As beautiful as Paris, as bohemian as Amsterdam, and with Europe’s best beer, Prague is a gem.
It’s a European favourite – at times it feels like half the world’s travellers are on Charles Bridge. But explore its cobbled lanes a little further and you’ll find the real Prague; boho galleries, traditional bars, gothic spires and bijou cafes.
Arriving at Václav Havel Airport Prague
Prague’s only airport is about nine miles (15km) from the city centre. It takes about half an hour to get from the airport into the city by public transport, and 20–40 mins by car, depending on traffic.
You buy your ticket before you get on a bus, tram or train. You can choose from a selection of tickets or passes at a public transport information booth at the arrival halls of Terminals 1 and 2 (cheapest). You can also get tickets from an automat or the driver. Follow the signs in the airport to either the Airport Express bus, which takes you to the main station in Prague. There are also a couple of buses that will take you to Metro line A or B. Bear in mind that there’s limited space for luggage on public transport.
If you have large or heavy luggage, you can find a taxi through a contact counter in Terminal 1 and 2’s arrivals hall, and then follow signs to departure points. If you’re hiring a car, you’ll find all car rental offices in a separate hall on the ground floor of Parking C. You can also book airport transfers in advance through your hotel or a private company.
With a compact city centre, Prague positively encourages you to walk everywhere. For those looking to pick up the pace, there are some great park runs and bike routes. Being popular for hen and stag dos, you’ll also find organised activities for adventure junkies including golf driving ranges, shooting and simulated sky-diving.
Better by bike
With specially marked bike lanes, low-traffic cycling in Prague is safe and pleasant. Hire a bike or join a bike tour to enjoy the long cycle path that follows the Vltava River south from the National Theatre or north from Prague Zoo.
Run it out
There are several parks near the centre that give you peaceful running routes. One of the best is a 2km loop around Letná. For a longer distance run, try the flat, tree-lined routes at the vast, semi-natural Stromovkaor Divoká Sárka. If your ankles can handle the cobbles, try the traffic-restricted walking zones early morning or late evening to avoid the crowds.
Make a splash
Prague is lucky enough to have many pools, a couple of aqua parks and manmade reservoirs. On hot, sunny days, hop on a tram to the Dzbán Reservoir in the Divoká Sárka nature reserve in Prague 6 where you’ll find a grassy beach and plenty of bathing.
An hour’s drive north east of Prague takes you to this UNESCO geopark with its bizarre rock formations, deep pine forests and timber houses. You can hike its trails or visit museums, ruins, chateaus, lakes and pubs. The rock climbing is excellent, rewarding you with unsurpassed vistas.
Pilsner Urquell Brewery
An hour south west of Prague is Plzeň, home to Czechia’s most famous brewery. Entry is by guided tour, with three English tours daily. Wrap up warm to visit the old cellars, discover the brewing process, and sample an unfiltered brew. The brewery also offers experiences, including a draft beer workshop and keg rolling.
This 14th century fortress looks like it belongs in Disneyland. The Great Tower’s glittering Chapel of the Holy Cross is Karlštejn Castle’s star attraction, with thousands of semiprecious stones set in gilt stucco to form crosses adorning the walls and vaulted ceiling. Fairy-tale perfection brings in theme-park sized crowds, so book ahead.