Prague, capital of the Czech Republic, is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Visitors stepping off their Prague flights will discover a city of gold-topped towers and red roofs, decorated gates and statue-lined bridges, cobbled squares and walled courtyards. It’s where good King Wenceslas looked out, where the 1968 Prague Spring was put down and where the Velvet Revolution took place in 1989. Prague is also a city of atmospheric pubs serving world-famous brews, opulent Viennese-style coffee houses, and traditional beer halls serving hearty Czech fare.
The Vltava River splits Prague in two – into Stare Mesto (Old Town) and Mala Strana (Lesser Quarter). Charles Bridge, the 14th-century bridge lined with 30 blackened statues of saints, including Wenceslas, connects the two.
Stare Mesto is the original settlement, where the sights include the Old Town Square and Old Town Hall Tower with its Astronomical Clock, St. Nicholas Church, and the Gothic Church of Our Lady before Tyn.
Prague Castle and Mala Strana are on the other side of the river. The castle has three courtyards and the Gothic St Vitus’s Cathedral. The guard changes on the hour with a fanfare at the midday change.
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Prague’s weather can change quickly. Summers are usually in the low 20s (Celsius), but it can also be quite chilly or hot and sticky. Winters are mild with temperatures close to freezing. Although snow is rare, so are sunny days in January and February. July is the rainiest month and February the driest.
Spring through autumn is the tourism season. Prague is packed with visitors in July and August, but most of the locals leave town on holiday.
In May the Prague Spring Classical Music Festival draws musicians and music lovers from around the world.
The Christmas and Easter holidays are also a busy time in the city.
Many attractions are closed November through March, and the weather can be gloomy.
One of the best times to visit is September and October when the crowds have thinned out. There is a better chance of finding cheap flights to Prague at this time.
Prague is very accessible. You can take buses, trams, trains or metros to get to your destination. Best of all, they all offer tourist passes that will save you lots of money. You must validate your ticket when you board the tram or subway, unless you want a hefty fine.
Before you take a taxi, prepare yourself to bargain for a fair rate, which can be very difficult with the language barrier.