A millennium’s worth of architecture, the world’s best beer, an intriguing communist legacy and central Europe’s biggest year-round party – what’s not to like about the Czech capital? From the splendour of the Gothic Charles Bridge to Art Nouveau and Modernist masterpieces, from traditional pubs to a thumping clubbing scene, everyone can find their thing in Prague.
With accommodation in Prague eating up the lion’s share of most travellers’ budgets, deciding where to stay may be your most important decision. So whatever kind of trip you’re planning, here’s the lowdown on the best areas to stay in the city from the new edition of The Rough Guide to Prague.
Best for royal splendour: Hradčany
If you can bag a room up at the Castle, the world’s biggest and one of Prague’s top attractions, you’ll have the Czech capital’s best sightseeing right on your doorstep – and the city at your feet. Those expecting hordes of tourists on this promontory overlooking the city centre may be surprised how tranquil and almost rural this Prague neighbourhood can feel.
Baroque touches with a view: Questenberk. Housed in a former Baroque chapel, the Questenberk boasts twenty-first century bedrooms with smart decor and unrivalled views from some quarters.
A slice of rural life brought to the city: U Raka. In the Nový svět area of Hradčany, this wonderfully bucolic hotel in a little half-timbered, eighteenth-century cottage would be more at home in the Czech mountains.
Hradčany © DaLiu/Shutterstock
Best for tranquil luxury: Malá Strana
Prague’s original left bank settlement is a Baroque feast with palaces and townhouses almost piled on top of each other as they scramble up to reach Prague Castle. Though the main tourist route passes through here, many of Malá Strana’s crooked lanes and steep streets have an authentic air of old-world tranquillity.
Retro style: Sax. Wholly incongruous with the area’s Baroque pomp, these funky digs sport groovy 1960s retro styling with 1970s psychedelic wallpaper and vintage-style furniture.
Gardens and views: Golden Well Hotel. Tucked into the hill below Prague Castle, next to the terraced gardens, the Golden Well offers incredible views across the rooftops of Malá Strana.
Malá Strana's streets © Georgios Tsichlis/Shutterstock
Best for city hustle and bustle: Nové Město
The gritty, mostly nineteenth-century New Town is Prague’s busy commercial heart and is centred around the famous Wenceslas Square. Fans of twentieth-century architecture are wowed by the Art Nouveau, Cubist and Functionalist architectural parade – plus with a wide selection of eateries this is the best district to find yourself at mealtimes.
Most-desired rooms in town: Dancing House Hotel. Prague’s most controversial chunk of post-communist architecture has been turned into a show-stopping hotel by former Czech footballer Vladimír Šmicer. In fact, the Fred Royal and Ginger Royal suites in the building's towers are now two of the most desirable hotel rooms in the capital.
Style-meets-spa: BoHo. One of Prague's most stylish hotels offers rooms in shades of grey that you never even knew existed. There’s also an in-house restaurant and crisp wellness facilities.
Dancing House Hotel and Nové Město © Aleksandr Kazakevich/Shutterstock
Best for medieval atmosphere: Staré Město and Josefov
First-timers to Prague often want to bed down in the Old Town, the real heart of the city’s medieval core. And they are in luck: hotels created from Gothic and Baroque structures abound in the streets that radiate from the magnificent Old Town Square. However, it’s worth being aware that the former Jewish Quarter has very few beds.
Modern vintage: Astoria Hotel. Housed in a stylish building of the 1920s right in the heart of Prague's Old Town
Luxury at the heart of things: Ventana. Located right in the thick of the Old Town action, this luxury boutique hotel – think marble-and-tile bathrooms and a library illuminated with crystal chandeliers – has spacious rooms, excellent breakfasts and impeccably regimented staff.
Old Town Square © Adisa/Shutterstock
Best for bar-hopping and local life: Vinohrady and Žižkov
The largely residential districts east of the city centre with their nineteenth-century tenements and long boulevards have become a nightlife hotspot over the last decade. Vinohrady is known for its neighbourhood restaurants and bistros, while more working class Žižkov is a bar-hopping mecca. What the districts lack in sights they make up for in atmosphere, which is especially exciting after dark.
Well-connected and friendly: Anna. Smartly appointed rooms, friendly staff and a decent location make this a popular Vinohrady choice, with trams and the metro close by.
Luxury and elegance: Le Palais. Plush late nineteenth-century hotel overlooking the Nusle valley, with the Belle Epoque theme continued throughout the lobby and rooms.
Nightlife © Mike Pellinni/Shutterstock
This feature contains affiliate links; you can find out more about why we’ve partnered with booking.com here. All recommendations are editorially independent and taken from The Pocket Rough Guide to Prague. Top image: Old Town Square © Creative Travel Projects/Shutterstock.