If you’re planning a trip to Prague, you’re in the right place. I’d heard loads of beautiful things about the Czech capital from both locals and tourists and it’s safe to say I was really looking forward to visiting! Now, after spending five marvellous days in the “The City of a Hundred Spires” (there are a lot a viewpoints all over the place!), I can truly say Prague has become one of my favourite cities in the world. What’s not to like? Prague is a museum in itself. It’s medieval, charming and full of history around every corner (most of it is a UNESCO World Heritage site). Plus, if you love coffee and/or beer, this is your place to be! And don’t even get me started on the amazing food. Absolutely delicious.
So of course, how could I possibly go to Prague and not include my favourite parts and recommendations for you all? Here are my top tips on things you must do in Prague.
- Explore Prague’s Old Town
- Cross Charles Bridge
- Visit Prague Castle
- Wonder at Prague’s metro stations
- Write your name on the John Lennon Wall
- Go to the top of the Dancing House
- Walk around Josefov
- Find David Černy’s rebellious sculptures
- More things to do in Prague
- Places to eat and drink in Prague
1. Explore Staré Město, Prague’s Old Town
Prague’s Old Town (Staré Město) is the most touristic area of the Czech capital. Think cobbled streets, picturesque alleys and impressive gothic and high baroque architecture. Old Town Square (Staroměstské Náměstí) is home to outstanding monuments and has been Prague’s main public square since the 10th century. It was even a marketplace until the early 20th century, woah! Here’s what not to miss:
Church of Our Lady before Týn (Chrám Matky Boží před Týnem)
The Church of Our Lady before Týn is the most important religious building of Prague’s Old Town. Built in the 14th century on the site of a former romanesque church, it features both a Gothic and a Baroque interior, complete with two 80m high towers topped with four small spires. The Church of Our Lady before Týn was controlled by the Hussites for two centuries. Then, after the recatholicisation, the melted-down Hussite chalice was replaced by a golden sculpture of the Virgin Mary.
Powder Tower (Prašná Brána)
This Gothic tower at the entrance of Prague’s Old City was built in 1475 as one of the thirteen gates giving access to the capital. However, the structure you currently see is not the original, as it was destroyed in a fire in 1541 and rebuilt shortly after. The Powder Tower was, of course, used to store powder in the 17th century and was also the starting point for the Coronation (Royal Route) to the St. Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle!
Prague Astronomical Clock (Orloj)
The Prague Astronomical Clock is located on the southern wall of the Old Town Hall. The mechanical clock and astronomical dial date back to 1410, making it the oldest working astronomical clock in the world and the third oldest overall!
The clock itself consists of three main parts:
- A calendar by Josef Mánes – with the months of the year and zodiac signs)
- The astronomical clock – with the orbits of the sun and the moon
- The wooden statues – the figures of the 12 apostles and Death, Vanity, Greed, Turk, Angel, Astronomer, Philosopher and Chronicler.
Don’t miss the clock parade that takes place every hour between 9am-11pm. For 45 secs, the 12 apostles appear above the clock, while the wooden statues on the sides also set in motion.
Top tip: Looking for the best views of the Old Town Square? Go up the Old Town Hall Tower, which at almost 70 m high will also offer 360 degree views of Prague and the Astronomical Clock! Plus it has a very cool lift that takes you up to the top!
2. Cross Charles Bridge (Karlův Most)
Charles Bridge is the most emblematic sight in Prague and a meeting point for both locals and tourists. Built in 1367 by order of King Charles IV, it’s the second oldest preserved bridge in the Czech Republic. At 515.8 m long and 9.5 m wide, it crosses the Vltava to connect Staré Mesto and Malá Strana (the Lesser Quarter, with the spectacular Prague Castle on top). A tower stands on each side – the Old Town Bridge Tower and the Lesser Town Bridge Towers. One of them is the surviving Judith’s Tower, part of the previous bridge on the site.
Charles Bridge was designed by Petr Parléř (who was also the mastermind behind the St. Vitus Cathedral) and was initially known as Stone Bridge or Prague Bridge, only to be named after the monarch in 1870. An important part of Charles Bridge are, of course, the 30 Baroque statues that stand on both sides. All of these, however, are copies of the original ones which are currently in the National Museum.
The most visited statue? Probably St. John of Nepomuk! Legend says he was a priest and confessor of the Queen of Bohemia. When he refused to reveal the Queen’s confessions to the King Wenceslas IV, he was tortured and thrown from Charles Bridge into the Vltava to drown. Look out for the small golden cross a few metres from the statue, which marks the spot where the priest’s body was thrown from. Touch it and make a wish – some say it will come true within a year and one day!
Top tip: Visit early morning to get some of the best snaps of Charles Bridge, when the crowds of tourists haven’t arrived. Want some great views? Go up the Old Town Bridge Tower, there’ll be much less tourists and you won’t regret it! Plus, there’s an archaeological exhibition at the bottom with findings from an excavation under Charles Bridge.
3. Visit Prague Castle (Pražský Hrad)
Another must when visiting Prague is definitely Prague’s Castle. Up on a hill overseeing Malá Strana and Prague’s Old Town, the walled complex features important historical buildings connected by beautiful alleys. Now an UNESCO World Heritage site and also the main residence of the President of the Czech Republic, it was historically the official headquarters of the Kings of Bohemia. Throughout the years, the castle and grounds have undergone changes and expansions and now include major attractions that you should absolutely not miss. I’d recommend swinging by St. Vitus Cathedral, Golden Lane, the Palace Gardens and watch the Changing of the Guard!
