Posted: 8/28/2021 | August 28th, 2021
Franz Kafka famously said of Prague, “This mother has claws.” And he was right. There’s something about Prague that just won’t let you go. I can never get enough of this Central European metropolis. It has a little bit of everything: intriguing history, awe-inducing architecture, great pubs and clubs, and a budding restaurant scene to keep even the most ardent foodie full for a while.
I first visited this city in 2006 and have been back multiple times, even leading tours here for a while. Prague is constantly changing and I fall in love with it with each visit.
While most tourists (especially backpackers), stay in or near the historic center, it’s important to remember Prague is that it’s not only about the historical center. There are a lot of interesting things to do in other neighborhoods throughout this city of 1.3 million people. And the city’s transportation system makes it easy to get around. In fact, some of my favorite areas in Prague are outside the historic center!!
Below, I’ll break each neighborhood down and give you suggested places to stay for each of them. But, first, some frequently asked questions I get about Prague:
What’s the best neighborhood for budget travelers?
Really, leave the historical center and prices drop. But if I have to pick one neighborhood for travelers on the cheap, it’s going to be Žižkov, a hilly, atmospheric district of cobblestoned streets and ramshackle 19th-century apartment buildings.
What’s the best neighborhood in Prague for families?
Vinohrady is a handsome neighborhood that is both quiet, pretty, and well connected to subway and tram lines.
What’s the best neighborhood in Prague for first-time visitors?
Most of the attractions that a first-time visitor is going to want to see and do are in Old Town and across the Charles Bridge in Mala Strana.
What’s the best neighborhood in Prague for partying?
Not all the beer in Prague will help you pronounce it, but Vršovice (pronounced Ver-sho-veetz-say) is a fun out-0f-the-center neighborhood where a lot of young Czechs go to party — particularly on and around Krymská Street.
What is the best neighborhood in Prague overall?
Mala Strana, on the castle side of the Vltava River is a feast for the eyes. I like to stroll around the narrow cobblestoned streets and just get lost for an afternoon.
So, with those questions answered, here’s a breakdown of each neighborhood with suggested accommodation for each:
Prague Neighborhood Overview
Best Neighborhood for History: Old Town
Want to get medieval? Then head to Old Town, or Stare Mesto in the local lingo, which is dripping with Gothic and Baroque ambience. Hugging the Vltava River, this compact area is fun to just take a left or a right down a backstreet and wander. Sit in a pub nursing a pint of pilsner or a coffee and then go get lost again. Old Town Square is one of the most beautiful squares in Europe, dominated by the Gothic-clad Old Town Hall and the wicked-looking Tyn Church.
Best Places to Stay in Old Town
- BUDGET: The Madhouse – If you want to meet people and are looking for a party, this is the best hostel in Prague to do that! The décor includes very cool murals and the knowledgeable staff organize events for guests every night. It’s super popular and one of the best social hostels in the city. Don’t come here if you want to sleep and not party!
- MID-RANGE: Hotel Metamorphis – A reference to writer Franz Kafka’s most famous story? Maybe. But I promise you won’t be turned into a giant bug at this comfortable hotel, located in a courtyard behind Old Town Square and the enchanting Tyn church. The rooms here have a boutique feel but the most interesting perk is that there is a beer spa on site (that also offers unlimited beers).
- LUXURY: Maximilian Hotel – Sleek and chic, this smart boutique hotel has comfortable rooms to rest your cobblestone weary feet. Splurge and get a room with a balcony to take in the view. There’s also a buffet breakfast, a fitness center, a restaurant, and a bar on-site.
Best Neighborhood for a Quiet Stay: Vinohrady
Sedate and stately Vinohrady is the ideal neighborhood to plant yourself in Prague if you’re looking some peace and quiet. Sure, there are bars and outdoor restaurants but it’s generally a relaxed residential district. Plus, Vinohrady is well connected to subway lines and trams so it’s easy to get anywhere in the city from here.
The Best Places to Stay in Vinohrady
- BUDGET: Sophie’s Hostel – This is my favorite hostel in Prague. It is an upscale hostel (and a sister property of the awesome hotel Miss Sophie’s). The rooms have modern finishings, soft beds, clean bathrooms, and showers with incredible water pressure. The downstairs bar is always lively, the hostel run lots of events, and the staff is super helpful and knowledgeable.
- BUDGET: Hostel One Miru – This social hostel has a large common area with Netflix and video games so it’s easy to chill out and meet people. The host daily and nightly events and also communal dinners. The beds are comfy and most have privacy curtains so you can get a decent sleep.
