21 min read
So it's fair to say that 2020 was a bit of a write-off when it comes to travel but what better way to get over the last 6 months of lockdown and quarantine than to have something amazing to look forward to? And to help you plan that amazing 2021 trip, the BRB team just launched back-to-back city breaks, a new way of using your BRB savings by going on not one, but two separate European destinations in a single break. To find out more about our back to back city breaks, read this post from Sam, our Head of Operations.
So you've just found out that your first back-to-back city break is Prague, the city of a thousand spires, followed up by Nice and its renowned 'la Promenade des Anglais'. But with only for 48 hours in each city and a to-do-list that hits the floor, how can you possibly fit everything in?
Well fear not, you have come to the right place. The BRB team has selflessly explored over 70 destinations across Europe to save you the trouble of combing through Tripadvisor’s ‘things to do’ pages that seem to last for eternity and risking missing out on some of the best sights to see and most delicious foods to feast on.
Prague is definitely not short of things to do; in fact, it’s overflowing with things to see, explore, eat and enjoy. It is the political, cultural and economic hub of central Europe, and boasts a rich history.
After a two hour flight from London Stansted, I arrive in Prague late morning on Friday and head directly to my hotel for the weekend. Prague is a popular destination for BeRightBack subscribers and whilst we work with plenty of hotels there, one of my personal favourites in the four-star Questenberk Hotel, located in the Baroque Questenberk Palace near the Strahov Monastery and only 500 meters from Prague Castle! I personally love sending people to this hotel because it historic-style hotel which features original wooden ceilings, no to mention the amazing panoramic views over the city! And since it's ranked #15 of 600+ hotels in the city, I know it's going to be a great stay!
There is no better place to begin your trip to Prague than the historic Old Town. As one of the main attractions of the city, it would be easy to spend most of your trip here with every turn you make introducing you to something new.
Photo Credit: @ladygageler
After entering the neighbourhood via the Gothic Powder Tower, make your way to the Old Town Square, the epicentre of this place, and take in the majestic statue of religious reformer, Jan Hus, who was burned at the stake for his beliefs.
Photo Credit: @lapkovsky
There’s also Prague’s impressive medieval astronomical clock mounted on the Town Hall. I recommend taking a tour of the Old Town Hall, where you get access to hidden rooms, the underground as well as the dungeons – totally worth it.
Photo Credit: @mendoza.moments
Now, taking in the Old Town’s monuments is hungry work, so grab some breakfast at the popular Coffee & Waffles restaurant just a five-minute walk away from the main square. Be sure to try the bacon, blueberry jam and egg waffle; it sounds wrong but it’s so right. Also, check out Coffee & Waffles' Instagram...it's mouth-watering stuff!
Photo Credit: @coffeeandwafflescz
To finish your morning in the Old Town, I recommend taking some time just to wander, and absorb the hidden alleyways, cobbled streets and hole in the wall bars and restaurants.
Photo Credit: @brb.travel
With your stomach full of waffles and the Old Town sufficiently explored, make your way to the Jewish Quarter, also known as Joesfov, a place packed full of history.
Once a walled Jewish ghetto, the major monuments in this area offer an insight into the devastating history of the Czech Jewish community. It is home to one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in Europe, and six remarkable Synagogues, most notably the beautiful Spanish Synagogue, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful Synagogues in Europe.
Photo Credit: @cityofprague
I recommend taking advantage of the numerous ticket offices dotted around the Quarter, especially ones that cover admission into all the major sights, like the Old-New Synagogue, Pinkas Synagogue, Klausen Synagogue and the Ceremonial Hall.
If you are contemplating a guided tour, I highly advocate it. A knowledgeable guide will provide you with unique, unknown stories and details that shouldn’t be missed.
Continuing the theme of exploring historic Prague, it’s time to take an evening stroll across Charles Bridge, just minutes from the Old Town Square. Until 1841, the bridge was the only means of crossing the river, being the most important connection between the city’s Old Town and Prague Castle. Each side of the bridge is lined with statues, 30 in total, of various saints and patron saints.
Photo Credit: @travel.lives
In the day, the bridge is magnificent, but saving this trip for the evening means you will hopefully avoid the masses of tourists usually found on the bridge, and you’ll see the old-fashioned, gothic style lampposts lit up and down the length of the bridge, illuminating the silhouettes of the statues against the sunset.
For dinner, head to La Finestra in Cucina, a less than five minute walk away from the bridge. The restaurant champions traditional Czech cuisine. Whilst this is a little bit on the pricey side, it is definitely worth giving it a go as the food is simply divine.
Photo Credit: @lafinestraincucina
To finish off your first day in the city, and fully embrace Prague’s culture, book tickets to see a show at the National Theatre. Considered the national monument of Czech history and art, there is no better place for a culture fix than here, where you can see some of the best performers in the world.
