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Travel Guide Europe Czech Republic Prague

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Introduction

A View From Atop

A View From Atop

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The political, cultural and economical centre of the Czech Republic for over 1,000 years, Prague is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, falling behind the cities of London, Paris, Rome, Madrid and Berlin as the sixth most visited European city. [1] Prague is a much smaller city than the others though and as a result, the hordes of tourists swelling into the cobbled streets and onto Charles Bridge can be overwhelming, particularly in the peak summer season. The historic centre of Prague, comprising the Old Town (Staré Město), the Lesser Quarter (Malá Strana) and the New Town (Nové Město) was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1992.

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Neighbourhoods

Prague consists of fifteen districts, numbered from Praha 1 to Praha 15. Praha 1 is the oldest part of the city and the area where more travellers spend their time. Praha 1 can be further divided into the following five areas:

  • Old Town (Staré Město).
  • The Lesser Quarter (Malá Strana).
  • New Town (Nové Město).
  • Jewish Town (Josefov).
  • Castle (Hradčany).

The other 14 districts can be organised into the following geographic areas.

  • Northern Prague - Praha 7, 8, 9.
  • Eastern Prague - Praha 3, 10, 14, 15.
  • Southern Prague - Praha 2, 4, 11, 12.
  • Western Prague - Praha 5, 6, 13.

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Sights and Activities

Astronomical Clock, Prague

Astronomical Clock, Prague

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Landmarks

  • Astronomical Clock (Orloj) - It was designed and built before it was found out that the earth circles the sun. Thus it is not accurate. Still it does toll every hour with a display of wooden saints "conducted" by the clock's skeleton. Some Prague schoolchildren are taught how to read this clock, though many have forgotten it by the time they are out of school. It is located in Old Town Square.
  • Belvedere (Belvedér).
  • Bethlehem Chapel (Betlémská kaple) - This chapel is mostly known as being the place in which Jan Hus, the Czech reformer, preached. It was almost completely demolished, but later rebuilt by the Communists in keeping with the original plans. Address: Vaníčkova 7, Praha 6., Price: 60/30 Kč
  • Carolinum.
  • The Charles Bridge (Karlův most).
Dawn stroll on Charles Bridge

Dawn stroll on Charles Bridge

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  • Church of Our Lady Before Týn (Týnsky chrám).
  • Church of Our Lady Victorious (Kostel Panny Marie Vítězné) - This church is the first Baroque church in Prague and home of the Infant of Prague, a small wax statue believed by some to have blessing and healing powers. It is common for devotees to construct intricate garments for the Infant and many of these are on display at the church. Admission is free, unlike many of the churches in Prague. Address: Karmelitská 9, Praha 1
  • Clementinum.
  • The Dancing House (Tančící dům) - Also known as the Fred and Ginger Building is a work of modern architecture designed by Frank Gehry. The address is Rašínovo nábřeží 1.
  • House of the Black Madonna (Dům U černé Matky Boží)
  • Lapidárium.
  • Municipal House (Obecní dům).
  • New Town Hall (Novoměstská radnice).
  • Old Jewish Cemetery (Starý Židovský hřbitov).
  • Old-New Synagogue (Staronová synagoga).
  • Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí) - Located in Old Town this square was the home of the city's marketplace during medieval times and still today is the center of much activity.
  • Pinkas Synagogue (Pinkasova synagoga).
  • Prague Castle (Pražský hrad) - This castle is one of the largest castles in the world and a great sight.
  • St. Nicholas' Church (Chrám Sv Mikuláše).
  • St. Vitus Cathedral (Katedrála sv Víta) - St. Vitus is a stunning cathedral located in Prague Castle.
DSC_6629

DSC_6629

© All Rights Reserved kookie888

  • Spanish Synagogue (Španělská synagoga).
  • Wallenstein Palace and Gardens (Valdštejnský palác).
  • Wenceslas Square (Václavské náměstí).

Museums

  • Crypt at Church of St. Cyril and St. Methodius (Pravoslavný Katedrální Kostel sv. Cyrila a Metoděje) - Here parachutists who tried to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich hid in 1942. Outside of the crypt is a small museum about Operation Anthropoid. Address: Resslova 9a, Praha 2., Price: 60/30 Kč
  • Jewish Museum - It is not actually a museum, but rather a group of six important Jewish sites including: the former Ceremonial hall, Klausen synagogue, Spanish synagogue, Pinkas synagogue, Maisel synagogue, and Old Jewish Cemetery.
  • Franz Kafka Museum - It's an exhibition of the Prague-born literary icon's life. Address: Cihelná 2b, Praha 1
  • Mucha Museum - It's a museum of the works of Art Nouveau artist Alphonse Mucha. Address: Panská 7, Praha 1., Price: 120/60 Kč
  • Museum of Communism - This museum gives a history of Communism in Czechoslovakia, and more specifically Prague. Admission is. It is located above McDonald's next to the Casino. Address: Na Příkopě 10 Praha 1, Price: 180/140 Kč
  • Museum of Decorative Arts (Uměleckoprůmyslové muzeum).
  • National Museum (Národní muzeum).

