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The-Joy-of-Travel

Prague: Everything to everyone

She’s Eastern Europe’s “wanton harlot”. Madonna-ish in her ability to continually shape and change herself to be what she thinks her visitors want. Prague is currently the “Las Vegas” destination specializing in “Boy Behaving Badly” weekends. That being said, it is still a city so worth exploring. Once you get past the incessant crowds, partiers and tour buses, you discover a place of incredible fairy-tale beauty, history and fantastic local cuisine.

Prague is divided into three main districts. Old Town (Stare Mesto), New Town (Nove Mesto) and Lesser Town (Mala Strana). Accommodations in any of these three areas offer a perfect location and range in budget from three to five stars. They blend together seamlessly and make for an easy though long walking tour.

Beginning with Lesser Town. This is where you find the “Hradcany” or Castle Quartier. Famous for its Prague Castle and the awesome grandeur of St. Vitus Cathedral, this sector is by far the prettiest part of Prague. Gothic architecture dating back to the 1300’s, winding cobblestone streets, pretty green spaces and the bustling shops and cafés of Nerudova Street are just a few of the attractions. Walking is a strenuous uphill climb for the most part but there is a cable car system throughout the area.

New Town is dominated by Wenceslas Square – yes, Good King Wenceslas is the namesake. The area is an oxymoron of sorts as it’s actually the oldest section of the city. It is the home to the commercial district of the city. Constantly being remodeled to keep pace with the demands of tourism this area is defined by trendy boutiques, department stores, indoor malls, casinos and a plethora of restaurants and bars. This is the area that is also best known for its nightclub/brothels and tends to attract those rowdy stag parties that Prague is sadly getting a reputation for.

Old Town is the heart and soul of Prague. Dating back to 1231, this area is surreal in its ability to blend a millennium’s worth of architecture into one small space! Walking into Old Town Square for the first time is like walking onto a movie set. Gothic, Baroque and Art Nouveau styles blend together as testaments to times gone by. The surrounding streets and alleys are filled with shops selling all the typical tourist kitsch. Garnet jewellery, Czech puppets and crystals are some of the regional specialties. The Square itself is home to street musicians, buskers and local markets. A fabulous place to sit and watch the world go by.

Must See’s and To Do’s:

  • Museum of Communism – a sobering look at the oppression suffered by the Czech people during the Communist’s rule
  • Prague Castle and St Vitus Cathedral – located in Lesser Town and simply not to be missed! The Changing of the Guard and sheer grandeur of the interior of the cathedral will leave you with lifelong memories.
  • St Charles Bridge – the pedestrian bridge spanning between Old Town and Lesser Town. Myriad of local vendors and performers make the transition entertaining and may just result in the perfect souvenir!

 

Overall Impression:

Although initially overwhelmed by the dominance of the tourist crowd, I found that Prague does endear itself to the individual. You can’t help but get caught up with the impressive cultural and historical value that is all around you. Absolutely one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. The Czech’s are friendly, outgoing and boisterous. The choice and variety of restaurants was superb! Pricing for both food and accommodation runs the gamut for any budget. The beer cannot be ignored!!

I absolutely recommend this city as a wonderful addition to any European holiday!!



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About the Author

Joy has long been a believer in the art of travel: the belief that a vacation is something to be anticipated savored and then long remembered as one of life’s great adventures. 
Website: thejoyoftravel.ca

You can contact Joy at [email protected]



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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