Prague is considered the heart of Europe and is one of the most attractive cities as it has a unique atmosphere and history. Built on the Vltava River in central Bohemia, it has a population of 1.2 million. Prague is an exciting city offering a combination of art, music, dance, cinema and theater. Certainly in this city you will enjoy its romantic atmosphere by strolling the narrow cobbled streets.
Prague is a thriving city with great life as it hosts some trendy luxury hotels, restaurants offering traditional Czech and international cuisine, and also trendy clubs that you can try delicious cocktails. So let’s take a look at some of the city’s most important sights below. The Czech Crown is the currency of the Czech Republic and approximately 10 crowns (CZK) equals to 0,39 Euros. For the latest updated exchange rates visit the XE Currency Converter page.
What To See...
Old Town Square
The Old Town Square is in the heart of Prague and is surrounded by luxurious romantic palaces and churches. Since the Middle Ages the square has been the social center of the city and the area where the wealthiest merchants lived with their families. In the center of the square is the statue of Jan Hus, a famous Theologian and University Lecturer, who gave his speeches in Prague preaching his ideas. Also very impressive is the church of Our Lady with the characteristic twin towers but also St. Nicholas church, where concerts are organized throughout the year.
Mala Strana and the old town of Stare Mesto are linked by one of Europe’s most impressive bridges, the Charles Bridge. The bridge is 516 meters long and 10 meters wide and crosses the Vltava River. The bridge is decorated with 30 statues and sculptures, most of which date back to 1700. The statues depict various Saints and rulers of that period. Since 1965, all statues have been systematically replaced by copies and the originals have been exhibited at the National Museum of Prague. Near the center of the bridge there is the statue of St. John Nepomuk who is the national saint of the Czech Republic and unfortunately drowned in the Vltava River. There is a legend which says that anyone who touches the statue will be lucky and will soon return to Prague again.
The area of the castle is called Hradcany. It is located on a hill with a dominant position above Prague. The complex includes the St. Vitus Cathedral, towers, art gallery museums, a monastery, several palaces including Lobkovic, as well as the famous classical concert hall of St. George’s Basilica. The temple of St. Vitus is truly impressive and imposing. It began to be built in the 14th century and completed in the 19th century. Here the kings of Bohemia were crowned, and it was also their burial place. Other important buildings are the royal palace. It is Europe’s largest medieval castle, which has been the main residence of Czech kings for several centuries. Since then, repeated wars, fires and renovations by different political forces have created a network of palaces, temples and fortifications. The guard changes every hour, and especially at noon, the ceremony takes place with the participation of a music band. It is undoubtedly one of the most popular attractions in the city. The best time to visit the castle of Prague is early in the morning because it is usually flooded with groups of tourists who form long queues. If someone is tired, they can escape the uphill path to the castle by taking the tram by taking the line 22 to get to Prazky Hrad or Pohorelec stops.
St. Vitus Cathedral
The temple of St. Vitus is truly impressive and imposing. It began to be built in the 14th century and completed in the 19th century. Here the kings of Bohemia were crowned, and it was also their burial place. Definitely on of the landmarks of Prague!
Old Town Hall
Located in the Old Town Square, the Old Town Hall is the administrative headquarter of Prague. It is one of the most beautiful sights, with interesting history to see in the center of Prague. Indoors there are Romano-Gothic cellars, the Gothic chapel with magnificent medieval frescoes, as well as magnificent rooms where daily wedding ceremonies take place. You can climb to the top of the tower to enjoy panoramic views of the entire city.
