Why Visit: Prague...
Prague is the new top destination in Europe, but is it the city for you?
Prague has developed into a budding city of culture and nightlife fit for families and friends alike. It’s sheer abundance of attractions, sights and sounds make it one of the most exciting places you could visit. The climate is surprisingly gorgeous for weather stereotypically associated with the coldness of Eastern Europe with temperatures set to gradually climb from 13ºC now to a warm 23ºC in July. Not so dissimilar to our own climate. The summers can be wet at times so pack your waterproof with the nights always chilly. Winters are cold but snow is always rare and the best time to visit Prague (weather wise) is, in fact, right now. The spring is usually sunnier then summer, meaning you narrowly miss the price hikes during the summer months. In terms of flights and accommodation, Prague is yet to become a large booming tourist town, so prices are extremely reasonable. This includes general pricing around the city with food and drink is overall cheaper than the majority of Europe meaning you can make the most out of your trip. This mild climate and cheap prices makes it the perfect visiting destination for those looking to explore and embrace everything Prague has to offer.
The Czech Republic can be associated with communism, Nazi control and the world wars, but this is only one section of a colourful and fascinating country that witnessed a touching independence after the second world war.
Prague was founded in 4000 BC by Germanic and Celtic tribes on opposite sides of the Vitava river that stretches through the city. Through various kings, wars, revolutions and revivals, Prague has proved itself to be an enriching city full of life. Spend your days strolling around the beautiful cobbled streets taking in the wonderful sights of towers, church spires, palaces and gardens. This is town has held strongly to its past creating a city of unique character and fantastic gothic architecture. With wonderful cuisine, culture and events, there isn’t a reason why you shouldn’t go.
Here are the top 10 things to do in Prague:
Lobkowicz Palace is located at the east entrance of Prague castle and host a remarkable collection of the Lobkowicz family and city’s history and possessions. Take a look at the rare manuscripts of Mozart and Beethoven, decorative arts and gun collections. Wander around yourself or be accompanied by the free audio tour.
St. Vitus Cathedral
Also situated in the Prague Castle, the St. Vitus Cathedral is the largest church in Prague and home to the Czech crown jewels. Visit the burial places of the Czech Republic’s former kings and marvels at the amazing gothic architecture, inside and out. And the best bit? It’s free.
This is the most iconic landmark in Prague, connecting the Old Town with Lesser Town. The bridge is filled with musicians, painters and vendors during the spring and summer, but watch out. Due to the volume of people, this is a favourite spot for pickpockets.
The newly renovated Prague Zoo is now one of the best zoo’s in Europe and boasts huge open spaces for the animals and wide array of activities including trails for the family. The admission fee varies and additional tours and trails may cost extra. For more information, visit the zoo’s site.
The National Theatre is one of the most important cultural institutions in the Czech Republic with its rich history and artistic traditions stretching back to 1844 (the year of its initial design and construction). Today, the theatre holds the best of opera, ballet and drama. To book a ticket or for more information, visit the National Theatre site.
The Spa at Mandarin Oriental
On the spa’s opening page, it says “your body is a temple for your spirit; appropriately our spa is a chapel”, and they don’t lie. This is the only spa in the world situated in a former Renaissance chapel and voted best in Europe by Luxury Spa Finder magazine. The facilities include six spa suites, relaxation area, fitness centre and private heat and water facilities. Download the spa brochure from mandarinoriental.com to start planning your relaxation.
The Prague Castle is the largest coherent castle complex in the world with a large-scale composition of buildings and palaces surrounding the main structure. With an area of nearly 70, 000 metres, the buildings are a mixture of both Roman and gothic styles.
Lesser Quarter is a neighbourhood just over the Charles Bridge and boasts of many shops and fine restaurants. One of the most historic areas of the city, Lesser Quarter is one for those looking to take in all of what Prague has to offer from its Renaissance style buildings to spacious squares.
Another neighbourhood of interest is Old Town (otherwise known as Stare Mesto). In the heart of Prague, Old Town is packed with stunning architecture from the houses to the churches. The town, which dates back to the 13th century includes the town hall, Astronomical Clock, the Theatre and Municipal House.
The National Museum is one of five that also includes the Historical Museum, National Museum library, Naprstek Museum and the Czech Museum of Music. All are worth a visit if you have time. If not, the National Museum holds the most diverse exhibitions out of the lot of them.