A thousand spires inadvertently combine to create one of the most beautiful and alluring skylines ever imaginable. Prague’s ancient castle, famous cobbled bridge – lined with 30 statues of venerable saints, and its narrow medieval streets go on to enhance the fairytale.
Climb Petrin Tower for the best views of Prague city from every conceivable direction. Wander around a labyrinth of picturesque streets in the Old City, crammed with enticing taverns and coffee shops. Cross the 14th-century Charles Bridge, passing stalls selling sentimental watercolour cityscapes. Gather in front of the Astronomical Clock to observe the procession of the Twelve Apostles on the hour, every hour. Take a break from the crowds with a leisurely cruise down the Vltava river. Spend an unforgettable evening at Smetana Hall, listening to the musical notes of Dvorak, or savour authentic Czech cuisine served with a refreshing Bohemian beer.
Prague has always boasted fairy-tale castles, ornate palaces and historic museums, but it has also developed a sharp and happening arts and culture scene. Harriet Cooper uncovers the Czech capital’s bohemian sights and hangouts.
Visit the Old Town Square, with its world-famous astronomical clock. Built in 1490, it is one of the oldest in the world and provides a popular hourly show. Climb the Old Town Hall tower for magnificent views of Prague’s cobbled streets, castle, river and the magnificent Our Lady of Tyn church. The Charles Bridge is named after the countries most famous monarch and offers superb views and access to the castle side of the river. Friendly musicians and souvenir stallholders attract locals and visitors alike.
Named after the Holy Roman Emperor who emancipated the Jews, Joseph II. Josefov, or the Jewish Quarter, is the birthplace of the celebrated author Frank Kafka. It contains the remains of the historic Jewish slums and 20th century buildings, with its Old-New synagogue and the Jewish museum showcasing some of central Europe’s most important Jewish artefacts. It contains six synagogues and an old cemetery.
New Town’s most famous landmark is Wenceslas Square, filled with an enticing array of bars, shops and gathering crowds. This is also where you will find the National Theatre, U Fleku beer hall and the National Museum – whose vantage point encourages you to take in the ornate architecture that lies below. It’s also the Czech Republic’s oldest museum – showcasing everything from mineralogy and zoology to archaeology and anthropology.
Walk down the picturesque streets and enjoy its lively restaurant scene. In the evening walk through the quaint, quieter gas lamp-lit lanes. Take the funicular railway up Petrin Hill, then walk the leafy trails to Petrin Tower – a scale model of the Eiffel Tower built in 1891, providing spectacular views. Explore the maze and the Stefanik Observatory while you’re here too.
Containing the world’s largest ancient castle, this district lies to the left of the River Vltava, over the Charles Bridge. With cobbled streets and incredible views from the castle walls over Prague, this area is not to be missed. The Prague castle is over 1000 years old and has an hourly changing of the guard and regular exhibitions in the gallery. The Saint Vitus cathedral is located within the large castle walls.