Rick Steves Pocket Prague


By Rick Steves

By Honza Vihan

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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around April 7, 2020. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

Make the most of every day and every dollar with Rick Steves! This colorful, compact guidebook is perfect for spending a week or less in Prague:
  • City walks and tours: Five detailed self-guided walks, including a walk from the Old Town Square to the Charles Bridge and tours of The Jewish Quarter and Prague Castle
  • Rick’s strategic advice on what’s worth your time and money
  • What to eat and where to stay: Savor a traditional goulash stew, mingle with locals over a Czech beer or two, and stay in a romantic hotel in the Little Quarter
  • Day-by-day itineraries to help you prioritize your time
  • A detailed, detachable fold-out map, plus museum and city maps throughout
  • Full-color, portable, and slim for exploring on-the-go
  • Trip-planning practicalities like when to go, how to get around, basic Czech phrases, and more
Lightweight, yet packed with info on Prague’s history and culture, Rick Steves Pocket Prague truly is a tour guide in your pocket.

Extending your trip? Try Rick Steves Prague & the Czech Republic.



Map: Prague

Key to this Book

About this Book

Prague by Neighborhood

Map: Prague Neighborhoods

Planning Your Time

Daily Reminder

Prague at a Glance

Czech Republic Almanac

Few cities can match Prague’s over-the-top romance, evocative Old World charm...and tourist crowds. Residents call their town “Praha” (PRAH-hah). It’s big, with about 1.3 million people. But during a quick visit, you’ll focus on its relatively compact old center.

Prague is equal parts historic and fun. As the only Central European capital to escape the large-scale bombing of the last century’s wars, it’s one of Europe’s best-preserved cities. It’s a city of willowy Art Nouveau facades, Mozart concerts, and some of the best beer in Europe. Wind through walkable neighborhoods, cross the famous statue-lined Charles Bridge, and hike up to the world’s biggest castle for sweeping views of the city’s spires and domes. You’ll see rich remnants of the city’s strong Jewish heritage and stark reminders of the communist era. And you’ll meet today’s vibrant mix of locals and expats. Prague itself seems a work of art.

About This Book

With this book, I’ve selected only the best of Prague—admittedly, a tough call. The core of the book is five self-guided walks and tours that show off the region’s greatest sights and experiences. My Prague Old Town Walk—from the Old Town Square to the historic Charles Bridge—introduces you to the city and its main sights. The Jewish Quarter Tour leads through the synagogues and museums of Europe’s best-preserved former Jewish ghetto. The Wenceslas Square Walk shows off the glitzier New Town, and recalls Prague’s tumultuous years under communist rule and its exciting liberation in the 1989 Velvet Revolution. The Prague Castle Tour focuses on only the most important of the many sights in this historic complex, including the towering St. Vitus Cathedral. And the Slav Epic Tour presents the poignant story of the Slavic people through the impressive canvases by the greatest modern Czech artist, Alfons Mucha.

Prague’s center is pedestrian-friendly.

Carriages and walkers rule the roads.

The rest of the book is a traveler’s tool kit. You’ll find plenty more about the area’s attractions, from shopping to nightlife to less touristy sights. And there are helpful hints on saving money, avoiding crowds, getting around on public transit, finding a great meal, and much more.

If you’d like more information than this Pocket Guide offers, I’ve sprinkled the book liberally with web references. For general travel tips—as well as updates for this book—see www.ricksteves.com.

Prague by Neighborhood

The Vltava River divides the city in two. East of the river are the Old Town and New Town, the Main Train Station, and most of the recommended hotels. To the west of the river is Prague Castle, and below that, the sleepy Little Quarter. Connecting the two halves are several bridges, including the landmark Charles Bridge.

Think of Prague as a collection of neighborhoods. In fact, until about 1800, Prague actually was four distinct towns with four distinct personalities.

Old Town (Staré Město): Nestled in the bend of the river, this is the historic core, where most tourists spend their time. It’s pedestrian-friendly, with small winding streets, old buildings, shops, and beer halls and cafés. In the center sits the charming Old Town Square. Slicing east-west through the Old Town is the main pedestrian axis, along Celetná and Karlova streets.

Within the Old Town, tucked closest to the river, is the Jewish Quarter (Josefov), a several-block area with sights from Prague’s deep Jewish heritage. It also holds the city’s glitziest shopping area.

