Prague’s beauty rivals that of Paris and the city has a history that dates back a millennium. Majestically perched along the banks of the Vltava River, Prague is a city of romance, charm and nostalgia.
Since 1989 the capital of the Czech Republic and former capital of the Kingdom of Bohemia has flourished following the fall of the Iron Curtain after the Velvet Revolution. Prague has now become the fourth most popular tourist destination in Europe after London, Paris and Rome. Tourists flock to the City of a Hundred Spires to experience the romance, history, charisma and culture of this fairytale gem of a city with its hilltop castle, 14th century sandstone bridge and spired skyline.
Urban exploration is a great delight in Prague. The tangled web of cobbled lanes and hidden courtyards throughout the city provide many opportunities to explore. Venture a couple of blocks outside the Town Square to discover ancient chapels, hidden gardens and old-time bars serving excellent beer and traditional Czech food. Head to the left bank of the Vltava, where you’ll find the genteel neighborhoods of Hradčany and Malá Strana and countless Instagrammable backdrops.
After a day of urban exploration, take a load off at an old-fashioned coffeehouse or head to Letná Park for a cold craft beer and vistas over Prague’s red rooftops and bridges from the large beer garden.
How do you get to Prague from the airport?
Prague Airport is approximately 17 km (10.5 miles) from the center of Prague. There is no direct Metro rail service from the airport to the city center, however this route is covered by public buses and an Airport Express bus line, which takes approximately 50 minutes. Taxis are notoriously dubious, so a better option is to arrange a private airport pick-up. The next best option after private pick-up is an Uber – super reliable and now more popular than the regular taxis.
What about getting around the city?
Covering approximately 4 km (2.5 miles), Prague city center is relatively small and easy to navigate, making it ideal for exploration on foot. The Prague tram is the best “sightseeing” option with 25 lines in the city center with frequent stops. There are also very good bus services throughout the city.
What else is good to know?
If you plan on walking, bring shoes with well-cushioned soles as the cobbled streets can wreak havoc on your feet. A flexible 24-hour or three-day pass is available for public transportation and allows unlimited rides on trams, buses and the Metro. Tickets are valid for all Prague public transportation and allow transfers. Passes need to be validated only once when ready for use. Also note, single ride tickets do not include transportation of luggage and Prague inspectors are famous for catching tourists out with a fine. If you are traveling with luggage, buy a 24-hour or longer ticket.
Pragues attractions: Romantic riverside haven
Given its central European location, Prague has a continental climate with bitterly cold winters and roasting summers, so the best time to visit is late spring or early fall. Strolling along the Charles Bridge surrounded by statutes of Catholic saints and looking towards the spires and castle on the skyline, you may think that you’ve stepped back in time. This romantic riverside city will not fail to impress and will leave you with unforgettable fairytale memories.
Attractions in Prague you shouldn’t miss:
- Prague Castle
- St. Vitus’ Cathedral
- The Colden Lane
- The old town Staré Město
- The Astronomical Clock
- The new town Nové Město
- The Rudolfinum
Don’t miss visiting Prague Castle in Hradčany. According to the Guinness Book of Records, the castle – which dates back to the 9th century – is the largest ancient castle in the world. The former seat of power for kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman Emperors and Czechoslovakian presidents, the castle is today the official residence of the President of the Czech Republic. It also houses the Bohemian Crown jewels, which include the crown of Saint Wenceslas and the royal orb hidden in a room inside the castle. You will also find the Gothic St. Vitus’ Cathedral within the castle walls. This is the largest church in the country at 124 x 60 meters (407 x 1967 feet), with its main tower extending 102.8 meters (337 feet) into the air and flanked by 82-meter (269-foot) front towers.
Visit Golden Lane (Zlatá ulička) at the eastern end of Prague Castle. The small houses were built for the castle guards of King Rudolph II and date back to the 16th century. Over time the street has been known by several different monikers including Archery Lane and Alchemists’ Alley, but Golden Lane comes from the goldsmiths who were resident there in the 17th century. The house at 22 Golden Lane belonged to the sister of Czech author Franz Kafka, who wrote in the house from 1916 to 1917.
Wander the maze of alleyways and passages of Staré Město (Old Town), which contains the old Jewish quarter. Old Town leads to Staroměstské náměstí, the Old Town Square, which has been the city marketplace since the 11th century. On the western side of the Square is the famous Astronomical Clock, which holds an animated religious show every hour between 9 AM and 9 PM. Opposite the clock are the slightly unequal Gothic steeples of the Týn Church, representing Adam and Eve. The centerpiece of the square is the Jan Hus Monument.
Nové Město (New Town) is the central area of the modern city, centered around Wenceslas Square. A popular attraction at the waterfront in Nové Město is the Dancing House, aka Fred and Ginger. The work of Czech architect Vlado Milunić and Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, the building was highly controversial at the time of its construction due to its stark contrast with its surrounding Baroque, Gothic and Art Nouveau neighbors.
The neo-Renaissance Rudolfinum building on Jan Palach Square on the banks of the Vltava is a center for music and the arts, and the current residence of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. As the largest music auditorium in the building, Dvořák Hall is one of the main venues of the Prague Spring International Music Festival and renowned for its excellent acoustics. Attending a musical event here is highly recommended.
There is no shortage of art galleries and museums in Prague and although they may not be as well-known as those of London or Paris, there is still much to admire in the varied collections throughout the city. The Convent of St. Agnes is a national cultural heritage landmark and home to Gothic altarpieces and a collection of art from the National Gallery. An impressive and internationally significant collection of 20th century surrealists, cubists, art nouveau and constructivists is on display at the National Gallery.
Our guide offers all the information you need on Prague's attractions.
Once upon a time, food in Prague would bring to mind images of meat and starch, most likely in the form of dumplings. However, Western 21st century Prague has lifted its game in the culinary landscape in modern times and it’s possible to find everything from French to Mexican to Korean, alongside traditional Czech dishes.
Guided food tours of the traditional cuisine of the country are available or you can try tracking it down yourself as Prague is highly amenable to walking and exploration on foot. The cafe culture is Prague is also flourishing and as you’re on vacation, you are free to spend time people-watching or reading a book at an old-fashioned coffeehouse with a slice of strudel and a Czech coffee. Cafes and traditional coffeehouses are abundant all throughout the city, so you won’t have trouble finding one. But it will be hard to choose.
If you enjoy an upmarket fine dining experience, book in at the Michelin-starred Sansho at Petrská 25, Praha 1, which serves a pan-Asian eight-course meal that follows a commitment to supporting local farmers raising happy animals and is Prague’s first whole animal restaurant.
Sausages feature heavily in the local cuisine and are something of a national sport in the Czech Republic – a staple at breakfast, lunch and dinner and the perfect accompaniment to a chilled craft beer. Stop by the “small butcher with a big heart” at Dlouhá 39, Naše maso, where you can choose from a range of local produce and have it cooked on site, ready for takeout.Find out some food tips in our guide about eat and drink in Prague.
Get the taste of Czech beer
Beer is a big deal in Prague and Restaurants and bars tend to exclusively sell one brand. Of course, there are different pours for Pilsner Urquell – traditional pours are Nadvakrát (crisp), hlandinka (smooth), which gives the beer a larger head of foam for a smoother taste, and mlíko (milk), which is very little liquid beer and almost a full glass of foam.