Prague is a lovely city full of history, architecture and that grittiness that can only be described as charming – it’s perfect for a weekend getaway at any time of the year, and there is a lot to see and do. Here are 13 of our top picks of things to do in Prague …
Prague Travel Guide
1) Castle District
Perched on top of a hill with views overlooking Prague’s river and its many bridges crossing over into the Old Town, the Castle District is a wonderful area to spend a few hours in full of Gothic architecture and beautiful gardens. The castle grounds are free to roam, but some places such as parts of the St. Vithus Cathedral cathedral and the famous “Golden Lane” requires a ticket to visit – it’s the largest coherent castle complex in the world, with an area of almost 70,000 m².
2) Petrin Hill
On your way down from the Castle District, we recommend walking through the Apple orchards on the Petrin Hill – it’s a very peaceful and tranquil area and in summer when the trees are blooming the city feels a world away. We did the walk up but it’s fairly steep, so it’s better to take the funicular up, check out the castle district and then walk down instead.
3) Historic Cafés
It’s a humbling thought to know that you’re eating in the very same cafe as some of history’s biggest names once did several hundred years ago. In Prague, there are quite a few cafes that have survived the hardships for centuries, and that have managed to keep their charm. You would expect these cafés to be overpriced, but we found that they had the same (or even cheaper) prices for coffee, beer and cakes as any other café in town.
- Café Imperial: Opened in 1914, this café has a beautiful Art Nouveau tiling and original decorations.
- Café Louvre: Among its guests were Karel Capek, Franz Kafka as well as Albert Einstein during his professorship in Prague.
- Café Slavia: First opened in August 1884, it quickly became a hotspot for lovers of culture and famous Czech poets, actors, writers and composers used to be frequent visitors at that time.
Keep in mind however that many cafes in Prague allow smoking inside …
4) Charles Bridge
Adorned with 30 statues along both sides of the bridge, Charles Bridge is one of the most beautiful bridges in Europe – built between the 14th and 15th century, this bridge has survived to tell the stories of a long-gone past.
The oldest statue on the bridge is of St. John of Nepomuk, and according to legend rubbing it will bring you good luck and a safe return to Prague – who knows if it’s true, but we rubbed it in 2011 and two years later we returned! 😉
Charles Bridge can get pretty busy during peak season and peak hours, so keep an eye on your belongings since pickpocketing is a common problem in crowded areas. For these reasons travel insurance is always good to have:
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5) Shop At The Weekend Markets
Every weekend there are some great local markets held in different areas of Prague. These little markets sell some lovely fresh home made food, from cakes and cookies to cheese and bread. During winter there will likely be a little stall selling hot wine as well – this is where you will find some great traditional treats that are well worth trying, and the prices are cheap.
6) John Lennon Wall
This colorful wall really stands out in the medieval atmosphere in Prague, and it has an interesting history – beginning with the fact that John Lennon actually never visited Prague in his lifetime..!
7) The Love Lock Bridge
Close to the John Lennon Wall is a tiny bridge that continue on the same theme of “peace and love”, where hundreds of couples have locked their love onto the bridge.
8) Old Town Square
With tall, dark gothic spires, the Týn church can be seen from a far distance, but no view is as good as the one from the Old Town square. Surrounded by colorful buildings, the square is one of the meeting points in the city, connecting the narrow winding streets that lead off into the different areas of the city center. There are often street performers on the square, and while many restaurants there are overpriced, Strarometska is an exception and is actually a great place for lunch and fruit dumplings.
9) Astronomical clock
One of Prague’s most popular sights, this astronomical clock is not only beautiful, it has an interesting story behind it. Check out our Prague video to find out more!
10) Drink Czech Beer
Czech Republic is famous for its extrordinary beer at amazingly cheap prices. After all it’s hard to justify paying more for a glass of juice than you would for a pint of beer..! There are many great places to have a beer in Prague, from the Monastery in the Castle district to a murky bar in one of the side streets. One of our favorite places were at Pivovarský Dům, they brew their own beer and along with their traditional beers you can find some interesting flavors – Banana beer, anyone?
11) Indulge in Dumplings
Czech dumplings are a must-try when in Czech Republic, and they come in all varieties; from meat to bread to fruit dumplings, they can be ordered as lunch, dinner or even dessert! The fruit dumplings are quite unique, but keep in mind that they are etremely filling and it’s not uncommon to order the dumplings as a main course rather than a dessert.
12) Explore The Jewish Quarter
The Jewish quarter is a nice are of Old Prague with a lot of history and some great restaurants and cafes – the Old Jewish cemetery is also located here, a thought-provoking place where the tombs are layered on top of each other, at one section reaching 12 layers.
13) Modern Buildings
If your eyes are sore from all the old buildings and you yearn for something more modern, there is a pretty cool church with the very long name “Church of the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord”, located on Jiřího z Poděbrad Square (where there is also a nice weekend market). The surrounding area is nice as it’s far from the tourist streets and give you a good idea of what local Prague is like, with tiny pubs and markets. The Dancing house is also a must, located on Rašínovo nábřeží street – another interesting art-piece is the peeing fountain outside the Franz Kafka museum, where to male figures swing their hips from side to side, peeing into the fountain pond..!
Finally, a few last tips …
If you’re worried about Prague being too crowded, go there during the off-season – we were there in February this year and although there were still tourists there, the streets were much less crowded than last time when we visited in June. One thing to keep in mind when walking the streets of Prague is to never trust that cars will stop for you at pedestrian crossings. Sometimes they will, but often they won’t even slow down, and a few even speed up..!
To read more about Prague and our time in Czech Republic, check out our: