While researching where to spend our time over the coming months in Europe it’s no surprise that Prague was shortlisted. This beautiful, well preserved, old city has much to offer and remains a favorite among visitors from all over the world. It has everything you might want from a city, from fantastic Gothic architecture and a culture that has history oozing from its every nook and cranny to delicious cuisine and famous beer there is no end of reasons to visit. Here are just eight of those reasons to visit Prague but rest assured there are many more that will have this city on your bucketlist or dreaming of returning for more.
The architecture in Prague is simply stunning and is one of the top reasons this city is such a popular place to visit. With its myriad of of styles including Gothic, Renaissance, Romanesque and Baroque, there is something breath taking and photo worthy around every corner. The reason for this cornucopia of architectural styles is because Prague is quite a unique case. Unlike most European capitals it wasn’t rebuilt in the 18th and 19th centuries because at the time it was merely an Austro-Hungarian provincial town. Because of this, Prague today hosts buildings from every period of the last thousand years.
A view from every balcony
There’s a view from every elevated point in Prague, not only balconies. There are hundreds upon hundreds of spires in Prague, each offering a better view than the last. A favorite pastime for both tourists and locals is gathering on the balconies and spires to take in the breathtaking views while sipping beer.Which brings us to the next point.
Beer, beer, and more beer
On an average, people in the Czech Republic drink more beer than anywhere else in the world, and that is perfectly evident in Prague. According to locals, it’s often the cheapest item on the menu in bars and restaurants, and is a drink that’s beloved by all. The brewing scene in Prague today is dominated by Staropramen, but there are plenty of breweries that operate in the city. Some of them are hundreds of years old, such as brewery U Fleků, which is the oldest and was founded in 1499.
Like many European cities the Prague cuisine has been influenced by surrounding countries however, the flip side is also true in that it has also influenced the cuisine of other Eastern European countries. In fact it is the foundation behind many of the popular cakes and pastries found in Central Europe. In more recent times, Czech cuisine has become more meat-based than in the past, and that has led to some amazing recipes for delicious meals. A typical three course meal traditionally consists of beef, chicken, or vegetable soup, a main dish that of a healthy portion of meat, and a supplementary course, such as a dessert or a compote. Prague has many amazing restaurants to choose from and the prices are great as is the service. Be sure to try some of the more traditional foods such as goulash, kielbasa, dumplings and pork knuckle which all pair perfectly with a local beer.
Streets in Prague are always bustling with activities. They are fascinating not simply for the activities that take place, but for their unique looks as well. Prague is known for its cobbled streets that are perfect for strolling and photographing. Then take a break from your sightseeing stroll to sit in a café and people watch as they bustle around you. You’re also bound to come across musicians and street performers, or maybe even a parade or festival.
Old Town Square
The Old Town Square is the most significant square of historical Prague, it’s a place packed to the brim with history, charm, and character. There’s always something to see there, from the monumental baroque Church of St. Nicholas, to Old Town Hall and its Astronomical Clock. The Square has been around since the 12th century and has been witness to many historical events. Some parts of it have been destroyed, like the eastern wing of the Town Hall, which was damaged during previous uprisings and invasions and has never been built. For the best views, you can climb the Town Hall Tower for a small fee although it is currently closed for renovations until January, 2018.)
Castles and Chateaux
An addition to an already amazing place, the castles add a sort of Disney fairytale-esque charm to the city. Built in different ages and in different styles, the numerous castles, chateaux, and forts can be visited any time of the day. Many of these beautiful buildings offer an awe-inspiring view. During the day you can view the city from atop a castle, but the most dramatic view is seen from the river when they are lit up at night.
The city feels like a living and breathing entity all of the time, but somehow even more so at night. It’s the amazing combination of places aimed for all groups and ages to have fun in the evening that adds a final touch to an already unforgettable city. Whether you are wanting to join in the fun at a local pub, sit outside and watch the world go by at one of Prague’s many outdoor cafes or dance the night away at a club, Prague will not disappoint. During the summer, take a stroll down to the Naplavka area. This is a sleepy boardwalk along the Vltava River, between the Palacký Bridge and the Vytoň tram stop. On warm nights it comes a vibrant scene full of outdoor music and vendors selling street food and drinks.
The one thing that will become very apparent after a first visit to Prague, is why many people who have one visit there are often leaving while planning their next.