City guide: Prague, Czech Republic | Private jet charter
The capital of the Czech Republic boasts a magical skyline of Art Nouveau, Renaissance, Baroque and Gothic architecture and this UNESCO World Heritage city has one of the world’s best preserved historic centres. Prague is the perfect city break.
Top five must-see sights and attractions
Prague’s most iconic and recognisable tourist attraction, the enigmatic Charles Bridge crosses the Vltava River in an impressive 520-metre span. The backdrop to many Hollywood movies, the bridge is lined by statues, including that of Charles IV who commissioned its building.
Another intriguing figure is the carved stone head of the Bearded Man at the Staré Město end of the bridge, which was used as a market in medieval times to indicate rising levels of the Vltava River.
Prague isn’t just historic castles and museums; the Czech capital has a thriving restaurant and food scene with fabulous markets to explore. Jiřák Farmers Market is located at Jiřího z Poděbrad Square, just a few stops on the metro from the Old Town. Head here to savour the delicious artisan produce from local farmers and bakers.
Manifesto Market, created on a disused site near Florenc station makes use of shipping containers to sell its produce. Grab a local beer from the microbrewery and enjoy the street entertainment.
The Náplavka riverfront is home to the eponymous Saturday farmers market. As well as organic fruit and veg, you’ll find handicrafts such as pottery and soap – and superb views of Prague Castle.
Dejvice Farmers’ Market trades every Saturday from the square next to Dejvická Metro station, north of Prague Castle. Local farmers bring in their fruit, vegetables, meat, cheeses and baked goods.
Dominating the skyline above the left back of the Vltava river, Prague Castle was founded by Prince Bořivoj in the 9th century and is the largest ancient castle complex in the world. Home to a succession of Czech monarchy, behind the spires, towers and fortresses, visitors will find various museums, galleries and historic buildings that house some of the country’s greatest cultural treasures.
Exhibitions today include the Story of Prague Castle with information and displays on the castle’s development and place in Prague history, as well as the priceless relics from the Treasury of St Vitus Cathedral.
Old Town Square and Clock
Head for Prague’s Old Town to experience an 11th-century time warp in this historic square. The Square’s main attraction, apart from the restaurants and cafes is the Old Town Hall and its unique 15th-century astronomical clock. For more than 600 years, tourists and locals have gathered beneath the tower each hour to watch as its 12 Apostle figurines emerge for their mechanical rotation.
As well as the figurines there’s an intriguing bell-ringing skeleton, a miser with a wallet full of money, a Turk shaking his head and Vanity looking at a mirror. The session ends with the crowing of a rooster and the ringing of the giant bell.
St Vitus Cathedral
This notable Roman Catholic church is within the grounds of Prague Castle and is the seat of the Archbishop of Prague. Although construction began in 1344 it took over 525 years to complete. Look out for the Holy Trinity stained glass windows and the spectacular St Wenceslas Chapel. A climb up the cathedral’s 97-m tower will be rewarded with stunning views over Prague.
It’s best to explore Prague Old Town on foot, but if you’re exploring farther afield, use the city’s efficient public transport system. Prague has three metro lines: A, B and C. And there’s even a funicular – the Petrin funicular that connects the district of Malá Strana with the top of Petřín Hill.
Best time to visit
Spring – Probably the best time to visit Prague when the weather is mild and tourist numbers are lower.
Summer – Prague can get very hot in summer. In addition, prices are higher and there will be queues for most of the sights.
Autumn – Expect cooler weather and fewer crowds – the perfect combination for exploring Prague.
Winter – Temperatures can be chilly in Prague during winter and it often snows. Christmas is when crowds descend for the markets, is often crowded and expensive.
Prague is without doubt one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Its incredible historical legacy and outstanding architecture alongside a rich and eclectic cultural life makes it a compelling destination all year round.
From the romance of the Charles Bridge, to the 600-year-old astronomical clock in the Old Town Square, to a vibrant food scene, Prague is a city that lingers long in the memory and imagination.
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