Prague is a bustling tourist town, due to its close proximity to other European cities. Tour groups will usually have a one night stopover in Prague, do a quick tour of the city and continue the rest of the European journey afterwards. And because of its popularity with tourists and travellers alike, English is widely spoken; much to our delight. Shopping for groceries at the local supermarket, however may take a while, as food labels are all written in languages that are foreign to us.
Sitting on the banks of the Vltava River, Prague’s townscape is characterised by burgher houses, palaces and towers, providing travellers with beautiful scenery throughout the city. Prague is well known for being one of Europe’s best-preserved cities, due to the town being virtually untouched by war, ensuring travellers an authentic experience of cobbled streets, red rooftops and gilded spires. The fairytale-like city is best enjoyed at a leisurely pace. We enjoyed our morning walks and evening strolls while soaking up the atmosphere. Be sure to stop by stalls selling warm trdlo (traditional rolls), traditional rolls while roaming the streets of Prague.
The town is divided into ten different districts, each with its own character, influenced by its population, time of development and its proximity to the city centre. In addition to its stunning setting, the city of Prague is an excellent place to see historical architectural styles ranging from Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque, to Neoclassical, Art Nouveau and Cubist.
Indeed, this capital city of Czech Republic has plenty to offer her visitors, at a very affordable cost. The Gaya Traveller duo had spent 5 nights in Prague recently, and wished that we had stayed longer.
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PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC AT GLANCE
We had flown to Prague from London, which is about a 2 hour journey. There are no direct flights to Prague from Kuala Lumpur, you will need to take several flights before reaching Prague. Therefore we suggest breaking the journey like we did, making Prague one of your destinations of a European adventure.
Malaysians do not require Visa to enter Czech Republic, and there are no forms to be filled at the Immigration either. All you need is a valid passport to enter.
There are plenty of transportation options to get around Prague; depending on where you plan to go;
The Prague Metro is the underground rapid transit network of Prague. It has three lines, serving a total of 57 stations throughout the city which makes it very convenient. The Metro operates from 5am till midnight.
Trams are available during day and night, and is convenient especially if you plan to go to downtown Prague. The tram service is available 24 hours daily. Daytime trams run from 4:30 a.m. till midnight in 8 – 10 minute intervals (8 – 15 minutes on weekends). Night trams (numbers 51 – 58) run from 00:30 a.m. till 4:30 a.m. in 40 minute intervals.
Buses cover the outskirts of Prague and areas where trams or the metro do not run. Daytime buses run from 4:30 a.m. till midnight in 6-8 minutes intervals in peak hours, 10-20 minutes intervals in the off hours, and 15-30 minute intervals on weekends. Night buses (numbers 501-513) run from around midnight till 4:30 a.m. at 30-60 minute intervals.
Hop On Hop Off
This is probably the most convenient way to find your bearing in a new city, and not to mention its convenience for visitors with limited time to explore the city of Prague. We had opted to aboard the Hop On Hop Off bus for convenience. The Metro, tram and bus always seem too packed with locals going about their daily lives.
Look out for the “Fair Place” taxi stand, and please be careful when dealing with the taxi drivers. There are still many who prey on unsuspecting tourists, therefore it is always a good idea to ask before boarding.
Prague is filled with beautiful ancient buildings, and it is interesting to discover the city by foot. There were many times we were surprised by how close everything was from each other!
There are a lot of places of interest in Prague, and we can only fit a few here. Here are our top picks;
One of Prague’s most romantic sights, a stroll on Charles Bridge presents fine views of Prague Castle, the Vltava River and many of Prague’s famous riverside attractions. Charles Bridge connects the Old Town to Mala Strana (The Lesser Town). There are many local craft stalls on the bridge, which makes the walk across more lively and interesting.
Address: Prague 1
Old Town Square
Located between Wenceslas Square and the Charles Bridge, Prague’s Old Town Square is often bursting with tourists and locals. Czech’s long history is exemplified in the medley of architectural styles: Romanesque, Baroque, Rococo, Gothic and Renaissance are all represented in the superb buildings around the square. Come here in the evening, and listen to the buskers sing.
Address: Prague 1
A highlight of Old Town Square is Prague’s astronomical clock, a complicated, ancient “orloj” that reveals Babylonian time, Old Bohemian time, German time and sidereal time, as well as sunrise and sunset, phases of the moon and the sun’s position in the zodiac. Crafted in 1410 by a clockmaker and a professor of mathematics, the clock has been repaired and maintained for over 600 years, making it the third oldest clock in the world. The figures of the Apostles, which are shown in the two upper windows every hour, were added in 1865.
When the clock strikes the hour, bells ring, the Walk of the Apostles begins, the Gothic sculptures move, a cock crows and a trumpeter blast sets off a tourist-pleasing show, a sight everyone should see at least once. For the most fanfare, catch the display at noon or at midnight.
Climb the tower for spectacular views over the Old Town.
Address: Old Town Square, Old Town, Prague 1
Adults: 110czk Students: 70czk Children: 30czk
Wenceslas Square is Prague’s main boulevard, and the centre for shops, bars, banks, casinos & hotels. It is an extremely popular place for tourists to stay, as most of Prague’s sights & attractions lie within easy walking distance. Wenceslas Square is home to the grand National Museum and the Prague State Opera.
Address: Prague 1
Mala Strana (The Lesser Town)
Mala Strana clusters around the foothills of Prague Castle. This picturesque area of ancient burgher houses, quaint side streets and St. Nicholas Church is a favourite setting for movies and commercials. Baroque architecture is the rule in Mala Strana, although its history dates back to 1257 when it was founded as a royal town. The Baroque St. Nicholas Church and the extensive Wallenstein Palace dominate the area.
Address: Prague 1
Dancing House cuts a fine figure alongside the river, a strikingly modern contrast to the historic Prague attractions. This remarkable structure contains both dynamic and static elements, and resembles a female dancer swaying in the arms of her male partner. On the top floor of Dancing House is Celeste, one of Prague’s leading restaurants, offering fine French cuisine and magnificent city views.
Address: Rasinovo nabrezi 80, New Town, Prague 2
Jindrisska Tower (Jindrisska Vez) is a multi-level attraction, offering fine views over Prague from the top. Jindrisska is the highest separate belfry in Prague at 66m high and has ten floors.
Address: Jindrisska, New Town, Prague 1
Adults: 90czk Students: 60czk Children: 40czk
Prague Castle is Prague’s premier tourist attraction. This vast complex includes palaces, a church, a monastery, museums and art galleries, viewing towers and the supreme St. Vitus Cathedral.
Address: Prague 1
Adults: 350czk Students: 175czk Children: 175czk
A small museum dedicated to the life and works of the Czech Art Nouveau artist Alphonse Mucha, famous for the posters he designed for the theatre productions of the actress Sarah Bernhardt.
Address: Panska 7, Kaunicky Palace, New Town, Prague 1
Adults: 240czk Students: 140czk Children: 140czk
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