Home to Europe's dreamiest streets, Prague is also known as the city of one hundred spires; counting them all might drive you insane, so opt for a picture instead. Locals claim they’ve got the best-tasting beer in the world — and they’re right.
Nestled quietly inside the cultural battleground of central Europe, Prague was long overlooked as a tourist destination: too Western for the East and too Eastern for the West. Through perseverance, pride, and good old Bohemian spirit, the city opened up and became a playground of choice for stag parties, art enthusiasts, design lovers, and historians alike. Grab your comfy shoes and get ready to pound the cobblestones of this charming, castle-filled, fairyland with a Pilsner or two in hand.
(Photo Courtesy: iStock/narvikk)
Spring, between March and May, is by far one the best times to visit Prague. Although temperatures hover between the low-40s and mid-60s (~4-15C), the crowds are thinner than during summer, hotel rates are relatively low, and the cherry blossom bloom is in full effect. Zytophiles rejoice in the Czech Beer Festival, which takes place in May. Despite the thawing temperatures, wind chills are a factor to consider, so pack layers. June and August offer warmer temperatures (high-70s/~25C+) and pleasantly cool nights (~50F/10C), the biggest drawbacks of visiting Prague in the summer are the crowds, long lines, and high hotel rates. Make restaurant reservations in advance . Summer also happens to be the wettest months of the year, so packing an umbrella is a good idea if you intend to take the city by foot.
(Photo Courtesy: iStock/Ihor_Tailwind)
By autumn (September-October), brisk temperatures thin out the crowds. The leaves change and temperatures hover in the 60s (~15-20C), gradually dropping into the low-40s/high 30s (~2-6C). Hotel rates and airfare decrease, and a slate of celebrations and festivals swing in, including Saint Wenceslas Day on September 28th and the Bohemia JazzFest. Eastern European winters are frigid, so if you travel between November and February, be prepared. Expect temperatures to drop to the mid-30s and 20s (below-0-2C) and for snowy and icy conditions. Sightseeing may be harder, but the blanket of snow and fog coupled with the Gothic architecture make for a fairytale setting. Christmas markets in Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square attract many visitors in December, so expect crowds and higher hotel rates at this time.
If weather permits, Prague's picturesque streets and countless architecture feats are best appreciated by foot. It helps that many of the historic districts are compact, too. Biking and electric scooters are another option; Prague is flush with bike- and scooter-sharing programs including Freebike, Rekola, and Lime. Prices vary between companies but generally starts at 2 CZK per minute. Just know that Prague is hilly with many cobbled streets, which can be a test. remember to take breaks and pack a water bottle.
(Photo Courtesy: iStock/Elena Astapenko)
A comprehensive metro, tram, and bus system offers an easy and efficient way to get around the city. Three color-coded underground metro lines operate between 5am and midnight connecting many popular attractions across Prague. Tram lines service a majority of the city and operate between 4:30am and midnight. There are 25 daytime routes and 9 night routes, making it more accessible to ride than the metro. Lines 22 and 23 are considered the "tourist trams" because they shuffle visitors to some of the top attractions including the National Theatre and the Prague Castle. Buses are operated by a privately-owned system but accepts the same ticket/passes as metro and trams. Buses runs from 4:30am to midnight, before a limited night service begins. Due to traffic conditions, schedules fluctuate daily. You must flag both the tram and bus driver as they approach.
Although not typically used for commuting, there are 6 ferry lines (2 operate year-round) that run along the Vltava River and 1 funicular railway that scales Petřín Hill, which provides a scenic view of the city from the top. The funicular operates every 10 to 15 minutes from 9am to 11:30pm (and sometimes ends service at 10:20pm depending on the season). Ferries and the funicular are part of the public transportation system and accept the same tickets as metros, trams, and buses.
