Prague Travel Guide
There are few cities in Europe as downright beautiful as Prague, but its famous old-world looks are just one element of its layered appeal.
The bridges, spires and hilltop castles of the Czech capital can combine to heart-melting effect, particularly if you find a few tourist-free metres to yourself. Yet today’s Prague has become almost as renowned for its art scene, its dining and its live entertainment as for its architecture.
It goes without saying that the city’s charms are no longer a secret. There was a time when Prague’s impeccably preserved Old City seemed to emerge onto travellers’ maps out of nowhere; its medieval lanes and squares untouched by extensive wartime bombing.
These days it’s become a key stop-off on the continental tour, but despite the summer throng it remains a very special place. If you’re canny enough to visit over winter, when its snow-crusted roofs and icicle-laden churches add to the atmosphere, you’ll find far fewer visitors.
The city’s past makes for a labyrinthine tale of both high living and hard fortune, and its dramatic history informs much of its character. It’s lived through royal upheavals and renaissance movements, and spent time under Nazi occupation and Soviet control. For heritage buffs, there’s a huge amount to delve into.
Classic sights include the statue-studded Charles Bridge and the immense Prague Castle, but the city has always been about more than beer and a bridge. It affords exciting opportunities beyond its UNESCO-listed historic centre, with a burgeoning array of luxury hotels and contemporary dining, shopping and entertainment.
There are superb galleries, sobering museums and speaker-shaking nightclubs. Food, drink and nights out are all taken seriously here, so those in search of meaningful nightlife will find far more to enjoy than the stag-do clichés.
The Czech capital is a city you can fall in love with. It’s somewhere to drink world-class beer and sink into a blend of architecture that ranges from Gothic to cubism. It’s a place to enjoy bold, humorous works of art before taking a walk in a riverside park. Prague is somewhere to enjoy at length.