- Written by Dan
Prague Travel Insights
By Mercedes Marks / Photo by Tormod Sandtorv
Travel advice covering the basics when preparing to travel to Prague.
When To Go
Choosing a time to visit Prague can vary greatly depending on the kind of experience you are looking for. Summer is beautiful, and the city is alive with festivals. It’s also crowded (which is either fun or not-so-much depending on your predilection!), since Prague is a popular destination for travellers from Europe as well as North America. Hotel prices do tend to rise in summer, especially near the city centre.
Spring is the ideal time to visit Prague: the weather is mild, and can be chilly at night but not unreasonably so. The views of the city are spectacular as the magnolia trees come into bloom. Easter is also widely celebrated in Prague: the entire city is decorated for the holiday, and it hosts the largest Easter market in the Czech Republic. If you are a festival fan, springtime in Prague has its share of those as well, including Beerfest.
Prague has the lowest volume of tourists in the winter, when the days get short and the weather becomes unpredictable. If cold weather doesn’t bother you and your aim is to marvel at the beauty of the golden city, this actually might be a great time to visit, since Prague is quieter and more serene this time of year.
Prague’s international airport (PRG) is large and accessible. Most major airlines fly from major city hubs to Prague, including from Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Halifax. Keep in mind most flights to Prague are nondirect and include connecting stop-overs.
PRG is only 10 km from Prague’s city centre, and shuttling between the two locations is well serviced by taxis and public transportation. To get downtown, take the 119 bus (cost: 32 CZK) to the Dejvicka metro station, and transfer to underground Line A.
Prague’s public transportation system is excellent, and serviced by buses, trams and an underground metro system. Navigation is simplified via electronic maps and all stops are announced; most city employees have a good grasp of English or can point you in the direction of a translator.
The metro runs from 5 a.m. until midnight daily, and night trams run in the hours between.
What To Do
Prague Spring Festival
A city of many festivals, with the most prominent being the one in May that heralds in spring. Past featured artists have included Czech diva Dagmar Pecková and famed German conductor Kurt Masur. It's Prague's most esteemed music festival, as well as the Czech Republic’s biggest arts event of the year.
Czech Beer Festival
Speaking of spring festivals, a fun one not to be missed is the annual Czech Beer Festival that runs two weeks in May and June. Held in Prague’s Holešovice Exhibition Grounds, which can hold up to 10,000 people, you can sample as much legendary Czech beer as you like as well as traditional foods and sweets. The festival has live music every day, plus admission is free. Speaking of beer, check out the Hotel U Medvídků near Old Town Square, which has a mini-brewery on site and claims to make the strongest beer in the world: ask for an X-Beer-33!
Zizkov Bar District
The place where nightlife happens in Prague. With more than 300 bars, hotspots and restaurants, it’s one of the city’s grooviest but grittiest neighbourhoods.
Petrin Hill is the largest green space in Prague, with landscaped gardens and a version of the Eiffel Tower that was built in 1891. The tower is 60 metres high, and you can climb its 299 steps to an observation deck that offers spectacular views.
Letná Gardens and Terrace
Located along the Vltava River that runs through the city, Letná Gardens also offers spectacular views—and every summer it has an open-air beer garden!
Old Royal Palace
The Romanesque stone palace founded in the ninth century is famed for its once glorious coronation ceremonies. Today, it’s where every president of the Czech Republic has been sworn into office 1918.
The Rudolfinum is where visual arts, music and historic architecture fuse to deliver an extraordinary cultural experience. Built in 1884, it is art gallery, museum and concert hall in one, and the place to catch a great performance by the Czech Philharmonic.
Dikova Sarka Park
Outdoor enthusiasts will love Dikova Sarka Park on the outskirts of Prague. You can hike, cycle, run, sunbathe and even swim in the park’s natural lake.
The Estates Theatre is one of the oldest and most beautiful buildings in Europe. In operation since 1783, the theatre features opera, drama and ballet performance.