Best Things to Do in Prague
Want to know the best things to do in Prague, well you have come to the right place. I have come put together a list of 20 Best Things to do in Prague. I've been travelling to Prague for over 20 years and have lived here 4 times. I visited all of these attractions on numerous occasions. Prague is now becoming as much of a Winter destination as well as being very much a Summer destination.
Prague is one of the most magical cities in Europe with its glorious architecture dating back 800 years. The Golden period of Czech architecture was under the rule of the beloved king: Charles IV. He commissioned many grand projects during his reign including the magnificent Charles Bridge. Prague is also renowned for its excellent nightlife, Beer Gardens, huge parks and of course its cheap and excellent beer.
1. Explore the Old Town Square
Dating back to the 10th Century, Prague Old Town Square has remained relatively unscathed considering the number of times Prague has been invaded throughout the years. Throngs of tourists flock to the Square every day. The outdoor restaurant terraces are always full. The Square has many examples of Prague's marvellous architecture included the Old Town Hall (which has the Astronomical Clock), Tyn Church (with its glorious spires) and the Jan Hus monument.
The Astronomical Clock is located on the south facade of the Town Hall on the Old Town Square. Crowds of tourists watch the clock as it changes the hour. This is where you see the walk of "The Walk of the Apostles" and other moving sculptures including the figure of Death depicted a skeleton (you will see this on the right side). It was built in the fifteenth century and legend has that the man who built it was blinded to prevent him from replicated it. He did get his revenge though, he disabled the clock and no one was able to repair it for the next hundred years.
3. Walk across the Charles Bridge
Strolling across the Charles Bridge is truly one of the most pleasurable experiences when visiting Prague. It was built in the 14th Century to replace an older bridge that had been washed away by a flood. Statues added in the 17th century and it's was the only means of crossing the Vltava river until 1841.
4. The old Jewish Quarter (Josefov)
The Jewish quarter (Josefov) is located to the north of the Old Town Square. It is believed that Jews first settled in Prague in the 10th century. The the first crusade against them was in 1096 and they were concentrated within a walled Ghetto. Through the centuries the Prague were persecuted but in some centuries they were very influential in the running of Prague, even self-governed themselves.
Sadly, the Holocaust wiped most of the Jewish population of Prague during World War 2. Hitler even planned a Museum of an Extinct Race in Josefov. Of course, Prague's most famous Jew was the writer Franz Kafka. The Jewish Quarter includes six Synagogues, The Jewish Town Hall and two cemeteries. You can buy a combination ticket for the Jewish Museum and Old New Synagogue for 480 CZK (€19). This is the best value option.
5. Go To Prague Castle
Prague Castle is more than just a typical castle, it is complex of buildings and vast gardens. It is by far the city’s most popular attraction. It is reputed to be the largest and one of the oldest Castles in Europe. The Castle has been the seat of Czech rulers and is today the official residence of the president. Entry to the grounds of the castle is free but if you want to visit St Vitus Cathedral, Basilica of St George and Golden Lane you have to buy a combined ticket (350 CZK or €14).
St Vitus Cathedral is the standout attraction of the Prague Castle grounds. This cathedral is one of the best examples of Gothic architecture and is the largest church in the Czech Republic. It contains the tombs of many Bohemian kings and Holy Roman Emperors. Gaze at its extraordinary external facade and high ceilings on the interior. Don't forget to check the organ. It nearly has as much history as the Cathedral itself.
7. Golden Lane
Golden Lane is a picturesque street of colourful houses located inside the grounds of the Prague Castle. Golden Lane is shrouded in mystery and has a great history. Franz Kafka the famous Jewish writer resided in his sister's house on the street for around two years. Jaroslav Seifert, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1984 and who was one of the signatories of Charter 77 also lived on the street.
Although Prague is a long way from Liverpool, the birthplace of the Beatles, fans should certainly check out this shrine to one of the most famous bands of all time. The wall has been covered in John Lennon and The Beatles graffiti, lyrics and quotations since the 1980s and is very popular among tourists and young fans wishing to pay homage to the group.
Municipal House is located on Náměstí Republiky and right beside the Powder Gate in the centre of the city. The Royal Court palace used to be located on the site of the Municipal House. From 1383 until 1485 the King of Bohemia lived in the property. After 1485, it was abandoned. It was demolished in the early 20th century. It opened in 1912. The Municipal House was the location of the Czechoslovak declaration of independence. The building is of the Art Nouveau architecture style. The most famous room in the building is Smetana Hall which serves as a concert hall and ballroom. It also houses various three restaurants, one bar and some boutique shops.
10. Drink a few beer beers
Czechs claim to have the best and some of the cheapest beer in the world. They also drink the most beer in the world per head of capita. There huge selection of bars in the city that offer famous Czech lagers such as Pilsner or Budvar. Many of the more hip bars now serve Craft beers on tap that come from microbreweries all over the country. Most Czech beers are light beers.
