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Prague (Czech Republic)

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      01.08.2012 20:44
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      Beautiful city with something to do for all ages

      Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic. The summers are warm and the winters get very cold. It takes around 2 hours to fly from most UK airports. The currency is the Czech Koruna, this works out around 100 czech koruna = £3.

      If you were to listen to the media in relation to Prague I don't think anybody would visit except for stags looking for cheap drink and women.
      It would never have crossed my mind to visit Prague until my parents visited and couldn't stop raving about it so I decided it was about time I saw it for myself.
      I got a bargain 4 nights in Prague the flights and accommodation were under £300 for 2 people bed and breakfast in June.

      The first surprise I got was as soon as I stepped off the plane, with the temperature over 30 degrees I was beginning to wonder if any sightseeing would be done or if I would just find the nearest place to sunbathe and have done with it.
      Admittedly I am a bit obsessive when it comes to itinerary's and if I'm going to go sightseeing I have to research where things are write lists of places to visit and how to get there before I leave to save time when I get there. So not wanting all my planning to go to waste we managed to see everything we wanted to and much much more.
      4 nights (good nights at that with morning arrival and evening departure) was just not enough time to squeeze everything in.

      Even with all my planning I am absolutely useless for getting lost, walking around in circles, getting on the wrong metro, getting off at the wrong station and just about anything else you can do to get hopelessly lost. In Prague this turned out to be the best part of the trip as we found some really interesting places by accident. The first was on the first day, after unpacking and settling in we decided not to do anything on the first afternoon, just go into the city centre and explore it's famous nightlife. We got off at the wrong stop and found an italian restaurant and ordered 2 main courses, 2 beers and a large bottle of water and the bill came to the equivalent of £5!!!!!! This wasn't the last time we would get a bill like this. In central Prague it is more expensive but still cheaper than the UK. A beer was in most places was around £1 and meals no more than £5 each.
      The nightlife was good, we chose to sit in the outdoor areas of bars due to the heat but there was a great buzz around the place and were always served with a smile and the locals were chatty and friendly. I was imagining strip clubs on every corner and prostitutes in windows but there was none of that. If you wanted to go to a strip club you could easily find one but they are not in your face.
      There is also a lot of gay bars, cafes and clubs to be found if that is what you're looking for.

      As our hotel was quite far out of the centre we only stayed in Prague until late one night, preferring to go out in the early evening and head back to the hotel for drinks later on. We never saw any trouble, we didn't see the streets lined with stag parties and found the whole nightlife experience relaxing and enjoyable.

      Onto the sightseeing....
      The first place to visit was the old town square in prague, it was here that we got a first close up of the amazing gothic architecture you can see for miles around. There are two beautiful churches here, Church of Our Lady before Tyn and St. Nicholas church. We spent a good half an hour around the area reading the tourist information about the construction of the churches, taking pictures and then over to the Old Town Hall Tower which has an astronomical clock on one side. We had to wait til the clock turned to the next hour when a door opens and Jesus walks out of the door of the clock in front of the disciples and the bell tolls.
      The clock is beautiful, detailed and has the signs of the zodiac underneath which were added after the clock itself.

      We then passed under the tower and onto Charles bridge which is not just to connect the old town the the other side of Prague, it really is a sight itself. Either side of the bridge are statues the whole 620 metres down to the other side. The views from the bridge are stunning and the bridge is lined with artists creating paintings and sketches of the views and the bridge. There are people selling arts and crafts and nobody hassles you to buy anything. Many people just stood in fascination watching them painting the scenes. They were quite cheap for these pieces of art but we didn't get one as we didn't want to carry it around all day, I really wish now I had gone back for one though.
      We got to the other side of the bridge which had another tower which you are able to climb for fantastic views of the bridge and Prague from above. There was quite a queue and we were a bit hot and bothered and in need of a drink so we gave it a miss. Another thing I wish I'd done. So we decided to head straight up to St.Vitus cathedral and stop for a drink somewhere. It was then that I realised why they were hiring out those cool stand on scooter things. It is not a long walk but it is uphill and really takes it out of you in the heat. It was all worth it when we got to the cathedral though, at first we completely ignored the cathedral and just took in the breathtaking views of the city on the walk up.
      We then went up to the cathedral and it was fantastic, right up my street, gothic architecture at it's best.

      The castle is also located in the same place and we were lucky enough to see the changing of the guards ceremony at 12 each day. There is still a changing at the gates hourly but the big one with the flags and the fanfare at midday is the best to see. The castle is the biggest in the world and you can go in and walk around the gardens and see the state rooms. It's a great experience. When we finally managed to find a shop selling water we were charged something ridiculous like a fiver for water but we didn't care we had had such a fantastic day with so much to look at and it was only lunchtime.
      You could see all of the above sights in a couple of hours as they are close together within walking distance.
      The next stop was St Wenceslas square, again within walking distance it's located in what they call they new town. It isn't actually a square it's a long wide road lines with shops, bars, restaurants and many of the city centre hotel. There is a statue of St Wenceslas and plaques in memory of some who died in the communist era. St Wenceslas square is also just around the corner from the opera and national museum.

      The above sight are what you see if you book a walking tour. I think they charge about 15 pounds for a walking tour and unless you want to hear the history that they tell you it really isn't worth it as you can easily find them yourself at your own pace and most of the information they give you is found in the guide books and dotted around on posters and plaques for tourists.
      We stayed in Wenceslas square for the afternoon having lunch, looking in the shops and taking pictures and headed back to the hotel.

      The next day we decided to go and find Prague's mini eiffel tower, the Petrin lookout tower. This is open every day in the summer and at weekends during the winter. If you want to do this I would advise you to get the funicular railway from the mala strana. There is a palace in the district, shops, cafes, churches and the statue of the holy infant Jesus of Prague. We decided we would walk up to the tower, what a bad idea. It took us about 45 minutes, the footpaths disappeared at points and we were just walking up a steep grassy hillside in the scorching heat, the views were spectacular but you can see these on the railway, there was one little cafe on the hillside on the way up but we didn't stop their incase we lost all motivation when we stopped. When we got to the top we were shattered, sunburnt and had blistered feet. The mini eiffel tower looks much taller when you are stood next to it than it does from the bottom. You can walk up 299 spiralling stairs to the top which costs around £3 entry, I didn't go up to the top as I was too exhausted (and afraid of heights) but my partner went up and took some pictures and the photos were outstanding.
      Up here there is a mirror maze which would be great fun for children, pony rides and a pretty rose garden.
      Needless to say we got the railway back down again which took about 5 minutes.
      So now we have an afternoon free and blistered feet what are we going to do? Buy comfortable shoes of course! Off to the shopping center. If you get the green line metro to Depo Hostivar there is a free bus to take you to the fashion arena outlet center for some tax free shopping! There are over 100 shops in this indoor, air conditioned (get in) shopping center. There are a lot of brand name outlet stores like billabong, next, adidas and reebok. There is everthing there including kids clothing, a kids playground, shoe shops, underwear, handbags, jewellry and they really are good value for money. Had a nice relaxing stroll around here before heading back to the hotel.

