Prague creates an old-world charm with fairy tale castles and narrow cobblestone streets. It is truly a masterpiece of its time with well-preserved medieval architecture and rich history.
The Czech Republic capital is a paradise for the curious wanderer, always beckoning you to explore a little further to discover historic monuments and lesser-known gems. Its history goes back a millennium, with stunning Gothic & Baroque architecture at every corner. Feel the romance as you cross the Charles Bridge and venture into the “City of a Hundred Spires.”
TOP ATTRACTIONS IN PRAGUE
Old Town Square
The true heart of Prague lies within the most beautiful square in the city, Old Town Square. The elegant tower of Town Hall with the world-famous astronomical clock, the proud silhouette of the fairytale Týn Cathedral, the monumental Church of St. Nicholas and countless multicolored houses lend this place a unique atmosphere, which will captivate all those who visit this charming city.
One of the city's most popular landmarks. It is well over 600 years old and is one of the oldest functional astronomical clocks in the world.
Its distinctive twin Gothic spires make the Týn Church an unforgettable Old Town landmark. Like something out of a 15th-century fairy tale, they create a stunning backdrop for the historical city.
St. Nicholas is the most famous Baroque church in Prague, located in the center of the Lesser Town Square. It's one of the most valuable Baroque buildings north of the Alps, as construction lasted approximately 100 years, with three generations of great architects. The stunning interior was inspired by the Les Invalides in Paris and is a highlight to see while visiting Prague.
Prague’s art nouveau building is a labor of love, with every detail of its design and decoration carefully considered, every painting and sculpture loaded with symbolism. The restaurant and cafe here are like walk-in museums of art nouveau design, while upstairs there are half a dozen beautifully decorated halls that you can visit by guided tour. You can look around the lobby and the downstairs bar for free, or book a guided tour in the information center (10 am to 8 pm).
The Charles Bridge is arguably the most beautiful gothic bridge in the world. Commissioned by the Roman Emperor, King Charles IV, the bridge served as an essential link between Prague’s Old Town, Lesser Quarter and Prague Castle for hundreds of years.
Prague Castle has been an important symbol of the Czech state for more than a thousand years. Founded in the 9th century, it became the seat of Czech rulers and later presidents. The castle, one of the largest complexes in the world, is made up of historical palaces, churches, gardens and picturesque spots. The panoramic view of Prague Castle is spectacular!
Dancing House is a remarkable and magnificent building that has become an integral part of Prague. Two architects from the opposite ends of the globe built a non-traditional design, symbolizing a dance over the end of totalitarianism. The building gained its nickname “Fred and Ginger" thanks to the towers that resemble famous dancers, Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. Nowadays, the building serves as a newly opened luxury hotel, a café, and a top-floor restaurant. At the top of the house, you will find a panoramic terrace where you can admire the city and its stunning skyline view of Prague Castle.
This Gothic cathedral, a spiritual symbol of the Czech state, was founded in 1344 on the site of the original Romanesque rotunda. The construction took nearly 600 years and was finally completed in 1929. Its impressive interior is home to such wonders as the beautifully decorated St Wenceslas Chapel with the tomb of St Wenceslas, the crypt where Czech kings are buried, and the Crown Chamber, where the Crown Jewels are kept.
The Christmas atmosphere in Prague has a magical fairy-tale feel. Stroll through the wooden holiday stalls and fill your bag with decorations, traditional Christmas cakes, wooden toys, Bohemian crystals, and local crafts, as well as sampling some delicious traditional Czech Christmas food and drinks. The Prague Christmas Markets open daily from the end of November until the beginning of January.
Old Town Square Christmas Market | Staromestske Namesti
As the busiest and most famous Prague Christmas market, this vibrant market attracts millions of visitors each year. Located right in the middle of the historic city center, the Old Town Square market is buzzing with a warm atmosphere and festive Christmas spirit at all times of the day. There is even a stage where you can watch carolers, dancers, and other performances. If you can only make it to one Christmas market in Prague, don’t miss the one in Old Town Square!
