Prague Castle is almost a small town in its own right. It’s huge and old, dating back to the 9th century. Nowadays, it’s the seat of the modern Czech Government.
The Old Town
Stroll through the Stare Mesto (Old Town) to discover the wonderful Old Town Square, the Orloj and the Jewish Quarter with its synagogues and museums. Head across Charles Bridge, lined with dramatic Baroque statues, to Mala Strana (literally the Little Quarter) at the foot of Prague Castle, then up to the castle itself. If there’s still time, pay a visit to Wenceslas Square.
You’ll find plenty of old-school Praha winter warming food here, with dumplings, pork knuckles and potatoes aplenty. Modern Prague has a number of eateries where you can sample anything from excellent Italian to fancy French fare, and even Indian. There’s also a good vegetarian presence, including the ultra chic Lehka Hlava in Stare Mesto close to Charles Bridge, which is always stuffed full of hip Czechs.
Prague’s Astronomical Clock
The Orloj, or Astronomical Clock, dates from 1410. It spins its medieval mojo every hour on the hour, when death rings a bell and inverts his hourglass, and the 12 apostles come out to parade past the window at the top, nodding at the crowd.
For most travellers, Prague is all about the crisp, cheap local beer (pivo to the locals). For a taste of Czech traditions seek out a subterranean cellar bar such as Ujezd (or the Gate) at the base of Prague Castle, the perfect place to warm up from the bitter cold.
Out of town
Visit Kutna Hora to see the Sedlec Ossuary, where the remains of 40,000 people have been used as decorations.
A bit of history
Prague’s Jewish Quarter is the best-preserved Jewish ghetto in Europe. The Nazis saved it as part of a planned museum of extinct races. Six synagogues, Jewish town hall and Old Jewish Cemetery are now mainly museums.
WHEN TO GO: The winter off-season has fewer crowds so try then
GETTING THERE: Fly direct to Prague with Wizz Air, easyJet and British Airways
VISAS: South Africans need a Schengen visa
CURRENCY: 1 Czech Republic Koruny = £0.031
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