In this Destination Guide you will find information for : Prague
♦Currency: Czech Koruna (CZK)
♦Zone: +1 GMT
♦Phone Code: 420+
♦Best time to visit: Sept-Nov
♦Must eat: Trdelník (Pastry)
♦Must drink: Zelené Green Beer
♦Don't miss: Old Town Square
♦Number of times visited: 2
Getting there and transportation: Located in central Europe, the Czech Republic is a very accessible destination from many neighbouring counties, specially by road and train, as it's a main stop over for many travellers who explore Europe, from West to East and vice-versa.Eurolines, is an international coach company which connects the Czech Republic to many of Europe's main capitals. Once arriving to Prague you can travel direct to the main cities, such as Brno, Ostrava or Zlin. Travelling by train is also a very comfortable and practical idea, when coming from nearby countries and other cities. It crosses beautiful scenery on it's way, so the ride in itself, is a tourist activity. You can reach The Czech Republic from Vienna, Berlin, Zurich, Munich, Frankfurt, Budapest amongst others.
If coming from further away the natural choice is by air, the national airline is Czech Airlines. It flies to most European cities and major gateways. Other national carriers in Europe, also fly to the capital, Prague, at least once a day. Low Cost Airlines are also popular, Smart Wings, Wizz Air or Ryanair being the main airlines flying to the Czech Republic.
If coming from outside Europe, there are limited direct connections. Only direct services are possible from Russia, Azerbaijan, Israel, South Korea and Armenia. However, one stop flights are always possible with many airlines from other parts of the world.
Once in the country, the transportation is very good, big cities benefit from major transportation systems including rail, metro, trams and busses. Smaller cities have bus services or trolley-busses only but are well connect to major cities by railways and motorways.
Weather and temperature: The Czech Republic has a continental climate, with warm summers and cold, cloudy and snowy winters. The temperature difference between summer and winter is relatively high, due to the landlocked geographical position.Within the Czech Republic, temperatures vary greatly, depending on the elevation. Another important factor is the distribution of the mountains; therefore, the climate is quite varied. The coldest months are usually January, February and December with temperatures reaching below 0C at times. During these months, there is usually snow in the mountains and sometimes in the major cities and lowlands. Spring is characterized by high water levels in the rivers, due to melting snow with occasional flooding.
The warmest month of the year is July, followed by August and June. On average, summer temperatures are about 22-30C.
The best time to visit would be April to June and September to November for more pleasant temperatures.
Food and drink: traditional Czech food is dominated by meat, served with either bread, potatoes, or bread and potato dumplings, and slathered in sauce. The influences from neighbouring Austria and Hungary (and to a lesser extent Poland, Germany and Russia) are easy to see.
Specialities include: Vepřo-knedlo-zelo, this Czech classic consists of roast pork with dumplings and sauerkraut. Goulash, a thick beef stew with a rich onion base, usually served with bread dumplings. Svíčková na smetaně, pot-roasted beef tenderloin and vegetables with a sweet cream sauce, topped with cranberries. Smažený sýrm, Edam-style cheese covered in breadcrumbs, deep-fried, then served with a side of French fries and tangy tartar sauce. Česneková polévka, a water-based garlic soup with melted cheese and croutons. Bramborák, pancake of grated potato with egg, breadcrumbs and garlic. Tatarský biftek, a Czech take on steak tartare, this dish is made with seasoned raw beef and egg yolk. Klobásy, grilled sausages, there are a few different varieties, the typical are herb sausage and paprika.
Tasty desserts can be found including, Vánoční kapr, (slices of carp covered in breadcrumbs and deep-fried – a Christmas staple) Ovocné knedlíky, (a sweet dumpling filled with fresh strawberries, plum, apricot or fruit preserves, typically topped with melting butter and a dusting of sugar.)
Tip: One thing that can't be missed to try is the Trdelník! A traditional Slovak rolled pastry originating from the Hungarian-speaking region of Transylvania, the trdelník is usually served warm and topped with a dusting of sugar, nuts or cinnamon. It's made by wrapping the pastry dough around a wooden or metal stick, roasting it over an open flame and coated with sugar or cinnamon. Watching this pastry being prepared is a fascinating sight. A common Prague street food, you can easily find stalls selling this treat along streets and open squares everywhere around any time of the year.
As for drinks, beer is the accompaniment of choice, and it’s one of the few places in the world where it’s not frowned upon to sip a frothy Pilsner over breakfast. Common drinks to be found are: Budweiser Budvar, a world-famous Czech beer. Pilsner Urquell, this popular beer brand spawned a beer style named after it (pilsner), and is still served in most Czech drinking establishments. Zelené Beer, Green coloured beer brewed by Krušovice, it's a Spiced/Herbed style beer. Becherovka: A herbal bitters spirit with a cinnamon-like taste from Karlovy Vary. Slivovice, a potent plum brandy, though other fruit varieties are also available. Fernet: A bitter and aromatic, liquorice-like spirit usually served as a digestive.
