According to legend, Countess Libuse stood above the Vltava and declared, I see a grand city whose glory will touch the stars. Medieval kings, benefactors, and architects fulfilled the prophecy, building soaring cathedrals and lavish palaces that reflected the status of Prague (pop. 1.2 million) as capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Prague’s maze of alleys spawned legends of demons and occult forces, giving this city of dreams the dark mystique that inspired Franz Kafka’s tales of paranoia. Yet since the fall of the Iron Curtain, hordes of foreigners have flooded the city; in summer, tourists pack streets so tightly that crowd-surfing seems a viable method of transportation. Walk a few blocks away from the msyor sights, however, and you’ll be a lone backpacker among cobblestone alleys and looming churches.
Flights: RuzynS Airport (220 113 259), 20km northwest of the city. Take bus #119 to Metro A: Dejvicka (daily 6am-midnight; 12Kfi, luggage 6K per bag); buy tickets from kiosks or machines. Airport buses (220 114 296) run from outside Metro stops (6am-9pm every hr.; Nam. Republiky 90K , Dejvicka 60KC). Cedaz (220 114 296; email@example.com) offers a shared door-to-door shuttle service. Tickets from the airport are sold at the Cedaz kiosk in the main arrivals hall; tickets to the airport can be booked in advance via phone or email. Tofrom: central Prague, 360Kc (1-4 people), 720KC (5-8 people); outer Prague, 720Kc (1-8 people). Taxis to the airport are extremely expensive (400-600K6); try to settle on a price before starting out.
Trains: Domestic 224 224 200; International 224 615 249; www.cdrail.cz. Prague has 4 main terminals. Hlavni nadrazi (224 224 200; Metro C: Hlavni nadrazi) and Nadrazi Holesovice ( 224 613 249; Metro C: Nadrazi Holeskivice) are the largest and cover most international service. Domestic trains leave from Masarykovo nadrazi (224 61 51 54; Metro B: Nam. Republiky), on the corner of Hybernska and HavliCkova, and from Smichovske nadrazi (224 61 72 55); Metro B: Smichovske nadrazi). International trains run to: Berlin (5V2hr. 5 per day, 1400Kc); Bratislava (42-5V4hr. 7 per day, 450KC); Budapest (7-9hr. 5 per day, 1300K6); Krakow (8Vihr. 4 per day, 820KC); Moscow (31hr. daily, 3000K6); Munich (7-9hr. 4 per day, 1650K6); Vienna (4Vhr. 4 per day, 900KC); Warsaw (9Vihr. 4 per day, 1290Kc). BIJ Wasteels (224 617 454; www.wasteels.cz), on the 2nd fl. of Hlavni nadrazi, to the right of the stairs, sells discounted international tickets to those under 26, and also books couchettes and bus tickets. Open M-F 8am-6pm, Sa 8am-3pm. Wasteels tickets are also available from the Czech Railways Travel Agency (224 239 464; fax 224 223 600) at Nadrazi Holesovice. Open M-F 9am-5pm, Sa-Su 8am-4pm.
Buses: Schedule info (900 149 044; www.jizdnirady.czorwww.vlak.cz). The state-run CSAD (Ceska statni automobiloya doprava; Czech National Bus Transport; 257 319 555) has several bus terminals. The biggest is Florenc, Kfizi’kova 4 ( 900 119 041). Metro B or C: Florenc. Info office open daily 6am-9pm. Buy tickets in advance. To: Berlin (8hr. daily, 850K6); Budapest (8hr. daily, 1550KC); Paris (18hr. daily, 2200Kc); Sofia (26hr. 4 per day, 1600Kc); Vienna (82hr. daily, 600Kc). 10% ISIC discount. TheTourbus office (224 210 221; www.eurolines.cz), at the terminal, sells tickets for Eurolines and airport buses. Open M-F 8am-8pm, Sa 9am-8pm, Su 9am-7pm.
Public Transportation: Buy Metro, tram, or bus tickets from newsstands, tabak kiosks, machines in stations, or DP (Dopravni Podnik; transport authority) kiosks. The basic 8Kc ticket is good for 15min. on a tram (or 4 stops on the Metro); the 12Kc ticket is valid for lhr. during the day, with unlimited connections between buses, trams, and Metro in any one direction. Large bags require an extra 6Kc ticket. Validate tickets in machines above escalators or face a 400Kc fine. Before paying a fine, look for the inspector’s badge and get a receipt. The three Metro lines run daily 5am-midnight: A is green on maps, B is yellow, C is red. Night trams #51-58 and buses #501-513 run all night after the last Metro (every 30min.; look for dark blue signs with white lettering at bus stops). The tourist office in the Old Town Hall sells multi-day passes valid for the entire network. (Open 24hr. 70Kc, 3-day 200KC, 7-day 250Kc.)
Taxis: Radiotaxi (224 916 666) or AAA ( 221 111 111). 30KC flat rate plus 22Kc per km. Hail a cab anywhere on the street, but call one of the above numbers to avoid getting ripped off. To avoid the taxi scams that run rampant throughout the city, always ask for a receipt (Proslm, dejte mi paragon”) with distance traveled and price paid.
Shouldering the river Vltava, greater Prague is a mess of suburbs and maze-like streets. Fortunately, nearly everything of interest to the traveler lies within the compact downtown. The Vltava runs south-northeast through central Prague, separating Stare Mgsto (Old Town) and Nove Mesto (New Town) from Mala Strana (Lesser Side). On the right bank of the river, Staromestske Namesti (Old Town Square) is the heart of Prague. From the square, the elegant Paiizska ulice (Paris Street) leads north into Josefov, the old Jewish ghetto in which only six synagogues and the Old Jewish Cemetery remain. South of Stare Mesto, Nove Mesto houses Vaclavske Namesti (Wenceslas Square), the administrative and commercial core of the city. West of Staromestske nam. the picturesque Karluv most (Charles Bridge) spans the Vltava, connecting the Stare Mesto with Malos-transke namesti (Lesser Town Square). Prazsky Hrad (Prague Castle) looks over Malostranske nam. from Hradcany hill.
Prague’s train station, Hlavnf nadrazf, and Florenc bus station lie northeast of Vaclavske nam. All train and bus terminals are on or near the excellent Metro system. To get to Staromestske nam. take the Metro A line to Staromestska and head down Kaprova away from the river. Kiosks and bookstores sell an indexed plan mSsta (map), which is essential for newcomers to the city.
TOURIST AND FINANCIAL SERVICES
Tourist Offices: Green is mark tourist agencies, which book rooms and sell maps, bus tickets, and guidebooks. Prazska Informacm Sluzba (PIS; Prague Info Service; 221 714 170; www.pis.cz) is in the Stare Mesto Hall. Additional branches at Na piikope 20
and Hlavnl nadrazl (open in summer M-F 9am-7pm, Sa-Su 9am-5pm; off-season M-F 9am-6pm, Sa 9am-3pm), as well as the tower by the Mala Strana side of the Charles Bridge (open Apr.-Oct. daily 10am-6pm; closed Nov.-Mar.).
Budget Travel: CKM, Manesova 77 (222 721 595; www.ckm-praha.cz). Metro A: Jiffho z Podebrad. Budget air tickets for those under 26. Also books accommodations (dorms from 250Kc). Open M-Th 10am-6pm, F 10am-4pm.
Passport Office: Foreigner Police Headquarters, OlSanska 2 (261 441 111). Metro A: Flora. From the Metro, turn right on Jiginska with the cemetery on your right and go right again on Olsanska. Or take tram #9 from Vaclavske nam. toward Spojovacl and get off at OI§anska. For a visa extension, get a 90Kc stamp inside. Line up in front of doors #2-12, and prepare to wait up to 2hr. Little English spoken. Open M-Tu and Th 7:30-ll:30am and 12:15-3pm, W 8am-12:15pm and l-5pm, F 7:30-ll:30am. Embassies: Canada, Mickiewiczova 6 (m272 101 800). Metro A: Hradcanska. Open M-F 8:30am-12:30pm. Ireland, TrzistS 13 (257 530 061). Metro A: Malostranska. Open M-F 9:30am-12:30pm and 2:30-4:30pm. South Africa, Ruska 65 (267 311 114). Metro A: Flora. Open M-F 8am-4:30pm. UK, Thunovska 14 (257 402 111; www.britain.cz). Metro A: Malostranska. Open M-F 9am-noon. US, Trziste 15 (257 530 663; emergency 253 12 00; www.usembassy.cz). Metro A: Malostranska. Open M-F 9am-4:30pm. Australia (251 018 350) and New Zealand (222 514 672) have consuls, but citizens should contact the UK embassy in an emergency.
Currency Exchange: Exchange counters are everywhere and their rates vary wildly. Never change money on the street. Chequepoints are convenient and open late, but usually charge commission. Komercni banka, Na prfkopg 33 (222 432 111), buys notes and checks for a 2% commission. Open M-W 9am-6pm, Th-F 9am-5pm. ATMs (Banko-mats) abound and can offer the best rates, but sometimes charge large fees. American Express: Vaclavske nam. 56 (222 432 422). Metro A or C: Muzeum. The ATM outside takes AmEx cards. Grants MCV cash advances for a 3% commission. Open daily 9am-7pm. Branches on Mostecka 12 (s257 313 638; open daily 9:30am-7:30pm), Celetna 17 (fax 224 818 274; open daily 8:30am-7:15pm), and Staromestske nam. 5 (224 818 388; open daily 9am-7:30pm).
Luggage Storage: Lockers in all train and bus stations take two 5Kc coins. If these are full, or if you need to store your cargo longer than 24hr. use the luggage offices to the left in the basement of Hlavni nadrazi (15-30K6 per day; open 24hr.) or halfway up the stairs at Florenc (25Kc per day; open daily 5am-llpm).
Laundromat: Laundry Kings, Dejvicka 16 (233 343 743), 1 block from Metro A: Hradcanska. Cross the tram and railroad tracks, and turn left. Very social. Internet access 55Kc per 30min. Wash 60Kc per 6kg, dry 15KC per 8min. Open M-F 6am-10pm, Sa-Su 8am-10pm.
EMERGENCY AND COMMUNICATION
Medical Assistance: Na Homolce (Hospital for Foreigners), Roentgenova 2 (257 272 142; after-hours 257 772 025; www.homolka.cz). Bus #168 and 184. Open M-F 8am-4pm. 24hr. emergency service. American Medical Center, Janovskeho 48 (220 807 756). Major foreign insurance accepted. On call 24hr. Appointments M-F 9am-4pm. Average consultation 50-200KC.
24hr. pharmacy: U. Lekarna Andwia, Stefanikova 6 (257 320 918). Metro B: AndSI. Telephones: Phone cards sell for 175Kc per 50 units and 320Kc per 100 units at kiosks, post offices, and some exchange places; don’t let kiosks rip you off.
HEADING EAST: CZECH REPUBLIC
Internet Access: Prague is an Internet nirvana. Eli Bohemia Bagel, Masna 2 (www.bohe-miabagei.cz). Metro A: StaromSstska. 1.5K5 per min. Open M-F 7am-midnight, Sa-Su 8am-midnight. Cafe Electra, Ra§fnovo nablezi 62 (224 922 887; www.electra.cz). Metro B: Karlovo nam. Exit on the Palackeho nam. side. Extensive menu. Internet 80K per hr. Open M-F 9am-midnight, Sa-Su 1 lam-midnight.
Post Office: JindfiSska 14 (221 131 445). Metro A or B: Mustek. Airmail to the US takes 7-10 days. Open daily 2am-midnight. For Poste Restante, address mail to be held: Firstname SURNAME, Poste Restante, Jindrisska 14, Praha 1 110 00, CZECH REPUBLIC.
ACCOMMODATIONS AND CAMPING
Although hotel prices are through the roof, rates in the glutted hostel market have stabilized at around 300-600KC per night. Reservations are a must at hotels, which can be booked solid months in advance, and are a good idea at the few hostels that accept them. Most accommodations have 24hr. reception and require check-out by 10am. A growing number of Prague residents rent affordable rooms.
Many room hawkers at the train station offer legitimate deals, but some will rip you off. Apartments go for around 600-1200Kc per day, depending on proximity to the city center. Haggling is possible. If you don’t want to bargain on the street, try a private agency. Ask where the nearest tram, bus, or Metro stop is, and don’t pay until you know what you’re getting; ask for details in writing. You can often pay in euros or US dollars, but prices are lower if you pay in Czech crowns. Some travel agencies book lodgings as well (1001). AveTravel, on the second floor of Hlavni nadrazi, books rooms starting at 800Kc per person and hostels from 290Kc. (224 223 226; www.avetravel.cz. Open daily 6am-11pm. AmExMCV.)
If you tote a backpack in Hlavni nadrazi or Holesovice, expect to be bombarded by hostel runners. Many accommodations are university dorms that free up from June to August, and often you’ll be offered free transportation. These rooms are convenient options for those arriving in the middle of the night without reservations. If you prefer more than just a place to sleep, smaller establishments are a safer bet. It’s a good idea to call as soon as you know your plans, even if only the night before you arrive or at 10am when they know who’s checking out. In Prague, the staff typically speaks English, and hostels rarely have curfews.
Hostel Boathouse, Lodnicka 1 (241 770 057; www.aa.czboathouse), south of the city center. Take tram #21 from Narodni south toward Sidli§t& Get off at Cerny Kufi (20min.) and follow the yellow signs. Vera runs the most highly praised staff in Prague. Summer camp vibe. Hot breakfast or dinner 70Kc. Dorms 300-320K5. O
Penzion v podzamci, V podzamf27 (241 444 609; www.sleepinprague.com), south of the city center. From Metro C: Budgjovicka, take bus #192 to the 3rd stop (Nad Ryb-niky). Homey, with kitchen and laundry. Sept.-lune dorms 280K6, July-Aug. 300Kc; doubles 640720KC; triples 900990KC. O
El Dlouha 33, ( 224 826 662). Metro B: Nam. Republiky. Follow Revolu n( toward the river, turn left on Dlouha. Unbeatable location in Stare MSsto; in the same building as the Roxy (1011), but soundproof. Book 2-3 weeks in advance in summer. Open year-round. Dorms 370-430Kc; doubles 1240K5; triples 1440K6. ISIC discount 40Kc.
ACCOMMODATIONS AND CAMPING
Apple Hostel, Kradlodvorska 16 (224 231 050; www.applehostel.cz). Metro B: Nam. Republiky. At the corner of RevoluCni and Nam. Republiky, across from Kotva department store. Brand new hostel with a social atmosphere, helpful staff, and a prime location in the heart of Stare M6sto. Breakfast included. Internet access lKc per min. Mar.-Oct. 4-bed dorms 450Kc, Nov.-Feb. 350Kc; 5-bed dorms 440340Kc; 7-bed dorms 420320KC. Singles 19501150Ke; doubles 12401040KC.
Hostel U Melounu, Ke Karlovu 7 (fax 224 918 322; www.hostelmelounu.cz), in Nove MSsto. Metro C: I.P. Pavlova. Follow Sokolska and go right on Na Bojist then left onto Ke Karlovu. A historic building with great facilities. Breakfast included. Reservations accepted. Dorms 380K6; singles 500Kc; doubles 840Kc. ISIC discount 30KS. Husova 3, (222 220 078), in Stare Mesto. Metro B: Narodni trida. Turn right on Spalena (which becomes Na Perstyne after Narodni), and again on Husova. Open July-Aug. only. Dorms 400KC.
Strelecky ostrov, (224 932 999), on an island beneath Legbridge in Stare Mesto. Metro B: Narodni tfida. Open mid-June to mid-Sept. Spacious dorms 300K5.
Ujezd, (257 312 403), across Most Legbridge in Stare Mesto. Metro B: Narodni trida. Sports facilities and park. Open mid-June to mid-Sept. Dorms 220K .
Pension Tyn, Tynska 19 (sfax 224 808 333; firstname.lastname@example.org), in Stare Mesto. Metro A: Staromestska. From the Old Town Square, head down Dlouha, bear right at Masna then right onto Tynska. A quiet getaway located in the center of Stare Mesto. Immaculate facilities. Dorms 400K6; doubles llOOKc.
Welcome Hostel, Zikova 13 (224 320 202; www.bed.cz), outside the center. Metro A: Dejvicka. Cheap, tidy, spacious, and convenient university dorm. Near airport shuttle stop. Singles 400KC; doubles 540Kc. 10% ISIC discount.
Welcome Hostel at Strahov Complex, Vam’ckova 5 (233 359 275), outside the center. Take bus #217 or 143 from Metro A: Dejvicka to Koleje Strahov. Newly renovated high-rise dorms near Prague Castle. A little far, but there’s almost always space. Singles 300Kc; doubles 440KC. 10% ISIC discount.
HOTELS AND PENSIONS
As tourists colonize Prague, hotels are upgrading their service and their prices; budget hotels are now quite scarce. Call several months ahead to book a room in summer and confirm by fax with a credit card.
Dum U krale Jiriho, Liliova 10 (222 220 925; www.kinggeorge.cz), in Stare Mesto. Metro A: Staromestska. Exit onto Nam. Jana Palacha, walk down Kfizovnicka toward the Charles Bridge and turn left onto Karlova; Liliova is the first right. Gorgeous rooms with private bath. Breakfast included. May-Dee. singles 2000Kc; doubles 3300KC. Dec.-May 15002700KC.
Lilie, Liliova 15 (222 220 432; www.pensionville.cz), in Stare Mesto. Metro A: StaromSstska. See directions for Dum U krale Jiriho (above). Lovely courtyard. Breakfast included. Singles with showers 1850K2; doubles 2150-2800KC.
Hotel Kafka, Cimburkova 24 (fax 222 781 333), outside the center. From Metro C: Hlavni nadrazi, take tram #5 (dir.; Harfa), 9 (dir.; Spojovacf), or 26 (dir.: Nadrazi Hos-tivar); get off at Husinecka. Head uphill along Seifertova then go left on Cimburkova. Locals frequent nearby beer halls. Breakfast included. Apr.-Oct. singles 1700K6; doubles 2300KC. Nov.-Mar. 10001300Kc. MCV for 5% commission.
Pension UnitasCloister Inn, Bartolomejska 9 (224 221 802; www.unitas.cz), in Stare Mesto. Metro B: Narodni trida. Cross Narodni, head up Na Perstyne away from Tesco, and turn left on Bartolomejska. Renovated rooms in the cells of the former Communist prison where Vaclav Havel was incarcerated. Breakfast included. Singles 1100KC; doubles 1400KC; triples 1750Kc.
Campsites can be found in both the outskirts and the centrally located Vltava islands. Bungalows must be reserved in advance, but tent space is generally available without prior notice. Tourist offices sell a guide to sites near the city (15Kc).
Sokol Troja, Trojska 171 (fax 233 542 908), north of the center in the Troja district. Metro C: Nadrazi Holesovice. Take bus #112 to Kazanka. Similar places line the road. July-Aug. 130Kc per person, 90-180KC per tent; Oct.-June 70-150KC per tent. Private rooms available. July-Aug. singles 320Kc; doubles 640K2. Oct.-June 290580KC.
Caravan Park, Cisarska louka 599 (257 318 681; fax 257 318 387), on the Cisarska louka peninsula. Metro B: Smichovske nadrazi, then any of the buses numbered in the 300s to Lihovar. Alternatively, a ferry service leaves every hr. on the hour from the small landing 1 block over from Smichovske nadrazi (lOKc). Small, tranquil camping ground on the banks of the Vltava river. Clean facilities, friendly staff, convenient cafe and currency exchange on premises. 95Kc per person, 90-140Kc per tent.
The nearer you are to the center, the more you’ll pay. Away from the center, pork, cabbage, dumplings, and a half-liter of beer costs about 50Kc. You will be charged for everything the waiter brings to the table; check your bill carefully. Most restaurants accept only cash. Outlying Metro stops become markets in the summer. Tesco, Narodni tri’da 26, has groceries right next to metro B: Narodrn trfda. (Open M-F 7am-10pm, Sa 8am-8pm, Su 9am-8pm.) Look for the daily market in Stare Mesto where Havelska and Melantrichova intersect. After a night out, grab a pdrek v rohliku (hot dog) or a smazeny syr (fried cheese sandwich) from a Vaclavske nam. vendor, or a gyro from a stand on Spalena or Vodi’ckova.
IS Jachymka, Jachymova 4 (224 819 621). From the Old Town Square, walk up Pafizska and take a right on Jachymova. A favorite among locals, Jachymka serves heaping portions of traditional Czech cuisine in a lively, informal atmosphere. Try the goulash with dumplings (95K ) or one of their massive meat escalopes (80-185KC). Or for lighter fare, try the salmon with pasta and vegetables (195Kc). Open daily llam-llpm.
Radost FX, Belehradska 120, is both a dance club and a late-night cafe with an imaginative menu and great vegetarian food. Metro C: I.P. Pavlova. Main dishes 105-170KC. Brunch Sa-Su 95-140KS. Open daily 1 lam-late. See also Clubs and Discos, 1010.
U Sadlu, Klimentska 2 (-a-224 813 874; www.usadlu.cz). Metro B: Nam. Republiky. From the square, walk down Revolu m toward the river, then go right on Klimentska. Medieval themed restaurant with bountiful portions; call ahead. Czech-only menu lists traditional meals (115-245KC). Open daily llam-midnight.
Klub architektu, Betlemske nam. 52A, in Stare Mesto. Metro B: Narodni tri’da. A 12th-century cellar with 20th century ambience. Veggie options 90-100KC. Meat dishes 150-290Kc. Open daily ll:30am-midnight. MCV.
U Svejku, Ujezd 22, in Mala Strana. Metro A: Malostranska. Head down Klarov and go right onto Letenska. Bear left through Malostranske nam. and follow Karmelitska until it becomes Ujezd. Named after the lovable Czech cartoon hero from Hasek’s novel The Good Soldier Svejk, and decorated with scenes from the book. Nightly accordion music after 7pm. Main dishes 98-148KC. Open daily llam-midnight. AmExMCV.
Velryba (The Whale), Opatovicka 24, in Nove M6sto. Metro B: Narodni trida. Cross the tram tracks and follow Ostrovni, then go left onto Opatovicka. Relaxed cafe-restaurant with downstairs art gallery. Entrees 80-140KC. Open M-Th 1 lam-midnight, F 11am-2am. Cafe and gallery open M-F noon-midnight, Sa 5pm-midnight, Su 3-10pm.
Kajetanka, Hradcanske nam. in Mala Strana. Metro A: Malostranska. Walk down Leten-ska through Malostranske nam.; climb Nerudova until it curves to Ke Hradu, continue up the hill. Terrace cafe with a spectacular view. Meat dishes 129-299KC, salads 49-69Kc. Open in spring and summer daily 10am-8pm; off-season 10am-6pm.
Cafe Bambus, Benediktska 12, in Stare Mesto. Metro B: Nam. Republiky. An African oasis with an international menu. Entrees 55-228Kc. Czech pancakes 55-75K5. Open M-Th lOam-lam, F 10am-2am, Sa llam-2am, Su 1 lam-1 lpm.
Spirku, ul. Kozna 12, in Stare MSsto. Metro A: Staromgstska. Authentic Czech decor and some of the city’s best food at incredibly low prices. Entrees about lOOKc. Open daily 1 lam-midnight.
Roma Due, Liliova 18. Metro A: Staromestska. Perfect to cap off a night out. Pasta 89-155Kc until 10pm. Pizza 99-150K6 until 5am. Open 24hr.
CAFES AND TEAHOUSES
Cafe Ebel, Tyn 2 (224 895 788; www.ebelcoffee.cz). Metro A or B: Staromgstska. Under the Ungelt arches. The best coffee in town and an affordable continental breakfast. Additional location at Retezova 9. Open daily 9am-10pm.
18 Bakeshop Praha, Kozi’ 1 (222 316 823; email@example.com). From the Old Town Square, follow Dlouha to the intersection of Kozi. Mouthwatering breads, pastries, muffins, salads, sandwiches, and quiches and a multitude of espresso and tea drinks. Additional location at Lazenska 19, off Mostecka in Mala Strana. Open daily 7am-7pm.
El Kavarna Imperial, Na PoriS 15. Metro B: Nam. Republiky. Pillared cafe with a courtly air. Live jazz F-Sa 9pm. Open M-Th 9am-midnight, F-Sa 9am-lam, Su 9am-llpm.
The Globe Coffeehouse, Pstrossova 6. Metro B: Narodni trida. At the Globe Bookstore. Exit Metro left on Spalena, turn right on Ostrovni, then left to P§trossova. Fruit smoothies (45-60K6), black coffee (25Kc), and English speakers trying to make a love connection (priceless). Open daily lOam-midnight.
U Maleho Glena, Karmelitska 23. Metro A: Malostranska. Take tram #12 to Malostranske nam. Their motto is: “Eat, Drink, Drink Some More. Killer margaritas 90KC. Nightly jazz or blues 9pm. Cover 100-150Kc. Open daily 10am-2am.
U zeleneho caje, Nerudova 19. Metro A: Malostranska. Follow Letenska to Malostranske nam.; stay right of the church. Over 60 varieties of fragrant tea to please the senses and calm the mind. Sandwiches 25-89Kc. Open daily llam-lOpm.
Kavarna Meduza, Belgicka 17. Metro A: Nam. Miru. Walk down Rumunska and turn left at Belgicka. Cafe masquerading as an antique shop. Fluffed-up Victorian seats and lots of coffee (19-30Kc). Open M-F llam-lam, Sa-Su noon-lam.
One of the only major Central European cities unscathed by WWII, Prague is a well-preserved blend of labyrinthine alleys and Baroque architecture. You can easily escape the crowds by venturing away from Staromestske namesti, Karluv Most (Charles Bridge), and Vaclavske namesti. Compact central Prague is best explored on foot. There are plenty of opportunities for exploration in the back alleys of Jose-fov, the hills of VySehrad, and the maze of streets in Mala Strana.
NOVE MESTO (NEW TOWN)
Established in 1348 by Charles IV, Nove Mesto has become the commercial center of Prague, complete with American chain stores.
WENCESLAS SQUARE. Not so much a square as a boulevard running through the center of Nove Mesto, Wenceslas Square (Vaclavske namesti) owes its name to the Czech ruler and saint Wenceslas (Vaclav), whose statue is in front of the National Museum (Narodni muzeum). Wenceslas has presided over a century of turmoil and triumph, witnessing no fewer than five revolutions from his pedestal: The declaration of the new Czechoslovak state in 1918, the invasion by Hitler’s troops in 1939, the arrival of Soviet tanks in 1968, the self-immolation of Jan Palach in protest of the Soviet invasion, and the 1989 Velvet Revolution. The square stretches from the statue past department stores, thumping discos, posh hotels, sausage stands, and glitzy casinos. Radio Free Europe, which gives global news updates and advocates peace, has been broadcasting from its glass building behind the National Museum since WWII. (Metro A or C: Muzeum.)
FRANCISCAN GARDEN AND VELVET REVOLUTION MEMORIAL. Monks somehow manage to preserve the immaculate and serene rose garden (Frantiskanska zahrada) in the heart of Prague’s bustling commercial district. A plaque under the arcades halfway down Narodni, across from the Black Theatre, memorializes the hundreds of citizens beaten by police on November 17, 1989. A subsequent wave of mass protests led to the total collapse of Communism in Czechoslovakia during the Velvet Revolution. (Metro A or B: Mustek. Enter through the arch to the left ofJungmannova and Narodni, behind the statue. Open daily mid-Apr. to mid-Sept. 7am- 10pm; mid-Sept. to mid-Oct. 7am-8pm; mid-Oct to mid-Apr. 8am-7pm. Free.)
THE DANCING HOUSE. American architect Frank Gehry (of Guggenheim-Bilbao fame; 979) built the undulating Dancing House (Tancfcf dum) at the comer of Resslova and Rasinovo nabrezi. Since its 1996 unveiling, it has been called an eyesore by some, and a shining example of postmodern design by others. (Metro B: Kar-lovo ncim. As you walk down Resslova toward the river, the building is on the left.)
STARE MESTO (OLD TOWN)
Getting lost among the narrow roads and old-world alleys of Stare Mesto is probably the best way to appreciate the 1000-year-old neighborhood’s charm.
CHARLES BRIDGE. Thronged with tourists and the hawkers who feed on them, the Charles Bridge (Karluv Most) is Prague’s most recognizable landmark. On each side of the bridge, defense towers offer splendid views of the city and of the river. Five stars and a cross mark the spot where the St. Jan Nepomucky was tossed over the side of the bridge for guarding the queen’s extramarital secrets from a suspicious King Wenceslas IV. (Metro A: Malostranska on the Mala Strana side and Metro A; Staromestska on the Stare Mesto side. Open daily lOam-lOpm. 40Kc, students 30Kc.)
OLD TOWN SQUARE. The heart of Stare Mesto is Staromestske namesti (Old Town Square), surrounded by eight magnificent towers. Next to the grassy knoll stands the Old Town Hall (Staromestske radnice). The multi-facaded building is missing a piece of the front facade where the Nazis partially demolished it in the final week of WWII. Crowds gather on the hour to watch the astronomical clock chime, releasing a procession of apostles accompanied by a skeleton symbolizing Death. (Metro A; StaromSstska or Metro A or B: Mustek. Town Hall open in summer M llam-5:30pm, Tu-Su 9am-5:30pm. Clock tower open daily 10am-6pm. 40Kc, students 30Kc.) Opposite the Old Town Hall, the spires of Tyn Church (Matka Bozi pred Tynern) rise above a mass of medieval homes. The famous astronomer Tycho Brahe is buried inside. Brahe died when he overindulged at one of Emperor
The former haunt of Prague’s 19th-century Romantics, Vysehrad is a storehouse of nationalist myths and imperial legends. Quiet paths wind among crumbling stone walls offering respite from Prague’s busy streets. (Metro C: Vysehrad.)
Rudolfs lavish dinner parties, where it was unacceptable to leave the table unless the Emperor himself did so. Because he was forced to stay seated, his bladder burst. The bronze statue of theologian Jan Hus, the country’s most famous martyr, stands in the middle of the square. In front of the Jan Hus statue sits the flowery Goltz-Kinsky Palace, the finest of Prague’s Rococo buildings. (Open Tu-F 10am-6pm; closes early in summer for daily concerts.)
POWDER TOWER AND MUNICIPAL HOUSE. One of the original eight city gates, the Gothic Powder Tower (Prasna Brana) looms at the edge of Nam. Republiky as the entrance to Stare Mesto. A steep climb to the top rewards you with expansive views. Next door, on the site of a former royal court, is the Municipal House (Obecmdum), where the Czechoslovak state declared independence on October 28, 1918. (Nam. Republiky 5. Metro B: Nam. Republiky. Tower open July-Aug. daily lOam-lOpm; Apr.-June and Sept.-Oct. daily 10am-6pm. House open daily 10am-6pm. Guided tours Sa noon and 2pm. 150KS.)
Josefov, the oldest Jewish settlement in Central Europe, lies north of Staromestske nam. along Maiselova. In 1180, Prague’s citizens built a 12 ft. wall around the area. The closed neighborhood bred exotic tales, many of which centered around Rabbi Loew ben Bezalel (1512-1609) and his legendary golem a mud creature that supposedly came to life to protect Prague’s Jews. The city’s Jews remained clustered in Josefov until WWII, when the ghetto was vacated as the residents were deported to death camps. Ironically, Hitler’s wish to create a museum of an extinct race sparked the preservation of Jose-fov’s cemetery and synagogues. Although it’s only a fraction of its former size, there’s still a Jewish community living in Prague today. (Metro A: StaromSstska. Synagogues and cemetery open Apr.-Oct. Su-F 9am-6pm; Nov.-Mar. 9am-4:30pm. Closed Jewish holidays. All six synagogues except Starnova charge 250K6, students 170Kc. Starnova Synagogue 200140K6.)
THE SYNAGOGUES. The Maisel Synagogue
(Maiselova synagoga) displays artifacts from the Jewish Museum’s collections. (On Maiselova, between Siroka and Jachymova.) At the time of publication, Plnkas Synagogue (Pinkasova) was under repair due to recent flooding. To reach it, turn left down Siroka to reach this sobering 16th-century memorial to the 80,000 Czech Jews killed in the Holocaust. Upstairs is an exhibit of drawings made by children in the Terezin camp. Backtrack up Siroka and go left on
Maiselova to visit the oldest operating synagogue in Europe, the 700-year-old New Synagogue (Staronova). Further up Siroka on Dusru is the Spanish Synagogue (Span-elska), which has an ornate Moorish interior.