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Events and Festivals

Prague Spring International Music Festival

The Prague Spring International Festival is all about music and performing arts, with a number of shows taking place around the city from mid-May until early June. The first event took place in 1946 and continues to grow in popularity every year.

Summer Shakespeare Festival

For literary lovers, this is often the highlight of the Czech events calendar, a two-month long celebration of arguably the finest playwright who ever lived. From June until September, Prague Castle is home to a series of performances which take place in the stunning Burgrave Palace courtyard.

United Islands of Prague Festival

Held around various venues in Prague, including some of the large river islands, the United Islands Festival takes place from June 16 to 25. A celebration of the people and the quirks of Prague’s most interesting and mysterious cultures, the event is primarily a music festival, but is also an opportunity to explore the Czech Republic’s outlying islands. Things are cranked up a notch during the evening when events move to nightclubs and music venues, with partying, singing and dancing well into the night.

Prague Autumn International Music Festival

This momentous music festival has become a key fixture on Prague’s cultural calendar and is one of the most popular events in Europe. Local Czech and international musicians and performers travel to the capital to celebrate the best of classical music, including big name stars with crowds attending by the thousands.

Verdi Festival

The Verdi Festival is a month-long event celebrating stage arts such as ballet, opera, and theater. Held in September at the stylish Prague State Opera house, it’s a must-see for lovers of the classics.

Other Events and Festivals

  • Three King's Day (06 Jan 2014) - A procession of camels and actors in costume takes place every year to mark Three King's Day, ending at a nativity scene in front of the Loreto. Although the actual day is on January the 6th, the procession is usually on the 5th.
    ] (6 January).
  • Anniversary of Jan Palach's death (19th of January) - Jan Palach was a student who burned himself to death, protesting the 1969 Soviet occupation.
  • Easter Monday (March/April)
  • Labour Day (1 May).
  • Liberation Day - The day that Prague liberated itself from German occupation in World War II. During soviet times, this was celebrated on May 9, the day the Red Army entered Prague.

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Weather

Prague sits literally in the "Heart of Europe" and lies between the more temperate Western European and more arid, continental climates. Some winters can be very snowy, others see relatively few days with snow and much milder conditions. The driest months are the winter ones; the wettest the summermonts of July and August with sometimes heavy showers and thunderstorms, mainly after hot days. Prague's averages range from minimum -5 °C in January to 23 °C in July.[2]

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max0.4 °C2.7 °C7.7 °C13.3 °C18.3 °C21.4 °C23.3 °C23 °C19 °C13.1 °C6 °C2 °C
Avg Min-5.4 °C-4 °C-1 °C2.6 °C7.1 °C10.5 °C11.9 °C11.7 °C8.7 °C4.3 °C0.2 °C-3.3 °C
Rainfall23.5 mm22.6 mm28.1 mm38.2 mm77.2 mm72.7 mm66.2 mm69.6 mm40 mm30.5 mm31.9 mm25.3 mm
Rain Days6.85.66.27.39.810.39.18.875.576.8

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Getting There

By Plane

Ruzyně International Airport (PRG) near Prague services flights to destinations in Europe, North America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Czech Airlines, the national flag carrier, has its main hub here and serves many destinations, including Almaty, Beirut, Belgrade, Bucharest, Cairo, Damascus, Dublin, Dubrovnik, Istanbul, Kiev, Kuwait, Larnaca, London, Manchester, Minsk, Moscow, Odessa, Rostov-on-Don, Samara, Skopje, Sofia, Split, St. Petersburg, Tashkent, Tbilisi, Tel Aviv, Yekaterinburg, Yerevan, Zagreb,Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Berlin, Bologna, Bratislava, Brno, Brussels, Budapest, Cologne/Bonn, Copenhagen, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Helsinki, Kosice, Krakow, Ljubljana, Madrid, Marseille, Milan, Munich, Oslo, Ostrava, Paris, Riga, Rome, Stockholm, Strasbourg, Stuttgart, Tallinn, Thessaloniki, Venice, Vilnius, Warsaw, Zilina and Zürich. Their charter flights go to/from Hurghada, Lanzarote, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Porlamar (Isla Margarita, Venezuela), Punta Cana (Dominican Republic), Rhodes, Sal (Cape Verde), Samos, Varadero and Zakynthos. There are a few dozen of other airlines serving some other destinations as well.

