Presentation of the destination
Prague, known in Czech as Praha, is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. It is the fourteenth largest city in the European Union, with an urban area that is home to approximately 2 million people. It has been an important political, cultural and economic center of central Europe over the centuries. At one time it was the capital of the Holy Roman Empire, and was also an important city of the Austro-Hungarian Empmire and the Habsburg Monarchy.Located on the Vltava River, Prague is filled with cultural attractions like museums, theatres and galleries that help to make it one of the most popular cities in Europe and the world for tourists. Its historic city center has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1992. The city is also filled with buildings that provide wonderful examples of some of the most influential architectural periods throughout history, including Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture.
Points of interests / things to see
Prague Castle is the official residence and office of the President of the Czech Republic. It is the largest ancient castle in the world, at almost 70,000 m2 in size. The Prague Castle complex is the site of numerous interesting historical places to visit. Religious sites include a monastery, St. Vitus Cathedral and St. George’s Basilica. The basilica is the oldest surviving church building on the site, and dates back to the year 920. There are also palaces, gardens, defense towers, and several museums that you can explore as you walk around the castle. Part of the National Gallery art collection is held at the site, as well as an exhibition on Czech history, a toy museum, and a picture gallery. In the summer, visitors come from afar to enjoy the yearly Shakespeare Festival. The changing of the guard is also a popular attraction for visitors. Every hour on the hour from 7:00 until 18:00 in the winter and 20:00 in the summer, the guard changes at the castle gates. Those looking for a bit more excitement should head to the first courtyard at 12:00 for a larger guard changing ceremony that includes a flag ceremony and a fanfare.Website: http://www.hrad.cz/en/prazsky_hrad/navsteva_hradu.shtmlHours: Daily, 5:00 - 24:00 April 1 through October 31, 6:00 - 23:00 November 1 through March 31
While at the Prague Castle complex, it’s a must to visit the St. Vitus Cathedral. This Roman Cathedral’s full name is St. Vitus, St. Wenceslas and St. Adalbert Cathedral, and is the largest and most important church in the Czech Republic. It is a wonderful example of Gothic architecture with its tall pillars and flying buttresses. The cathedral was founded in 1344 and was used by Charles IV as a coronation church, family crypt, and treasury. It holds the tombs of several important historical figures including Holy Roman Emperors and Bohemian kings. Located inside the cathedral is St. Wenceslas Chapel, which holds relics of the saint surrounded by walls covered in paintings and semi-precious stones. The chapel is not open to the public, but you can usually peek through the doorway to catch a glimpse of its splendor. A small door within the chapel also provides entrance to the Crown Chamber, where the Bohemian Crown Jewels are kept, though they are only shown to the public once every several years. The jewels include the Crown of Saint Wenceslas that was made for the coronation of Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, as well as coronation vestments, a royal orb, and a sceptre.
The Charles Bridge began to be built across the Vltava River in Prague in 1357 by the order of King Charles IV and was finished in the early 1400s. According to local legends, Charles laid the first stone of what became the most famous bridge in the city. It was originally called the Stone Bridge or Prague Bridge, but has been known as the Charles Bridge since the late 1800s. The bridge was used to create an important link between Old Town and Prague Castle which helped to make Prague into the important European trade center it is today, and was the only way to cross the river until 1841. It is 621 m long with 16 arches. It was built with three protective towers, including Old Town bridge tower, famous for its gothic architectural features. While the bridge was once used by vehicles and trams, it has become a pedestrian bridge only in recent decades. As you stroll across the bridge, be sure to take note of the many Baroque statues. The statues were all added to the bridge in the late 17th and early 18th centuries and primarily depict saints that were popular at the time. However, in order to protect them, they have since been replaced with replicas, while the original statues can be seen on display at the National Museum.