Photo Credit: @filipkarlik_
My choice of show was a Ballet because I like experiencing new things, which I would highly recommend, but if dancing’s not your thing, the theatre also hosts the Opera, Drama performances and concerts.
Make sure to book your tickets in advance (tickets that are unexpectedly affordable FYI) and pack your most lavish outfit. This experience in a building so opulent is the closest I’ve felt to being Royalty, but without the hefty price tag.
A far cry from the traditional architecture of the previous day, start your trip early with views of the city from the famous Žižkov Television Tower. Once voted the second ugliest building in the world and long-hated by the locals, ‘infamous’ may be a more apt way to describe the tower. Surprisingly, when contemporary artist, David Černy added sculptures of babies scaling the building, this put the tower in better favour with residents.
Photo Credit: @fivelrx
Though the building doesn’t quite fit in with Prague’s historical architecture, it is worth seeing, especially as it has an Observatory floor. With three separate viewing platforms you get a great view of the city.
Once you’ve had enough of this unique tower, hop on the subway to Café Imperial, a stunning restaurant with excellent reviews that caters specifically for those looking for their breakfast fix. Cake first thing in the morning is also not a crime and something I whole-heartedly endorse at Café Imperial (the diet can start on Monday).
Photo Credit: @cococroitoru
From Café Imperial it’s time to go to the other side of the Vltava River to Prague’s Lesser Town, or Malá Strana to the locals. It is a charming, picturesque part of the city and a great place to capture the perfect Instagram.
Photo Credit: @pragueguidedavid
Watching over Lesser Town is Prague Castle, a site definitely worth exploring. Admission is free, and spending an entire day here is not unheard of (if only we had all day). For the sake of this guide, I recommend spending an hour or so marvelling at the castle before moving on.
Like the Old Town, simply wandering around the Lesser Town is an activity in itself. It is slower paced than the main area of the city, with local shops to browse and traditional Czech pubs to relax in.
For those interested in popular culture, write a message on the John Lennon Wall or visit the Franz Kafka museum. After that, head to Old Town Square’s rival, the Lesser Town Square, whose centrepiece is the grand Baroque church of St. Nicholas. Don’t forget to take a look inside and you’ll realise why it’s the most popular church in Prague.
Photo Credit: @rusty099
With the evening comes dinner and what better way to spend your final evening than at the Strahov Monastery Brewery.
Located just a ten minute walk away from Prague Castle, this microbrewery was once a spot where intellectuals and artists stopped for a drink. Now it is a popular pub and restaurant, where it is sinful to miss out their brewery goulash with onion and dumplings. Do the right thing and order their largest bowl.
Photo Credit: @hina.e.s
Brewed on site, the pub houses craft beers. They have their on tap year-round St Norbert beers: an amber lager, a dark lager and an IPA, as well as their seasonal beers, flavoured to reflect the atmosphere of the year.
Relax and enjoy the view of the sun setting on Prague from the Monastery as you eat and sample some beer, Czech-style.
Photo Credit: @the_lassie
Whilst Prague is famous for its history, it is also famous for its nightlife, so why not spend your final night hopping to Prague’s coolest bars. You’ve already sampled some of Strahov Monastery Brewery’s best beers, so why stop there?
Get yourself to the Vinohrady district (yes, it even has vino in the name), a trendy, vibrant part of the city with an array of pubs, restaurants and clubs, making it the go-too place for a night out.
If a cool, serene vibe is your thing, check out Bar and Books Manesova. It’s a darkly lit speakeasy with middle to high range priced cocktails, and with décor that wouldn’t look out of place in the 1920s.
Photo Credit: @barandbooksprague
If you’re on a tighter budget, a great alternative is Peach Pit bar with a mid to low price range. Resembling an American diner from the 1950s, you can expect retro jukeboxes, happy hour and music nights at this vibrant club.
If you have a little more than 48 hours in Prague or if some of the above recommendations weren't to your personal taste, here are a few more ideas I have assembled for you as I have been to Prague many times.
Cool Instagram Shot
If you are looking for a very cool Instagram shot in the city, head over a building known as The Dancing House (In Czech: Tančící dům), the nickname given to the Nationale-Nederlanden building on the Rašínovo nábřeží (Rašín Embankment) in Prague. It was designed in 1922 by the Croatian-Czech architect Vlado Milunić in cooperation with Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry and we think it looks pretty freakin’ awesome!!!
Photo Credit: @alinaivchenko_
Street Art Tour
Whilst Prague is known for its beautiful old houses, red rooftops and hundred of spires, it also has a lot to offer when it comes street art. Whilst the city's murals may not be as impressive as other European cities (wink wink Berlin and Bucharest), it does have a few interesting pieces worth checking out. I've listed some of my favourites below.
