Ultimate Guide to Visiting Prague

Spread the love:

The Czech Republic wasn’t even on my must-visit countries list, but I am so happy and so grateful that I got to experience its magic, its history, and its culture!

Table of Contents

How Many Days in Prague?

We spent 2 full days in Prague and, yes, it was enough time to see the major sights and attractions but we would have liked at least one more day to explore Prague and even see some other interesting places of interest.

So, to answer the question: I would at least spend 3 days in the capital of the Czech Republic. 

Top Things You Can't Miss In Prague

Charles Bridge (Karlův most)

Charles Bridge

Charles Bridge is a stone Gothic bridge that connects the center of Prague’s Old Town with Lesser Town or Malá Strana in Czech. The construction of the bridge was started in the year 1357, commissioned by the King Charles IV, also Holy Roman Emperor (personal ruler of all the kingdoms of the Holy Roman Empire). 

FUN FACT: It is said that egg yolks were mixed into the mortar to strengthen the construction of the bridge 😮

Charles Bridge is not only an architectural masterpiece, but also a work of art. It has 30 baroque statues that complete the overall look and add more character and majesty to it. These statues appeared in the year 1683 but nowadays the ones you see in the bridge are replicas. 

There is one specific statue that caught my attention and has a very interesting story (regardless of how truly authentic the story is): St. John of Nepomuk

St. John of Nepomuk is a martyr andthe saint of Bohemia (Czech Republic) who was drowned in the Vltava river at the behest of Wenceslaus, King of the Romans and King of Bohemia. Later accounts state that he was the confessor of the queen of Bohemia and refused to divulge the secrets of the confessional. On the basis of this account, John of Nepomuk is considered the first martyr of the Seal of the Confessional, a patron against calumnies and, because of the manner of his death, a protector from floods and drowning. 

In his monument you will also find a cross with 5 stars and legend has it that if you place one finger on each star, make one wish for every finger, and then step on the little golden button that’s on the floor, one of those wishes will come true. Believe or not, do it! Who knows… 😉

Prague Castle (Pražský hrad)

Prague Castle

According to the Guinness Book of Records, Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world,[1][2] occupying an area of almost 750,000 square ft, at about 1,870 ft in length and an average of about 430 ft wide. 

Random but interesting historical facts about the castle:

– The castle was built in the 9th century, in around 880 by Prince Bořivoj of the Premyslid Dynasty (Přemyslovci). and is now the official office of the President of the Czech Republic. 

– A large fire in 1541 destroyed large parts of the castle and it reconstruction of the Castle culminated during the reign of Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II who became Czech king in 1575 and moved his court back to Prague (had preciously been moved to Vienna).

– On March 15, 1939, shortly after the Nazi Germany forced Czech President Emil Hacha (who suffered a heart attack during the negotiations) to hand his nation over to the Germans, Adolf Hitler spent a night in the Prague Castle, “proudly surveying his new possession”.

While you’re in the castle you should also visit St. Vitus Cathedral (see next) and The Golden Lane which originated after the construction of a new northern wall of the Castle. The area of the northern bailey was used for the building of modest dwellings that were inhabited by defenders of the Castle, servants or for example goldsmiths and the Castle marksmen. The tiny houses were occupied until World War II, but already during the period of the First Republic, care was taken to ensure that the picturesque character of the Lane was not changed in the course of modifications. From 1916 to 1917 house No. 22 was inhabited by the writer Franz Kafka. The name of the Lane is derived from goldsmiths who used to live there.

