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From the looming spires of its cathedral to the gentle waters of the river that dissects the city, Prague is brimming with history and intrigue. Book a journey to the Czech capital and you’ll find yourself marvelling at intricate architecture, attractive scenery, and city streets that are abuzz with excitement and anticipation.
Two of the most iconic landmarks in all of the Czech Republic can be found on a hilltop above Prague’s city centre: Prague Castle and St Vitus Cathedral. These two behemoths of history should be top of any sightseeing list, however long you’re in the city for. Combining baroque, gothic, and renaissance architecture, the castle complex is home to the impeccably-decorated Old Royal Palace, pretty gardens, St George’s Basilica, a torture chamber, and more. Meanwhile, St Vitus Cathedral, which is also situated within the castle complex, is a magnificent example of gothic architecture. Believe it or not, after work on the cathedral began in the twelfth century, it took some 600 years for the structure to be completed. Travellers can tour the cathedral, catching a glimpse of legendary burial places and crown jewels as they do so. The castle complex and cathedral are within walking distance of many of the city’s hotels or readily accessible by public transport.
Whilst the castle and cathedral are top draws, the actual heart and soul of Prague can be found in Old Town Square. This former marketplace was the site of the original town hall and it was from here that the city grew. Today there are plenty of unique features that make this a popular choice with visitors, including the Old Town Hall itself. The town hall is famed for its astronomical clock, which sees cocks crowing and statues dancing every time the hour bell tolls. You’ll also find great views on offer from the building’s tower. The Church of Our Lady before Týn is another dominant feature of Old Town Square. The gothic church dates back to the fourteenth century and its 80-metre-high spires are in keeping with Prague’s reputation as ‘The City of a Thousand Spires’. All around the square you’ll find cafés, restaurants, shops, and street sellers, as well as a number of hotels, all adding to a lively atmosphere. Just a short walk from Old Town Square stands another of Prague’s most popular attractions: the Charles Bridge. The historic bridge features more than 30 points of interest and is truly a must-see attraction.
In addition to its busy city streets and historic landmarks, Prague is also home to some very pleasant green spaces, the best of which is Petřín Hill. Located on the left bank of the River Vltava, this expansive park offers much more than fresh air and picturesque scenery. Within the park you’ll find the Eiffelovka, an observation tower modelled on Paris’s Eiffel Tower from which you can see great views of the city. Take the funicular up to Strahov Stadium, once the largest stadium in the world. Stop by the Strahov Monastery and its impressive library, before heading to the Church of St Michael, a quaint wooden church, and Štefánik’s Observatory. Plan on spending at least an afternoon in the park, which is easy to get to from most city hotels. If you have the time, a whole day would be better.
Unsurprisingly for a city with as rich a history as Prague, you’ll find a good selection of museums and galleries within the city. Located in the magnificent Wenceslas Square, the National Museum houses a fine selection of historical and archaeological artefacts. The nineteenth century building itself is impressive to look at, particularly at night time. If you’re staying in a hotel nearby, it’s worth popping out to see the building whilst it’s illuminated. The National Gallery is a popular choice for art aficionados visiting the city, thanks to a wide selection of historic artwork. For more modern works of art, head for Museum Kampa. The Prague Jewish Museum and the Jewish Quarter in general are both worthy of your time. An expansive collection of Judaica and artefacts has made the museum into one of the city’s most visited sites. Finally, if you’re looking for something a little different, why not try out the Museum of Torture Instruments?
Whether you’re planning a long weekend or a lengthier getaway, it’s not hard to fill your time in Prague. Leave your hotel behind and head for the Municipal House, a celebrated concert venue built in an Art Nouveau style. Families may enjoy a trip to Prague Zoo, home to komodo dragons, polar bears, giraffes, and more. Meanwhile, Sea World offers a marine-based equivalent to the zoo. Sports and music fans should check the listings at the O2 Arena, which routinely welcomes traveling performers and sports teams. Fans of The Beatles will want to check out the Lennon Wall, which has featured murals to John Lennon since his death in 1980. Be sure also to visit the Dancing House. This novel building, which resembles a couple dancing, has to be one of the most photographed sites in all of the city. Conveniently situated on the river bank near to the city centre and its hotels, you can even snap a picture on your final morning before you head off to the airport.