Top 5 Best Areas to Stay in Prague
You’ve always wanted to visit Prague. The history, the food, the people – it all seems like the perfect get-away. Then you remember – you have to book accommodation. Uh-oh. What now?
Those who have looked at a map of Prague can kind of see the different neighborhoods laid out before them. The Vltava River bisects the city, with the older section on one side and the newer town on the other. No matter what side you choose for your accommodation, you will be within walking distance of historical attractions, beautiful architecture, buzzing bars, and traditional restaurants. Choosing where to stay can sometimes make or break a trip. If you want a relaxing holiday and you book a room in an Airbnb in the middle of the trendy party neighborhood, then you might not be relaxing as much as hearing twenty-somethings in the street on the way back from a night on the town. If you’re a solo traveler and you find a room on the outskirts of the city with a ‘suburb-like’ feel, then that might not suit your party-centric holiday. Choosing where to stay is crucial, and is why we have deciphered the different neighborhoods comprising this electric city. We present to you the five best areas to stay in Prague – and yes, you just have to take our word for it.
The layout of the city
A little information about how the city is set up. Prague is divided into sections numbered 1-10, such a ‘Praha 3’ in Czech. If you choose to stay in Prague 1, every main tourist attraction will be within 20 minutes of walking. This is very convenient, but potentially much more expensive due to the convenience factor. Prague has a well connected public transportation system with subway, trams, and buses making it easy to get around quickly. The buses can take you to the suburbs outside of the city, but will not enter the historic areas to protect against pollution. The different areas in the city offer something for everyone, and we’re here to help you make this gut-wrenching choice. No pressure.
1. Stare Mesto & Mala Strana in Prague 1
For number one on our list, we have the Stare Mesto and Mala Strana. If you’re visiting this city to explore, learn more about the history of the city, and enjoy the beautifully-made buildings, then this is the place for you. If you’re only spending a short amount of time in the city, then this could be a good choice for you, due to the convenience of seeing all of the main tourist attractions without having to spend any time on public transit. The price of this convenience is usually high, with the crowds, over-priced rooms, and expensive restaurants. That being said, it is a great base to explore the rest of the city. Stare Mesto and Mala Strana are both in Prague 1, even though they are on opposite sides of the river. Slightly confusing I know, but just think of Charles Bridge as the pathway that connects the two sections of Prague 1. The prime location to explore the old town, with Old Town Square and Astronomical Clock only minutes away from your doorstep, is a huge plus for those who want to really soak in the history of the city. Saunter up to Prague Castle and see for yourself the sheer size of the complex, and the incredible views over the city. If you stay in Stare Mesto, you can easily spend half a day in the Jewish Quarter, seeing the buildings of a time long ago. In Mala Strana, you can walk around and peer at all of the embassies and upscale houses lining the streets, since you are in one of Prague’s most exclusive and wealthy neighborhoods. Despite being pricey in terms of money and lack of privacy, the convenience factor makes Mala Strana and Stare Mesto prime tourist destinations for short-term visitors.
2. New Town Prague in Prague 2
If you want a different vibe for your accommodation, then check out New Town Prague or Nove Mesto in Prague 2. Despite being almost 800 years old, this is the ‘newer’ section of town and has great proximity to all of the main attractions without being right in the center. It also has its own claims to fame, with the National Theatre and Lucerna Passage, a system of underground tunnels under the Lucerna Palace. Even though you’re outside the hustle and bustle of Old Town, you can still feel like you’re right in the middle of the buzz. It is easily connected to the rest of the city with the various metro and tram lines but also makes it easy to explore the city on foot. In the summertime, Naplavka is a very trendy and popular spot to hangout. Live music, outdoor beer gardens, and boats lining the sides of the Vltava make for a high-energy spot to hang out with friends and soak in the rays. While staying here, you can check out the Dancing House, a super-modern architectural specimen that is always a popular photography spot for tourists. The National Theatre is a 19th-century haven for artists that boasts intricate and hand-crafted rooftop sculptures piercing the clear skies. This neighborhood also has the second-most popular square in the city, Wenceslas Square. This open area features beautiful buildings, numerous stalls for traditional Czech food, and never-ending commercial activity. For one of the best spots in the New Town, head to U Fleku, an always-buzzing Czech beer hall that gives off the traditional vibes, with the long tables, large beers, and tasty food. The owners here have been brewing their own beer for over half a century, so you can rest assured that they know what they’re doing.