Single-journey, 30-minute tickets cost 24 CZK, while a 90-minute ticket costs 32CZK. If you plan to rely on the public transportation system during your visit, opt for 24- (110 CZK) or 72-hour ticket (310 CZK) instead. Discounts are available for children and senior citizens but children under 6 and seniors over 70 ride free. The time begins once the ticket has been stamped. Tickets are available for purchase at yellow machines inside metro stations, newspaper stores, or through text (with phones using a Czech SIM card). If purchasing tickets from a machine, keep coins on you as many machines don't accept bills. Purchasing tickets aboard trams requires contactless or debit cards or coins, and when purchased from the bus driver, tend to be more expensive.
(Photo Courtesy: iStock/Chalabala )
There are no barriers or turnstiles at many of the stations, don't forget to validate your ticket! Validation machines are located at the top of the escalator at metro stations, and stamping machines are located by the door of trams and buses. The public transit system is prone to rerouting and cancellations so check Journey Planner to ensure the best route.
Renting a car is not recommend due to the volume of people and limited and expensive parking spaces. Taxi drivers in Prague are known for swindling tourists so you're better off sticking to a ride-sharing app like Uber or Liftago or calling a trusted cab company directly. As always, Uber provides a fixed price depending on distance and demand. If you need to hail a cab off the street, agree on a price before getting in and make sure you're getting inside an official cab (yellow cars).
Koruna (Kč or CZK) are the official currency of the Czech Republic. Major credit cards are accepted almost everywhere but it's not a bad idea to keep some bills on hand for small transactions and for picking up the tab at the rare cash-only establishment. It's also a good idea to have small bills on hand for taxi trips in case your driver cannot make change with larger bills. If you plan on paying cash for public transport you will need to carry coins as the machines will not take bills.
(Photo Courtesy: iStock/PeteerS)
Much of the traditional Czech cuisine may appear unglamorous to visitors — heavy meats floating in thick stews, potatoes served with gravy or pork fat, and pork, cabbage, or knedlíky (dumplings) as a side dishes. After consuming a bowl of zelňačka (cabbage soup) and guláš (meat and onion stew), you'll probably start to feel as heavy as the stew itself. Prague's nascent food scene is an exciting and welcomed change. Whereas a few years ago you'd find canned foods concentrates as daily staples, today a diversified selection of newcomers are morphing the food landscape enough that the world has started to pay attention.
After the fall of Communism, Prague was the first Eastern bloc capital to earn a Michelin star (the restaurant Allegro inside the Four Seasons, which has since closed). You can still taste some of the most innovative fine dining available today, including Alcron inside the Raddison Blu Hotel. Critics swear this white tablecloth restaurant serves some of the best seafood in town, and its sense of tradition is so deep that menus given to women diners show no prices. You'll find meticulous plating bordering on the side of fine art at Field Restaurant, a minimal and fuss-free Michelin star winner. Visitors traveling on a budget can still relish in incredible dining like the tasting menu at Sansho, which has won a Michelin Bib Gourmand award. The former chef of Nobu London serves his pan-Asian creations at communal tables for an informal but delicious experience. Other Bib Gourmand winners include Na Kopci, where you'll dig into traditional French and Czech dishes in a space where every inch of the walls are covered in photographs; and the dishes at Eska (part of Ambiente Restaurant Group) see a modern makeover with traditional techniques like fermentation and fire-roasting inside a converted fabric factory. If you're still craving more traditional meals, you will find it just outside the city at Retaurace Kastrol, where wild game and rustic seasonal vegetable dishes dominates the menu.
The culinary tide has turned so dramatically that Prague is not short of international influences. Inexpensive Vietnamese spots like Tràng An and Cà phê are bringing alternative soups to the masses on those cold, winter days. And at Sia Restaurant, plucked Peking ducks hanging in a window signal that you'll find incredible Chinese cooking inside. Meat lovers can dig into, yes, more meat at Gran Fierro, an Argentine steakhouse with tapas and great wine selection, or go for Belgian mussels and fries (with mayonnaise, of course) at Bruxx. The Manifesto Market is also a good bet for those hankering for even more international flavors — from pizza and poke to salad bowls and dosas. Vegetarians and vegans, rest easy. In today's Prague, spots like Herbivore are making sure you're getting more than just a slice of tomato...with a side of meat stew.
