Where to Stay in Prague: Advice from a local Canadian expat and travel blogger about the best areas and coolest neighborhoods to stay in Prague, Czech Republic!
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Where to Stay in Prague Introduction
Before we moved to the Czech Republic, I remember being pretty confused trying to figure out where to stay in Prague. When we visited back in 2012, we stayed near Wenceslas Square because we figured that would be near the action, not knowing the action near Wenceslas consists of prostitutes and drug dealers.
When we decided to use Prague as a base, I was utterly befuddled by the city’s numbering system, and couldn’t find a lot of information about Prague’s cool neighbourhoods, “bad” areas, or convenience in terms of getting around.
So when a blogger friend recently got in touch asking about which neighbourhoods were cool to stay in Prague, I figured I might as well share what I said here on the blog for anyone else wondering the same thing.
This map shows what – in our opinion – are Prague’s 7 best neighborhoods to stay in, along with a few main Prague attractions so you get an idea of where each neighborhood is located in relation to the spots you’ll want to see:
Each neighborhood has its own pros and cons, and it’s own character. We’ve tried to summarize this in the chart below:
|Old Town Prague (Dark Red)||Stay in Prague’s Old Town if you want to be in the center of the action, and in the liveliest and most touristic part of Prague.|
|Malá Strana (Blue)||The historic castle district and ‘little quarter,’ Malá Strana is great for travelers who want to be in the center of historic Prague, but enjoy a laid-back and tranquil atmosphere. This is a great place to stay for a romantic holiday, but Nerudova St. sits on a hill - worth knowing if you have mobility issues.|
|Vinohrady (Green)||Quiet and central, Vinohrady is filled with beautiful buildings and tree-lined streets. Filled with plenty of restaurants, pubs, and cafés, Prague’s international community loves this neighborhood. So do young, middle-class families looking to put down roots.|
|Žižkov (Black)||Žižkov is full of cafes, pubs and boutique restaurants, all offering fare that won't blow the budget.|
|Karlin (Orange)||Located next to the Vltava river, Karlin is up and coming and trendy. Restaurants, bars and galleries seem to be opening all the time.|
|Holešovice / Letna (Yellow)||Further away from the center and with less metro access, Holesovice has the beloved Letna park and beer garden. It's a neighborhood in transition, and is pronounced “Ho lay show veet say”|
|Anděl (Purple)||While it’s unlikely Anděl could be called quaint and charming, it’s mighty convenient and offers high-value accommodations.|
Now that you have a general idea about which are some of the best areas to stay in Prague, you’ll want to dive into the rest of this guide, which covers the best areas and coolest neighborhoods to stay in Prague, and includes hotel recommendations. I’ve also outlined a bit about Prague’s transit system, which will hopefully make getting around the city easier!
Also Check Out
Consider picking up a Prague Card for your trip. Available for 2, 3 or 4 days, and includes unlimited use of public transit, and a free pass Airport Express bus. More importantly, it includes entry to most of Prague most visited sites including free entry to Prague Castle Circuit B (St. Vitus Cathedral, Royal Palace, Golden Lane, and St. George’s Basilica), the Jewish Museum sites, Old Town Hall Tower and loads more.
Where to Stay in Prague: Prague’s Numbering System
The first thing to understand when you’re picking the best place to stay in Prague is the numbering system. Central Prague is made up of different districts, with areas of Prague 1 through Prague 10 considered to be more-or-less convenient by residents. While Prague 1 is the heart of the tourist district, where Old Town Square and the Castle is located, it doesn’t follow that Prague 10 is the furthest away. Prague 1 through 10 sort of spiral around Prague 1, but it’s far from a perfect spiral.
The districts are also quite large. We live in Prague 5, for example, but we’re right on the border with Prague 2, meaning we’re really close to the centre and the river, whereas the opposite edge of Prague 5 could easily be considered the boonies.
Consider Staying Near a Metro Station
Public transport in Prague is excellent, so if you stay near a metro stop or on a tram line, you’re golden. In terms of convenience, you don’t want to get too far out on the metro lines on either end. If you’re looking at a place online and wondering if it’s in a good area or not, the following stops are still pretty convenient for getting into town:
Line A (Green): Dejvická, Hradčanská, Malostranská, Staroměstská, Můstek, Muzeum, Náměstí Míru, Jiřího z Poděbrad, or Flora. Beyond that, you’re starting to get a bit far out, which will be less fun and less convenient.
