Prague is a city on every bucket list of travelers around the world. Well, if it exists on yours too, it’s time you check this mesmerizing city off that list. A city that never fails to live up to expectations, Prague can be your ideal destination for an unforgettable, pocket-friendly experience.
Nestled in the very heart of Europe, the city of Prague is known not only for its incredibly beautiful hills and valleys but also for its vibrant culture and stunning architecture. Prague has a heritage dating back centuries, with gothic architecture towering the streets. A city that has brought the medieval times to life today, Prague proves itself to be the epitome of art, transcending boundaries of time. While there are numerous attractions that the City of Hundred Spires has to offer, even taking a stroll down the cobblestoned streets can be one of the best things you do in the Czech Republic.
Prague not only has art museums but is itself a museum. With music that soothes your being, food that satiates your soul and sights that take you beyond reality, Prague can be one of the few precious experiences you carry along for life.
Here are the 25 best things to explore in Prague to make the most of your visit.
Old Town Square
The Czech Republic has had several invasions, but despite that, the old town square has continued fairly unscathed since the tenth century. You need to only glance at the façades of the buildings that surround the Old Town Square to appreciate the degree of architectural supremacy of Prague. No other city in Europe can boast of such a magnificent collection of untouched Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance-style architectural masterpieces as Prague does. Various merchants, musicians, and street performers line the street. The alfresco restaurants in this area in Prague are busy with swarms of tourists that visit every day. In recent years a lot of cheap souvenir shops have also popped up on the streets of the Old Town Square in Prague.
Infant Jesus of Prague
The Infant Jesus Christ of Prague is a wooden Roman Catholic sculpture of the baby Jesus. Though the origin of this figure is unknown, it dates to the sixteenth century. The ornately gilded holy shrine where the statue is encased is visited every day by hundreds of believers who come here to pray. Also referred to as the Child of Prague, this monument is in the Mala Strana in the heart of the city of Prague, Czech Republic.
The fifteenth-century astronomical clock, despite some damage and consequent repairs over its lifetime, is still considered to be the best-preserved mechanical clock from the medieval period in the world. Located around the southern side of the town hall, just across the Old Town Square in Prague, it is one of the best things to see in the Czech Republic. The gothic sculptures and the wooden statues of the apostles were added to the clock over the centuries. Here you can watch the spectacle of the mechanical clock marking the turn of an hour. It is not just a clock but a tiny planetarium that marks the months and the planetary positions of the sun and the moon apart from the time.
This Czech bridge in Prague was commissioned by Charles IV. The construction started in 1357 and was completed in 1390 to replace a bridge that was swept away by the floods. The remarkable statues were added later in the seventeenth century. There are thirty statues of different saints installed over the years. Though the bridge was built in the fourteenth century, it got the name ‘Charles’ in the nineteenth century. This bridge has survived thirty years of war and innumerable floods over the years. The bridge is now open only for pedestrians. The whole historic center on both ends of the bridge is a UNESCO world heritage site. Just a walk across this bridge can be one of the best things to do in the Czech Republic because of the plethora of breath-taking sights on both sides!
This magnificent castle is one of the best places to visit in Prague and with good reason. It is in Hradcany, also known as the castle district. This splendid castle has been the abode of Czech monarchs, and today it is the official dwelling of the President of the Czech Republic. This architectural wonder has made it to the Guinness Book of Records, which recognizes it as the largest castle complex not only in the Czech Republic but also in the world. It spans an area of whopping 17 acres. The famous ‘golden lane’ that housed the royal goldsmiths is also located in the castle complex.
The typical Gothic features like towering spires and spooky gargoyles are the best things about this Castle. Such architectural beauty has the potential to give food for creative thought to any artist. Hence, it is no wonder that the Prague-born writer Franz Kafka has written a popular book titled ‘The Castle’ about this sprawling Czech castle. Though there is no fee to enter the grounds of the castle, the joint entry pass gives you access to buildings like the Golden Lane, St Vitus Cathedral, and the Basilica of St George.
To skip the queue, you can opt for a Prague Castle Ticket that gives you priority access. You can also choose to go for a two and a half hour guided tour that includes the admission ticket.
Treasures of St Vitus Cathedral
Although the cathedral looks really old, it is an excellent example of the Gothic architecture that Prague is known for. The unique synthesis of Gothic elements is complemented by the few Baroque and Renaissance elements that were added throughout its construction. The intricate ornamentation of the ceiling and the detailing in gold add further aesthetic appeal to this architectural masterpiece. It houses the glorious Chapel of St Wenceslas, the marvelous art nouveau decorated stained glass and the tomb of St John of Nepomunk. This cathedral is visible from all around the city of Prague. The two and a half hours of the guided tour also includes the Vitus Cathedral.
