The Czech Republic's capital and international showpiece, Prague is one of the most popular destinations in Eastern Europe. Its attraction lies in the physical beauty of the city, with 600 years of architecture amazingly untouched by war. The centre has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it demands to be explored on foot, an entire outdoor museum of history and a haphazard mixture of splendid architecture.
In the 14th century Prague enjoyed the reputation of being one of the most important cities in Europe, but after the Second World War it disappeared completely behind the Iron Curtain. Since the 1989 Velvet Revolution and the end of Communism, Prague has thrown off the years of repression with alacrity and is returning to its earlier grandeur, enticing tourists with its fairytale quality and romantic atmosphere. In recent years Prague has also become a popular weekend destination for stag and hen party groups, attracted by the lively nightlife, world-famous beer, and low prices.
The historical centre of the city is compact and its attractions are all within easy reach. The core comprises the Castle District (HradÃ¨any) west of the River Vltava, and the Old and New town (StarÃ© Mesto and NovÃ© Mesto) to the east, joined by the famous Charles Bridge. The Castle District situated on the hill overlooking the city incorporates the main attractions, including the Castle itself and the Cathedral. The Old Town is a maze of alleyways, cobbled streets and passages winding their way towards the beautiful Old Town Square, StaromestskÃ© NamestÃ. Josefov Ghetto, the old Jewish Quarter, is enclosed within the old town. The New Town, in contrast, is modern and has been laid out in wide boulevards, most famously Wenceslas Square, the fashionable shopping boulevard leading up to the foot of the grand National Gallery.
The city's cultural scene also features high on the list of things to do in Prague, with classical music concerts, opera and ballet, as well as the many art galleries around the city. It is constantly adding small new museums to its summertime list, often strange but curiously interesting. This beautiful city, a 'symphony in stone', built along the river and on the surrounding hills, has never ceased to capture the hearts and imagination of visitors, painters, photographers and poets.
Prague has a cheap and efficient public transport system consisting of an integrated network of buses, trams, metro and a funicular on Petrin Hill. The historic centre is compact and pedestrian-only, but trams offer an inexpensive way of seeing the rest of the city, and there are plenty of metro stations in the centre. Tram lines criss-cross the centre and are the best way to get around, after the metro. Buses need rarely be used, as they tend to operate outside the centre and are more irregular. After midnight trams and buses offer a limited service, usually every hour. Tickets are valid on all modes of public transport, but must be bought in advance and validated before each journey. A number of travel passes are also available; these are the best way to avoid the hassle of different single tickets and need only be stamped once at the start. Prague is inundated with dishonest, unregistered taxi drivers who attempt to rip off tourists. It's best to book taxis over the phone and demand a receipt for the fare before setting out. ProfiTaxi or AAA Taxi are the most reputable companies. A car is unnecessary since much of the city is pedestrianised, parking is a major problem and vehicle crime is rife. Car rental is also expensive.
Prague Spring International Music Festival
Prague Spring has become one of the most prestigious classical music festivals in Europe, presenting exceptional artists, orchestras and chamber music ensembles of international acclaim as the summer concert season opens in Europe. Every year the festival is traditionally opened and closed by the Prague Symphony Orchestra. The festival showcases the best of contemporary classical music but also remembers important anniversaries in the music world by including works by the composers concerned. Only artists and orchestras of the highest quality are invited to perform in the Prague Spring and it is considered a great honour to perform on this platform. Famous artists that have appeared at the festival include Sviatoslav Richter, Herbert von Karajan, Boris Pergamenschikow, Julian Lloyd Webber, Lucia Popp, Kim Borg, Sir Colin Davis, Lorin Maazel, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, and Leonid Kogan, amongst many others. The Prague Spring Festival's traditional venue is the Rudolfinum concert hall, a venerable Neo-renaissance building with an excellent auditorium, situated on the bank of the Vltava River. Prague's ornate Municipal House (ObecnÃ dÃ Â¯m), is also a popular venue, and has a larger seating capacity. However, performances take place in various venues throughout Prague.
Prague Autumn Festival
The Prague Autumn International Music Festival, usually just known as the Autumn festival, is the companion to the Prague Spring International Music Festival; the Autumn festival marks the end of the European summer music festival season, just as the Spring festival marks the beginning. This internationally acclaimed classical music festival has gained renown for its programme of celebrated musicians. The programme combines famous old music with the best of contemporary classical music. Of course, Prague has a rich musical heritage and is proud of its prominence in classical music and its history of embracing the arts. The Autumn festival is held at various venues around Prague, although many of the concerts take place at the Rudolfinium, which is a very special, and very beautiful building. If you are a classical music fanatic then you will be richly rewarded by booking your trip to the Czech Republic to coincide with either the Spring or the Autumn festivals; even the uninitiated will be delighted by the performances on offer.
Prague Christmas Markets
Christmas in Prague is a delightful season made special by the traditional Christmas markets that sparkle with lights and colourful decorations, resound with Christmas music and tempt anybody nearby with the scent of hot mulled wine, sausages, and gingerbread. Brightly decorated wooden huts sell Czech handicrafts such as puppets, candles, wooden toys and jewellery, alongside traditional food and drinks. In Old Town Square, local and international choirs and musical ensembles sing Christmas songs, and a wooden stable recreates the Bethlehem manger scene with live animals. Other festive attractions include an open-air ice rink and an enormous Christmas tree ablaze with colourful lights. While the winter months are far from being the peak tourist season in Prague, as they are often snowy and always cold, the festive fun and traditional charm of Prague's Christmas celebrations more than make up for the weather and give significant motivation to travellers considering a winter holiday in the Czech Republic. As the markets are open for the whole of December they are the perfect place to buy gifts and souvenirs, even if you aren't going to enjoy a Prague Christmas.
Pilsner Urquell Brewery
The most popular attraction in Pilsen nearly since it opened in 1842, the Pilsner Urquell Brewery produces the Pilsner beer that the town has become known for. It is the largest brewery in the Czech Republic and actually houses two breweries that make two distinct beers: Pilsner Urquell and Gambrinus. Visitors can tour the modern breweries, which also contain some of the original equipment, and learn about the brewing process and the history of beer making and drinking since medieval times. The site contains a brewery museum, which is housed in a 15th-century brew house and features exhibits on beer and drinking history. Even if you are not a big beer drinker you will enjoy this classy and well-organised brewery and the tours should be interesting. Although the tour does feature tasting of the beer as a highlight, Pilsner does also offer tours for underage groups. The brewery also has a gift store which has souvenirs like glasses, beer mugs and t-shirts that make for wonderful gifts for beer-drinkers the world over.
The Castle District (Hradï¿½any)
The Castle District stretches across the top of the hill overlooking the city and incorporates the best churches and museums in Prague set around three courtyards, immaculate gardens, fortifications and state apartments. The dominant feature is St Vitus Cathedral occupying most of the third courtyard. The Castle was founded in the 9th century and is still the official residence of the president. The Old Royal Palace was home to the Kings of Bohemia from the 11th to the 17th centuries. The Royal Apartments and Vladislav Hall, where Bohemian knights once jousted, kings were throned and presidents are sworn into office, can be visited, as well as the little chapel next door. Next to the red faÃ§ade of the Romanesque Basilica of St George, lies the Benedictine Convent, housing the National Gallery's remarkable collection of old Bohemian art. Behind the gallery is the picturesque cobbled alley known as Golden Lane, a row of 16th-century tradesmen's cottages, brightly coloured and built into the fortifications. Visitors can watch the Changing of the Guard on the hour every hour, with the fanfare and flag ceremony included at noon.
St Vitus Cathedral
Situated within the Castle Complex, the spires of St Vitus Cathedral, an elegant but domineering French Gothic structure, soar above the ramparts. It is the county's largest church, and contains numerous side chapels, frescoes, tombstones and beautiful stained glass windows. It literally sparkles with all the finery inside. The most ornate chapel contains the tomb of St Wenceslas, the 'Good King Wenceslas' of the Christmas carol, which has become something of a pilgrimage site. The Coronation Chamber houses the Bohemian Crown Jewels and the Crypt is where most of the Kings and Queens of Bohemia have their final place of rest. The southern entrance to the cathedral, the Golden Gate, is decorated with a richly gilded coloured mosaic representing the Last Judgement which dates from 1370. The Last Judgement mosaic is one of the artistic treasures found in the Castle District and it is a very impressive work. It is possible to climb the 287 steps of the Cathedral's tower for magnificent views over the city. St Vitus Cathedral is an un-missable Prague attraction.
