Divided in two parts by the mighty Vltava River, the capital city of the Czech Republic attracts hordes of tourists each year and after reading this article, you will know why. A city famous for its spires, statues, bridge, architecture, food and rich history, Prague has taken a permanent spot on each person’s travel bucket list. Here are 30 things you can do while you’re in Prague:
Admire the Gothic Buildings of the Old Town Square
The old town square of Prague is by far the most visited area of the city owing to its Gothic architecture and romantic lanes lined with restaurants, shops, monuments and art galleries. Here, you can visit the powder tower which was built in the 15th century and was used to store gunpowder. The astronomical clock and church of Our Lady Tyn is decorated in regal gold and houses the oldest organ in the city. You can go shopping at Havel market which is known for its leather products, baked goods and wooden toys as well as the wonderful Christmas market in the month of December.
Visit a Synagogue at the Old Jewish Ghetto
This is the Jewish quarter of the city and is also known as the Josefov. The area has gone through tremendous changes beginning from the 10th century up till the unimaginable horrors of the Second World War where the Nazi’s wanted to exterminate the Jews of the area. Today, the Josefov has the Klausen synagogue which is the largest in the city, the old-new synagogue known for its Gothic architecture and the Spanish synagogue that has a distinct and beautiful building. The area is acknowledged for its overall charm and vibrant houses.
Live Your Fairytale Dreams at the Prague Castle
Built in the 9th century, the Prague castle is considered to be the largest ancient castle in the world and is known for having a rich history such as the time Adolf Hitler stayed at the castle after successfully occupying the city. It is the official office site of the President of Prague and within its vicinity; you will find the St. Vitus Cathedral and All Saints Church as well as the old royal palace and the Lobkowicz Palace. You can also have a stroll around the breathtaking royal Gardens and the Orangery.
Stroll Around the Golden Lane
Dating back to the 15th century, the golden lane is situated inside the enormous complex of the Prague Castle and contains 11 houses which also serve as a type of open-air museum showcasing the lives of artisans and workers who had been employed under emperors. Here, as a visitor you can practice the skills of archery and shooting a crossbow as well as survey the various medieval armories, textiles and other artifacts displayed inside the historic houses. The old-world charm of the place makes you feel as though you’re inside a movie set.
Pray to Bohemian Saints at the St. Vitus Cathedral
The St. Vitus Cathedral is situated within the Prague Castle complex and is considered as the most stunning of all the other Cathedrals in the city. When you enter the third courtyard, you will be welcomed by a breathtaking Gothic façade and inside will be stunned by the stained glass windows. Within the cathedral, you can view the 14th century mosaic of the last judgment and the gorgeous tombs of St. Wenceslas, Charles IV and St. John of Nepomuk. The other visually appealing areas are the south window, the royal mausoleum and the reliefs of Bohemian saints.
Travel Back to the Communist Era at KGB Museum
The KGB museum is a product of one man’s personal collection and obsession with the much feared agency for domestic security and surveillance in the erstwhile Soviet Union. The museum contains KGB uniforms, memorabilia, weaponry, phones, typewriters, badges, patches, a Vladimir Lenin death mask and other eccentric artifacts. The museum isn’t big in size but will fascinate and enthrall you with its unique collection and its owner who engages in heated discussions with visitors.
Learn About History at the Communism Museum
The museum of communism will help you take a deep dive into the convoluted history of the Czech people who lived through the hardened communist era in the former Soviet Union up until its disintegration in 1991. The museum shows both sides of the coin, the positive and the negative aspects of living in USSR and contains propaganda art, films, photographs, documents, military objects and statues as well as the discovery of steel and iron by the Soviets.
Cruise Along the Vltava River
The Vltava River is the most significant water body of the Czech Republic and especially, the city of Prague and gives the place an increased quaintness and ethereality. You can choose from a number of cruise tours such as the Prague Venice canal tour which takes you around an underground canal and the myriad’s cruise that is a two-hour cruise with a lunch buffet included in the price. If you want something fancier, you can try the Jazzboat which takes place during the late evening and provides food along with live music. The views of the river from the riverside are striking especially during sunset and sunrise.
View the City From the Petrin Hill
The Petrin hill has refreshing lush green Gardens atop a hill which provides for lovely views of the surrounding areas. You can use the strength in your legs to climb 299 steps and reach the top of the Petrin lookout tower from where you can see almost the entire city. The Gardens are perfect for taking a stroll either alone or with your partner and you can also enjoy a picnic in the sun with your loved ones. There is also the Czech ethnographic museum located at the hill and a mirror maze which is an adventure sport for people of all ages.
