So I stayed at a pretty nice spot in Dublin’s Avalon House, here’s where I called home for a little while when in Prague – Prague Hostel & Pension Downtown.
Downtown Hostel is located along Narodni, which is a pretty main stretch of road in the downtown historical Prague area, it’s about 10mins walk away from the Old Town Square and around 5 mins from Wencelas Square, so it’s pretty convenient but off the noisy touristy areas. It’s just 5 minutes in the other direction from Legion bridge (one away from the famous Charles Bridge) and the Vltavai river.
It takes a bit of walking if you’re coming from the airport though – I honestly got a bit lost once I was on the streets, possibly because I came out of the Metro entrance that was a bit further away. At this point in time, the nearest Metro station Narodni Trida line B is under construction, so the next nearest one Mustek (Line A/B, close to Wencelas Square) is a little bit of a walk away. Not too bad if you’re carrying a backpack, but if you’re lugging wheeled luggage like me, beware! The cobblestone streets of Prague are hell for wheelie bags.
There are instructions on the website which apparently are quite clear but not enough for me, so for those coming from Prague airport:
- Buy a bus ticket from the kiosk in front of the airport exit doors that says ‘Public Transport’ – you’ll just need the 90minute/32CZK one at this point if you’re headed into downtown Prague.
- The bus stops are across the road outside the airport entrance. Look for bus 119, which is on the far right when you exit the airport doors.
- Hop on the bus (remember to validate your ticket at the door!) and grab a seat. You’re headed all the way to the interchange Dejvicka, so you don’t need to keep checking where you are. Journey should take around 40mins.
- At the bus interchange, turn left and there should be a stairway headed underground to the metro station. This metro station Dejvicka is on the green line A. You don’t need to buy another ticket as yours is still valid.
- Hop on the train, and take it 4 stops to Mustek station. Mustek station is an interchange with A and B lines. Ideally, the B line exit is closer to the hostel, but since you took the A line here, you’re probably going to exit by A.
- If you exit at Mustek A, look for the signs pointing you towards 28 Rijna/Narodni Trida (when underground, turn right). When you’ve exited and are back on street level, you should be turn left (turn right and you’re in the middle of Wencelas Square).
- 28 Rijna is a smaller street, cobblestones all across, a walking street of sorts. At the end of it, the street becomes paced roads and a weird junction which is what confused me. Just cross the road straight and keep going – you should be walking against traffic – now you’re on Narodni – It’s quite a long stretch to walk, about 5-10mins or so.
- Another helpful thing is to look out for street banners pointing you towards KFC and follow those. There should be a MY Narodni shopping centre on your left, keep going.
- You’ll see the KFC on the right. A few more shops down, you’ll find the blessed entrance of the hostel!
This was one of the cheaper single rooms that I could find for hostels in Prague. For 5 nights, my cost was 6500 CZK (around 260 euros or S$430 or an average of around S$80/night) – if you compare this to my Dublin one it definitely is quite a lot more expensive, especially since I don’t even have an attached bathroom in this one, but from my research across Prague hostels during that period, the single rooms during that period were quite pricey!
If I had stayed in the dorm, I could have just paid just 350CZK/night, which is around S$25/night, but I guess I like my privacy more…
Cancellations are free up to 3 days prior. And while you can pay by card, the hostel staff recommend paying by cash (no 3% card surcharge) and will even recommend you a good and reliable money changer that will give you a preferred rate and not try to scam you in the old town centre.
There are technically no single rooms here, I think all the rooms are built for 2 or more people at least, similar to that of Dublin’s Avalon House, but comparatively, these rooms are quite a bit more spacious and had space to walk around in.
The first room I stayed in was Room 310 – on the third floor and facing the back courtyard. Nice quiet room – I didn’t quite know what to do with 3 beds in my room, so I used one bed to sleep in, one to lounge on and one to put my things on. There’s a table with 2 chairs, as well as bedside drawers and side lamps.
This room didn’t have an attached bathroom of course, but it wasn’t a big deal. The way the security is laid out, your keycard only has access to the particular ‘wing’ your room is located in, and each wing has its own toilets. The toilets in my wing consisted of 2 WCs and 2 bathrooms, which were spacious and clean, and even had a hairdryer in the girl’s end of the bathroom! In my few days there, I never actually ran into anyone in the toilet though I did hear people in the other 2 rooms at some point.
(As a side note, I’m not sure if it’s a Prague thing or this particular building, but it is pretty echoey – you can hear doors opening and closing pretty loudly, so if you’re a light sleeper, I suggest earplugs)
It turns out that my radiator was once again not working, but given the colder temperatures here I couldn’t just shrug it off like in Dublin – I think I caught a bit of a cold and I slept in my outdoor jacket one night. Finally I talked to the front desk folk who checked, and they very graciously moved me to another room – 402 – with the perks of my own attached bathroom at no extra cost!
The one thing you have to get used to here are all the automatic sensor lights that only switch on when you walk by them – it’s not such a big deal in the corridors, but when you have a particularly annoying one in the toilet that goes off a little too quickly…
Also I managed to lock myself out of the room twice because I forgot to bring my keycard with me when I stepped out to use the bathroom. That was definitely annoying for me!
The hostel has a pretty large kitchen and dining area, and every night there were a number of people cooking. There’s also quite a large chillout area and computer terminals on the lobby level.
I also like that they organize these daily activities which change every week – run by a local Czech guy Kristian, it ranges from cooking traditional soup in the hostel to walks around the neighbourhood. I think it’s a great no-pressure way for people staying in the hostel to make friends as well as get to know Prague a little better.
I joined the potato soup cooking on my first night in, too tired to head out, which was where I met S from Germany and J from Australia. It was a pretty small group, but we bonded over Kristian’s orders, cutting potatoes, shredding veggies and washing mushrooms – more people popped by after the soup was cooked and sat around for some communal dining. I even headed out for a drink later in the night with S and J.
I was quite keen to do the castle night tour, but sadly it rained and became spaghetti cooking instead. I skipped the cooking and just joined the eating instead this time.
AROUND THE AREA
The National Theatre Narodni Divadlo and the New Stage are just down the street from the hostel – the National Theatre is right on the corner with a grand chariot on the roof so it’s quite hard to miss. The box office is there as well so if you’re looking to catch any shows at either of these locations, the State Theatre or Estates Theatre, pop into the box office and make your bookings there.
Legion Bridge, or Legii Most. You can also access the Strelecky Island or Strelecky Ostrov from this bridge. There’s a restaurant and a mini playground there, and has a nice view of the river banks.
I enjoyed my stay here and would recommend it to others coming into Prague. It’s especially good for families or small groups, because the rooms are spacious. I saw a number of small families and groups of friends staying here, alongside your usual backpackers and solo travellers.
Hostel & Penzion Downtown,
110 00 Praha 1