Why Prague

When it comes to travel destinations, it doesn’t get better than Prague. As TripAdvisor puts it, “The bohemian allure and fairytale features of Prague make it a perfect destination for beach-weary vacationers who want to immerse themselves in culture.” According to TripAdvisior’s TCA 2016, Prague, also called the City of a Thousand Spires and the Mother of all Cities, is the 6th most popular destination in the world. According to the MasterCard GDC Index 2015, it is the world’s 2nd most visited city with respect to population (4.2 tourists to each inhabitant). Want to know why? Watch this short video from UNESCO.

The list of sights condensed in Prague is extensive. Pražský hrad (Prague Castle) is the world’s largest ancient castle and has every type of architecture from the last 1000 years. Staroměstské náměstí (Old Town Square) with Old Town Hall and the 15th century Astronomical Clock is an unspoiled glimpse into Prague’s rich history. Charles Bridge (built 1357) is one of the worlds most historic and beautiful bridges, and was voted TripAdvisors Travel Choice awards 16th world landmark, beating out the Great Wall in China or the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. These spots are just the tip of the iceberg of what the city has to offer – for a more complete guide, visit czechtourism.com or download this brochure.

But don’t worry! There is plenty else to do for those who shake at the thought of a day spent in crowded, tourist areas. There are many other activities that you can do, many of which are connected to socializing over beer. In the end, Czech Republic is the world’s #1 consumer of beer per capita.

Prague is not just a destination unto itself. It is also a great base from which to explore other places – not just villages, spas and castles of the Czech Republic, but surrounding countries as well. Indeed, Berlin, Vienna, Budapest and Bratislava are just a few hours away by train.

Activities

Prague as the capital and biggest city in Czech Republic offers everything you might wish for. Cultural events and festivities occur year round; you can visit concerts, theaters, exhibitions, cinemas (movies are usually screened in the original language) or festivals. For more details, visit goout.cz, where you can find a calendar of important events in the city.

If you prefer an active lifestyle, you will enjoy what Prague has to offer. The city was named a European Capital of Sports 2016 and has an impressive assortment of parks throughout, perfect for running or inline skating. If you prefer to workout indoors, you will not have any trouble finding a gym. If you want to experience sporting events, the city has several professional football and ice-hockey teams. Hockey is a pastime of Czech Republic, and the Czech League (Czech Extraliga) is the third-highest hockey league in Europe.

The impressive collection of parks within Prague offers something for everyone. Letná Park offers some of the best views of the city and is a popular spot for local skateboarders. Riegrovy Sady has several beer gardens in a central location of the city, offering a great Prague panorama. Vitkov hill has the third largest bronze equestrian statue in the world. Troja is home to Prague Zoo, ranked by TripAdvisior as the worlds 4th best zoo. The integration of open, green spaces in the middle of the city makes urban life in Prague much more pleasant. To find out how to reach parks in the city, read this article.

Beyond the city limits, Prague’s location in central Bohemia means there are countless opportunities for rewarding day trips. For example, you can explore a number of UNESCO world heritage site, including Kutná Hora (‘Monte Carlo of the Middle Ages’), Telč (‘Czech Venice’), Litomyšl (‘The Pearl of Renaissance’) or Kroměříž (‘Magical Gardens’). For more information on day trips from Prague, check those apps or download this brochure.

For a relaxing break from city life, visit the ‘Spa Triangle’ in Western Bohemia. The closest spa town to Prague is Karlovy Vary, founded in 1370 by Charles IV. (Karel IV.), King of Bohemia and the Holy Roman Emperor. The most visited spa town in the Czech Republic, Karlovy Vary is famous for its 13 main hot springs, and of course the traditional herbal liqueur Becherovka, produced only in the city. You can follow in the footsteps of some of histories most notable spa-goers, like Goethe and Beethoven. Home to one of the oldest Film Festivals in the world, Karlovy Vary is frequented by movie stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, John Travolta, Scarlett Johansson and Kiera Knightley. If that town and it’s surroundings seems familiar, its probably because it was one of the main locations for the James Bond movie Casino Royale.

However, Prague and Czech Republic offer more than just sights. Czech’s are world famous for their beer (which is historically cheaper than water) and Bohemia is home to some of the oldest breweries in the world. In Prague, try microbreweries, Pilsner Urquell or whatever happens to be on tap. You will have no trouble finding pubs; the streets are lined with bars, many located in the cellar of historic buildings set the scene for a night of traditional tippling.

Nightlife

MO 084Because of the number of universities in Prague, it is truly a student city. Whether you prefer large concerts with thousands of people or small Jazz bars, you will find your place. The main ‘clubbing’ area is concentrated around Dlouhá street, which connects Náměstí Republiky and Staroměstské náměstí (Old Town Square). During the semester, clubs and bars are constantly flooded with students, and never empty out.

The nightlife is lively and current, like any European city, but is tied in with the cities incredible architecture and history. Old cellar spaces (or bath houses or other historical buildings) are repurposed as clubs, boasting top-of-the-line sound systems and hosting popular world’s DJs. You can also head to the Vltava and check out the largest boat party in Europe if you want a different experience.

Travel

Prague is serviced by Václav Havel Airport, an international airport located very close to the city centerairplane (for cheapest tickets look on skyscanner.com). Taking bus line AE (Airport express), you reach the city’s main Train Station in 35 minutes. You can also take line 119, which takes you to the closest metro station (Nádraží Veleslavín, metro line A) in 15 minutes. Prague is also easily accessible by bus (e.g. Student Agency, FlixBus, Eurolines) or train (České dráhy).

Travelling within Prague is easy thanks to the city’s extensive public transportation system, with metro, trams and buses. You prepay  €45 (student fare) or  €55 (adult fare) for 90 days access to all forms of transportation (more info here)

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