Few cities can claim to have such a picturesque river as the Vltava, which meanders between Prague and inspired Czech composer Smetana’s moving symphonic poem, The Moldau. A crescent of hills rises from the west bank, crowned by a storybook castle with a riveting history dating back over a thousand years. Cross the spectacular Charles Bridge and you’ll find yourself blissfully immersed in an atmospheric labyrinth of cobbled streets, concealed courtyards and – if you gaze up – soaring spires. Josefov, the fascinating Jewish quarter, contains the poignant remains of the former ghetto and some of Prague’s most iconic sites. Indeed, it’s clear to see why the ‘City of a Hundred Spires’ is often regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
Under the rule of Bohemian king Charles IV, Prague became the seat of the Holy Roman Empire and one of Europe’s wealthiest cities. In stark contrast, the 15th century was fraught with hardship but in 1620, the influential Habsburgs had seized control and continued to reign for another 300 years, heralding a second ‘golden age’. The city was miraculously spared the tragic fate of other cities during World War II and today, the historic centre is a spellbinding showcase of architectural gems, recognised by UNESCO for its cultural significance. Romanesque rotundas and Renaissance relics influenced by the ancient Romans nestle alongside Gothic churches, Baroque palaces and Neoclassical buildings. Aficionados of Art Nouveau, not to be left out, will easily find the distinctive works of Alphonse Mucha peppered throughout the city.
Of course, the Czechs are also renowned for producing some of the world’s finest – and cheapest – beers. Excellent regional microbreweries have emerged, so there’s more choice than ever before beyond the famous brand names. Traditional Czech cuisine offers another window into its past – many dishes are connected with other Central European countries due to constantly changing borders. Hearty meat and potato dishes feature heavily on local menus, and many pastries popular in Central Europe originated within Czech lands.
With so much to discover in ‘the Golden City’ – perhaps named so for its golden roofs – our city break is a wonderful way to get acquainted with this stunning capital. We’ll journey through a millennium of history as we tour Prague’s charming old town and the remarkably preserved castle complex. After our engaging excursions you are free to do exactly as you wish – explore, relax or make the trip your own with an optional Personalise Your Holiday experience. With expert guides to help you get under the skin of the city, you’ll uncover so much more.