To/from the airport

  • Bus: To Prague centre, take bus number 119 to Dejvická metro station, and transfer on to the green metro line (Line A) or tram there, or bus number 100 to Zličín metro station (yellow Line B) which is further from the city centre. A trip takes about 40 minutes. After midnight when the metro line is closed, night-bus number 510 runs from the airport, offering 4 transfer points to centre-bound trams en-route. Also number 179 can be used for a longer but more interesting travel to Nové Butovice metro station (yellow Line B). Since 14 December 2008, the bus line AE (Airport Express) also provides nonstop service between Terminals North 1 and North 2, and the Prague Main railway station every day from 05:00am to 10:00pm, leaving every half hour.
  • Car: rental cars and taxis are both widely available at the airport.

By Train

Czech Railways operates trains throughout the country to and from Prague. Direct night trains connect Prague also with Cologne, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Zürich, Basel, Krakow, Minsk, Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

By Car

Prague has highway connections from five major directions. Unfortunately, the highway network in the Czech Republic is quite incomplete and some highways are old and in poor condition. Thus, the highway connection from Prague to the border of the Czech Republic is available only in two directions: southeast and southwest.

The southwestern highway (D5; international E50) leads through Plzeň to Germany. The D5 highway continues in Germany as A6. Riding from the state border to Prague takes about an hour and a half (160 km/99 mi).

The southeastern highway (D1) is the Czech Republic's oldest and most used highway but is in a rather poor condition. It leads through Brno to Bratislava in Slovakia. It offers a good connection to Vienna, Budapest and all traffic from the east. It runs for 250 km (155 mi), and usually takes over two hours.

To the northwest, you can take highway D8 (E55), but it is not complete to the German border. It ends now at Lovosice (about 60 km (37 mi) from Prague and starts again in Usti nad Labem and continues to the northern Germany via A17 (Dresden, Berlin, Leipzig).

To the northeast, you can take highway R10 (E65). It is strictly speaking a motorway, not a highway, but it has four lanes and differs little from a highway. It leads from Liberec to Turnov. It is not regarded as an important access route, as there are no major cities in this direction (Zittau in Germany, some cities in Poland), but it offers a good connection to the Czech mountains Jizerské hory and Krkonoše (Riesengebirge) with the best Czech skiing resorts.

To the east, you can take the newly completed D11 (E67), which goes to Hradec Kralove. It leads to Poland.

By Bus

Check the timetable for more information on buses between Prague and numerous cities and towns in the Czech Republic. Eurolines has international connections to and from Prague.

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Getting Around

By Car

Prague can be congested at times, especially during rush hour in the morning and late afternoon and on popular holidays. Parking is not overly expensive, but ideally you leave your car at home and visit Prague by public transport.

By Public Transport

Prague's public transportation is operated by the Prague Public Transport Company. It consists of metros, trams, buses, and a funicular. Tickets must be validated as soon as you enter the station or vehicle. Tickets are good for unlimited transfers for 30 minutes or 90 minutes, with passes for one, three, five and 30 days also available.

Large backpacks and luggage are subject to an extra fee that must be purchased with your ticket to avoid fines. Tickets good for 1 or more days allow for one bag free. For a complete list of the latest fares, see this Prague Transport Company list. Use the Journey Planner to organise your travels and find connections between different modes of transports.

By Foot

Much of central Prague can easily be navigated on foot, including both banks of the river and crossing the Charles Bridge.

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Eat

In Prague everything is very geared towards tourists and you will pay western prices in many places. Head for the backstreets where you can get a very good three course meal for under €10. If on a tight budget there are many other eateries if you venture away from the tourist hotspots. Food is generally Goulash either with dumplings or in a hollowed out loaf of bread, roast pork or duck with red cabbage, snitzel etc. On Winceslas Square you can choose from a delicious array of sausages in a bread roll and wash it down with a beaker of hot wine. Perfect on a cold winters day. There are also many Italian restaurants, pizzarias plus of course McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken!

