Prague Travel Guide, Czech Republic
The City of Prague is bursting with history, charm, art, entertainment, fine dining and architecture and has everything to offer from the quiet cobbled traditional streets that can be found around Prague Castle to the busy shopping, dining and party district that never sleeps surrounding Wenceslas square, Old Town and New Town. Within Prague there are also plenty of places to unwind, relax and watch the world go by with many parks and riverside walks readily available to stroll through as well as paddle boats waiting to take you out onto the water for a different view on Prague.
Areas of Prague
Prague is made up of around 6 areas which include Castle Quarter, Lesser Town (Mala Strana), Jewish Quarter (Josefov), Old Town (Stare Mesto), Vysehrad and New Town (Nove Mesto).
- Prague Castle
The Castle Quarter (Hradcany) contains Prague Castle which has many other fantastic buildings and courtyards within it such as St Vitus Cathedral, the Old Royal Palace, St George's Basilica, St Georges Convent, Golden Lane, Daliborka Tower, Prague picture gallery, the Royal Garden and the State Rooms. Also within Hradcany you will find the Loreta Church and Tower which is famous for the 27 bells that it contains and there are also several hotels and restaurants in the area.
- Lesser Town
Lesser Town or Mala Strana is connected to Old Town via Charles Bridge which is a magnificent bridge that offers wonderful views of the river Vltava and is well worth a visit. Lesser Town is filled with cobbled streets and many restaurants, cafe's, galleries and shops. Lesser Town contains many wonderful buildings such as the Church of our lady Victorious and the well known Church of St Nicholas with its Bell Tower and stunning frescoes. Petrin Hill is also in Lesser Town and offers fantastic views from the Lookout Tower which is situated at the top of the hill and can be reached via the Petrin Funicular, next to the Lookout Tower you will find the St Lawrence Church and Observatory.
- Jewish Quarter
The Jewish Quarter called Josefov contains many beautiful art nouveau buildings, shops and cafes as well as the Jewish Museum which you will discover includes the Ceremonial Hall, Old Jewish Cemetery, Klaussen Synagogue, Maisel Synagogue, Pinkas Synagogue and Guttmann Gallery. The Jewish Quarter now has only one building called the Old-New Synagogue that still runs a religious service in the area.
- Old Town
Within the Old Town area you will discover the Church of Our Lady Before Tyn which is positioned in the Old Town Square as well as other sites of interest which includes Powder Gate, Kinsky Palace, St Nicholas Church, Old Town Hall, Old Town Bridge Tower, Rudolfinum Concert Hall, Astronomical Clock and the Charles Bridge which connects Old Town with Lesser Town and the Klementinum which contains a Mirror Chapel, Astronomical Tower and Library as well as excellent views of Prague. There are also several designer shops, cafe's, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and hotels.
- New Town And Vysehrad
The area called New Town or Nove Mesto contains Wenceslas Square which was named after Saint Wenceslas who is the patron saint of Bohemia and is one of the newest parts of Prague. Wenceslas Square contains the National Museum, National Theatre, the Czech National Museum, Jindrisska Tower, Prague State Opera and Vysehrad which is another of Prague's famous castles and contains the Church of St Peter and Paul and the well known cemetery where many notable musicians, composers and writers are buried. There are also several nightclubs, bars, cafes, restaurants and shops to be found in New Town.
The climate in Prague consists of fairly hot summers and very cold winters. Prague's summer months of July and August can often see temperatures anywhere between 15 and 30 *C. During March, April, May and June the temperatures start to rise during the day and at night. Between the months of May and August sees the most amount of rainfall with July often the wettest and often accompanied with strong winds. During the Autumn months of September, October and November temperatures are usually around 15 to 20 *C. The winter months of December, January and February are very cold with temperatures often around zero or just above during the day which then often drop at night to well below freezing. One of the best times to visit Prague is in the Spring or Autumn when temperatures are not at either end of the temperature scale and are often very pleasant.
City Transport Guide
Prague has a modern and fairly efficient transportation network covering the city, making it easy to travel between destinations.
Prague Ruzyne International Airport has many international flights going to several destinations all over the world. The Airport is modern and fairly spacious with plenty of shops and restaurants, Bank branch's and ATM's available. The airport is around 18 kilometers to the west of Prague's City centre and has several transport options to take you there. To go from the airport into Prague you can either go by public transport, car hire, taxi or Intercity bus. You can obtain up to date information, guides and tickets from the public transport desk within the airport.
- Bike Travel
Cycling around Prague is a great option as you can easily travel to many of Prague's attractions relatively quickly while still taking in much of the City.
- Walking Tours
Many of the attractions of Prague are clustered together allowing you to walk easily between them and really take in the City.
There are many well known car hire companies operating out of Prague such as Hertz and Vecar which if you are planning to travel around the area a bit then a hire car is well worth it. Driving within the city can be a bit of a challenge as there are many streets that are pedestrian and service only as well as areas where cars are simply not permitted to drive into, if caught driving along these roads you will incur a fine. In areas where you can drive the roads get very busy with trams, busses, cyclists as well as pedestrians with the added problem that car parking in Prague is somewhat limited.
- Train Travel
The Prague train network runs long distance international services, regional services and suburban services to much of Prague. The main train station is the Praha hlavni nadrazi which is also called Central Station or Praha HLN and the station is positioned about 800 meters away from Wenceslas Square in Prague's New Town.
There are several radio cabs operating in Prague, many operate from taxi ranks within the city and others can be called out.
The public transport consists of the Prague Metro, Prague Tram System, Funicular and buses and all run on a similar ticket system. Tickets for use on the bus, metro and tram need to be obtained before you board them, tickets can be purchased from several locations such as the stations themselves, newspaper stands and the tourist information offices. Once you have your ticket you need to validate it which can be done either when you get onboard the bus or tram or by using the validating machine on the station. You can either get a non transfer ticket or a transfer ticket, the latter will after it has been validated permits you to travel for a set time which is usually 75 minutes during the week and 90 minutes at the weekend whilst transferring between the metro, bus, funicular and tram, other tickets include a 24 hr ticket, three day and 5 day ticket, these types of tickets only need to be validated only once when you use them for the very first time. It is worth remembering that you will need an extra luggage ticket if you wish to carry on any large suitcases or bags and there are ticket officers who will fine you on the spot if you do not have a valid ticket.
- Bus Travel
There are several buses that run to many parts of the city and into the suburbs at frequent intervals during the day and night, many of the bus stops connect with the metro stations.
The Prague electric tram system has been in operation since 1891 and has around 34 lines which run throughout the city during the day at frequent intervals with certain lines also in service during the night as well. There is the older more historic number 91 service which operates during the summer months and travels around the historic route of Prague.
- Metro Travel
The Prague Metro began in 1974 and consists of around 57 stations and three underground lines, Line A is green, Line B is yellow and line C is red. Tickets for the Metro must be obtained from the station and validated before going onto the platform and boarding. Transfer tickets can be obtained which permit you to use all three of the metro lines within a set time.
- Petrin Funicular
The Petrin Funicuar has been running since 1891and has a single track which runs from Lesser Town (Mala Strana) to Petrin Hill and offers a wonderful view of Prague.
There are hundreds of bars, cafe and restaurants to suit just about every taste you can imagine If your after a traditional Czech beer hall and dining room then visit the U Medvidku which is just South of Old Town and is where you will find traditional Czech meals, a small brewery and many local residents, alternatively if your after something a little bit more up market and glamorous then visit Kampa Park which has wonderful views of the river and Charles Bridge as well as excellent Mediterranean food. And if you wish to dine in a totally unique, historic and cozy setting then go to Saint Henry Tower ( Jindrisska Vez) which has the Zvonice restaurant situated within the Belfry.
The main language spoken in Prague is Czech.
Prague Boat Trips
A great way to view Prague is from the River Vltava, there companies offering sightseeing cruises as well as lunch and dinner boat cruises during the day and night which allow you to gently cruise along and view many areas that you would not normally be able to see from the mainland. And if you want to have a little fun on the water then there are also paddle and row boats available for hire on Zofin Island which is around 600 meters to the south of Charles Bridge.
Prague Shopping Guide
There is a huge variety of shopping facilities in Prague that vary from small market stalls and boutiques to larger more well known Western chains. Parizska, Old Town Square, Palladium Shopping Centre, Slovansky Shopping Centre, Myslbeck Shopping Gallery, OC Chodov, Palac Flora,
Wenceslas Square are all fairly large shopping areas and the best markets can be found at Havelska and Staromistske namisti. The popular Christmas Market takes place in Old Town Square and St Wenceslas Square and starts at the beginning of December.
Be aware that there are pickpockets who target some of the more crowded areas such as public transport, the airports and locations like Charles Bridge and Old Town Square by the Astronomical Clock which both get very crowded with tourists. Wenceslas Square is great to visit during the day but care needs to be taken at night time when the prostitutes lurking can lower the tone and make the area a little bit on the seedy side. When it comes to transport home taxi's hailed off the street have a bad reputation so it is best to use taxi ranks and be careful of being overcharged an alternative is to use the public transport which is relatively safe, cheap and efficient.
