The charm of visiting Europe is discovering cities on foot. Since a river cruise is an ideal way to go from one wonderful place to the next at ease, on your next European holiday make sure you stop in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. In the early 1990s, the Czech Republic had just emerged from Communism following the Velvet Revolution, which took place from November 17 to December 29, 1989. This peaceful movement led to the transition to democracy of the former country Czechoslovakia, which in 1993 separated into two independent states: the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Following a recent visit to this stunning European city while on an Elbe Berlin to Prague river cruise, let us share with you the highlights of this quintessential Central European city.
Prague Castle: cacth a glimpse of one of the biggest castles in Europe
The imposing Prague Castle was built in the 6th century. A seat of power for the kings of Bohemia when Prague was the capital of the former Republic of Bohemia, and for the Holy Roman emperors, it is now the official residence of the President of the Czech Republic. The castle buildings are made up of a wide range of architectural styles. It includes the Gothic St Vitus Cathedral, the Basilica of St. George, a monastery and several palaces, gardens and defense towers. Most of the castle's sites are open to tourists and house several notable museums. Prague's ancient history is reflected in its unique fairytale architecture.
In the New Town (Nove Mesto), the Venceslas Square is a major meeting point for Czech citizens and is also a historic square, where many freedom movements were celebrated. The Jewish quarter (Josefov) is where you can find the Jewish cemetery, a very moving and strong reminder of what the country endured during the Second World War.
Strolling the streets of Prague is simply a delight. It is a wonderful and compact city you can never get tired of. Every step you take reveals yet another wonderful view, be it of the river, the bridges, or the architecture, from Gothic, Renaissance to Baroque. The "Golden City of 100 Spires" has a magical charm and forms a wonderful ensemble of historic churches and synagogues, as well as numerous castles and palaces. Prague’s historic center was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1992, as the city’s many treasures escaped destruction during the Second World War. Literature fans will be pleased to find out that Franz Kafka was born and lived in Prague.
The old town with the Charles Bridge and the Astronomical clock
The Charles Bridge is a 16th century masterpiece. It was built from 1357 and is named after Charles IV. It has a very distinctive gothic tower and connects the area called Malá Strana with the Stare Mesto (old Town) on the banks of the Vltava River (known as the “Moldau” in German), a tributary of the Elbe River.
My special tip: walking across the Charles Bridge at dawn.
One of the major sites not to miss in Prague is also the medieval astronomic clock situated on the old town square. It is one of the oldest ones in Europe, which makes it very precious. Every hour until 9pm, a set of figures sets itself in motion and it is a real pleasure to watch this magical representation of the Apostles. You can climb the tower above the astronomical clock, partly by elevator, in order to catch great views from the top. Try to get there right before dusk, for a unique skyline full of amazing colors. A tour of the old town is fantastic for its varied architectural heritage.
Discover Prague at night
The buildings lit up at night are even more spellbinding than during the day. Take one last peek at the street when they all light up. Head to the Charles Bridge to see what it looks like at night and the towers on either light up with their pretty reflection in the water. It makes for wonderful and unique memories!
Last but not least: make sure you taste the local delicacy: the Trdelník, a sweet pastry made from rolled dough wound around a stick, then grilled and topped with sugar and a walnut mix. Delicious!
Don't delay, find out more about CroisiEurope's Prague cruises on the Elbe river, to explore the charms of this romantic and historic European capital.