guest post by Amy Baker
Prague has been a political, cultural and economic centre of Europe since it came into existence over 1000 years ago. Its central location in Europe means that it has played a key role in the World Wars and the post-Communist era. Despite the violence and destruction so apparent in the region around that time, many of Prague’s major attractions survived. The sheer number of places to visit may leave your head spinning so we have compiled a list of some of the things that you absolutely must do when visiting the Czech capital.
1 – Prague Castle
This imposing castle dominates the city’s skyline and many lucky visitors will enjoy breath-taking views from their Prague hotels. The different styles of the castle go a long way in illustrating the shifting demands of the castles various occupants over the years. Inside the castle walls you should take the time to explore the gothic inspired St Vitus’s Cathedral, the Old Royal Palace, the Basilica of St George and Lobkowicz Palace, which now houses a fascinating museum.
2 – Drink beer
It’s unlikely that you will need any encouragement but just in case you do; Czech beer is known to be some of the best in the world and the locals regard it as a national treasure. Waiters in Prague restaurants or bars will happily offer an opinion on which ones they think are the best but a few not to be missed include; Gambrinius, Kozul’s Medium and Pilsner Urquell.
3 – Charles Bridge
As potentially the biggest attraction in the city, make sure that you go early in the morning or in the evening to avoid the throngs of tourists being shuffled around on their guided tours. This landmark links the two main centres of the Old Town and is the gateway for those heading towards the castle on foot.
4 – Eat
Although cold smoked mackerel, raw beef on deep fried toast and bits of meat suspended in ‘head cheese’ may not sound that appetising, they are. Plus they are the perfect accompaniment to the local brews. We’re not claiming that they are healthy but you’re on holiday so enjoy them while you can. To find out more about where to best sample some traditional Czech dishes head to mydestination.com/prague.
5 – The Jewish Quarter
This areas haunting past makes this an absolute must on your visit to Prague. The Jewish Quarter is a tiny area that was home to the city’s Jewish population and, up until the 1700’s, was completely walled off from the rest of the city.
6 – Revive with Coffee
Prague is a very bohemian and arty city and that lends itself to having a wonderful café culture. There are numerous coffee houses to be found in decadent, historical buildings where some of the city’s most famous residents such as Albert Einstein, used to take a break and get their caffeine fix. You will stumble across delightful establishments all around the city but the Old Town is perhaps the best area to revive yourself with a latte.
7 – Hit the bars
With little or no safety regulations or political correctness, it’s very much a case of ‘anything goes’ when it comes to Prague nightlife. Head to Zizkov, the city’s main nightlife area, which packs in nearly 300 bars into just two square miles. Expect to find laid back, arty locals downing beer from plastic cups.
Get lost in Prague, enjoy it’s exciting history and fascinating culture. We guarantee you’ll wish you had decided to stay a few more days.
Monday, October 3, 2011
guest post by Amy Baker