Wenceslas Square Christmas Market | Vaclavske Namesti
The Wenceslas Square Christmas market is also located in the center of Prague, which makes it’s ideal for visitors and tourists. Filled with booths, food stalls, and entertainment, Wenceslas Square is guaranteed to have something that sparks your interest. Hunt for hand-crafted wooden toys, purchase famous Czech glassware or buy a beautiful ornament to take back home. Wenceslas Square also has a tree lighting ceremony each night at 5 pm. Visitors can enjoy the small petting zoo located near the Christmas tree.
Republic Square Christmas Market | Namesti Republiky
Located a stone’s throw away from Prague’s historic city center, Republic Square is a charming Christmas market. You can find it right in front of the Palladium shopping center near the Old Custom House.
This is probably the smallest Christmas market in Prague. However, what it lacks in size, it makes up for in charm and character. Decorated with small, wooden stalls, you’ll experience the coziness of a local market right in the middle of the city!
Although there are only 30 or so stalls, you’ll still be able to find traditional classics like toys, candies, and souvenirs. Best of all, the prices here are considerably cheaper than in other Christmas markets in Prague.
Prague Castle Christmas Market | Prazsky Hrad
Climb to the top of Prague Castle for one of the most amazing Prague Christmas markets. With the snow-covered city as your backdrop, you’ll enjoy a beautiful view along with a bustling holiday atmosphere.
Over 70 different stalls are set up on St. George’s Square. You’ll find both traditional handcrafted products and souvenirs, as well as quirky, one-of-a-kind gifts that you won’t find anywhere else. Not to mention, you can enjoy a variety of warm snacks, like trdelník pastries.
Although many visitors come for the shopping and delicious Czech treats, the biggest draw of this Christmas market is the astounding view of Prague.
Peace Square Christmas Market | Namesti Miru
The Peace Square market can be found in the Vinohrady district, right in front of the Church of St. Ludmila. As it’s off the beaten path, it’s one of the best markets if you are looking for an authentic Czech experience. It’s mostly frequented by locals since only a few tourists venture to the Southeast of Prague.
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN PRAGUE
A modern twist on regional Czech dishes with an elegant feel. Make your reservation HERE
Relish every bite of their creative cuisine: they base their menu around traditional Czech cuisine and fine wines from around the world, blending perfectly with dishes. Choose between thirty types of exceptional beer by small Czech breweries. Meals are prepared from fresh seasonal products while supporting local farmers. Enjoy listening to live music every night from 7 pm to 10 pm by local musicians and viewing contemporary art around the restaurant.
Reserve your table by email: email@example.com
Specialty Tapas & Wine- Amazing intimate experience in Prague!
Must make reservations, as there are only 10-12 seats in the entire restaurant.
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Great Take away pizza, top-rated in Prague!
Rated #1 Dessert in Prague
Top-rated Chocolates & Waffles
Classic Czech Dishes
Beef Tartare- Raw beef that is cut, scraped or minced and served with condiments and either an egg on top or simply sold premixed. Usually eaten with toasted bread and a clove of garlic.
Kulajda (pronounced “ku-lay-dah”): creamy potato soup with mushrooms, dill, vinegar and a poached egg on top.
Wiener Sausages- Order the “variance”: one classic, one beef, and one Debrecener sausage, all on a paper plate with a bit of mustard and bread.
Svickova- Vegetable sauce with cream containing carrots, celery, and parsley root, that it involves a piece of beef pierced with speck. Usually served with bread dumplings.
Roast Duck- (pečená kachna): Usually paired with sauerkraut and dumplings- a staple that is a traditional Czech family meal
Pork Knuckle (vepřové koleno): Usually cooked with dark beer
Dill Sauce (“koprovka”)- Dill sauce is on the most beloved - and hated - dishes in the repertoire of Czech cuisine. When done properly, it is a fantastic companion to either slow-cooked beef or poached or cooked egg
Fried Cheese- (Smažený sýr)- A slice of fried, breaded Eidam cheese. A gooey, cheesy, rich, comforting and utterly delicious piece of food that never fails to satisfy the locals.
Fruit Dumplings (ovocné knedlíky)- Traditional Czech cuisine incorporates a specific type of dish: the main sweet dish. We’re talking something sizable, warm and sweet that is not served as dessert but as the main dish, usually after soup or appetizer. Dumplings are filled with fruit and served in a deeper dish with melted butter, sugar and other sweet condiments.
