The gothic spires and winding cobbled streets of Prague hold an irresistible allure for both leisure and business travelers. Each year, over seven million people visit this Eastern European city, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the region. Additionally, Prague secures a regular spot on Best Of lists for meetings.
Reaching this intriguing city couldn't be easier thanks to the international Prague Airport, located just 20 minutes from downtown. Every year, the airport connects over 12 million passengers to over 100 destinations across the globe. From there, guests can explore the city easily and affordably by metro, tram or bus, all of which are operated by Prague Public Transit Company. Thanks to a convenient integrated ticketing system, travelers can travel with ease among attractions, hotels and meeting venues via any network.
One such point of interest is the Prague Congress Centre. With 13,000 square meters of exhibition space and catering services for up to 7,000 event guests, this Prague Congress Centre is one of the largest and best-equipped convention facilities in Europe.
Meanwhile, the Prague Exhibition Grounds, another top meeting facility in the city, has hosted its fair share of exhibitions, international tradeshows and more. From the over 10,000 square meters of space at the Industrial Palace to the 6,000-seat amphitheater surrounding the majestic Krizik Fountain, the exhibition grounds offer an array of exciting venues that can accommodate events of all kinds and sizes.
Meeting planners in Prague need not limit themselves to traditional event space. In fact, a host of palaces, castles and other historic sites welcome events with professional service, flexible function space and unbeatable décor. Located on Sophie Island on the Vtlava River, the 19th century Classicist-style Zofin Palace has hosted numerous famed guests over the years, including Hector Berlioz, Richard Wagner and Josef Suk. The palace's Great Hall, the largest of its rooms, is a breathtaking backdrop for galas and balls of up to 1,500 people.
In the elegant Vinohrady district, the neo-Renaissance National House of Vinohrady sets the stage for memorable conferences, social events and more thanks to eight conference rooms and 1,600 square meters of exhibition space. Perhaps the most precious monument in the city is Prague Castle, where planners can host momentous events of up to 500 people in Lobkowicz Palace.
The tourist industry is a major contributor to Prague's economy; in fact, nearly one-half of the national income from tourism is spent in Prague. However, the city is also considered a thriving business base. Most major Czech companies are headquartered in the center, as are a number of European headquarters for international companies. Prague is also home to over 10 academic institutions, including Charles University, the oldest university in Eastern Europe.
Located on the picturesque Vtlava River, Prague has been a hub for politics, culture and economy in the Czech state for over a thousand years. From a flourishing merchant city under the era of Charles IV to a Soviet Union-controlled zone during the Cold War, Prague has undergone a number of transformations. Today, over 1.2 million people inhabit this 496-square-kilometer city, marked by rolling hills, clear waters and cobbled streets.
With such a long history, it's no surprise that guests exploring Prague encounter a wide range of architectural styles. Romanesque rotundas, Gothic cathedrals and courts, Renaissance palaces, and Art Nouveau homes are just a sampling of what's to be seen lining the streets. No matter where visitors explore, they'll no doubt catch a glimpse of one of the several towers that punctuate the city skyline, a sight so impressive as to garner Prague the nickname of "The City of A Hundred Spires."
To get the full experience of Prague's architecture, guests can opt for one of the many walking tours of the city, such as the Prague Grand City Tour offered by Prague Tour Service. Or, hop aboard the city's Nostalgic Tram Line No. 91, which travels past monumental sites such as Prague Castle and the National Theatre. Guests can also experience the majesty of Prague's cityscape by water on one of the several cruise boats coursing down the Vtlava River.
Prague's breathtaking architecture is matched only by what awaits within the structures themselves. Explore historical and contemporary crafts, including over 20,000 items of glass, at the Museum of Decorative Arts. Delve into the stories behind the former communist regime at the Museum of Communism. Or, enjoy much more light-hearted fare at the Toy Museum, which showcases toys, dolls and games from throughout history.
A long day of sightseeing warrants a hearty meal, and Prague certainly delivers. Roast pork, dumplings and pickled cabbage are always a favorite, as is Svickova, or marinated beef sirloin and vegetables boiled with double cream and served with wheat dumplings. U Vladare Restaurant, Piano Terra Restaurant at Villa Richter, and Peklo restaurant are among the many great options to enjoy the best of Prague's filling fare.