Line B (Yellow): Křižíkova, Florenc, Náměstí Republiky, Můstek, Národní Třída, Karlovo Náměstí, Anděl. You could go one or two more stops on either end, to Invalidovna or Pamlovka, or to Smíchovské Nádraží going the other way – they’re still relatively convenient, just not very exciting.
Line C (Red): Vyšehrad, I. P. Pavlova, Muzeum, Hlavní Nádraží, Florenc,Vltavská, and Nádraží Holešovice
Most tourists stay in Prague 1, and with good reason: it’s where everything you probably want to see is located, and you can get to almost everything without taking the metro or a tram, and both Malá Strana (Little Quarter) and Staré Město (Old Town) are beautiful areas in which to stay.
That said, if you stay in Prague 1, your experience will be very much that of a tourist. Convenient, but over-priced. Busy, but not with everyday Czech life.
If someone I knew was going to Prague for 2 to 5 days to see the main sites and experience Prague’s famous old city, I’d suggest they stay in Prague 1. Prague 1 is the perfect base for a short-term trip to Prague, when your main focus is sightseeing!
As Prague 1 can actually be split further into the Mala Strana side (the same side of the river as Prague Castle) and the Old Town Side, I’ve done the same!
Prague 1 Malá Strana
If you like peace, quiet, and tranquility, and want a slightly less touristic experience, I’d suggest staying in the Malá Strana (Little Quarter) section of Prague. This is the “castle side” of the river, and parts of the area have the feeling of a peaceful village, while still being walkably close to Charles Bridge, Old Town. and most other things you’d want to visit. You have the benefit of being in one of the most historic parts of all of Prague, but in a relaxed and calm setting, with chilled out restaurants and pubs, rather than the rowdier environment in Old Town.
Malá Strana is great for a romantic vacation, for families, for sightseeing and culture, and for travellers who enjoy laid-back pubs and spots to eat/drink.
Treat Yourself Luxury
Mandarin Oriental Prague A luxury 5-star property, the Mandarin Oriental is housed in a restored 14th Century monastery (the spa is in a former chapel), and is just 5 minutes’ walk from Prague Castle. The uber lux touches you can expect include underfloor heating, a bedding/pillow menu to choose from, evening turn-down service, and essential oils.
Lokal Inn – Owned by the same group the runs the popular, small chain of Lokal Restaurants/Pubs, this place strikes a lovely balance between modern and cozy/romantic. Right in the heart of Malá Strana, past guests mention the location, quietness, and design, and everyone seems to love the bar/restaurant downstairs. The Lokal brand of restaurants is focused on classic Czech cuisine with local ingredients, and they do a great job – you’ll never go hungry if you stay here!
Quirky & Kitschy Boutique
Vintage Design Hotel Sax Small, cute and quirky is how I’d describe this 4-star design hotel. All decor is based on recent decades past – the 50s to the 70s – and look a lot of fun. It’s in a good location within walking distance to everything, and gets top marks for being quiet! If you’re looking for something kitschy and different, this might be your hotel!
Hotel William — This 3-star is in a great location, includes breakfast, and gets glowing reviews. If you’re looking for a quiet base while exploring Prague on a budget, this seems like a great option, with the price coming in between $50 and $70 when I look on Hotels Combined.
Prague Mala Strana Pro Tip
Toward the top of Nerudova Street in Mala Strana you’ll find what some say is the best trdelník in Prague at Creperie U Kajetána (Nerudova 248/17). Trdelník is a chimney cake, kind of like a donut, but a bit more cakey than doughy. It’s cooked over a charcoal fire, and typically served with cinnamon, sugar, chocolate, and sometimes some nuts. While we can’t say Creperie U Kajetána is the best in the city for sure, we can confirm it is delicious!
Prague 1 – Old Town
While Malá Strana is a bit on the quieter and more tranquil side of the scale, Prague’s Old Town is in the heart of the action. Now – to be fair – that doesn’t mean it’s going to be loud and rowdy where you stay. There are plenty of quiet pockets. It’s just that Old Town has far more going on. So if you love a city vibe, want access to cocktail bars and shops, and don’t mind running into the occasional partiers while you’re out and about, then Old Town is for you.
Old Town is great if you love history, culture, nightlife, a beautiful setting, and a city vibe!
Treat Yourself Luxury
Iron Gate Hotel & Suites A 5-star hotel around the $150 to $200 range, in an awesome “heart of the Old Town” location only a few minutes walk from Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square, and Mustek Metro station, which serves the A and B Lines (green and yellow). You’ll be close to shopping, restaurants, boutique and international coffee chains (Costa Coffee and Starbucks), and transportation, and you can still walk everywhere from here!
