The city of Prague is stunningly beautiful, and survived intact through the ravages of World War II. The city’s rich architecture, ranging from Romanesque and Gothic to Renaissance and Baroque, is remarkably well preserved. Unsurprisingly, the historic city center, with its maze of cobblestone streets, countless old churches and picturesque courtyards, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The historical importance of the city cannot be overstated: from the seat of the Holy Roman Empire to a citadel of the Habsburgs, from streets planned out by King Charles IV, to the cobblestone paths walked upon by Franz Kafka, Prague is a vital political, cultural and economic center. Thanks to Prague’s role as a focal point of culture and commerce for nearly a millennium, it retains evidence of the many nationalities that have influenced and sometimes dominated its course in history.
A Feast for the Senses
- Sights — The bustling Charles Bridge; Prague Castle covering an area larger than seven football fields and its 1,000-year-old St. Vitus Cathedral; Old Town Square with its colored buildings and spires; the Prague Jewish Museum in Josefov district; the broad boulevard known as Wenceslas Square, the heart of the anti-Communist protests in the late 1980s; the delightful cobblestoned streets of Mala Strana.
- Tastes — Tasting menu at Michelin starred restaurants Alcron and La Degustation; authentic Czech dishes at Ambiante Lokal; cozy yet stylish Italian at La Finestra; rooftop views over the Prague from U Zlate Studne Terrasa; and of course drinking Czech beer like a local.
- Sounds — Churches often double as classical concert halls, and jazz has had a special place in the city’s heart since the 1930’s. Mozart’s Don Giovanni performance at the Estates Theater. For the epitome of the Prague music experience, Hotel Aria is the only hotel in the world with a musical director.
- Activities — Walking is the best way to explore Prague: take a romantic stroll through the gardens of Mala Strana, or walk from the Municipal House to Prague Castle.
Best side trip from Prague
Two and a half south of Prague, the whole town of Cesky Krumlov is on the Unesco heritage list, comprising 300 historic houses, the castle and chateau. Known as ‘the Pearl of the Renaissance’, the State Castle of Cesky Krumlov is one of the most important historic sites in Central Europe. The town’s fairytale red-roofed castle is surrounded by landscaped Baroque gardens, and the whole castle complex is open to the public. The castle’s development from the 14th to 19th centuries has been well preserved, and the Baroque Theater situated on the Castle Courtyard ranks among the most well preserved Baroque theaters in the world.
Hotels we recommend
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