      The last full day was awful, having it in the back of my mind that I had to go home tomorrow was really playing on my mind. I was tempted to change my flight to a few days later but I had the feeling I still wouldn't be ready to go home!
      We decided to go to the zoo so we could make the most of the sunshine. This would be a great place for families and a family day ticket for 2 adults and 2 children was around £15. There are all sorts of animals and in the summer you can watch the feeding of the animals. There were lions, hippos,parrots, penguins, seals, elephants, camels and much much more. It's a pleasant place and for families you could spend hours looking around.
      We took the boat ride back from the zoo down the river Vltava back into the centre of Prague which is another thing that would be good for families.

      The great thing about Prague is that there is something for everyone.There are many more day trips and family activities which we either didn't do or didn't have time to do and I really feel like there is so much I have yet to see and would love to go back.

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        10.04.2010 22:53
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        A beautiful city, which I thoroughly recommend to all!

        It's been almost three years since I visited Prague with my husband, but I am desperate to get back to this beautiful city. We went to Prague for our honeymoon - we could only afford a cheap city-break after the expense of a wedding, but I certainly have no regrets about this, as our time in Prague was lovely.

        We went in May 2007, and were very fortunate with the weather - it was between 32-35°C each day, which was a little warm for me unfortunately, but my husband loved it!

        We flew out to Prague by BMI-Baby on an early morning flight, and flew back via Easyjet on a late evening flight - these times suited us well, as with only going for a few days we wanted to make the most of the time we had there.

        We used the Prague travel system to get around, including to/from the airport. The Metro/Tram systems were quick and reliable, and we found it easy to get tickets and found these simple to use. The Metro system is quite like the London tube in some ways, except not quite so busy. The trams are marvellous nippy things that get you to where you want to be very quickly!

        We visited the usual site-seeing places whilst in Prague, including the Astronomical Clock (wonderful to see, and in a gorgeous location) and the Castle. We witnessed the Changing of the Guard at the castle which was quite a wonder to see, but unfortunately didn't get to go inside St Vitus' Cathedral there as the queues were simply horrendous!
        My favourite part of our visit to Prague was visiting Vysehrad, and the Church of St. Peter and Paul that is there. The walk through the gardens there is gorgeous, especially in the weather we were fortunate to get. There is also the cemetery there too, which is the final resting place of many of Czech Republic's composers, writers and artists.

        Overall, Prague is a beautiful city which I thoroughly recommend visiting at some point!

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          16.11.2009 16:33
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          Research carefully before you go.

          I chose Prague as a city break this October as I wanted to go somewhere short and in Europe, yet everyone was advising me to keep away from the Euro as the exchange rate was so bad. Unfortunately I learnt that even though the Czech Republic does not use the Euro, the exchange rate is still bad, and Prague is no longer the cheap place to go that it once used to be.

          Prague is only a short flight from London Gatwick, it takes roughly 1 hour 30 minutes. I flew with easyjet and found affordable flights, although my flight times were not suited to me, 6:20 in the morning on the way there and 11:00 at night on the way back. I did wonder if they were more designed for business travellers.

          Prague itself was a very beautiful city. It was easy to see everything I wanted to see by walking around, luckily everything seemed within walking distance and I often find that walking is the best way to see everything. I have been before and got trams though, they are a fast relaible and regular form of transport. Make sure you are pretty confident with the ticket system though as they try and catch foreigners out, and they will not show mercy on you!

          Places to eat are a plenty and you can either sample traditional Czech food (although this is a little harder to find) or you can keep to the touristy places and try American or Italian style food. I found the service much better in the places that werent so local, they were more polite and tried harder to earn the big tip they were expecting. Overall things were overpriced, so I would be careful to check prices before you order the food.

          Overall Prague is a lovely city to go to. Take some comfy shoes and be prepared to walk around to make the most of the sites.

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          25.08.2009 14:03
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          Prague is somewhere you must go before you die.

          I would never buy one of those tacky tee-shirts proclaiming "I Love Prague" but I do love Prague, so much so that I have been there either eight or nine times now for short breaks. I may have lost count of the number of visits but each time I have been back I have found something new to enjoy.

          If you enjoy a quiet drink in classy surroundings or a trip to a castle or shall we say the more adult side of life then Prague has it all.

          The only word of warning I would give you in terms of going to the castle is that it used to be closed on a Monday so please check before visiting as it is a long walk up a steep hill to be disappointed. Having said that there are some wonderful views looking back down the hill.

          Other reviewers have mentioned the weather and yes it does rain and it can be cold, even in May, but in my opinion Prague is not somewhere to go for the weather. Having said that I have not been in mid winter but I am sure it is very picturesque when there is snow lying on the ground.

          The architecture is absolutely superb. The National Opera House is a good example but there are so many wonderful buildings to look at. Even if you are not interested in architecture you will find it difficult not to be impressed by what you see.

          There are numerous restaurants and bars to visit. Whether you wish to visit one of the many traditional Czech bars or one of the themed tourist bars such as "Caffrey Bar" or the "George & Dragon", both of which are just off the main old town square, you will be made welcome.

          If you want to spend a little less on drinks you are still better off using the traditional bars as opposed to the aforementioned theme bars where the prices are typically similar to what you would expect to see in the UK.

          For other entertainment I would certainly recommend a boat trip down the Vltava followed by lunch in one of the cafe bars that stand alongside the river. Both are easily accessible by crossing the Charles Bridge and taking a trip down one of the numerous sets of staircases that shoot off from the bridge.

          Whilst on the bridge you may wish to listen to one of the many buskers or have your portrait drawn by an artist. On an evening you will often see fire-eaters & the occasional sword swallower. Imagine a foreign version of Covent Garden and this will give you a good idea of what to expect on the Charles Bridge.

          Whilst my travels have been so far confined to Europe, I have visited quite a few capital cities and this is the best so far.

          A couple of final things to watch out for. Be careful of pickpockets & don't exchange money in the street. If you are going to use the excellent tram service or the metro, do buy a ticket. If you don't and get caught you will be fined, I've seen it happen!

          If you get the opportunity to go, whatever time of year, you must go.

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            04.08.2009 13:35
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            Head to Prague for a truely magical European break.

            Me and my partner got the chance to visit Prague for 5 days last year and we fell in love with the place. Prague is by far our favourite European city we have visited so far. The culture of the place is amazing and the views in the city are out of this world. My favourite view of Prague has to be by the side of the Charles Bridge overlooking the river and the castle, breathtaking! There are plently of things to see and do in Prague and there were still things we wanted to do after 5 days. The main attractions which I would recommend are a wander around Wenceslas Square and a visit to the National museum overlooking Wenceslas Square. Do not forget to take your camera with you as you can get some great views from the steps of the National museum of Wenceslas Square. An absolute must whilst in Prague is a visit to the Old Town Square which has a really cultural atmosphere. The Tyn Church at the Old Town Square is really dramatic, especially if it is stormy, as it was when we were there. A visit to the Astonomical clockis worth it whilst you're at Old Town Square, as the clock is just off the old town square...just follow the crowds and you'll find it.

            One of my favourite places in Prague was Kampa Island which is just off the Charles Bridge. This little island is such a quaint little place with adorable buildings. There is also a great park which you can sit in overlooking the river and just watch Prague pass you by.

            If you have a bit of spare change, it is nice to have a boat ride down the Vltava river for nice views. To get even better views from high up over the city, get the funicular railway up Petrin Hill (or climb the hill if you are feeling particularly energetic) and then go up the Observation Tower on Petrin Hill.

            For a lovely relaxing but explorative European break, head to Prague!

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              02.05.2009 22:23

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              Well worth a visit for a long weekend

              First and foremost Prague is beautiful, I went in the Winter time and Wencelas Square covered in ankle high snow on a crisp day is like a scene from a Christmas Card, so if you go out of season then I would highly reccomed it as a winter get away.

              The food and drink in Prague is great, beer is the drink of choice and the Czechs do it very well and very cheap, to put it bluntly the beer is perfect, food is also affordable and hearty, dumplings, meat and dish compose the traditional diet of the Czechs and if you stay away from touristy areas it is like I say very affordable

              Places to visit in Prague include on the lighter side of things the sex museum and the terrible but very entertaining wax museum. On a more sombre side however I would definitely reccomend a visit to Terezin (a former Jewish Ghetto) and the Holocaust Museum, not just for anyone interested in History but everyone as an event like the Holocaust is essential to remember so it isnt repeated...

              Overall a great City, well worth a visit.

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              20.04.2009 20:47
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              Great place for a weekend

              Prague is a beautiful place, it has lots of stunning scenery. The old buildings in and cafes in the Old town square are picturesque and the Astronomical clock. But more importantly, 50p a pint of beer! :)

              I went to Prague 2 years ago on a stag do, Mainly for the cheap beer and what the nightlife has to offer..... ;)

              We stayed in a hotel, a short distance into the main square. It was in walking distance, but if we couldn't be bothered to walk they had a tram service all around which we walked on and got off as their was no where or no one to pay?

              The nightlife in Prague is something else. You get pushed and pulled every angle trying to get you into their clubs. Groups of like 12 people fighting other groups from rival clubs to get you in. One man tried to convince us to go into his club by claiming to could ermm do naughty's with a midget and then kick her? ..... We didn't take him up on his offer. We tried two clubs directly opposite each other. One named, Darling cabaret. The other named Atlas Cabaret.

              Darling Cabaret was a very nice place. Atlas Cabaret was not.

              The Darling Cabaret is the most famous in Prague. Its more expensive than the rest but it had live shows on the stage and private rooms if you wanted to take anything further with the ladies. It has 6 rooms and 3 bars. A few of the lads that went paid for some things, the rest of us, including me, just sat and watched the shows and drunk the 8% beer! :O lol

              In the Atlas Cabaret club as soon as you walked in it felt horrible. It had one rubbish stage with a woman dancing about on it. There was lots of ladies walking around naked grabbing your family jewels begging you to pay them to sleep with you. We stayed in there for our free drink at the bar and left. It was a horrible place.

              The general feel of Prague is lovely. By day its beautiful to look at, Including the Charles Bridge, with a whole row of brilliant Artists and painters ready to make a portrait out of you. With some fabulous coffee shops and sports bars. By night it had superb restraints and bars, including a bar with beer taps on your on table so when you finish your beer you just top it up and then pay for it at the end. Its a good way when drunk to part with your cash, with some other things, weather than is your thing or not? The whole place was historic, Packed full of views and different culture and the place was very clean and tidy.

              There was lots of police about too, which gave it a safe feel. The police was bit over the top though, as we heard a story that a man got arrested on his stag do for putting a police cone on his head when drunk? Luckily we had no such troubles :)

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                30.03.2009 20:05
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                I wouald go back in a second.

                Prague a fantastic place, it has architecture, snow and lovely bars and restaurants what more could you want.

                We have been twice now travelled both times with easy jet. We stayed in the Belvedere twice, I have written a separate review on that. I wanted to do so much while we were there but we ran out of time, we stayed for 3 nights. We used the trams all the time as it is a jump on jump off service. We started in the old squire and did some shopping. There are some lovely shops in the old town square and some very expensive ones. They were just setting up the Christmas markets when we went and the atmosphere was amazing.

                We spent a whole day at the zoo which was great and I'm 22! It cost about £8 to get in but the animals were amazing and there was hardly anyone there. It is great for kids and there was a petting zoo. Take a camera we got some great shots.

                We went on a boat ride down the river which was cold but worth it there is a bar on board and there is a person telling you all about the history of the buildings.

                We walked across the bridge and listened to all the musicians that is very romantic and there are a few statues you can read about.

                We took a horse and cart ride in the dark around the city and the driver was telling us all about the city.

                We wanted to go in the Salvador Dali museum and the observation tower but we ran out of time.

                We found a lovely bar near the hotel which was really good and cheap, they check's are very friendly and we had a good laugh in the bars.

                Overall a fantastic holiday I would love to go back in summer.

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                29.11.2008 23:32
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                A beautiful city that everyone should visit.

                I recently spent a week Prague and fell completely in love with the city. I'm not going to go into great depth about all the attractions that I visited, I don't want to bore people, so I'm just going to go over the basics (or at least what I consider to be the basics).

                -Travel/Transport-
                Transport in Prague is excellent. They have a metro as well as buses and trams so getting around the city is never a problem.
                For me there were three things that made the transport great, it was clean, it was efficient and it was cheap.
                You can buy tickets that give you unlimited travel for certain periods. I think it was something like 90p to travel for 75 minutes on buses, metro and trams. I thought that this was really good value.
                I never had to wait more than five minutes for a bus and the metro was even more regular than that. I'm quite an impatient person so this was really good for me.
                The metro was surprisingly clean, especially when you compare it to the London underground. The stations were clean and very new looking and so were the trains. I was very impressed.
                It is important to remember to buy the tickets before boarding any form of transport though.

                However, you don't really need to use the transport if you stay in the right places because it is possible to walk to most of the tourist area's. I used the transport when I was still trying to find my way around Prague but with a good map and a good pair of walking shoes there's not really any reason why you need to use the transport if you prefer to walk.
                Walking through Prague is really a pleasure. The city is really beautiful and although it was obviously a bit cold (it is winter) I still really enjoyed walking around.
                I found Prague to be a very pedestrian friendly city. There are a lot of crossings so there's never an issue with crossing the road. Cars generally stop for you (this may seem like a silly thing to say but I've been to so many places where the cars ignore the crossings and the pedestrians) and there are a lot of pedestrianised areas.
                It snowed a lot while I was there and I was a bit concerned about the ground being slippery but almost everywhere I went was salted so that there was no ice or snow on the floor.

