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.
A stroll across Charles Bridge is on everybody’s must-do list, which is why it’s thronging with tourists, hawkers and buskers by 0900. To cross at its most atmospheric, visit at dawn. Find its most famous baroque statues, St John of Nepomuk and the bronze cross that marks where he was thrown from the parapet.
Fairy-tale castle Pražský hrad dominates the city centre. Its spires, towers, palaces and St. Vitus Cathedral hold an impressive collection of historic museums and galleries, where you’ll find some of the Czech Republic's greatest artistic and cultural treasures.
Prague Jewish Museum
This museum is a cluster of six Jewish monuments in Josefov, plus an operating synagogue. Ironically, the museum’s moving collection of Jewish artefacts from demolished synagogues was established by the Nazis, intending it to be a ‘museum of an extinct race’.
The Clementinum and the National Library
The Clementinum is one of Europe’s largest collections of historic buildings. It’s home to the National Library containing more than six million tomes, including copies of every book published in the Czech Republic. Climb the Astronomical Tower for spectacular views, and visit the splendid Mirror Chapel.
The Old Town Square
The Old Town Square is the best place to begin exploring Prague. Here you'll find the iconic Tyn Church and the wonderful Old Town Hall. Watch the 12 Apostles process across the 15th-century Astronomical Clock’s face each hour, and ascend to the top of the Old Town Hall Tower for stunning views over Prague.