(Photo Courtesy: iStock/49pauly)
The cafe culture in Prague is important — not only are cafes extremely beautiful (sometimes itty bitty tiny) and seamlessly built into the picturesque landscape, but their coffee is taken seriously. There's no right answer when it comes to scoring a good cup of coffee in Prague — just know that each cafe serves a banging cup and does it well. Some favorites though include Bitcoin Coffee, a Bitcoin-only coffee shop beloved by the local hackers; Můj šálek kávy or Misto, where you can taste blends from local roaster Doubleshot; or keep things simple at Super Tramp Coffee, where you can take you cuppa in the courtyard of a neo-Renaissance building.
Whatever you do though, don't leave without trying the Czech trdelník, a spit cake (rolled dough on a stick that is grilled and later topped with sugar and walnut mix).
(Photo Courtesy: iStock/blowbackphoto)
If meat is the most important staple of Czech cuisine, beer would be the second most important. Beer brewing is an important practice in Prague that dates back to 993AC, where monks at the Benedictine monastery Břevnov continue to carry out the tradition today. The Czechs drinks more beer per capita than any other nation in the world, beating neighboring Germany, Ireland, and Belgium. They love it so much that beer spas exist across the city. But it is pilsner that is the star of show here — as it should be, seeing as the beer was invented in Prague.
At traditional restaurants across the city, waiters will serve you a glass of beer the minute you sit, whether you ordered it or not, and it's oftentimes cheaper than water, with an average cost of 35 CZK (or around $1.50) for a pint. Unlike other countries, the ABV is not indicated on the labels or menus but are instead written out in degrees. The number sits usually between 8-13 degrees and refers to the sugar content in the beer before the fermentation process. Roughly, 8 degrees is about 3.5 percent alcohol and 13 degrees is about 5.7 percent. Zythophile's will be happy to know that in Prague, you can customize your foam head, as per tradition. You can order it sweet (mlíko), a beer with almost entirely foam, a crème urquell (hladinka), one quarter foam, or neat (čochtan), no foam. Sample favorites at Pauwel Kwak Bierhuis, Illegal Beer, or Kbelský pivovar, which sits along an ancient beer pilgrimage route.
(Photo Courtesy: iStock/RossHelen)
(Photo Courtesy: iStock/alxpin)
(Photo Courtesy: iStock/anouchka)
Before the Iron Curtain fell, Prague's shops were stocked with whatever was allowed by the ruling Communist government (aka, nothing that turned heads). And while it does not have the visibility of Paris or New York, todays Prague is heavy on minimalist goods with enviably well-placed accents, making this a secret taste-maker's paradise. You will find everything from couture streetwear to locally crafted home goods and gifts, and cozy bookshops. In Old Town, a walk down Parizka Street is like a walk down New York's 5th Avenue: here is where you'll score all your Louis Vuitton and Prada needs. If your wallet can't stretch this far, stop by Manufaktura, a gift shop featuring everything from spa products and cosmetics to funky Moravian folk art. At the Prague-themed concept shop, Praguetique, you'll find minimalist locally designed souvenirs and objects worthy of bringing home. And at botanicus - Ungelt, dive into the plant-based skin care and fragrance products at hand. The shop has a garden in a nearby village that grows all the ingredients used in the products, guaranteeing only the freshest soaps, body creams and perfumes. Kurator is a must for fashionistas seeking Czech designs and unique jewelry. In New Town, roam around Pasáž Lucerna, an underground Art Nouveau shopping arcade featuring eclectic independent shopping, dining and entertainment options; sartorialists head to THE ROOM BY Basmatee for streetwear brands such as Ucon, Wemoto, and Ontour, or the Queens Flagship Store for high-end sneakers and denim. The meticulously curated travel, art, and cooking books at Book Therapy (Vinohrady) are neatly displayed on uncluttered shelves and tables, making the simple act of browsing a joy.
