The Gateway To Prague’s History, Culture, And Most Popular Walkable Sights
You ready to see Prague as it was meant to be seen? Do you want to experience the Gothic wonder, medieval architecture, and culture of one of Europe’s oldest preserved cities?
If you are looking to take in the everyday wonder of our cobblestone streets, the astronomical clock chiming every hour on the hour, the classic sights of Prague Castle looming over the city, all while experiencing the day to day culture of Prague’s food, people, and more, then consider making the Smetana Hotel (formerly Pachtuv Palace) your gateway to Prague.
The Smetana Hotel: Your Gateway to Prague
Choosing the right place to start and end your traveling every day is vital. That’s why we put the Smetana Hotel (formerly Pachtuv Palace) in the heart of old town Prague.
We know location is key. We want to ensure the best possible experience while traveling. Nothing is worse than having to call a cab to and from the hotel everyday. A central location like the Smetana Hotel takes you from your room to the heart of everything-seamlessly. It is no fun struggling to find things to do, sites to see, and worrying about getting lost.
The Smetana Hotel knows this. That’s why we located our hotel right outside the steps of Old Town Square and along the riverbanks of the Valtav. The historic Pachtuv Palace is centrally located to some of the best cultural, architectural, and dining experiences Prague has to offer.
Look, we aren’t going to lie, we love Old Town. Prague is filled with dozens of great neighborhoods. Of all of them, we picked Old Town. Why? We know the best traveling experiences strike a balance between two things.
1: Ease of access to culture, architecture, and great food:
With Old Town Prague you get the chance to see medieval architecture, stroll along cobblestone paths, and experience the energy of Old Town Square all in the same walk.
Old Town also has a full collection of restaurants that cater to everything from traditional Czech cuisine-Ferdinanda- to new dining experiences focused on unique moments and unforgettable concepts-Bed Lounge Restaurant and Bar.
2: Comfort and Atmosphere:
Prague is unlike any city in Europe. Prague straddles its history with one foot in the past and one in the present. The city is forever old and new at the same time. To experience both, you need accommodation in a part of town that connects them. With Prague, and specifically Old Town, you get the light and ambience of Paris, the historic charm of Rome, the architecture of Vienna, and a full taste of Europe.
Here at the Smetana Hotel, we know the experience of Prague is reflected in the ambience, energy, and people of Old Town. To make sure you capture the experience and atmosphere of one of Europe’s oldest cities, we chose a location central to experiencing Prague’s atmosphere and created luxury accommodations you will look forward to returning to every night.
The Secret To Experiencing Old Town Prague Like A Local
Traveling is all about experience. Old Town is filled with experiences you’ll remember for a lifetime. Prague is a city built for walkers. If you want to get out of your day to day life and truly experience the atmosphere, ambience, history, and culture of Old Town, you need to take a ground’s eye experience.
Prague is ready-made for exploration on foot. You can wind through main streets and beautiful historic sites to small corners off the beaten path packed with local stores and beautifully secluded restaurants only the locals know about. That’s why we located the Smetana Hotel where we did. Prague was meant to be explored on foot, and you will find no better starting place than our front door.
On foot, you can experience the sights, sounds, images, and architecture of Prague. The Smetana Hotel's location in Old Town lets you walk out the door and into the heart of Prague’s historical and cultural experience.
The Best Sites Prague Has To Offer Are At Our Doorstep
The Smetana Hotel sits on the riverbank at the doorstep to Prague’s must see sites. Whether you are interested in history, getting the perfect vacation photo, or taking in the wonder of our medieval town, our front door is your gateway to Prague.
Where To Start:The Old Town Square
Old Town Square is a ‘must see’ for any first time visit to Prague. It is one of the two main squares in all of Prague-the other being just a five-minute walk away. Here you can experience Prague as it was meant to be seen nearly seven hundred years earlier.
If you want to feel like you have stepped back in time to a period filled with merchants and intrigue or into a fairy tale, the design of the buildings will take you there. The square collects together the best of Prague’s architecture. You can see the outlines of Gothic design, Baroque influences, Romanesque lines and more as you stroll along the city promenade and down side streets.
If you are looking for the perfect photo, you can climb the Old Town Hall Tower to capture the entire square from above.
If you look for the ancient beauty of old churches, Old Town Square has two breathtaking options.