Charles Bridge (Karluv Most)
The pedestrian Charles Bridge serves as a focal point for tourists and is the most photographed feature of the city. Construction began in 1357 replacing the earlier Judith Bridge of which the only remaining part is one of the towers at the MalÃ¡ Strana gate that can be climbed for a view of the city. Up until 1841 this was the only bridge in Prague and the only means of crossing the Vltava river. The bridge was closed to traffic in 1978 and has been a pedestrian bridge ever since. The 30 statues of saints were originally erected between 1683 and 1714 and they create a unique mixture of artistic styles, with the baroque and the gothic intermingled. During the day there is usually a festive crowd on the bridge; throngs of people pick their way through the happy congestion caused by buskers, artists and musicians lining the bridge, positioned between the saintly sandstone statues that make this the most picturesque and lively of attractions. At night, however, the bridge is quiet and visitors should make an effort to see it in this state as well: some beautiful photographs can be taken of the Charles Bridge in the evening and at night once the crowds have dispersed and only the statues stand guard.
Old Town Square (StaromstskÃ© NÃ¡mestÃ)
The heart of the old city and its marketplace since the 11th century, the Old Town Square is Prague's prettiest and most lively square with historical facades and a cobbled surface. It still hosts a variety of markets, especially the whimsical yearly Christmas market. In the centre is the odd Art Nouveau monument to the religious reformer, Jan Hus, a national symbol for the Czech people. The Old Town Hall features an ornate Gothic astronomical clock showing three different times, in front of which throngs of people gather on the hour to watch the brief mechanical performance of apostles, Christ, a skeleton and a rooster. Tourists can climb the tower for a behind-the-scenes look at the mechanics of this beautiful clock as well as a great view of the city from the top. On opposite sides of the square there are two magnificent churches: Prague's greatest Baroque building, St Nicholas, with its distinctly visible dome; and the even more striking TÃ½n Church, a fabulous Gothic structure with its twin spires a noticeable feature on the Prague skyline. This square and its unparalleled gothic architecture feature prominently on postcards of the lovely Prague and it's easy to see why. The square also has a number of other attractions nearby, including the Kafka Museum.
The Jewish Museum
The Jewish Museum is the largest and most authentic of its kind in Central Europe, with one of the most extensive collections of Judaic art in the world. Situated in the old Jewish Quarter, exhibitions are spread over a variety of buildings and synagogues, including the Maisel, Spanish, Klausen and Pinkas Synagogues, the Ceremonial Hall, the Old Jewish Cemetery, the Robert Guttmann Gallery and the Education and Culture Centre. The origins of the collection are astonishing in their atrociousness. Objects from 153 Jewish communities throughout Bohemia and Moravia were brought to Prague by the Nazis in 1942, to be used in a planned 'museum of an extinct people' after their extermination programme was complete. The Pinkas Synagogue was turned into a Jewish memorial after the Second World War and its walls are covered with the names of the Czech victims, the communities they belonged to and the camps in which they perished. The Old Jewish Cemetery is a significant sight with over 12,000 tombstones visible, but the number of people buried here is much greater due to the earth layering system carried out to create space. The oldest tombstone dates back to 1439. Together with the Old-New Synagogue, the oldest surviving example of the medieval twin nave style, the cemetery is one of the most important historic sites in the Jewish Quarter.
VyÅ¡ehrad, a hill fort perched on a rock above the river, is an integral part of the Prague skyline. The castle is thought to date back as far as the 10th century and there are claims that Vysehrad was the first inhabited area of Prague, but they have not yet been fully proven. The twin spires of the Neo-Gothic Saints Peter and Paul Church are visible from afar and the faÃ§ade has beautiful carvings. No other site in the city has as much distinction attached to it. Behind the church is the Slavin Cemetery where many distinguished Czech artists, scientists and academics are buried. The hill also boasts the oldest surviving building in Prague, the Rotunda of St Martin, from the 11th century. From the battlements the view of the Vltava valley is superb, and many tourists in Prague come to VyÅ¡ehrad simply to take pictures of the impressive vista.