Golden Lane – Playground for Alchemists
The mysterious Golden Lane is also present in the castle complex in Prague. It is known as a ‘playground for alchemists’ as it is believed that alchemists watched the golden lane for reactions that turned common substances into gold. In spite of the name, the fact that alchemists ever lived in the Czech Republic or worked there has been a debate.
Eat a Pork Knuckle
Meat lovers cannot afford to miss this popular dish from Prague. The mix of aromatic tender pork and crispy skin makes it one of the best things from the Czech and German cuisine. It is also known as Koleno and is made up of a big piece of pork knee. Eating a sizeable piece of meat attracts the interest of bystanders, but the taste makes it worth it.
Prague is one of the many Central European cities that experienced a wave of communism in the mid-twentieth century. A wide range of memorabilia related to the terrifying secret police under the Communist regime in the Czech Republic is on display in the KGB museum. You can also expect the collector himself to show you around this small museum, which was established by a Russian enthusiast. This museum houses a collection of different spy cameras, interrogation equipment and spy cameras. Another famous exhibit at this museum is the photographs of the eerily empty streets of Prague. Clicked by a former KGB officer, these photographs are from the year 1968.
Old Jewish Ghetto
Also known as the Josefov, you will find the Old Jewish Ghetto between the Old Town and Vltava River. Its history dates to the thirteenth century. The Jews living in Prague, along with fellow exiled Jews from other countries, had to vacate their homes and settle in this area. They were banned from living elsewhere in the city. The layout of Prague was remodeled during the nineteenth century that destroyed several buildings in this area. However, a lot of historically significant buildings are still in good shape and worth a visit. More than being a Holocaust site, this place in Prague celebrates the rich Jewish culture that thrived in Europe before the Holocaust. For its intrinsic historical and cultural value, this place is a must-visit.
Seven-Foot-Tall Sigmund Freud
This unusual artwork is so popular that it was exhibited in a lot of cities all over the world, including Chicago, London, and Berlin. You can see this statue when you stroll through the chic urban sector of Staré Mesto around the Old Town area of Prague and gaze your eyes towards the sky. At first glance, you might mistake it for a suicide attempt by a real person. But it is a seven-foot-tall statue of the well-known Austrian psychiatrist Sigmund Feud suspended in the air from a metal beam directly above the pebbled streets. Interestingly, since its creation, the statue has caused a number of concerned citizens to make emergency calls to the police department of Prague.
Cruise on the Vltava
If you want to see the many Czech historical monuments and buildings of Prague from a different perspective, head to river Vltava. This romantic river offers you a chance to book a cruise and look at the city from a different angle. Swans add to the beauty of Vltava and look beautiful when photographed with the bridge and Old Town in the backdrop. You can book a cruise which usually includes a meal (lunch or dinner depending on the time of the day), and the prices are competitive. You can escape the hustle and bustle of Prague city center and experience the quieter riverbanks of Vltava if you book a trip with a length of more than two hours. It is a good idea to book the cruise tickets in advance to ensure a place to enjoy one of the best things in the Czech Republic comfortably.
World-famous beer (or two)
The beer game in this country is too strong. The fact that the Czechs drink more beer per capita than any other country on the planet is a testament to their passion for beer. They insist that their beer is the best in the world. There is truly no other place like Prague to test the validity of this claim. A majority of the Czech beers, being brewed from carefully selected hops and are light and foamy.
Breweries produce a dark brew, but the Czechs prefer the lighter ones but chilled and with tall heads. Budvar and Staropramen are some of the famous Czech lagers. The huge number of bars in Prague provides you with a variety of craft beers from the best microbreweries in the country apart from the popular ones. A must-visit for beer lovers is the Prague Beer Museum. This place quenches the thirst of all beer lovers with more than thirty-one different types of beer. The best things about the summer in Prague is beer gardens, where friends and families along with their dogs and children are welcome to enjoy the sports events or music videos on giant screens with a variety of chilled beers on offer. The Czechs have taken this thing beyond drinking, and Prague has a company that makes beer-based creams and shampoos (Manufaktura).
Backstreets of Mala Strana
The baroque streets of Mala Strana, also known as the Lesser Quarter, were constructed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries by conquering noblemen and catholic clerics. The baroque square is at the heart of Mala Strana in Prague, and it offers tiny stores and old-fashioned Czech eateries and pubs with a breath-taking view of the stunning river.