Do Some Shopping at Mala Strana
Mata Strana is an alluring neighborhood of Prague also known as the little quarter and contains many restaurants, cafes and historical buildings. Here, you can start by visiting the stunning Church of St. Nicholas that has a marvelous dome and bell tower and later, you can take a peaceful stroll along the banks of the Vltava River at Kampa Park. Finally, the main shopping location of the little quarter is the Mostecka Street that houses multiple local businesses and shops selling clothes, textiles, crystal glasses and a slew of others. You can end the night by having a drink at the blue light bar, a pub known for its live music.
Visit Letna Park
Letna is an expansive hill above the Vltava River overlooking the historical city of Prague. Though, the hill is best known for its lush green Park that has a famous viewpoint for looking out at the beautiful views of the city and especially to watch the sunset in the evenings. There is a Stalin Bar in the park that has a cool hipster vibe to it and serves a variety of different beers. At any given time, you can witness people skating, jogging, cycling or running around the park. You can also visit a small exhibition showcasing the journey of a coffee bean in the coffee museum situated at Letna.
Read a Book at the Strahov Monastery
The Strahov monastery dates back to the 12th century and is known for being the second oldest monastery of Prague as well as containing a church but its most notable feature is the majestic library. The Baroque Theological Hall of the library contains 18,000 religious texts and the grand Philosophical hall contains a total of 42,000 texts. The library’s architecture is regal and has wooden carved wall decorations and even, a hall of curiosities which houses a 18th century electrostatic device, a dodo bird, old ocean specimens and anthropological artefacts.
Peace and Protest on the Lennon Wall
The Lennon wall stands opposite the more sophisticated French embassy and as the name suggests, the wall is dedicated to former member of the band Beatles and a popular culture icon, John Lennon. The graffiti and other art work started emerging on this secluded wall during the communist era when most western music was banned in Czech and after John Lennon’s death, this wall became a symbol of political protest and resistance to authority. You will be able to see a lot of Beatles lyrics as well as lyrics from Lennon’s songs and quotes of peace and harmony. The wall has become a popular tourist spot in the last few years.
Learn About a Legend at the Franz Kafka Museum
Franz Kafka, a well-known icon of 20th century literature was born near the Old town square in Prague and created works which mediated between fantasy and realism. Inspired by his body of work, a museum near the Charles Bridge is dedicated to his life but this museum takes inspiration from its muse’s life and is nowhere near traditional. The museum has two parts to it, one is called the existential space and the other is known as imaginary topography and both include various artefacts owned by Kafka as well as the buildings and places that appeared often in his stories. You can also see photographs, journal entries and 3D installations.
Gorgeous Views From the Charles Bridge
At any given time of the week, the Charles Bridge is overrun by pedestrians and tourists snapping photos zealously of the views of the city and the Vltava River from the bridge. The bridge is best known for its baroque statues that can be seen at every corner and have been standing for many decades and some have even been weathered over the years. The most important statue is of St. John of Nepomuk which was the first statue to be built on the bridge and legend says that touching it can bring good luck. The Judith and old town bridge towers are located at either ends of the bridge and were built in the 14th century.
Boulevard of Dreams at the Wenceslas Square
The Wenceslas square is a boulevard located in the new town square of the city and is known for being a significant cultural and business centre of the city. The square contains many outlets for shopping but the most popular one is called Dum Mody which is five-floor complex selling clothing for men and women. The nightlife of the area is well-known because of its numerous pubs, clubs and restaurants which are frequented by locals and tourists. The neo-renaissance building of the national museum stands tall as a part of the boulevard.
Survey Medieval Walls at the Wallenstein Garden
The Wallenstein garden was the brainchild of Count Wallenstein who built this garden in the medieval manner by walling it off from the rest of the city as well as showcasing influences of early Baroque and Italian Renaissance. The lush green gardens are cooled off by the pools and water bodies present around it and is made even more regal by the statues lining up the cobbled pathway. The statues of Hercules and Drottningholm represent the power and magnificence of the time gone by and other bronze statues built by artist Adrian De Vries adds to the overall beauty of the Garden.
Feel Regal at the Karlstejn Castle
A 45 minute train ride from Prague will take you to the glorious Karlstejn castle surrounded by lush greenery and pleasant weather. The castle was built by Charles IV in the 14th century and was initially built as a treasury for storing the crown jewels of the Holy Roman Empire. A guided tour of the castle will take you around the hall of Knights, imperial palace, church of St. Nicholas, the audience hall and the royal bedroom. You can also visit the town where the castle is located and visit the various shops, restaurants, souvenir shops and cafes.
Knock on Wood at the Saint Michael’s Church
Situated inside the delightful Kinsky Garden and built in the 18th century at a village named Ruthenia after which it was moved around to and fro several places before finding its permanent home in Prague. Barely standing at a height of 45 feet, the Orthodox Church has a dark wooden exterior and the insides are made vibrant by the red, green and white colours. The Church is unique in its appearance and is known for its distinctive style and exceptional beauty.