OLD JEWISH CEMETERY. The Old Jewish Cemetery (Stary zidovsky hrbitov) remains Josefov’s most-visited site. Between the 14th and 18th centuries, 20,000 graves were laid in 12 layers. The striking clusters of tombstones result from a process in which the older stones rose from underneath. Rabbi Loew is buried by the wall opposite the entrance, (At the corner of Siroka arid Zatecka.)
A seedy hangout for criminals and counter-revolutionaries for nearly a century, the cobblestone streets of Mala Strana have become prized real estate. Mala Strana is centered around Malostranske Namesti and its centerpiece, the Baroque St. Nicholas’s Cathedral (Chram sv. Mikulase), whose towering dome is one of Prague’s most prominent landmarks. (Metro A; Malostranska; follow Letenska to Malostranske nam. Open daily 9am-4:45pm. 5OKc, students 25Kc.) Along Letenska, a wooden gate opens into the beautiful Wallenstein Garden (Valdstejnska zahrada), one of Prague’s best-kept secrets. (Letensk& 10. Metro A; Malostranska. Open Apr.-Oct. daily 10am-6pm. Free.) Church of Our Lady Victorious (Kostel Panna Marie Vitezne) is known for the famous wax statue of the Infant Jesus of Prague, said to bestow miracles on the faithful. (Metro A: Malostranska. Follow Letecka through Malostranske nam. and continue onto Karmelitska. Open daily 8:30am-7pm. Museum open M-Sa 9:30am-5:30pm, Su l-6pm. Free.)
PRAGUE CASTLE (PRAZSKY HRAD)
Prague Castle has been the seat of the Bohemian government for over 1000 years. From Metro A: Hradcanska, cross the tram tracks and turn left onto Tychonova, which leads to the newly renovated Royal Summer Palace. The main castle entrance is at the other end of the lush Royal Garden (Kralovska zahrada), where the Singing Fountain spouts and chimes. Before exploring, pass the main gate to see the Sternberg Palace, which houses art from the National Gallery. (Metro A: Malostranska. Take trams #22 or 23 to Prazsky Hrad and go down U Prasneho Mostu. Open Apr.-Oct. daily 9am-5pm; Nov.-Mar. 9am-4pm. Buy tickets opposite St. Vitus’s Cathedral, inside the castle walls. 1-day ticket valid at Royal Crypt, Cathedral and Powder Tower, Old Royal Palace, and the Basilica. 220K , students 110K6.)
ST. VITUS’S CATHEDRAL. Inside the castle walls stands the colossal St. Vitus’s Cathedral (Katedrala sv. Vita), which looks Gothic but was in fact finished in 1929, 600 years after construction began. To the right of the high altar stands the silver Tomb of St. Jan Nepomucky. In the main church, the walls of St. Wenc-eslas’s Chapel (Svatovaclavska kaple) are lined with precious stones and a painting cycle depicting the legend of Wenceslas. Climb the 287 steps of the Great South Tower for the best view of the city, or descend underground to the Royal Crypt, which holds the tomb of Charles IV.
OLD ROYAL PALACE. The Old Royal Palace (Stary Kralovsky Palac) is to the right of the cathedral, behind the Old Provost’s House and the statue of St. George. The lengthy Vladislav Hall once hosted jousting competitions. Upstairs is the Chancellery of Bohemia, where the Second Defenestration of Prague took place.
ST. GEORGE’S BASILICA AND ENVIRONS. Behind the cathedral and across the courtyard from the Old Royal Palace stands St. George’s Basilica (Bazilika sv. Jin). The National Gallery of Bohemian Art, which has art ranging from Gothic to Baroque, is in the adjacent convent. (Open Tu-Su 10am-6pm. lOOKc, students 50KC.) Jlrska street begins to the right of the basilica. Halfway down, tiny Golden Lane (Zlata ulicka) heads off to the right; alchemists once worked here, and Kafka later lived at #22.
The city’s outskirts are packed with greenery, churches, and panoramic vistas, all peacefully tucked away from hordes of tourists. Vysehrad is the former haunt of Prague’s 19th-century Romantics; quiet walkways wind between crumbling stone walls to one of the Czech Republic’s most celebrated sites, Vysehrad Cemetery, home to the remains of composer Antonin Dvorak. The oldest monastery in Bohemia, Brevnov Monastery, was founded in AD993 by King Boleslav II and St. Adalbert, each of whom was guided by a divine dream to build a monastery atop a bubbling stream. The stream leads to a pond to the right of St. Margaret’s Church (Bazilika sv. Markety) within the complex. (From Metro A: Malostranska, take tram #22 uphill to Bfevnovsky Master. Church open daily 7:30am-6pm.) The traditional Prague Market (Prazskatrznice) has acres of stalls selling all kinds of wares. (Take tram #3 or 14 from Nam. Republiky to Vozovna Kobylisy and get off at Prazskitrznice. Open daily.)
The city’s museums often have striking facades but mediocre collections. Still, a few quirky museums are worth a visit.
GlMUCHA MUSEUM. The museum is devoted to the work of Alfons Mucha, the Czech Republic’s most celebrated artist, who composed some of the pioneering brushstrokes of the Art Nouveau movement. (Panski 7. Metro A or B: Mustek. Walk up Vaclavskg n m. toward the St. Wenceslas statue. Go left onto Jindrisska and again onto Pan-ska. s221 451 333; www.mucha.cz. Open daily 10am-6pm. 120K6, students 6OKc.)
MUSEUM OF MEDIEVAL TORTURE INSTRUMENTS. The collection and highly detailed explanations are guaranteed to nauseate. (Mostecka 21. Metro A: Malostran-sk6. Follow Letenska from the Metro and turn left on Mostecka. Open daily lOam-lOpm. 120K6, students lOOKc.) In the same building, the Exhibition of Spiders and Scorpions shows live venomous spiders and scorpions in their natural habitats. (Open daily lOam-lOpm. 100KS, children 80Kc.)
NATIONAL GALLERY. The massive collection of the National Gallery (Narodni Galerie) is spread around nine different locations; the notable Stembersky palac and Klaster sv. Jin are in the Prague Castle (see 1008). The Trade Fair Palace and the Gallery of Modern Art (Veletrzni palac a Galerie modermho umwrn) exhibits an impressive collection of 20th-century Czech and European art. (Dukelskych hrinu 47. Metro C: Holesovice. All open Su and T-Sa 10am-6pm. 150KC, students 70K6.)
MUSEUM OF COMMUNISM. This new gallery is committed to exposing the flaws of the Communist system that suppressed the Czech people from 1948-1989. It features 3-D objects, a model factory, and an interrogation office. (Na Prikope 10. Metro A; Mustek. Open daily 9am-9pm. 180K6, students 140Kc.)