11. Meander through the cobbled streets of the Old Town
The Old Town is a labyrinth of streets. Start walking from the Old Town Square, take a few lefts and rights and see where it leads you. Maybe you will some more examples of beautiful architecture or a cosy bar or restaurant.
12. Climb Petrin Hill
Petrin Hill is located on the left bank of the Vltava River. Here you will get panoramic views of the city. It is a pleasant walk to the top of the hill and there are many benches along the way to rest yourself. Or you can get the funicular train to the top of the hill and just walk down the hill. At the top, you will find a miniature version of the Eiffel Tower, beautifully landscaped gardens and the unusual Church of St Michael.
13. Experience David Cerny's Art
David Cerny is an extremely talented Czech sculptor and artist. His work can be seen in many locations in Prague. One of Cerny's most creative contributions to Prague was the "Tower Babies" which were a series of crawling infants attached to Žižkov Television Tower. Other examples of Cerny's work are, the "Statue of St. Wenceslas riding a dead horse" (located at the Lucerna Centre), "Statue of Sigmund Freud hanging by one hand" (located at the intersection of Husova and Skorepka streets in the Old Town) and the "Peeing Statues" (located just outside the Franz Kafka Museum in Malá Strana).
14. Wenceslas Square
Wenceslas Square is in main ways the nucleus of Prague. It is the centre of the business and cultural communities in the New Town of Prague. Many historical events occurred there, and it is a traditional setting for demonstrations, celebrations, and other public gatherings. The square is named after Saint Wenceslas, the patron saint of Bohemia. Formerly known as Koňský trh (Horse Market) as there was a Horse Market on the street for centuries. In 1848 it was renamed Svatováclavské Náměstí (Saint Wenceslas Square) and eventually got shortened to Václavské Náměstí (Wenceslas Square). It is more a boulevard than a Square as Wenceslas Square has the shape of a rectangle. The street is dominated by the grand Czech National Museum and the St. Wenceslas Equestrian Monument. Today there are many restaurants, shops, hotels and bars along the street.
Strahov Monastery is a Premonstratensian abbey founded in 1143 by Jindrich Zdík, Bishop John of Prague, and Vladislaus II, Duke of Bohemia. It is located in Strahov Prague, Czech Republic. Strahov Library is the largest monastic library in the Czech Republic covering two magnificent baroque halls (The Theological Philosophical Halls) dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. As you can see from the image above, it is very photogenic.
16. Vitkov Hill
Vitkov Hill located in Zizkov just a few tram stops from the centre of Prague offers panoramic views of the city. It dominated by a bronze Equestrian Statue of Jan Zizka which is reputed to be one one of the largest equestrian statues in the world. Jan Zizka defeated Catholic forces led by King Sigismund in 1420 in the Battle of Vítkov Hill. He has always been seen as a symbol of Czech Nationalism. Vitkov Hill also includes the Ceremonial Hall, an exhibition entitled Crossroads of Czech and Czechoslovak Statehood and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
17. Prague Zoo
Prague Zoo is located in the district of Troja in the north of Prague. The zoo occupied 58 hectares (140 acres) and housed around 4,200 animals from just under 650 species. The zoo is rated as the seventh best zoo in the world by Forbes Travel Guide in 2007 and is rated as the fifth best in the world by TripAdvisor. It is very easy to get to by public transport and the bus stops directly outside the entrance. Admission costs 200CZK (€8.00) for Adults and 150 CZK (€6.00) for children (3 to 15 years - children under 3 years old are free).
Wallenstein Palace is a vast palace complex and was built between 1624 and 1630. It was built for one of the most powerful and wealthiest Czech noblemen of that time Albrecht von Wallenstein. Today it now houses the Senate of the Czech Republic. The adjacent Wallenstein Gardens are open to the public during the summer.
The National Theatre (Národní Divadlo) is a very impressive neo-renaissance building situated on the banks of the Vltava river at the end of Narodni. It is a significant national monument and a cultural institution, which played a crucial role in preserving and developing the Czech language, music and art.mIt was opened in 1881 and burnt down in the summer of the same year. It took another 2 years for the building to be reconstructed and it reopened in 1883. Today the National Theatre consists of three artistic ensembles: opera, ballet and drama. Some productions are in English.
The Dancing House is located on the Vltava in the New Town. It is set on a property of great historical significance as its site was the location of a house destroyed by the U.S. bombing of Prague in 1945. The plot and structure lay decrepit until 1960 when the area was cleared. The neighbouring house was co-owned by the family of Vaclav Havel who lived most of his life there. After the Velvet Revolution and the subsequent fall of Communism, Havel was elected president of Czechoslovakia, the idea to develop the site grew. The building was designed in 1992 and completed in 1996.