Transportation: Prague is not only a city resembling to a medieval town, but a modern metropolis where you can easily travel to get to your destination by modern and reliable transport modes. The city has a good metro system, tram, rail and busses which interconnect the suburbs and the old town. Also by train and busses it's possible to visit other cities near by, enabling you to organise day tours out of Prague.
When arriving in Prague from the airport, the best option is to get the Airport Express service which runs into the city centre (AE Bus), it only costs 60CZK (€2.25). It stops at Prague main train station and the trip takes 35 minutes. Alternatively you can take bus 119 or 100 which leaves you in easy access to the metro, Nádraží Veleslavín (metro A) and Zličín (metro B) respectively.Cost is 32CZK (€1.10). In the next few years Prague will have a direct train connecting the city centre which is under development and construction.
The metro in Prague is small when compared to other bigger European cities, but it's undergoing a lot of refurbishment to provide a modern service and reach the suburbs of the city. It has 3 major lines named by letters and colours. Below you can access all the maps including the official transport page where you can download by PDF the transit schematics in Prague.
What to see and do? Prague is a great walking city so it's recommended that you bring comfortable shoes and hit the cobblestones. The main sightseeing areas of Prague are separated by the Vltava River. On the left bank there is the Prague Castle area and Lesser Town. The right bank is home to the Old Town, the Jewish Quarter, and the New Town. Spanning the Vltava River and connecting the Old Town and Lesser Town is the beautiful Charles Bridge.
The highlights of the city are:
Other points of interest are: Vyšehrad Castle with its famous cemetery and a beautiful view. (Tram stop Výtoň, No 17,2 and 3).Petřín Hill, for some great views and a nice stroll through the rose garden. You can go up by Furnicular, or walking up hill for 20minutes. The reach here you can take trams to Újezd. (No 9, 22, 15, 20) At the top of the hill is,Petrin Tower. Cost 150CZK per adult.Another option is to explore the Vinohrady district, known for its Art Nouveau and Neo-Renaissance architecture.
Suggestion: Visit Pražský Metronome, an observation platform and park. In 1991, Vratislav Novák designed and constructed a massive metronome on Letna Hill in Prague. Although the area is better known for its vibrant beer garden overlooking the river, Novák erected a permanent reminder in the area to memorialise the Czech struggles under communism. To get there take tram 17 stop, Chechuv Most.
Suggestion: Visit Kutná Hora. Located at 1hour from Prague, this enchanting little town, is popular with tourists as it has a unique church made up inside with all human skulls and bones. Named "Bone Church" or Ossuary (in Czech Kostnice). It's a very interesting visit the town as well, popular during the weekend with an outside market and little shops. Ideal for a half day trip out of Prague. To get there you can go by train for only 100CZK (€3.75). And walk from the station to the "Bone Church" about 1km. To the town it's another 2.5km from the church.
The main attraction, the curious "Bone Church" is located in the suburb of Sedlec. The Ossuary is in the undergroud chapel of the Church of All Saints. It contains the bones of about 40,000 people who died of the plague in 1318 and during the Hussite wars in the 15th century. They were originaly buried at the church cemetery. When the cemetery was closed at the end of the 15th century, the exhumed bones were transferred to the chapel and compiled into pyramids. In 1870, František Rint of Česká Skalice arranged the bones and skulls into creative decorations that include bells, the Schwarzenberg coat-of-arms, and a chandelier.
Attention!: The main Kutná Hora train station (Kutná Hora hl.n.) is not within practical walking distance from the city center (about 3.5 km), so you'll want to transfer to a local train after you arrive in Kutná Hora. There's always one connecting with the arriving Prague train and you'll have about five minutes to transfer. When buying your train ticket in Prague, make sure you buy one for Kutná Hora město (město = town), not Kutná Hora hl.n., so you're covered all the way into the centre. The ride into town takes six minutes. You can also get busses 1 or 7 from the main train station which pass via Sedlec, for the "bone church", so you can see everything on your way.
Accommodation: Staying in Prague is expensive if you stay in the city centre, as it's popular for Hotels, restaurants and venues which cater for the public looking for accessible accommodation after nights out in the city. However if you stay a little further out of the city close to a metro station or tram stop you can get good prices at Hotels. The city itself is not that big so there is never a lot of time to travel around. It's also very popular to stay at hostels around the city is you're more on a budget and also Airbnb for private accommodation. Average rooms are €25 per night.
Recommended duration: Visiting Prague is quick and easy. All the main attractions are situated within walking distance. Seeing the city at a quick glance is possible in just a day, but to enjoy some of the many attractions and sights and visit some highlights then a more comfortable stay over 3 to 4 nights would be ideal, with a weekend included for more things taking place (markets and events).