Prague is the Czech Republic’s capital and largest city and a major tourist destination in Europe.
Spanning the banks of the Vltava River, it is undoubtedly the Czech Republic’s tourist honeypot and there’s no wonder when you experience Prague’s fairytale architecture, stone bridges, up market shops interspersed with folk musicians on cobbled lanes and lively pubs.
What to see
Start at Staré Město (Old Town) with historical churches and monuments such as the Old Town Hall and Astronomical Clock. From there, head to the Wenceslas Square in the Nové Město (New Town) where you can visit the National Museum and see the famous statue of St Wenceslas then have a break with shopping and restaurants.
Cross the beautiful Charles Bridge that connects the Old Town to Malá Strana (Lesser Town) and listen to street buskers as you walk past statues of saints.
The 9th century Prague Castle is the city’s main sight and you can’t miss the spires towering high above the Hradčany district. The castle complex is huge so spare at least half a day for sightseeing at the castle and surrounds including the Gothic St Vitus Cathedral and quaint Golden Lane.
What to do
Grab some picnic supplies and escape the hustle and bustle of the city at Vyšehrad Park where you can find a quiet spot in the landscaped grounds, or admire river views from the Vyšehrad Castle walls. Pop into the lovely St Peter & Paul Church, and then head to the cemetery adjacent to the church where many of Prague’s notable artists, musicians and writers lie buried.
Take in a concert in the Mirror Chapel at the Klementinum in the Old Town. Mozart once played the organ here and you can tour this 13th century building prior to the concert.
Prague is famous for a busy and vibrant nightlife with options ranging from jazz bars to traditional hospodas (pubs). Seek out some slivovitz (plum brandy) at a trendy bar, or if you’re feeling particularly thirsty line up a 10-beer tasting paddle or try plzeňský prazdroj (a pale lager) at the popular Prague Beer Museum (Dlouha 46, Prague 1).
Nearby things to see and do
Many visitors to Prague never leave the central zones of Staré Město (Old Town), Nové Město (New Town) and Malá Strana (Lesser Town) because there is so much to see. However, there are great places to discover outside of Prague city and having a private car is essential when you want to explore further.
Kutná Hora is located 70 kilometers east of Prague and is an interesting town where you can learn about the former silver mining history with guided tours from the Czech Museum of Silver between April and November. Visit the Gothic Bohemian Cathedral of Saint Barbara, and if you can stomach it peer into the Sedlec Ossuary, a creepy church with a bone chandelier and decorated with the bones of 40,000 people.
Kokořínsko Nature Reserve is just one hour’s drive northeast of Prague but other than Kokořín Castle the area is little known to tourists that stop by Prague. It is best reached by car to save you the hassle of public transport schedules, and when you get there you’ll mostly have the hiking trails through pine forest to yourself.
Fuel up your car and drive almost 180 kilometers south from Prague to the town of Český Krumlov. The journey is worth it as this UNESCO World Heritage-listed town is overlooked by a Renaissance castle and you can wander the cobblestone streets past over 300 protected medieval buildings such as townhouses, brewpubs and riverside caféterias. In June, the town hosts the 5-Petalled Rose Celebrations, a festival of dancing, knights and medieval entertainment and in winter months the castle looks spectacular coated in snow.