Prague Guide: A Plethera of Pleasures in Prague, CZ

Immersed in a rich history and culture, the Golden City is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. It is hailed as the Mother of Cities, the City of a Hundred Spires, and is home to a myriad of famous attractions that somehow survived the turmoil of scathing civil and world wars. Welcome to Prague, heart of Bohemia and one of the most vibrant cultural centers of Europe.

Landmarks and Attractions in Prague

Prague straddles the Vltava River, which you can cross via the Charles Bridge, a stone masterpiece topped with majestic statues and gargoyles to greet you (and offering breathtaking views). Follow the winding cobblestoned streets everywhere, from the countless old museums and churches to cutting-edge new art centers like DOX. Explore the shadows of cobblestoned Old Town Square, a place of palaces, rallies, executions, markets, and—today—performances, and try to decipher the zodiac-imprinted 15th-century clock face of the Astronomical Clock. Pay you respects in the nearby Josefov, the old Jewish Quarter, and its neighboring haunting concentration camp.

Slip into a fairytale and take a tour of the amazing Prague Castle (museums and cathedrals included). Scale Petrin Tower for panoramic photographs. Don’t miss the Libraries of Strahov Monastery; what with elaborate ceiling frescoes above carved walnut cases and millions of books, little wonder they’re called Europe’s loveliest.

Family Fun and Nightlife in Prague

Visit the Stromovka Park, the Zoo, and Troja Chateau. Children will love Petrin Park, an idyllic oasis offering a funfair, maze, gardens, and charming restaurants. For all you brave souls, partake in the summer KI Bungee Jump over the Vltava valley. Marionette lovers will delight in the puppet shows at the Divadlo Minor or the Formans’ Mystery Boat Theatre (yes, it’s a boat; no, you won’t forget this one). Don’t miss a nighttime Vltava River Cruise, enjoying spectacular views while partaking in gourmet candlelit meals. And don’t forget Prague’s unique beerhalls, including U Medvidku or U Vejvodu.

Enjoy symphonic, dance, and theater performances at Prague’s plethora of exquisite theaters at very reasonable prices. Admire the ballet in the beautiful National Theater (the Christmastime Nutcracker is their best). See a Don Giovanni Matinee Opera at the Estates Theater or visit the Statni Opera, and be sure to catch an art exhibition or classical concert at the glorious baroque-styled Rudolfinum.

Off the Beaten Path in Prague

Take a bike tour—or “folkdance” tour—of Prague. Visit the Faust House for some of Prague’s mysterious history, the Czech Police Museum, or—for even more mystery and secrets—Praga Mystica. Check out incredible hand-cut royal collections at Bohemia Crystal. Admire the “Dancing Building,” a magnum opus of modern design with its optical illusion of movement. And for a more natural retreat, discover the historical Renaissance-era Hvezda (Star) Hunting Lodge, located in a lush wooded park in White Mountain. If it’s along your way, for a brief (even more) intense blast to the past, pause at the small square Maltezske Namesti to admire the baroque houses and get a flavor of the old city. Or pass over the touristy destinations and kick back at the hip art bar Cross Club for a wickedly artsy fun time.

Shopping and Restaurants in Prague

For a taste of authentic contemporary Czech Republic life, visit Wenceslas Square, Prague’s commercial and social focus and home to a lively café culture. It’s flanked by museums and department stores, and is the site for many festivals and happenings (especially in the summer). Hunt for the best souvenirs at the numerous street markets, craft workshops, and antique dealers, offering everything from Bohemian crystal to hand-stitched tapestries to marionette puppets.

Dine out at the unforgettable Terrace at the Golden Well, tucked below the Castle and offering a panoramic view. Or have a scenic dinner riverside at restaurants like Hergetova Cihelna, and lunch at a rooftop restaurant like La Rotunde at the Radisson SAS Hotel. Enjoy world-class cuisine at the Tuscan-meets-Czech restaurant Allegro, and the seafood-rich Alcron or Kampa Park. Finally, don’t leave Prague without sampling traditional favorites like cinnamon trdlo pastries, roast pork on open-air spits, and the renown beer and mulled wine. Yes, Czechs regard their locally brewed beer as a national treasure… so treasure it accordingly!

Photos provided by: Jim Linwood and Kruhme

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