Of course no Czech dining tour would be complete with a glass of beer, which has been produced in the city since the 12th century. Today, it's a staple in Prague dining and can be ordered with ease at a number of restaurants, pubs and breweries. Among the many choices, U Fleku Beer Hall Restaurant & Brewery invites visitors to sample a number of brews crafted in the on-site brewery after stopping at its brewery museum. Whether guests choose to indulge is up to them, but beer or no beer, they'll undoubtedly find the city an intoxicating place to dine and explore.
All average costs based on U.S. Government Per Diem rates as published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
Prague's climate has warm, often wet summer months and freezing winters. Average summer temperatures hover around 24°C to 26°C, dropping to about -11°C in the winter. Temperatures fall several degrees lower during the night throughout the year.
Spring is generally bright and sunny, with the highest rainfall occurring during the summer months of May to August. Prague has an annual precipitation of 456.5 millimeters. The rapid drop in temperature from the summer to winter bypasses a transitional autumn, resulting in more icy frosts than snowfall into the winter months.
Prague Congress Centre
Situated amongst the hills and offering panoramic views of the Prague skyline and Vltava River, the Prague Congress Centre opened in 1980 as one of the largest convention facilities in Europe. Following a renovation in 2000, the facility also now ranks as one of the best-equipped and most modern venues in Europe. Not surprisingly, Prague Congress Centre has been host to such prestigious events as the September 2000 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group and NATO summit in 2002.
The main Congress Hall can host large conferences and events of up to 2,764 people, while the equally sizable Forum Hall can host up to 1,034 people. An additional 18 air-conditioned halls are suited for groups ranging in size from 80 to 700 people. Prague Congress Centre's state-of-the-art exhibition space boasts 13,000 square meters of room for tradeshows and fairs, while seminars and presentations are at home in one of its 50 versatile meeting rooms.
The professional team at the Prague Congress Centre is capable of accommodating any event need. Audio-visual equipment, transportation services, congress services, floral decoration and more can all be arranged. The entire complex is capable of providing catering for up to 7,000 people.
Opened as part of the 2000 renovation, the four-star Holiday Inn Prague Congress Centre can provide accommodation for overnight guests in one of its 251 rooms. The hotel, accessible via an indoor walkway, provides an additional four reception rooms that have a total capacity of 230 people.
For those arriving by car, the Prague Congress Centre offers secure underground parking facilities for up to 200 vehicles and a garage for up to 650 vehicles. It is also accessible via public transportation.
Prague's O2 Arena is the city's most popular sports and entertainment venue. Built in time for the 2004 Men's World Ice Hockey Championships, the arena is now home to the Czech Extraliga team HC Slavia Praha. It has also welcomed headliners such as Madonna, Beyonce, Phil Collins, Lenny Kravitz and Coldplay. The O2 Arena has positioned itself as a leader in European leisure, culture and entertainment event space with up to 1,500,000 visitors a year.
Available for large-scale conferences and events, the O2 Arena has 35,000 square meters of floor space. It can seat up to 18,000 guests, and also has a number of skyboxes and party boxes. Encompassing six floors, the arena is an attraction in and of itself thanks to its numerous restaurants and bars and a large shopping area.
The O2 Arena offers the necessary equipment, expertise and consideration to help plan events with precision. Its state-of-the-art technological features include closed circuit television system, top-notch acoustics and high-tech lighting.
Corinthia Hotel Prague
Kongresova 1Prague, Czech RepublicTotal Meeting Space - 1,700 Sq. Mt.
Prague Airport (PRG)
Approximate taxi fare: 621 CZK
Formerly known as Prague Ruzyne Airport, Prague Airport was voted best in the Eastern European category in the renowned World Airport Awards in 2008. Located 20 minutes from downtown, it is the largest airport in the Czech Republic serving over 12 million passengers per year, a figure which has grown steadily since renovation and new ownership in 2004.
The airport is comprised of two sections: the North terminals (1 and 2) see the majority of flights, while the South terminals (3 and 4) accommodate special VIP flights and light aircraft. On average, the airport offers service on nearly 50 airlines connecting passengers with over 100 worldwide destinations.
Before, between or following flights, passengers can browse over 85 shops at Prague Airport, which range from specialty jewelry stores to 24-hour convenience shops to duty free outlets stocking absinthe and other liquor. Several restaurants are on-site to provide hungry travelers with Czech cuisine, light lunches, coffee drinks and more.
