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Prague:  Riverside walks along the Vitana


A 10 mile taxi ride from the airport lies the Vitava river. 

It is broad and peaceful and following it slowly north on foot is a pleasant way to get off the beaten track. It's a bohemian style walk through actual Bohemia. You can take a bus back into the city or to the airport from Kralupy nad Vltavou. It makes the initial taxi ride somewhat longer, but crossing over to walk on the east side of the river will give you a quieter hike. You'll probably meet a few curious fishermen peacefully watching the world go by who are interested to chat with you. They won't be used to seeing tourists out here. And that is a good thing. 


Level of Difficulty: Medium.  


What to pack: Warm clothes (check the weather forecast!), hiking shoes, woolly hat, headtorch, raingear, sleeping bag, mat and bivvy bag. 


Best time to go: late spring / early summer.



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The world’s best beers, a skyline that makes Paris jealous and history to rival anywhere in Europe, it’s no wonder tourists are choosing Prague as one of their favourite city break destinations. 

Prague has become a byword for the ultimate city break, and it’s not surprising as it really is one of Europe’s most awe-inspiring cities. Tourists flock here in their droves to experience its fairytale splendour of medieval castles, Gothic cathedrals, winding cobblestone streets and a skyline heavy with church spires.

And with a range of architectural styles from the last 900 years, it’s no wonder this place is a World Heritage Site. Oh, and it’s also the birthplace of Budweiser, so expect plenty of places to stop off for a pint or three as you go about your travels. Seems like this city has the best of both worlds.
 
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Shopping


More than three dozen top dining venues around Prague are expected to participate in the seventh annual Grand Restaurant Festival, which runs throughout the month. Special tasting menus, starting at €9/CZK250, will give you a peek inside the city's elite restaurant scene for just a fraction of the normal price. Reservations are required. grandrestaurantfestival.cz


If mind puzzles get your heart racing, then you will want to spend an hour in one of Trap Prague's locked rooms where you'll have to decode a series of hidden clues to escape before the clock runs out. Choose between the Tomb Room, the Secret Agent's Office and the Bomb Room. trapprague.com


The city's festive outdoor ice rink opens on Ovocny trh, the square behind the Estates Theatre in Old Town, on 1 December. Bundle up and enjoy skating along to your favourite pop tunes. The rink is open daily from 10am until 9:30pm, through 31 January. Skate rentals cost just €1.85/CZK 50.



Hailed as one of the most significant cultural events of the summer, this year's edition of the Bohemia Jazz Festival features a number of jazz, blues, funk and world-music artists from across Central Europe. The festival takes over Prague's Old Town Square on 13-15 July for a series of free open-air concerts. bohemiajazzfest.cz


Many of Prague's museums and galleries will be staying open late on 13 June. The city's 12th annual museum night, running from 7pm to 1am, always attracts a big crowd. Highlights include the National Technical Museum and the Jewish Museum. Admission is free. prazskamuzejninoc.cz

Sightseeing


Titanic: The Exhibition is docked at Prague's PVA Expo in Letnany, where life-size replicas of the luxury liner's upper and lower-class cabins, broiler room and deck will be on display until 30 June. A four-meter chunk of ice, which visitors can touch, is also part of the tour. vystavatitanic.cz


The One World Film Festival features thought-provoking documentaries by lesser-known directors and producers from around the world from 7-16 March. The screenings will take place at various cinemas throughout the city, but key events for the international human rights film festival will be held at Lucerna Cinema (61 Stepanska). oneworld.cz


Film buffs will want to check out the Prague Short Film Festival, which runs 21-24 January at Kino Svetozor (41 Vodickova) just off Wenceslas Square. Now in its 11th year, the festival features 30-minute bite-sized submissions from local and international filmmakers. Tickets cost €2.90/CZK80 per screening. pragueshorts.com


Prague's famous Christmas markets officially open with a tree-lighting ceremony on Old Town Square on 28 November at 5pm. Vendors sell wooden toys and ornaments as well as embroidered lace, Bohemian crystal, mulled wine and traditional Czech pastries. Most markets, scattered throughout the city's public squares, run through to 1 January.


The wildly popular Signal Festival (15 to 18 October) turns some of Prague's most prominent monuments into large scale light installations. Many of the displays use intricate video mapping techniques and music to create awe inspiring optical illusions. The festival gets underway at various points throughout the city centre around 9pm. For more information visit www.signalfestival.com.


Dvorak Prague (6-23 September) closes out the summer music festival season with classical musicians from around the world coming together to celebrate the work of Czech composer Antonin Dvorak. Most performances will be staged in the main hall of the Rudolfinum or at the Covent of St Agnes in the Old Town. dvorakovapraha.cz

Key Areas


In celebration of the Austrian composer's 260th birthday, a new music festival, I'Mozart (17-24 April), will stage a number of his famous pieces, including the operas Così fan tutte and Don Giovanni, which premiered at Prague's Estates Theatre in 1787. Performances will alternate between the Rudolfinum and the Estates Theatre. imozart.cz


Prague's famous Easter markets run from 12 March through 2 April. Little wooden hut villages selling handcrafts, painted Easter eggs and many seasonal treats, are set up around the city. The biggest markets can be found on Old Town Square, Namesti Miru and Wenceslas Square.


Known national as 'Masopust' (or 'farewell to meat'), the carnival season in Prague always includes numerous neighborhood parades, lavish costumes and a lot of pork and beer. Carnevale Praha will hosts several Baroque concerts and dances, through 9 February at the Clam-Gallas Palace (20 Husova). carnevale.cz


Design Supermarket is one of the highlights of Prague's glitzy holiday shopping season. The annual event brings together dozens of local artisans whose handcrafts will be on sale at Kafkuv dum (3 Namestí Franze Kafky) from 10-13 December. It's the perfect place to pick up a couple of one-of-a-kind gifts. For more information visit designsupermarket.cz.


Considered one of the best secondhand stores in the city, the Prague Thrift Store (Sumavska 29) is well stocked with clothes, kitchenware, books, CDs, toys and jewellery, among other knickknacks. The inventory changes on a fairly regular basis, with a portion of all proceeds going to select non-profit organisations.


Strings of Autumn (5 October to 18 November) celebrates music talents from around the world with a series of concerts staged at various historic venues around the city, including the Spanish Hall at Prague Castle and the Czech Museum of Music. The nine concert lineup also includes a workshop for kids. For more information visit www.strunypodzimu.cz.

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