(Photo Courtesy: iStock/Dietmar Rauscher)
Music and art have been an integral component to the history of Prague. Composers Smetana, Dvořák, and Mozart each worked in and have museums dedicated to them in the city and giant art installations from Czech sculptor David Černý are peppered across the city, most notably the "babies" crawling up the TV Tower in Žižkov and through Kampa Park. Head to Exhibition Palace (Holešovice), where since 1928 the National Gallery has been housed. The collection of historic buildings showcase great modern works from the likes of Klimt, Picasso and Van Gogh, but also host exhibitions of European art spanning the 19th century to modern day. In Old Town, the DSC Gallery has rotating and solo exhibitions by emerging contemporary artists in a modern, sleek space. You don't know their names yet but you will. Just across the river in Lesser Town is Museum Kampa, a dynamic space for colorful works of modern European art specifically from artists of Eastern-bloc nations during the turbulent 20th century.
(Photo Courtesy: iStock/Eloi_Omella)
Prague is packed with elegantly manicured, old parks. A walk through these historical green spaces is a walk through time — and a perfect escape from the bustle of the city. Visit Petřín, the large hillside park in Lesser Town that dates back to the 12th century. The park consists of Nebozízek Garden (once extensive vineyards in the 14th century), a Mirror Maze labyrinth housed inside what appears to be a mini castle, and the Seminary Garden, a former vineyard and orchard, home to 2,100 fruit trees. At the top of the hill you'll find a Rose Garden, which boasts 12,000 roses from a range of varietals, and Petřín Tower, a close approximation of the Eiffel Tower whose observation deck offers stunning views of the city. The funicular services guests unable to make the trek up the strenuous hill.
The English landscaped Havlíčkovy Gardens, is a meticulously well-preserved oasis in the up-and-coming neighborhood of Vršovice. Inside you'll find fountains, water cascades, pavilions, lakes, statues, and a grotto fit for an Italian square. Letná Park on Letná hill is another popular and sprawling green space in the city. The park's elevation and location along the Vltava River provides commanding views of Old Town. That, coupled with colonnades, sculptures, and peaceful trails make an ideal setting for a romantic walk in the park.
Don't underestimate Prague's nightlife. Given the decades long Communist regime, the locals have earned their right to party. The cocktail scene is world-class and you'll find creative mixologists across the city concocting innovative drinks. But you can't go wrong with Old Town favorites like AnonymouS Bar (where masked bartenders turn mixing and shaking into a good show) Hemingway Bar (for the absinthe collection and the 200+ rums at hand) and Public Interest (a prime first date spot with a great playlist inside a old-meets-new space).
At Groove Bar (New Town), you'll have the option to stay on the ground level or head underground for a night of expertly mixed cocktails and a DJ line up that'll have you living up to the bar's name. Keep dancing your way to BER.LIN BAR in Vinohrady. Romantic lighting and a spacious terrace are the perfect set up for cocktails, DJ parties, and karaoke (don't leave without trying the signature mango-vodka cocktail). Charming water views aptly complement the music at Jazz Dock, a modern jazz bar and nightclub with floor-to-ceiling windows and nightly blues and jazz fusion. The 30-foot-long bar means you won't be without a drink in hand for long. And when weather permits, stop by Kasárna Karlín (Karlín), an abandoned military barracks turned cultural center that hosts outdoor film screenings and dance, theater, and music performances. Nurse a beer or a coffee from the converted garage a few steps away.