Kolache- small round yeast dough treats with sweet fillings
Buchty- sweet yeast dough buns, eaten for breakfast, as a sweet snack with coffee
ACCOMMODATIONS IN PRAGUE
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The best way to get around Prague is on foot. Exploring this city on foot is a treat for the eyes, plus many of the most noteworthy attractions are within walking distance of one another.
Prague has one of the best public transportation systems in Europe. The metro, trams, and buses are used by two-thirds of Prague's population and cover the majority of the city and outskirts. The metro makes getting around town a breeze since it enables you to cover long distances in a matter of minutes. If you can't continue to your destination on foot, you'll be able to catch a tram or bus from near the subway station.
You can choose from several types of short-term tickets to travel around Prague (see below). Tickets are valid on any type of public transport, with unlimited transfers, for the duration of the time you choose. To mark the start of the validation period, you must punch the ticket in one of the validation machines that are located at the entrance of any metro station and on trams & buses.
Short-term tickets can also be used for traveling to and from the Prague airport on buses 119 and 100.
30-minute ticket- 24 CZK ($1.06)
90-minute ticket- 32 CZK ($1.42)
24-hour ticket- 110 CZK ($4.86)
72-hour ticket- 310 CZK ($13.71)
Short-term tickets are sold through yellow ticket vending machines, at ticket offices located at many metro stations, at Tabák/Trafika stores and newsstands, and in tourist information centers.
You can also buy short-term tickets with your mobile phone by sending the text message "DPT24" or "DPT32" or "DPT110" or "DPT310" to the number 902 06. Your ticket will usually be sent to your phone within one minute. You can only board a tram or bus and enter the paid subway zone after your ticket has been received into your phone. If you accidentally delete your valid ticket, you can get a copy for 3 CZK ($0.13) by sending the text message "DPTA" to no. 900 06 03.
When needing a quick ride, Use the Uber app for more affordable "taxis." Use my Invite Code: trishh452ue to receive a discount on your first 3 rides. If you are an existing customer, you can still receive the discount by creating an additional account.
For those who are not familiar with Uber, below is a detailed explanation on how the app works.
When a nearby driver accepts your request, the app displays an estimated time of arrival for the driver heading to your pickup location. The app will notify you when the driver is about to arrive.
Immediately after a trip ends, the app will prompt you to rate your driver from 1 to 5 Stars. Drivers who use the Uber app are also asked to rate riders. Uber's feedback system is designed to foster a community of respect and accountability for everyone.
Uber now includes the option to schedule a ride 5 minutes to 30 days in advance using the Scheduled Rides feature. Using this to schedule airport drop-off or pick-up is extremely helpful and creates a peace of mind.
HOW SCHEDULED RIDES WORK
The Scheduled Rides feature allows you to book a trip in advance by selecting a 10-minute pickup window. The driver will be requested on your behalf and will arrive in the 10-minute window you've selected. In the case where a driver is not available, you'll be notified.
HOW TO SCHEDULE
1. Tap the text "Schedule" or the button that says "Now" located just to the right of the "Where to?" bar
Select a date and a 10-minute window of time
2. Tap Set Pickup Time
3. The pickup location will automatically set to your current location. Tap "Current Location" to edit the pickup location. You'll have to move where the cursor is set.
4. Set your destination
5. Review your fare estimate and tap Schedule.
6. Be ready to leave at the beginning of the 10- minute pick up window you've specified.
BEST TIME OF YEAR TO VISIT PRAGUE
Spring is beautiful in Prague: The weather is mild and the summer tourists have yet to arrive. You'll find plenty of reasonably priced accommodations in or near the city center, but consider booking at least two weeks in advance. Weather-wise, you can expect temperatures to rest anywhere from the mid-40s to the mid-60s. However, although the days are growing longer and warmer, don't underestimate the power of wind chill; cooler breezes can make it feel as though it's in the 30s. Make sure to pack layers.
