This modern, vibrant and captivating city - home to emerging restaurants, designers, and a new generation of Western-influenced, discerning shoppers – is the envy of the former Communist-bloc capitals. The city's rich, colorful palate of Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance buildings has stood the test of time, emerging from the post Second World War years behind the Iron Curtain, the 1989 bloodless "Velvet Revolution," and the end of communism into a free market economy.
At the heart of Prague lies the Castle District (Hradeany) west of the River Vltava. To the east is the Old and New Town (Stare Mesto and Nove Mesto), which is joined by the majestic Charles Bridge. Nestled on a hill overlooking the city, the Castle District spans two major attractions, the Castle itself and the Cathedral. The Old Town and its meandering passageways, evoke a romantic, fairytale quality as it leads to the Old Town Square, Staromestské Namestí. The old Jewish Quarter, known as the Josefov Ghetto, is situated within the old town. Wenceslas Square, the fashionable shopping boulevard, epitomizes the modern, New Prague.
Prague is a city with cultural offerings galore, with year-round classical music concerts, opera and ballet, not to mention a diverse selection of art galleries and small museums. It has an active nightlife and vast array of wine and beer hubs.
When to Go: Though Prague's high season is in midsummer (sunny, warm days and cool nights), it can get extremely crowded. Ideally, plan your holiday either in spring (April/May), which is temperate and fairly dry, or autumn (September/October), when the weather is pleasant and the crowds have dissipated. Temperatures are just above freezing during winter months.
Trziste 9, Mala Strana, Prague
A stylish and luxurious boutique hotel inspired by the beauty of music, in harmony with an exceptional location adjacent to the exquisite Vrtbovska Garden, offering outstanding amenities and superb service.
Four Seasons Hotel
Veleslavínova 2a, Prague
Situated on the banks of the celebrated Vltava River, the hotel blends centuries of architecture with highly personalized service and state-of-the-art technology.
Nebovidska 459/1, Mala Strana, Prague
On the left bank of the Vltava River, nestled amid the quiet, cobbled streets of Mala Strana and built on the site of a former 14th century monastery with high contemporary design blending seamlessly with period architectural features, this is not only a luxury hotel, but a beautifully preserved piece of history.
Senovazne namesti 13, Prague
A majestic luxury hotel in downtown Prague with spacious rooms, fine furnishings, and refined ambience.
Hotel Palace Praha
Panská 12, Prague
Incomparable luxury in an Art Nouveau-style architectural landmark located in the heart of the city.
Keplerova 6, Prague
+420.224-302.430 www. savoyhotel.cz/en/home
Elegant comfort in Prague's diplomatic quarter.
Hotel Le Palais
U Zvonařky 1, Prague
A former residential palace located in an exclusive residential area of Prague.
Hotel Hoffmeister Lily Wellnes & Spa
Pod Bruskou 7, Prague
A luxuriously restored family residence at the foot of the Old Castle and inspired by writer and artist Adolf Hoffmeister (1902-1973).
MaMaison Pachtuv Palace
Karolíny Světlé 34, Prague
A beautiful baroque residence situated on the right bank of the Vltava river.
Riverside MaMaison Hotel
Janáčkovo nábřeží 15, Prague
Behind a unique, Art Nouveau façade, a bold design with stunning Belle Epoque interiors.
Haštalská 14, Prague
Artistic innovation incorporating elements of chrome, glass and onyx in a fusion of art deco, modernist and contemporary design.
Trziste 9, Mala Strana, Prague
Since its debut in early 2003, Coda has become a culinary destination for discerning gourmands and oenophiles alike. Located at the stylish Aria Hotel, and under the direction of Chef David Šašek, the vibrant and ever changing menu offers guests international cuisine accompanied by an excellent selection of fine wine.
Veleslavinova 2a, Prague
Price Entrees: 640Kc-1,700Kc ($31-$82).
This outstanding and award-winning restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel offers Prague's best Italian cuisine.
Hastalska 18, Prague
Prix fixe CZK 1750-2450 ($88-$122).
Three sumptuous, seven-course tasting menus featuring Continental recipes, daily market specials and traditional Czech dishes. A sleek, new restaurant opened in 2006.
V Celnici 7, Prague
Main CZK600 ($32.80)-CZK700 ($38.25); 7 course small plate dinner CZK 1795 ($98).
One of Prague's new culinary destinations, the year-old Maze at the Hilton Prague Old Town, offers Central-European Cuisine with Asian influences with an inspiring interior invoking the architecture of the city of Prague.
BARS, PUBS & CLUBS
Maltézské nám. 11, Prague
Main courses 480Kc-2,390Kc ($23-$114/£11-£57); fixed-price menus 1,190Kc ($57/£28) and 1,790Kc ($85/£43).
With a historical legacy dating back to 1543, U Maliru offers a combination of traditional cuisine, sumptuous wines and historical interior.
Corner Bar and Bistro
Manesova 64, Prague
A cigar bar with ambience and a wide selection of spirits.
Novotneho lávka 1, Prague
Cover 50Kc ($2.40/£1.20).
Featuring techno-dance tunes under the Charles Bridge, with outdoor terrace and riverside outdoor seating. Boats available for rental at 200Kc ($9.50/£4.75) per hour.
U staré paní
Michalská 9, Prague
Cover 150Kc-200Kc ($7.15-$9.50/£3.55-£4.75).
An attractive jazz club with great bands in the heart of Old Town.
LANDMARKS, MUSEUMS & PERFORMING ARTS
Národní trída 2, Prague
Nové Mesto (New Town)
This magnificent, gold-crowned structure, completed in 1881, epitomizes northern Italy's late Renaissance style. It is one of Prague's most recognizable landmarks and is the site of the National Theater Ballet.
Address Ovocný trh 1, Prague
Staré Mesto (Old Town)
The neoclassical theater where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart staged the premier of Don Giovanni in 1787.
Prague Symphony Orchestra-Smetana Hall
Námestí Republiky 5, Prague
Located in the world-renowned Art Nouveau structure named for the legendary composer and fervent Czech nationalist.
State Opera House
Wilsonova 4, Prague
A Renaissance-style theater first erected in the 1880's.
The Czech Philharmonic at Rudolfinum
Alsovo nábrezí 12, Prague
An impeccably restored 19th century landmark named for Prince Rudolph, featuring mostly chamber music concerts.
Alfons Mucha Museum
Panská 7, Nové Mesto, Prague
A relatively new museum dedicated to the Moravian-born, turn-of-the-20th-century master who personified Art Nouveau.
Franz Kafka Museum
Cihelná 2b, Hergetova Cihelna, Malá Strana, Prague
The museum is dedicated to the legacy of Prague's most famous writer.
Museum of the City of Prague
Na Porící 52, Prague
This Renaissance building features an impressive miniature model of 18th-century Prague, as well as other exhibitions spanning Prague's history through the millennia.
Church of St. Nicholas
Malostranské nám. 1, Malá Strana, Prague
Designed in the early 1700's, the Church is considered the most beautiful building of Czech Baroque. Its robust dome and thin bell-tower are an inseparable part of the Prague Castle skyline.
Old Jewish Cemetery
Siroká 3, Prague
One of Europe's oldest Jewish burial grounds, traced to the mid-15th century.
Cervená 2, Prague
One of Prague's great Gothic structures, the synagogue is Europe's oldest remaining Jewish house of worship, estimated to have been built in 1270.
Námestí Republiky 1, Prague
Two hundred shops, including dozens of fine brands, and 30 restaurants built on the site of a historic Army barracks.
Na Príkope 12, Prague
The family behind Bohemia's finest, most exquisite crystal in central Prague dates back to 1857.
Týn 3, Prague
Prague's popular chain of natural scent, soap, and herb shops.
Na Príkope 16, Prague
Prague's premier jeweler, with one of the finest selections of market-priced gold, silver, platinum, and fine gems.