Prague is a beautiful destination for both a weekend city break and a week-long summer holiday. It’s perfect for those on budget but also for those looking to splurge on luxurious dining and evenings in the opera. One thing all people coming to Prague have in common is that they are looking for a nice, safe location for their stay. They want their hotel and the area they’re staying to be clean and bright. The streets to be spotless, the grass lusciously green, everything in a walking distance. Prague can easily give you all this – you just need to know where to look. And I’m here to help you!
Where to stay in Prague?
Prague is historically split into quarters that are numbered 1-22. The general rule of thumb is that the lower the number the closer you are to the very city centre of Prague. The higher the number, the closer you are to the outskirts. When choosing your accommodation in Prague stick to Prague 1 and Prague 2. These are the most central parts within walking distance from majority of sights. Prague is generally a very safe city in comparison to other European capitals but, of course, you still need to be vigilant when walking around, especially in some parts which are frequented by the homeless community or the parts which are super crowded and you might run into a pickpocket.
My favourite part to stay in when in Prague! The Lesser Town is where the majority of governmental institutions are located. It’s a very neat and clean part of the city with truly beautiful and picturesque lanes, burgher houses, quaint side streets and the majestic baroque St. Nicholas Church. It’s a very quiet part and most of its hotels (mostly boutique) are situated in charming old houses. I stayed in this area three times when I visited Prague as a tourist and it was the best – the hotels and apartments here are so full of history and they are not afraid to show it through their fabulous interior decor, high ceilings and tiny single-chair-sized balconies.
Hradcany are towering above the Lesser Town, centred around the Prague Castle. The Castle and its cathedral is absolutely majestic and because of it’s location fairly high above the city you get the most stunning views from there. Staying in this area is very safe for the Castle is guarded day and night very closely. It’s also very quiet and the buildings are just as beautiful as they are in the Lesser Town.
Both Hradcany and The Lesser Town are on the left river bank of Vltava, whereas the following quarters are along the right river bank. Once you cross the Charles Bridge from the Lesser Town you find yourself in the busiest part of the centre – the Old Town. The square is always jammed packed by crowds of tourists admiring the Astronomical Clock, stuffing their faces with overpriced trdlo and climbing into fake old timer cars. It’s perhaps the most expensive part of Prague to stay in but if you like the hustle and bustle then the hotels here are usually 4+ stars and very, very fancy. Of course you can also find cheaper airbnb’s in this area but always check you’re not on a ground level next door to a bar or a super busy restaurant.
Josefov, the Jewish Quarter
The old Jewish Quarter is very specific – it’s full of breath-taking Jewish synagogues and even till this day you’ll see a lot of Jewish people walking about. This part of Prague has a proper magical aura about it. It’s slightly more expensive than the Old Town and the Lesser Town, both in terms of accommodation and eating out. In fact you’ll find the most expensive street in Prague here – the Parisian Street. It’s lined with boutique and designer shops of the likes of Dior, Cartier and Hermes. The restaurants are often Jewish-owned and you can expect to pay £25+ for one course here.
Now we’re crossing into the slightly more modern and budget part of the centre, which is where also a fair number of residents live (including the little me, hi hello). It’s modern, but not super modern – more like from the 1800’s to the very beginning of the 1900’s. When you compare it to the gothic and baroque houses in the Old Town and Lesser Town, that suddenly does seem modern, doesn’t it? You will find better amenities here than in the historical centre and many more budget options including more affordable eateries and even a Tesco’s. The accommodation here is still lovely but much more budget-friendly. You’ll feel less like a tourist and more like a resident here. Terri stayed around here when she visited and you can read about her experience right here.
And the last quarter where I’d suggest you considering staying at without any second thought are Vinohrady. Again, this is a pretty residential area just a short walk from the city centre but a little further than the New Town. Staying around here will be much more affordable with a plenty of airbnb options. You’ll also find lots and lots of quaint cafes and hipster restaurants around here.
Parts of Prague to avoid for your stay
Just like with every capital in the world, there are parts I’d avoid as a tourist. They are not dangerous per se but there a few downsides to there areas which you don’t necessarily want to face when you’re on holiday. I’m talking about homeless communities, loud and obnoxious clubs, extortionate currency exchange offices, pickpockets and even just busy main roads and the ring road.
- Wenceslas Square
- Charles Square
- I. P. Pavlovo
- The Main Train Station