I was so happy to get back to Prague after a 15 year absence. I loved it before and still do today. It has changed a lot with many more restaurants, upscale stores, shops and the number of tourists. It is still a beautiful, walkable city with wonderful architecture and culture.
No trip is complete without visiting the Prague Castle. Here you can buy a multiple venue ticket and see a number of sites at the Castle. I enjoyed the Old Royal Palace, seeing the painted ceilings of the Basilica of St. George and the beautiful St. Vitus Cathedral. Don’t miss the wonderful silver altar, to the right and behind the main altar, with wonderful silver cherubs. It is really stunning and I remember it from my first trip to Prague.
Just outside are three palaces that are now museums featuring permanent collections and temporary exhibitions. I chose the Sternberg Palace with works by Hals, Rubens, Goya, El Greco, Bruegel and others from that period. These museums are part of the National Gallery in Prague which is closed for renovation.
I loved seeing the Charles Bridge again, the famous Gothic bridge that is one of the oldest in Europe. Also beautiful is the Astronomical Clock located on the Old Town Square. Make sure to visit the nearby Tyn Church, with its lovely spires completed in 1510.
Also, make sure to walk through the Josefov or Jewish town neighborhood from the 13th century, where you can visit the Old Jewish Cemetery, the Jewish Museum and three synagogues. It was a highlight of my first trip.
There seems to be music everywhere in Prague. Many churches offer concerts that you can attend throughout your stay. My first trip, I went to a concert of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons at the beautiful Smetana Hall and an organ/trumpet concert featuring Bach. This time I attended a concert with organ and trumpet at St. Salvator Church, on the old town side of the Charles Bridge. The concert featured works by Bach, Vivaldi, Dvorak and Mozart.
Other concerts available include Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons at Cathedral of St. Clement Clementinum, an organ and trumpet concert in St. Giles Church and works by Bach, Vivaldi, Tchaikovsky and more at St. Michael Monastery. Organ concerts featuring Mozart, Bach and Franck are held at St. Kajetan Church. There are also midday classic concerts at the Prague Castle at the Lobkowics Palace, daily at 1 pm. You will see people handing out flyers or you can get tickets at the venue or at two stores featuring CDs and tickets to all performances.
For classical music at the Rudolfinum, check out their website for performance details.
For ticket information for The National Theater and its contemporary New Stage, The Estates Theatre, and The Prague State Opera please check out the website.
Make sure to walk by The National Theater which was built in 1881 in a neo-Renaissance style and its contemporary annex designed by Karel Prager and opened in 1983. Narodni 1393/4.
The Dancing House – Nationale Nederlanden Building: Located near the river at Rasinova Nabrezi 80, this architectural gem was designed by Frank Gehry in conjunction with Vladmir Milunic in 1996. There is an attractive contemporary art gallery on the first floor and a restaurant, Ginger and Fred on the 7th floor with a sleek bar on the top. This is the perfect spot for a coffee as you watch the river below.
Across the river, in a newer area of Prague, is the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art at Poupetova 1. Opened in 2008, they feature temporary exhibitions, so check out their website before you go. There is a nice book store and gift shop plus attractive cafe with indoor and outdoor seating. I enjoyed a photography and video installation and some wonderful sculptures displayed on the outdoor terraces.
Museum Kampa: Just south of the Castle, in a park along the river, is the Museum Kampa. It features Modern Central European art in its collections and exhibitions. It houses three collections from major collectors. U Sovovych Mlynu 2.
My hotel recommended using certain taxi companies to make sure you did not get taken advantage of. I used Safecars at 420, 722 333 330, So Let’s Go at 606 846 428, AAA Radio Taxi at 720 331 133 and Airport Prague Transfer at 420 724 32 69 92. If you arrive at the Prague Central Station, stop in at the Tourist Point on the lower level, to get your maps, special discount cards for attractions and public transportation. I found that they will call you a taxi rather than waiting in the cab line upstairs.
Other things to consider include the Baroque Library at the Clementinum, The National Museum, the Czech Museum of Music and the Museum of Antonin Dvorak, the famous composer.