"Angels in Hoodies"
This mural can be found in the Holešovice district, in the north of Prague.
Photo Credit: @streetartsway
"Street Art Poem by @nitzanmintz"
If you walk through the Zizkov neighborhood, you'll probably come across this amazing mural by @nitzanmintz, which doubles up as a street art poem.
Photo Credit: @postcardsfromauntie
"The Kiss by @davidstrauzz"
When getting off at Charles Square stattion (Karlovo náměstí/ metro B), you'll come face to face with this colourful mural.
Photo Credit: @streetartsway
Good Food...Good Mood
"Pivo & Basilico Caffe Restaurant"
Located in the most famous historical part of Prague, Malá Strana, Pivo & Basilico offers traditional Czech cuisine made in traditional methods to guarantee original and high-quality taste (address: Zámecká 203/2, 118 00 Malá Strana).
Photo Credit: @rocksoo
After an amazing time in Prague, it's time to head to the beautiful city of Nice in the South of France. After a short 1h45 flight, I land at Nice Airport and take a taxi to get to my hotel as soon as possible.
I'm staying at 'Hotel les Cigalles', a mere 3min walk from the world renowned 'Promenade des Anglais'. The weather is absolutely gorgeous so I drop my bags off and start exploring the city straight away!
Ah, Nice. A place so great its name is both a proper noun and an adjective. Well, sort of.
Pronounced differently to the lukewarm descriptive word ‘nice,’ a word your teachers begged you not to use in primary school, Nice (like ‘geese’) is anything but lukewarm and definitely not on the school faculties’ forbidden list.
Located on the French Riviera, Nice is the capital of the Alpes-Maritimes department and recalls images of luxury, opulence, wealth and yachts. Lots and lots of yachts.
With the Mediterranean Ocean on their doorstep and Monaco as a coastal neighbour, Nice has always been hugely popular, not just as a tourist destination, but also for many notable painters like Henri Matisse, German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and the Russian upper classes.
Photo Credit: @vanessainlovewithparis
It boasts museums, a fantastic, sunny climate, the perfect balance of beach and city, high class restaurants and bars and some of the most mesmerising views in Europe.
Remember that phrase from The Wizard of Oz: ‘Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!’ - well, we have our own version at BeRightBack: Nice edition. Think ‘Antiques and flowers and flea markets, oh my!’ Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, but you get the idea, and it’s exactly how you’ll be spending your first morning in Nice.
Located in the Old Town, Nice is famous for its antiques and market stalls - over 100 stalls to be kind of exact - making it the third largest market of its kind in France. Be warned, these are seasoned sellers you’re dealing and they can smell a bargain hunter a mile off. Bring your haggling A-game and see if you can bag any deals from these steely traders.
Photo Credit: @didemkaplan_iloveme
At the Nice markets, you can find any treasure you put your mind to, whether it’s an out-of-season designer bag or first edition books, there’s something for everyone.
If flowers are your forté, you’re in luck. Six days a week the marché aux fleurs (flower market to those who’ve forgotten GCSE French lessons) is stocked with beautiful flowers that even the locals are drawn to, as well as fruit and vegetables.
Photo Credit: @eugenielavergnelacroix
For those who are often found with their nose buried in a book, plan your trip around the first or third Saturday of the month and go to the Palais de Justice for stalls filled with secondhand books and antique postcards.
Photo Credit: @goncagocmen
By the time you’ve decided to stop for breakfast, hopefully you’ve got some vintage, retro goods in hand; time to celebrate your hard work haggling and indulge in what the French do best on their breakfast menu: pastries.
There are plenty of cafés in the Old Town, so choose your favourite and fill up on croissants, pain au chocolat and gulp down some coffee - the weekend is only just beginning.
It’s time to harness that buttery, jam-filled croissant energy into exploring the neighbourhood of Cimiez; an upscale residential area that is built where the ancient Gaulish and Roman settlement of Cemenelum once stood. In fact, you can still visit the ruins of Cemenelum which include the Arena and the Roman Baths - definitely worth a look.
Photo Credit: @history_trianon
It is also famous for its art and culture, and is home to the beautiful, burnt orange coloured Musée Matisse, which was once literally the home of Matisse himself. It is worth going to just to admire the palatial building itself, but don’t hesitate to take a step inside and witness one of the world’s largest collections of his works.
Photo Credit: @museematissenice
Nearby, check out the grand Régina Building, a hotel that was built in 1896 to host Queen Victoria and her entourage of aristocrats. It’s now an incredibly fancy apartment building, but still plays homage to it’s royal history as a statue of the Queen herself sits nearby and a crown is perched on the roof.
Photo Credit: @iamdandanliu
You’ve had a lot of culture and royalty reminiscing for one day, so use your evening to take a relaxing stroll along Coulée Verte - an elevated linear park (basically meaning it’s above ground and really long) that is built on top of an obsolete railway.