                -Eating-
                We went self catering which was perfect for us because it kept the cost of the holiday down. There was a tesco, which seemed to be the main supermarket, and it sold pretty much everything and like the tesco over here was pretty cheap. There were also loads of mini markets, at least one on every side street, it seemed. There were three on the road that we were staying on and they stocked a good variety of food and drink.
                So, basically, you won't starve! If you go self catering there are plenty of places to buy food and drink and the prices are very reasonable compared to the prices over here. You won't have to look far for the food shops.

                Although we went self catering we did eat out quite a lot. I was quite disappointed to find that there are so many American chain restaurants (TGI's, McDonald's, Starbucks...the usual suspects) but if you like to stick to what you know I guess that could be a positive thing.
                It is not difficult to find a restaurant in Prague and they serve all kinds of food so there's something for every taste. I would highly recommend that anyone visiting Prague tries the traditional goulash at least one, but it's not suitable for vegetarians.

                There are a lot of places that are suitable for vegetarians, including a number of places that serve just vegetarian food. If you are a vegetarian it's best to look up vegetarian places before going out in Prague because we did end up in some places where there were only one or two vegetarian options.

                I would recommend eating at Cafe Slavia. Apparently it's famous. I didn't know this until I looked it up on google just now to check the spelling on the name, but I can see why it's famous. It's wonderful in there!
                It's a cafe, the prices are really reasonable but you get treated as though you're in an expensive restaurant.
                The service was excellent. Always very quick and very friendly with staff who couldn't do enough to help you.
                The food was great and there was so much choice. The portion sizes are huge. I have a good appetite but I struggled to eat all of my main course and had to leave some of it, so definitely good value for money. They have a great selection of cake which I'm told by my friends are lovely but everytime we went in there I couldn't fit any dessert in! Over all really tasty, huge portions that are great value for money.
                Oh, and try the hot chocolate. It's the best hot chocolate I've ever had.
                The entire atmosphere in this restaurant is great. It has an art deco look, so very attractive and looks out over the river.
                Unfortunately there was no non smoking section and I hate smoke so this ruined the experience slightly for me. However, it's a testament to the greatness of this place that I was willing to eat there so many times even though it involved inhaling other peoples smoke.

                If you want a cheap, vegetarian place to try I would recommend Country Life. It's not the best food that I've tried but it is all vegetarian and it's all very cheap. There isn't any table service. It reminded me a lot of school dinners, you go up to the counter, choose your food and then take it to the till. It's completely self service.
                This place isn't anything special in terms of service and atmosphere but it's perfect if you're out in old town and need somewhere cheap and quick to eat.

                -Things to do-
                I did a lot of sight seeing n Prague and I'm not going to go into a huge amount of detail here, the things worth reviewing I'll review seperately for those who are interested.
                There is a lot to do in Prague and if you do want to see a lot of sights it's worth looking into the Prague card (just search google for it).
                I would recommend going to the old town. It's such a beautiful place and when I was there I felt like I was in a fairy tale! Honestly, with the snow and all of the pretty buildings it was like being in a disney film. I don't know much about art or architecture, all I know is that the buildings look great.
                There are a number of attractions in old town and I personally really enjoyed going into the old town hall and tower.
                On the hour every hour there are crowds gathered outside of the tower to see statues of the apostles going past the window in the astronomical clock. This isn't anything amazing but you might as well see it if you're in the area.

                The national museum is another must see for anyone going to Prague. Like most of the buildings this building is amazing and inside there is so much to see. I'm really interested in history and this museum will give you a good overview of the history of the Czech Republic. There's also a zoology, paleantology and anthropology exhibition, but that didn't really interest me so I can't really comment on that.

                -Shopping-
                Like in most touristy places there are shops everywhere.
                I was surprised to find that there was a debenhams and a marks and spencer in Prague. There are a lot of chain stores which weren't personally to my taste. I don't go to a different country to shop in the same shops.
                I wanted to buy marionette puppets as gifts and found that there were loads of shops selling them, as well as other souvenirs. It's worth shopping around a bit because the prices do vary. I found that in most of the shops the shop assistants were quite pushy. I really hate that because it makes me feel uncomfortable. They are good in the way that they're happy to talk to you about the product but I would have preferred being left to browse.

                -General-
                Prague is a beautiful city, I really enjoyed my visit and want to go back but there were a few things that I didn't like.
                I've mentioned before that I hate smoking, I just don't like inhaling smoke and people smoke everywhere here. I don't think that I went into a single cafe or restaurant where people weren't smoking.
                The city is clean but I found that there was frequently the smell of sewage.

                I would definitely recommend visiting Prague. I was there for a week and felt like I needed longer to really see everything that Prague has to offer. I can't wait to go back.

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                  29.10.2008 14:32
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                  Couldn't spend a week here but a great place for a few days. Very historic and well worth a visit

                  Before I start this review I must stress that this is not going to be an in depth review that lists all the sights to see in detail along with the history etc. This info can be found in any tourist information centre in Prague, or in any guide book or on numerous websites.

                  I have written this review to be a taster of what Prague has to offer, and my first time experience in this wonderful city. The only way to get a feel for Prague is to get out there and discover it for yourself.

                  My experience
                  ****************

                  Getting there
                  **************
                  Living in Norfolk meant that the most convenient airport for my girlfriend and I was Stanstead, a one and a half hour drive (abiding by all speed limits and in moderate traffic) away.

                  Out of all UK airports I have travelled from I must say that Stanstead was the easiest (it is close) and the cheapest at which to park. The car parking cost £29.50 for 5 days through the BAA website.

                  We flew Czech Airlines, and whilst they changed our flight itinary three times prior to the date of travel, I found them to be very efficient. The plane was modest and fairly comfortable, when bearing in mind we travelled 'normal' class and the return tickets cost just over £150 for both of us.

                  Prague Airport
                  ****************
                  Due to Czech Airlines messing us around we had to book the taxi for 1.30 pm despite our arrival at 12.30. I found that this was the most stressful part since I had read many horror stories of having to 'hail down' a taxi and having to pay up to £100 to get to Prague which is some 15KM away from the airport.

                  We watched people come and go, we watched taxi drivers arrive find their fares and then disappear. With more and more coming and going we began to get more and more nervous.

                  At 1.30pm a taxi driver came in to the arrivals lounge and held up a docket with my name. I have not felt so relieved. I was also very impressed - bang on time. This is something I am not used to since all the taxis I have booked in England are always late.

                  Getting to Prague town centre
                  *********************************
                  We followed the driver to the car. It was an old clapped out Peugeot 405 Diesel estate. Upon sitting in the seat I could feel my bum on the floor. The interior rattled, the engine smoked and the suspension knocked at every bump. This car was a death trap, but we didn't care - we were on our way to the studio and that was all that mattered.

