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Known as the Golden City, Prague is often described as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Prague is one of the most popular European tourist destinations and the homeland of impressive baroque architecture, Gothic churches and the unforgettable (and photogenic) Astronomical Clock.
What is the Best Time to Visit Prague?
If you don’t mind the tourist crowds so much, July and August are the best months to visit Prague. The weather is warmer and the daylight hours are longer, giving you more time to explore the city.
Top Things to Do and Places to Visit in Prague
1. Charles Bridge
This late 14th Century bridge is the oldest stone bridge in Europe and a famous sight among tourists who like to stroll along its over 1600 feet. As one of Prague’s must-see attractions, things get a bit crowded by mid-morning. If you can brave the morning chill, it’s best to visit this precious landmark at the crack of dawn.
2. St. Vitus Cathedral
There are plenty of Gothic churches to visit in Prague but if you could visit only one, St. Vitus Cathedral would have to be on the top of your list. It took about 600 years to finish building, but the final result was well worth the wait. It’s more than a religious building, it’s a top-to-bottom work of art.
Opens Mon – Sat from 9 a.m. to 4.40 p.m. and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 4.40 p.m.
3. Prague Castle
Prague has a distinctly romantic atmosphere and it’s impossible to miss the fairy-like castle on the left bank of the Vltava river. Over the 12 centuries of History, the castle has been reconstructed and additions were made, according to the tastes of the ruling monarchs. The result? A spectacular mix and match of architectural styles.
The Prague Castle Complex is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Historical Buildings are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Prices vary according to types of ticket, from CZK 70 ($3) to CZK 350 ($15).
4. Prague Jewish Museum
This must-see monument stands as a witness of a grotesque episode of History, when Nazis took over during World War II with the goal to create the museum of an extinct race. More than a reminder and a lesson in recent History, the six monuments that make the Prague Jewish Museum at Josefov hold one of the biggest collections of sacred artifacts in the world.
The Museum is open everyday (except during Jewish holidays) from 9 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. Prices start at CZK 165 ($7).
5. Astronomical Clock
Who knew checking the time could be the most beautiful experience in the world? It is if you’re in Prague watching the Astronomical Clock! Granted the whole experience of seeing the clock in action lasts under a minute every hour, but you still wouldn’t want to miss it.
6. Old Town Square
Back in the 10th century, this was Prague’s main public square and it hasn’t lost any of its importance since then. There is never a dull moment here, from concerts to street performers to special markets on Holidays like Christmas and Easter.
7. Café Savoy
It really doesn’t matter if you come here for breakfast, lunch, or a mid-afternoon snack, as long as you take the time to look around you and take in all the belle-époque details of one of the most beautiful cafes in Europe.
8. The Strahov Monastery and Library
The 12th – century Monastery, the second oldest in the Czech capital city, is already impressive but it’s the two Baroque libraries that really leave a mark. With their beautifully painted ceilings to the rare manuscripts and books, the Philosophical Library and the Theological Library are not to be missed.
Opens everyday (except Christmas and Easter Sunday) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets cost CZK 120 ($5).
9. The Lennon Wall
More than just a tribute in graffiti to the late Beatle in the 1980s, the Lennon Wall became a symbol of the city’s youth unrest during the Communist period. Today it’s one of Prague’s most visited attractions, a colorful mix of peace messages, artful graffiti and tourist nonsense.
10. Petrin Hill
There are 299 steps between you and a great view of Prague from the top of the Petrin Hill. If you don’t feel like doing a lot of climbing, take the funicular up from the Lesser Quarter instead. Do not miss this chance to admire the Heart of Europe from above!
Best Restaurants in Prague
1. U Kroka
This family-owned restaurant in the Prague 2 area is popular among locals and one of the recommended places to try the local cuisine. If you favor authentic food over a convenient location, this place is worth a shot.
2. Rilke Restaurant
Named after the romantic poet R. M. Rilke, this centrally located restaurant claims to have a straight approach to Czech cuisine. There are no over-the-top, complex dishes just great food.
3. U Bulinu
Not only is this restaurant’s food legendary among locals and tourists, so is the story of the restaurant itself. The menu and the mythical story are worth the 15-minute ride from the Old Town Square.
Top Travel Tips for Prague
-To avoid bad service or unfair fares, it’s best to order a taxi using your smartphone rather than hailing one on the middle of the street. It is best to choose to use a service like Uber or the local Liftago instead. -The local currency is Czech Crowns (CZK). To avoid scams, the best thing is to withdraw cash from an ATM in the city (check fees with your bank) or to just pay with your credit card wherever you go. -Prague has a great public transportation system so moving around by bus, tram or subway is fairly easy. Tickets can be bought at newspaper stands, tobacco shops, and subway stations and must be always validated on entry. -To avoid large tourist crowds, it is best to visit the main attractions early in the morning or later in the evening. -Depending on your cell phone operator’s roaming fees, consider buying a local SIM card on arrival.
- 112 is the European emergency number and 158 is Prague’s local police phone number- both are free to dial.
How to Get There
Non-stop flights from New York to Prague arrive at the Václav Havel Airport (previously known as Ruzyne International Airport), about half an hour from the city center. You can easily reach the city center by bus, airport express, and taxi. Combo tickets at reasonable prices are available to purchase at the airport.
Where to Stay- Hotels
On a budget: Saving up on accommodation doesn’t always mean compromising on quality, which is why B&B Hotel Prague City is a great option. It’s close enough to the city center so you can easily reach the main sights, but far enough to stay away from tourist crowds. Rooms start at $77 a night.
Comfortable mid-range: The Design Hotel Jewel Prague is one of the highest rated mid-range hotels, close to the Wenceslas Square. Perfection is in the details, and that is the case with this hotel’s gold-painted ceiling. Rooms start at $156 a night.
High-end and stylish: If you’re going to make your trip to Prague all about the wow factor, then the Alchymist Grand Hotel & Spa will be your dream hotel. The 16th century Baroque mansion-turned-boutique-hotel is conveniently located within walking distance from the main sights in the city center. Rooms start at $300 a night
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About the Author
Sandra Henriques Gajjar// Tripper
Sandra Henriques Gajjar is a writer born in the Azores and currently based in Lisbon. Since 2014 she’s been blogging about travel, culture, and the people she meets in between at Tripper, a blog about cultural travel to offbeat destinations.