1: Tyn Church:
This is an elegant and classically Gothic designed church with four beautiful spires that jut out from the city roofline. Tyn has drawn Roman Catholic worshippers since the 14th century-and one visit is all you need to see why!
2: St. Nicholas Church:
This is the newer of the two main Roman Catholic churches in Prague’s city center. Here you can take in classic Baroque 17th century design influences and see what is considered Dientzenhofer’s-the designer’s-crowning achievement.
More interested in political history and the culture of the reformation? Then hop outside and take in the nearly five-hundred-year-old Jan Hus statue. Take a moment to appreciate the man whose beliefs led the people of Prague into the Hussite Wars.
The experience of Old Town Square and everything contained within is truly unique. No other city in Europe captures the medieval history, walkability, and more that travelers demand. Old Town Square in Prague has it and the Smetana Hotel puts you at it’s front door. Experience the history of Prague from our front door and avoid the worry of hailing cabs, finding your way around, and missing out on the must see sights of one of Europe’s oldest cities.
Not interested in politics? Consider the food!
The Food And People Watching In Old Town Square
Old Town Square collects the energy of an entire city into one place. You can people watch from the cafes as locals rush to and from work while you enjoy a coffee or local draft.
Prague’s bars are filled with local drafts. These beers capture Prague’s fascination with brewing high-quality products that are big on flavor and easy to enjoy. You can enjoy a wide collection of local beers at the many ‘Bier Gartens’ that litter the surrounding area.
Here you can take in Prague’s nightlife as locals crowd in to catch up on what’s new, discuss the week’s happenings, and enjoy low-cost, high-quality drafts.
If the black stuff served hot is more your drink of choice, then you are in luck. Prague boasts some of the best cafes and coffee shops in Europe. There are dozens of great choices ranging from cutting edge roasteries serving beans roasted in store to smaller cafes featuring Europe’s best roasts.
Prague has everything up on offer ranging from the traditional black cup of coffee to flat whites and more. We have a wonderful restaurant on site as well. If you want a more personalized experience the Smetana Hotel hosts an amazing Czech restaurant you can return to after a day of traveling and sightseeing.
The Holidays Make Old Town Square A City For All Seasons
Old Town Square is steeped in history and rich with local traditions that still go on to this day. Every season has something wonderful to offer. One of Prague’s most popular holiday traditions is the Christmas Market, or the Vanocni trh.
The Christmas markets reflect the festive mood of the season and capture the local energy for the holidays. Old Town Square features a large Christmas market that fills the square with the classic ‘winter wonderland’ energy families have come to love the world over.
The Christmas market opens every year on December 2nd and is open every day until January 6th-including Christmas Eve, Day, and New Year’s Day.
The ‘Must See’ Sights of Old Town Square’s Christmas Market
If you decide to take in Old Town Square’s Christmas market, here are the three, ‘Must See’ sights you can’t miss.
1: The Wooden Hut Vendors And Their Goods:
The Christmas market features wooden huts that are brightly decorated and packed with vendors selling beautiful handmade goods such as jewelry, lace, handmade wooden toys, ceramics, holiday ornaments, and more.
Unlike other markets in Europe that are filled with low-quality foreign junk, the Christmas market only features high-quality handmade goods that reflect the culture and people of Prague.
2: See Local Delicacies Prepared Live:
Food is a big part of any trip, and Prague’s food can’t be missed. At the Christmas market, vendors pull back the curtain and give you a live look at how some of Prague’s favorite foods are made. You can get local breads, sweets, hams, and more from real honest to God craftsman making their wares right in front of you.
3: The Christmas Tree From Pecka:
Every year, a large Christmas tree is brought in from Pecka (a town northeast of the city). It is huge, and when lit up at night it truly is a sight to behold. You can even catch the moment they turn it on (5:30 PM) for a unique and energizing experience as Christmas lights illuminate the Gothic darkness of the city square.
The Smetana Hotel puts you at the heart of Prague’s seasonal celebration. Guests find nothing better than strolling out our front door and right into the heart of the Christmas market. They get a chance to explore the vendors, take in the sight of the Pecka tree, grab a local snack, and make it back before they get cold!