Dine Like a Royal at the Municipal House
The municipal house is the former residence of the king from the 14th to the 15th century and was later converted into a public recreational building containing a popular concert venue, several restaurants and breathtaking halls. You can take a guided tour of the art nouveau building which will take you to the Smetana hall, Moravian Slovak parlour, Oriental parlour, Gregr hall, mayor’s hall and the Sladkovsky hall, among a few others. You can eat at the cafe while admiring the ‘homage to Prague’ mosaic and paintings by Alphonse Mucha.
Visit the National Gallery of Prague
The National Gallery is one of the top art museums of the country owing to its rich collection of art from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. The collection includes works by Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Schiele, Klimt and many other notable artists. The gallery is divided into six permanent collections such as the Kinsky Palace, Convent of St. Agnes, Sternberg Palace, Schwarzenberg Palace, Salm Palace and the trade fair Palace which is famous for housing Alfons Mucha’s Slav epic. The visit to the vast gallery will take you a couple of hours to complete.
Too Many Options at the Beer Geek
The beer geek has recently become the most sought-after multi tap bar for serving beer from a number of countries such as Belgium, Holland, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Italy, Slovakia, Poland, Spain and of course, the Czech republic. The beer geek showcases an extensive variety of craft beers all made from hand and engineered to give the smoothest taste as well as 32 taps for the customers to choose from. The beer geek does not contain any ordinary beers found in the supermarket and instead relies on standout and one-of-a-kind flavours.
The Past is Preserved at the Prague Jewish Museum
The Prague Jewish museum is dedicated to the heritage and history of the Jews of the Czech Republic and was founded in the year 1906 and became one of the most visited museums of the city. The museum contains a number of synagogues such as the Maisel, Pinkas, Spanish and Klausen. After the atrocities of the Second World War, almost 80,000 Czech Jews had been killed and the museum honours their lives and preserves a painful history. You can also visit the ceremonial hall of the Prague Jewish burial society and the Robert Guttmann Gallery.
Watch Time Pass You by at the Astronomical Clock
Situated in the Gothic area of the old town of Prague the enormous astronomical clock was built in the year 1380 by Mikulas who cursed the clock after being blinded by the authority so that this clock would remain a standalone masterpiece and couldn’t be replicated. The clock contains rotating statues and two skeletons ringing the death knell for each hour as well as displaying sun’s journey through the constellations of the zodiac. The true marvel is when you go upstairs into the interior of the clock and watch in awe of its technological prowess.
Pay Your Respects at the Museum of the Infant Jesus of Prague
A 17th century building of the Church of our Lady Victorious is located in the lesser town area of the city and isn’t famous for the Church but a permanent exhibition of the infant Jesus. The statue of the infant Jesus is 19 inches tall with two rotating crowns and 40 different dresses adorned throughout the year. The statue came to the Church in the 17th century and has since become an important religious symbol for the Catholics who visit Prague. The Carmelite Sisters have the imperative responsibility of dressing up the infant Jesus according to the changing seasons.
Climb a Hill at the Vysehrad Citadel
The citadel is located on the Vysehrad hill and is built in the 18th century and is situated on the right bank of the Vltava River giving it a serene surrounding. The Vysehrad Citadel has become an important religious symbol of the Czech people and during its vast history it was once used as a royal residence, a military fortress and currently as a religious centre. It has become a popular tourist spot because of the views it gives of the city and the river from the hilltop.
Eat Local Food at Naplavka Farmers Market
The vibrant city of Prague has a number of farmers market but one of the best ones located on the riverside is the Naplavka farmers market. The market has a number of stalls lining the streets selling organically and locally produced fruits, vegetables, freshly baked bread, wild honey, mushrooms, herbs, flowers, Czech cider, coffee and homemade cakes as well as pastries. You can also buy arts and crafts created by local artists or buy yourself hot food from one of the shops and seat yourself at an outdoor table while listening to live music playing in the background.
Drown in Knowledge at the Idiom Installation
The idiom installation is located inside the Prague municipal library since the year 1998 and has been a paradise for bibliophiles and bookworms from around the world. This is a sculpture of in numerous books that seems to go on forever. A small tear in the installation allows visitors and social media fiends to take a look inside the infinite tower of books and live their dream as well as click a fascinating photo of the artefact. When someone said you should drown in a book, this is what they meant.
Feel Trippy at the Magical Cavern
The magical cavern is the work of a unique eccentric named Rion Argondian who is a painter and sculptor. He has transformed his personal home into an art gallery with realistic looking hand-painted facades from which roots and other wild items seem to be jutting out as well as use of colour to make the rooms resemble the appearance of a real cave. This is also his gallery showcasing his paintings and sculptures which are trippy and quirky.
Writer Franz Kafka, tennis player Martina Navratilova, politician Madeline Albright and football player Tomas Rosicky are some of the gems from the virtuous city of Prague. The city is alluring with its Gothic, renaissance and baroque architecture as well as exceptional museums and inimitable streets. This city is sure to keep you coming back for more.