Prague’s appeal as a travel destination can be summed up in three words: architecture, architecture and architecture. There are other attractions but you’ll come to love Prague for its Baroque charm, whether it’s found lining Staroměstské náměstí or a bridge spanning the Vltava River. Not surprisingly, it became the darling of Eastern European tourism after opening up in 1990 and dusting off half a century of Communist rule that kept it all neatly preserved.
Things to see
By the time you’re finished with the Old Town Square, you’ll need a new memory stick for your camera! Take in a rich goulash at one of the many local restaurants, empty your purse at the local market or sit and marvel at the gorgeous fascia of baroque buildings.
If you’ve ever seen a postcard from Prague it was probably branded with an image of the Charles Bridge. Aesthetically the bridge is a marvel and many visitors enjoy taking fun photographs with one or more of the larger-than-life statues which line it.
Ironically, Wenceslas Square is not actually a square at all. It’s one of the most historic streets in all of Prague and here that the well-known Velvet Revolution was initiated.
Prague Castle, which dominates the city’s skyline, is across Charles Bridge and up a hill, you can’t miss it. Famously known as the world’s biggest castle, and for defenestrating people out of the windows high above the cliffs, it’s a Gothic masterpiece and positively bohemian by night.
Hotels in Prague
Prague hotels are very affordable and budget travelers might find something within walking distance of the Old Town Square, while others will be surprised to find themselves in a richly decorated hangover from the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The city remains as popular as ever in the summer time, you’re advised to book well in advance.
Prague also offers something called a ‘botel’, which is short for boat hotel. This novel form of accommodation floats atop the Vltava River.
Where to stay
Looking for all the bells and whistles? Head to Nove Mesto, or the New Town. This is the business center of Prague and offers accommodation to meet the needs of its ‘suited’ clientele. The area is also really close to most of Prague’s museums and Wenceslas Square.
Honeymooners will find a touch of romanticism in Mala Strana, or Lesser Town. Accommodation here is comfortable and reasonable but most people choose to stay because of the atmosphere. Amble hand-in-hand through cobbled streets laden with ornate baroque-era churches, cozy cafes filled with enthusiastic locals, and street performers serenading visitors on their way.
There are a few hotels in Josefov, the Jewish quarter of the city, but not nearly as many in other areas. That said, even if you aren’t planning on staying here the rich history and sublime synagogues are enough to draw you to the area for a visit.
How to get to Prague
Budget and regular flights drop in on Prague Vaclav Havel Airport with high season frequency. It is the biggest and busiest airport in the country and is located about 6 miles outside of the city center – noted as a hassle free experience.
To enter the center travelers can use either the local bus service just outside of the arrivals terminal or one of the many private taxis which offer door-to-door services. Make sure they don’t rip you off!
Dopravni Podnik is the main regional bus operator but there are several international service providers as well. The same can be said for the train network which is operated by Ceske Drahy and extends as far as Vienna and Budapest.