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Turn your city break into a microadventure 

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


A beloved winter-time tradition, the city's outdoor ice rink takes over Ovocny trh, the square behind the Estates Theatre in Old Town, through 31 January. Bundle up and enjoy skating along to your favourite pop tunes. The rink is open daily from 10am until 9:30pm. Skate rentals cost about €1.85/CZK 50.


It's wine season! The botanical gardens (134 Nadvorni) will host tastings and live music on 10-11 September, while the Festival of the Grape will take place at Prague Castle on 17-18 September. The St. Wenceslas Vines Festival at Villa Richter (6 Stare zamecke schody) will be serving newly fermented wines on 28 September.


Good Food Coffee & Bakery has transformed Trdelnik, a sugary pastry traditionally rolled out during the city's seasonal holiday markets, into an internet darling. Take a break from sightseeing to munch on one of the must-have treats of the year: an ice cream-filled Trdelnik “chimney” just steps from Charles Bridge. (http://goodfood-karlova.cz)

Sightseeing


Running throughout the month, the Grand Restaurant Festival gives you a chance to enjoy a night out at more than three dozen of the city's most exclusive dining establishments for a special low price. Tasting menus ranges from €9/CZK250 for one course to €22/CZK600 for a three-course meal. Reservations are required. grandrestaurantfestival.cz


The 12th annual Prague Short Film Festival, running 19-22 January at Kino Svetozor (41 Vodickova) just off Wenceslas Square, pays tribute to bite-sized cinematic tales from local and international filmmakers. Submissions run from 30 to 45 minutes, and the audience is encouraged to cast a vote for their favourite film. pragueshorts.com


Douanier Rousseau: Painter's Paradise Lost, French painter Henri Rousseau's Czech debut, is on display at the National Gallery's Kinsky Palace (12 Staromestske namesti) through 15 January. The exhibition features a range of work from still-lifes and landscapes to Rousseau's colourful jungle paintings, which he completed despite never having left France.


The Imaginarium of Prague (3 Na Mustku) is essentially one huge fun house. Located at the base of Wenceslas Square in the city centre, this kid-friendly attraction features a disorienting labyrinth, comprised of 80 mirrors, as well as a kaleidoscopic cinema, which gives visitors the illusion that they are watching a film of gigantic proportions.


Signal Festival (13-16 October) turns many of Prague's most prominent monuments into large-scale light installations. This much-anticipated autumn festival, now in its fourth year, uses intricate video mapping techniques and music to create magical optical illusions. The show gets underway at various spots throughout the city centre around 9pm. signalfestival.com


To commemorate the 700th birthday of Charles IV, a number of events are taking place in Prague, including K*700 at the Waldstein Riding School (3 Valdstejnska). Organized by the National Gallery, the exhibition runs through 25 September and features artefacts of his reign, such as the Bohemian king's coronation crown. K700.eu

Key Areas


The Czech version of carnival, Masopust (aka 'farewell to meat'), is a welcome respite from the winter gloom. One of the biggest parties in Prague takes place at Namesti Jiriho z Podebrad starting 25 February with lots of food, beer and activities for kids and culminating with a parade through the neighbourhood streets on 28 February.


Get your holiday shopping done at Prague's famous outdoor Christmas markets, which are scattered throughout the city, including the biggies on Wenceslas and Old Town squares, where vendors hawk handmade jewellery, wooden toys and hand-painted tree ornaments. Mulled wine and traditional Czech pastries are also on hand. Running through 4 January.


Inspired by similar Bomhemian-style events in London and Bangkok, MINT: Weekend Market pulls together local artists and retailers who will be selling their one-of-a-kind wares in Halls 13 and 14 at the Prague Market (Prazska trznice) every Saturday through the end of the year, presenting a good opportunity to cross some presents off your holiday shopping list. mintmarket.cz


The National Museum takes a look back at the style trends and technologies from the First Republic to the Velvet Revolution. Featuring vintage household equipment, fashion and toys, the new exhibition, Retro, is on display through 30 April at the museum's new building (1 Vinohradska) at the top of Wenceslas Square.


Dvorak Prague (5-24 September) celebrates the renowned Czech composer with a series of concerts performed by local and international symphony orchestras, soloists and quartets at various historic venues across the city, including the Rudolfinum (12 Alsovo nabrezi), St. Agnes Convent (17 U Milosrdnych) and St. Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle. dvorakovapraha.cz


The sixth annual Prague Pride takes place from 8 to 14 August. The programme includes numerous cultural events and parties at different venues around the city. One of the biggest Prides in Central Europe, the festival culminates with a parade through the city centre, followed by a concert on 14 August. www.praguepride.cz

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