Introducing Prague

More than 20 years after the fall of communism and the Velvet Revolution, the popularity of Prague (Praha in Czech) as one of Europe’s premier tourist destinations shows no signs of slowing down. And while it’s no longer the travellers’ bargain it was in earlier days, the Czech capital’s combination of a thrilling history and glorious architectural overachievement remains as compelling as ever.

But if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed and thinking ‘Is that it?’ during your first hours in Prague, don’t be too hard on yourself. The city’s charms can occasionally be obscured by too many tourists, congested traffic and tacky commercialism. Packed in among thousands of other visitors, trying like crazy to see the city in three days and worrying about getting ripped off, it’s not surprising you may think the city is overrated. Just relax, take a deep breath – or an even longer quaff of the city’s famous beer – and resolve to slow down, dig a little deeper and explore a little further. While the city centre is a mélange of stunning architecture, from Gothic, Renaissance and baroque to neoclassical, art nouveau and cubist, beyond the medieval lanes of the Old Town and the Castle District, there’s an entire other cosmopolitan city to explore. Search out the riverside parks, lively bars and beer gardens, music clubs, museums and art galleries. Harness Prague’s excellent public-transport system to explore emerging suburbs such as Žižkov, Vinohrady, Smíchov and Holešovice. You’ll be guaranteed cheaper prices, a more local ambience, and an assured escape from any more feelings of doubt.

You’ll probably even wish you could stay longer.