48 hours in Prague

by Wendy de Graaf
   
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Although Prague might not be the first city you would think of when booking a city trip, it certainly should be! Unlike Paris, London or Barcelona, this treasure chest has everything you could want in a weekend break but without many of the clichés and tourist traps the Eiffel Tower or Big Ben suffer from.

What to visit?

Prague is known for its hundreds of towers, and when you fly in over the city, you’ll know exactly why. The best view of the city is from the magnificent Prague Castle, one of the most important buildings in the Czech Republic.

As soon as you arrive you'll notice the guards looking quite similar to the famous ones in London. According to the Guinness Book of World Records the castle - covering an area of nearly 70,000 m² - is the largest coherent complex in the world. No wonder it requires so many guards!

You cannot leave Prague without visiting the famous Charles Bridge. The bridge, built in the Gothic style, is located right in the city centre and gives you a great view of the Vltava River. To avoid the crowds, make sure you visit it early in the morning or at the end of the day.

What many people do not know is that one of Prague's city sights is copied from Paris. The small Eiffel Tower (Petrín Lookout Tower) is very similar to the 'real' one in Paris, but is far smaller and located on a hill, which makes the citizens of Prague claim with questionable accuracy that it is actually higher than the one in Paris.

Besides all the famous architectural sights, Prague also has some of the ugliest buildings of the Czech Republic. One of them is the Great Strahov Stadium , which is nowadays used by the football club AC Sparta Prague for training. The stadium is a grey behemoth and cost millions of pounds to build. But the choice of function over form has made sense, with few repairs needed during its life.

Another modern building is the Television tower Zizkova. With the city being a hotbed of historical architecture, this building really stands out for negative reasons – its extreme modernist touches compared to the rest of the city. Sculptures of babies were built on the tower to brighten it up which has had little effect on its aesthetic appeal.

When strolling through the city you’ll find many shops selling jewellery and crystal. It’s worth your while to visit the Museum of Decorative Arts, whose collection consists of many different national and international jewels as well as a range of glass and ceramics.

Where to dine?

Prague has lots of restaurants with international and national cuisine, so ultimately it depends on what food you prefer. Whenever you dine at one of the main streets you'll pay twice as much as those on one of the side streets, so take advantage of your curiosity! If you get the chance, try out a Czech kitchen where most dishes are pork or beef meat. And don’t leave Prague without trying one of its local beers!

Where to go out?

Compared with other cities, going on a night out is relatively cheap in Prague – hence the popularity for bachelor parties. You will not pay more than 2 pounds for a pint of local beer. Although Prague does have nice clubs, the city is not known for its clubbing nightlife. When you feel like meeting other tourists, check out the Karlovy Lázne. This club is the biggest in Prague with 6 floors, each playing a different style music. The location is stunning, with a view of the Charles Bridge, which you can see the sun rise over if you’re out late enough!

Where to shop?

Throughout Prague you will find many shops, from international chains such as H&M to local boutiques such as the vintage shop Senior Bazar. There is also a big shopping centre, Palladium, that anyone who considers themselves a fashion victim should visit. It hosts over 170 shops and 30 cafes, which surely must include some shops you'd appreciate.

Where to stay?

The Savic Hotel is a member of the Great Hotels of the World Premium Collection. Double rooms start from £76 per person per night. For more information or to book please visit http://www.ghotw.com/savic-hotel or call +44 (0) 20 7380 3658.

The Prague Marriott Hotel is a member of the Great Hotels of the World Luxury Collection. Single rooms start from £68 per person per night. For more information or to book please visit http://www.ghotw.com/prague-marriott-hotel or call +44 (0) 20 7380 3658.

What is the weather like?

Although the weather forecast often says it will be sunny, the weather in Prague can be quite unpredictable. Except for when its high summer, bring an umbrella.

Our top tips

  • The citizens of Prague are generally quite reserved and do not appreciate people being loud. Nevertheless, do not hesitate to ask them for things such as directions as they will be more than happy to help you. Most of the citizens speak either English or German.
  • If you do not feel like walking, but would like to see the entire city, then consider a bus or boat tour. Compared to other capitals, the cost of the tours is quite cheap.
  • No matter whether you will be taking a bus or boat tour, you will probably be walking a lot. Therefore bring comfortable shoes, as most of Prague's streets are made of cobble stones.
  • One of the most important things to remember: watch out for the trams. Around 100 people die every year from being in tram accidents. No matter whether you, as a pedestrian, have the right to walk before the tram drives, the tram will always go first, so watch out!
  • When thinking about taking a taxi, be careful. Do not just take one randomly on the streets. Not only will this be more expensive, it is also more dangerous as those taxi drivers often are not licensed. Pre-book a taxi whenever you can.
  • Want to save money? Get the 'Prague Card', this will save you money on several entrance tickets of Prague's main attractions.

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