Prague: a city so beautiful that even shrouded in fog it is enchanting. Fortunately, this is rarely the case: more often the sun colours the roofs and walls of its historical buildings with evocative reflections, walls that enclose centuries of history and legends; in winter the white of the snow gives it a magical and surreal beauty.
Also known as the City of a Hundred Towers and the Golden City, Prague is one of Europe’s most romantic and elegant capitals, imbued with a fairytale atmosphere and timeless charm. Be enchanted by its castle, towers, bridges, medieval lanes and the Vltava River whose placid waters flow through the city en route to the sea.
But don’t stop there. Prague is also a cultured city, the birthplace of men of letters, artists and composers, where cultural ferment is still a burning fire that gives rise to avant-garde events and performances. It is a modern metropolis in step with the times, with efficient services and a wild nightlife.
It is also one of the beer capitals of the world, a detail that you will particularly appreciate when, at the end of a day’s sightseeing, you find yourself sipping a mug of the frothy national drink in one of its traditional breweries or in a beer garden.
You return from a trip to Prague with a suitcase full of memories and emotions.
Prague is located in the west-central part of the Czech Republic, in an area corresponding to the historical region of Bohemia. At a glance on a map, Prague is positioned in the heart of Europe, almost halfway between the north and south of the continent.
Prague’s climate is typically continental, with cold winters and hot summers. The atmosphere of the city changes a lot depending on the season, as does the type of events that are organised, so you can go to Prague all year round but depending on the period you choose you will have a different experience.
In general, the best time to go to Prague is spring: you can take advantage of the mild temperatures to get around on foot as much as possible, and the prices of flights and hotels are lower than in summer. The colours ofautumn also give Prague a special charm.
Despite the unfavourable weather conditions, winter is a good time for a holiday in Prague because with snow the city becomes a true enchantment. The best month is December because the traditional Christmas markets open, but flight and hotel prices go up.
Summer has several disadvantages (high prices, crowds, heat that is sometimes hard to bear), but on the other hand you can enjoy more hours of daylight and indulge in the pleasures of an outdoor dinner or drink.
The fastest and cheapest way to get to Prague is to take a low-cost flight: there is a good choice of flights departing from different cities and they almost always operate all year round. From Prague airport you can get to the city centre in about 20 minutes by direct bus.
Some long-distance bus companies offer direct connections to Prague, but the cost is not always lower than by plane and the journey time increases considerably. Travelling by train, on the other hand, requires at least one change, usually in Munich or Vienna.
What to visit in Prague? You could fill a week or more with the city’s museums and monuments alone, and still be left with parks, theatres, breweries, modern buildings…
With the incredible amount of things to see and do that the Czech capital offers, everyone can create their own itinerary according to their interests, perhaps themed (romantic, alternative, Jewish, literary Prague).
However, there are some unmissable attractions that should be included in the programme of every Prague holiday: whether you are heading to the Czech capital for a short weekend or for a trip of a week or more, here are the 5 must-sees in Prague.
The Czech capital’s top attraction is undoubtedly Prague Castle, a complex of buildings in different architectural styles that has largely contributed to Prague’s reputation as a romantic city.
It is truly an enchantment seen from the outside and it is impossible to resist the desire to wander through its narrow streets full of history and legends, including the famous Golden Lane, and admire ancient palaces, towers and cathedrals.
Another attraction that will make your heart beat faster is the marvellous Charles Bridge, the oldest in all of Prague, which joins the Old Town and the Lesser Quarter, the two areas that make up the historical centre.
Depending on the season and time of day, it can appear fairy-tale, sombre, lively, melancholic, but it is always a breathtaking sight. The many legends about its construction and the souls of the statues and saints contribute to making it an even more evocative and bewitching place.
A walk through Josefov, Prague’s Jewish quarter, is worth at least half a day (a whole day if you have the time). It is a very atmospheric area, where old historical buildings alternate with more recent Art Nouveau and Art Nouveau ones.
The history of the district is encapsulated in the touching Jewish Museum, which tells the story of Jewish life in Prague over the centuries. Also not to be missed are the Old Jewish Cemetery, the oldest Jewish cemetery in Europe, the Old-New Synagogue where, according to legend, the Golem is kept, and the very special Spanish Synagogue with its Arabic decoration.
The heart of historical Prague is the characteristic Old Town, a labyrinth of medieval alleys always crowded with citizens, tourists and street performers. The nerve centre of the Old Town is its beautiful central square, overlooked by the splendid historic Old Town Hall building.
Every hour, small crowds of tourists crowd outside with their noses turned up to admire the spectacle of the astronomical clock ticking away. It is possible to climb to the top of the Clock Tower for a splendid panoramic view of the city.
Have you had your fill of romance? It’s time to get to know a different, bizarre and unconventional Prague: check out the Dancing House, an eccentric building with a peculiar shape reminiscent of two dancers locked in an embrace, which is why it is also known as the Fred and Ginger House.
The three areas where most hotels and flats in Prague are concentrated are the Old Town, the New Town and the Lesser Quarter.
Most tourists prefer to look for a hotel in the Old Town in order to be in the heart of Prague, a stone’s throw from the main tourist attractions. It is recommended for those who want to immerse themselves in the romantic atmosphere of the Czech capital and for those with little time, but prices in this area are higher.
Sleeping in the New Town is a cheaper option: the Old Town is not far away (you can get around easily by public transport) but the prices of hotels and flats are much cheaper. It is a particularly recommended area for those who love nightlife, given the large number of clubs in the area.
In the Small Quarter, the area at the base of the Castle, there are mainly luxury hotels. It is an area recommended for those looking for something special and exclusive.
The historical centre of Prague is easy to get around on foot but you may have to use public transport or a taxi to visit attractions in different parts of the city or perhaps to get to your hotel if you have booked in other districts.
Public transport in Prague is efficient and inexpensive. They include metro, buses, boats, trams and funiculars: an extensive network of connections thanks to which you will have no difficulty getting from one point to another in the city.
However, if you prefer to take your time, you can visit Prague with a hop on hop off tourist bus: these are buses of private companies that make stops at the city’s main tourist attractions. An audio guide in several languages will tell you about the history and curiosities of the various attractions.
City Card allow you to save on public transport and / or on the entrances to the main tourist attractions.