- MID-RANGE: Hotel Taurus – Just off the main square in Vinohrady, Taurus is a comfortable place to lay your head after a day of sightseeing. The 86 spacious rooms all have free Wi-Fi and satellite TVs.
- LUXURY: One Room Hotel – It’s not cheap but is unique. Located in the iconic and retro-futuristic Žižkov TV Tower on the border of Vinohrady and Žižkov, this singular property is an unforgettable splurge with insanely gorgeous views of the Czech capital.
Best Neighborhood for Partying: Vršovice
Vršovice, pronounced Ver-sho-veetz-say, used to be a quiet but pretty residential neighborhood just out of the historical center of the city. But all that changed a few years ago, particularly around Krymská Street, when hip pubs, cafes, and restaurants started opening up. Head there on a Friday or Saturday evening and you’ll find the area buzzing with shaggy-haired hipsters drinking beer in pubs and on the street.
The Best Places to Stay in Vršovice
- BUDGET: Gallery Hotel SIS – Basic, but clean with satellite TV and free Wi-Fi in every room, this 50-room spot boasts a nice breakfast buffet and friendly staff. If you just need a cheap place to stay, this is it.
- MID-RANGE: Czech Inn – Ignore the silly name and actually check in to this fun hotel, which is both a mid-sized hotel and a hostel. The guest rooms are big, especially if you request a corner room with views looking down winding Krymská Street.
- LUXURY: Le Palais Art Hotel – The geographically closest luxury property to Vršovice is a just a few blocks away. And it’s a nice one. The grand hotel is, as you would expect from the name, littered with art, both in the lobby and in rooms. There are even some sketches by Le Corbusier.
Best Neighborhood for Charm: Mala Strana
Translated as “Little Quarter,” Mala Strana is one of the most achingly charming neighborhoods in Europe. Cross the Charles Bridge from Old Town and prepare to be shocked and awed with narrow winding cobblestone streets, cute fountain-centered squares, and Baroque palaces (many of which are housing embassies today). Don’t miss St. Nicholas’ church, which was completed in 1755 and is considered the best example of Prague Baroque architecture.
The Best Places to Stay in Mala Strana
- BUDGET: Little Quarter Hostel – Located between the castle and Charles Bridge, this hostel has spacious dorms and is kept very clean. The beds aren’t super comfy but there are privacy curtains and the beds aren’t crammed in like sardines so you can get a good sleep. They have a great breakfast too (for an extra fee).
- MID-RANGE: U 3 Pstrosu – Like history? Good, because you’re going to love “At the Three Ostriches,” as it’s called in English. Rooms have wood-beamed ceilings and free WiFi and some have incredible views of Charles Bridge, which is nearly an arm’s reach away.
- LUXURY: Augustine – Set in a still-working monastery from the Middle Ages, this posh property has 100 large rooms with all the perks you’d expect from a hotel of this caliber of luxury. The basement bar is serves homemade beer from the recipe of the on-property monks.
Best Neighborhood for Foodies: Karlin
It’s not easy to settle on just one neighborhood for great dining as the Prague food scene has grown and matured in leaps and bounds in the last decade. Karlin, located just out of the center of town, is a good bet thanks to gastropubs like Lokal Hamburk, avant-garde Scandinavian-accented spots like Eska, third-wave coffee roaster M?j Šalek Kávy, and Veltlin, a wine bar that only pours vino made within the borders of the former Austro-Hungarian empire.
The Best Where to Stay in Karlin
- BUDGET: Hostel Florenc – With free breakfast, free Wi-Fi, and a cool common area with ping pong and foosball, this is a clean, budget-friendly hostel that’s perfect for travelers looking to socialize. The water pressure in the showers is great and the beds are comfy.
- MID-RANGE: Botanique Hotel – Located just a couple of blocks from the Florenc subway station in Karlin, the 214 modern rooms in Botanique have in-room coffee makers, phone charging stations, and free WiFi. Some rooms have balconies.
- LUXURY: Hotel Royal Prague – If you want to feel like a king in Karlin, the Royal is for you. While the hotel sits on the district’s most bustling street, the hotel takes care of the noise by adding sound-proof windows to its 196 rooms. There are also all the usual amenities you’d find in a four-star hotel.