Sadly, we couldn’t make into the prettiest street in Prague but these pictures are from the Prague Castle website:

Prices (most common):

Circuit A
St. Vitus Cathedral, Old Royal Palace, exhibition “The Story of Prague Castle”, St. George’s Basilica, Golden Lane with Daliborka Tower, Rosenberg Palace
Price: 350 CZK (13.91 EUR)

Circuit B
St. Vitus Cathedral, Old Royal Palace, St. George’s Basilica, Golden Lane with Daliborka Tower
Price: 250 CZK (9.94 EUR)

Circuit C
Exhibition “The Treasure of St. Vitus Cathedral”, Prague Castle Picture Gallery
Price: 350 CZK (13.91 EUR)

Great South Tower with a View Gallery
Price: 200 CZK (7.95 EUR)

Powder Tower (temporarily closed until cca 08/2019 due to reconstruction)
Price: 70 CZK (2.78 EUR)

St. Vitus Cathedral (Katedrála sv. Víta)

St. Vitus Cathedral

St. Vitus Cathedral is a prominent example of Gothic architecture and the largest and most important church in Czech Republic. The cathedral began to be built in the year 1344 and it took almost six centuries to complete, with the final phase of construction in the period 1873-1929. 

It is located within the Prague Castle (Pražský hrad), which is the official office of the President of the Czech Republic, and hides a few secrets, some are obvious and some not so much…

One them is the the south tower (in the picture). If you pay close attention, you will notice a clear line at the top of the tower that changes styles from Gothic to Renaissance, and then the spire is Baroque. How crazy is this?!

This tower holds the largest bell in the Czech Republic, called Zikmund, which dates from the 16th century. You can climb the Great South Tower, see the bell partway up, and enjoy spectacular views over the city from the top. The tower has 287 narrow, winding steps, and is more than 295 feet high.

Entrance to the Great South Tower not included in the Prague Castle ticket. Price: 200 CZK (7.95 EUR)  

The Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí)

Old Town Square

Old Town Square is the central square of the historic part of Prague. Here you can find some of the most important buildings of the city: Church of Our Lady before Týn (see next), the Old Town Hall, The House at the Minute, and the Astronomical Clock. 

The latter, also known as The Orloj, was established in 1338 and is perhaps the most well-known astronomical clock in the world, with four moving automatons (including a skeleton ringing his death knell for each hour), and rotating statues of the 12 apostles. It displays Babylonian time, Old Bohemian time, German time, and Sidereal time. It also shows the moon’s phases and the sun’s journey through the constellations of the zodiac. The calendar dial, just below the clock, shows the day of the month, the day of the week, feast days and allegorical pictures of the current month and sign of the zodiac. Be sure to catch it at every full hour but watch your belongings since a lot of people get crammed together to watch the “show”.

On the other hand, the Old Town Hall itself is a little different from most town halls, in that it is not a single structure but rather a complex of connected medieval buildings. The tower of the Old Town Hall was completed in 1364, and at that time it was the tallest structure in the city. The tower is open to the public and its observation deck offers amazing views of Old Town Square.
Price: 250 CZK (9.94 EUR)

The House at the Minute

The House at the Minute (Dům U Minuty) with its beautiful graffito facade is located next the Old Town Hall complex. The famous writer Franz Kafka lived in this house with his family at the end of the 19th century. Its address is Staroměstské náměstí 2. 

And just like this beautiful building, there many more in the Old Town Square, so spend some time here and discover the marvelous architectural pieces located in the heart of the city.

Also, the square’s center is home to a statue of religious reformer Jan Hus, who was burned at the stake for his beliefs in Constance. This led to the Hussite Wars. The statue known as the Jan Hus Memorial was erected on 6 July 1915 to mark the 500th anniversary of his death.

Church of Our Lady before Týn (Kostel Matky Boží před Týnem)

Lady before Tyn

By far, my favorite building in Prague! The Church of Our Lady before Týn was founded in 1385 as the main Old Town church. It was built in Gothic style but it has a Baroque interior and it can be seen from all over Prague. 

The towers are around 262 ft high. But stand in the Old Town Square, and you will notice that they are not symmetrical. One, named Adam, is larger than the other, named Eve. This representation of the masculine and feminine sides of the world is characteristic of Gothic architecture of the period.

Legend has it that the Tyn Church towers gave Walt Disney the inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty Castle. True or not, you cannot deny the beauty and majesty of this cathedral. 

Powder Tower  (Královský dvůr)

Powder Tower

Built in 1475, gets its name because in the 18th century, the Prague’s army realized that if they stored and kept the gunpowder in the top of the tower it would take longer for it to moisten. 

