Old Town

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Old Town

Hello Old Town

Many historic cities have an Old Town at their center, but Prague's Old Town (or Stare Mesto) is as enchanting and atmospheric as any, and probably more so. Few can rival the Astronomical Clock on the Old Town Square, for instance: the oldest functioning clock in the world and where, on the hour, visitors gather to gaze up at its clockwork performance. Most cities will also admit defeat in the battle of the bridges. Prague's majestic Charles Bridge is one of Europe's great, inspiring spectacles, completed in the 15th-century and with a fine bridge tower on the side of the Old Town.

The presence of two of Prague's most famous landmarks unsurprisingly makes this one of the city's more crowded neighborhoods, but don't let that put you off. The real, unguarded essence of the neighborhood is only ever just around the corner, whether that's a tucked-away courtyard or off-the-beaten-track cafe. You just need to know where to find it or, better yet, simply allow yourself to wander aimlessly through the narrow, cobblestoned streets until you find that all-important hidden gem.

Refuel with a coffee or bowl of goulash in Cafe Louvre – once a hangout of Franz Kafka and Albert Einstein – and, if visiting on a Saturday morning, rub shoulders with the locals at Naplavka Market on the banks of the River Vltava. You could easily spend your entire stay in the Old Town and not get bored; that would be a shame, of course, but you get the idea.

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