(Photo Courtesy: iStock/Nikada)
Prague is practically an outdoor museum, with mesmerizing Baroque, Gothic, and Renaissance marvels on every corner. A walk through Old Town alone is enough to fill up your day. The historic Charles Bridge attracts thousands of visitors daily — making it hard to snap a photo without crowds in the background. But if you're in town during the summer solstice, stand at the base of the Old Town Bridge Tower at sunset for a memorable light show: As the sun passes the tower it illuminates the room where the Czech crown jewels are stored before it sets above the tomb of St. Wenceslas. Finally the sun reappears through the apse of the St. Vitus Cathedral before setting a second time. It is a truly spectacular marriage of the wonders of man and nature.
One of the city's most impressive sights is Prague Castle, located just behind the bridge. The castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Guinness World Record holder for the largest castle in the world. Just south of the Prague castle sits Vyšehrad, a historic fort form the Middle Ages that provides visitors with tours of the underground tunnels and a cemetery where famed composter Antonín Dvořák and artist Alphonse Mucha are buried.
Not all the buildings in Prague date back centuries though. Urban renewal projects like VNITROBLOCK (Holešovice) sees a repurposed factory space featuring a coffee shop, designer clothing stores, and an underground mini-cinema. Galerie Jaroslava Fragnera, is a modern architecture gallery housed in a 1950s-era dormitory. Visit to catch exhibits by Czech architects and teams, alongside international talent. The Dancing House in New Town, is world-famous. The swirling glass wonder was designed by architects Frank Gehry and Vlado Milunić. It is nicknamed Fred and Ginger (for American dancing duo Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers) and became a controversial architectural feat due to the stark contrast to the Gothic and Baroque buildings across the city.
(Photo Courtesy: iStock/benedek)
A stay at the Nicholas Hotel Residence (Old Town) right on the Charles Bridge promises a romantic and intimate European getaway. Guests of the hotel can grab dinner at nearby Kuchyň located inside the Prague Castle. Here, dishes are inspired by historical recipes are served from a kitchen that invites diners to interact with the chef and ask questions. Beneath Prague castle sits Golden Lane, a construction of houses that served as modest quarter for soldiers and workers within the castle walls. The colorful homes eventually came to be occupied by a community of goldsmiths (hence the name), and for a period of time, author Franz Kafka. Today it stands as a museum to the history of the city, with many interiors preserved in states as they might have been during Medieval, Renaissance, and the early 20th century.
Attend a concert at the Rudolfinum concert hall if you have a chance. The Neo-Renaissance building has stood on the banks of the Vltava River since 1885 and is home to the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, a gallery, and a cafe. Or head to Lesser Town and get lost the Shakespeare a synové bookstore, which houses stacks of used volumes in a well worn, multi-story space, perfect for perusing on a rainy day.
(Photo Courtesy: iStock/GrLb71)
In the northern neighborhood of Troja you will find the Prague Zoo. Voted the 5th best in the world, the zoo is home to some 5,000 animals from over 600 species. Among the unique entertainments offered are night tours and the A Keeper For A Day experiential program, where visitors can help care for the animals for the day. The zoo is also home to a successful conservational breeding program.
If you're having trouble getting your kid's eyes off their screens, try incremental steps: Prague's Old Town is home to an Apple Museum. Boasting the largest private collection of the tech company's product from its 50 year history, you're sure to find some intergenerational common ground. And all of the profits are donated to charity. For something a little more analog try the Illusion Art Museum. This interactive optical illusion and trick art-focused museum will really have you thinking different.
After a good day head to New Town and spoil your kids at Cacao Prague. The sidewalk cafe encourages families to come in and indulge in their ice cream, which is regularly voted the best in the city. They also have healthy treats available made from all natural ingredients. Looking for an extra treat for the kiddos? Hugo goes barefoot is a bright children's toy and puzzle shop filled with wooden-pull-along, picture books, and creative decorations.
Can't get enough? - Explore the map
Bienvenidos a Miami, the playground of spring breakers, art collectors, club rats, and celebrities alike.
When the sun sets on the British empire, you can expect a jolly good time. Look right when crossing the streets though.