Prague Marathon | April
Prague Food Festival | May
Prague Proms | May
Prague International Music Festival | May-June
United Islands | May-June
Highs in the 70s and dry sunny weather make for a great sightseeing atmosphere. However, you're going to be fighting for space at the hotels, restaurants, cafes … pretty much everywhere. Thousands flock to Prague in summer seeking spectacular views at a low price (compared to the rest of Europe). If you're hoping for a no-hassle trip, now's not the time to visit: it is festival season, meaning you'll need to make reservations at least a month in advance.
Anniversary of Kafka's Death | June
Venetian Nights | July
Autumn is another desirable time to visit Prague. You can expect average highs to range anywhere between the mid-60s and the low 40s, so plan to pack warmer clothes. While autumn is not nearly as popular as summer, it's still a good idea to book two or three weeks in advance.
The city is practically free of tourists, meaning you won't encounter very many lines at top attractions, and hotel prices are as low as the temperatures. Average highs around this time rest in the mid-30s, although they often drop into the 20s. Keep in mind: December is one of Prague's busier months thanks to the Christmas Markets and celebrations.
Prague Christmas Market | November-December
Prague Winter Festival | January
International Festival of Wind Orchestras | February
Bohemian Carnevale | February
DRESS / ATTIRE
Locals tend to lean towards a smart casual style. Jeans and t-shirts are popular in warmer weather, with the majority of people wearing dark blue or black denim. When visiting churches, do bear in mind that you need to wear modest attire. Prague has a very lively street cafe culture – so carry a jacket or sweater to keep warm while outside.
In cooler weather, layer up! Consider packing sweaters and coats. Warm shoes or boots and a thick pair of socks come handy when exploring Prague on foot in the winter. Pack gloves and a scarf to keep warm.
One unexpected issue that many travelers discover once they arrive is the cobblestone streets. While cobblestone is beautiful to see, they aren’t always the easiest to walk on and can make for sore feet, even if you don’t normally have discomfort. These streets can be hilly, slippery when wet, and uneven.
You will be walking a fair amount to see the sights, so be sure to choose comfortable shoes. Consider waterproof leather boots for the colder months and simple, comfortable, canvas shoes for the warmer months.
My top choices for the most comfortable walking shoes are Birdies and Allbirds!
Birdies are classic shoes that offer the style of a designer flat and the luxurious comfort of a slipper. Birdies are perfect for every day and feel like you’re walking on clouds. Your feet will thank you.
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Allbirds are made from natural material and sheep's wool for breathability and comfortability. They provide a memory foam sole and are easy to wash, so no socks needed. ...no breaking in these new shoes! Another plus is they don't need time to break in! Styles are available for both women and men, and they provide a variety of colors to match any attire. Shop their selection HERE.
CULTURE | ETIQUETTE
Previously known as Czechoslovakia until the ‘Velvet Divorce’ with neighboring Slovakia, the country changed its name to the Czech Republic on 1.1.1993. Czech culture revolves around the family and this takes precedence over social life. Universities and colleges close their dormitories on weekends so students can return to their families rather than stay on campus. Particularly in small towns and villages, Czechs prize practical skills above ‘soft skills’ with trades passed down the generations. They have a strong work ethic and often feel the need to be doing something practical around the home. Many houses are known as ‘family houses’ and accommodate two or more generations of the same family.
Roles are clearly defined, with men typically taking on the traditional role of breadwinner and practical tasks, while women are expected to prioritize childcare over work. This is supported by the state with generous maternity benefits (up to four years of maternity leave per child). The downside to this is the struggle for equality in the workplace, which is reflected by a gender pay gap that lags at 6% behind other European countries.
The official language in the Czech Republic is Czech, which is spoken by 96% of the population. However, in Prague and larger cities, English is widely spoken.
