Prague, or Praha in Czech, is the capital of the Czech Republic and home to a wealth of history and culture. Gothic spires pierce the sky along the city’s skyline, while Renaissance architecture and Baroque buildings abound throughout town.
Previously the capital of the Czech country of Bohemia, it has also been the capital of the Holy Roman Empire since a few of its Emperors called this city home – most notably Charles IV.
Alongside the history that seems to inhabit every street (its historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site), there are more than 10 major museums, plus galleries and theaters that make up its traditional historic culture.
But with so much to see in this 1000-year-old city – including the imposing St. Vitus Cathedral and the iconic 14th century Charles Bridge – where should you stay when you visit? Here are a few good ideas for where to stay in Prague.
Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet Prague & the Czech Republic (Travel Guide)
Where to Stay in Prague: Best Districts & Hotels
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This is where you will find the biggest and most well-known sites in all of Prague. There’s the Clementinum (a collection of historic buildings including a Baroque library) the Charles Bridge, and the impossibly picturesque Old Town Square.
The narrow streets and pedestrianized areas of Prague’s Old Town are great for exploring by foot, making for an experience that can seem a little like walking around an open-air museum.
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New Town (Nové Město)
Surrounding the Old Town is the Nové Město or New Town. Charles IV founded this ‘new town’ outside of the city walls of the Old Town in 1348.
Today this is seen as the louder counterpart to the Old Town, and as such many bars and nightlife areas can be found in this district, especially around the Wenceslas Square area, which is popular with both local and foreign stag parties.
Attractions abound, such as the Jubilee Synagogue and the bizarre postmodern ‘Dancing House’.
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Lesser Town (Malá Strana)
Across the other side of the Vltava River is what is known as the Malá Strana – in English, ‘Little Side’ – otherwise called the Lesser Town. We’ve already learned that the New Town is not new; now we will learn that the Old Town is not the oldest part of town.
That honor falls to the Lesser Town, today a quieter part of town, which was founded in 1257 by King Ottokar II of Bohemia.
Here is the record-breaking Prague Castle, which began life with the Church of the Virgin Mary around 884 AD. Another grand building in this district is the stunning Wallenstein Palace, built in the early 17th century in the Baroque style.
There’s a museum dedicated to 20th-century Czech author Franz Kafka here, too; as ever, there’s history everywhere. This is where to stay in Prague for those who want to stay amid the oldest buildings and be away from the noise and nightlife.
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Located south of the center of the city is the area of Vyšehrad. This mainly residential area is where to stay in Prague if you don’t mind walking and want your visit to the Czech capital to not be the run of the mill tourist trail.
In addition, this area is not without things to see: Vyšehrad is named after a medieval castle of the same name with large grounds, secret passages, and an impressive basilica. Green spaces make Vyšehrad great for a stroll when the weather’s good, too.
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Once covered in vineyards dating from the 14th century, this south-of-central area is accordingly known in full as Královské Vinohrady – ‘Royal Vineyards’ in English.
As such it’s seen as something of an exclusive area and is the place to find independent shops, hip cafes, gay nightclubs and eateries serving up global cuisine. It’s an area populated by young professionals and ex-pats, who live amidst its pastel-colored, early-20th-century buildings.
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More on the Czech Republic:
- Ultimate Europe Travel Guide
- Ultimate 3 Days in Prague Itinerary
- 10 Best Day Trips from Prague
- Ultimate 3 Days in Budapest Sightseeing Itinerary
- 12 Easy & Epic Day Trips from Budapest
- 10 Awesome Things to Do in Budapest
- 25 Things to Do in Krakow for the Perfect Visit