is the capital city of the Czech Republic, and easily one of the most overlooked cities in Europe. With its red roofed buildings and perfectly preserved architectural works featuring everything from the Gothic Period to High Baroque, most visitors feel like they’ve stepped in a fairytale setting. Hitler reputably loved the city so much he left it untouched during World War II.
Travellers nowadays flock to the city for cheap prices, a great nightlife, and cultural experiences. Prague is easily reached by plane, train, bus, or car. Once you’re there, exploring on foot makes for some lovely photographic opportunities, but there’s also a great public bus system and a subway.
One of Prague’s greatest attributes: the city is incredibly affordable. If you’re staying longer than a few days, renting a self-catering accommodation in Prague is a great idea for keeping costs down. Wimdu for example offers a great range, from vibrant apartments in Prague's centre to cosy bed and breakfasts in the suburbs. It is always important to find accommodation that suits the needs of the type of trip you are taking.
Did you know?
Writer Franz Kafka was born and grew up in Prague.
Did you know that the Prague castle
is the largest castle in the WORLD? It has 18 acres, with several courtyards and subsidiary buildings on its grounds.
Czech’s are the world’s biggest beer drinkers, guzzling a whopping 43 gallons a year on average.
Charles University is like the Harvard of the Czech Republic. It was founded by King Charles IV, and accepts only 1 in 400 applicants!
Prague’s King Wenceslas is NOT the king who “looked out on the feast of Stephen.” He’s actually more of a Christmastime Robin Hood, stealing from the rich and giving the poor during the holidays!
If you’re fascinated by architecture, Prague has some of the oldest examples of various styles in the world. The St. George’s Basilica
at the Castle is a fine example of Romanesque, which dates from the turn of the first millennium. Gothic tends to be a favourite of the locals, and its features make for some characteristic sights that dot the city’s skyline, including tall towers and old spires. Some great examples of Gothic work include the Old Town Hall
and Astronomical Clock
, and the Charles Bridge
You’ll find Renaissance
buildings easily, with their decorative geometric designs hewn into a stucco exterior. Schwarzenberg Palace
is a great example of Renaissance design.
Other architectural designs of interest: Baroque, Neoclassical, Art Nouveau, Cubist, Functionalist, and Communist. Architects, take note!
The Czech Republic is the birthplace of the Pilsner
, and its home to the biggest beer drinkers in the world. With those kind of statistics, you have to expect a wild nightlife!
The bar scene in Prague scene is diverse, with loads of underground clubs and pubs. Harley’s
, otherwise known as “the coolest hell on earth,” is a great place to start and is located near the Square at Dlouhá 704. A more mainstream club is the Karlovy Lazne
, the “largest music complex in Central Europe.” It contains five clubs on five floors, with one admission fee. Each floor plays different music, so you can find anything you’re looking for.
If you’re visiting during spring or summer, check out the Letna Beer
garden. It’s atop a hill with some gorgeous views of the city, and is a surprisingly family-friend place. Serious beer drinkers will love the Strahov Monastic Brewery
, which is literally held inside a monastery and brews its own St. Norberts beer.
There are several shopping areas throughout the city, but you’ll some of the best shopping along Wenceslas Square
, along Na Příkopě, and in Republic Square. If you’re looking for souvenirs, local art, and fine jewelry, peruse the shops around the Old Square and in the Lesser Town. Fashionistas will want to shop around Pařížská, where many of the international shops are.
Doing some heavy duty all-day shopping? There’s Myslbek Shopping Gallery
at Na Příkopě 19, the Slovansky Dum Shopping Centre at Na Příkopě 22, and the Palladium Shopping Centre in Republic Square. Most shopping centres and department stores are open from 8/9 AM as late as midnight, but smaller boutique shops tend to keep different hours.
Since Prague is such a preserved city, there are several great spots to get your history fix. The Astronomical Clock
has been around since 1490, and it’s still drawing huge crowds today. Every hour on the hour, from 8 AM to 8 PM, viewers get to witness an entertaining show of wooden saints acting out a scene of medieval morality.
It might sound morbid, but while in Prague you should also check out the Old Jewish Cemetery
. Although it’s only a small area, about 100,000 bodies are buried here. There was a great lack of space in the ghetto, and people were forced to layer dead bodies on top of one another.
Prague Castle is seen from just about everywhere in the city. In the middle of the centre is the beautiful St. Vitus’s Cathedral
, with its Gothic spires and flying buttresses. Here you can watch the changing of the guards, or explore the castle complex.
Finally, take a stroll across the Charles Bridge
, commissioned by Charles IV and built in 1357. Nowadays, 75 statues are placed throughout the bridge. The most famous of John of Nepomuk, who reputedly grants wishes to all those who ask for them.
When in Prague, eat like the locals do. Czech food tends to be on the heavier side, and includes a great deal of meat (especially pork or beef). Meat is typically served with dumplings, made from wheat flour, boiled in water, and then sliced up and served hot. Rice and potatoes are also beloved side dishes.
Another Czech specialty: fried cheese, Smažený Sýr
. It’s garnished with potatoes and tartar sauce.
Dessert? Czech pancakes are famous, probably because they’re filled with ice-cream, jams, or fruits, and then covered in whipped-cream, almonds, or sugar.
Getting around Prague
(called Vaclav Havel) is located 40 minutes from Prague city centre. Our top tip is to take public transport into the city centre and not be charged high rates by taxis. Look to book your holiday apartment in Prague close to a handy tram or metro stop. The local metro service will take you right into the centre of the city and is a great opportunity to see this Soviet built transport system in action. All metro stations are safe and clean and there is plenty of information available to those who don’t speak Czech! If you stay at bed and breakfast in Prague, the owner will also be a bale to direct you to the nearest public transport spot. For those who are using an apartment stay it is wise to ask your host upon check-in for the best route into the city centre and main attractions. There are good bus and train connections to Berlin
which is 4 hours away. Nuremburg and Dresden are also very accessible from Prague. Krakow
in Poland is 5 hours away. Plan your former Eastern Bloc trip with Wimdu today!