Prague is wonderful and you are bound to fall in love with it. I happen to know the language so perhaps that makes
it easier, but many people speak English and the city is very
tourist-friendly. At all of the sites you visit, information will be in both Czech and English. Unlike some other European cities, Prague really caters to make tourists from all walks fo life feel comfortable and at home.
While in Prague, you can rent a car if you'd like, but it is not necessary to have one in the city (actually, I don't recommend it!). The best and easiest way to get around is via tram as they are all over and go everywhere and come very often, except on Holidays (where there are fewer in motion) and Sundays there are less too. Each
streetcar has a number (i.e., 18, 7) and each numbered car goes to a different part of the city. There are streetcar stops all over and maps too so you'll be able to see which number goes to where you want to go. Have someone explain the schedule to you, and you'll find it is very simple. You
can also take taxis, but BEWARE! They WILL rip you off so ALWAYS be sure to ask first how much it would be to go to so and so location. If it sounds too expensive, it is! The "AAA" cabs are usually legit and safe, but any
cab that is a Mercedes or fancy car, be cautious. I had an incident and I speak the language! Any restaurant or bar will gladly call a taxi for you thus I recommend doing that. If you do decide to rent a car, do so for day trips, but if you're staying in the city center I do not recommend it. Parking is a nightmare and the streets can be tough to navigate. Many are very narrow, yet still a two-way street! Many streets are "pedestrian only", which can be confusing. Like I said, having a car is nice though if you want to take day trip, but there are many tour services available as well that you can take. There are Info Centers and kiosks all over the city
where you can book a trip on the spot.
Prague is divided into 10 sections, Praha 1 through Praha 10. Praha 1 is the center (Old Town, New Town, Lesser Quarter), but the rest are a hop, skip and a jump away, and worth avvisit! Don't be afraid to just get on a streetcar and get off when the view pleases you. You'll always find your way back via streetcar or a friendly and helpful local..
Let's start with Old Town, which is where you'll find the Stavovske Divadlo (Estates Theatre), Orloj (the Astronomical clock), Tyn, etc. The architecture around Old Town Square is breathtaking and buildings are in the romanesque, gothic and Baroque styles.
Prague is still a city where on Sundays, unless you are in the city center, stores are closed, thus it's very peaceful
just walking around the outskirts on a Saturday or Sunday. In the city center, everything is open though, so have no fear.
Prague is known as "The Golden City" as well as "The city of a thousand steeples" and once you are there, you will see
Now restaurant-wise, I found Old Town Square to be rather costly and a bit too touristy for my liking. All you need to do is walk down any one of the cobble-stoned
alleyways or side streets and you'll find so many great restaurants. I loved walking down random streets
and alleys - they are so charming and you're bound to find great little charming restaurants and shops. Try some Czech specialities like my all time favorite, Svickova. It is very lean, thin cut beef served with a cream sauce and bread dumplings....Mmmm, delicious! Also, goulash, Risek (breaded chicken or pork cutlet), and for dessert.....palacinky (crepes). Now if you
like really good kielbasa, then walk into a butcher shop and buy away. The smell alone is one I miss very much. It just cannot be duplicated in the States. The pastry shops are to die for too! Just walk in, have a Tourek (Turkish coffee) and any dessert that you crave - they are all delicious!
I happen to love the fruit tarts. I found there are more butcher shops and pastry shops on side streets rather than directly in Old Town Sq.
When you are in Old Twon Square, there is a hotel located diagnally from Orloj called "U Prince" - they have a rooftop cafe and even if you don't want to eat up there, go for a cocktail or just the view alone.
Lesser Quarter is probably one of my most favorite parts of Prague. It is so romantic and charming. Certovka is the small stream that runs parallel to the Vlatava River.
During the flood the water lever was so high it covered the old mill! When you are there, you may still see the waterlines on some of the buildings. That entire area was underwater! Once in Mala Strana, walk all around and explore every nook and cranny. Walk up Nerudova Street all the way to the Prague Castle. It is a steep incline with great restaurants and shops. Notice that the houses
have emblems on them. Before there were house numbers, homes were known by their names and these emblems show the names, ie, House at The Three Fiddles, House at The White Swan, House at The Golden Sun, etc. P.S. There are also many cafes in this area that have terraces overlooking the city.
Once at the castle, you'll be captivated by its beauty
You MUST go inside! Also, you MUST go inside
of St. Vitus cathedral. The architecture and stained glass and peacefulness you'll feel will be with you forever. St. George's Basilica is also in this courtyard, and then......Zlata Ulicka (Golden Lane). NOT TO BE MISSED! This is a narrow lane with tiny colorful houses built right into the castle walls. They are now shops, but the small houses were originally constructed in the 16th century for King Rudolph II's castle guards ...remember, people were shorter then! From Golden Lane, take the walk down the Castle
steps. At the bottom, you can catch a streetcar back into the heart of things, or you can hang a right and walk (it's only about 6 min. back to Charles Bridge).
As for day trips, DEFINITELY have to go to Karlstejn Castle (tours most definitely go there). It is phenomenal. Not to be missed! Take the tour to see the interior. You can either take a horsedrawn carriage ride up from the parking lot or walk. I sometimes take the horse ride up (I like to pretend I am living in the days of knights and
the castle is my home), and then I walk down and stop in the shops along the way. Bring your walking shoes though! The horse drops you off at the top of the hill, but then the walk the rest of the way to the castle entrance is quite a steep one! The walk back is all downhill though.
Also, another quick trip outside of the city limits it a charming town called Kutna Hora. It is a medieval silver mining town and the site where the first currency in Europe was minted. Also, it is where you'll find the
gothic St. Barbara (Sv. Barbora) .
Let's move on to, what else, beer! It comes in 2 varieties; 10 and 12. 10 is lighter, 12 is darker and stronger. "Pivo" is Czech for "beer" and it is pronounced with a soft "i" and "o".
I could go on and on and on. If you ask me too, I will! This may not be all the information I can give you, but I hope it is enough to make your trip an enjoyable one. I believe that Prague will pull at your heartstrings
for a lifetime.
Someone once said "It is a bitter sweet thing to know two cultures, or to love two countires" and I fell in love with the Czech culture, and I hope you do too.