There's a hunchback in the belltower. How he smiles at me.
I don’t feel like I’ve seen a city unless I’ve scouted out the best rooftop. I know that’s totally something a rat or a pigeon or a chimney sweep in a musical would say – and yea, I’m a spicy combination of all three – but give me a minute, and you will be convinced. Moreover, you will be convinced to the point of tap-dancing on foreign rooftops with me.
I love how rooftops can strike perspective in the mind of a weary traveller, fresh off the plane with a desperation to find oneself in a new and unfamiliar city. For no reason other than being bloody higher up than normal, it’s the quickest way to visually get your bearings and plot out where in the city you could see yourself.
For me, rooftops happen to be the ideal place to spot my dream hunchback swinging from cathedral bell to bell. Rooftops are also where I can make my long-awaited transition from woman to stone gargoyle.
In Prague, my thirst for the perfect rooftop was more than sated. The city’s sepia tones and uniformly gothic architecture makes it undeniably bohemian, its lack of skyscrapers means no-one’s competing for the best view. Here’s where to start.
CODA Restaurant at Aria Hotel
Enjoy seasonal wines and Czech cuisine amidst the heart of Bohemia. If there’s only one Prague rooftop you have time for, make it CODA”s. With sweeping views of Prague Castle and the Vlatva river, you’ll be a happy traveller. And it won’t just be because of the aforementioned wine. Once you’re done, venture down to Aria’s Vrtba gardens.
The Powder Tower
Be ready to powder that nose, this tower is 186 steps up. I assume this is the meaning behind the “powder” portion of the name. Prepare to see why Prague is basically one big ol’ movie set.
The Astronomical Clock
Not to be confused with the Gastronomical Cock, the Astronomical Clock is a Prague icon. Once it reopens in a few months, take the spiral staircase all the way to the top. In the meantime, wander the streets below for bustling markets, craft Czech beer and yummy trdelníks.
Head to Starbucks (yep, these buggers are everywhere!) on the Prague Castle grounds, plop on top the barrier and pose away. People will stare, but hey, they’re the ones who have come all the way to Bohemian Europe to drink a triple macca wappa soy frappicazzo.*
*I’m not much of a coffee drinker.
Your riverside digs
Jump on Airbnb.com to book a colourful rooftop apartment. These are surprisingly cheap in Prague, and it feels pretty unique to have a Bohemian rooftop all to yourself. Mine was in the yellow building!