3. Vinohrady in Prague 2
If you want to stay a little outside of the center but still feel the electricity in the city, book a room in Vinohrady. This trendy neighborhood is perfect for solo travelers, young couples, and those looking to really spend a lot of time out of their room, whether it be exploring the local pubs or exploring the cultural icons. Vinohrady somehow combines beauty and professionalism with a high-energy atmosphere. There are many young couples and single professionals living in the area, making it a great choice for those who want to meet people and have fun. There are plenty of cafes, restaurants, pubs, and parks scattered around the area, providing an unlimited amount of daily activities. Namesti Miru, a relaxing square, is a great spot to hang out and take in the sights of the gorgeous Cathedral of St. Ludmila. During the winter, this square has a lesser-known Christmas market that usually only sees locals, due to the popularity of the Wenceslas and Old Town markets taking over the scene. Grab some mulled wine and wander around the local vendors. You can also head to Havlickovy sady, Prague’s second-largest park. You’ll find beautiful gardens here and an old Italian villa, taking you into a different time period and country as you relax on the green grass. Vinohrady is a great neighborhood for those who want a laid-back, easily-accessible, and less expensive option.
4. Hradcany in Prague 1
For number four on our list, we have Hradcany – also known as the Castle District. As you could guess, this neighborhood is home to the famous Prague Castle, one of the largest in the world, and arguably one of the most beautiful. The castle takes up most of the district due to the sheer size and magnitude of the complex, boasting St. Vitus Cathedral and other historical buildings. This area would be good for those who enjoy history and might visit the castle more than once. The views also are frequent, and breathtaking, from many places in this neighborhood, boasting virtually-panoramic sights across the entire city. If you want to enjoy upscale accommodation, then this would be the place for you. Even though you can find options for all price ranges, this neighborhood offers the most luxurious choices. You even have the option of staying in a renovated and updated medieval building, really setting the scene for your history-centered trip. After you’ve appreciated the castle and cathedral, you can also wander and check out St. George’s Basilica or Golden Lane, a colorful street of pastel-colored historical houses within the castle complex.
5. Smichov in Prague 5
Ringing in number five on our list of best areas to stay in Prague, we have Smichov. Just south of the Lesser Quarter, this former industrial area is now home to newer buildings, various shops, and numerous restaurants and bars. There are several links to other parts of the city, with the tram, metro, and bus system running right through the middle. We recommend this location for the budget travelers that need to save a few bucks on their holiday. You can easily get into the center via public transport, but don’t want to spend a fortune to stay in the Old Town. This neighborhood has less historical buildings but does have a massive shopping center for those who need to bring some gifts back. You can also get outside at the Kinsky Gardens, a tranquil spot on the slope of Petrin Hill. Head to the top of the hill to see the best views of the city, and even climb the Petrin Tower if you’re feeling adventurous. Here you can catch a bird’s eye view of Prague – and arguably the best one in the city. After your little hike, you can head to Andel, the bustling center of the neighborhood, and people-watch the endless stream of locals. This is a good neighborhood to get an idea of what a local’s life can really be like, without the tourist-traps and endless throngs of people.
Time to book your room and pack your suitcase – you’re headed to Prague
Prague is quite a big city and houses various neighborhoods that each have their own character. Every section of the city has its own lifestyle, its own architecture, and its own type of people. You can stay in a certain part of town to conveniently explore the most famous attractions, or you can choose to reside in a neighborhood that shows a more realistic Czech lifestyle. The beauty of Prague is the diversity that exists within the city. The river cuts the city into two, and also the ways of life. The Newer Town looks, and acts, different than the Old Town, with more modern buildings and different accommodation than the older section. Vinohrady’s slower-paced lifestyle is the opposite of Smichov’s industrial zone. Whatever you choose, you can rest assured that the bustling and friendly city of Prague will have the perfect neighborhood for your holiday.