Prague Tourist Information Office
Prague's main tourist information centre is located in Old Town Hall which is in Old Town Square and it is from here you can purchase a Prague Card which will allow you entry into many of attractions in Prague as well as maps of the city and transport information and tickets.
Prague Festivals Guide
There are several festivals held throughout the year the most well known are the Prague Spring Festival which features the very best local and International artists performing at the Rudolfinum Concert Hall and Municipal House.
- The Prague Proms in late June and early July offers classical music played by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra at Municipal House in Prague's Old Town.
- The Czech Beer Festival in May offers well over 60 varieties of beer from well known brands to up and coming names as well as a great selection of food and live entertainment.
- Prague's Christmas Market starts at the beginning of December in both Old Town Square and St Wenceslas Square and has wonderfully decorated stalls that are filled with many stocking filling ideas and gifts...
More about Prague Festivals
Prague City Travel Attractions Guide
Prague has many wonderful museums, galleries and historic areas to visit and explore which If you plan on visiting some of the many attractions in the city, then a Prague Card is well worth purchasing as it covers around 50 sites including Prague Castle and is available from many tourist information centres.
- St Nicholas Church
The magnificent church of St Nicholas stands in Lesser Town Square and contains within wonderful frescoes, statues, the popular bell tower which stands high above Lesser Town Square and an organ which Mozart himself played when he visited Prague... more about St Nicholas Church
- Sternberg Palace
The Sternberg Palace is a historic building that dates back to 1698 when it was built for Count Wenceslas Adalbert of Sternberg, this wonderful building has beautiful interior decorations and is now used by the National Gallery and houses an excellent collection of artwork from the classical and baroque era's... more about Sternberg Palace
- Prague Castle
Prague Castle covers an area of around 70000 square meters and has many cobbled streets that lead you to several beautifully designed building's within, such as the St Vitus Cathedral, Old Royal Palace, Golden Lane, St George's Basilica, Daliborka Tower , Prague Picture Gallery, the Royal Gardens and courtyards and is one of the leading attractions in Prague... more about Prague Castle
- Charles Bridge
A very popular place to visit, Charles Bridge has wonderful views over the river Vltava and is lined with around 30 statues which includes the statue of St. Anthony of Padua, St. Norbert, St. Wenceslas and St. Sigismund. The bridge is of great importance because at the time it was built it was the only link between Old Town and Lesser Town... more about Charles Bridge
This magnificent building was commissioned in 1626 and contains a copy of a Santa Casa or Holy House, Loreta is a popular site of pilgrimage. There are 27 bells positioned above the entrance which chime every hour during the day to welcome in pilgrims and the interior is equally as impressive with its many elaborately decorated chapels and frescoed arcades the Loreta is definitely worth a visit... more about Loreta
- Dancing House
The Dancing House is a very modern building with a unique design that makes it look like a couple dancing, so much so that when it was first built it acquired the nicknamed Fred and Ginger. Dancing House is located next to the river and is around a 5 minute walk from Charles Bridge, although most of the building is used as offices there is restaurant on the top floor which has magnificent views of the river and surrounding area... more about Dancing House
- Petrin Lookout Tower
The Petrin Lookout Tower offers magnificent views of Prague and can be reached either on foot or by taking the Petrin Funicular which allows you to casually take in the scenic journey to the top of Petrin Hill. After enjoying the Lookout Tower you can also visit St Lawrence Church, Mirror Maze and Observatory which are also at the top of Petrin Hill... more about Petrin Lookout Tower
- Church of Our Lady Before Tyn
The Gothic Church of Our Lady Before Tyn stands tall overlooking its surroundings and dominating Old Town Square. Inside you will discover the wonderfully decorated pipe organ and altarpiece... more about Church of Our Lady Before Tyn
- Old Town Square
Old Town Square is situated in the heart of Old Town and has many important historical sites surrounding it such as the Church of Our Lady Before Tyn , Church of St Nicholas, the Golz-Kinsky Palace, the Astronomical Clock, the Town Hall and the Jan Hus Memorial. The Square is surrounded by plenty of shops, cafes and restaurants with plenty to see and observe... more about Old Town Square
- Astronomical Clock
The Astronomical Clock is a marvel in itself showing not only much astronomical information but also excellent detail in both the fixed statues and the working mechanisms which display the 12 apostles moving past two small doors that are situated above the clock, and not forgetting the cockerel which crows at the end to mark that the hour is ended... more about Astronomical Clock
- Old Town Hall