Business travelers can work in designated quiet areas, equipped with desk space, Internet access and refreshments. Conference areas plus a terrace are available for groups of up to 350 people in need of meeting space. Catering services can be arranged for airport events.
Prague Airport is accessible from the city center via direct bus service. On-site short-term parking of up to 15 minutes is free at designated spaces beside Terminals 1 and 2. Prices for long-term parking start at CZK 650 per day.
Airline carriers serving Prague Airport
Czech Railways is the national train operator offering service throughout the country and beyond. In Prague there are several train stations with more connecting the outlying suburban towns and villages. The Main Railway Station, or Hlavni Nadrazi, is the largest and most important station in the city, seeing the highest volume of passengers each day. The Holsovice Station, the 2nd largest station in the city, is used often by passengers from the North and West, and is connected to the city by metro.
With only one airport in Prague, the train is a popular alternative for tourists and those traveling throughout the Czech Republic. Direct routes from Prague to other European destinations including Berlin and Budapest are available. Tickets prices depend on route but pre-paid cards and group discounts are available at kiosks in all Czech train stations.
The Prague Public Transit Company (DPP) manages the public transportation in the city. Redeemable on its metro, trams and buses, DPP tickets can be purchased at kiosks throughout the city.
Ticket fares are divided into two rate structures: one for Zone P, which includes metro, trams, Prague Public Transit buses, the Petrin funicular and selected Czech Railway lines in the Prague area; and one for Zone 0, which includes buses from the periphery areas and selected Czech Railway lines. A single ticket in Zone P, valid for 20 minutes after being stamped with no transfer options, is CZK 9 for children ages 6-15 and CZK 18 for youths ages 15-19, students, and adults. A transfer ticket for multiple uses, which allows for travel up to 75 minutes from validation, is CZK 13 for children and CZK 26 for youths, students and adults. One-day, three-day, and five-day tickets are available as well, as are 30-day passes.
Travelers can also purchase tickets from DPP via SMS message. These tickets are CZK 26 and are valid with transfer options for 90 minutes.
In addition to offering efficient transportation services, DPP offers its Prague Public Transport Museum of private events. The museum, which showcases over 40 historical vehicles along with photographs, tickets and more, can accommodate 80 to 800 people.
One of the top 10 busiest metro systems in Europe, Prague Metro sees an estimated 400 million people every year. Widely considered the most affordable way to travel around the city, the metro consists three lines serving over 50 stations: Line A (green), Line B (yellow) and Line C (red). Three transfer stations intersect each line.
Prague Metro trains run from 5 AM until midnight at two- to three-minute intervals.
With nearly 150 kilometers of track, the Prague Tram network is the largest of its kind in the country. The network runs on both day and night routes, as well as one historical route 91, on which historic trams tour the downtown area from March to November.
Daytime trams run every 10 minutes from 4:30 AM to midnight. Night trams operate on opposite hours in 40-minute intervals.
Prague buses offer transportation to the outskirts of the city, linking the suburbs to downtown. Buses generally run from 4:30 AM to midnight with a night bus in operation every 40 minutes from 12:30 to 4 AM.
The Petrin Funicular ferries guests to the top of Petrin Hill. During the journey, guests are treated to stunning views of Prague Castle and the city below and access to Petrin attractions such as Stefanik's Observatory and the Church of St. Lawrence.
The tram, which makes three stops, operates daily, April to October, every 10 minutes from 9 AM to 11:30 PM and daily, November to March, every 15 minutes from 9 AM to 11:20 PM. DPP tickets are valid on the funicular with the exception of non-transferable tickets.
Major global car rental companies such as Hertz, Avis and Europcar operate from Prague Airport; several local Czech car rental operators have counters as well. Agencies are located on the ground floor of the airport. Several have offices in downtown Prague for drop-off or collection.
With such an efficient and affordable public transport service, taking a taxi in Prague is considered a last resort and an expensive alternative. It is strongly recommended not to hail a taxi from the street, as drivers can adjust costs throughout the journey and some operate an illegal service.
Travelers looking for a taxi should always book ahead with a reputable taxi company. The airport has three contracted car services, Airport Cars, AAA Radiotaxi and Cedaz.
Fares often vary based on tariff zones. Cedaz offers transport to Zone A or B from the airport for one to four people for CZK 480. Fare from the airport to downtown Prague is CZK 500 at Airport Cars.
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