Posted 27 December 2022
Reasons to visit Prague - The hidden gem of Europe
Prague is considered to be one of the finest cities in Europe. Being the capital of Czech Republic, it also is the centre of culture, architectural heritage, economy and industry. It is a hidden gem indeed with its vintage charm, old streets, winding alleys, charming taverns, and restaurants that add to the city’s splendour. An aerial view of Prague will reveal the most magnificent landscape with several church towers rising amidst the city, giving Prague the name of the ‘City of a Hundred Spires.’
The city gained popularity post 1945 with the government carefully handling architectural restorations and construction of new houses and roads. The historical city centre of Prague was added to UNESCO’S World Heritage List in 1992. This city was also home to several personalities including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart who performed his famous Prague symphony and Don Giovanni here. No wonder the city has a certain harmony to it.
Here are a few reasons why Prague - the hidden gem of Europe is a must-visit!
The captivating historical attractions
Prague has been the centre of human settlements from 500 to 200 BCE. The central location of the city with the Vltava River amidst it enabled trade with other parts of Europe. With plenty of cultures, travellers and affluent patrons of art and architecture, Prague flourished, leaving us with a beautiful heritage.
Some historical landmarks bound to make you mesmerised are:
- Infant Jesus of Prague: It is located in the Church of Our Lady of Victories in Mala Strana. You can admire the beautiful wax-coated wooden statue of baby Jesus here. Baby Jesus is seen holding a globus cruciger in his left hand which was traced back to the Spanish origins. The church itself is splendid. Many visitors and believers flock to the church every day to pray and ask for their wishes to come true.
- Old Town Square: Dating back to the 10th century, it retains its glory and appeal to date. It has many major buildings and churches surrounding it, often giving a panoramic view of Prague. You can tour the Gothic-style Church of Our Lady before Tyn or even visit Saint Nicholas Church. You will never find the square empty of its daily entertainers, musicians and merchants. It also has some wonderful places to dine in.
- The Astronomical Clock: Built in the 15th century, it remains a fascinating aspect of Old Town Square. You can watch the hourly show, “The Walk of Apostles” where the little figurines come out and a figure visibly ‘Death’ is seen striking the hour dial. The elaborate clock is intricately made and has several prophecies surrounding it. Indisputably, it is a delight to one's senses.
- Charles’ Bridge: The bridge connects Prague Castle and Old Town Square separated by the Vltava River. Built in the 14th century, it was commissioned by Charles IV. The view is striking and memorable.
- The Prague Castle: It is the most visited tourist attraction in the city. It is located in Hradcany and is the largest ancient existing castle in the world. Previously, a seat for the emperors and kings of Bohemia and the Roman Empire, it now serves as the Presidential House. It has a Baroque style of architecture and the visit leads you down the halls of a bewitching history.
- Vitus Cathedral: Located in the enormous Prague castle, this Romanesque cathedral was dedicated to St. Vitus and now serves as the seat of the archbishop of Prague. It also houses several tombs of kings from the Bohemian and Roman periods. The architecture is Gothic and bathed in gold. The cathedral looks heavenly.
- The Lennon Wall: Even if the Beatles did not originate in Prague, their influence can be physically represented in the Lennon Wall. It is a graffiti art-filled wall, portraying global and local interests. A symbol that art wins over greed, it has little love poems and messages. John Lennon represented the symbol of freedom and resistance to the then communist government.
- Communism Museum: It is dedicated to showcasing life in Czech Republic during the post-world war II era when the country was under a communist regime. It has valuable information, artefacts and records of interviews that offer an insight into the struggles of the communist period.
- Mucha Museum: It is a museum dedicated to the works of internationally acclaimed Art Nouveau artist Alphonse Mucha. His spellbinding art is stored here. You should especially view the posters and detailed artwork that he had created for the actor Sarah Bernhardt in Paris.
- National Museum of Prague: It exhibits a massive and beguiling collection of around 14 million items under the topics of history, archaeology, arts, music, zoology, anthropology and others. The museum itself is captivating with a large dome and sculptures lining the high walls. You can visit the museum to know more about specific topics of your interest.
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The delectable cuisine
Prague is world-famous for its beer. However, it also has a wide range of delicious food items overlooked by most travellers. Mainly a Slavic population, the residents are fond of good food. When in Prague, one should always try the local cuisine. Some popular dishes include gulas, smazeny syr (baked or fried cheese), grilovane klobasy (a version of hotdogs), palacinky (a type of dessert) and chlebicky (a Czech variation of sandwich).
