walk all those grounds and see the castle. That is such a nice way to enjoy the city. And the cafes and shops…you hit the mother load. Lucky! 😉

  7. Okay, first, you KILLED me with your comment about the statue who’s nether parts glistened and also the naked people comment (see cute tiny dog sitting on strange naked gigantic baby statue). Thanks for making me giggle.

    Also, God I love your photos. They help me to escape my universe and be with you guys for a little while. Thank you for that. I enjoyed learning about all of the sights to see if I’m ever able to visit.

    • your comment just made writing this post 100% worth it! THANK YOU! And hey … who knows mate the photos will get us nominated for a nose-to-nose some year!

  8. Prague is on mom’s top 10 list of her next trip to Europe thanks so much for sharing and the beautiful pictures. It’s nice to know is so dog friendly, like Paris, but mom doesn’t think she’ll visit with a dog, but wishes she could! Love Dolly

  9. Oh my goodness. Your dog is the cutest! Love the harness by the way. So stylish. I’ve never been to Prague however your blog post and pictures transported me there. I thank you. I will re-visit your blog again for sure to see your next adventure. Looks like you all enjoyed yourselves.

    • So glad you will be a return visitor!! We do enjoy our travels. no matter where they take us. but Prague was extra special.

  10. Love the pictures, that is one city on my wish list as I have heard so much amazing stories about it and your blog has made it more tempting – thanks

  11. Beautiful photos and a beautiful city! Thank you for sharing about your trip to Prague. I love to travel, but it’s been 4 years since I’ve gone overseas for a trip! I would love to go back to Europe sometime though!

  12. Prague seems pretty amazing. I’m loving being an armchair traveler over here! Love the pics…and the architecture, stunning. And yes, I do sense a theme there, the golden penis is very… well, golden! I love how they put out a dish of water for visiting pups, Very thoughtful! Just so much to see…Thanks for sharing your amazing adventures with us all!

  13. It looks you had a wonderful vacation! I loved seeing some of the photos from your engagement session.

  14. First off – that harness is precious. I loved the Charles Bridge when I visited Prague many years ago and have fond memories crossing it! I did not know about the Lennon Wall! WOW – the pics you have of that are awesome, those colors! Oh every time I read your posts I want to get on a plane!!! (with my dogs this time)

    • Harness by Foo Foo fido. We love her work. In fact she is making my wedding outfit for the bipeds wedding in August!

  15. You know what I love about this post? How your dog is totally into the experience, too. I could feel your passion but also knowing the dog loved the entire thing, too. Lovely images!

    • It is why we return to Europe so very often. It is just a lot easier to include the dog there in ALL things. meals, museums, sights… such a joy.

  16. Your travels are so delightful – and this one to Prague really conjured up a lot of emotion for me. Way back in my younger years I had an opportunity to live in Prague – glorious!

  17. I’ve so enjoyed your posts on Prague, what a spectacular place! I get so jealous seeing how dog friendly everything is in Europe. Prague has become a very popular destination for Americans in the last decade, but prior to that it’s not been well known at all. I can’t believe it has so much beauty and interest, now I really want to go! I can see by the statues that they certainly have a sense of humor!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    • Oh they do – No prudes here! Wait for pert 2 and 3! You will be booking a ticket! I think the lack of tourism from this side of the Atlantic has slowed down the horror of fast food chains etc. no “catering” to the US market and as a result … seems… more genuine.

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