Prague has quickly become a tourist mecca in recent years and rightfully so. It’s a picturesque European city complete with narrow walkways, ornate bridges and castles perched on hilltops. It has so much to offer all sorts of tourists so let’s get right down to it!
Old Town Square, Astronomical Clock and Charles Bridge
This is an obvious must as it’s the centerpiece of the city. Despite Prague’s lively history of invasions, the Old Town Square has remained relatively untouched since the 10th Century. Swarms of tourists crowd the historical streets, especially in the summer months, packing out the alfresco restaurants and shops every day. The square itself is the perfect place to admire the wonderful architecture Prague has to offer and if that isn’t your thing then the various street performers, musicians and merchants that line the streets here will certainly keep you entertained.
Be sure to also to time your visit to the Old Town Hall so that you can watch the spectacle of the mechanical clock marking the turn of an hour. The clock itself is on the south face of the town hall and is the pride of Prague. It was built in the fifteenth century and despite being damaged and repaired during its lifetime, it is widely regarded as the best preserved medieval mechanical clock in the world. The show at the top of the hour never fails to disappoint the many onlookers.
As you make your way out of the maze that is Old Town to catch a glimpse of Prague Castle, you’ll be at the entrance of the famous Charles Bridge. A simple walk across the 14th Century bridge is one of the most enjoyable and memorable experiences of visiting Prague. The bridge was commissioned in 1357 by Charles IV to replace an older bridge that had been washed away by floods. Although completed in 1390, with the striking statues added in the 17th century, the bridge did not take Charles’ name until the 19th century.
History and Ghost Walks
Anyone who knows me knows that I love for ghost tours and speakeasies when I travel and Prague does not disappoint in this arena. I’ll chat about speakeasies in my next post however there are a wide variety of night ghost walks as well as day and night history walking tours all over the city. From general historic spots to discovering hidden gems and city secrets, I always find these types of tours incredibly informative and wildly entertaining. It’s history come to life!
Paddle Boating in the Vltava River
Depending on the time of year, getting out on the Vltava River is a wonderful way to see the city from another angle. In the summer, getting out on a paddle boat is just lovely to take in the views of the city.
For those who are looking for a more chill experience, there are several cruise companies that offer a wide variety of day and night tours of the river.
Prague is well known for its Beer Spas and let me tell you, it’s way worth it! Dip into a beer filled hot tub while drinking beer and let all of your stress melt away into an alcohol soaked dream!
Prague Castle and Changing of the Guard
Located in Hradcany, Prague Castle is without a doubt the city’s most popular tourist attraction. The breath-taking castle has traditionally been the seat of Czech rulers and is today the official residence of the president. Entry to the grounds of the castle are free although many buildings such as the St Vitus cathedral, Basilica of St George and Golden Lane can be visited with a combined entry ticket.
If you arrive at the castle before midday, you can watch the ceremonial changing of the guard including a fanfare and flag ceremony. The guards technically serve only the president of the Czech Republic.
The famous historical fort located in the very heart of Prague, belongs among the most significant National Cultural Monuments of the Czech Republic. According to a legend, the castle, built on a hill above the Vltava river, was the first seat of Czech dukes. Nowadays, apart from an amazing view of Prague, it shelters many architectural treasures.
The whole Vysehrad complex is huge and features many parks and narrow streets where you can easily escape from the tourist crowds. