Prague: Historic Charm All Year Round

By: Gaizka Pujana

Capital of the Czech Republic, Prague has become over recent years one of the most popular destinations for a city break in Europe with even very little introduction it is easy to see why.

The city is wonderfully preserved, dominated by soaring architecture and grandiose buildings dating from a previous age, towering over winding streets that captures one's imagination. The Charles Bridge, the Old Town Square, the Prague Castle are all musts and a visit to them will leave you with no doubt about the reasoning behind the 1992 registration of Old Prague in the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage Register a total area of 866 hectares.

In addition to the beauty of the physical city, its inhabitants add a further charm. For the most part welcoming and open, the people of Prague endured 40 years of communist rule, until the yoke was thrown off in the Velvet Revolution in November 1989. The date of the revolution; 17th November, is today a public holiday in the Czech Republic and if you can be there for it, it's well worth it.

In terms of visiting, the city is pedestrian friendly and compact enough that it is very easy to get around by foot. Many consider walking tours to be the best way to get to know the city. There is also the metro, tram and bus if you don't want to use your feet; and for those who wish to go further a field, car hire is available and inexpensive.

The currency in the Czech Republic is the Koruna or Crown, and for western visitors the price of living is fairly cheap in Prague although you must watch out for tourist traps where food or drink may cost up to 4 times what a local would pay in the suburbs. Accommodation can also be found for very cheap, starting at around $15 per night for a bed in a hostel, ranging all the way up to $450 for the best hotels in the centre of the city. You should expect to pay however around $150 for a good hotel in the centre of the city and around $60 for a hotel a little outside the centre.

Regarding weather in Prague it's never too hot, but often too cold. Effected from the east by Siberian weather patterns, and the west by Atlantic weather patterns, Prague has cold winters and warm summers making the summer months of May September the optimal time to visit. The maximum temperatures that may be experienced in Prague are 35C on the warm end and -15C on the cold. However, in the suggested months the average temperature tends to be between 12C and 22C with around 7 hours of good sunshine per day. The only problem with these summer months is that in Prague warm doesn't necessarily mean dry; so along with your shorts, don't forget to pack an umbrella!

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