Care to enjoy the beauties of Prague whilst being a spectacle yourself? If so, you must experience a sightseeing tour with the company Prague Old Car, which will show you the historical and cultural sights on the main tracks as well as those down the winding narrow cobbled alleyways, where most conventional tour operators cannot access. You will also find fellow tourists taking snaps of you in the replica vintage Ford Model T that you’re sitting in. Prague Old Car offers a range of different types of tours (as you can find on its website) and it is recommended that you do book in advance as the tours are very popular.
If, however, you’re not able to do so, then you may be lucky in spotting its vintage cars proudly standing in a number of spots in this glorious city and may be able to take an impromptu tour (which is what I experienced during my time in Prague). For 40 minutes, you can enjoy a magical tour for only 56 EUR (59 USD), with a well-spoken English driver/guide that will take you to an abundance of sites in this brilliant destination, which I will share with you in this online review.
Travelling in style in a Ford Model T replica
First, I want to tell you about the vintage vehicle that you will be having an adventure in during your time in Prague. The Ford Model T, created in 1912, was one of the first mass produced cars in the world and in 1999 it was declared a car of the century. All tours by Prague Old Car are operated in a Ford Model T replica, albeit the models vary slightly.
If you request to enjoy an open-air car, then you will have a great view of the entire structures of this magnificent city. All cars owned by Prague Old Car can carry 6 passengers including the driver/guide. If you decide to opt for a tour with Prague Old Car, you are paying for the total car and experience as opposed to per person, which is fantastic if there are 5 of you in your group, as you’re getting good value for money. All cars have under-seat heaters and blankets to keep you warm if you’re enjoying the tour on a chilling day or evening.
The tour guides/drivers from Prague Old Car are very safe and diligent on the roads and will ensure that you feel comfortable and secure at all times. Your guide will be very friendly, have great knowledge of the city and will ensure that you have an unforgettable experience. Hearing about the city from a local guide will provide you with an insight that you will not gain elsewhere and you will feel more like you’re travelling around in style with an old friend.
The ride itself, in whatever model you are in, is quite bumpy but that adds to the excitement of giving it a real feel of being in a mimic of a vintage car. You will also be given a number of options for the car to be stopped at monuments and sites so that you can take photographs of the sites, the car and you. Overall, this is a premium way of seeing Prague with a friendly local driver and tour guide that is certainly recommended.
If you have a physical disability, I would advise informing Prague Old Car in advance and they will ensure that you receive a certain type of vehicle so that your journey is not as bumpy or could aggravate your disability. I would add though that my mother had mobility issues when we were in Prague and the bumpy roads were not too painful for her at all because of the driving of the exceptional guide.
Embark from the famous and gothic Powder Gate
If you have not booked in advance for the Prague Old Car experience, then you may find that there are a few cars parked near the phenomenal Powder Gate at nám. Republiky 5, 110 00 Praha 1-Staré Město, Czechia. The Powder Gate is a gothic tower that traces its origins back to the 11th century and is one of the 13 entrances to Prague’s Old Town. It is one of Prague’s historical and cultural gems that has not been damaged during the wars and it retains an appropriately sooty look that reflects its past, as you can see from the photograph.
If you do embark on your private tour from this location, you will pass the Municipal House (which is on the right hand side of the Powder Gate) followed by Wenceslas Square. In its Art Nouveau form, the Municipal House is located on what is known as the Republic Square and was the former State House of Prague; today it serves mainly for ceremonial purposes. Wenceslas Square, named after Saint Wenceslas, is a long avenue of buildings and shops and is rather more of an oblong than a square. At the top of the “square” stands a statue of Saint Wenceslas with the grand neoclassical Czech National Museum as the backdrop.
After passing these sites, you will then be transported to Prague’s Old Town and will be shown the Gothic Old Town Hall, which has a surreal Astronomical Clock. The Astronomical Clock dates back to the 15th century and consists of medieval allegorical figures (twelve Apostles) that dance on an hourly basis. If you’re fortunate, you may have an opportunity to see the dancing in action, from the comfort of your vintage car.
Beautiful Vltava River separates Prague’s famous areas
Close to the Old Town and the next area that you will be able to pass by and have a glimpse of is the Jewish Quarter, which is known as Josefov. It consists of six synagogues including the Spanish Synagogue and the Old-New Synagogue. There is also the Old Jewish Cemetery. The Old-New Synagogue is now home to the Jewish Museum in Prague. This area has significant historical importance as it is one of the very few areas that Adolf Hitler decided to preserve as he stated that it would represent the “Museum of an Extinct Race” once he had finished his purge of the Jewish community in the run up to and during World War II.
Following on from this, you will slowly pass the pedestrian-only Charles Bridge. This bridge is filled with Czech artists, musicians and souvenir vendors. It is a Gothic bridge that was commissioned by Charles IV, a Czech King in 1357. It is one of the most magnificent bridges in Prague as it spans 16 arches and is lined with 30 baroque statues and it will be a wonderful opportunity to pass by it in your own private vehicle.
After passing this glorious site, you will get to experience some of the best views of the Vltava River that flows through the centre of Prague and is the longest river in the Czech Republic. With swans floating around in search for food and birds flying through the air and swooping down onto the water, the Vltava River is an exquisite natural site to see. If you are passing by on a sunny day, you may even see a few pedal boats and motor boats on the move too.