Here’s an extended guide with all the things to see in Prague Castle, including tickets and opening times.
Top tip: Whether you like coffee or not, check out the the views from the Starbucks outside the castle. This is probably one of the best free viewpoints over the city of Prague!
4. Wonder at Prague’s metro stations
The Prague metro network is not only efficient but has unique metro stations that look like public art galleries. They’re absolutely worth checking out, even if you prefer walking like me! The green, yellow and red lines (A, B and C respectively) cover 65.2km and 61 stations all over Prague. The best bit? They’re covered in multi-coloured metallic walls with dimples (similar to the back of Lego pieces) and even have contemporary art pieces!
Top tip: Make sure to stop at Náměstí Míru, which is not only beautiful but also has the longest escalator in Europe!
5. Write your name on the John Lennon Wall
On the morning of 8 of December 1980, John Lennon was fatally shot by Mark David Chapman while returning to his apartment at The Dakota, in New York City. A few hours later, his image and song lyrics were painted on a wall in Malá Strana as a tribute to the singer. Now, the Lennon Wall is fully covered with graffiti and dedicated to John Lennon and The Beatles in general, with other designs including protests to local and global causes (such as climate change, war and the protests in Hong Kong). There are also people playing songs by The Beatles, with a vibe that reminds me of the Cavern Club in Liverpool!
6. Go to the top of the Dancing House (Tančící Dům)
Known as the “Dancing House” or “Fred and Ginger”, the Nationale-Nederlanden building (now ING Bank) is one of the most representative postmodern icons of Prague. Designed by architects Vlado Milunić and Frank Gehry in 1996, it portrays dancers Fred Astaire (concrete) and Ginger Rogers (steel and glass) in a 9-floor deconstructivist style building. The Dancing House was built on the site of a former Baroque building that was destroyed by the US bombing of Prague in 1945.
Top tip: Go to the roof terrace for some good views of the Vltava, glorious food and a drink!
7. Walk around the Jewish Quarter (Josefov)
Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, Josevof used to be the largest Jewish ghetto in Europe. Full of incredible charm and tragic history, this is where the legend of the Golem who would protect the quarter from the attack of the Christians was first created. Important landmarks of the area are:
- The impressive synagogues – such as the Old-New Synagogue (the oldest active synagogue in Europe, dating back to 1270), Maisel Synagogue, Pinkas Synagogue and the Spanish Synagogue (with an impressive Moorish interior).
- The Jewish Museum – one of the oldest in Europe.
- The Old Jewish Cemetery – with more than 12,000 tombstones, with the oldest daring back to 1439.
8. Find David Černy’s rebellious sculptures
David Černy is one of the most controversial Czech sculptors and his art can be found all around his hometown Prague. These include:
- Seven foot tall Sigmund Freud (“Man Hanging Out”) – depicting Sigmund Freud hanging by one hand from a long pole from the top of a building, seemingly trying to decide between life and death.
- Babies on Žižkov TV Tower – the world’s second ugliest building, with creepy babies crawling up the tower!
- Two Peeing Guys – as the name says, a fountain with two bronze sculptures peeing into the Czech Republic.
- St. Wenceslas – inside the atrium of the Lucerna Palace, a representation of St. Wenceslas riding a dead horse upside down. A twist to the iconic statue that dominates St Wenceslas Square, just around the corner (see below).
- Giant Crawling Babies – Big bronze sculptures outside the Museum Kampa on Kampa Island.
9. More things to do in Prague
- Visit Prague’s main post office – located in Jindřišská 909/14, it has one of the most beautiful interiors you’ll ever see in a post office!
- Walk around Wallenstein Garden (Valdštejnská Zahrada) – a peaceful early Baroque garden built for the Duke Albrecht of Wallenstein as part of his residence (the Wallenstein Palace) in Malá Strana. It features a large pond, an Italian grotto with fake stalactites, statues of Greek mythology heroes and even peacocks! Certainly a great place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the streets of Prague.
- Explore Vinohrady – my favourite neighbourhood (and the one we stayed in), full of trendy hotspots, beautiful cafés, markets and loads of parks!
- Just wander around Prague! – this city is beautiful and full of wonders around every corner. Simply go out and start exploring!
10. Places to eat and drink in Prague
- Kuchyn – for traditional Czech food, just opposite Prague Castle and with lovely views over the city. There is no set menu – you choose from the hot pots and pans!
- Restaurace U Pinkasů – a hidden beer garden right next to the Church of Our Lady of the Snows (Kostel Panny Marie Sněžné).
- IF Café Jungmannova – with loads of sweet treats! Make sure you try their amazing Větrník and iconic lemon.
- La Bohème Café – with a chilled atmosphere, great for cake and a cuppa.
- Kavárna Kaaba – because you NEED to have at least one cup of coffee in Prague!
- Bad Jeff’s Barbecue – for all meat lovers, they have the greatest American-style bbq.
- Mezi Srnky – for great brunch with ingredients sourced from local suppliers.
- Farmer’s Market at Jiřák – open from Wednesday to Saturday on Náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad.
- Manifesto Market – fancy another market? This time with an industrial-chic vibe and more than 20 stalls serving trendy cuisine and cocktails.
- Teresa U Prince – go to the roof top of the Hotel U Prince for great drinks and views!
Have you been to Prague before? If so, what’s your favourite thing about the Czech Capital? If you loved our things you must do in Prague post, please leave us a comment, pin some photos and show us some love on social media using the buttons below
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