Hotel UNIC A 4-star hotel around the $130 range, this hotel is close to Prague’s beautiful Jewish Quarter and is within walking distance to the Old Town Square. It’s only a few blocks from Namesti Republiky (Republic Square), which has a metro stop and a large shopping mall with coffee (Paul, Starbucks, McDonalds, as well as non-chain shops), a grocery store, etc. It’s also close to one of our favorite “views” in Prague, from the T-Anker restaurant patio (Check out our top 10 views in Prague). Really hard to think of any negatives about this place, especially considering they get great reviews from past guests, too.
Mid-Range Old Town
U Tri Bubnu – A 3-star hotel around the $90 range in a great location right in Old Town, with great customer reviews and really nice-looking rooms! It’s only 2 blocks walking to Staroměstská Metro station (Line A), and about the same distance to a tram stop. If you’re mobile and somewhat active, you’re within walking distance to Charles Bridge (5 minutes), the Rudolfinum (5 minutes), the National Library (3 minutes), Old Town Square (10 minutes), St. Nicholas Church (10 minutes), and the Castle (20 minutes, with a somewhat steep hill). *Note – this hotel doesn’t have an elevator, a source of complaints from some guests on TripAdvisor!
Affordable Old Town
Hotel Residence Bologna — A 3-star hotel around the $65 range in a great location right in Old Town, with okay customer reviews – this seems like a good, but not amazing, budget option. Walking distance to the metro and tram, and if you’re reasonably active, you’ll likely be able to walk to almost all the places you want to visit while in Prague. You’ll be super close to the river for great views of the castle, and will have lots of options for restaurants and cafes nearby!
Prague Old Town Pro Tip
Old Town can be pretty expensive. Whereas in many places in Prague, a 0.5L pint of premium Pilsner can be had less than CKZ 40, don’t be surprised if the menus in Old Town list the prices at closer to CKZ 40. If you’re on a budget but want to stay in the center of the action (aka: Old Town), limit your meals and drinks to the places you really want to try, and then venture outside the center the rest of the time.
Outside the tourist centre, these neighbourhoods will let you experience how Prague’s local and expat residents live…while still providing a convenient base to explore from
If you want something more “authentic,” you may want to stay in one of Prague’s cool neighbourhoods…
Prague 2, 3, 8 & 10 – Vinohrady & Žižkov
Vinohrady has long been king of Prague’s cool neighbourhoods, and it is where a lot of expats and young Czechs want to live. Stretched between 2 metro stations, Náměstí Míru and Jiřího z Poděbrad (or JZP), on Metro Line A (Green), and with a tonne of trams, it’s really convenient, and is within walking distance to Wenceslas Square. There are lots of cafés, restaurants, and pubs, and nearby Riegrovy Sady park has an awesome beer garden and views of the city.
Žižkov, located for the most part in Prague 3, starts where Vinohrady ends, and is a bit further out but still really convenient, with the Flora and JZP metro stations and lots of trams to chose from. Whereas Vinohrady “arrived” long ago, Žižkov is still arriving, and is a bit on the grittier side.
If friends were coming to stay in Prague, I’d suggest they stay in Vinohrady over Žižkov.
Boutique & Luxury
La Ballerina – A beautiful-looking 5-star hotel with a design hotel feel to it, La Ballerina is technically in Prague 2, but it’s away from the expat centres of IP Pavlova and Namesti Miru. Located right on the river, this would be a beautiful place to stay if you want to go for morning runs along the river, and evening beers (in the summer) along the Naplavka riverfront walk which fills up with street-food-style restaurants and bars between May and October, weather dependent. This hotel gets fantastic reviews and looks delightful!
Unique (on a Boat!)
Boat Hotel Matylda Boat hotels (Botels) are a unique accommodation option in Prague and, as you may have guess from the name, are hotels on boats. This place is a 4-star, right on the river in Prague 2, and in a fantastic location near the Dancing House, and at the quiet end of “Naplavka” a river-front area that turns into a bar and restaurant area when the weather is nice from late Spring to early Fall. We’ve walked past this boat hotel hundreds of times, and it looks really cool plus it has great reviews. Prices in the $110 to $120 range.