The tower was entrance to the city, bringing into the town one of the main roads coming from Eastern Bohemia, namely from Kutná Hora. This was also the place where the coronation processions of Bohemian kings would enter the town, thus marking the start of the Coronation or Royal Path to Prague Castle.

The Powder Tower is approximately 213 ft high and has an observation gallery that is 144 ft above ground. 

Definitely a must visit!

Price: 90 CZK (3.58 EUR)

Wenceslas Square (Václavské náměstí)

Wenceslas Square

The Wenceslas Square was set up as part of the project of the New Town of Prague (“Nové město pražské”), decreed by the celebrated King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV himself in 1348. It was intended to be one of the main marketplaces of Prague. The original name, “Horse Market” (due to regular horse markets taking place there in the Middle Ages), was changed to Saint Wenceslas square in 1848.

During the German occupation of Czechoslovakia within the World War II, the Nazis used Wenceslas Square for mass demonstrations and propaganda. This was not only historical and turbulent event that the Square witnessed. In 1968, the Warsaw  occupation started and Soviet military armed vehicles drived onto Wenceslas Square. The tanks shot at the building of the National Museum, thinking it was the Czech Radio building, and the historical building was severely damaged. Lastly,  in 1989, Wenceslas Square was the venue of many public speeches against the Communist regime and, as the result of the “Velvet revolution”, Communism was finally toppled in Czechoslovakia.

Nowadays, Wenceslas Square is Prague’s cultural and business center and definitely an obligated visit.

The Jewish Quarter (Josefov)

Jewish Quarter

Josefov used to be the largest Jewish ghetto in Europe, and its Old Jewish Cemetery is the most remarkable of its kind on the continent. The Jewish quarter of Prague, since 1992 listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, is definitely one of the most significant ones not only as a reminder of a tragic part of the world’s history but also for its undeniable beauty and charm.

Historically, the quarter was mentioned as “Jewish” for the first time in 1096, and was founded after other Jewish settlements were destroyed during a pogrom. Since 1215, when the Fourth Council of the Lateran ordered segregation of the Jews from the Christian population, the quarter took on the character of a ghetto. In 1389 there was yet another pogrom, during which a great part of the ghetto’s inhabitants were killed, and several more took place in the 15th and 16th century when the Jews were repeatedly banished from the country.

Jewish Cemetery

During World War II, the Jews were first obliged to wear the yellow Star of David visibly on their clothes and then deported to the concentration camps, where the tragic and monstrous Holocaust took place. The deserted Jewish Quarter became a storage space for their confiscated property. Since a lot of property stayed in the hands of the Jewish Quarter after the war (because the original owners were murdered in the concentration camps), the Jewish museum became the second biggest in the world.

The number of Jewish Quarter residents started to drop again since the half of the last century due to business use of the quarter and foreign travel expansion. This trend became even more significant after the Velvet revolution and by the end of 2013 there were only around 1400 residents.

Lesser Town (Malá Strana)

Across the Vltava river from Staré Město (Old Town) is the beautiful district of Malá Strana. Mala Strana means “Lesser Town” but there is nothing lesser about this fabulous part of Prague.

The winding side streets of cobblestone in Mala Strana are lined with romantic Baroque and Renaissance architecture. Charming pastel buildings, ornate palaces and gardens showcase the wealthy history of this district, while the old-world pubs, traditional restaurants, and upscale hotels make it a prime location for tourists.

You will easily find it… You only have to cross the Charles Bridge towards the Prague Castle and you better get lost in there! 

The Man Hanging Out

The Man Hanging Out (Zavěšený muž)

This is very unconventional sight but I think that’s what makes it so interesting. 

“The Man Hanging Out,” was created in 1996 by Czech sculptor David Černý and it serves to question the role of intellectualism in the 20th century. The statue depicts the neurologist Sigmund Freud hanging from one hand and pondering whether to tighten his grip or release it. 

The statue is so realistic that several people have already called for police to report danger 🤣.