A small medieval town in Southern Bohemia, CeskÃ½ Krumlov is one of the most picturesque in the Czech Republic, nestled in the S-bend of the River Vltava and dominated by the fairytale Chateau on the ridge overlooking the town. Its appearance has remained almost unchanged since the 18th century and it is a delight to wander through the traffic-free old town with its cobbled lanes, ramshackle red-tiled roofs and lopsided colourful houses providing many picture postcard opportunities. This charming town is only two and a half hours drive from Prague and makes for a wonderful weekend trip or overnight excursion. However, it could easily occupy visitors for many days and the surrounding countryside is also very beautiful. The Castle on the hill, greatly enriched by the Italian Renaissance style, has fine views of the town setting with covered walkways, courtyards and terraced gardens where theatre and music productions are held. Apart from the incredible architecture tourist attractions in Cesky Krumlov include the Egon Schiele Art Centre, the Eggenberg Pivovary (brewery), and the Czech Marionettes Museum. Since the town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992, the summer months have become somewhat crowded. It is no longer a sleepy secret but a buzzing tourist haven. The city's setting is picturesque, and the surrounding countryside is full of activities like horseback riding, tubing, whitewater rafting, hiking, rock climbing, fishing and mountain biking. There are many interesting sites for day trips from CeskÃ½ Krumlov as well, including RoÃ Â¾mberk Castle, the small town of ÃeskÃ© BudÃ¬jovice, and the monastery at Zlata Koruna.
Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad)
The town of Karlovy Vary, also known as Karlsbad, is the Queen of the Czech republic's many spa resort towns. It is a pretty Victorian place with elegant boulevards, elaborate colonnades and brightly coloured buildings lining the picturesque river valley. For those who enjoy a stroll in the countryside, the surrounding forested hillsides are a peaceful and therapeutic place in which to walk. The main focus of the town is health, and at the centre of attention are the 12 hot springs containing a mineral content rich in restorative and healing properties. The mineral drinking fountains in the colonnades were once the haunt of the European aristocracy, and today the local people gather to fill their quaint little drinking cups, sipping and strolling in the fresh air, encouraging the water to work its magic on their digestive tracts or metabolic disorders. If that doesn't work the locally made Becherovka liqueur is hailed as the 13th spring. Although most of the spa pools and sanatoriums are reserved for people undergoing treatment, visitors can still swim in the heated pool above the Thermal Sanatorium. There is plenty of excellent accommodation in Karlovy Vary, unique souvenirs from the area and a myriad of relaxing activities to be enjoyed.
Museum of Communism (Muzeum Komunismu)
Ironically located next door to a casino and above a McDonald's, the Museum of Communism is dedicated to presenting an account of the post World War Two communist regime in Czechoslovakia, and Prague in particular. The museum covers the totalitarian regime from its inception in 1948 until its collapse in 1989. It offers an eye-opening look at life behind the Iron Curtain and leads visitors through the life of the Czech people during the times of the Soviet Union. With genuine artefacts on display, informative text, multimedia presentations and even a reconstructed classroom, interrogation room and soviet-era factory, the museum makes sure the memory is kept alive of what it brands 'Communism - the Dream, the Reality, and the Nightmare'. It aims to immerse visitors in the daily realities of life in the communist era. The museum covers all aspects of the totalitarian regime including daily life, the army, education, sport, politics, economics, propaganda, censorship, and art. All in all, this little museum is very informative and offers useful insight into the communist period of Czech history, information which enriches an exploration of Prague with historical background and a sense of all the city has been through.
Prague Astronomical Clock
This medieval astronomical clock, also known as the Prague Orloj, is mounted on the southern wall of the Old Town City Hall and is popular with tourists eager to watch the clock's show every hour. It comprises three main components, namely the astronomical dial, which represents the position of the sun and the moon in the sky, 'The Walk of the Apostles' showing moving sculptures, and a calendar dial with medallions representing the 12 months. The show begins with Death, represented by a skeleton, pulling the bell cord with one hand while holding a Clessidra (hourglass) in the other. The Apostles then come out of the windows in a procession and return back inside. Once the windows close, a cockerel flaps and crows in an alcove followed by the chimes of the hour. The parody is accompanied by the Turk shaking his head, the Miser watching his bag and Vanity admiring himself in a mirror and makes a wonderful spectacle for visitors to Prague. All in all the hourly show lasts about three minutes. You can climb the tower and see the clock mechanisms from the interior - there are also great views of the Old Town Square from the top.
