Prague, capital of the Czech Republic, is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Visitors stepping off their Prague flights will discover a city of gold-topped towers and red roofs, decorated gates and statue-lined bridges, cobbled squares and walled courtyards. It's where good King Wenceslas looked out, where the 1968 Prague Spring was put down and where the Velvet Revolution took place in 1989. Prague is also a city of atmospheric pubs serving world-famous brews, opulent Viennese-style coffee houses, and traditional beer halls serving hearty Czech fare.
The Vltava River splits Prague in two - into Stare Mesto (Old Town) and Mala Strana (Lesser Quarter). Charles Bridge, the 14th-century bridge lined with 30 blackened statues of saints, including Wenceslas, connects the two.
Stare Mesto is the original settlement, where the sights include the Old Town Square and Old Town Hall Tower with its Astronomical Clock, St. Nicholas Church, and the Gothic Church of Our Lady before Tyn.
Prague Castle and Mala Strana are on the other side of the river. The castle has three courtyards and the Gothic St Vitus’s Cathedral. The guard changes on the hour with a fanfare at the midday change.
Search and compare: cheap flights to Prague
Prague’s weather can change quickly. Summers are usually in the low 20s (Celsius), but it can also be quite chilly or hot and sticky. Winters are mild with temperatures close to freezing. Although snow is rare, so are sunny days in January and February. July is the rainiest month and February the driest.
When to fly to Prague
Spring through autumn is the tourism season. Prague is packed with visitors in July and August, but most of the locals leave town on holiday.
In May the Prague Spring Classical Music Festival draws musicians and music lovers from around the world.
The Christmas and Easter holidays are also a busy time in the city.
Many attractions are closed November through March, and the weather can be gloomy.
One of the best times to visit is September and October when the crowds have thinned out. There is a better chance of finding cheap flights to Prague at this time.
Getting around Prague
Prague is very accessible. You can take buses, trams, trains or metros to get to your destination. Best of all, they all offer tourist passes that will save you lots of money. You must validate your ticket when you board the tram or subway, unless you want a hefty fine.
Before you take a taxi, prepare yourself to bargain for a fair rate, which can be very difficult with the language barrier.
Prague insider information
- The 13th-century Charles Bridge is one of those tourist landmarks you have to see.
- Statues: St Wenceslas, the Czech national hero who was murdered by his brother more than 1,000 years ago, has a statue at the top of Wenceslas Square, from where most of Prague's tourist attractions are just a short walk. See Franz Kafka's (the Prague-born poet and novelist) bronze statue on Dusni, or Holy Spirit Street. His grave is in the New Jewish Cemetery.
- Petrin Hill with Petrin Tower, a smaller version of the Eiffel Tower. There is a funicular railway to the top.
- Prague Jewish Quarter was the largest Jewish ghetto in Europe and many residents died during World War II. There are several sights of note: the Old Jewish Cemetery, which dates from 1478; Pinkas Synagogue, founded in 1479; Klausen Synagogue, completed in 1694; the Church of the Holy Ghost and The Rudolfinum, built in the 19th century and once seat of the Czechoslovak parliament. There are walking tours which trace the history of the quarter.
- Parizska, a chic shopping avenue that cuts through Josefov from Old Town Square to Chechuv Bridge. The greats of the fashion world are here - Louis Vuitton, Dior, Moschino etc. Try the Havelsky Market for fruit, vegetables and souvenirs.
- Prague Castle sits at the top of Hradcany. Major sites include St. Wenceslas Chapel, part of St. Vitus Cathedral, (which house Good King Wenceslas's remains), the Royal Garden, Royal Summer Palace, and Golden Lane, where the small houses were home to the castle servants, goldsmiths and marksmen. Franz Kafka lived in No. 22 between 1916 and 1917.
- Stromovka Park dates from the 16th century, a hunting ground for Rudolf II. It's a beautiful spot, far from the bustle of the Old Town.