                  I was glad that we booked the taxi with the accommodation since our taxi driver spoke very little broken english. There is no way he would have understood our directions.

                  The accommodation
                  ***********************
                  We stayed in a small studio about 300m from Charles Bridge and the river.
                  The accomodation was the top floor of a family home - which is why only couples are catered for. The accommodation consisted of a small kitchen complete with fridge, cooking rings, a kettle and plates/cutlery/bottle opener etc, a small shower room with a sink, a separate WC, a large bedroom with double bed, TV, 2 comfy chairs, chest of drawers, a radio and a fan. The room was basic but more than adequate.

                  For 50 euros per night and so close to the town we could not really complain.

                  Sight seeing and wandering around
                  ****************************************
                  There are many historic sights around Prague to look at. These include Charles Bridge (which supposedly took 300 years to build), Wenclas Square and many statues, buildings, fountains, churches, chapels etc. Around every corner there is an historic building that is worthy of a photograph. It really is a beautiful city.

                  Across the river there is a look out tower on top of a hill. The tower is 60m but when considering the hill is c. 240m above sea level the combined height is c. 300m which is higher than the Eiffel Tower (apparantly). If you go to Prague you must go up this tower. The views are breath-taking since you can see the whole city from up there.

                  It is a challenging walk up the hill, and our calves, thighs and ham strings were burning and tight for the next 3 days. However, it was well worth it.

                  For those that cannot scale the hill, or are too lazy to scale the hill there is a cable car to the top. Since we walked both up and down I cannot comment on the cost of the car.

                  I would recommend a river trip. Although you don't get to go too far up the river you do get to see all the sights. The river trips run during both the day and at night. Prague at night, especially from the deck of a boat, is beautiful and it is an experience that should not be missed.

                  There are also tours around the city. This can be done via a convertible car (Skoda of course!), bus, tram, bicycle or horse and carriage. We did not participate in any of the above so cannot comment on how good, or otherwise these excursions are. Seeing the city on foot was good enough for us.

                  We later found out that Prague is so well preserved because it managed to escape any world war bombings. England and France decided to 'gift' Hitler Czechoslavakia as a bribe to keep him away from Western Europe. This is a great benefit now, since it is so beautiful, but at the time it was obviously not a good thing.

                  It should be noted that Prague is full of tourists, and I mean FULL of them. From parties of school children to couples to families to stag parties - Prague appears to attract all. If you do not like crowds, or feel claustrophobic, then Prague is not the place for you.

                  Food & Drink
                  **************
                  On the whole, Prague is a cheap place to eat and drink. We found 0.5l of Pilsner Urquell (which is their local beer) for 29Kr around 60p for just over a pint. All alcoholic (and soft) drinks are reasonable in these places. However, there are places where 0.5l cost 155Kr. These tend to be in places where there is outside seating. I would recommend that these places are avoided.

                  With regards to food it can be really cheap or quite expensive, depending on where you go. Traditional Czech food consists of meat (pork, beef, chicken or duck) and potato dumplings, dumplings and red cabbage. It is very tasty.

                  A piece of advice is don't ignore the restaurants that appear to be too cheap. I was sceptical and thoguht the food would be awful and the portions would be small. This was quite the opposite! The cheapest, and arguably the best places to eat are found off the main streets. Ignore small alley ways at your peril.

                  I must warn that there are places that will rip you off given the chance. We paid nearly £25 for a sandwich, bit of green salad, 2 portions of chips, a wine and a litre of beer! We got charged for everything in this place including 50p for a dollop of ketchup, 50p for some salt, 50p for pepper, £2 for using cutlery, £1 for sitting down, the cost of the food and they even put a 10% tip on top!

                  Again this was the place where there is outside seating. We were served by a pretty girl and once the bill came and we started asking questions four big blokes came out from the pub - it is a very intimidating experience that can only be solved by paying and leaving. An American couple were charged £9 for a bottle of water and an expresso! Just a warning for all to consider.

                  One thing that annoyed me was that in bars we were told what to tip. If I get good service then I will leave a tip at my discretion but for being served a drink?!? I would have gone to the bar myself - oh... infact I did but I was told it was table service only. I also found that when paying for all the drinks at the end the waitress (after telling you that the cost does not include a tip of 10%) stands and waits for you to tell them how much change you would like back. On the last day I got tight and said all of it and the look I got was disgusting. She said something in Czech - what I do not know but can only guess. This happened at Lavka - a bar on the river. Again I would avoid this since it is expensive and the waitresses are very rude.

                  I should note that in restaurants we were not told about the tip. Upon paying the bill all change would come back and it was up to you to leave a tip. In these I generally left 25% since the service was excellent, the food was excellent and it is very cheap.

                  It appears that you should tip everyone in Prague. You pay 10Kr to go to the toilet and the person taking the money expects a tip. You pay 500Kr to get from the airport to the studio (which we later found out is double what we should have paid) and the driver expects a tip - even though he did not speak to us, tell us about the area, help us with bags etc. It is a mockery and I actually find this style of begging totallyt wrong.

                  Transport
                  ***********
                  Getting around Prague is easy. We found the best way, and the cheapest way is on foot. Prague is not that big and most of the city can be walked within a day or so. Being on foot allows you to go down side streets and alleyways and see some beautiful and very historic buildings, statues and fountains.

                  In addition there is a tram which goes around the perimeter of the city. For around 50p you can travel around most of Prague. Just take no. 22 or 23.

                  Shopping
                  ***********
                  Amber, crystal and garnet is big business in Prague. I can't comment on the price since I am unsure how much it costs in England.

                  Wooden toys and puppets are also big business. And whilst they have a certain charm about them they are not your typical holiday souvenir to take home.

                  Around Charles bridge there are tacky souvenir shops that sell t-shirts, crystal glasses, key rings and all the usual holiday tat.
                  Strolling around Prague there are many 'fashionable shops' including Louis Vitton, Benneton, a Nike store, the Adidas store, La Coste, Cartier etc. I was hoping that I would be able grab a few (genuine) bargains. Wrong! Prices in Prague are not that much cheaper (if at all) than in England.

                  Conclusion
                  *************
                  Prague is a place that you must get to. I wanted to see it before the stag/hen parties ruin the city. We were lucky to take our city break mid week so we did not get too caught up in the (supposed) busy night life.

                  The city is so historic and (in my opinion) far more romantic than Paris that there is a phot opportunity around every corner. It is cheap to stay, eat and drink (providing that you are careful).

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                    19.10.2008 16:20
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                    Prague - Czech Republic's Golden City

                    Whenever writers have described the Czech capital the tributes have flowed freely. Prague, on the banks of the beautiful Vltava river and built, like Rome, on seven hills, continues to be a golden, magical city of a hundred towers. Over hundreds of years, the people have been moulded by the interaction of three different powerful cultures - Czech, German and Jewish - that created a cultural focal point for central Europe.