Photo Credit: @basically_french
It is the perfect place to escape in the city, and is a favourite spot for families, joggers, dog walkers and no-care-in-the-world strollers.
Not too far from this lofty park is the promenade des anglais, where you switch up luscious greenery for some sunset sea views, Mediterranean ocean style. There are plenty of ice cream stalls too, so try not to spoil your dinner (believe us, you want to be hungry for this place) and grab a scoop of gelato.
Photo Credit: @southbase__
Now for the main event. Dinner at The Negresco hotel restaurant, Le Chantecler, will be a meal you won’t forget for a long time. It’s definitely on the more pricey side, so only visit if it’s well within your budget, but you won’t regret spending your cash at this two Michelin star spot.
Photo Credit: @negrescohotel
Finish your first night in Nice by embracing the high-end culture and grab some drinks at Castel Plage Beach Club, a short walk along the promenade away. Wrap up warm and enjoy some the cocktails or wines they have on offer, with front row seats to the ocean.
Photo Credit: @castelplage
Nothing screams ‘morning after a heavy night in at an upmarket beach club’ quite like a hike against the backdrop of the sunrise.
Okay, you don’t have to go at sunrise, but you should definitely get out as early as possible for an energetic walk up Castle Hill to begin day two. It’s an essential part of the trip that cannot be missed, even if you had too many mojitos the night before.
Photo Credit: @nathanshaipoolat
Make your way back to the Old Town and there you will find the base of Castle Hill, and you can reach the summit by climbing a staircase or by using the handy lift adjacent to the hill. Whichever you choose will result in spectacular panoramic views of Nice you can view from the terrace.
The impressive sights don’t stop there. Turn away from the city of Nice and look back at the hill itself and you’ll find an artificial waterfall that dominates the top of the hill. It was built at the end of the 19th Century and looks like something straight out of Bali - it’s one not to miss.
Photo Credit: @thefittraveller
Following your descent from Castle Hill, it’s time to fill your stomach, and what better way to do that than with a Salade Niçoise at L’Acchiardo. Niçoise salads are hugely popular in this region and has been since the early 19th century. There are many different versions of it scattered around Nice, but whichever you decide to try, you won’t be disappointed.
Photo Credit: @niceislove
Once you’ve recharged your energy levels, it’s time for more art at the Chagall Museum in the Cimiez neighbourhood. It’s a French national museum dedicated to the works of Marc Chagall, whose works were mainly inspired by religion.
Photo Credit: @matchwithart
The museum was actually created during Chagall’s lifetime, and the painter provided input on where he wanted his works to be displayed - you can’t say that about many artists.
As the day, and the weekend, begins to draw to a close, the last major spot to see is the magnificent Russian Cathedral, a mere 20 minute walk from the Chagall Museum.
Photo Credit: @lolo.labricot
With pale bricks against vivid, turquoise domed pillars, the cathedral is a beautiful sight with a great history behind it, having been built for Russian nobles of the Tsarist regime and later served Russians that fled the 1917 revolution.
After marvelling at this wonderful church, it’s time for dinner at one of the restaurants in Vieille Ville - the Old Town - for some authentically French cuisine. We recommend Bistrot d’Antoine which is popular among tourists and locals alike. Their risotto is world class and washes down perfectly with some red wine.
Photo Credit: @bistrotdantoinenice
The finale of your trip to Nice is to embrace the city’s strong jazz culture and visit the lively clubs, like Shapko or B Spot.
Photo Credit: @robinskysbeard
This culture dates back to the author, F. Scott Fitzgerald, writer of The Great Gatsby, who used to throw wild parties back in the 1920s, and these popular clubs are the perfect place to finish your night, as well as your trip.
If like me you love taking short weekend breaks across Europe and spending 48 hours in cities like Rome, Nice, Milan, Brussels, Prague, Porto, Split, Bologna, Stockholm or Venice, but if like me you hate wasting hours trawling travel sites to plan and research your next weekend break, only to be hit by increased flight prices just before booking, then BeRightBack is for you!
The team at BeRightBack believes that the mission of a travel company should be to save you both time and money.
With BeRightBack, you get three trips a year to three surprise European destinations, all for the monthly cost of £49.99, which includes your return flights and your hotel.
With BeRightBack, creating a trip takes 60 seconds. Simply tell us how you like to travel when you create your account, and our concierge service does everything else for you. You won't have to lift a finger.
Best of all, you always pay the same price for your trips, no matter when you go away and we help you spread the cost of your travel, thanks to our monthly subscription.
I hope you enjoyed our back-to-back city break to Prague and Nice! Do not hesitate to use our website chat or to email us if you have any questions about how to use your BRB savings to go on a back-to-back trip with BRB!
Greg (Founder at BeRightBack)
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