MiluniÃ¦ and Gehry's Dancing House
This unique building is so famous it even had a coin issued with its likeness printed on it, celebrating ten years of architecture in the Czech Republic. Designed by Croatian-born Czech architect Vlado MiluniÃ¦ together with renowned Canadian architect Frank Gehry, it was originally named `Fred and Ginger`, as it looked like a woman and a man (Ginger Rogers and Fred Astair) dancing together. The building was designed in 1992 and completed in 1996. Construction is from 99 concrete panels each of different shape and dimension, each therefore requiring a unique wooden form. The building is a popular tourist photo opportunity, though there is nothing of interest to see inside. When the building was first built it was controversial because its modern and unusual design was thought by some to contrast too starkly with the gothic architecture for which Prague is so famous; however, over the years it has become a well-loved and supported landmark in the city and it has been praised worldwide for its innovative design and originality. The Dancing House was built on a significant site: the building that was there previously was destroyed by bombing during World War Two. The design is meant to be symbolic of the changes undergone by the Czech Republic from communist regime to parliamentary democracy.
Petrin is a hill in the centre of Prague, perfectly located to offer all-round stunning views of the picturesque city. The hill rises 427 feet (130m) above the Vltava River and is almost entirely covered by recreational areas and parks. PetÃ ÂÃn Hill offers many attractions for children and adults on holiday in Prague. To start, the funicular ride up the hill is fun for kids, and when they get there, a climb up the miniature TV tower is also exciting. The tower is a small version of Paris's Eiffel Tower, called the Petrin Observation Tower, and although it may not sound tall at 197 feet (60 metres) it is a vantage point from which to see the whole of Prague. With breathtaking views, it is well worth the climb of 299 steps and on a clear day it is possible to see Snezka, the highest peak in the Czech Republic. Kids love finding each other in the bludiÅ¡tÃ¬(mirror maze) hall, and pony rides on the hill are also a popular activity. The observatory is a fascinating attraction for older kids. The parks are also just wonderful for a bit of time outdoors, away from the imposing buildings of the city which can get a bit daunting, especially in the crowded tourist season. Head to the hill for a walk or a run in beautiful surroundings, and take the children with, if you're travelling in Prague with kids, so that they can blow off some steam with all the fun activities and fresh air. There are also some impressive rose gardens to meander through.
Prague Toy Museum
Housed in the Old Count's Chambers of Prague Castle, the Toy Museum is a wonderful attraction for kids, but it is also endlessly captivating for adults. The museum contains seven exhibition rooms and takes up two floors; it is said to be the second biggest collection of its kind in the world. There are displays of playthings from across the globe and across the centuries, with some of the artefacts dating as far back as ancient Greece. The museum's comprehensive Barbie collection is chronological and displays the changes in fashion that barbie has undergone over the generations. Unsurprisingly, the barbie collection is a favourite with little girls. Other highlights include the mechanical toy trains and the huge collection of teddy bears, which can't help but make one smile. There are also traditional Czech dolls and toys which offer some fun insight into the culture. This is a great attraction for the whole family and it is consistently popular with visitors to Prague
Traffic Rules Playground Prosek
The modern Dopravni Hriste(Traffic Rules Playground) is an exciting attraction for kids in Prague. The playground features mini roads, with traffic lights, stop streets, zebra crossings and even a small gas station, which can be explored on bikes and automated scooters or in fun, child-size cars. If you have kids too young to enjoy the bikes and cars then there are also some nice playing areas for them. This playground offers a great learning experience for kids of all ages, and is the perfect place to let them run off some steam on a nice day sightseeing in the city. There is also a lovely cafe on the premises where parents can relax and watch the fun while sipping on hot drinks or having light meals. The playground is situated outside of the main tourist areas in Prague, in the suburb of Prosek, but it is well worth a visit and shouldn't be hard to locate with a GPS or map. In fact, it can be nice to escape the touristy areas and see some of Prague's suburbs to get an idea of how families live in the city.
The Kostnice Ossuary, also known as the Sedlec Ossuary or the Church of Bones, is a unique experience for intrepid travellers. The medieval gothic chapel is decorated with the remains of about 40,000 human skeletons, including an immense chandelier. While it is considered macabre by some, the skeletons belonged to people who wished to be buried in the Ossuary, which they considered a holy place; they were all victims of the plague, according to the displays. The famous chandelier contains at least one example of every bone in the human body and, despite its somewhat gruesome building material, is a truly impressive work of art. There are other sculptures and decorations pieced together intricately with bones and the effect is remarkably artistic. Having said that, the Ossuary is a sacred place and the atmosphere is one of worship and peace. The effect of death turned into art is triumphant as well as a little spooky and it is a fascinating example of religious devotion and faith as well as a unique work of art. It is worth reading up on the history of the Ossuary and the area before visiting the chapel as the experience is greatly enriched by some background knowledge.