                    Since 1989 the city has become the economic centre of the former Eastern bloc. Countless firms and banks have offices in the city, and new shopping centres, restaurants and hotels have sprung up. This westernisation would not suit many capitals, but it certainly has not harmed business. Since the Velvet Revolution, the home of the poet Vaclav Havel has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.

                    Unlike other central European capitals, Prague escaped serious damage during World War 11; only three historic properties went up in flames, and during Pragues's May uprising, a German tank blasted the southern wing of the Old Town Hall.

                    The citizens of Prague have not been happy with modern buildings in the historic quarter. The 1980's Nova Scena (New Scene) building next to the National Theatre found few admirers and I have to say that I do find this building totally incongruous and a bit of an 'eye sore.' Sometimes the new mixes with the old and in other parts of Prague this works perfectly well but not next to the Theatre as it spoils the total look of grandeur and looks like it has been added on.

                    Architectural conservation is a long standing tradition. At the end of the 19th century, conditions in the Josefov district, the old Jewish ghetto, became unbearable and the city council hesitated for months before deciding to start all over again. The small, dilapidated houses were demolished and four to six storey apartments were built in Historicist style.

                    Prague's oldest district is the Stare Mesto (Old Town). Founded in the 10th century, it became the home of the king at the beginning of 14th century. Then, in the mid 13th century, Premysl Otakar 11 allowed Germans to found the Mala Strana (Lesser Quarter). In the 14th century under Charles 1V, the Novo Mesto (New Town) emerged. The last district was Hradcany (Castle Quarter), which became the residence of the military governor in 1320. In 1784 these districts amalgamated under one magistrate.

                    I have named the five historic districts above and I will mention a little about the places in each of these districts I think is worth visiting. I would allow a day for each, or you could even cover the main buildings in three days. There are organised sigthseeing tours but personally I think these are vastly overpriced, as large parts of the city centre are pedestrianised and many sights can be reached on foot or by underground which is reasonably priced and you can buy 1, and 3 day tickets or a week ticket but remember to validate the tickets as they are very strict on this in Prague. I am afraid I was fined last year for not validating my ticket and had to pay the equivalent of £24. It's no use pretending to be a daft Brit who doesn't understand the lingo - the Metro police are wise to that trick.

                    The New and Old Town
                    -----------------------------

                    The best place to probably start your tour is at the upper end of Wenceslas Square where the staue of St. Wenceslas stands. This is a usual meeting place for tourists and locals alike. Two underground lines (A and C; station: Museum) intersects here. This is a lovely broad boulevard, lined with 19th and 20th century buildings and has for many years been Prague's main shopping street. Some 820 yards long and 65 yards wide, its dimensions have actually changed very little since the 14th century. This street is always busy with tourists from all over the world and I quite like the buzz that all these visitors make. It's definitely lively.

                    The National Museum, a neo-Renaissance building completed in 1890 stands at the upper end of the square. Within its Pantheon, 49 statues and busts of famous Czechs are on display, while in the wings there are various collections of scientific and historic interest. A wonderful and dominant building to look at from the outside but rather dull and uninteresting inside.

                    The lower end of Wencelas Square is often described as the 'Golden Cross' or simply the 'Shopping Triangle.' The two other important commercial streets, Narodni trida (National Street) and Na prikope (The Moat), meet here. There is a beer tavern not far away from here - in fact just a few yards, and it serves a good pint of sweet, black beer. The tavern bears the name U Fleku and has a shaded beer garden and serves food which is reasonably priced and is popular with both tourists and local people.

                    Narodni trida leads to the National Theatre by the banks of the Vlatva. Completed in 1883, it is not only a playhouse, but also a proud symbol of national identity. It was built with donations from the Czech people and the country's most famous artists of the time worked on the decor. The building opposite, the Prague Film Acadamey is a fascinating place and one I am always glad to visit every time I am in the city. It houses one of the oldest coffeee houses in Prague and is where Vaclav Havel used to visit quite regularly. Years ago Havel was one of my heroes and I have many times tried to read his books but usually end up with a headache afterwards as they are far too 'intellectual' to enjoy.

                    Narodni trida and na prikope form the boundary between the Old and New Town. At the spot fomerly occupied by one of the 13 town gates stands the splendid, late-Gothic Powder Tower. Erected during the late 15th century, its hipped roof and gallery were added at the end of the 19th century. For a fine view over the city's 100 towers, a climb to the top is well worth the effort. The tower was used as a gunpowder store from time to time , hence its name. In the 15th century, the palace of the Bohemian Kings stood next door but at the beginning of the 20th century, the fine art nouveau Municipal House was erected in its place and what a fine building it is. Above the entrance is a very impressive, semi-circular mosaic called Homage to Prague. The cafe and restaurant is faithful to the style of art nouveau and if you are a fan you won't be disappointed because this is a real gem.

                    The Celetna Ulice is a very busy pedestrianised thoroughfare and restaurants occupy many of the vaulted cellars beneath the originally Romanesque houses. Opposite the former Mint (1755) stands the The House of the Black Madonna, which dates from 1912. The dark skinned Virgin Mary in a gilded cage is just one example of the signs which adorned practically every house in Prague, before the introduction of numbers, almost every house had its own name. Other such examples in the Celetna are the House of the Three Kings (No 3) and the House of the Golden Vulture (No 22).

                    The focal point for the Old Town is the Old Town Square and one of the finest market places in Europe. Having seen many market squares on my travels and throughout my life this never ceases to excite me. To appreciate its huge dimensions, arrive early morning or late evening when it is usually almost empty.

                    The square is dominated by the 14th century Tyn Church whose 80 metre twin towers have come to symbolise Prague's Old Town. These towers dominate the sky line of Prague and can be seen from outside of the city. On the hour crowds gather at the foot of the Old Town Square's Town Hall tower. They are waiting for the Astronomical Clock to chime, but the Sphere created in 1490 by an academic at Charles 1V University doess not attract quite so much interest. Yet the disc underneath the puppet show displays the position of both the moon and sun and not only does it give Central European time but also Old Bohemian Time which counted from sunset to sunset. Beneath that is a painted calendar. The signs of the zodiac and rural scenes on the copper disc are by Josef Manes, a famous 19th century Czech painter.

                    The Old Town Hall consists of a whole line of buildings which ends on the corner with U Minuty, a house that is covered with Renaissance sgraffito ( Italian technique of painting where a design is scratched into two layers of plaster with a special tool very much like a comb). You won't miss this house as the beautifully scratched designs on the plaster stands out from the other end of the street.

                    Off St. Mary's Square is the back entrance to the Clementium. Up until the 16th century, 25 houses, three churches and a monastery occupied the 2 hectare site, but in 1620 a huge Jesuit centre was built. Summoned to Prague by the Emperor Ferdinand 1, the order established a number of educational institutions in the city. Their purpose was to re-educate the Protestants and return them to Catholicism. In one of the inner courtyards, a priest burnt 2,600 Hussite books. The Clementinum now houses the Czech Republic's Natioanl Library and well worth a visit.