On one side of the Vltava River is the Old Town and the New Town whilst on the other side is the Lesser Town and the magnificent Prague Castle district. Your vintage car will travel on the Mánes Bridge, which is named after the famous Czech painter, Josef Manes whose artistic talents were painted on Prague’s Astronomical Clock. The Manes Bridge was partially built between 1911 and 1914 and was fully completed in 1916; it underwent restoration work from 1992–1994. It is 186 metres (610 feet) long and 16 metres (52 feet) wide and is divided into 4 arches.
Storybook setting and a stop at the John Lennon Wall
Once you arrive in the Lesser Town, you will pass by the famous Franz Kafka Museum, which is close to a rather unique and controversial bronze artistic piece by David Cerny. This is because it consist of two electric bronze sculptures peeing into an enclosed shape that represents the shape of the Czech Republic. David Cerny’s works are scattered around different places in Prague and are certainly recognisable. You will have the opportunity to see a few of them during your private and exclusive tour with Prague Old Car.
The Franz Kafka Museum, which you will pass, has been made to honour Kafka who was a German language writer and wrote novels and short stories that combined elements of realism and fantasies. He explored themes of alienation and anxiety and the museum includes his works. He is a notable individual in Prague’s rich history and you are likely to spot pictures, ornaments and sites that refer to him in different places in the city.
As you pass the Franz Kafka Museum, you will be taken to Lesser Town Square where most of the buildings still have a medieval core albeit they were redesigned in the Renaissance and Baroque periods. The centre of the square is home to St. Nicholas Church, which is surrounded by a mixture of restaurants, small shops and embassies. It is different to the Old Town area as it is also known to be a residential hub with steep streets and gardens. I found that it looked like a storybook setting.
Whilst every part of Lesser Town is charming, your highlight of visiting is likely to be the John Lennon Wall. Due to the size of the Ford T replica, you will be driven as close as possible to the John Lennon Wall and your friendly driver is likely to stop for you to have your photograph taken with this iconic and revolutionary wall that is filled with so much history and charm. Whilst John Lennon never actually visited Prague, after his murder on 8 December 1980, he became a pacifist hero for many young Czechs as he advocated freedom at a time when few people had the opportunity to express their feelings.
As a result, the John Lennon Wall was created and initially had an image of Lennon and was covered with The Beatles’ lyrics; however, it now represents ideas of love and peace and has graffiti to that effect all over it. The Czech authorities repeatedly tried to whitewash the wall but have now succumbed to allowing it to be as it is. Some locals and historians have gone so far as to say that the John Lennon Wall is Prague’s equivalent to the Berlin Wall as it inspired the non-violent Velvet Revolution that led to the fall of communism in the former Czechoslovakia in 1989.
Kabourek, the dashing water goblin at the Devil's Channel
Following on from seeing the John Lennon Wall, your guide may take you by foot to see the John Lennon Pub for which you will have to cross a little bridge. The bridge that you will cross covers the Devil’s Channel, which was apparently given its name in the 19th century after a woman of devilish character that lived in the vicinity! It is a water channel that takes water from the Vltava River and after approximately 900 metres (2,953 feet) it flows it back to the Vltava River again. Perching above the Devil’s Channel, you will spot the Vekoprevosky Mill Wheel, which has a little statue of Water Sprite Kabourek, a water goblin.
Can you see him in the background in my picture? He is quite the dashing and mystical fellow in my view. Whilst, Kabourek may startle you a little bit as he really is quite a character, he fits in perfectly with the quirky statues in Prague. He was created by a sculpture named Josef Nalepa, who is one of the first people in the world to create a portrait of Salvador Dali in 1974. In order to appreciate Kabourek properly, you will need to peek through the barriers that have been packed with locks of many shapes and colours to reflect the love of the people that placed it there.
Nevertheless, before passing away in 2012, Josef Nalepa described Kabourek’s character and said that Kabourek desires to, “throw to the Vltava all those who put padlocks on the beautiful grids which make it impossible to see the bridge or the water sprite”. Thus, if you’re visiting, I suggest you do not aggravate Kabourek or at least in respect to the artist, do not add a representation of your love on the bridge as there are other ways in which you can show your feelings.
Tourists by foot will definitely be envious of you!
In this review, I have only covered a few of the sites that you would see with Prague Old Car (and that if you book an impromptu tour on the spot). If you book in advance, Prague Old Car is able to pick you up and drop you off at your requested sites and can offer a number of different types of tours to show you its amazing city. Whether you are in Prague for a short or long stay, I would recommend that you book a tour with Prague Old Car for your first day in the city. This is because it’s a fantastic way in which to obtain an introduction and orientation to the city and will allow you to decide which spots you would specifically like to re-visit.
Prague is the type of city that looks like different scenes from a fairy-tale with so many spots to appreciate and a tour with Prague Old Car is thoroughly recommended. If you decide to complete a tour in the day-time, you will be able to get a feel for the energy of this lively yet peaceful city filled with such happy locals and tourists. Alternatively, if you book for a night-time tour, you will be able to enjoy the crisp air and the wonderland that is revealed through the colourful evening sky that creates a gorgeous backdrop to this incredible city. Your fellow tourists enjoying Prague by foot will definitely be envious of you in your glorious vehicle. A tour with Prague Old Car is definitely not to be missed!