Thursday, 28 July 2011

Where should I stay in Prague?

Where should I stay in Prague?

Where should I stay in Prague?
When deciding where you should stay on your visit to Prague you need to take into account factors personal to you and your trip.

a) How long are you staying in Prague?
b) What is your hotel budget?
c) Why are you coming to Prague?

For nature, for beer, for an event, to meet with friends, for classical music, do you enjoy boating along rivers or hill walking, shopping for nicnaks or state of the art technological gadgets or are you just here to take photos to add to your facebook the moment you get home?

Whatever the reason you are visiting Prague, whether you want to stay in boutique luxury hotels or a hostel, the one criteria we all share is that we all want to pay the best price for any hotel we eventually choose.

We recommend using Compare-Hotels.co for this reason as they bring together the prices from 30 different companies (Expedia, Booking, the Hotels directly, etc) and compare all their rates for every single hotel in Prague. This way, even if you do want a Junior Suite in a 5 star hotel, at least you're paying the lowest price for that suite. It is very annoying to sit across from the smug man at breakfast who paid €400 less for his holiday than you and stays in the same room type. Ouch, so let's all not make that mistake firstly.

But what of the areas? Where should I stay in Prague?

Whether you're going to Prague on business or as a tourist there are really only a few districts in which to base yourself, even if you wish to immerse yourself in the life of a true Praguer you can do so in Smichov or Vinohrady and even in Nove Mesto.
What follows is a quick reference to the best places to stay in Prague dependent on budget, location and interests.

Prague splits neatly in two by the Vltava river and dissecting that, the most fabulous bridge in the world, the Charles Bridge. You will traverse this bridge many times on your stay in Prague so knowing its location will be a great point of reference for deciding where to stay.

So let's work our way down the map and decided "Where should I stay in Prague"

Where should I stay in Prague? Hradcany - Expensive part of town, on top of a hill with views all over Prague for miles around and into the suburbs, this is prime real estate. Here are the 5 star hotels like the Savoy and boutique hotels fashioned from the medieval buildings of Prague. However, this is a superb location as it is next to Pragues number 1 tourist attraction, the Hrad (castle), hence the name. This is tourist town, there's plenty of goulash and beer on offer here, but, it is absolutely stunningly beautiful and the views are incredible.

Stay here in Hradcany if...

+ You are prepared to run between €60-€120 a night for a 4 star hotel
+ You love history and architecture
+ You are looking for an olde worlde version of Prague with Ma Vlast playing in every courtyard, it's Disney Prague, but enchanting all the same.

The Best Hotel in Hradcany? - The Golden Well Hotel - currently nestles at #2 on Tripadvisor and directly under the Hrad. Not to be confused with the Golden Wheel, be careful. Prices here run from €150 to €550 so be sure to check with the comparison website.

Where should I stay in Prague? Mala Strana - Or "Lesser Quarter", right next to the Hrad, just underneath extending down toward Smichov and including St Nicolas' Cathedral, Petrin Hill and at least one half of the Charles Bridge (Stare Mesto may wish to claim the other), once again, this is iconic, touristic Prague. Unlike the Stare Mesto, there is a little more variance in the shops, less Amber for sale on this side but still a lot of gift shops running up Nerudova and along Mostecka.

This is the bourgeois heart of Prague, possible only Josefov rivals this area in terms of wealth. Mala Strana is quieter than the New Town or the Old Town of Prague, the noise really only comes from the classical music concerts and the large geese of the gardens, a gentle area, but still expensive, this is your blog writers favourite place to stay while in Prague.

Stay in Mala Strana if:
+ You like a relaxing, quieter area in the posher end of town
+ You want to be walking distance to all of Prague and stay close to the river
+ You like restored medieval architecture and baroque churches

The Best Hotel in Mala Strana?
Hotels in Mala Strana start from €50 per double and you can find them all on the comparison site compare-hotels.co. However, the top ranking, best reviewed hotel in Mala Strana is the Aria Hotel Mala Strana. Expensive and voted top luxury hotel of 2011 - the rates here go from €150 to €400.

Where should I stay in Prague? Smichov. Well you've no doubt seen the name of our blog?! So there is a little bias perhaps in favour of the very fairly priced and home to the Praguers; Smichov. A little. But with good reason. Smichov is a regenerated area of Prague that is the beating creative heart of the city, artists, expats, web 2.0'ers and students all call Smichov home and the area has undergone huge investment at Andel. There is a brand new Mall and it is Smichov that has perhaps benefited (or some would say suffered) most at the coming of capitalism.

It's got it all, it has its grimy areas, it has many green areas and parks (the most actually), its got investment and new architecture, its got the Staropramen brewery and its on the river just underneath Mala Strana which makes it a prime location for tourists. Within 10 minutes you can be in the heart of the New Town, the Old Town or Mala Strana itself or you can take a leisurely walk up the river to the Charles Bridge.

The best thing about Smichov? It's got loads of luxury hotels that can be a third of the price of Mala Strana, Josefov and the Stare Mesto. Look at the last entry on this blog for example, 4 star hotel for €38 per night.

Stay in Smichov if:
+ You enjoy walking and exploring a city and a 20 minute walk to the centre is OK for you.
+ You want to stay in a 4 or 5 star hotel for under €80 per double.
+ You want to rub shoulders with the local Praguers and drink where they drink.

The Best Hotel in Smichov?
Hotels in Smichov start from €25 per double and you can, as we said before, find them all on the comparison site compare-hotels.co. The best hotel in Smichov is the General Hotel Smichov and rates here start from around €80 and run up over €200 per double.

