Most people visiting Prague will look for accommodations around Old Town, which puts you in a fairly central spot for sightseeing. However, this has its downsides, and some would argue this isn’t the best area of Prague to stay in. There are residential but lively areas outside of Old Town where accommodations may be cheaper and staying may be a little more comfortable. These are some of the best areas of Prague to look for accommodations.
Knowing the best areas of Prague to stay in
Prague is divided up into 22 numbered districts, many of which you would never ever see while vacationing in the city. In all likelihood, you’ll be spending the majority of your time in Prague 1 or 2. Prague 1 is the area made up of Old Town to the east of the Vltava River and Malostranska to the west of the river. Malostranska is the area on the other side of the Charles Bridge that includes Prague Castle. Prague 1 is the most congested and beautiful part of the city; it’s also the oldest. From this area, most of the primary sightseeing spots in Prague are walking distance, though they are also connected by the metro, trams, and buses.
Prague 2 is the area south and east of Prague 1, encompassing a large part of New Town. New Town is the youngest of the neighborhoods that make up the center of Prague. Not too young; it was founded in 1348. Presently, this area covers some residential and business districts and also contains some important Prague sights like Wenceslas Square, the Dancing House, and the fortress Vyšehrad.
To the east of that, there are some great neighborhoods where locals live, work, and go out. From north to south, these are Prague 8, Prague 3, and Prague 10. If you’re looking for cheaper accommodations or a private apartment on Airbnb rather than a 5-star hotel or an Old Town hostel, these three districts are good areas to stay. They’re still quite well-connected and occasionally, you’ll run into a local food or drink festival or concert by staying here.
In Prague 8, you’ll probably want to stay in Karlin rather than further east. Karlin is an old industrial neighborhood that’s had a renaissance in the past couple of years. It’s full of music venues, art galleries, restaurants and nightlife while still maintaining a quiet residential feel.
South of Karlin, the best area in Prague 3 to stay is Žižkov (pronounced Shishkov). The area around the Žižkov TV Tower and Vitkov Hill, each places to visit in their own right, is popular with students and expats. Aside from good private accommodation options, you’ll find a lot of things to do as far as dining and drinking.
A popular area that straddles the boundary between Prague 3 to the north and Prague 10 to the south is Vinohrady, named for the vineyards that covered the area in the 14th century. Vinohrady is full of expats, trendy bistros, and parks. It’s a great place to stay, and it is extremely well-connected to city center. This area is a little more refined than its neighbors to the north and just as interesting. Popular squares like Namesti Miru in the area are hubs for street markets and events.
Prague 10 also has a neighborhood called Vršovice, which is more local and residential, though it does have some nightlife like Krymska street. Like Vinohrady, it’s fairly simple to get to city center from there and it won’t cost a lot to stay.
Another viable option is across the river to the north of Prague 8, and that’s Prague 7. This area encompasses a lot of contemporary art museums including the DOX Center for Contemporary Art and the Trade Fair Palace building of the National Gallery. Letna Park in Prague 7 is also a popular spot for locals to hang out and drink, especially in the summer.
All these fun nearby districts get you to the heart and soul of Prague in 15-20 minutes by public transportation, sometimes even on foot if you’re staying very close. Staying farther out will be even cheaper but then you’ll be in more residential suburbs, which are more desolate and have less frequent transportation options.
Why you shouldn’t stay in Prague 1
With these great options all around town, staying in Prague 1 becomes less and less desirable. Prague 1 is extremely expensive. This is where you’ll find most of the hotels in the city, but it’s also where you’ll pay the most. For everything. The price of a beer in Vinohrady can be half what you’d pay in Old Town. But aside from being expensive, this area of town is loud and obnoxious. Because it’s the epicenter of tourism, you’ll also find more shady characters around looking to scam ignorant visitors.
The best areas of Prague are not necessarily where you would expect. Staying just outside the city center is comfortable, cheaper, and it gives you a slightly better idea of what Prague is actually like as a city and not a tourist destination.