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Prague Districts & Best Areas to Stay in

This is a tentative explanation for the "Best areas to stay in Prague" even though it will be hard to decide about the best district of Prague, a city of diversity and rich history, each district tells its own story and appeals to a distinct kind of travelers, the art nouveau/art deco New Town with its trendy Wenceslas Square may attract younger tourists looking for crowded streets and night life ambiance. The Old Town of Prague with it's baroque/renaissance style churches and monuments, is an absolute destination for serious travelers and history lovers. The romantic Lesser Town, or also called Mala Strana is a recommended honey moon surprise for staying by Charles Bridge or near Prague Castle in a bohemian style. Other districts around the center of Prague like Smichov, Andel, Zizkov and Vinohrady are an affordable choice for budget tourists and business travelers, thanks to several useful facilities, available parkings, international companies headquarters and easy access to the center of Prague by public transport.

In reality Prague is divided into 10 districts (from Prague 1 to Prague 10), but Czech local people usually use the district name: Stare Mesto for the Old Town, Nove Mesto for New Town, Mala Strana for Lesser Town, Andel, Zizkov, Vinohrady, etc) instead of the district numbers (1,2,3 etc.). For holidays in Prague it makes nonsense to consider the district numbers, because many neighborhoods are split into two or more districts, for example the Lesser Town belongs to Prague 1 and Prague 5, the New Town is Prague 1 and 2, also Vinohrady is split between Prague 3 and 10.

The Wenceslas Square and Prague New Town

Prague Wenceslas Square

  • The main commercial district of Prague already for 6 centuries since it used to be Prague horse market.
  • Many banks, restaurants, shopping malls, accommodation facilities, hotels and apartments are in the New Town.
  • Cultural hot spots are in the New Town and around the Wenceslas Square: Theaters, museums, operas and galleries.
  • From the Wenceslas Square you can access anywhere in Prague, all three metro lines (Green, Yellow and Red) cross the New Town, also as several frequent trams
  • The main nightlife and entertainment are in the Wenceslas Square.
  • The famous trendy Na Prikope shopping street is in the New Town at few steps from the Wenceslas Square.
  • The monumental National Museum together with the Prague State Opera are at the Wenceslas Square.
  • The statue of St. Wenceslas, the patron of Czech lands is at the upper part of the Wenceslas Square, such monument was the starting point of the anticommunist demonstrations.
  • The botanical garden of the Charles University is in the New Town at Na Slupi 16, Praha 2
  • The Museum of Communism at Na Prikope 10, Prague 1 is worth visiting to learn about the Czechoslovakian communist era.
  • The National Theatre with its Neo-renaissance building decorated by Czech top artists. Today the National Theatre has a ballet and drama performing in the historic building of the National Theatre also as in the Theatre of the Estates.
  • Vysehrad district, a romantic district known with its Castle built in the 10th century on a hill that dominates the Vltava river.
  • Charles Square, Karlovo namesti in Czech, founded by Charles IV as the main centre of the New Town of Prague, considered as the largest enclosed square in Europe, monuments of Karlovo Namesti are the  New Town Hall, the Baroque Cathedral of St. Ignatius and the Emause Monastery. 
 If we intend to mention all monuments and interesting sights of the New Town, the list will be quite long and we won't even be able to make it complete, we recommend to take a walk around this district to explore yourself the architectural beauty and hidden monuments in each corner.

