Prague: A Traveller’s Paradise

Not long ago in time, Prague was a city behind the iron curtains, hailing in its mist and cobblestones besides the River Vltava. Prague: Hlavní město Praha, meaning Prague, the Capital City of the Czech Republic in history known as Zlata Praha or Golden Prague, is a city that will mesmerize your soul and with its charm and conquer your heart. Kidnapped by communism, Prague is today a major European Tourist Destination. There is something very different in Prague and there is something for absolutely everybody. Prague is not about the cliché and the lights, but about the morning mist and the cobble stones.

There are no direct flights from Indian cities to Prague but one could always connect to Prague via all major European Airports and transit points. The Czech Republic has recently signed the Schengen Agreement and therefore, you can now visit Prague with your Schengen Visa. Prague is a city which has to be exploited by leisure and is not a city you can get over with visiting all the major tourist points as the real Prague lies in the “experience” you have being there and going around.

The weather at Praha is European Continental, however, winter arrives a little bit late and you will not find snow if you go to Prague during Christmas. The summer seasons crossing June and July are peak tourist seasons. The summer season demands summer clothes and if you are going to Prague around February, I would strongly recommend good winter clothes including a long coat, winter boots and anything and everything that can keep you warm in the chill and the snow. I would personally recommend mid-January if you don’t mind the cold weather or early summer if you want to visit Prague.

The Metro and the Tram system are the best ways to travel around Prague. I would really not advice you to catch taxies as taxi drivers have a strong habit of overcharging tourists to a large extent. Public Transport is inexpensive and gets you almost anywhere in Prague. It’s not such a big city and you could cover the center just by leisurely walking.

A stroll in Charles Bridge is everyone’s popular favorite. Some of the famous tourist zones include Old Town Square (including the astronomical clock), Wenceslas Square, Petrin Hill, Charles Bridge etc. Prague has a lot of museums, churches and various other places of sentimental, aesthetic and historic value. The city is quite tourist friendly and you can find tourist information offices in all important tourist places who are ready to helps and get you the information that you need. The Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world and the look from the castle overlooking the city is absolutely priceless. Brno, Kutna Hora, Terezin, Karlstein are a few popular places a day tours from Praha.

Don’t be surprised if you see people drink beer during breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Czechs have a strong beer culture and Czech beer is supposed to be the one of the best beer in the world, no wonder – as Pilsner Beer originated from the Czech Republic. Even the famous footwear brand “Bata” most of us think is Indian comes from Prague, Czech Republic! The Capital is a perfect blend of history integrated with technology and is highly advanced and convenient.

The Czechs are peace loving people and Praha is a very safe city. This is where Bohemian Crystal is made and Swarwoski comes from, you will also be able to find “Czech it out” T Shirts in Souvenir Shops in touristy area: Czech Cuisine is not exactly diet food and is wholesome with strong European and Russian influences. Czech is the national language which is Slavic, with its roots from Russian and the Latin alphabet.

English is a growing language and therefore in most tourist zones, you will find a lot of people who know English.

Prague to me is a place which sets your expressions free and you are simply delighted no matter what to be there, once you are there. To all the few cities I have been to, Prague is the one that has truly touched my heart and as the famous writer Kafka said, “Prague never seems to let go of you….. this little mother has claws”

Harshavardhan Bhat