The Old Town Hall is well known for its tower which offers wonderful views of Old Town Square and surrounding area. The Old Town Hall tower has on one side of it the Astronomical Clock which is best viewed from the square outside where on the hour it springs to life... more about Old Town Hall
- Kinsky Palace
This beautiful Palace sits in Old Town Square and has a wonderfully decorated white and pink facade. The Palace is now the home of the National Gallery headquarters and has various collections and exhibitions on display... more about Kinsky Palace
- Powder Gate
This formidable Gothic gateway stands in Prague's Old Town and used to be one of 13 entrance gates that were part of the walled defences that used to run around the Old Town City of Prague, from the top of the tower there are wonderful views of the surrounding area and inside is a photo art exhibition... more about Powder Gate
- Kampa Island
Kampa Island is a wonderfully positioned on the west bank of the river Vltava, in front of Lesser Town and just off from the well known Charles Bridge. On the Island you can enjoy the converted mill houses, park lawns, riverside views, plenty of shops and restaurants and the Kampa Museum... more about Kampa Island
- Wenceslas Square
This large square contains several shops, cafe's and restaurants and comes alive at night with bars and nightclubs. Within the square is the beautiful equestrian statue of St Wenceslas which stands in front of the impressive National Museum which with its grand style and size dominates the buildings around it... more about Wenceslas Square
- National Museum
The neo-renaissance National Museum building stands in Wenceslas Square and has the impressive statue of St Wenceslas standing a short distance away from the entrance. The museum is even more impressive on the inside and has a beautifully decorated interior that is filled with several permanent exhibitions which include the Zoological and Anthropological collections... more about National Museum
- Jewish Museum
The Jewish Museum consists of 6 historic buildings that offer a wealth of information such as the general history of the Jews in Bohemia and Moravia from past all the way through to present time. The Jewish Museum contains many artefacts as well as lovely architecture inside and out to form this unique collection of buildings. The six building's that form the Jewish Museum are the Maisel Synagogue, the Spanish Synagogue, the Pinkas Synagogue, the Klaussen Synagogue, the Jewish Cemetery and the Ceremonial Hall... more about Jewish Museum
- Rudolfinum Concert Hall
The Rudolfinum Concert Hall is a beautiful neo-renaissance building that is as impressive on the inside as it is on the outside. There are many concerts held on a regular basis at the Rudolfinum many of which are from the Czech Philarmonic Orchestra who are based at the Rudolfinum and who often play in the main Dvorak Concert Hall which has excellent acoustics... more about Rudolfinum Concert Hall
- Jindrisska Tower
The Saint Henry Tower or Jindrisska Tower was added to the Church of Saint Henry next door after the churches spire was unable to support the weight of the bells. From the top viewing platform you can see magnificent views of New Town and Wenceslas Square. Within the tower is also the very popular Zvonice restaurant which sits very uniquely within the Belfry... more about Jindrisska Tower
The Klementinum is a complex of Baroque buildings that covers a large area of nearly 5 acres and features the Baroque Library Hall, The Mirror Chapel and the Astronomical Tower... more about Klementinum
Vysehrad is an area steeped in history and contains the Gothic Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, the well known Vysehrad Cemetery, the ruins of Vysehrad Castle, St. Martin Rotunda and Vysehrad Park which is an excellent place to gently stroll around whilst taking in the fantastic view... more about Vysehrad
Prague Night life
The three most well own concert halls are the Dvorak Concert Hall in the Rudolfinum, the Smetana Concert Hall in Municipal House (Obecni dum) and the Prague State Opera House, there are also many other fantastic locations within the City such as St George's Basilica and Lobkowicz Palace within Prague Castle or St Nicholas's Church in Old Town Square all of which hold regular classical concerts throughout the year.
For Opera, Classical music and Ballet then the National Theatre, Prague Estates Theatre and the Prague State Opera House are the place's to go and if you like a little Jazz then visit the Grand Cafe Praha next to the Astronomical Clock where you can enjoy dinner and a show.
Prague's varied and colorful nightlife scene is bursting with DJ's, musicians, locals and tourists pretty much all year round and is a well known and popular destination for Stag and Hen Nights as both the drinks and entrance fee's to the clubs are relatively inexpensive. There are no shortage of bars and clubs in Prague with many clubs having local and International DJ's playing and you will find that there is always something going on to suit just about every taste.
Venues such as cocktail bars, music bars, gay bars, sports bars , jazz clubs, disco's an intimate tavern or a larger than life dance venue are all to be found in Prague so you are sure to find what you are looking for.