The Old Town of Prague with its Old Town Hall and Square

Prague Old Town Square

  • The Old Town is the original place of settlement of Prague since the 9th century.
  • The Old Town Square which is the heart of Prague since the 10th century with original buildings of Romanesque and Gothic origin.
  • Many monuments are concentrated in Prague Old Town as the Powder Gate, the Municipal House, the Estates Theatre and many other churches and palaces.
  • The famous Charles Bridge starts from the Old Town, the 14th century oldest bridge in Prague crossing the Vltava river.
  • The Old Town Hall with its 600 years old Astronomical Clock announcing every hour with 12 apostles passing by the window above the astronomical dial and watched by thousands of tourists everyday.
  • The Josefov Jewish district dominated by synagogues, jewish cemetery, museum and other Jewish buildings form a major part of Prague Old Town.
  • The torture museum is also located in the old town and worth visiting to see torture instruments from all over Europe.
  • Prague National Gallery is in the Old Town Square in the former Kinsky Palace.
  • Shops, Souvenir shop of Czech hand-made products, shopping malls, and markets are everywhere in the Old Town.
  • Prague Christmas market also as the Easter market are a yearly attraction and famous in all Europe.
  • Some of the best fine dining and exclusive restaurants are located in the Old Town.
  • Most of Prague events and celebrations including the Bohemain Carnevale and New Year's Eve happen in the Old Town Square.
Still many palaces, museums, monuments, theaters and historic cafes are worth visiting and exploring while staying in the Old Town of Prague, again we recommend taking a comfortable shoes and walk your way through the old town, you may find several curiosities that even Prague locals don't know yet.

Prague Lesser Town (Mala Strana), from Charles Bridge to Prague Castle

Mala Strana Prague

  • The Mala Strana is also called in English Little Side, Lesser Town or even Lesser Quarter. Such name is due to its location on the west bank of the river Vltava, below Prague Castle and just opposite to the Old Town to which it's connected by Charles Bridge.
  • In middle ages German citizens of Prague used to live in the Mala Strana in several Palaces that are today open for visit.
  • For Baroque architecture lovers the Mala Strana is the place to go, the baroque style is still dominating almost all buildings and monuments of the Lesser Town even after the fire of 1541.
  • The main monument from the Baroque era in the Lesser Town is the Wallenstein Palace, a large palace complex with five courtyards and a garden known as the French Park.
  • The Golden Lane, a short street with small colorful houses built for the members of the guard of the Castle in the 16th century.
  • Many churches are in the Mala Strana like the St Nicholas Church and the Church of Our Lady Victorious.
  • The Kampa island with its art museum also as a nice park and a large square called Na Kampe with many good restaurants, cafes and shops around the famous Lennon Wall.
  • The Petrin lookout tower is also in the Mala Strana, a 60 metre high steel tower similar to the Eiffel Tower is located on the Petrin Hill top, the tower with its mirror maze and several parks reached by funicular is a big attraction mainly for families traveling to Prague with children.
  • One of the main sights of the Lesser Town and Prague in general is Charles Bridge with its 30 statues from the beginning of the 18th century. The bridge is a meeting point of thousands of tourists admiring the street musicians and unique handcrafts. Charles bridge also offers a great view of Prague Castle mainly at sunset.
  • You just walk uphill from Charles Bridge thought Nerudova street to reach Prague Castle. The castle is considered as "the largest coherent castle complex in the world." with an area of almost 70,000 m². It's a a complex of around 60 buildings built between X and XVI centuries adjacent to the Saint Vitus Cathedral which building process started in 1344 on the site of a 10th century rotunda and completed in the 19th century.  

More museums, churches and palaces are in the Mala Strana, even though small, this district of Prague holds many important monuments and points of interest, just get lost in the small streets of the Lesser Town and you will discover by yourself its diversity.

Prague Smichov District and its Andel Commercial Center

  • Andel District in Prague
    At only 1.5 km from the center of Prague and very close the to Mala Strana district. Consists of themunicipal districts Prague 5.
  • This district was the first area of Prague that offered its inhabitants free wireless Internet connection.
  • Andel has a shopping center with the biggest parking in Prague also as multiplex cinemas, many restaurants and international companies offices.
  • One of the main tourist attractions of Smichov is Duskovy villa in Bertramka which was a residence of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
  • Other important monuments are located in Smichov like the St. Wenceslas church, this district covers also 4% of Mala Strana.
  • Andel District is linked to the centre of Prague by the Yellow Metro line B and several tram lines.
  • Other attraction of Smichov is the Kinsky Summer Palace which holds today the fascinating Ethnographic Museum with a big collection of Czech folk art.

Other Districts near Prague Centre?

Prague centre is not only the Wenceslas Square and the Old Town, many nice districts and neighborhoods are around the city centre and offer easy connection by public transport or even by walk. Districts like Zizkov, Vinohrady or Karlin offer affordable accommodation in well furnished apartments and rich surroundings with several monuments, museums, parks, restaurants and attractions sometimes even more important than sights in the very centre of Prague.
   
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