- The capital and largest city of the Czech Republic, with a population of 1.4 million.
- Founded more than 1,000 years ago (and having served as capital of Bohemia), the city has been a major political, economic and cultural centre for Central Europe.
- Survived the destruction suffered by its neighbouring cities in World War II, and continues to enchant visitors with its medieval aura.
- Nickname: The Golden City of a Hundred Spires
- Currency: Czech Crown (CZK).
- Spoken Languages: Czech, Slovak and English.
- Best time to visit: May to October for clear skies, the warmest temperatures of the year and the world-class festivals that begin in May. Expect rainfall and always pack an umbrella.
- Arriving via airport: Prague Václav Havel Airport (PRG) connects to the city centre with bus lines 119, 100, 179 as well as the Airport Express. Tickets cost Kč32 one-way. Taxis can be hailed from outside the arrival halls and charge Kč350-450.
WHERE TO STAY
The Nové Město district is an eclectic agglomeration of hostels, bars and cafés of varying direction that keep the streets of Žižkov lively and bright. Staré Město is at the centre of things with tourist favourites, from historical attractions to modern necessities, while Malá Strana is an enchanting neighbourhood with interesting side streets, filled with curiosities.
- The city-wide network includes the metro, tram, bus, funicular and rail system with uniform ticketing. Fares are Kč32 for a single ticket valid for 90 minutes of validation, or Kč24 for a short-term ticket valid for 30 minutes of travel. A 1-day pass costs Kč110, while a 3-day pass comes to Kč310.
- The Prague City Card comes loaded with benefits: free entry to 40 attractions, a free city tour and guidebook plus discounted entrance to over 30 attractions. It can be combined as a travel pass allowing unlimited access to public transportation for Kč1100 valid for 2 days or Kč1320 for 3 days. It can be delivered to hotels or picked up at tourist information centres.
- Taxis charge a pick-up fee of Kč40 plus a maximum of Kč28 for each subsequent kilometre although most will be happy to negotiate the fare. Dial 257 257 257 for City Taxi.
- Drinking age is 18, and last call is never.
- For fancy cocktails and a refined drinks list, the party crowd heads to Old Town and its square.
- Wenceslas Square thrives with nightclubs and bars that stay busy till the early hours.
- Masna is popular among the student crowd and features 80’s and 90’s music.
UNIQUE LANDMARKS TO VISIT
- Chrám svatého Víta (St. Vitus Cathedral) is the spiritual heart of the city, if not the Czech Republic. It is located within the Prague Castle which also serves as the residence of the president.
- Karluv Most or Charles Bridge connects Staré Mesto and Malá Strana over the Vltava River. Its focal point is the 30 Baroque statues and the lively atmosphere enhanced by merchants and food vendors.
- Lobkowicz Palace is home to one of the oldest art collections in the country, spanning 600 years of Czech and European history.
- Tour the Hradcany Castle district for sweeping Baroque architecture, wonderful views and quaint local restaurants.
- Climb the 299 steps to the top of Petřín Hill and take in the unparalleled views.
- Discover the grandeur of Staromestské námestí or Old Town Square, including the famous Prague Astronomical Clock which measures, instead of time of day, the phase of the moon.
- Tour Josefov and admire the well-preserved synagogues of the historic Jewish Ghetto.
- Prague is the birthplace of pilsner draft and takes great pride in its brewing. Must-try brews include Pilsner Urquell and Staropramen.
- The art of carving Czech Marionettes for the puppet theatre has been around since the 18th century. They can be picked up at souvenir shops and markets and make a wonderful gift.
- Letna Park features an impressive beer garden in the summer months, a casual affair perfect for cheap beer and snacks.
- Where to find good cheap eats: hospodas or Czech pubs selling economic meals can be found around Wenceslas Square while food stalls abound in Josefov.
- Dangerous areas: scam artists are known to prey on tourists around the metro stations and the red light district. Other than that, Prague is relatively safe given its size.
RECOMMENDED PRAGUE GUIDE BOOKS
Recommended trip duration: 3-4 days