New Town (Nové Město): Stretching south from the Old Town is the long, broad expanse of Wenceslas Square, marking the center of the New Town. As the name implies, it’s the neighborhood for modern buildings, fancy department stores, and a few communist-era sights.

Castle Quarter (Hradčany): High atop a hill on the west side of the river stands the massive complex of Prague Castle, marked by the spires of St. Vitus Cathedral. The surrounding area is noble and leafy, with grand buildings, little commerce, and few pubs.

Little Quarter (Malá Strana): Nestled at the foot of Castle Hill is this pleasant former town of fine palaces and gardens (and several minor sights).

Away from the Center: A short ride away on public transit, you’ll find important sights like the Slav Epic and the Vyšehrad park.

Planning Your Time

The following day-plans give you an idea of how much an organized, motivated, and caffeinated person can see. Prague deserves at least two full sightseeing days, and you might consider other side-trips.

Day 1: Take my Old Town Walk to get oriented to the city’s core. Have lunch in the Old Town or Little Quarter. Explore the Little Quarter. In the midafternoon, follow my Jewish Quarter Tour. In the evening (tonight or other nights), consider a classical concert, a beer hall, pop music, or Black Light Theater.

Day 2: Leave your hotel by 8:00 to be at St. Vitus Cathedral when it opens at 9:00, then follow my Prague Castle Tour. As you leave the castle, tour Lobkowicz Palace. Have lunch in the Little Quarter, below the castle. Ride the tram to see Mucha’s Slav Epic. Tram back to town and follow my New Town Walk. Tour the Mucha Museum (unless you’re already Mucha-ed out).

Day 3: Choose from any number of museums (see the Sights chapter for ideas), such as the Museum of Medieval Art, the Heydrich Terror memorial, the Museum of Communism, or ascend the Old Town Hall tower for views.

With More Time: Consider a day trip to Kutná Hora, Terezín, or Karlštejn Castle (see here).

These are busy day-plans, so be sure to schedule in slack time for picnics, laundry, people-watching, leisurely dinners, concerts, shopping, fine Pilsner, and recharging your touristic batteries. Slow down and be open to unexpected experiences and the courtesy of the Czech people.

Prague is a city of quaint neighborhoods.

The Old Town Square is the historic center.

Quick Tips: Book hotel rooms as far in advance as possible, especially for May, June, and September. Get comfortable with Prague’s excellent tram system. Take advantage of my free audio-tour of the Prague City Walk from Wenceslas Square to the Charles Bridge (see here). Plan your sightseeing at Prague Castle to avoid the horrendous crowds from midmorning through early afternoon. Jewish Quarter sights close on Saturday and Jewish holidays, and some museums are closed on Monday.

Co-authors Rick Steves (right) and Honza Vihan (center) enjoy a traditional meal (which often includes beer) with a happy local.

And finally, remember that—although Prague’s sights can be crowded and stressful—the city itself is all about gentility and grace, so...be flexible. And have a terrific trip!

Old Town Walk



Old Town Square

1 Memorial to Jan Hus

Map: Old Town Walk

2 Old Town Square Orientation Spin-Tour

3 Old Town Hall and Astronomical Clock

4 Ungelt

5 Church of St. James (Kostel Sv. Jakuba)

6 Celetná Street

7 House of the Black Madonna (Dům u Černé Matky Boží)

8 Fruit Market (Ovocný Trh) and the Estates Theater

9 Powder Tower

10 Municipal House (Obecní Dům)

11 Na Příkopě, the Old City Wall

12 Wenceslas Square—the New Town

13 Havelská Market

14 Karlova Street

15 Charles IV Square—The Bohemian Golden Age

16 View from the River

17 Charles Bridge

18 View from the Charles Bridge

A boomtown since the 10th century, Prague’s compact, pedestrian-friendly Old Town has long been a busy commercial quarter, filled with merchants, guilds, and supporters of the Church reformer Jan Hus (who wanted a Czech-style Catholicism). Today it’s Prague’s tourism ground zero, jammed with tasteful landmarks and tacky amusements alike.

This walk starts in the heart of the neighborhood, the Old Town Square. From here we’ll snake through the surrounding neighborhood, get a glimpse of the New Town (at Wenceslas Square), and end at the river, on the Charles Bridge—one of the most atmospheric spots in all of Europe. Along the way, we’ll see Baroque statues, Art Nouveau facades, and a curious old clock. And we’ll learn the story of how the Czech people have courageously fought against foreign oppression, from Habsburgs to Nazis to Soviet communists.