                    Josefov
                    -----------

                    Situated on the northeast side of the Old Town Square, adjacent to the gleaming white St. Nicholas Church, is the birthplace of Franz Kafka and my favourite area of Prague. A recently installed bust serves as a memorial to Prague's most famous writer. During the Communist era, the authorities tried to dismiss the pessimistic Jewish view of world history. This building stands on the boundary of the old Ghetto, a district that was inhabited by Jews as long ago as the 11 century. 'We're going behind the wire'. This was the expression used by non-Jews and Christians. In 1849 Franz Joseph 1 oficially ended the Jews' isolation.

                    The town behind a fence no longer exits. Six synagogues, the old Jewish cemetry and the Jewish Town Hall are all that have survived. I have always been fascinated by Jewish areas and whenever I vist a city this is always the first area I look for. It may be quite morbid of me - I don't know - but I think I always find these areas so interesting historically. One of my favourite places to visit is the Old Jewish Cemetry which can be reached through the Pinkas Synagogue courtyard. Beneath the elder trees lie the remains of more than 100,000 jews who died in the Jewish quarter between 1439 and 1787. The ghetto, and therefore the cemetry, could not be extended, so bodies were buried in layers and more than 12,000 tombstones are crammed into a tiny space. Over the years the earth sank and the headstones from the lower layers have resurfaced.

                    Its fascinating to view the Hebrew inscriptions and the pictures on the stones as they tell the lives of the dead. Animals represent their names and tools (scissors or tweezers) indicate their profession. There is also a Ceremonial Hall which houses a collection of drawings by children who died in Terezin concentration camp.

                    The Lesser Quarter
                    ------------------------

                    On the Old Town side of the river one of the finest, if not the finest bridge tower in Europe, guards the Charles Bridge. This bridge is always popular with tourists and a stream of people constantly cross it on the hour and every hour. Artisans display their wares so here there is always something to look at and if you really want to - buy. It was built in the second half of the 14th century and statues of the Emperor Charles 1V and his son Vaclav adorn the west front. The bridge is also famous for the baroque sculptures that were added in the 17th century. The best time to cross the bridge is just as the sun is setting - the light on the river and the bridge is so picturesque. I can see why it is one of the most photographed scenes in Prague.

                    A different face of Prague lies on the western bank of the river. Gone are the narrow lanes of the Old Town; aristocrats' palaces and gardens predominate in the Lesser quarter. The most famous grand residence belonged to the Imperial Commander of Prague, Albrecht von Waldstein. During the Thirty Years War he had about twenty houses demolished to make way for the extensive baroque garden of the Valdstejnsky Palace beneath Hradcany. The palace and gardens are generally open all year round and if you are a garden enthusiast then the baroque garden is very beautiful and worth a couple of hours of your time.

                    Hradcany
                    ------------

                    The narrow street leads up to the Castle Square, the heart of the Castle Quarter. On the west side stand Renaissance and Baroque palaces. While to the east the two Fighting Giants guard the main entrance to Prague Castle. Last time I visited Prague I left the Castle until last and unfortunately I didn't see everything due to time constrictions. I headed straight for the Toy Museum and the Picture Gallery of Prague but there are other museums including the National Gallery and an exhibition dedicated to Czech History which I would think is interesting as they have had quite a troubled past to say the least.


                    As Prague is often the main destination in the Czech Republic prices of accommodation are high here. I suggest you book on line before you arrive in Prague. I have turned up at 2pm in the afternoon with no accommmodation and have struggled to find somewhere. The tourist information office is a useful place to visit and they are helpful but they can only offer what they have on their books and in July and August all types of accommodation are taken up really quickly. You can expect to pay from £90 to £160 per night for a double room in a four star hotel and about £60 pays for two people in a three star hotel. Hotels with one star are best avoided. The price of private accommodation depends on the area of Prague and can vary from around £25 to even £50.

                    Food and Drink
                    -------------------

                    There are many types of restaurants in the city now - some good some very good and some bad. For those who fancy something fresh or light the possibilities are endless, and practically all restaurants offer vegetarian food. American fast food restaurants have replaced the traditional Czech bufets and that has also meant the disappearance of the chlebicky, small open sandwiches with tasty toppings. However kiosks on street corners still serve klobasy orparky, the famous Czech sausages coated with mustard.


                    And that leads us to to beer. On the street stalls and the few remaining bufets is an increasingly rare Czech speciality: draught beer from the local brewery, light or dark, from 3-6 per cent alcohol. In many up market pubs beer is served in bottles or cans. Most proprietors think this is the modern way and anyway foreign visitors choose Pilsner or Budweiser. So the hundred or so regional breweries, many of which supply magnificent beers, are finding it harder to stay in business.

                    Conclusion
                    --------------

                    Although Prague is terrorised by stag parties from UK I still find the city one of the most attractive cities in Europe. As I am usually tucked up in my hotel room before 11pm I always manage to evade the hordes of 'drinkers.' I shouldn't let this put you off visiting or the crowds of tourists. Prague is a very special city and is home of some fine art nouveau architecture. Czech people are friendly and welcoming, food is good and not to overpriced and city transposrt is cheap and accessible. I only wish I had bought an apartment there ten years ago when they were dirt cheap. Now, it's too late but never to late to visit.

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                      25.09.2008 17:10
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                      a lovely city break for winter

                      We visited Prague around xmas time, with snow, and the market in the old town square, including a real live nativity scene, it was magical (but cold)
                      We stayed in the Rennaisscence Prague Hotel, which was about 15 minutes walk to the old town square. very comfie room, the biggest breakfast choice ever, and a lovely indoor pool and sauna to warm you up after a days sightseeing. Very good standard of hotel.
                      So much to see and do- take a pony and trap ride around the town, very romantic. Charles Bridge is beautiful with all its statues., but you must visit Prague Castle with its catherdral - its a whole day experience. If you are splashing out stay at the hotel pariz- an art deco building that is just stunning. Not a great place for dieter. Lots of stodgy, warming food, great for a winter warmer.
                      Only down side, could feel a little threatening off the beaten track, and pickpockets are rife at tourisy places

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                        01.08.2008 17:44
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                        great city!

                        Prague

                        As I already said in my review about the hostel "At The Golden Well" I have had the chance to travel to Prague this year. We only spend a weekend there, probably not enough to see all the magnificent sights this gorgeous city has to offer!
                        I am quite a planning freak, so I spend some time planning the whole trip, reading guides and writing a list of things I didn't want to miss.

                        Prague - a historic place to see!
                        Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, has developed at the river Vltava on an old trade route that connected south and north Europe. In the 900s the castle was built and German and Jewish settlers started to make this protected location their home. During the 14th century Prague became the largest city of Europe. It went through a row of dynasties and was occupied by Hitler's troops in 1939, which eventually led to the Prague Uprisings in 1945. After the Second World War the city was strongly stalinized. When the population called for "socialism with a human face" this so-called "Prague Spring" ended with the invasion
                        of Czechoslovakia and on 21st August 1968 five countries of the Warsaw Pact occupied Prague.
                        With the end of the Cold War the country became a democracy in 1989. When Czechoslovakia split in 1993, Prague became the capital of the Czech Republic.
                        Since 2004 The Czech Republic is a member state of the European Union.

