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Prague Tourist Information

Prague Tourism Information & City Guide

Prague is known as the 'Jewel in the Crown' of Central Europe, and in recent years tourism has played an important role in its economic development. Read our guide to the highlights of Prague and discover the layout of the city.

Welcome to Prague


Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic (Czechia), a country located at the heart of Central Europe, bordered by Austria, Germany, Poland and Slovakia.

In the Middle Ages, Prague became the capital of Charles IV's Bohemian Kingdom, with Prague Castle the seat of the empire. The city has played a pivotal role in the region ever since.

Prague's epic history has produced a city full of beauty, of stunning Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque era buildings, and of majestic squares.
Prague Castle
Prague Castle
In recent years, the communism of the mid-20th century has given way to capitalism, and tourism has helped to drive the city's regeneration, transforming run-down buildings into fine restaurants, vibrant bars and stylish hotels.

Prague Tourism Fact: In 1992 the historical centre of Prague, all 866 hectares, was listed in the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage Register.
Charles Bridge and Prague Castle
Charles Bridge & Prague Castle

Highlights of Prague


The first thing to do in Prague is simply to wander through the streets and magnificent squares, and to admire the stunning architecture all around.

Prague is best explored on foot because the city centre is compact and the finest areas are mostly pedestrianised; from Wenceslas Square on one side of the city to Prague Castle on the other is just a 30-minute stroll (walking via the Old Town, over the river and through the Lesser Town).
The Vltava River runs through the heart of the city and several famous sights border it. Walk over Charles Bridge and along the river banks to enjoy the wide, panoramic views across the water.

It is also nice to admire the river scene from above with a trip up to Prague Castle or by taking a ride on the Funicular Railway up Petrin Hill.

But undoubtedly the most relaxing way to take in the riverside attractions is on a river cruise.

With regards to entertainment, the opera, ballet and classical concerts are a true highlight. Prague is a city of music, with performances to enjoy all year round in grand opera houses and concert halls, theatres, palaces and ancient churches.
  Estates Theatre in Prague
Estates Theatre in Prague
Concert Hall at Municipal House
Concert Hall at Municipal House
And Black light theatre is a unique feature of the city. The shows offer a typically Czech experience and are highly visual, so appeal to all ages and nationalities.

Meanwhile, dining is a joy, with Prague restaurants enjoying a reputation for serving good, often excellent cuisine. Pub style restaurants offer hearty food and cheap drinks, while at the top end visitors can experience fine dining in beautiful settings, such as by the river or with a view over the city.

For refreshments at any time of the day, the world famous Czech beer is deeply embedded in the national physique, and is enthusiastically consumed in pubs and beer halls all over the city; the Czechs are the largest consumers of beer per capita in the world!
On sunny days the action moves outside. At one of the many bars and cafés, take a seat on the terrace or in the beer garden, order a cool beer or chilled glass of Moravian wine, and watch the world go by. You will find the time just slips away!

For a non-alcoholic treat, join the locals at one of Prague's elegant traditional cafés, where a coffee and cake or a deluxe hot chocolate is the order of the day.

Greater tourism and business investment, and the resulting uplift in the Czech economy, has led to increased consumerism - meaning shopping is fast becoming a national pastime. Prague has its fair share of shopping malls selling the latest international brands, of which the largest is Palladium Shopping Centre.

In terms of locally produced goods, the most well-known is Bohemia Crystal. The finest Czech glassware can be purchased from a number of shops in Prague. Alternatively, visitors can take a tour to a glass factory, such as to Moser Glass.
 

Layout of the City - Prague map


The city centre of Prague is divided into five areas, which span both banks of the Vltava River.

On one side of the river is: the Old Town (Staré Město), with the Old Town Square at its heart; the New Town (Nové Město), with Wenceslas Square at its heart; and the Jewish Quarter (Josefov).

On the other side of the river is: the Lesser Town (Malá Strana); and above this, the Castle District (Hradčany), which is dominated by Prague Castle.

Charles Bridge is the main pedestrian route linking the two sides of Prague.
Old Town Square in Prague
Old Town Square in Prague
 
The city centre is denoted by the postal district Prague 1.

If you stay in a hotel or apartment anywhere in Prague 1 (or close by in Prague 2), on either side of the river, it is possible to walk around the whole of the city with ease, and explore all the sights and attractions on foot.

Outside the city centre, other areas easily accessible by tram and metro include Vinohrady, Holešovice, Smichov, Karlin and Vysehrad.
 
View from Old Town Hall Tower
View from Old Town Hall Tower
 

Most Beautiful Views - Prague Towers


Prague Castle (Pražský hrad) is the No.1 tourist attraction in Prague. Set on a hill, it affords visitors exceptional views over the whole of Prague.

And for the ultimate view at the castle, climb The Great South Tower at St. Vitus Cathedral.

Other towers to climb include the Petrin Observation Tower, Old Town Hall Tower, Old Town Bridge Tower, Lesser Town Bridge Tower, Powder Tower, the belfry tower at St. Nicholas Church at Lesser Town Square and Jindrisska Tower.

For a meal with a view over the city, choose from restaurants with city views or riverside restaurants.

Sights & Tourist Attractions


Guide books often use English names for the Prague sights, but maps and street signs are nearly always in Czech. The following translations will be useful:

Prague = Praha
Old Town = Staré Město
New Town = Nové Město
Charles Bridge = Karlův most
Prague Castle = Pražský hrad
Wenceslas Square = Václavské náměstí
Old Town Square = Staroměstské náměstí
Lesser Town/Lesser Quarter = Malá Strana
National Theatre = Národní divadlo.
Prague Street Signs
Prague Street Signs
For the full list of major sights, see sights & attractions.
Wenceslas Square in Prague
Wenceslas Square in Prague
 

Czech Language


Czech, a consonant-rich Slavic language, is one of the most difficult European languages to learn.

Native English speakers can find certain sounds hard to pronounce.

Fortunately, tourism and global commerce mean many Czech's speak English, particularly in Prague.

Location of Prague and the Czech Republic


Prague is located in central Bohemia, the largest region in the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic is located in Central Europe and covers 78,864 square kilometres (30,449 square miles).

The country's highest mountain is Snezka (1604m). Its longest river is the Vltava (434km).

The Czech People


The population of Prague is 1.26 million. The population of the Czech Republic is 10.5 million.
Czech Republic in Central Europe
Czech Republic in Europe
St. Nicholas Church at Old Town Square in Prague
St. Nicholas Church in Prague
 
The Czechs belong to the West Slavic group of peoples, along with Poles, Slovaks and Lusatians. Romanies (or Gypsies) form the most conspicuous minority, and are thought to descend from Indian migrants in the 15th century.

People from other Central and Eastern European countries, including former Soviet Union states such as Ukraine, have migrated to Prague in recent years to work in tourism and construction.

7 million tourists visit Prague every year.

Religion in the Czech Republic


Christianity is the country's dominant religion. The Roman Catholic Church is by far the most prominent church, followed by various Protestant denominations, such as the Evangelical and Hussite churches.

Prague Package


A simple way to arrange your Prague city break is to book the Prague Package.

More Information


For practical information, including weather and currency details, read our Prague tourist information guide.
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