Prague Travel Guide
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Prague Travel Guide
Welcoming about six million tourists every year, the City of a Hundred Spires is like something out of a Gothic fairytale, with enough history and magic to bewitch visitors from all walks of life:
Prague has come alive and undergone a modern renaissance as one of Europe's most desirable destinations, with its cobblestone streets and spires giving the whole city the feel of an outdoor museum. Thankfully, Prague's old town (Stare Mesto) was virtually undamaged during both world wars, allowing the old city to show off a cross-section of centuries-old architecture unseen even in Europe's most famous capitals. Complementing this buffet of well-preserved history, Prague boasts a feisty nightlife which attracts young revellers from all over the continent, and a trendy assortment of new galleries, clubs, restaurants, cafes and shops. Prague is therefore a great combination of traditional charm and vibrant, trend-setting youth.
Best time to visit Prague
Midsummer is high season for a holiday in Prague, but this has the disadvantage of bringing in thousands of visitors to bask in the sunny weather. The best time to travel to Prague for those not wanting to join the crowds is in spring (April/May) or autumn (September/October) when the crowds have thinned and the weather is still pleasant. Read more on Prague's Climate and Weather.
What to see in Prague
-Stroll over the iconic Charles Bridge and photograph the city.
-Admire the oddly beautiful Dancing House designed in part by Frank Gehry.
-See the Old Town Square, Prague's heart since the 11th century.
-Watch the amusing medieval Prague Astronomical Clock chime the hour.
What to do in Prague
-Visit the Museum of Communism for a taste of Prague behind the Iron Curtain.
-Explore the many attractions of Prague's stately Castle District.
-Learn about the history of Prague's Jewish population in The Jewish Museum.
-Tour the Vysehrad hill fortress, thought to have stood since the 10th century.
The Czech Republic is not a large country and Prague is fairly central, meaning that many of the country's attractions are within reach of the capital. Pilsen, the birthplace of Czech beer, is just beyond Prague, as is Kutna Hora, which fascinates travellers. The spa resort town of Karlovy Vary and even the more distant medieval town of Cesky Krumlov are popular options for weekend getaways from Prague.
Prague's Vaclav Havel Airport is conveniently located just 10 miles (16km) northwest of the city centre and is the Czech Republic's main air transport hub. Get more information on Airports in Prague.
Did you know?
-Prague Castle is said to be the largest castle complex in the world.
-There is a famous graffiti shrine to John Lennon on Mala Strana.
-During the Middle Ages alchemy was very fashionable in Prague, with assorted 'magicians' practicing the art.
Old Town Square © Czech Tourism
The Czech Republic's capital and international showpiece, Prague is one of the most popular destinations in Eastern Europe. Its attraction lies in the physical beauty of the city, with 600 years of architecture amazingly untouched by war. The centre has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it demands to be explored on foot, an entire outdoor museum of history and a haphazard mixture of splendid architecture.
In the 14th century Prague enjoyed the reputation of being one of the most important cities in Europe, but after the Second World War it disappeared completely behind the Iron Curtain. Since the 1989 Velvet Revolution and the end of Communism, Prague has thrown off the years of repression with alacrity and is returning to its earlier grandeur, enticing tourists with its fairytale quality and romantic atmosphere. In recent years Prague has also become a popular weekend destination for stag and hen party groups, attracted by the lively nightlife, world-famous beer, and low prices.
The historical centre of the city is compact and its attractions are all within easy reach. The core comprises the Castle District (Hradèany) west of the River Vltava, and the Old and New town (Staré Mesto and Nové Mesto) to the east, joined by the famous Charles Bridge. The Castle District situated on the hill overlooking the city incorporates the main attractions, including the Castle itself and the Cathedral. The Old Town is a maze of alleyways, cobbled streets and passages winding their way towards the beautiful Old Town Square, Staromestské Namestí. Josefov Ghetto, the old Jewish Quarter, is enclosed within the Old Town. The New Town, in contrast, is modern and has been laid out in wide boulevards, most famously Wenceslas Square, the fashionable shopping boulevard leading up to the foot of the grand National Gallery.
The city's cultural scene also features high on the list of things to do in Prague, with classical music concerts, opera and ballet, as well as the many art galleries around the city. This beautiful place, a 'symphony in stone', built along the river and on the surrounding hills, has never ceased to capture the hearts and imagination of visitors, painters, photographers and poets.
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