City in the spotlight: Getting the most out of Prague
Regularly popping up on lists of the best European city breaks, Czech Republic’s capital offers fairytale views, a long, rich history, a bustling (though sometimes hidden) art scene and enough local booze to keep beer and wine connoisseurs busy for at least a long weekend. If you’re heading to easyHotel Prague you’ll be right in the middle of the action, so make the most of your central location and work your way through our handy to-do list:
1. Check out the Old Town
It’s no surprise that Prague’s beautiful Old Town Square, home to the famous Astronomical Clock and imposing Týn Cathedral, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. With a history dating back to the 10th century, its ancient buildings and dramatic blend of architectural styles make the square an ever-popular spot for tourists. As well as popping in to the restaurants, shops and galleries that line the square, be sure to pay a visit to the beautiful Rococo style Goltz-Kinsky Palace or hop on a horse-drawn carriage.
2. Capture the castle
Founded in 880 AD, Prague boasts Europe’s biggest medieval castle and the largest castle area in the world. It’s made up of gorgeous palaces, galleries and churches in a variety of styles, and it’s considered the most important cultural monument in the country. It’s free to walk around the grounds but most buildings are ticketed so plan your visit before you go. Stop by the first courtyard at 12pm any day for the changing of the guard ceremony, but pay close attention – blink and you’ll miss it!
3. Meet, drink and be merry
Prague’s trendy MeetFactory is actually an old industrial building turned non-profit arts centre. It’s home to the work of controversial Czech sculptor David Černý, famous for painting a Soviet tank – a national monument at the time – bright pink in 1991. MeetFactory hosts regular arty events like theatrical performances, film screenings, concerts and gallery exhibitions, and aims to bring the local Prague art scene together.
4. Imagine all the people
Lennon believed life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans, so leave the calendar at home and pay a spontaneous visit to his peace wall. Although the Beatle never visited Prague, he became a hero to pacifist opponents of the communist regime. In a beautiful, touching monument to him and to free speech, the wall features a portrait of Lennon now covered in years of graffitied messages of hope.
5. Walk 516 meters from one side of Prague to the other
The beautiful Charles Bridge, commissioned by Charles IV in the 14th century, is the oldest bridge in the city. It offers stunning views of the Vltava River, but unfortunately the secret’s out so get there early to avoid hoards of tourists and street sellers spoiling the vista.
6. Visit Prague’s prettiest beer garden
Even if you’re not hitting Prague on a stag do, the city’s love affair with beer is inescapable so you might as well join in. At the first sign of a sunny afternoon, head to Letná Beer Garden and pull up a bench. Located in Letná Park, famed for its incredible views, it’s a popular but relaxed spot to while away the hours with a cold pint in hand.
7. Get technical
Its name might not send you running for the ticket booth but trust us, the National Technical Museum is much more fun than it sounds. Where else can you see an alchemist’s shop, a hot air balloon basket, a fireclock (we’re not sure what that is but it sounds impressive), a 5,000-year-old meteorite and a mockup of a coalmine all in one building? The museum documents the development of technology, science and industry in the Czech Republic, and is open all day Tuesday to Sunday.
8. Dig deep into Prague’s past
When you’ve had enough sunshine for one day, climb 16 metres underground to a 1950’s nuclear bunker, built to hold 2,500 people during Czechoslovakia’s communist regime. Take a tour of the bunker where you can try on a gas mask, visit the nuclear workshop, and learn about the history of the Cold War.
9. Take a walk through history
The Golden Lane is the smallest road in Prague and it’s as charming and quaint as it sounds. The cobbled street, once home to Franz Kafka, contains 11 small, picturesque houses open to the public for the price of a Prague Castle ticket. It’s a colourful, fascinating glimpse into 16th century Prague.
10. Explore the country in 30 beers
Czech locals are a thirsty lot; did you know they drink more beer per head than in any other country? If only tourists could sample all their national brews in one place. Enter the Prague Beer Museum – more a pub, really– where you can not only taste 30 beers on tap but also explore the history of the Czech brewing industry through memorabilia and posters on the wall. Incidentally, if you’re not a beer lover, Prague offers several beautiful vineyards that are well worth a visit.
Don’t forget you can pick up tickets to these attractions and more at your easyHotel reception desk.
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September 2016 | City in the spotlight
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