Prague, the golden city It's no wonder Prague is one of the most visited cities in Europe.

Issue: Issue1 2014
It's difficult to know where to start as there's so much to see – Wenceslas Square with its wide elegant avenue towards the Old Town Square, the fascinating little streets and squares, the old Jewish quarter and so on.

The most famous landmark is of course the Charles Bridge with its huge gatehouses and impressive baroque statues. For centuries it was the only bridge across the Moldau (aka Vltava) but now there are many more. Now a footbridge with dozens of portrait artists and souvenir sellers, it's always packed with people strolling across to enjoy the stupendous view. Then there's the beautiful Astronomical Clock, built in 1410 and the oldest timepiece of its kind still working. Luckily there's plenty of room in the square below for the many tourists waiting for the clock to strike the hour, when the clockwork procession of the Apostles can be seen.

 

PRAGUE CASTLE

An enormous edifice reputed to be the world's largest ancient castle, dominates the entire city. Now the seat of the Czech government, it's undergone a lot of architectural modifications over the centuries, and offers splendid views over the red roofs of the city and its many domes and spires. It's open every day; I didn't find time to visit on a 3-day trip but it's definitely on my list for next time.

www.vrtbovska.cz

 

THE INNER MAN/WOMAN

Czech beer is famous but it doesn't have to be from Pilsen. We visited a micro-brewery, the Novomestsky Pivovar, located in a fleet of cellars with its own restaurant. It's like a rabbit warren, but obviously popular with locals even at Sunday lunchtime. Their Pils is excellent, their dark beer even better, and the schnapps they distil from the beer is first-class. You can also take a guided tour round the brewery.

www.npivovar.cz

There are restaurants of every description, so if you're vegetarian or kosher or simply prefer pizza or hamburger, it's no problem. For Czech specialities the U Pinkasu had a lovely local atmosphere and offers excellent Bohemian fare based on old recipes. The Café Savoy is a must: the premises are gorgeous with fabulous painted ceilings, and the menu is superb. One of their specialities (as befits a café) is hot chocolate – surely the most delicious in the world.

www.ambi.cz

 

ENTERTAINMENT

Theatre lovers will adore the Prague National Theatre in its imposing position by the river, and it's worth taking a guided tour round the premises to hear about its history. Their programme includes not only Czech pieces but a top-class international repertoire.

www.nationaltheatre.cz

 

HOW TO GET THERE/AROUND

City Night Line sleeper service from Zürich/Basel. Economy and Deluxe accommodation is provided with breakfast included; couchettes and reclining seats are also available.

www.citynightline.ch

For getting around, there's an efficient tram, bus and metro network, and there are lots of boat trips. English is spoken or at least understood almost everywhere.

www.praguewelcom.cz

 

Photo:© travelwitness/Fotolia

Author: Anitra Green

Has been in Switzerland long enough to be part of the scenery. Studied classics in London, now a railway journalist. Favourite occupations: travelling, hill walking, singing, good food, good wine and good company.


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