Some restaurants that are worth visiting in Prague are:
- La Degustation Boheme Bourgeoise: A Michelin star restaurant, it serves dishes made with the recipes in the 19th-century Czech cookbook, but modernised to suit the modern-day needs. The menu changes daily to provide great and different types of culinary experiences.
- Field: It is the second restaurant to receive a Michelin star review. It offers excellent Scandinavian food options with wine pairings. It also has a delicately curated menu of fish items.
- La Bottega Linka: Previously serving as a local deli during the interwar period, the place has been transformed to keep up with the times. It serves gourmet Italian food, which is baked in a special oven to give a woody delicious flavour.
- Eska: It is a renowned bakery with a mouth-watering collection of confections. Serving baked bread, chlebicky and coffee, it features a light and airy decoration that adds a nostalgic feel to the atmosphere.
- Pho Vietnam Lan and Tuan: Prague has an incredible amount of diversity in terms of food. The traditional Vietnamese food with a Czech twist is warm, delicious and comforting. It is a must-try!
- Lehka Hlava: It is a vegetarian restaurant with a calm serene painting of a starry night on its walls. Located near the riverside in Old Town Square, this restaurant has gained popularity for its vegan and vegetarian food like tofu and quinoa items.
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3. The delightful recreational activities
Prague offers culture, cuisine and a lot of entertainment! Here are fun and adventurous activities to pursue in the city:
- Watch a puppet show: The most ancient puppet shows date back to the 12th century. The people in Prague love their puppets and the entertainment these shows provide. Several theatres host these shows like Marionette Kingdom Theatre or Puppet Theatre Jiskra. There is a puppet museum dedicated to it.
- Take a cruise on the Vltava River: Several agencies offer a chance for you to enjoy the magnificent view of the city from the luxurious setting of a riverside cruise. You can also opt for a romantic candlelight dinner while on it.
- Experience the nightlife in Prague: The Old Town Square has numerous clubs and places that provide cheap rates for entrance and their reclaimed world-famous beer. Also, the place is renowned for its Jazz and Classical music, EDM clubs and modern industrial locations.
- Visit farmer's markets: One of the best ways to spend a weekend morning is blending in with the crowd and encountering the simple joys of local farmers' markets. You can purchase homemade bread, cakes, or munchies to snack on with the good company. The farmer’s markets in Naplavka and Kulatak are amongst the best.
- Shop to your heart’s content: Places like Cerna Ruze in the Old Town have a great collection of Bohemian crystals, bags by Pierre Cardin, jackets and souvenirs. Pragtique, in Mala Strana, offers the best mementoes to take back home including postcards, bags, T-shirts, etc.
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- Do not pay for shopping tax if you are a non-EU resident.
- Use public transportation or Uber.
- It is a custom to tip at least 10% in restaurants after your meal.
- You can choose to avail yourself of the tour guide packages which are not as expensive.
- If you are travelling in the peak tourist season, then book your flight tickets and hotel accommodations 6 months in advance.
- You can also avail tickets online for tourist landmarks to avoid the crowded lines.
How to reach?
A centrally located city, Prague is best accessed by plane or train.
- By air: You can access IndiGo codeshare flights to Václav Havel Airport Prague.
- By rail: You can access a train from other major cities like Vienna, Budapest and Bratislava. Check the Czech Railway website for more information. OBB Austrian Railways is also a reliable source to book train tickets.
- By road: Praha Florenc Bus Station serves as an international bus terminal to travel by bus to and from other countries and cities. The road can also be accessed via cars due to the well-made roadways.
Prague has a moderate continental type of climate. The maximum temperature experienced throughout the year is 24°C in July and August. The minimum temperature throughout the year can drop to -4°C in the winter months of December and January. The average weather is pleasant and mild. It experiences a minimal amount of precipitation throughout the year. Winters can be extremely cold and springs are milder but have unstable changing weather. Summers are warmer and comfortable, while autumn is cloudy and grey.
Best time to travel
The best time to visit Prague is from May to September. The weather is more stable, with clear skies, longer days and the nights are cool and pleasant. However, these months also experience a larger influx of tourists because of the warm weather and festivals taking place. You can book your tickets for either the beginning of May or the end of September to experience a peaceful environment and suitable weather conditions.
The hidden gem of Europe - Prague is a city one must explore. The wonders you can get to see and the adventures one can have add value and memories to your life. We hope we could convince you to take the most exciting trip to Prague!
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