Accessible Prague

Accomodation: I stayed at PLUS Hostel Prague. This hostel highlighted the different between ‘wheelchair access’ and accessibility. For me accessibility is about gaining access to a building with little to no assistance or hassle. To gain access to this building I had to first ask the factory next door to open a roller gate, then I got to another gate which I had to call the hostel staff to open, and then  I arrived at a bottom of a stair case, the hostel staff member had to then run and get the key to operate the stair lift, and with that finally I was in. So yes wheelchair access but not accessible.

Transport: As my hostel was a bit out of the city centre I had to catch the tram in. There are accessible trams with ramps and because the step to get in is quite low if you are in a manual chair you can even get in and out without the ramp. However, alot of the trams are still the older style with quite a few stairs and no space for a wheelchair. Therefore sometimes I did have to wait  quite a while for an accessible tram to show up. Once I caught the wrong tram going the wrong way, I finally realised then got off , but had to wait in the rain for half an hour for an accessible tram to show up…. so not always fail safe.

Overall Accessibility: Most of Prague is pretty flat (except of course the castle) so its easy to push around. The only problem is there are lots and lots of cobblestones which can be difficult to navigate. The most difficult cobblestones were the ones on the road crossing. So you would get stuck on the cobblestones in the middle of the road while crossing.. The castle is not really accessible at all. Not only is it on a massive steep hill, but the cobblestone were laid in the 1300s so they are more like boulders than cobblestones.

Day 1 – Walking Tour, Astronomical clock, Old Town Square, Jan Hus Monument, Old Jewish Quarter

I got to Prague the night before from Iceland, and after navigating the ridiculously tricky way to get inside, I fell straight asleep. First step in the morning was navigating my way to the Old Town square. After befriending a guy from my hostel on the bus we were able to work out how to get to the old town square to start a free walking tour (my favourite). My tour guide ended up being a fellow countrymen from Sydney’s Northern Beaches. He was super informative and enthusiastic and took us on the most wonderful 3.5 hour journey through the magical city of Prague, full of history and stories. I used Discover Prague Tours .

We started at the old town square and learned about the astronomical clock, Tyn Church, and Jan Hus Monument. We then went through the winding streets of the Jewish Quarter and then went and saw the Kafka monument and some other interesting historical features (however I cannot remember it all).

After the marathon walking tour I went and tried some authentic Czech goulash and beer. A lot of the restaurants have steps to get in so it did take me a while to find somewhere accessible to eat.

I finished my day walking around Wencelas Square, which is the main modern shopping area of Prague with all the standard chain stores.

Day 2 – Prague Castle, Charles Bridge

I decided to try and tackle the castle despite it being on a massive hill. There was no way I would have been able to try this on my own so I paid for an organised tour with the same company I used the day before.  Even with the extra muscle power it was still hard work. We caught a tram to the top, however because there is not a lot of accessible trams we had to catch a non accessible tram. The castle is not one single building but a collection of buildings on top of the hill. It features parliamentary buildings, St Vitus Cathedral, Old royal palace, Golden Lane and the castle itself. There is the most magnificent view from the top and the buildings (especially the cathedral) are so beautiful.  Once you get to the top there are only a couple if hills to scale. However the cobblestones are a bit of nightmare. They are huge and not well joined together so it’s like trying to get up and down a mountain. Well it is hard to be perfect when they were laid in the 1300’s.

Getting down the hill was the moat difficult bit. The rest of the group went down the stairs and I went down the extremely long ramp with the guide. The problem with the ramp was, although there were no stairs the cobblestones are huge and my castors kept hitting them, threatening to tip me out at any point. In the end I turned around and my guide pulled me backward down the hill which made it a bit easier. So in conclusion don’t try and do the castle by yourself and even with people helping it was still quite difficult. If you have access to a free wheel or large front castors this is where i would use them.

After the castle i wandered around the meandering lanes of the Mala Strana and crossed the Charles Bridge which was again absolutely beautiful.

I finished the day off with good old fashioned pub crawl. I asked the guy when I purchased the pub crawl ticket whether the pubs were accessible and he said they were. However they were very much not, except the last stop which was a 5 story super club. But I made friends with enough people to carry me up and down the stairs.

Day 3 – Communist Museum, Old Jewish Quarter and Jewish The Jewish Cemetery

My last day in Prague and I still had so much to see. I started off at the Communist Museum which is ironically above a Macdonalds. It again is not accessible and up a flight of stairs. I had someone help me up but if you can’t climb the stairs I wouldn’t be to concerned. It was good in providing a snap shot of Czech  communist history.

I then went back to the Jewish Quarter and meandered through the  lanes. I wanted to go into the Pink Synagouge which had a poignant exhibit about the Czech Jews in the holocaust, however it was  not accessible. After talking to the security guards, they helped me into the Jewish Cemetery. The Jewish cemetery takes up a tiny tiny patch of land and instead of expanding due to increasing demand they just kept adding more soil so they could put in more bodies, which means the ground is really undulating and all the head stones are on top of one another.

I walked around/ pushed for about another hour without really planning on going anywhere, just taking in the city.

And that was Prague. There were so many other things I wanted to see however as per usual I ran out of time.  However this country and city was absolutely amazing and for a country that was only established in 1993 it had such an intricate fascinating history. So now to take Budapest.

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