A prosperous and bustling city, Prague now attracts more tourists than ever. But its picturesque downtown veils both a dark legacy and a resilient past. Dating back to about A.D. 870, Prague has withstood numerous overthrows, invasions, fires and floods. It’s this reputation for survival and perseverance that has made the Czech capital so fascinating. Today, its storied churches, narrow streets, daunting hilltop castle and statue-lined bridges create the scene of an urban fairy tale. Even the most jaded traveler would have trouble resisting this city’s charms.

Prague was once a hidden gem, overshadowed by its flashier neighbors to the west. But the city couldn’t keep its marvels a secret for too long – now, it’s a haven for travelers seeking awe-inspiring experiences at affordable prices. Even today, top attractions – including the famous Charles Bridge and the historic Prague Castle – offer free admission and many hotels offer rooms at a fraction of the cost of other European cities. But this bargain-hunting legacy has a ticking clock on it, so if you’re hoping to find a fire-sale price, now’s the time to do so.

The best times to visit Prague are the spring and early fall when the weather is mild and there are fewer crowds. Because of the city’s generally chilly climate, the warmer summer months (average high temperatures hover in the low to mid-70s) see the largest influx of tourists – which means higher hotel rates. The spring and early fall, however, offer clear skies, highs ranging from the mid-50s to the upper 60s and much lower room rates. Prague also shines during the festive Christmas season but be warned that the city sees a fair amount of snow and highs don’t rise above the mid-30s.

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