Phewee, thats the left bank of the Vltava done, time for the right bank!

Where should I stay in Prague? Josefov
The Jewish quarter, though now sadly with very little Jewish life at all, the area is still a place of pilgrimage for many Jewish people as well as being the most upmarket of all the areas of Prague. A couple of hundred years ago Josefov looked very different, it was run down and the stench drove people who did not belong in Josefov out. Much has changed since then. The area is now home to the most exclusive designers in the world with Gucci, Fendi, Prada, Burberry and others setting up shop on Parizska, Prague's #1 boutique shopping street and the street that joins Josefov to the Stare Mesto.

The area still has Prague's oldest synagogue and the Jewish cemetery and tours run here daily, it is also the home of the story of the Golem and you can pick up miniature golems anywhere in Prague. This is where the elite of Prague come to eat, party and where the most expensive apartments are. Josefov is in a great location on the Vltava, across from the Hrad and just above the Stare Mesto, it is for this reason that the average price for hotel rooms here are the highest in Prague.

Stay in Josefov if:
+ You are interested in 18th century or Jewish history.
+ You are into your designer labels.
+ You want to eat and drink at the most exclusive places in Prague.

The Best Hotel in Josefov?
Josefov Hotels are expensive, this is prime hotel tourist heaven so don't expect to pay much less than €80 even for a 3 star, once again use compare-hotels.co. The best hotel in Josefov is the U Tri Bubnu and rates here start from around €70 - this is quite a bargain for the area.

Where should I stay in Prague? Stare Mesto

Frankly, this is where everyone wants to stay when they first come to Prague, though if you come back a second time, we bet you choose another part of the city. It's so touristy its crazy, and remember, you may be visiting Prague for the castle or the history but that pack of 20 guys you just saw chugging their Pilsners, they're here for a Stag Night and that's right, they're at your hotel!

This area is beautiful, its the place you will come back to again and again, guaranteed you will find yourself in the old town square three times on any given day in Prague, it seems like all roads lead here, it is gorgeous, its probably the most romantic and heart stopping square in Europe but stay here, or eat a full meal here, you shouldn't. It's too expensive. If money is no object, then carry on.

Stay in Stare Mesto if:
+ You want to be in the heart of the city at all times and noise does not bother you.
+ You don't like walking or perhaps walk slowly and so don't want to wander off the main beaten track.
+ You are ON that stag night!

The Best Hotel in Stare Mesto?
The Savic Hotel is getting a lot of positive press at the moment. Just 27 rooms and offers a perfect experience of Prague, individually taken care of, a very swanky establishment. Rooms start from around €80, which again, is an incredible price for this location just off the old town square.

Where should I stay in Prague? Nove Mesto



Funky Town, this is where the business heart of Prague is based and where the day to day deals get done, parking tickets get ripped up and huge billboards advertising low mortgage rates spring up, by the river, it's still very nice, much further south of Wenceslas Square, and even around there, it's a bit "too" real for many tourists. This is where the casinos and strip bars are located, its the lifeblood of the city and as such may be exactly where you want to hang out. It's where the gay bars (and Vinohrady) are located, its where the urban crowd go out on an evening, it's also where they work.
Stay in Nove Mesto if:
+ You like your culture, the National Museum and National Theatre are here.
+ You want to be close to Wenceslas Square.
+ You are on business.

The Best Hotel in Nove Mesto?
The
Eurostars David Hotel offers a fabulous price and is right next to the dancing house (that photo above that looks like a ... dancing house). Rooms here start from around €50 per double per night. Plus the hotel is right on the river. Bonus.

Where should I stay in Prague? Vinohrady

You will be disappointed to learn there are no vineyards in Vinohrady... but this is, some would argue ahead of Smichov, the fastest gentrification area of Prague. It certainly has many high class wine bars, and its location on the right bank of the Vltava is enough in many peoples eyes to place it ahead of Smichov as a low cost bargain place to stay. The area has undergone much regeneration, has some green parks and importantly, one of two fantastic 5 star hotels that have really brought the area to international prominence.

Some say the area looks like the West Side of Central Park New York, some say Left Bank Paris... we're not sure. Vinohrady is a serious contender for the best district to stay in Prague, with much natural Praguer life going on around it and a short walk to the Stare Mesto, as well as great tram and tube links.

Stay in Vinohrady if:
+ You like wine bars, good international restaurant, green areas.
+ You want Luxury at a bargain price.
+ You don't mind rubbing shoulder with the locals and taking a walk to the centre.

The Best Hotel in Vinohrady?
The very famous, very fabulous and ultra chic 5* Le Palais, another nod to its Parisian aspirations. Rooms here start at €125 and can go up to €500 for the top suites. Very posh. Other hotels in Vinohrady range in quality and good 3 star hotels can be had for as little as €40 a night. Once again, use compare-hotels.co to see over 500 Prague Hotels.


Where should I stay in Prague?
Do we have it all wrong? Have we missed something out? Do you disagree entirely? Pft. Ok then, where should I stay in Prague? Leave a comment.

4 comments:

  1. Came over from Tripadvisor, nice guide, though Vinohrady is better than Smichov.

    ReplyDelete
  2. My friend shared your blog to me because I need to have an information about Prague. That's why I read your content and I got a lots of good vacation spot listing in Prague. SO I just want to thank you for sharing this one. By the way if you want to Ask for more info in hotel praga? Glad we had this one.

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  3. I noticed some useful tips from this post.You are preparing to give a different look for hetel and restaurents.

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