If ease of access is paramount to your experience in Prague, The Smetana Hotel is a wonderful option. It serves as a gateway to seasonal activities, Charles Bridge, and Prague Castle.
The Smetana Hotel As The Doorway To The Charles Bridge And Prague Castle
Prague is filled with history you can explore up close and on foot. Two places that are ‘Must Sees’ and sitting right at our doorstep are the Charles Bridge and Prague Castle.
The Wonder and History Of The Charles Bridge
Great travel takes you through time. The Charles Bridge which crosses the Vlatva river does just that. The Charles Bridge sits right outside the Smetana Hotel which is located on the riverfront. A quick walk takes you to the nearly 650-year-old stone bridge.
You have to see it. The Charles Bridge is beautiful. It stretches 621 meters long and is just shy of being 10 meters wide. The Charles was modeled in 1357 based on the design of the famous stone bridge in Regensburg.
The Charles Bridge spans the Valtva river with sixteen arches that rise up from the water in one continuous line. Three towers protect the bridge. Two of the towers are found on the Lesser Quarter side when you cross. The third tower, The Old Town Bridge Tower, sits on the other. The Old Town Bridge Tower is a ‘Must See’. It is considered an astonishing example of the civil Gothic-style, and people from around the world flock to see it.
The bridge features a continuous line of 30 Baroque-style statues featuring popular saints and patron-saints. The originals, which were built between 1683 and 1714, have been replaced with replicas. Never fear, though! A quick trip to the lapidarium of the National Museum (a beautiful time for history lovers) and you can see the originals in all their glory in a protected environment!
Originally, the Charles Bridge was used for foot and horse traffic. This ended in 1905 when electric trams took over. The trams, although beautiful in their own right, only lasted until 1908 when they were replaced with city buses. After a costly repair in 1978, Prague declared The Charles Bridge open to pedestrian only traffic.
One glance on a busy day will show you this was the perfect choice. Every day, The Charles Bridge fills with pedestrians going to work, snapping pictures, and pausing to enjoy the resplendent charm of Gothic Prague.
The Wonder of Prague Castle: Czech’s Cultural Institution
There are few places left in the world where you can explore a medieval seat of power. The Prague Castle is one of those places. The beauty of the Smetana Hotel lies in both our proximity and view of Prague Castle.
At the Smetana Hotel, you can wake up and take in the grand wonder of the Prague Castle from your window. It fills the landscape with Gothic solitude rising above the colorful roofs, old churches, and stately architecture right below it.
A quick walk across town grants you access both to Czech’s and Europe’s richest histories. The Prague Castle was handed down through history to rulers ranging from the kings of Bohemia, Roman emperors, and later elected presidents-and for good reason. The Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world.
Two Stunning Facts About Prague Castle
Prague Castle is packed with enough history for a dozen books. We won’t labor you with the details. Instead, we will share two stunning things you should know about the castle.
1: The Bohemian Jewels Are Hidden On Site:
The jewels of Bohemia are kept safely in a hidden room in the castle. You aren’t allowed to see them, but you can eye every closed door on your tour and imagine where they might be!
2: The Castle Is Filled With Wonderful Gardens:
Prague Castle is packed with walkable gardens such as the South Gardens or the Royal Gardens. Our favorite is the Stag Moat. The Stag Moat is a natural ravine that got its name from the deer that bred there.
The deer have been absent since the 18th century, but the beauty and wonder of the natural ravine is still available to you to walk in the summer!
One Last ‘Must See’ Site Right Next To The Smetana Hotel
We saved one of Prague’s best sites for last, the astronomical clock. If you have done any research into Prague, you know about the astronomical clock. This is a crowning jewel of Old Town Square and a major attraction for staying at the Smetana Hotel.
The astronomical clock, known as the Orloj, is the third oldest clock of its type in the world. It was built in 1410 and has run non-stop since its creation. People from around the world flock to it hour after hour waiting for it to ring.
The Smetana Hotel is the perfect location to see the clock. A brief walk out the front door brings you to the heart of Old Town Square and the astronomical clock so you can experience one of the wonders of medieval Prague.
Experience The Wonders Of Prague With The Smetana Hotel
If you want to stay a short walk from Prague’s best sites no matter the season, a luxurious accommodation to retire to night after night, and a gateway to Prague’s cultural and architectural history, then join us at the Smetana Hotel.