Dancing House (Tančící dům)

The Dancing House is a modern building, pillar of modern architecture, designed in 1996 by the american architect frank O. Gehry.

The project comes from the drawing board of world-renowned architects Vlado Milunić and Frank O. Gehry. Its concept was inspired by the dance skills of the famous film couple – the stone tower symbolizes Fred Astaire and the glass tower, his partner Ginger Rogers. A gallery and a restaurant with a terrace offering a 360° view of Prague can be visited in the Dancing House.

Lennon Wall

Lennon Wall

Located in a secluded square in Malá Strana near the French embassy, the Lennon Wall has long been a symbol of freedom, born in the communist years that later became a significant Prague landmark, connected with the dissident years and the Velvet Revolution. 

You might think that it is overrated but I do find it to be very beautiful!

Top Activities

Bar U Pivrnce

Beer Tour

If you visited Prague and you didn’t do a beer tour, then were you really in Prague?!

We chose the company Sandeman’s and they did not dissapoint. In their tour we got to experience, taste, and learn about the history of beer, we got to try pretty weird but good beer (red and green beer!), and we got to meet incredible people!

The 3 bars that we visited were:
    – U Pivrnce
    – Zlatá lyra
    – Konvikt bar

Na zdraví!

Museum of Alchemists and Magicians of Old Prague (Muzeum alchymistů a mágů staré Prahy)

The museum can be found near Prague Castle, in the House at the Donkey in the Cradle, where alchemist Edward Kelley lived. The exposition reveals the veil of mystery, which has for several centuries covered the world of Rudolph II, as well as other alchemists, the world of Dr. Faust, the magician Žit and others. In the basement you’ll find a laboratory there is an interactive exposition of alchemical cauldrons.

Find the crazy street art scattered throughout the city

Walking through the street of Prague is so interesting and enjoyable but add dozens of sculptures on your way, and the stroll becomes even better. Try finding as many of them as you can!!

Take a Cruise on the Vltava

Seeing Prague from the river Vltava is a unique experience and offers a way to see the many historical buildings and monuments from a different perspective. Cruises within the city are competitively priced and often include lunch or dinner depending on the time of day you choose to embark. Choosing a cruise with a duration of two hours or more, will ensure that you are aboard long enough to escape the hustle and bustle of Prague city center and allow you to enjoy the serenity of some of the quieter riverbanks on the Vltava river.

Watch the Changing of the Guard

20191005_1134522

Arrive at the castle before midday to ensure a good view and watch the ceremonial changing of the guard including a fanfare and flag ceremony. I literally had to run behind the guards to get there on time… but I made it!!!!

Attend a Black Light Theater show

Black light theater or simply black theater, is a theatrical performance style characterized by the use of black box theater augmented by black light illusion. It has become a specialty of Prague, where many theaters use it. So try to include it on your trip.

Climb 299 Steps to Petrin Hill

Petrin is a hill on the left bank of the Vltava River and it offers one of the best views of the city! You can either walk your way up or you can ride the funicular railway from the Lesser Town all the way to the top of Petrin Hill. At the summit, you will find a miniature version of the Eiffel Tower, landscaped gardens and the unusual Church of St Michael, a wooden building relocated from Ukraine. Absolutely worth it!

Best Places To Eat

Terrace U Prince

This restaurant does not have the best food neither is it authentic Czech but it does have THE best view of the Old Town Square and the Church of Our Lady before Týn. And I think that makes it worth visiting.

U Tří jelínků

Yummy yummy Czech food!  U Tří jelínků is such a cute, cozy restaurant and the food is really good! In the picture you can see a Czech authentic dish: Beef Goulash. Totally recommend it!

Where To Stay

Hotel Kampa

This hotel is the coziest little hotel in the Old Town in Prague, near Kampa Park and Čertovka (Little Prague Venice). It has a unique atmosphere in the setting of a nationally protected historic building from the 17th century. 

Since this is the only hotel we stayed at, is the only one that I will (highly) recommend.

Spread the love:

One Comment

  1. Unknown

    Awesome post! Keep up the great work! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

en_USEnglish