A Prague travel guide – soaring architecture in romantic Central Europe
Get your bearings
The Vltava river flows north-south through Prague and under the medieval Charles Bridge. To the west, the cobbled streets and red roofs of Malá Strana sit below imposing Prague Castle. Across the Vltava is the Old Town, Staré Město, where the star of the show is the Astronomical Clock. To the north is the evocative Jewish Quarter, Josefov. Continuing east you’ll find residential Vinohrady with parks, cafés, restaurants and the striking communist-era TV Tower. North down Vinohrady’s hill is vibrant Žižkov, home to Prague’s highest density of bars.
From the Holy Roman Empire to the Hapsburgs, a Prague city break is a fascinating trip into the past. The Royal Way meanders from Old Town Square across Charles Bridge to St Vitus Cathedral, nestled within Prague Castle. The streets, synagogues and cemetery of Josefov, Prague’s Jewish area, are beautifully preserved. The twin spires of the Old Town’s Gothic Týn Church dominate the skyline, which contrasts with the cubist House of the Black Madonna nearby.
City of culture
Mozart premiered Don Giovanni at Prague’s Estates Theatre in 1787 and you can still see the opera performed there today. Marvel at the golden-topped National Theatre on the Vltava and Alfons Mucha’s Art Nouveau mastery at the Mucha Museum. The vaulted ceilings of Prague’s churches often resonate with classical concerts. Check out legendary club Roxy for local and international live acts.
Malls and markets
Staré Město is the hub for Prague’s mix of traditional and modern shops. Search out hand-painted souvenirs and wooden toys at seasonal markets in the city squares or all year at Havelská Market. Contemporary and classic Czech design can be found at the Cubist Museum’s Gallery Kubista and Artěl, home of hand-blown, glass. The Palladium mall caters for all tastes and budgets while designer names line the upmarket Pařížská street. For traditional crafts, toys and potions, try one of the Manufaktura outlets across the city.
A little romance
Historical Prague hotels provide a lavish slice of romance. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride or a tour in a classic Škoda, then dine with a riverside view of Prague Castle at Bellevue. Or have a picnic in Malá Strana’s Kampa Park, followed a cocktail at the intimate Blue Light bar before crossing the Vltava at dawn on a deserted Charles Bridge.
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