                        Things to see:
                        1) The Charles Bridge, built in 1357, connects the two parts of the city and is the most beautiful way to cross the river. This Medieval Gothic Bridge it is decorated with statues and quite entertaining thanks to the musicians and the arts and crafts shops.
                        2) The Prague Castle. I didn't go into the castle, because it's like a little village itself and far too large to visit in one day. But you'll see it from almost everywhere hence it's in the upper part of the city.
                        3) Within this monumental complex you'll also see St. Vitus Cathedral, the largest and the most important church in Prague. Its southern entrance, the Golden Gate, is decorated with a mosaic representing the Last Judgement from 14th century.
                        4) The Old Town Square from the 12th century is surrounded by magnificent buildings, such as the Old Town Hall with it's Astronomic Clock, the Church of Our Lady before Tyn and the Church of St.Nicholas.
                        5) Wenceslas Square is the right place when you feel like having a rest in a bar or shopping. It's Prague's main boulevard, and the centre for shops, bars, banks, casinos & hotels.

                        Things to do:
                        1) A great thing to do at night is to visit a Black Light Theatre. The light effects were just amazing!! It was funny and entertaining and an unforgettable experience!
                        2) There are quite a few clubs and bars that play live music at night. We went to the Roxy, a 5-minutes walk from the Old Town Square, where we saw a great band, had cheap beer and a lot of fun for free!!
                        3) A walk through Prague at night is really special. By night, when all the beautiful buildings are illuminated, Prague becomes the most romantic place I have ever been to. You don't really need a lot more than two legs and open eyes to have the night of you live!
                        My ratings:
                        Sights: 5 stars ***** (one of the most beautiful cities I've ever seen!)
                        Museums: 4 stars **** (you'll find more interesting museums in other European cities)
                        Nightlife: 5 stars ***** (lots of clubs, bars, theatres...)
                        Public transport: 5 stars***** (easy and cheap)
                        Hotels: 5 stars***** (read my review about "At The Golden Well")
                        Location: 4 stars**** (not on the heart of Europe, but close to other interesting cities, i.e. Dresden, Leipzig, Berlin in Germany)

                        Overall rating: 4,5 stars *****

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                          29.07.2008 15:59
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                          Visit Prague, but be aware of the disadvantages.

                          Prague, its well worth a visit, but not the cheap bargain it was 5 years ago.

                          During the last year the British pound has lost around 25% of its value to the Czech Koruna (Crown). So suddenly Prague is an expensive place for British tourists. This combined with the usual higher prices of a capital city mean its now no cheaper than any other European city.

                          British stag and hen parties used to flock to Prague, on cheap flights and for the cheap alcohol, this is no longer true, and many that do come are shocked by the prices.

                          If they did travel to one of the regional cities, they would find prices are around 50% less, Brno and Plzen may well become the next stag and hen party capitals!

                          Also be aware of the sex industry in Prague, its run by criminals and gangs and you should keep away from it.

                          Finally dont come during the summer, its hot, crowded (you can hardly walk over the Charles Bridge) a better bet is late spring or Winter for some snow!

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                            29.06.2008 19:44
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                            All round great city to visit

                            Prague is my favourite European destination. The weather always seems to be hotter than the UK in the summer, although sometimes in mid August it can be quite stiflingly hot. In winter it is pretty cold (minus 12 degrees on one occasion I visited) but usually with blue skies. So be certain to choose a hotel with air con if you are visiting in the summer months.

                            Transport links with the UK are very good with numerous flights from all the London and regional airports to Prague. Prague airport is very easy to negotiate and is spacious and well organised when compared with our favourite (NOT) London airports. You can take a taxi to the city centre from the airport and this will cost you about £25 - taxis can be prebooked from UK. I used Prague experience to prebook and they were excellent; even though my flight was 3 hours late and arrived at after mid-night they were still there waiting and charged no extra. I've also used the bus service and metro which also works well and takes about 45 minutes and costs less than £1.

                            The people are very friendly and helpful although possibly getting a little bit fed up with english tourists who can't speak any words of their language. The city itself is so full of tourist attractions it is hard to know where to start. The Old Town Square and Astrological clock are major attractions and are always busy. If you can, go up the Town Hall tower as there are fantastic views and photo opportunities. There is a lift and ramps for less mobile visitors. The Church of St Nicholas on the Old Town Square is also worth a visit for a very impressive chandelier and the church is used as a venue for concerts sometimes. The Tyn Church is very beautiful but is currently shut for restoration work although I imagine it can still be visited if you attend a service. If you walk down the alley at the side of the church you come to a very picturesque square and just across the road from that is the Church of St Jakub. This is worth a visit if only to see the dessicated arm of a thief strung up as a warning to other would be thieves! The Jewish quarter is a worthwhile place to visit (although obviously not on a Saturday).
                            I don't think it can be classed as a tourist attraction as some bits of it are much too poignant - in particular the Pinchas Synagogue.

                            On the other side of the Charles Bridge is the Mala Strana or Little Town which again is full places of interest. My favourite church in all of Prague is St Nicholas Church which is a baroque extraveganza with lavish statues of the various saints and a gloriously decorated ceiling.The walk up to the castle is steep but full of attractive buildings and the view from the castle down over the town is well worth the climb. The castle itself is vast. St Vitus Cathedral is beautiful and contains relics of various saints, beautiful stained glass windows old and modern and the Czech crown jewels. Another place which is less well known is Vysehrad back on the other side of the river. It has fabulous views out over the river and was reputed to be the site of early Prague settlement. The graveyard is the most beautiful I have ever seen with art nouveau decorated tombs and is the final resting place of Czech heroes.

                            There are plenty of good cafes and restaurants especially if you want to try authentic Czech specialities. I can recommend the Pilsner Restaurant at the Municipal House, the Cafe Slavia (opposite the National Theatre) and the Pivovarsky Dum (near IP Pavlova metro station).

                            There are always classical concerts going in the various churches of Prague and they are generally of a high standard. The opera is cheaper than in the UK and the Czech State Opera House has a beautiful interior. The standard of performance is variable but in performances of the Czech composers such as Dvorak and Smetana they are excellent.

                            This is just a very brief resume of some of the wonderful things that one can see in Prague. It is a fantastic place to visit and every time I go I still find new things to enjoy.

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                            "Prague (Czech: Praha) is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated on the Vltava river in central Bohemia, it is home to approximately 1.2 million people not counting an additional estimate of 300,000 commuters. Nicknames for Prague have included "city of a hundred spires" and "the golden city". Since 1992, the historic center of Prague has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. According to Guinness World Records, Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world."