Ankora Hotel Prague — A 3-star hotel around the $100 range right by the metro station IP Pavlova (and one of my favorite coffee shops in Prague: Anonymous Coffee). This places looks clean and modern with great customer reviews, and it’s in a good location on 10 minutes walk from Wenceslas Square and 10 minutes to Namesti Miru, which is a pretty square and expat hot-spot rimmed by non-touristy restaurants. You can walk into Old Town from here (20 minutes) or take a tram or metro, and can jump on the metro to get to the castle.
Residence La Fenice A 3-star option that seems to be a cross between a hotel and an apartment, this place seems to offer pretty good value in the $60 to $70 price range, and it’s in a great location if you want to see “real” Prague. Right near the JZP metro station, you’ll share the neighbourhood with young Czechs and expats, and will have lots of options to choose from when it comes to restaurants and bars. There is also a seasonal Farmers Market on the nearby square!
If you REALLY want to splurge for something unique, there’s actually a hotel room in the top of the Zizkov Television Tower, at a rate of $400 to $550 per night.
The Zizkov TV tower is notable for two reasons: 1) the creepy baby statues crawling up its side, created by Czech artist/bad boy David Cerny, and 2) it was used during communism to spy on residents, or so the story goes. Now, it’s been converted into a tourist attraction. You can visit the tower for views of Prague, there’s an awesome garden restaurant at the base when the weather is warm, and you can now stay in the top of the tower when you visit Prague!
Prague 8 – Karlín
Karlín suffered a big flood back in the early aughts, and was pretty much had to completely rebuild. It’s a bit quieter and calmer feeling than Vinohrady, but there are still a tonne of cafés and food spots. The bonus with staying in Karlín is that it has probably the best coffee in Prague, at Můj šálek kávy, and has a lot of really good food options with interesting choices, although some of them are more upscale. Located on the yellow Metro Line B at Křižíkova, it’s only 3 or 4 stops to get into the centre.
Our friends who’ve stayed in Karlín really like the neighbourhood feel, but they also say it’s really quiet at night.
Hotel Alwyn On the higher end, Hotel Alwyn seems like a great option, that will give you a good feel for life in Karlin. Located in between Florenc Metro, which has a shopping centre, and Krizizikova metro, which has a really cute neighbourhood feel to it, this 4-star place has fantastic reviews from past guests, and is between the $150 and $200 price range.
PentaHotel An affordable 4-star option in a chain hotel with a boutique feel. The rooms look really nice, and the guest reviews are fantastic. There’s a wide-range of prices – when I looked anywhere from $80 to $150 for different room styles. It’s also in a nice quiet area, about a block from the Krizikova metro stop.
Galerie Royale – A 4-star hotel in the $50 to $80 range right by the Krizikova Metro station, it looks cozy and comfy, and complete with a bathtub (which is rare in Prague!). Again, it’s in the cute Krizikova area which has a good range of restaurants, and is populated by young families.
Prague 7 – Holešovice
The least gentrified of the three neighbourhoods so far, Holešovice is slowly sprucing itself up, letting go of its working class, meatpacking past with galleries, restorations, and — surprise — new cafés and restaurants. The thing that Holešovice really has for it, in my opinion, is its proximity to Stromovka park, Prague’s largest, and Letná Park, which has awesome views of the city and a great beer garden with a view. It’s probably also a bit cheaper to stay in Holešovice than some of the other areas. The downside to Holešovice is transit: there are trams (tram #17 goes into town along the river, and is Prague’s most beautiful tram ride), but the metro is a bit of a hike, depending on where you’re staying in relation to Nádraží Holešovice (Metro Line C – Red).
Art Hotel Prague – This place looks awesome! Tucked behind Letna Park (with it’s amazing and popular beer garden..probably a 10 minutes’ walk from here), this is 4-star boutique-style hotel that seems to offer great value, with rooms in the $70 to $80 range when I check through Hotels Combined. Plus, it gets great reviews. If I had to suggest a place for a couple that wanted to be slightly out of the hustle and bustle of Prague, this would be a top contender.
Prague 5 – Anděl
We lived right near Anděl (Metro Line B – Yellow), and while I doubt anyone would claim it’s the coolest neighbourhood in Prague, it’s mighty convenient, with restaurants, pubs, a few cafés (but nothing spectacular), 2 grocery stores right near the metro stop, and a mall and 2 cinemas. There are lots of tram connections, and it’s right near the river, which is awesome for runs or hanging out for a beer in the evening. Like Vinohrady, it’s possible to walk into the centre from Anděl – we could get to Malá Strana in about 20 minutes, and the National Theatre in about 15 min.