  • U Medvidku - Originally a brewery, U Medvidku has also expanded its establishment as hotel and restaurant. The restaurant area is very big and pleasantly decorated as an old austrian-hungarian style. There are lots of traditional meals and of course lots of beers to choose from, and although this place seems to attract many tourists, the prices are less expensive than in most tourist restaurants. If you are willing to experiment new flavors, make sure you try their beer ice cream! Address: Na Perštýně 7, 100 01 Praha 1, Česká Republika, Phone: 00420 224 211 916, Hours: 11:30am - 11:00pm, Price: average

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Drink

Pubs (in Czech "hospoda") abound throughout Prague, and indeed are an important part of local culture. The exact brand of beer usually vary from pub to pub, and recommendations are difficult to give as natives are usually willing to argue at lengths about their preferences. The most internationally recognized beers are Pilsner Urquell (Plzeňský Prazdroj) and Budweiser Budvar (Budějovický Budvar). There are other brands famous among Czechs like Gambrinus. If you are looking for a beer brewed in Prague, go for Staropramen. Usual prices for a half-liter glass are between 20 and 35 Kč, based on the brand and locality, while certain restaurants at tourist areas like the Old Town Square are known to charge more than 100 Kč for a euro-sized glass. There's also a booming craft beer scene with many brewpubs in the city.

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Sleep

Prague has a wealth of accommodation options, many of them within walking distance of the town centre. Peak season generally runs from April to October and a major influx of visitors can be expected during New Year as well. Prices for accommodation can be up to twice as high in the peak season and reservations are advised. Otherwise, the main train station, Hlavní nádraží, has an accommodation booking service for hotels and hostels upstairs. Normally, tax and breakfast are included in the room rate.

Around Hlavni Nadrazi, the main train station, there are many touts offering cheap accommodation. Many are Czech residents renting part of their apartment for extra cash. Prices don't vary much between them, but some may not be trustworthy so be cautious.

Even during peak season, dorm rooms in hostels close to the city center can be had for around 350 Kč (€14) per person per night. Prague has its share of rough and ready youth hostels with a party vibe, but there are many with a more relaxed atmosphere and some housed in beautifully restored buildings as fancy as any hotel. Many hostels also offer private rooms, with or without shared bathrooms, for much cheaper than a pension or hotel room. There is a boutique design hostel movement with many hostels rivaling hotel accommodations.

For those looking for something a little different, a 'botel' (boat hotel) may be an appealing option. Usually relatively well placed, with gorgeous views. Most are moored on the south of the river in Praha 4 and 5, but the best is to stay in Prague 1, next to monuments to visit by foot, in the Lesser Town district (Mala Strana) or in the Old Town (Stare Mesto). Prices vary from €20 to €120 per person.

Upscale

View our map of accommodation in Prague or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

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Keep Connected

Internet

Wifi is available in many restaurants and most cafés, especially in larger cities. In particular, all branches of Starbucks, KFC, Gloria Jeans Coffee and Costa Coffee offer free access. You may need to ask a waiter for the passphrase. There are also some hotspots available on the streets and some city quarters (for example in Prague) offer free wifi coverage for everyone. However such coverage is usually very slow and unreliable and you may need to create an account (using a web browser and the page it is automatically redirected to) to be able to use it. In most larger cities, there are also several internet cafés available.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls
There are three main mobile phone operators using the GSM standard, their coverage is very good (except in some remote, mostly uninhabited areas). If you find using roaming with your own operator too expensive or you want to have a Czech phone number, you can buy an anonymous prepaid card from any of the three main operators.

You can call emergency numbers from any phone for free (even without any card). The universal emergency number 112 is functional and you can use it, however you will reach only a telephone operator who will need to contact the real emergency service for you. To save precious time, it is best to call directly the service you need: 150 for firefighters, 155 for medical emergency, and 158 for state police.

Post

Ceska Posta is the national postal service of the Czech Republic. It offers good services with reliable, affordable and relatively fast delivery of postcards, letters and parcels. Postcards and letters weighing up to 20g which are being sent to countries within Europe cost 17 CZK, other countries cost 18 CZK. Within the Czech Republic, prices start at 10 CZK. Opening times of post offices vary but most of them are open from around 8:00am to 6:00pm or 7:00pm Monday to Friday, closing at noon on Saturday, closed on Sunday and public holidays. Larger and/or central post offices might keep longer hours and some have English speaking staff. You can buy stamps here, or at newspaper stands, kiosks or some small (souvenir) shops. Post offices offer a few other services, like (international) money transfers as well. FEDEX, DHL, TNT and UPS offer courier services as well, with fast but relatively expensive services.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 50.087811
  • Longitude: 14.42046

Accommodation in Prague

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Prague searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Prague and areas nearby.

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