The National Gallery in Prague contains the largest art collection in all of the Czech Republic and is divided amongst various historic buildings across Prague. There is sure to be a collection that interests everyone due to the diverse array of art, from Czech and Slovak paintings and sculptures to one of the most important collections of Czech Cubism in the area. There are many pieces from regional artists including Otto Gutfreund and Rudolf Fila. The international collection also features well-known artists such as Monet, Van Gogh, Rodin, Gauguin, Renoir, Munch, and Klimt, with an entire room dedicated to Picasso. One of the most famous works in the collection is “Slav Epic”, composed of 20 large canvases painted by Alfonse Mucha. Older art from Europe and Bohemia can be found in the collections at the Convent of St. Agnes, Šternberk Palace, and Schwarzenberg Palace. Modern and contemporary art including Mucha’s “Slav Epic” is located at Veletržní Palác and House of the Black Madonna, while oriental art is on display at the Kinský Palace. Art lovers willing to travel outside of Prague can also explore several other collections located nearby.Website: http://www.ngprague.cz/en/Hours: vary depending on location, but generally from 10:00 to 18:00
Petřín is a hill on the banks of the Vltava River located in the center of Prague. It is the site of many popular city parks as well as plenty of other attractions to explore during your visit. Children will love riding the Petřín funicular, a funicular railway with three stops along the hill that opened in 1891. At the top, a favorite attraction is the Petřín lookout tower, a 63.5 m high steel tower built in 1891 which resembles the Eiffel Tower of Paris, but is much shorter. It was once used as an observation and transmission tower, but now it primarily serves as a tourist attraction. Souvenirs are available in the gift shop, and there is also an exhibition area on the tower’s lower level that often provides interesting exhibits.Other popular sites on the hill include the Strahov Monastery as well as Great Strahov Stadium, once the world’s largest sports stadium but now generally used for pop music concerts. If you’re interested in astronomy or the natural sciences, stop by Štefánik's Observatory, named after Slovak astronomer Milan Rastislav Štefánik. When you need a rest, stop by Café Lounge, a popular café and restaurant where you can see part of the Hunger Wall, a medieval defense wall from the 1360s that was used to protect Prague.Website: http://www.cafe-lounge.cz/en/ (Café Lounge)
Overlooking the Vltava River that flows through Prague is Vyšehrad, a historical fort constructed around the 10th century. According to legend, it may have been the site of the first settlement in what is now Prague. The fortress was renovated in the 17th century and was later used as an Austrian Army training center. Nowadays, it is primarily used as a public park and a place for celebrations, especially for New Year’s. Vyšehrad is also the site of a cemetery where many famous Czech people have been buried, including composer Antonín Dvořák and Art Nouveau painter Alphonse Mucha. The Rotunda of St. Martin, the oldest surviving building in Prague dating back to the 11th century, is also located at the fort.
Kampa is the name of the beautiful island on the Vltava River within the city of Prague. The Charles Bridge crosses its northern tip, while the eastern bank is home to Museum Kampa, a modern art gallery filled with Czech and central European artwork from a private collection. The museum is located inside the historic Sova’s Mills building, and opened in 2003. You’ll know you’ve arrived at the museum when you see the large chair sculpture by artist Magdalena Jetelova which sits outside. The island also features the Lennon Wall, which has been covered in graffiti inspired by Beatles member John Lennon since the 1980s.Website: http://www.museumkampa.cz/new/en/
Encompassing over 100 acres of land, the Prague Zoo opened in 1931 and is home to over 4,000 animals that come from several hundred different species. The zoo is a great attraction for both kids and adults, with areas such as an Indonesian jungle, lemur island, and a children’s zoo to explore. Animals include Przewalski’s horse, an endangered wild horse that the zoo has helped to save with its breeding program, plus other favorites like polar bears, honey badgers, gorillas, aardvarks, giraffes and komodo dragons.Website: http://www.zoopraha.cz/en/Hours: open daily from 9:00 until 16:00 (Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb), 17:00 (Mar), 18:00 (Apr, May, Sep, Oct), 19:00 (Jun, Jul, Aug)
Take a few hours one afternoon to hang out in Wenceslas Square, one of the main city squares located in the New Town area. It is named after St. Wenceslas, the patron saint of Bohemia. Once used as a location for horse markets, it has been an important site of historical events, demonstrations and celebrations for years. At one end of the square you can see the Czech National Museum. The rest of the square is surrounded by hotels, stores, restaurants and plenty of other beautiful buildings of historic and architectural significance. In the square itself, be sure to look for the famous statue of St. Wenceslas.
Vacation rentals in Prague (Prague)
How to get there ?
By air: Those flying to the Czech Republic should head to Prague Václav Havel Airport (PRG), the city’s three-terminal international airport which is located 10 km west of the city center. If you have some time to spend in the airport or are interested in aviation, be sure to stop by the Prague Aviation Museum which is located there.Website: http://www.prg.aero/en/Once you’ve arrived at the airport, there are various ways to reach the city center. Buses are generally the cheapest option, and can be found at the public transport kiosks located in the arrivals halls. It is also possible to reach the city by shuttle or taxi.By train: Prague is the main hub of Czech railways, and connects to locations all over the Czech Republic and major European cities, including Munich, Berlin, Vienna, Warsaw, Budapest, Copenhagen, Moscow, and Amsterdam, which can all be reached by train without transfer. The main railway station in the city is Praha hlavní nádraží.By car: Prague is well-connected to the rest of Europe by various motorways.Getting aroundPrague is extremely easy to get around due to its extensive public transportation system. This includes 57 metro stations, a tram system, buses, the Petřín funicular and six ferries. Website: http://www.dpp.cz/en/ (Prague Metro)
Prague city hall
Hotels in Prague (Prague)