Along the Vltava to Vyšehrad

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Starts: National Theatre; Length: 2 km (1.25 miles); Duration: about 1 hour (casual pace). Walk ends: at the Vyšehrad fortifications. From there you can get back to the city centre from red metro line C.

1.  This walk begins outside the beautiful National Theatre, which was christened in 1881 to honour the visiting Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria. Not long after this, the Theatre was ravished by fire and had had to undergo extensive renovation before it could reopen its doors. Today it’s a fantastically decedent venue to go and enjoy cheap, surtitled opera.

2.  Walk south along Masarykovo nábřeží, make an early detour to the islet of Slovanský ostrov, where you’ll find the Mánes Exhibition Hall, the visual arts space that stands next to a 15th century water tower. Back on Masarykovo nábřeží, you’ll find it hard to miss the next landmark. The Dancing House – or Fred and Ginger, as it was first named – is probably Prague’s most famous contemporary building, and stoked much controversy when proposed in 1992 and completed in 1996. Helping to champion its popularity though, was then-Czech president Václav Havel. Continue along Rašínovo nábřeží, where you’ll reach the small Palackého náměstí, a small square dedicated to the historian and politician František Palacký.

3.  Admire the fine array of Art Nouveau edifices to your left, especially the double-chimneyed Goethe Institute. If by now you’re in need of a beer, your best bet is to slip down to the waterside where a number of floating bars will attend to your Pilsner needs. Now keep heading south under the arched rail bridge (perhaps Prague’s most underrated landmark), and as you do so, glance left to get a look at Josef Chochol’s Cubist Villa. All you need to do now is cross over onto the left-hand side of Rašínovo nábřeží and embark on that steep flight of steps that winds its way up to the ancient citadel of Vyšehrad. Your calf muscles won’t thank you, but your eyes will, for the spectacular views on ascending.

 

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