- Discover Prague
Prague Castle | Charles Bridge | Old Town Square |River Cruise | The Jewish Quarter | Petrin Hill | Ziskov | The Dancing House | Prague National Theatre | Prague Library | The Lennon Wall | Hanging Man | Casino | Puppets | Some other suggestions |
Prague has come out from behind the Iron Curtain and is now one of the most visited cities in the EU. Prague is built on the River Vltava and the city centre is actually listed in the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage register. Whether you are visiting one of the many famous sites or just wandering the charming side streets your visit will be unforgettable. Prague is such a beautiful city and it has remained untouched through the centuries.
Prague can get hot in the summer (up to 35 degrees) and very cold in the winter (as low as -15 degrees). May and September are great times to visit as it isn’t too hot or too cold and the city is a small bit quieter. Bring a rain jacket as well as some comfortable shoes for all the walking on the cobblestones.
There are 1.2 million people in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic.
Take tram 22 or walk, if you don’t mind a trek, to the thousand year old Prague Castle. Come early in the day or late in the evening to miss the crowds. The old seat of power of the Kings of Bohemia, Prague Castle is the largest ancient Castle complex in the world. The main cathedral (St Vitus) is the highlight of the castle, as are the gardens. There is also the changing of the guards, Golden Lane, Old Royal Palace and Basilica of St. George. You will have to buy a ticket for some of the sites.
The Charles Bridge can be overly packed, especially during the summer. Don’t let that put you off taking a stroll across and gazing out at the beautiful view over the river. Come early in the morning if you can as you will have more space to enjoy it as well as enjoying a beautiful sunrise. Or you can take a cruise on the river and enjoy the view from a different perspective.
The colourful Town Square is where to go to enjoy some outdoor eating, musicians and the surrounding architecture. Buildings include the Old Town Hall which has the Prague Orloj, a medieval astronomical clock, as well as a tower that you can climb to enjoy views of the square. There is also the Baroque St Nicholas Church and more. The cafes and restaurants in this area can be very expensive.
A leisurely cruise on the River Vltava is highly recommended. You can take three hour long dinner cruises or one/two hour sightseeing tours. I’d recommend you take a cruise just before the sun goes down. You will get to see the city by daylight and by night. Very romantic.
The Old Jewish Cemetery is located in Josefov, the Jewish Quarter of Prague. There are reportedly 12 layers of graves on top of each other as the Jewish people of Prague ran out of space and were unable to purchase more land. There could be up to 12,000 tombstones and 100,000 graves in this small area. The cemetery dates back to the 15th century, although many scholars believe it is even older than that. It hasn’t been used in 200 years.
To get to the top of Petrin Hill you can get a cab or take a 30 minute stroll. The Funicular Railway is not running until May 2016 so that is not an option at the moment. The main attraction on the hill is the Petrin Observatory Tower which stands at 60m tall. Although the tower is not very tall, the hill is 318m high so the view over Prague is magnificent. Around the tower there are landscaped gardens as well as an observatory and a hall of mirrors.
Ziskov sits on a hill just outside Prague. It’s a fun area to visit. It’s a real alternative to the old town of Prague. There are more than 300 bars in the neighbourhood of Ziskov, as well as an increasing number of cafes. Look for the old Ziskov Television Tower, a striking symbol of communism in Prague. It was designed to block TV signals from the west. It now houses a bar and a restaurant as well as a fantastic observation deck from which you can enjoy spectacular views of Prague.
Also know as Fred and Ginger after Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, the Dancing House was designed in 1992 by Vlado Milunic and Frank Gehry. Built in 1996 it is considered an architectural masterpiece. It can be found on the east side of Jiraskuv Most bridge. There is a restaurant on the top floor, the Fred and Ginger Restaurant. This is the only floor open to the public.
The National Theatre in Prague is considered to be one of the most important cultural institutions in Prague and the Czech Republic. Plays, opera and ballet are performed here. You don't have to see a performance here to appreciate the magnificence of this building. It is a short walk from the Charles Bridge. On a sunny day the golden roof shines magnificently. At night it looks great lit up. The best view is probably from across the river.
Prague Municipal Library is home to a striking work of art. The "Tunnel of Books" was designed by Slovak artist, Matej Krén. The use of mirrors gives the illusion that the tunnel goes on forever. Not too far away in the Klementinum complex, there is the National Library of the Czech Republic, which is a stunning building and worth visiting.
