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Prague City Guide
- How big is Prague?
- Capital of the Czech Republic, Prague covers an area of 496 square kilometres.
- How many people inhabit it?
- It has a population of approximately 1.2 million people.
- What is the official language?
- The people who live there speak Czech which is the country's official language and closely linked to Slovak and Polish.
- And what is the official currency?
- The Czech Republic's unit of currency is the Czech Koruna, known as the 'crown'.
- Church of Our Lady Before Tyn
Things to see in Prague
- What is Prague’s number one attraction?
- Prague Castle, the medieval castle which dominates the Mala Strana’s (Lesser Town, east of the River Vltava) skyline. Dating back to the 10th century, it is officially the world’s largest ancient castle. Open daily from 9am-4pm (5pm during summer), there are three types of tickets you can get. As there is nothing worth missing here, get the ticket for 350Kc which gains you entry to all of the castle’s premier attractions, namely St Vitus Cathedral and Golden Lane. If you’re funds are low though, don’t fret. To walk around the grounds of the castle is free, and you can even get into the cathedral for free. It costs extra to gain access to the main nave.
- Anything else which shouldn’t be missed?
- Yes. Loads. First of all there’s Charles Bridge, the best known of all 14 bridges which cross the Vltava and Prague’s most instantly recognisable landmark thanks to the 30 statues which adorn each side. Then you’ve got the Old Town Square, dominated by Tyn Church and the Old Town Hall where the procession of the Apostles takes place every hour on the hour. Also take the time out to get the funicular up Petrin Hill, one of the largest open areas in the Czech capital. It’s not only a great place to go when you need a break from the tourists in the city below, but it also boasts some breathtaking views of the city.
- On average, how much does it cost to gain entry to Prague’s main attractions?
- Not a whole lot. Apart from Prague Castle (which can be technically free if you wish) you won’t find yourself forking out more than 100Kc to get into any of the city’s museums or attractions.
- Where can you find Prague’s finest architecture?
- In the Old Town. Miraculously, it remained unscathed by both World Wars and is one of the best preserved old towns in Europe. The Old Town Square is particularly beautiful and it’s hard to believe it dates all the way back to the 12th century. Unsurprisingly, the historical centre of Prague has been a UNESCO World Heritage Listed site since 1992.
- Anything else I need to know?
- While it doesn’t have the charm of its older counterpart, the New Town and its main artery, Wenceslas Square, are worth checking out.
Going out in Prague
- Is it expensive to go out in Prague?
- If you’re not careful it can be. The price of a beer in Prague fluctuates greatly from bar to bar. For instance, in the bars on the Old Town Square a drink can set you back anything up to 100Kc, but take the time out to visit a drinking hole that isn’t in such a tourist trodden destination a drink can be as little as 30Kc.
- Where are most of the bars found?
- Bars flank every side of the Old Town Square, but these ones are best avoided. Instead saunter on up into Josefov where prices are generally half of what they are in the Old Town. There are also some good places across the River Vltava in Mala Strana.
- Do I need to carry my ID with me when going out?
- Not unless you look very young. Prague’s bars aren’t guarded by burly doormen so you won’t need to prove your age at the door. In saying that, the city’s clubs have doormen on patrol who might query your age.
- Any particular bars /clubs worth singling out?
- If you only go to one bar in Prague, make it Vinárna U Sudu (Vodièkova 10, Nové Mesto) which is just five minutes from Wenceslas Square. On first impressions it seems like a small wine bar. But don’t stop there. Shuffle your way past the locals at the first bar, go down the stairs around to your right and you’ll find 4 more levels/rooms. What’s make this haunt even better is that a beer is only 33Kc, more than half the price of those in bars around the Old Town Square. While that is a bar you should make sure to check out, if you’re looking for a club then Karlova Lazny (Novotného lávka 5, Staré Mesto) is Prague’s very own superclub. There are five floors making it, literally, five clubs in one.
- Is there anything to do that doesn’t involve alcohol?
- Prague has a strong musical tradition and there are numerous theatres around the city which host various musical performances. Tickets can be a tad expensive though. Instead, if you wish to go to a stage show visit the Laterna Magika (Narodini 4, Nove Mesto), a ‘black light theatre’. Here artists donned in black outfits against black backgrounds put on various performances.
- Anything else I need to know?
- Around Wenceslas Square can be quite sleazy, and once it hits seven the number of prostitutes and dealers is quite evident. But don’t let this cause you to avoid it as, while they do approach certain people, they never threaten.
Eating Out in Prague
- Is it expensive to eat out in Prague?
- Even if you decide to dine in some of the most touristy places you can find restaurants that are extremely good value. In one restaurant called Coctail Restaurant Bar (Karlova 6, Staré Mesto) on the way to Charles Bridge at least half of the mains on the menu are 150Kc or under. Naturally not every restaurant is as reasonable, but generally it is cheap to eat out in Prague.
- Where is the best selection of restaurants in the city?
- In the Josefov district just north of the Old Town Square (within walking distance). Here you will find a good range of eateries ranging from fusion to local.
- What about those dealing in traditional fare – what is in traditional Czech dishes?
- Pork, duck or beef. The Czechs are very fond of their meat. Dumplings also appear in a wide range of dishes, as does goulash.
- What restaurants should I keep an eye out for?
- Orange Moon (Rámová 5, Josefov), a fusion restaurant in Josefov specialising in Thai, Indian and Burmese fare is extremely good value and the food is top notch. Pivnice U Švejkù (Újezd 22, Malá Strana) at the bottom of the funicular to Petrin Hill has good traditional food, while the best place in Prague to go for breakfast is Káva Káva Káva (Národní 37, Nové Mesto). The cups of tea/coffee here are enormous.
- Anything else I need to know?
- If you're broke and you're looking for a cheap snack go down to Wenceslas Square. Here you will find numerous kiosks selling hot dogs, burgers and other fast food for around 60Kc. That includes a drink.
Transport in Prague
- How many different modes of public transport are there in Prague?
- There are two main modes of transport – tram and metro. There are only three metro lines and they don’t cover all parts of the city. Trams, however, go by all the main points of interest. They are also a great way of seeing the city.
- Is there one ticket which covers all modes of transport?
- A ticket valid for 24 hours costs 70Kc and this is valid on all modes of transport. One for 72 hours costs 200Kc.
- Will I need to use public transport at all?
- Not necessarily, but if you walk up to the castle via the castle steps from the Old Town, the thoughts of a tram back to the Old Town Square may be all too tempting.
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