ï¿½umava National Park
The name Å umava translates as the "Whispering Forest" which perfectly sums up the magical nature of this natural jewel in the heart of Europe. The Å umava, along with the Bohmerwald which it adjoins on its southern border, forms the largest forest in central Europe: "Europe's Green Lung". For forty years, during the Communist era, Å umava flora and fauna flourished relatively undisturbed by human activity, as the area fell within the Iron Curtain exclusion zone. Now the watchtowers and minefields have gone and visitors are encouraged, but Å umava's nature is still protected and is even thriving; the once-rare lynx is regularly seen. In addition to the whispering trees of the Å umava Forest, visitors can explore the park's marshes (with peat-loving plants), rushing streams (home to otters, kingfishers and other animals), glacial lakes and mountains. The park is criss-crossed with well-marked footpaths and cycle routes, which become cross-country ski paths in the winter. The area is popular with Czechs for winter sports, with several good skiing resorts. Lake Lipno on the edge of the park offers a variety of water sports activities in the summer. Although the summer is the peak holiday season (all attractions are certain to be open), the Å umava is beautiful all year round. The winter sports season is December to March. Spring is popular with nature lovers, as this is probably the best time for seeing flowers and birds. And the Autumn colours of the Å umava Forest can be spectacular. Visitors can opt to stay in a hotel or cottage in the Park itself or in one of the historic towns on its edge including Prachatice, Cesky Krumlov, and Kasperske Hory.
Franz Kafka Museum
One of Prague's most famous citizens, renowned author Franz Kafka, was born in the city in 1883 in a house on the Old Town Square, next to the Church of St Nicholas. That house now houses a museum devoted to the author, containing original manuscripts, photos and diaries, and delves in depth into Prague's influence on the man and his most famous works, like "The Metamorphosis" and "The Trial". Kafka referred to Prague as his "dear little mother with claws" and the Prague that is introduced, through him, is a dark, magical place, mysterious, gothic and complex. There are 3D installations and audiovisual exhibitions, as well as detailed biographical information on Kafka himself. Possibly the most interesting thing for literati is the extensive personal correspondence on display which gives great insight into Kafka and his life. This is a wonderful, interesting museum but it is not generally appealing to children as it mostly involves a lot of reading and the atmosphere, designed to reflect the mood of Kafka's fiction, is intellectual, dark and somewhat existential. If you are travelling with kids in Prague find a diversion for them while you explore this attraction.
Cuisine style: International
Visitors who enjoy the finer things in life will revel in Prague's premier restaurant, the Bellevue. Every dish on the menu is a masterpiece of modern Czech cuisine, which can be enjoyed together with a stunning view of Prague's castle and piano playing in the classically elegant surroundings. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Reservations are recommended.
Address: Smetanova nÃ¡brezi 18, Stare Mesto
FrancouzskÃ¡ Restaurant Municipal House
Cuisine style: French
The beauty of the French Restaurant inside the famous art nouveau Municipal House building will take your breath away with the light of ten crystal chandeliers shimmering in the mirrors and embellishing the wall panelling. Although the name suggests French cuisine, the fare includes international and Czech specialities as good as the dÃ©cor. A dazzling dining experience is guaranteed.
Address: NÃ¡mÃ¬stÃ Republiky 5
Cuisine style: Gastropubs
The world's oldest pub and brewery and Prague's most famous tavern, U Fleku has been in the heart of Prague for 500 years and offers the chance to soak up some history along with the tasty brew and hearty Czech meals on offer. Tours of the brewery are available, and there is often cabaret entertainment. Those wanting to dine should make a reservation. Recommended are the house goulash and beer-flavoured cheese on toast. Open daily from 9am to 11pm.
Address: Kremencova 11
Cuisine style: Tex-Mex
Even in Eastern Europe it is easy to eat western, and Prague's premiere place to indulge in some authentic Tex-Mex cuisine in a fun Wild West atmosphere is Buffalo Bill's cellar cantina near Wenceslas Square. The fact that it is always full testifies to the success of the food and atmosphere, which is enhanced with country music and American cowboy memorabilia. Margaritas top the house cocktail list, and burritos, tacos and fajitas abound. Open daily from 12pm to midnight.