Prague Astronomical Clock
On one corner of the square is the old town hall, which is known for its famous astronomical clock. Today’s watch is a faithful replica of the original that was destroyed in World War II. Located on the south wall of the old town hall on the Old Town Square, it is a popular tourist attraction. The construction is exclusively owned by architect watchmaker Jan Hanus and his assistant Jakub. In fact, it is said that in order for Hanus not to repeat this masterpiece in another city, Prague city councilors decided to blind him. The watch has three different colors. The blue symbolizes the day, the black the night, the brown, the morning and the afternoon while it consists of two large trays. The astronomical clock shows the time in three ways, the one that prevails today, the old Bohemian and the Babylonian way. It also shows the movement of the sun and moon in the zodiac signs. The other disk is the calendar. The big attraction, of course, is the 12 Apostles. Above the discs there are two windows in which the 12 Apostles appear as moving statues. The astronomical clock also features four other moving statues that symbolize vanity, greed, death and lust.
The Powder Tower
The Dust Tower or dust gate is a Gothic historical tower that was once one of Prague’s original gates. This tower separates the old city from the New City.
Wenceslas Square belongs to the new town, Novo Mesto. Today this elongated modern square is the commercial center of the city. There are companies, offices, luxury shops, hotels, casinos, fancy restaurants and currency exchange offices, where hundreds of locals and tourists spend every minute making it one of the busiest places in Prague. It seems to be the place where no one ever sleeps. At the top of the square is the statue of St. Wenceslas on a horse. Behind the large building is the Narodni National Museum, which dominates with a new Renaissance style. It hosts exhibitions dedicated to anthropology and natural history. On the left is Prague’s Opera. Wenceslas Square is the ideal starting point for visitors to Prague. The three metro lines meets here and also the tram.
Mala Strana is the area between the castle and the river Vltava. It is one of Prague’s oldest historic districts. Beautiful with its picturesque streets, its old buildings and its trademark,St. Nicholas church, which is the favorite scene of movies and commercials. In the heart of the small town the cobblestone baroque square from the 10th century is perfect for exploration. It has many shops, churches, traditional Czech pubs and restaurants, but also ancient cellars that offering unique views of the river, the bridge and the old town. Mala Strana is magical in the evening when all visitors are gone and the landscape creates the illusion that you are three centuries behind.
The bridge was named from a famous 19th century romantic painter Josef Manes and is the ninth bridge over the Vltava River. It is located in the area of an old ferry system connected to a fishermen village. The bridge is 186 meters long and 16 meters wide and consists of 4 arcs. The decoration was cared for by one of the leading Czech sculptors who created paintings inspired by the life of the Vltava River swimmers.
The Golden Alley is today a picturesque little alley with spectacular sights dating back to the 16th and 17th century when it was home to the Alchemists and the people around the imperial vicinity. Emperor Rudolph was an admirer of alchemy, and during his reign he often sought the services of certain famous alchemists. Although Rudolph was an emperor, he was a man with many problems and predisposed to paranoid crises and other mental disorders. In fact, alchemy was the attempt to apply magic to scientific principles, with primary aim of turning simple metals into gold, as well as discovering the secrets of eternal life. Despite its relation to alchemy, the name alley gold actually comes from goldsmiths living in the area and not alchemists. Much of today’s beauty of the street is due to the works carried out by Empress Maria Therese, who said that all buildings in poor condition should be replaced by buildings made of the finest materials.
To get to Karlovy Vary you will make a wonderful journey through the forests of Bohemia. Founded in the 14th century, this beautiful city is located in western Czech Republic near the borders with Germany. The city is 140 km from Prague and is one of Bohemia’s most magnificent spa towns, known for its healing waters. This city is surrounded by a spectacular landscape as it is built in a narrow valley and follows the maneuvers of the Tepla River. The city’s architecture is built in Art Nouveau style and all the shopping streets near the thermal springs are always flooded with visitors.
Another suggestion for a walking tour is the village of Kutna Hora. The village is quite popular, not only because it is beautiful and picturesque village but because it has one of the world’s top spooky attractions. Just outside the village is the famous Sedlec Ossuary bone church. The church is estimated to contain skeletons of between 40 and 70 thousand people. The bones have been decorated and furnished for the chapel. The osteopath is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Czech Republic, attracting over 200,000 visitors.