The Ibis Praha Mala Strana — Honestly, the prices for this Ibis seem like a fantastic deal, in the $40 range. The reviews are also very good from past guests. The location of this hotel is right next to the big “Novy Smichov” shopping centre, which has lots of restaurants, etc. and is close to public transport.
La Boutique This hotel is apparently a 4-star, but it looks a bit on the basic end of the spectrum. That said, it seems to be good value, and the reviews are good, but not spectacular. Prices seem to fall in the $55 to $60 range, which is reasonable. And again, it’s a convenient location right near Andel metro, within walking distance to the river (which will have nice views of Vysehrad fort), and about a 20 minute walk to old town.
Andel’s Hotel & Suites Prague – This place looks awesome! I remember frequently walking by this hotel and thinking it looked nice, and it seems like great value for a 4-start hotel in the $100 to $120 range. It’s super modern looking, and gets fantastic reviews, but beyond that, the location is super convenient, being right near the Andel metro station. There’s a huge mall across the street with a TESCO, Starbucks, and food courts with different local and international chains. And as I recall, there was a nice wine bar in the basement.
Red and Blue Design Hotel — This place looks cute, and has the best reviews of the bunch….people seem to love it! It’s about 3 blocks from the shopping centre, and 4 blocks from the metro station, which I’d consider a plus if you’re a light sleeper: I expect this would be the quietest option of the recommendations for this area. Prices are between $80 and $100, and it’s listed as a 4-star.
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So…Where Should You Stay in Prague?
If I had friends coming to stay in Prague for only a few days, I’d tell them to stay in Prague 1 (so convenient), Vinohrady (so cool), or Anděl (convenient, but not touristy). For people coming for a longer stay in Prague, I’d suggest they rule out Prague 1, and check out Vinohrady, Karlín, or Holešovice/Letná.
And one more thing: Prague doesn’t really have any neighbourhoods that are super sketchy or to be avoided. For the most part, it’s a really safe city!
I hope this was helpful! If you’re still wondering where to stay in Prague, or have questions, don’t hesitate to ask questions in the comments or send us a tweet!
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Prague updated for 2018 gets great customer reviews on Amazon. It has excellent suggested itineraries, 3D cutaways of major sights, and even contains museum floor plans to help you maximize your visit. You’ll find a public transit map, detailed city map, restaurant suggestions and area guides.
Rick Steves Pocket Prague
Rick Steves Pocket Prague is branded as a ‘tour guide in your pocket.’ This is an easy-to-follow guide that has a foldout city map, neighborhood overviews, and history and information about most of the major sights and museums. Reviewers really seem to love the walking tours and , of course, the size. Also available in Kindle version.
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A Note About Our Hotel Recommendations In This Prague Neighbourhood Guide
We get emails almost everyday from readers asking about which hotels are the best options for their needs, and we’re happy to respond and help the best we can. But here’s the thing: when we moved to Prague, we only stayed in one hotel for a few nights, and then we moved into an apartment. That said, I know it can be confusing trying to figure out where to stay in Prague, so in April 2016, I updated this guide with hotel suggestions. The recommendations are based on what I’d suggest to friends with different budgets if they were coming to Prague. I haven’t personally been to most of these hotels, so the recommendations are based on my knowledge of the city, and standard concerns: Is it in a good area that seems safe? Is it convenient for enjoying Prague? Have other travelers left decent reviews of the place? Would I tell my best friend or my mother-in-law that this is a good place to consider?
If it meets these criteria, I’ve added it to the list. Now – to be fair, not ALL properties that meet these criteria have been added. There are plenty of good hotels in Prague that aren’t on this list, of course. And there’s no fancy methodology here…basically, I scanned the hotel booking sites we actually ourselves (basically Booking.com, and Trip Advisor), and added what I thought looked good. Also, I should add, price estimates are based on using these sites. Originally, I tried to keep prices within the $50 to $200 range, but I found people were also really interested in more luxurious hotels, so I’ve ‘up-levelled’ the offering a bit, as this seems to be what you want!
Finally, as this post has gotten more popular, I’ve tried to take the feedback of readers and incorporate it. So, for example, in Prague 1, Design Hotel Neruda is by far one of the most popular hotels among people who find this post…and so I’ve featured it as the top pick, and also reached out to the hotel to see if we can get some extra goodies for our readers who choose to stay there. Hopefully this ads value for you!