Length of This Walk: Allow two to three hours for this walk. It’s a great overview of sights you may want to visit in depth later.

When to Go: The Old Town Square and surrounding streets are packed midday, and never really quiet. A huge bottleneck occurs in front of the Astronomical Clock near the top of each hour, but as soon as the show’s over, the tourists disperse quickly.

Getting There: This walk begins right on the Old Town Square, Prague’s centerpiece.

Týn Church: 30-Kč requested donation, generally open to sightseers Tue-Sat 10:00-13:00 & 15:00-17:00, Sun 10:30-12:00, closed Mon.

Town Hall Tower: 110 Kč, Tue-Sun 9:00-21:00, Mon 11:00-21:00.

Church of St. James: Free, Tue-Sun 9:30-12:00 & 14:00-16:00, closed Mon.

Municipal House: Free to view entrance halls and public spaces; daily 10:00-18:00; tours—290 Kč, usually 3/day, leaving between 11:00 and 17:00; 55 Kč extra to take photos.

Museum of Communism: 190 Kč, daily 9:00-21:00.

Havelská Market: Open-air market open daily 9:00-18:00, produce best on weekdays; more souvenirs, puppets, and toys on weekends.

Klementinum: Tour—220 Kč, departs daily every half-hour 10:00-17:30; shorter hours off-season.

Charles Bridge Tower Climb: 90 Kč, April-Sept daily 10:00-22:00, March and Oct until 20:00, Nov-Feb until 18:00.

Services: Pay WCs are common throughout Prague’s Old Town; for example, in the Old Town Hall or at the square’s Kotleta Restaurant.

Starring: Prague’s showpiece main square, fine old churches, architectural landmarks, and the spunky Czech spirit.


Please note: to hear these audio tours, your device must support embedded audio.

Play Audio Pause Resume

Plant yourself anywhere in the Old Town Square, and survey the scene.

Old Town Square M

Please note: to hear these audio tours, your device must support embedded audio.

Play Audio Pause Resume

Take in the essence of modern Prague, a city of 1.3 million people and the capital of the Czech Republic. The vast square is ringed with colorful buildings; dotted with towers, steeples, and statues; lined with cafés; and alive with people. Street performers provide a constant soundtrack. Horse carriages and Segways zip through constantly—a reminder that Prague is as much a city of yesterday as a city of today.

This has been a market square since the 11th century. It became the nucleus of the Old Town (or Staré Město) in the 13th century, when its Town Hall was built. In past times, it would have been the site of commerce, parades, demonstrations, and executions. Today, the old-time market stalls have been replaced by outdoor cafés and the tackiest breed of souvenir stands. But under this shallow surface, the square hides a magic power to evoke the history that has passed through here.

Begin with the square’s centerpiece, the...

1 Memorial to Jan Hus M

This monument is an enduring icon of the long struggle for Czech freedom. In the center, Jan Hus—the religious reformer who has become a symbol of Czech nationalism—stands tall. Hus, born in 1369, was a Prague priest who stood up to both the Catholic Church and the Austrian Habsburg oppressors. His defiant stance—as depicted so powerfully in this monument—galvanized the Czech people, who rallied to fight not just for their religious beliefs but for independence from foreign control.

The Old Town Square still feels old.

Jan Hus, symbol of Czech nationalism

Old Town Walk Map Key

1 Memorial to Jan Hus

2 Old Town Square

3 Old Town Hall & Astronomical Clock

4 Ungelt Courtyard

5 Church of St. James

6 Celetná Street

7 House of the Black Madonna

8 Fruit Market & Estates Theater

9 Powder Tower

10 Municipal House

11 Na Př


On Sale
Apr 7, 2020
Page Count
208 pages
Rick Steves

Rick Steves

About the Author

Since 1973, Rick Steves has spent about four months a year exploring Europe. His mission: to empower Americans to have European trips that are fun, affordable, and culturally broadening. Rick produces a best-selling guidebook series, a public television series, and a public radio show, and organizes small-group tours that take over 30,000 travelers to Europe annually.  He does all of this with the help of more than 100 well-traveled staff members at Rick Steves’ Europe in Edmonds, WA (near Seattle). When not on the road, Rick is active in his church and with advocacy groups focused on economic and social justice, drug policy reform, and ending hunger. To recharge, Rick plays piano, relaxes at his family cabin in the Cascade Mountains, and spends time with his son Andy and daughter Jackie. Find out more about Rick at http://www.ricksteves.com and on Facebook.

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