Por concerts and performances, consult Threshold, Do mSsta-Downtown (both free at many cafes and restaurants), The Pitt, or The Prague Post. Most performances start at 7pm and offer standby tickets 30min. beforehand. Between mid-May and early June, the Prague Spring Festival draws musicians from around the world. For tickets, try Bohemia Ticket International, Male nam. 13, next to Cedok. (s 224 227 832; www.ticketsbti.cz. Open M-F 9am-5pm, Sa 9am-2pm.) The National Theater (Narodni divadlo), Narodni 24, stages drama, opera, and ballet. ( 114 901 448. Metro B: Narodni trida. Box office open M-F 10am-6pm, Sa-Su 10am-12:30pm, 3-6pm, and 30min. before performances. IOO-IOOOKc.) Estates Theater (Stavovske divadlo), Ovocny trg 1, is on the pedestrian Na Prikope. (Metro A or B: Mustek.) Mozart’s Don Giovanni premiered here; shows today are mostly classic theater. Use the National Theater box office, or show up 30min. before the performance. The Marionette Theater (Rise loutek), 2atecka 1, stages a hilarious marionette version of Don Giovanni. (Metro A: Staromestska. Performances June-July Su-Tu and Th-Sa 5 and 8pm. Box office open daily 10am-8pm. 490Kc, students 390Kc.)
With some of the best beers in the world on tap, it’s no surprise that pubs and beer halls are Prague’s most popular nighttime hangouts. Tourists have overrun the city center, so authentic pub experiences are now largely restricted to the suburbs and outlying Metro stops. Although dance clubs abound, Prague is not a clubbing city locals prefer the many jazz and rock hangouts scattered about the city.
Vinarna U Sudu, Vodickova 10. Metro A or B: Mustek. Cross Vaclavske nam. to Vodickova and follow the curve left. Infinite labyrinth of cavernous cellars. Red wine 120Kc per 1L. Open M-F lpm-midnight, Sa-Su 2pm-midnight. i! Kozicka (The Little Goat), Kozi 1. Metro A: Staromestska. This giant cellar bar is always packed; you’ll know why after your first 0.5L of Krusovice (18K ). Czech 20-somethings stay all night. Open M-F noon-4am, Sa-Su 6pm-4am.
Fleku, Kremencova 11. Metro B: Narodni tfida. Turn right on Spalena away from Narodni, right on Myslikova, and then right again on Kremencova. The oldest beer hall in Prague. Home-brewed beer 49K6. Open daily 9am-llpm.
Pivnice u Sv. Tomase, Letenska 12 (257 531 835). Metro A: Malostranska. Walk downhill on Letenska. While meat roasts on a spit, the mighty dungeons echo with boisterous revelry and gushing toasts. Order meats a day in advance, 350-400Kc. Beer 40Kc. Live brass band nightly 7-llpm. Open daily ll:30am-midnight. MCV.
Bugsy’s, Parizska 10. Sophisticated, American style speakeasy serving the tastiest mixed drinks in town. Cocktail menu so thick it’s hardcover (60-200KC). When the upscale munchies hit, sushi awaits. Open daily 7pm-2am. Live Jazz M nights.
Cafe Marquis de Sade, Melnicka 5. Metro B: Nam. Republiky. Spacious bar decorated in rich red velvet. Happy Hour M-F 4-6pm. Velvet beer27-35Kc. Open daily noon-2am.
Zanzibar, Saska 6. Metro A: Malostranska. Head down Mostecka toward the Charles Bridge, turn right on Lazefiska, and turn left on Saska. The tastiest, priciest, and most exotic cocktails this side of the Vltava (110-150Kc). Open daily 5pm-3am.
Molly Malone’s, U obecniho dvora 4. Metro A: Staromestska. Overturned sewing machines serve as tables in this pub. Small groups can head to the loft. Guinness 80K . Open Su-Th llam-lam, F-Sa llam-2am.
Jo’s Bar and Garaz, Malostranske nam. 7. Metro A: Malostranska. All-Anglophone with foosball, darts, cards, and a DJ. Beer 30KC during Happy Hour (6-10pm). Open daily llam-2am.
CLUBS AND DISCOS
13 Radost FX, Belehradska 120 (www.radostfx.cz). Metro C: I.P. Pavlova. Plays the hippest techno, jungle, and house. Creative drinks. Cover 80-150KC. Open M-Sa lOpm-late.
Jazz Club Zelezna, Zelezna 16. Metro A or B: Staromgstska. Vaulted cellar bar showcases live jazz daily. Beer 30Kc. Cover 120-150KC. Shows 9-ll:30pm. Open daily 3pm-lam. AmExMCV.
Roxy, Dlouha 33. Metro B: Nam. Republiky. In the same building as the Dlouha 33 Traveler’s Hostel (1002). Experimental DJs and theme nights. Crowds hang out on the huge staircases. Cover 100-350K5. Open M-Tu and Th-Sa 9pm-late.
Karlovy Lazne, Novotneho lavka 1. Four levels of themed dance floors under the Charles Bridge. Cover lOOKc, 50K before 10pm and after 4am. Open nightly 9pm-late.
Palac Akropolis, Kubelikova 27 (www.palacakropolis.cz). Metro A: Jiriho z Podebrad. Head down Slavi’kova and turn right onto Kubelikova. Live bands several times a week. Top Czech act Psi vojaci is an occasional visitor. Open daily 10pm-5am.
U stare pani, Michalska 9. Metro A or B: Mustek. Some of Prague’s finest jazz vocalists in a tiny yet classy venue. Shows nightly 9pm-midnight. Cover 160K6, includes 1 drink. Open for shows 7pm-2am.
Ungelt, Tyn 2. Metro A: Staromestska. Subterranean vault with live jazz daily from 9pm-midnight. (Cover 160K6). Or, listen from the pub for free. Open daily noon-midnight.
GAY AND LESBIAN NIGHTLIFE
At any of the places below, you can pick up a copy of Amigo (69Kc), the most thorough guide to gay life in the Czech Republic with a lot in English, or Gaycko (60Kc), a glossier piece of work written mostly in Czech.
Friends, Naprstkova 1 (221 635 408; www.friends-prague.cz). Lively cellar bar in the heart of Stare Mesto. Slightly touristy but always busy. Friendly, English-speaking bartenders are good sources for info on hot spots. Czech music party W nights. Internet 2Kc per min (4-8pm). Open daily 3pm-3am.
