To some people, Prague may be the perfect stag do destination, with cheap food and even cheaper beer. However, to many others, it is a city full of culture and beauty that can provide an excellent backdrop to any kind of city break. From romantic couples to those travelling with the family; the Czech capital is worthy of consideration by all when heading off to mainland Europe.
Prague has played an important historical role over the years, having been the capital of the Holy Roman Empire and a key settlement during the Hapsburg era. Today the city centre has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here is everything you need to know when taking a Prague city break.
The closest airport, Vaclav Havel Airport, is situated just 12 miles outside of the city centre. There are many different airlines that serve it from the UK, including EasyJet, who fly direct from both London Gatwick and Stanstead, and Jet2 who offer services from most major northern airports such as Manchester, Newcastle and Leeds/Bradford. British Airways also provide five direct flights from Gatwick every day.
Unfortunately, the airport is not connected to the city's metro system and so the easiest and quickest way to the centre is via bus. Tickets can be bought from the driver when you step on board, but it is cheaper to buy them from the Public Transport kiosk inside the terminal. The best bus to get is number 119 which will take you to Dejvická metro station where you can use the same ticket to travel to the station nearest your hotel. Alternatively, there is also an Airport Express bus service that will take you to the main train station in the centre of town.
Where To Stay
Despite the questionable name, this budget option is perfect for those who need little more than a place to rest their head at night. It is situated in the heart of Prague's New Town and has 36 rooms that are all vibrantly decorated in reds and pinks. Guests will have access to their own kitchenette area, a TV, and free Wi-Fi throughout the building. Breakfast is also included in your stay and prices start as low as 410CZK (£11) per night.
Hotel Seven Days
Located just down the road from Hotel PurPur, the Hotel Seven Days is a boutique option at a mid-range price. Guests rave about the beautifully decorated and spacious rooms along with the pleasant and helpful staff. The price you pay includes breakfast, as well as a welcome drink on arrival and there is also a private sauna and Jacuzzi area which can be used at an additional cost. Prices for this four-star option start at around £60 per night.
Golden Well Luxury Hotel
Those who want to stay in the lap of luxury during their city break to Prague should look no further than the Golden Well Hotel. It may be situated slightly further out of the city centre, but it is worth it to stay in the shadow of Prague Castle and be able to enjoy the wonderful views from the top-floor restaurant. There is a nice mixture of classic décor with modern touches as Renaissance features are seen alongside iPod docking stations and in-room Jacuzzis. Other facilities include a large library of DVDs that can be watched in your room and the ability to request an aromatic oil bath. Prices start from around £170 per night.
The Prague metro system may not be the most expansive in the world, but it can still get you to everywhere you need to go. There are just three lines in total, labelled A to C, but there is also a funicular railway that takes you up Petřín hill and one or two ferry services that are included in the Prague integrated transport system. Tickets for as little as 30 minutes all the way up to 3 days can be bought for the network from machines at the stations, public transport offices and various convenience stores.
It is, however, very easy to walk around the city, especially amongst the main sights in the centre. As the roads are mainly cobbled, though, you may prefer to use public transport if you have elderly or disabled people in your group. A word of warning; it is illegal to cross the road when the red man is showing and if caught doing this you could be liable to pay a hefty fine.
Where To Eat
If you are looking for traditionally Czech food within an environment that is adored by the locals, as well as tourists, then there's no better place to start than Lokal. Whether you choose to take your food away or sit at one of the long tables that are conducive to getting to know other diners; you are sure to love the homemade options available. The menu features specialities such as 'moravský vrabec' (pork with red cabbage) and chicken breast fried in butter; both with dumplings available on the side and at prices under £5. You can even attend the restaurant's Draught School, where you learn to pull the perfect pint, for special occasions like birthdays and group events.
This Michelin-starred, intimate venue seats just 24 guests at any time and offers an experience like no other whilst you are in Prague. Craft your own meal as you choose from various different 'a la carte' options to create as many courses as you like; all the way up to a seven-course feast. Menu options at Alcron include intricately prepared dishes such as 'quail breast and rillettes with truffle and rosehip' and 'slowly cooked octopus with chorizo emulsion, black olives tapenade and crispy capers'. Mouth-watering Sunday brunches are also on offer as well as adult and children's cookery classes. The evening will cost between £30 and £50 depending on whether you opt for four or seven courses.
Dine like a film star during your break in the Czech capital as you head to Hollywood's favourite restaurant in Prague. The cuisine and décor are both delightfully Italian and diners can choose from sumptuous morsels like 'fillet of wild boar with pear puree, hazelnuts and roasted potatoes' before finishing with a delectable dessert along the lines of 'Cocoa cake with oranges and fruity olive oil sorbet'. Reservations are most definitely recommended, but the recent expansion means that more people can now enjoy the tantalising treats on offer at Divinis.
Top 3 Things To Do
Take Time Out To Tell The Time
The Prague astronomical clock is one of the most iconic features on the streets here and a beautiful piece of architecture. Even if you are slightly underwhelmed by the display that is put on every hour between 8am and 8pm, you will still be able to appreciate the complexity of the zodiac markings on the face. After you have worked out what the time is in European, Old Czech, and even Babylonian terms, you can continue your admiration by climbing the tower for spectacular views or heading into the basement dungeon for a history lesson.
Climb To The Castle
There is one thing that you won't be able to miss amongst the Prague skyline and that is the 1,000-year-old castle that sits upon the hilltop, overlooking the city. It's well worth the climb to visit the complex if only to witness the beautiful views. If you're not sure you are up to it though, take the funicular railway up Petřín hill to cut a considerable chunk out of your walking time. Within the castle complex, you'll find the impending St Vitus's Cathedral and the impressive Old Royal Palace which, along with the other buildings here, showcase the mishmash of influences from various different residents.
Enjoy The Local Brew
You'll find bars that are proudly dedicated to the local beer all over the city, providing the opportunity for you to settle the debate of the best beer in town. Some say that Pilsner Urquell tops the lot, whereas other profess that it's actually Kozel's Medium that is best of the bunch. If you really are committed to tasting a few different varieties, the Prague Beer Museum (actually a pub) will allow you to taste some of those brewed by smaller companies as well as the most popular brands. Anyone visiting between the 7th and 15th of May 2015 can take their research up a notch by visiting the annual Prague Beer Festival.