Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic (Czechia), is an incredibly gorgeous city standing on the banks of the Vltava River. There are many amazing Prague things to do and see, as neither conflicts nor natural disasters have ever ruined this location and the architectural beauty has been perfectly preserved over time. The city is also known as the City of a Hundred Spires because of the many churches that adorn the city streets.
Prague also retains many magnificent buildings dating back to the Baroque period: a sight missing in much of the rest of Europe after the destruction of two World Wars. The town center is a pleasure to walk around. Most of it dates back to the 14th century when Charles IV began the university and founded the New Town area of the city.
Most of the street layout is medieval. And it’ll come as a surprise (hopefully a nice one) to anyone used to living in a grid pattern, like in North American cities for example.
Prague became the capital in 1918 with the formation of Czechoslovakia. It remained under Soviet control until 1989, when the Velvet Revolution gently broke the grip of the failed Soviet Union.
Nowadays the city has a vibrant nightlife with bars and parties, and stores where the newly affluent and excited window shoppers can have fun for hours to come. The boulevards have a bit of everything, from typical Czech souvenirs to the new hi-tech contemporary electrical gadgetry. For me, it’s one of the most charming travel destinations in the world!
Top 12 Prague things to do & see
1. Cross the Vltava River on Charles Bridge
Charles Bridge (Karlův most) was raised in the 14th century, at a time when people believed in numerology, so its builders began their work at 5:31 in the morning on 9 July 1352.
The main thoroughfare between the Old Town and Mala Strana, Charles Bridge is animated day and night. It is a vital part of this thriving city. Filled with souvenir stands and talented artists and musicians, this bridge is at the top of our list of things to do in Prague!
2. Visit St. Nicholas Church
When the building was finished in 1756, Prague had one of the finest baroque churches in Europe. With its pure white façade, this magnificent building is an impressive addition to the Old Town Square.
St. Nicholas Church has a spectacular interior with breathtaking frescoes. It also has a massive portrait of St. Nicholas in the nave and a stunning bell tower.
It’ss no surprise that classical concerts are performed throughout the week in this glorious atmosphere. And even Mozart had a recital here!
3. Explore Prague Castle
It’s surrounded by palaces and includes an army museum.
Former residence of the Princes and Kings of Bohemia and now the President’s office, the Prague Castle is an inner part of Prague’s history and a great place to visit. On your visit, you’ll discover the Crown Jewels and the St Vitus Cathedral. Any literature enthusiast should also visit the Golden Lane on the grounds of the castle. It’s where Franz Kafka once lived!
Another interesting thing to see is the changing of the guard that takes place every hour. Likes in some other European countries, it’s quite a sight so bring a camera!
4. Go to the Old Town Square
Built before the 12th century, the Old Town Square is one of the most popular Prague attractions, with sights such as the Astronomical clock, and it still acts as a popular meeting spot.
The Prague Astronomical Clock is on the side of the Old Town Hall. This magnificent work of art dating back to the 15th century is easy to spot, as the crowd gathers in front of it hour after hour for the procession of the Twelve Apostles, during which a small trap door opens and a Christ doll leads the way ahead of his doll disciples.
The Jan Hus Monument, built in 1915 to commemorate the passing of 500 years from his death by burning for his religious convictions, stands in the middle of the square.
The Old Town Square is surrounded by many interesting buildings, most of them from the Baroque era. In the evening, the buildings are beautifully lit and there are lots of cafés where you can sit and watch the world go by.
This historic square is also the location of Prague’s annual Christmas Market.
5. Wander through Petřín Gardens
The Petřín Gardens are one of Prague’s hidden gems. They feature a rose garden, a labyrinth, and a gateway to a well-cultivated garden. However, the real attraction is at the top of the hill. You can go on a short cable car ride to the Petřín Lookout Tower.
Raised in 1891 for the Jubilee Exhibition, the Petřín Lookout Tower is a smaller version of the Eiffel Tower. It stands at a height of 60 meters with 299 steps leading to the top platform. It’s an excellent point of view, so make an effort and get to the top of the Petrin View Tower for breathtaking views of Prague.
Another great place to see the city from up high is by the Prague Metronome.
6. Pass by the Powder Tower
This Gothic entry to the Old Town dates back to the 1475 Powder House. Once a gunpowder depot (hence the name), the Powder Tower is currently a museum displaying the life of medieval Prague, the history of the city, and the history of the tower itself.
7. Discover the Josefov Prague Ghetto
The Jewish quarter of Prague is home to some of the most vibrant and historic buildings in the region, such as the lively Jubilee Synagogue and the Gothic Old-New Synagogue dating back to the 13th century.
The Josefov Prague Ghetto is also the location of the Old Jewish Cemetery, where Franz Kafka is buried.
8. Visit the Vyšehrad Castle
Over a thousand years old and once the residence of the Czech nobles, the Vyšehrad Castle has a remarkable pedigree. Take a stroll to the top of the ramparts and enjoy a great view of the city and the Vltava river. You’ll also get to see a beautiful Gothic cathedral, a museum, and a cemetery where the composer Dvorzac, the creator of the New World Symphony, is buried. You must add it to your itinerary!
9. Go shopping in Wenceslas Square
Once Prague’s main horse market, Wenceslas Square is now the main shopping area and the unofficial Prague parade ground for national festivities or protests.
The square is presided over by a statue of St Wenceslas astride his saddle. He is Prague’s national symbol and the popular Good King Wenceslas in a Christmas carol.
10. Visit The National Technical Museum
Although unimaginatively (though precisely) named, the National Technical Museum has a fascinating collection of all technical objects. From the railway carriage belonging to Archduke Ferdinand (whose assassination led to the outbreak of the First World War) to the working reconstruction of the coal mine.
11. See the Estates Theater
Officially opened in 1783, this magnificent theater exudes elegance and beauty, both inside and outside. Previously privately owned, the theater was named after the Czech Estates in 1798.
The Estates Theater is known as the setting of the premiere of Mozart’s Don Giovanni.
12. Go to the Kampa Museum
The Kampa Museum of Prague holds an art gallery of the Meda and Jan Mldek dealers. The museum is inside Sova’s Mill in the center of the city and it exhibits Central European Modern Art, including sculptures by Otto Gutfreund and paintings by Frantisek Kupka.
This brings us to the end of our list of Prague things to do & see. Time to relax and have a Czech beer!
Do you have some other suggestions? Contact me to share your things to do in Prague!
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