Best Neighborhood for Art Lovers: Holešovice
Pronounced “Hoe-lay-sho-veetz-say, this quasi-industrial-looking neighborhood has been, since the mid-1990s, a neighborhood for nightlife and clubbing. But in the last decade or so, it’s become a district where hip bars, restaurants, and cafes have opened up, perhaps only rivaled by neighboring Letna. But if you want to add art to the equation, this is the place for you. Be sure to check out DOX: Center for Contemporary Art, Veletržní Palac (the National Gallery’s wing of contemporary Art), and also stroll the streets to gawk at all the street art. There’s also the sprawling Stromovka Park for anyone looking to take a quiet stroll and get away from the city.
The Best Places to Stay in Holešovice
- BUDGET: Sir Toby’s – This two-decade-old hostel in Holešovice has both dorms and private rooms available, depending on your budget and style of travel. The attached pub can become raucously fun at times. They host regular events (trivia, cooking classes) and there are lots of board games and books for relaxing in the common area. It’s a fun, social hostel that makes it easy to meet people.
- MID-RANGE: Mama Shelter – Part of a small chain of hip, design-laced European hotels, the Prague outlet of Mama Shelter has been outfitted from a former Communist-era hotel. The garden-level restaurant serves comfort grub to go with your Czech beer and the rooms come in four different sizes, depending on how much your budget will allow.
- LUXURY: Art Hotel – This art-strewn property on the border between Holešovice and Bubenec offers comfortable rooms in which to relax after a day of art gallery hopping. And you need not go far to check out some local art. The hotel has a collection of works by Czech modern artists, including Jan and Pravoslav Kotík, Pavel Roucka and Pavel Štecha.
Best Neighborhood for Summer Fun: Naplavka
When the sun shines brightest and the days are longest, the best place to hang out in Prague is Naplavka. Set along the riverbank just south of Palacky Bridge – or Palackého Most, in the local parlance — Naplavka is made up of a series of bars and restaurants. You can sit along the edge of the Vltava River (with the castle looming in the distance) and nurse a beer or do a pub crawl, hitting several spots in one afternoon or evening.
The Best Places to Stay in Naplavka
- BUDGET: Hostel Emma – Set a cobblestone’s throw from the river and nearly behind the famed Dancing House, Hostel Emma is a quiet hostel with a fully-equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi. The dorms are basic and the bunks aren’t super comfortable, but the hostel is within walking distance to everything you need.
- MID- RANGE: Arbes – Located ner the foot of Petrin hill, this hotel has spacious vintage boutique rooms that are a stones throw from the Vltava River. Free Wi-Fi is included and thee staff are extremely accommodating.
- LUXURY: Dancing House – Set in a dynamic Frank Gehry-designed building that was constructed in the mid-1990s, the hotel offers fine views of Prague Castle and Old Town and is only steps from the Naplavka bars. Breakfast and a welcome drink are included.
Best Neighborhood for Budget Travelers: Žižkov
This is a hilly, atmospheric district full of cobblestoned streets and ramshackle 19th-century apartment buildings. Prior to 1922, the area was actually an independent city separate from Prague. Historically, this was a working-class district and has a history of supporting left-wing causes, with locals referring to the area as the “Free Republic of Žižkov.” Don’t miss the 9-meter tall statue of military leader Jan Žižka and be sure to clamber up the TV tower to take in the view.
The Best Places to Stay in Žižkov
- BUDGET: Clown & Bard Hostel – This is a chill hostels with friendly staff and an eco-friendly vibe. The bunks are basic but the rooms are spacious and there are tons of cheap bears nearby if you want to go out and socialize (there’s a bar on-site too).
- MID-RANGE: Hotel Gloria – This modern hotel boasts spacious rooms, free Wi-Fi, and a quiet and convenient location at the foot of Vitkov Hill. Free breakfast is included and the iconic Charles Bridge is just a short jaunt away.
- LUXURY: Design Merrion Hotel – Located a short 10-minute ride from the Old Town, this charming hotel is set between Vitkov and Parukarka parks. Its modern rooms are stylish and include both AC and free Wi-Fi. There’s a tasty breakfast buffet included too!
Prague is a stunning, beautiful historic city. If you can avoid visiting during the hectic summer months (I personally love fall the most), you’ll get one of my favorite cities in Europe (some of my best travel memories have been made here) virtually to yourself. And, no matter your taste, you’ll find a neighborhood for you!
Book Your Trip to Prague: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner or Momondo to find a cheap flight. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned. Start with Skyscanner first though because they have the biggest reach!
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.
If you’re looking for more places to stay, here are all my favorite hostels in Prague!
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
- World Nomads (for everyone below 70)
- Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
- Medjet (for additional repatriation coverage)
Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m on the road. They will save you money when you travel too.
Want More Information on Prague?
Be sure to visit our robust destination guide on Prague for even more planning tips!
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