Address: Vodickova 9, Stare Mesto
King Solomon Strictly Kosher Restaurant
Cuisine style: Kosher
One of Prague's only truly Kosher restaurants, King Solomon runs under the supervision of the Orthodox Council of Kaschrus with dining hours that strictly adhere to the Sabbath. With 12 booths huddled under an industrial-looking atrium, this restaurant is not big on ambience, but the authentic Kosher food is a must. Diners can choose from a variety of fresh vegetable and meat dishes such as vegetable bÃ©chamel and stuffed roast quail. Selections of Israeli, American, and Moravian kosher wines are on offer and the restaurant prides itself on a Frankovka red from the Aaron GÃ¼nsberger Moravian cellars in Rakvice. Open Sunday to Thursday for lunch and dinner. Friday dinners and Saturday lunch by arrangement only. Bookings advisable.
Address: SirokÃ¡ 8
Cuisine style: Gastropubs
This traditional beer hall is a great place for late pub eats and even later beers. With a restaurant downstairs and a pub on the second floor balcony, the whole place hums well into the night. Traditional Czech food is available on an extensive menu but most come for the renowned beer, which can be a meal in itself.
Address: JilskÃ¡ 4, Prague 1
Cuisine style: Seafood
Regarded as the best fish restaurant in the city, it refers to itself, perhaps more aptly, as a fish market. Fishermen's catches of the day are displayed in the centre of the venue where patrons can choose their favourite seafood. Diners are encouraged to specify just how they like their favourite selections prepared although an expert team of waiters have excellent recommendations.
Address: TÃ½nskÃ½ dvÃ¹r 5, 110 00 Praha 1
Cuisine style: Vegetarian
This is vegetarian dining with an edge. Diners can enjoy a cafÃ©, lounge and restaurant, all of which are decorated in a modern cavernous style. An adjacent art gallery for local artists and a late night club further let diners know they are in the trendiest of vegetarian restaurants. The food is a bit less exciting than the ambiance but that doesn't stop a loyal patronage.
Address: BÃ¬lehradskÃ¡ 120 00 Praha 2
Cuisine style: International
Located in the Old Town quarter, this is arguably one of Prague's best eateries. The dining room is minimalistic yet three different seven-course meals await you with the chance to sample both food and wine. The Boheme Bourgoisiemenu provides a spin on classic European food, while the Boheme Traditionnelledraws inspiration from old Czech cookbooks and raises the bar on the level of classic Czech cuisine. It is a bit pricey, but well worth it! Open Monday to Saturday for dinner only. Closed Sundays. Reservations essential.
Address: HastalskÃ¡ 18
Prague-Ruzyne International Airport
Location: The airport is situated 10 miles (16km) north west of Prague.
Contacts: Tel: +420 220 111 888.
Time Zone: GMT +1 (GMT +2 from last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October).
Departure tax: None.
Facilities: There are a number of shops, bars, cafeterias and restaurants in the main terminal. Bureaux de change, ATMs and a bank are also available; the Travelex in the transit section is open 24 hours. Mobile phones can be rented from the Arrivals hall of Terminal North 1. Conference and meeting rooms can also be hired, and wireless Internet access is available in both terminals. Disabled facilities include wheelchairs and a transit car; passengers with special needs should contact their airline in advance.
Parking: The first 15 minutes of parking at Prague RuzynÃ¬ International Airport is free. Thereafter parking charges range from CZK 100 for 30 minutes, and CZK 200 for an hour for parking directly in front of the terminal. Short-term parking costs CZK 50 for one hour, CZK 100 for two hours, CZK 140 for three hours, and CZK 40 per hour after that or CZK 60 for one hour and CZK 50 per hour after. Weekly rates are CZK 750 per week.
Transfer to the city: Cedaz minibus shuttles leave regularly for the city centre; they can drop passengers off at hotels throughout the city. The Airport Express provides the quickest transport to Prague Main Train Station. Public buses have regular services to all areas of Prague departing from the front of the arrivals hall. Public transportation fares are based on time of travel but a minimum 75 minute allotment for the ride to the city centre costs US$2.50 on the Airport Express. Cars can be hired at fixed rates or taxis are available to the city centre which both should take about 30 minutes. Taxis should cost US$30 and depart from the outside the arrivals hall.
Car rental: All the major car rental companies are represented at the airport, including Avis, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt.
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