The city of Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic covering over 200 square miles and being home to over a million people.
Situated at the centre of Europe, Prague is a perfect destination for a short city break holiday, combine this with a wealth of attractions for the tourist and you have a perfect situation. Prague is growing in popularity with more and more people choosing it as their holiday destination.
Getting to Prague
Travelling to Prague couldn’t be simpler with its location at the heart of Europe. There are direct flights every day from most European airports as well as flights from the USA. Many low cost airlines also travel to Prague with flights for as little as thirty pounds.
A cheaper but none the less efficient service is provided by coach transport, this is however a journey of about twenty four hours from London as opposed to ninety minutes by air. A good compromise is rail travel which is cheap and efficient.
The cities airport is just ten miles from the city centre which then only leaves a short journey by rail, bus or even hire car.
Places to Stay
Prague is one of the fastest growing city break destinations and despite investment in new hotels there is something of a shortage. Many old hotels have simply been done up but little as been spent else where.
Prices can be as high as many other European cities despite the sometimes questionable quality. Sadly there’s not much on offer for the budget traveller with the few cheap hotels tending to be old fashion.
A cheap alternative would be to stay in a private house with a local family, this can be organised through local travel agents. There are also hostels and if you travel further from the city centre, campsites too.
Restaurants in Prague are of a very high standard and there is a vast choice with many new restaurants opening all of the time. In many restaurants the emphasis is on traditional Czech food although there are restaurants serving Western foods aswell.
Czech food is quite similar to Austrian food with alot of meat served with either potatoes or rice in a sauce. Food tends to be simply with few spices and the meat tends to be fried. The most common meat is pork often this is served with dumplings, vegetables and gravy, a kind of stew if you will.
Some restaurants we recommend are Chez Marcel which serves fine Parisian food in the Jewish Quarter, Nebozizek which is a cafe over looking the city, La Perle de Prague serves very good Czech food and lastly the Opera Grill which is a small but very good restaurant.
Beer is one of the things for which Prague is most famous and some tourist will visit the city simply to sample the many fine brews.
The beers which Prague produces are imitated all over the world but no where are they as good with the Pilsner beers only made here. Some beers that all tourists should try are Staropramen, Budweiser Budvar and Pilsner Urquell. Some breweries will offer tours and tasting which makes a great excursion.
Prague also produces wine but little is ever exported so many tourist like to sample it while on holiday here. For the more adventurous tourist there are also local spirits to try as well.
Beer halls, pubs and bars can be found all over the city.
For the tourist seeking entertainment the choice is increasingly varied. You can see an Opera, show, or film, listen to Jazz or see a comedy show and for the more adventurous there is mime or fringe theatre.
Performances can be found throughout the city in a variety of locations from bars and clubs to theatres and outdoor parks. Some of these will be in English although many will not so be warned!
Tickets can be purchased at the venue itself or in advance from ticket agencies but be aware of ticket touts who offer cheap tickets as they maybe a bargain but are probably fake.
For the tourist who doesn’t want to rely on public transport or want to hire a car, Prague is the perfect city for walking.
In the centre of the city many streets are traffic free and the main sites are all close together. You can see many of the main attractions without the need for a vehicle but should your legs tire just hop on a bus.
We would recommend a walk along the ‘Royal Route’, a stroll through Petrin Park or a short walk in Vysehrad. Any of these will give a real taste to the city.
Museums and Galleries
Prague has over twenty museums and one hundred galleries which make it one of Europe’s cultural capitals. There is a vast choice with religious masterpieces from the Middle Ages right through Art Nouveau to modern works of arts.
Many of the museums are devoted to the history of Prague and its people although it is possible to find museums with other themes.
Whilst on holiday in Prague we would recommend checking out the following museums and galleries, The Loreto, the Mozart Museum, the Naprstek Museum, the State Jewish Museum and of course the Prague Museum.
This is not just a castle as many tourists to the city first believe but an area. We strongly recommend visiting this part of the city as it retains churches, chapels, halls and towers from all periods, from the Gothic to the Renaissance.
The key areas of Prague Castle are;
The Picture Gallery, St Vitus’s Cathedral, Powder Tower, The Royal Palace, St George’s Basilica, St George’s Convent, Golden Lane, Lobkowicz Palace, the Dalibor Tower and lastly the South Gardens.
This part of the city can easily be reached by public transport such as tram or train, why not combine a visit here with a walk.
Many of these museums are free to enter which is perfect for the budget traveller.
The selection of shops on offer in Prague has increased considerably in recent years with everything from department stores and smart boutiques to markets and small stalls. There are even American and West European shops selling international brands.
Most of the best shops in Prague are found in the city centre, particularly in and around Wenceslas Square and many of these areas are traffic free making them perfect for window shopping.
Some things that you may want to bring back as souvenirs include Russian caviar, traditional wooden toys, clothes and Czech crafts such as Bohemian crystal and stacking dolls. For more unusual gifts, electrical spares and second hand cars are very cheap!