You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Czeching in: Planning the perfect city break in Prague, including where to stay and eat, and what to see and do

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 12/04/2018 Sade Beckley-Lines
View from St. Vitus Cathedral to the Old Town with Vltava, Prague, Bohemia, Czech Republic - provided by Shutterstock © Shutterstock View from St. Vitus Cathedral to the Old Town with Vltava, Prague, Bohemia, Czech Republic - provided by Shutterstock

Prague is the perfect choice for a weekend break, whether you’re visiting as a couple, as a group of friends or with the family. The city is served by direct flights from most major airports in the UK, getting around is a breeze, and there is a fantastic array of places to stay and eat catering to all budgets.

Straddling the wide Vltava River, Prague is one of Europe’s most charismatic capitals. Having suffered much less damage in World War II than other cities in the region, it has an abundance of well-preserved Baroque, Gothic, Rococo and Art Nouveau architecture lining its medieval streets, as well as a number of striking modern structures. It’s long outgrown its old reputation for stag weekends and average food, and with new five-star hotels and an array of fancy restaurants is now the sixth most-visited city in Europe. Whatever kind of trip you’re looking for, Prague delivers.

a view of a city: Our top tips ahead of your trip to the Czech capital © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Our top tips ahead of your trip to the Czech capital


Getting to Prague and getting around

Prague’s Václav Havel Airport is served by direct flights from most major airports in the UK. Low-cost carriers include Ryanair, easyJet, Wizzair, jet2.com and Flybe, or there’s also British Airways and Czech Airlines. There’s no train or metro service into the city; the Airport Express bus runs to Hlavní nádraží (Central Station) every half hour, alongside cheaper public buses.

The city has an integrated metro, tram and bus system, with timed tickets allowing you to transfer between modes of transport as needed. Visit the public transport authority website DPP to help plan a trip. You can also buy 24-hour and 72-hour tickets, but if you’re only planning on making a few journeys, the basic one-hour ticket will probably suffice. Buy them from Tabák stores, from the yellow vending machines near metro entrances and bus/tram stops, or via the SEJF mobile app.

Take a ride on the no. 22 tram for a quick and easy way to see the sights. The tram follows a route past several famous landmarks – including Náměstí Míru (Peace Square), Karlovo náměstí (Charles Square) and Pražský hrad (Prague Castle) – and you can hop on and off as you please. The no. 9 tram is also useful for visitors, as it links the main railway station to Wenceslas Square and intersects with the no. 22 tram at the National Theatre.

The top places to stay

For a slice of romance mixed with contemporary style, check yourself into the design-focused Emblem Hotel in the city centre. If you can drag yourself away from the rooftop Jacuzzi, you’re only a three-minute walk from the Old Town Square and around the corner from the Jewish Quarter.

Many of the big luxury brands are in evidence here too; the Mandarin Oriental occupies several historic buildings in the handsome Malá Strana district, and the swish Four Seasons has views of Charles Bridge and Prague Castle.

One of the top hotels in Prague is the five-star Augustine, also in Malá Strana. This former monastery is still home to a community of Augustinian friars, as well as boasting a double-height cocktail bar, a cellar brewery bar featuring original 17th-century stalactites, and Cubist-inspired rooms. The lovely spa includes treatments based on some of the monks’ ancient recipes.

At the other end of the scale, Prague is awash with quirky guesthouses and good-value hostels and hotels for those travelling on a budget. The U Medviku-Brewery Hotel has vast beamed guest rooms and its own microbrewery, as well as a restaurant dating back to 1466. Other good options include eco-friendly Mosaic House – which has both shared and private rooms – and the charming 16-room Pension U Lilie, set on a peaceful street just a few moments from the 16th-century Klementium and its spectacular Baroque library.

a large pot: Relax and unwind in the haven that is the Emblem Hotel © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Relax and unwind in the haven that is the Emblem Hotel

The best places to eat and drink

If you came to Prague in the early 1990s, you may well have come away thinking that the city’s dining scene consists of little more than pork, dumplings and sauerkraut. But things have changed dramatically. Today Prague is influenced by global food trends as much as any other city, with new restaurants, speciality coffee shops, delis and bars opening all the time.

Head to La Degustation Bohême Bourgeoise for a special-occasion meal. Serving traditional Czech cuisine including a seven-course tasting menu, it’s one of only two Michelin-starred restaurants in the city. The other is Field in the Old Town, where chef Radek Kašpárek offers uncompromising modern food based on seasonal ingredients amidst rural-chic decor, whether à la carte or as part of four-course lunch or 10-course dinner tasting menus.

For more down-to-earth dining, options are plentiful. The Lokal pub chain has five funky locations throughout the city, offering freshly prepared Czech classics made with regional ingredients, alongside draught beers straight from the tank.

Speaking of beer, you can’t come to Prague and not sample some of the best craft brews in the world. In the lively Žižkov neighbourhood, BeerGeek Bar & Pivotéka boasts 32 beers on tap as well as the largest collection of bottled beers in Prague.

But the nightlife scene encompasses more than just stouts, sour ales and dark lagers. Try the stylish Bankers Bar, a speakeasy-style venue within Hotel Hastal Prague on Haštalská in the Old Town, with cocktails inspired by famous bank robbers.

a river with a city in the background: The Charles Bridge in Prague at sunrise © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The Charles Bridge in Prague at sunrise

The sights you mustn’t miss

Get your bearings by starting your Prague explorations in the Old Town. This part of the city dates back to the 9th century CE and is home to some of Prague’s must-see attractions, including the Old Town Hall and the iconic Astronomical Clock. The atmospheric Jewish Quarter, or Josefov, sits between the Old Town Square and the Vltava River. Home to six synagogues and several monuments, it can be discovered on an Old Town and Jewish Quarter Walking Tour.

Charles Bridge connects the Old Town to the Malá Strana district, and along with Prague Castle it’s the city’s most recognisable icon. Spanning the Vltava River, the 14th-century cobblestoned structure with its 16 arches and 30 Baroque statues of religious figures is pedestrianised and thronged with tourists in daylight hours, as well as painters and street-food vendors. The best time to visit is at dawn, to catch the sunrise. But if you can’t bear to drag yourself out of bed that early, the Charles Bridge is also particularly beautiful at night, when the illuminated outline of Prague Castle forms a stunning backdrop.

Prague Castle is the largest medieval castle in the world and the most important monument in the Czech Republic. Comprised of several different buildings, it includes churches, state apartments, viewing towers, art galleries and courtyards.

Take the funicular to Petřín Hill, the highest point in Prague, then climb 299 steps to the top of the Eiffel Tower-inspired observation tower for top-notch views of the city. The hill itself is one of Prague’s largest green spaces, and a great spot for a picnic on a summer’s day. You can also take a river cruise under Charles Bridge and through the city lock, passing famous attractions including the National Theatre and Prague Parliament along the way.

Related: 5 under-the-radar alternatives to popular travel destinations that will help you beat the crowds (Provided by Insider)

For more of the most popular News, Sport, Lifestyle & Entertainment on MSN, Follow us on Facebook, and on Twitter

AdChoices
AdChoices

More From Daily Mail

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon