Prague is a jewel in the crown of Europe. Many visitors mistakenly think it’s an Eastern European capital, but glance at any map and you’ll quickly see that Prague, and the Czech Republic, rest at the heart of continent. Welcome to Central Europe.
Once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Czechs (along with the Slovaks) have gone from independence to German and Soviet occupation back to independence again.
Prague is a bastion of architecture styles, with churches and cathedrals, stone monuments and golden spires spread throughout the city. History literally seeps out of the pores of this magnificent capital.
Stand atop the stairs of Letna Park, near the giant red metronome, and gape at the gorgeous bridges spanning the Vltava River, and the towers gleaming just beyond. Stroll through The Lesser Quarter (Malá strana) and peak inside St. Nicholas’ Church to examine the Baroque interior, or else head over to Kampa Island for a better view of the river and its locks. Cross Charles Bridge to wander around the Old Town (Staré město), packed with churches and theaters, many dating from the 13th century, then walk to the New Town (Nové město) and Wenceslas Square, where you’ll find galleries, restaurants and shops. When the sun sets, a small army of touts come out to hustle you into the bars and clubs. For a splendid panorama of the city, you can’t beat the vista from high atop Žižkov Tower, the newest addition to this city’s spires.
Beer and hearty cuisine prevail in land of the Western Slavs. You’ll never walk away from a meal feeling hungry. Sample some bread dumplings (knedliky) with rich cream sauce or down a bowl of spicy gulas (goulash). Spend an evening in the pub gnawing on a hunk of pork knee (koleno) while knocking back a pint of Czech beer made from all natural ingredients, with just the right amount of foam kissing the top of the rim. The art of brewing and pouring beer is serious business in the Czech Republic.
No matter if you’ve come for a weekend of beer and debauchery or you’re simply an architectural buff exploring this repository of culture, Prague has a lot to offer. Soak it up, buildings, food, music and all. You’ll find something here to ignite your imagination.