What To Eat
Czech cuisine is typical of Central Europe, with German, Austrian, Polish and Hungarian influences. Due to the cold weather in the country, the meal often starts with a soup that is offered in many variations. Most dishes are meat based, and are accompanied by dumplings (steamed dough in various flavors). In the historic city center there are very nice and stylish restaurants but they are certainly quite touristy. Some visitors find that the best option is to eat in an outside of the city center restaurant, where locals mainly eat. The environment may not be as appealing, but the food is even better. The portions are huge and the prices are lower than most central restaurants. Beer glasses don’t stop filling and refilling unless you ask for. A great place to eat is during a cruise to Vltava river. It is the most relaxing way to see the sights of Prague and also have a meal or just enjoy a drink. Czech Republic generally has a long tradition on drinks. Specifically for their beer, the Czechs are very proud of being one of the best in the world, so this is an opportunity to visit several breweries and try them.
Below are two of our favorite restaurants in Prague that we really enjoyed. The restaurant Lehká hlava has vegetarian cuisine, and while we are not vegetarians we admit that we were impressed! It was a great experience with simple but very tasty dishes. Surely we will never forget the vegetable burger that was delicious! Great restaurant with great service. Our next suggestion is Zlate Konvice, a gorgeous gothic cellar that traveled us hundreds of years back. The Zlaté Konvice restaurant is located in the center of Prague, in Staroměstské náměstí, just opposite the world famous astronomical clock tower. In the Roman and Gothic cellars of the 14th century you can see frescoes of executed Czech nobles, restored furniture, historical weapons and many other elements of decoration that create a wonderful atmosphere. But the main thing that impressed us was the food. There the meat based dish choices predominate. Several traditional dishes and varieties of meat will perfectly accompany your beer.
How to move
Prague has an efficient public transport system with trams, subways and buses that travel around the city center and its surroundings. The use of public transport in Prague is one of the best methods, as increased traffic in the center creates many problems every day. Walking is also a great way to see Prague, because the city center is a relatively small and densely populated area making it easy to navigate through Prague’s sights. The metro is the fastest method to get to the center of Prague.
The metro consists of 3 different lines. Line A is the green line, Line B, which is yellow and Line C, which is red. The use of the tram serves short distances to the center and will certainly help you reach several Prague attractions. You can also use a bike as the city is structured in such a way that you will not be able to access every narrow alley of the city by any other means. Walking is undoubtedly the cheapest method to see Prague. The city center is about 4 km long so with a good pair of shoes you will find yourself from one side to the other without wasting money and time. Prague’s International Airport is a modern airport serving many international flights on a daily basis and is approximately 17km NW of Prague and is easily accessible by public transport.
Where to stay
Staying in Prague is not that difficult as the options are endless either in the center or outside. Due to the increased tourist traffic, you will find rooms at quite affordable prices with amazing amenities. Apart from the amenities, the hoteliers now pay great attention to the decoration of the rooms and do their best to make the customer feel more comfortable and pleasant in the area. The hotel we chose for our last visit was the refurbished Bishop’s House, located in the heart of Prague’s historic center, just 60 meters away from Charles Bridge and the Vltava River. The hotel’s main building dates back to the 16th century. A very comfortable hotel in a great location and with also very polite staff who will do whatever it takes to keep the customer happy. The cost of staying in the center of Prague with breakfast ranges from 70-100 euros per night depending on the time of your visit. But there are more affordable options that can be either in a hostel in the city center or in hotels just outside the city center where you have very close means of transport. Accommodation in hotels outside the center of Prague ranges from 40-80 euros or an even more affordable accommodation option are the hostels where the rooms starts from 15 euros per person. Depending on what type of traveler you are, you will also find the right accommodation for you. You can make your bookings via Booking.com
Prague Through Our Eyes...
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