Living in Prague

Prague is an outdoor museum, filled with a rich heritage of art, architecture, music, and history. In the course of one semester, students develop a genuine understanding of Prague and its people, customs, and abundant charms.

Prague's huge historic center is fully included on the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List. Hundreds of unique and historically precious buildings dot the city, many capped by towering golden spires. Due to this mixture of artistic architectural styles, Prague has rightfully earned a reputation as one of the most beautiful places to live in all of Europe.

Prague was practically off-limits to Western tourists for almost 50 years. After the Velvet Revolution of 1989, Prague emerged once again as the capital of a sovereign, democratic nation. Today, this "City of a Hundred Spires" has regained its full splendor. Many visitors conclude it is impossible not to fall in love with Prague.

Each semester, UPCES organizes excursions to various museums, events, and cultural activities around Prague. UPCES students are invited to join any of these opportunities free of charge. 


"I loved looking up at the spires from the streets and looking down onto a sea of red rooftops from atop those spires. For me, I did the most growing up during those hours when I would purposely get lost."  

- Danielle St. Pierre, UPCES Alumna


Outdoors

Prague is world-renowned for its parks and outdoor spaces. The city center is surrounded by large green spaces perfect for strolling, playing sports, and relaxing with friends. For additional entertainment, cross the picturesque bridges spanning the Vltava River. Prague is also well-known for its many opportunities for hiking, with excellent trails right within the city limits.

Sports

Without question there are two sports that rise far above the rest in the Czech Republic. These sports are soccer and ice hockey. In Prague, both sports are represented by two rival teams, Sparta and Slavia. The value of a night at a sporting event is tremendous. Most tickets go for under 150 CZK, and there are plenty of delicious snacks that can be bought on the cheap.

Theater

For centuries, Prague has been an international center for theater. The city is dotted with historic theater halls with storied pasts. In fact, Mozart premiered two of his operas in the beautiful Estates Theatre in Old Town.

Today, it seems that every night of the week there is a ballet, symphony, opera, dance, or drama performance to attend in Prague. Students can purchase most theater tickets at generously discounted prices. At the National Theatre, last-minute tickets go for just 50 CZK ($2.50). Prague is also on the world concert circuit and attracts excellent performers.

Architecture

Prague's preserved city center is a rarity in modern Europe. Its architectural heritage includes an array of Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, Neo-Renaissance, Art Nouveau, and Cubist buildings. The city encompasses, and is surrounded by, dozens of castles, chateaux, and historic ruins.

Prague boasts many buildings by renowned architects, including Adolf Loos and Jean Nouvel.  Among its contemporary buildings is the world-renowned Dancing House, designed by Canadian architect Frank Gehry in 1992. The city is also dotted with art installments by the famous, and controversial, Czech artist David Cerny.

Recreation

Among the city's limitless recreational options, the Prague Zoo may be the best kept secret. Despite being named the World's 4th Best Zoo by Forbes magazine, most tourists (and locals) never make it to this garden paradise just north of the city center. Unlike most zoos, the animals here are kept in open-air environments that are as natural as possible. Visitors are transported to a world far different from the city just beyond the gates. Don't miss it!

Outdoor Markets

If you're looking for a treat, a gift, or just a very special atmosphere, head to Prague's many outdoor markets. The squares of Prague bustle with markets from March to October. The city's Christmas and Easter markets are the most famous, and rank among the best in Europe. Old Town Square draws the biggest crowds, with vendors selling hand-made goods and culinary treats. Farmers' markets are ever more popular in Prague as well, so for fresh local produce, head to Namesti Republiky, Jiriho z Podebrad, or the riverside of the Vltava on Saturday mornings.

Eating

Finding places to eat in Prague's downtown area is always enjoyable. Within the city's maze-like winding streets, old churches, and stunning squares, you can find delicious cuisine in most restaurants, including traditional Czech food and many types of ethnic cuisine, from Italian and French to Thai, and even Mexican. If you want to save some money and still enjoy delicious food, just hop on the metro and visit some of the many restaurants outside the city center.

Transportation

Prague has one of the best public transportation systems in Europe. Its system of trams, metros, buses, and boats (yes, boats!) make it one of the most navigable cities in Europe. A Prague resident can get just about anywhere in the city, at any time, without ever needing a taxi. UPCES students receive a metro pass for unlimited use of the public transportation system.

Festivals

Prague hosts a seemingly endless number of music, film, art, and literature festivals throughout the year. Music festivals include the Prague Spring International Music Festival, the Autumn International Music Festival and the Prague Organ Festival. Film festivals include the Febiofest, the One World Fest, FAMU Fest, and Echoes of the Karlovy Vary Film Festival.