Like most European cities, Prague’s major assets are it’s architecture, atmosphere, and art. Within the border’s of this historic city (and beyond) you’ll find everything from castles and bridges to towers and squares. The architecture in the Czech Republic capital is stunning mix of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, rococo, art nouveau, cubist, and modern styles. The Bohemian city of Prague (Praha) also houses a collection of some of the most spectacular museums and galleries as well as outstanding restaurants, luxury hotels, and a nightlife scene where the absynthe flows from dusk till’ dawn.
While the atmosphere in the city of Prague is lively and bustling during most times of the year, a closer look will reveal that most of the people parading around the streets and squares are tourists – especially during the summer months. Only a tiny percentage of Praguers actually live in the city center. Most live in the areas that surround the city or the dozen or so districts that comprise the Prague metropolitan area. In fact, during the summer months, tourists outnumber locals two to one in the majority of the main areas in the city. If you want to avoid the tourist crowds, visit Prague January to March or October to December. Sure, the skirts tend to be shorter and the beer gardens are packed to capacity during the summer months, but much of the city’s character is lost due to the massive (and in many cases, obnoxious) tourist crowds.
Believe it or not, the fall and winter months are nothing short of magical in Prague. Yes, Prague’s weather is cold during this time, but the locals dominate which makes for an authentic and vibrant atmosphere. The nights are also longer, which means the city’s amazing architecture sparkles against the moonlit sky for hours and hours on end. Keep in mind that nighttime is the best time to catch a glimpse of major attractions such as Prague Castle or The Church of Our Lady Before Tyn, which seem to illuminate from all angles.
The fall and winter months are also the best times to roam around Old Town Square – one of the best places to hang during the Christmas season. Here you will find a gigantic, glowing Christmas tree, a busy ice-skating rink, a petting zoo, interesting markets, and kiosks selling some of the most unique gifts the city ahs to offer. Also bustling during this time are the city’s many sidewalks and storefronts in preparation for the holidays. The energy is definitely off the charts in the off-season – so consider skipping summer in Prague and bundle up for a fantastic fall/winter vacation. FYI: October is also the nation’s birthday, so add this to the upcoming Christmas season, and you are in for a huge treat – minus the tourists!
During the summer months or high season in Prague, there are some benefits as well. Besides the city’s famous beer gardens (Czech beer rules), which are a must-see during your visit, summers in Prague are nothing short of gorgeous. This is one of the best times to enjoy the city’s many parks, the world famous Charles Bridge (a magnet for artists and musicians), and it’s easier to make your way around to Prague’s numerous historical sights.
While the Prague summer heat has been described as “sweltering” and the air “smoggy” during this time, that doesn’t stop the hoards of tourists from filling the streets and squares from sun up until sun down. So no worries -- you will still find a festive atmosphere, short skirts, and friendly folks all around. They may be tourists – but they are all there to have fun! This means, the restaurants, pubs, and clubs are hopping just about any night of the week – so you will have no trouble meeting members of the opposite sex.
Besides summertime mini-skirts, some of Prague’s most popular attractions include:
- Saint Vitus Cathedral (located inside Prague Castle)
- Prague Astronomical Clock
- Wenceslas Square
- Municipal House
- Fred and Ginger Building (The Dancing Building by Frank Gehry and Vladimir Mulunic)
- St. Nicholas Church
- Bertramka Mozart Museum
- Museum of Communism
- Golden Lane
- National Theater
- Vysehrad Castle & Park
This list represents some of the top attractions in Prague, but there are literally hundreds more. Before reading through the information below, just a few words about safety in Prague. While Wenceslas Square is a popular attraction, it is also a main area for prostitution and loitering. Pickpockets that target tourists are common here as well as in other major attractions such as Charles Bridge, Old Town Square, and in front of the main train station. It’s best to use common sense at all times, be aware of your surroundings, try not to flash cash & jewelry, and be especially careful on crowded buses, trams, and trains. That being said, you will feel safer in Prague than you will in many Western cities.
To help map out a daily itinerary, there are several sources available listing lots of popular things to do around Prague. If you want to leave the tourists behind, you can also find out about what the locals are up to as well so you can just drop in and blend in.
Prague Web Guide
City of Prague Tourism
The City of Prague website features a section for tourists called “Prague Information Service.” Here, you can find out about everything Prague has to offer including nightlife, restaurants, accommodations, transportation, museums and monuments, and much more! You can also find out about ways to save on admission prices across the city, and view photos of various sites and attractions.
The Prague Post is Prague’s news and entertainment source featuring reviews, hotel guides, dining guides, tourist information, and more. You can find the Prague Post just about anywhere in the city.
This is a great website offering tons of information about attractions, restaurants, nightlife, art and culture, recreation, shopping, casino, news, and just about everything else that’s happening in and around Prague. You can also check out weather reports, maps, and transportation, as well as book hotel reservations, flights, hire a car, and more.
Find out about the best places to dine, sleep, party, and explore. This online travel guide also features information about opera in Prague, sightseeing trips, deals on hotels and apartments, and a section dedicated to stag weekends.
Excellent place to find out about events and tours around Prague as well as information on dining, shopping, hotels, recreation, attractions, and nightlife.
Fodors.com features summaries of places to shop, see, dine, and sleep in and around Prague. If you want a quick list of the top spots in Prague, you’ll find it here.
Frommers.com features summaries of places to shop, see, dine, and sleep in and around Prague. If you want a quick list of the top spots in Prague, you’ll find it here.
Lonely Planet features background information and fast facts about Prague, as well as places to see, an image gallery, and travel tips.
Read reviews from people just like you that have been to the places you want to go. Expect to find raw reviews (and opinions) on just about everything from restaurants and nightlife to hotels, shopping, and sightseeing.
This is an excellent resource for international travel information. You can find the best deals on Prague hotels, airfare, car rentals, and more. You can also find information about Prague weather, currency, passport information, etc.
The Better Half
Since its split from Slovakia, Forbes explains that the Czech Republic is a picture-book country with growth opportunities.