Where to Stay in Prague
Best Areas to Stay in Prague
Although Prague has a population of more than a million and occupies a large area, vast majority of the tourist attractions, culture, nightlife and accommodation capacities are located in the historical centre, which is not that big.
The key anchor for basic orientation in Prague is the river, Vltava, which flows through the historical centre in a roughly south-north direction and separates the two main tourist districts (they are linked by the famous Charles Bridge – Karluv Most):
- On the eastern side of the river there is the Old Town (with the Old Town Square and Astronomical Clock) and Wenceslas Square.
- On the western side of the river there is Lesser Quarter (named Mala Strana in the Czech language and in most maps), overlooked by Prague Castle.
Assuming that you want to stay in the centre like most visitors, the key decision is to pick one of these two sides, as they are a bit different in atmosphere and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Both are very nice and both have plenty of good hotels of various styles and price levels, but one may be more suitable to you than the other, depending on your preferences and purpose of your visit.
Old Town and Wenceslas Square
The eastern side feels more lively and more crowded. The number of hotels is higher, as is the number of shops, restaurants, theatres and nightclubs. In the Old Town itself, which spans from the river up to Wenceslas Square and Na Prikope Street, there are countless narrow streets and many smaller or bigger hotels built in renovated historical houses, some of them several centuries old. If you are coming to see Prague as the world famous historical city, staying directly in one of these houses can just complete the perfect experience. Another good thing about the Old Town is that it is almost car-free – and you won’t need to use even public transport, because vast majority of attractions are within easy walking distance.
The concentration of hotels is as high in the streets outside the Old Town, particularly around Wenceslas Square (Vaclavske Namesti – the one with the horse statue at the top; it is called square but feels more like a long broad boulevard) and Namesti Republiky. If you stay in these areas, you will get a bit less of Middle Ages themed atmosphere, but a more contemporary experience of the Czech capital, with some of the best shopping streets (like Na Prikope), shopping centres (like Palladium or Kotva at Namesti Republiky) and nightclubs (like Duplex at Wenceslas Square or Lucerna just around the corner).
Lesser Quarter and Prague Castle
The western side of the river, Lesser Quarter (Mala Strana) is quite different. It is the government and embassy district of Prague. Some streets and houses are as old and as charming as in the Old Town, but overall the area is smaller and much quieter (it only gets crowded during the day on the main path between Charles Bridge and Prague Castle). If you are looking for a more peaceful or more mature kind of holiday in Prague, perhaps this area is the best. There are several great restaurants in Lesser Quarter, not much for shopping (other than souvenirs) and less nightlife, but you can easily walk over the bridge to all the shopping and nightlife (one of the best experiences of Charles Bridge is at night, without the crowds and with the castle beautifully lit).
You may also try to get the best of both worlds and stay in one of the hotels on the waterfront. Those on the Old Town side have nice views of the castle across the river. Admittedly, most of these hotels are among the most expensive in Prague, but for a reason.
Staying outside the Historical Centre
Some visitors choose to stay outside the main tourist district for various reasons – such as coming for business rather than sightseeing, or trying to get cheaper accommodation. Districts in the greater city centre with good public transport links and good accommodation options include the area around Florenc (central bus station and interchange of metro lines B and C, also easy to walk to the Old Town), Holesovice (2-3 metro stops from the centre via line C; great for runners as there is a huge park) or Smichov (2-3 metro stops from the centre via line B or 15 minutes walk from Lesser Quarter; some great restaurants and nightlife, targeting locals rather than tourists).
Hotels in Prague
Availability of hotels varies throughout the year. While tourists come to Prague in high numbers all year round, summer tends to be particularly busy, as is the period around Christmas and New Year and various other Czech, German and other holidays. Booking well in advance is highly recommended and you will often be able to get really good deals. Most hotels offer free cancellation until one or a few days before the planned arrival, so it should not be a problem to change or cancel. You can search Prague hotels now using the form below.