The Czech language is special because sentences are not necessarily determined by words, but instead by inflection. Unfortunately, Czech is a highly complex western Slav tongue and can be quite difficult to learn. Many English speakers find it very difficult to pronounce. The good news is that, apart from a few special letters, each letter and syllable is pronounced as it’s written. The trick is to always stress the first syllable of a word, no matter what its length, otherwise you’ll render it unintelligible. If you are keen on learning some basic words and phrases, see below:
Useful Words and Phrases
Hello - Ahoj (a-hoy)
Good morning - Dobré ráno (dob-reh ra-noh)
Good evening - Dobrý večer (dob-ree ver-chair)
Good night - Dobrou noc (dob-roo nots)
Goodbye - Ahoj (a-hoy)
How are you? - Jak se máš? (yak se marsh)
I’m well, and you? - Jde to a ty? (yee-deh toh ah teh)
Good, thanks - Dobře, děkuji (dob-je geh-kweh)
Please - Prosím (proh-sim)
Thank you - Děkuji (geh-kweh)
You’re welcome - Nemáš zač (neh-my zatch)
Yes - Ano (a-no)
No - Ne (neh-my zach)
Excuse me - Promiňte (proh-min-ee-teh)
I’m sorry - Omlouvám se (om-loh-vaam seh)
I don’t understand - Nerozumím (neh-roh-zah-mim)
Do you speak English? - Mluvíš anglicky? (mloo-vish ang-gli-skee)
The bill, please - Účet, prosím (oo-chet proh-sim)
May I please have…? - Mohu prosím …? (mo-hoo proh-sim)
Where is bathroom? - Kde je toaleta? (kdeh yeh toh-ah-le-ta)
Water - Voda (vo-dah)
Beer - Pivo (peh-voh)
Wine - Víno (vee-noh)
Bus stop - Autobusová zastávka (au-toh-bu-so-vah zas-taf-kah)
Train station - Vlakové nádraží (vla-ko-veh na-dra-gee)
Airport - Letiště (leh-kish-keh)
Czechs tend to be reserved and can appear distant until they feel comfortable. Upon the first introduction, a firm handshake is expected from both men and women along with the appropriate greeting for the time of day. The question, ‘How are you?’ is frowned upon when making introductions, as it can be viewed as intrusive by the recipient. General small talk usually follows initial introductions.
A bottle of wine and/or flowers are deemed to be the ideal small gifts when visiting homes and are always appreciated. Visitors are also expected to remove their shoes when entering a home and often the host will provide ‘guest slippers’.
When a tram pulls up to the station, do not stand directly in front of the doors unless you want to get trampled when people are exiting. Wait until everyone exits, and then enter.
Knowing the seat system on trams will help to avoid conflict. Always sit in the middle of the tram, and if possible, the seat closest to the window. If you sit in the front of the tram, be prepared to get up and offer your seat to an elderly man or woman who boards at the next stop. If you don’t offer your seat, they will stand next to you and glare until you move.
As for the metro, it’s more low-key. Feel free to sit wherever you like. However, if all seats are full and an elderly person comes on board, it's polite to offer your seat.
Czechs enjoy their leisure time and tend to occupy restaurant tables for 1-2 hours during meals. The waiter or waitress will take your order, bring your food and maybe come around once during your meal to make sure everything is fine. Beyond that, they leave you to dine in peace until you ask for the check.
Waiters can identify if you are finished with a meal when utensils are placed parallel and vertically on the side of the plate. Crossing your utensils tells the waiter that you are still eating.
Since alcohol accompanies most meals, the custom for toasting is an important part of Czech culture. In addition to each person at the table saying Na zdraví, everyone is expected to clink glasses, as well as make direct eye contact as your glasses touch. Failure to give direct eye contact can come across as rude and disrespectful.
Before we discuss the details of tipping, lets look at the exchange rate to make the calculation more simplistic:
20 Czech CZK is 1 US Dollar
100 Czech CZK is 5 US Dollars
500 Czech CZK is 25 US Dollars
Tipping 10% in restaurants is the norm. For an average meal, it is best to round up to the nearest 20 CZK or 100 CZK. A meal for two with a couple of beers will cost around 270 CZK – give the waiter 300 CZK and he will not frown.
It is not customary to leave a pile of bills and coins on the table. When the waiter comes to collect payment, he will show you the bill and you will hand him the money including tip and say ‘dekuji’ (thank you).
If you do not have change- say the total including tip and he will bring you the change. For example, if your bill is 270 CZK and you give a 500 CZK bill and say 300 (the total including tip) – he will bring back 200 CZK in change.
In tourist zones, some restaurants attempt to remove confusion by automatically adding the tip to the bill. Usually, when you enter the restaurant, there is a sign stating the practice and the tip is written on the bill.