When it comes to enjoying the evening with some good jazz or classical music, Prague, Czech Republic has a variety of options to choose from. These options include live music events. The best local Jazz musicians usually play live at the Jazzdock. Apart from this, there is a lot in store for genuine clubbers. Located in an industrial setting, Cross club is truly a modern nightclub, you will fall in love with. The interior of this club is a mix of cranks, gadgets, and shafts which move with the music and provide an industrial feel. You can also opt for a pub tour if you want to go pub hopping in Prague.
Changing of the Guard
The castle guards officially offer their services only to the President of the Czech Republic, and the recruiting criteria for this position is rather strict. For instance, the height of each guard should fall in the range of 1.78 and 1.88 meters. At midday, the ceremonial changing of the guard takes place with fanfare and a flag ceremony. These brave men have a unique light blue uniform in summer whereas a dark blue uniform in winter.
Prague’s beauty is not limited to architectural wonders alone. One of the best things from recent years has been the graffiti on the Lennon wall. The wall is an addition to the artistic vibe of Prague and includes a graffiti of John Lennon’s face and lyrics and quotations from the Beatles from the 1980s. It is extremely popular with the young crowd and tourists who wish to pay homage to the famous musicians of all time.
Every Saturday, the farmers market pops up at the river embankment just underneath the fortress of Vysehrad. The best things sold in this market are sausages and specialist meats. It also offers seasonal vegetables, pickles, and preserves, along with freshly baked cakes and bread. The farmer’s market is a perfect place to interact with the locals and enjoy the delicacies while taking in the scenic view that Prague has to offer.
Learn about Communism
The continent of Europe is rich in history and political turmoil, and the Czech Republic is not any different in this matter. The communism that started in Czech in 1948 ended only after the Velvet Revolution in 1989. The Museum of Communism and the KGB museum depict these dark times when the citizens of Czechoslovakia were stripped off their fundamental rights and freedom. During this time, a lot of Czechs tried to escape the country, but around 200,000 were reportedly arrested, and 327 were shot dead. The museums have photographs, films, and sculptures that depict this state-sponsored terrorism that occurred under the communist rule. There is also a guided tour if you want to see a real nuclear bunker with authentic masks and other artifacts from the cold war.
Not many cities can boast of museums for puppets, unlike Prague. The people of this city are passionate about their puppets, and it is easy to notice this given the fact that Prague boasts of over twenty specialized puppet shops and thirty puppet makers. The history of these puppets can be traced back to the twelfth century when these figures were used as a mode of entertainment at royal feasts and ceremonies. Watching a puppet show is one of the best things to do with your kids in Prague. The National Marionette Theatre and Theatre Spejbl & Hurvinek are the best places to watch a puppet show in Prague.
299 Steps to Petrin Hill
One of the greenest spaces in Prague, the beautiful Petrin Hill, is located on the left bank of the romantic river Vltava. It offers a magnificent bird’s eye view of the city. The walk could be a bit challenging but plenty of benches placed at regular intervals are intended to provide respite to your tired legs. You can enjoy the view as you climb up this beautiful hill at your own pace. If you have difficulty climbing up, take a railway from the lesser quarter up to the top of the hill.
Skateboarders at the Letna Park
This park was home to a huge sculpture of Stalin till the ‘60’s but is now a famous meeting place for the adventurous skateboarders. Located on the river edge of Letna Hill, the park is just north of the Old Town Square. You can enjoy an evening here chilling at the beer gardens and overlooking Prague, or you can choose to watch the skateboarders doing their tricks. Either way, an evening at Letna Park promises a good time.
This dish is basically a mouth-watering mix of soft Camembert-like cheese, along with an appetizing rind, soaked and preserved in oil, garlic, and spices. Enjoy it with chili pepper and fried bread. Food lovers cannot afford to miss this warm, buttery and creamy dish while visiting Prague, which is a nonchalant introduction to the sumptuous Czech cuisine.
One of the most fun and challenging things to do in Prague is to solve the mind maze. It is a place inspired by the alchemists. Once you enter the old fashioned and empty looking chamber you will have one hour to escape it by unraveling a sequence of mysteries, riddles, and tricky puzzles. You will soon realize that there are more things hidden in this quaint room than what catches your eye. It is advisable to bring along a partner as it would be wiser to have two heads than one in a place like a mind maze.
Jelení Príkop (Stag Moat)
All the small trips to these places in Prague may begin to exhaust you slightly. As you finish the fun but tiring exploration of the architectural wonders, you can choose to unwind at this secluded place along the rear end of the Prague castle. A moat earlier, this piece of land is now a beautiful green patch where you can enjoy a picnic with your family or a pre-dinner stroll with your beloved.