Tingl Tangl, Karoliny Svetle 12. Metro B: Narodni tfida. Under the archway on the left, this gay club draws a diverse crowd for its cabarets. Cover 120Kc. Open W-Sa 9pm-5am, with shows after midnight.
A Club, Milicova 25. Metro C: Hlavni nadrazi. Take tram #5, 9, 26, or 55 uphill and get off at Lipsanka. A favorite lesbian nightspot. Men are free to enter, but expect funny looks. Beer20Kc. Open nightly 7pm-6am.
TEREZIN (THERESIENSTADT). In 1941, when Terezrn became a concentration camp, Nazi propaganda films touted the area as a resort where Jews would live a normal life. In reality, over 30,000 died here, some of starvation and disease, others in death chambers; another 85,000 Jews were transported to death camps further east. The Ghetto Museum, around the comer, to the left of the bus stop in town, sets Terezrn in the wider context of WWII. (Open Apr.-Sept. daily 9am-6pm; Oct.-Mar. 9am-5:30pm. Tickets to museum, barracks, and small fortress 180KC, students 160KC.) Across the river is the Small Fortress, which was used as a Gestapo prison. (Open Apr.-Sept. daily 8am-6pm; Oct.-Mar. 8am-4:30pm.) The cemetery has tributes left by the victims’ descendants. Men should cover their heads when visiting. (Open Mar.-Nov. Su-F 10am-5pm. Free.) The furnaces of the crematorium are temporarily closed due to flooding. Terezrn has been repopulated to about half of its former size; families now live in the barracks and supermarkets occupy former Nazi offices. A bus runs from Prague Florenc station (lhr. 9 per day, 59Kc); get off at the Terezrn stop, where the tourist office sells a 30Kc map. (Open Su and Tu-Sa 9am-12:30pm and 14pm.)
KUTNA HORA. East of Prague, the former mining town of Kutna Hora (Mining Mountain) has a history as morbid as the bone church that has made the city famous. Founded in the late 13th century when lucky miners hit a vein of silver, the city boomed with greedy diggers, but the Black Plague halted the fortune-seekers dead in their tracks. When the graveyard became overcrowded, the Cistercian Order built a chapel to hold bodies. In a fit of whimsy (or insanity), one monk began designing floral shapes out of pelvises and crania; he never finished, but the artist Frantisek Rint eventually completed the project in 1870 with the bones of over 40,000 people, including femur crosses and a grotesque chandelier made from every kind of bone in the human body. (Open Apr.-Oct. daily 8am-6pm; Nov.-Mar. 9am-noon and l-4pm. 30KC, students 20Kc.) Take a bus (lV&ir. 6 per day, 54-64Kc) from Prague Florenc station. Exit left onto Benesova, continue through the rotary until it becomes Vitezna, then go left on Zamecka.
KARLSTEJN. A gem of the Bohemian countryside, Karlstejn is a turreted fortress built by Charles IV in the 14th century to store his crown jewels and holy relics. (Open July-Aug. Su and Tu-Sa 9am-6pm; May-June and Sept. 9am-5pm; Apr.-Oct. 9am-4pm; Nov.-Mar. 9am-3pm. 7-8 English tours per day; 200KC, students 100KC.) The Chapel of the Holy Cross is inlaid with precious stones and 129 apocalyptic paintings by medieval artist Master Theodorik. ((02) 74 00 81 54; firstname.lastname@example.org. Open Su and Tu-Sa 9am-5pm. Tours by reservation only; 300K6, students lOOKc.) The area also has beautiful hiking trails. A train runs to Praha-Hlavni (45min. every hr. 55Kc). To reach the castle, turn right out of the station and go left over the modem bridge; turn right, then walk through the village.
MELNIK. Fertile Melnik is known for its wine-making, supposedly perfected about 1000 years ago when St. Wenceslas, the patron saint of Bohemian wine-makers, was initiated in its vineyards. In one day, you can tour the stately Renaissance castle, sample its homemade wines, and lunch in the old schoolhouse overlooking the Rip Valley. Wine tasting (llOKc) with Martin, the wine master, is available by reservation, (s 206 62 21 21; www.lobkowicz-melnik.cz. Castle open daily 10am-6pm. Tours 60IC, students 40KT.) Buses run from Prague Holesovice (45min. every 30min. 32Kc). From the station, make a right onto Bezrucova and head up the left fork onto Kpt. Jarose, to the town center. Enter the Old Town Square; the castle is down Svatovaclvska to your left.
CESKY RAJ NATIONAL PRESERVE. The narrow sandstone pillars and deep gorges of Prachovske skaly (Prachovske Rocks) make for climbs and hikes with stunning ; 133 views. Prachovske skaly also boasts the Pelisek rock pond and the ruins of the 14th- century rock castle Parez. (Open Apr.-Oct daily 8am-5pm; swimming May-Aug. 25Kc, students lOKc.) The 588 acres of the park are interwoven by a dense network of trails; both green and yellow signs guide hikers to additional sights, while triangles indicate vistas off the main trails. Red signs mark the Golden Trail, which connects Prachovske skaly to Hruba Skala (Rough Rock), a rock town surrounding a hilltop castle from which hikers enjoy the best view of the sandstone rocks. From the Hruba Skala castle, the red trail leads up to what remains of Wallenstein Castle (Valdstejnsky hrad). Buses run from Prague-Florenc station to Jicin (l%hr. 7 per day, 86Kc), where other buses go to Prachovske Skaly and Cesky Raj (15min. several per day, 9Kc). Buses to Cesky Raj sometimes run less frequently than scheduled; you can also walk from Jicin along a relatively easy 6km trail beginning at Motel Rumcajs, Koneva 331.
DOCUMENTS AND FORMALITIES
VISAS. Citizens of Canada, Ireland, South Africa, the UK, and the US may visit Hungary without visas for 90 days, provided their passport does not expire within six months of their journey’s end. Australians and New Zealanders must obtain 90-day tourist visas from a Hungarian embassy or consulate.
EMBASSIES AND CONSULATES. Hungarian embassies at home include: Australia, 17 Beale Crescent, Deakin, ACT 2600 (02 6282 3226); Canada, 299 Waverley St. Ottawa, ON K2P 0V9 (613-230-2717; www.docuweb.cahungjiry); Ireland, 2 Fitzwilliam PL, Dublin 2 (01 661 2903; fax 01 661 2880); New Zealand, 37 Abbott St. Wellington 6004 (04 973 7507); South Africa, 959 Arcadia St. Hatfield, Arcadia; P.O. Box 27077, Sunnyside 0132 (012 430 3020); UK, 35 Eaton PL, London SW1X 8BY (020 7235 5218; www.hunemblon.org.uk); and US, 3910 Shoemaker St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20008 (202-362-6730; www.hungaryemb.org).
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