Things to Do in Prague
Updated: Dec 23, 2020
As the capital of the Czech Republic, Prague is worthy of a visit. The city is great for people who love history because there’s a great deal of it. In addition, the gothic architecture is beautiful and there are many architectural landmarks to see when visiting Prague. A bonus is cheap food and good beer! With that said, here is a list of things to do in Prague!
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1. Walk around the Old Town Square
Prague’s Old Town Square is great to walk around and admire the architecture the city is known for. The square is often very lively, which creates a great atmosphere. Buildings to see in Old Town include St. Nicholas Church, Kinský Palace which is now the National Gallery, and the Gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn, one of the better-known structures that’s hard to miss in Old Town.
2. Astronomical Clock
The Astronomical Clock is the highlight of the Old Town Square for numerous reasons. The clock was placed on the Old Town Hall in 1410, making it over 600 years old! It is the world’s third-oldest astronomical clock. Every hour, there are figures that are set in motion.
These figures include the Vanity, the one with the mirror admiring himself, the miser who is holding a bag of gold, representing greed, the Turk which represents lust, and the skeleton, representing death. The Twelve Apostles are also shown in the doorways above the clock. The mechanics of the whole show are remarkable considering the age of the clock and they’ve done a great job restoring it over the years.
3. Charles Bridge
The construction of Charles Bridge began in 1357 and was finished in 1402, making it the second oldest bridge in the Czech Republic. The bridge is now for pedestrians only and has thirty statues spanning across it. The most famous statue on the bridge is the St. John of Nepomuk, easily spotted because of the five-star halo around his head. The statue marks the spot where he was thrown off the bridge by request of the king. The reason why varies, but one narrative suggests he refused to tell the King of Bohemia the confessions of the king’s wife.
The reason for the five-star halo around his head is because legend says five stars appeared when St. John touched the water. Touching the statue is tradition when walking across the bridge and is said to bring good luck. The bridge can be very busy but is still worth a stroll across and is the best route to the John Lennon Wall if you’re coming from the opposite side of the river.
4. Old Town Bridge Tower
The Old Town Bridge Tower stands at one end of the Charles bridge and is the entrance to Old Town. It is one of the more popular monuments of the city and is a beautiful gothic structure. Construction was completed in 1380 and was used in coronation processions.
5. Seven-Foot-Tall Sigmund Freud
If you’re walking around old town, look out for the seven-foot-tall Sigmund Freud statue hanging from atop one of the buildings. Sigmund Freud was a famous neurologist who had many influential ideas at the start of the twentieth century. It’s a funny addition to old town and can be easily located when looking it up on a map.
6. Boat cruise on the Vltava
Taking a boat cruise on the Vltava River was a fun experience and inexpensive at that. I highly suggest taking one at night because it’s pretty seeing the city all lit up. During the tour, the captain gives off numerous facts about the river, monuments, and the city itself. I recommend Prague Boats 1-hour Devil’s Channel Cruise if you’re looking to do this. It takes you on the Vltava as well as into the Devil’s Channel.
7. Prasna Brana
The tower got its name, the Powder Tower in English because it was once used to store gunpowder. Work on the tower began in 1475 and today, visitors can climb it for views of the Old Town.
8. Dancing House
Completed in 1996, the Dancing House is extremely modern compared to the rest of the city. The house resembles a pair of dancers; therefore, it was given the nickname Fred and Ginger, named after the famous dancing partners, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, from the 1930s. Visitors are allowed to go to the top to see the surrounding view of the city. The design of the house was controversial back when plans to build it were being made but now stands as one of the major landmarks of the city.
9. Walk around Malá Strana
Malá Stana is a great neighborhood to walk around, especially if you’re headed to Prague Castle. In Czech, it means the “Lesser Town”, but despite the name, there are many attractions in the area. Everything listed below is in Malá Stana.
10. Prague Castle
Prague Castle is easily spotted on top of a hillside from many spots in the city. It is the largest ancient castle in the world and the castle complex includes St. George’s Basilica, St. Vitus Cathedral, Golden Lane, and a few others. The earliest constructions began in the 9th century and since then, much renovation has been done, including additions to the castle grounds. In the 12th century, the Old Royal Palace was built and that’s what we see today. One ticket will give you access to all the major complexes on the castle’s grounds.
11.The John Lennon Wall
After John Lennon’s death in 1980, people decided to use this wall as a memorial for him because of his ideals on freedom. An image of Lennon was painted on the wall and people began adding other graffiti to it, although it was illegal under communism. It was painted over multiple times by the police, but people kept coming back to add more. It became a symbol of freedom in the 1980s when the country was under communist rule.
If you’re wanting to see a bunch of peacocks casually roaming about, this park is the place to go. The park is not overrun by tourists, making it a peaceful place to walk around. It was also super cool getting to see the birds. Check out the Wallenstein Palace while you’re in the area.
Prague is known for great beer, and being in eastern Europe, beer gardens are common. Letensky Zamecek is a great option if you’re looking for one. It is a bit of a trek but offers great views of the city. The beer is super cheap, and they have a small selection of food if you’re wanting a snack.
Restaurant and Hostel Recommendations-
Travel & Joy Backpackers- My stay here was really nice! The hostel was super clean, and the style was really cute. If you’re arriving to the city really late, the hostel will leave the keys at the bar next door, so you don’t have to worry about arriving before the workers head home for the night. Make sure to have Czech Koruna when arriving if you only put a deposit down when booking online, as they only accept cash for the rest of the payment.
Las Adelitas- If you’re wanting something other than Czech food, this restaurant has great authentic Mexican food! The employees were super friendly and spoke English. They also have multiple locations around the city, one of which is conveniently located in Old Town. Everything was reasonably priced as well.
*Extras- Make sure to try a Chimney Cake if you visit Prague! The city is known for these sweet doughy desserts. They are hollow and you have the choice of what toppings you want to fill them with. I went with ice cream (shocker)! You can find chimney cakes all over the city!
Wrapping it Up
Prague is a beautiful city to visit! It makes sense that it's such a popular travel destination, as there's so much to do. I will for sure be going back in the future to see even more of what the city has to offer. Plan a trip to Prague, it's worth it!