After John Lennon's death in 1980, graffiti began appearing on this wall, and despite many efforts over the years to whitewash the wall, locals and visitors alike have continued to add to the artwork. The wall is located at Grand Priory Square.
David Cerny is a famous sculptor and artist from Prague who is famous for thought provoking and controversial sculptors. Possibly the most famous is Man Hanging Out, a sculpture of Sigmund Freud, the world famous psychoanalyst from the Czech Republic. It represents the human need to make the decision to live life or let go. Prague is full of interesting sculptures and fantastic street art.
Visit a casino to enjoy some poker, roulette, blackjack or more in one of the many casinos in Prague. The most famous include the Ambassador Casino at the Ambassador hotel in Wenceslas Square, the Casino Atrium at the Hilton Hotel or the Casino Palais Savarin to name but a few. You will need ID such as your passport. Entry should be free. Be well dressed. Most casinos are near enough to 24 hours. Be sure to practise on some online sites first.
Czech marionette and puppet making is an art that dates from the 18th century. You really should make the time to pay a visit to one of these shops and maybe even buy one. They really are works of art.
You must try the Trdlo, a local pastry that you can buy at most street stalls. It is delicious.
The Museum of Communism. The story of the Czech Republic’s history with Communism is told in this museum. It’s located on Na Prikope, ironically beside a McDonalds. There are no personal stories told, but it does give you a basic idea of life under a communist regime.
There is a river walk between Most Legii (the bridge next to the National Theatre) and the Charles Bridge.
Visit a chocolate shop – Erhartova Cuterarna.
Take a dip at Bazen Axa swimming pool.
Can you play the piano? Try out one of the pianos that sit around the city. There’s one at Namesti Miru, in the park in front of the Church of St Ludmila.
U Medvidku Beer Hall and Restaurant. A 550 year old Czech institution. Head here to sample X Beer 33, which at 11.8 is the strongest beer in the Czech Republic.
Offline city guide
If you would like to download this guide to your phone, tablet or PC so that you can view it offline without using your data, click on the download button at the bottom of this page. Our offline guide also includes information on public transport, admission prices and opening times for each attraction or point of interest. If you would like to see what the guide looks like before you download; click here instead. Our Prague Offline Guide also includes a local guide by Lee Adams.
City map guide
Would you like to find the above points of interest on a map? You can track your way around prague using our Prague map guide. Our Google map guide will allow you to see where you are in relation to each attraction as you roam around Prague. Our map also includes recommendations from our local guide. Lee Adams.
Vaclav Havel Airport is around 30 minutes from the city centre. Airlines from all over Europe and the U.A.E. fly into here.
Flight to Prague
Dublin 2 hours | London 1.5 hours | Hong Kong 11 hours | New York 8 hours | San Diego 12 hours | Sydney 19.5 hours
There are Airport Express buses going from outside the airport into the city centre every 30 minutes. They cost around 60 CZK which is roughly €2/$2.75.
If you would prefer a taxi, there is a desk near the arrivals gate where you can book a taxi and get a discount on the fare. Taxis cost around 700 CZK (€25/$32).
Trains from Germany, Austria, Poland, Hungary and other parts of Europe connect with Prague. The main train station is Praha hl.n.
There is an integrated transport system in place in Prague that includes the Metro, Buses, trams and ferries. It’s quite an efficient system and easy to use.
Prague is a fantastic city to walk around in. The city is truly beautiful and you can’t beat just hitting the cobbled streets and wandering around.
Czechs are a lovely people; however they may come across as rude or unsociable, which they most certainly are not.
Be aware of the risk of pickpockets especially at train stations and on trams. Try and get a seat if possible.
Do not exchange currency on the street. These can be counterfeit.
When using ATMs be aware if you are being watched.
Don’t leave food or drinks unattended as they may get spiked.
A brief history
Prague is settled by the Premysl Dynasty, which remains in power for 500 years.
Bohemian King and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV comes to power. He builds Charles University and the Charles Bridge.
The Hapsburgs come to power and remained so until the end of World War I.
The Communist Government is toppled by non-violent protests in Wenceslas Square known as the Velvet Revolution
Prague to Dublin - 2 hours
Prague to London - 1.5 hours
Prague to Hong Kong - 11 hours
Prague to New York - 8 hours
Prague to San Diego - 12 hours
Prague to Sydney - 19.5 hours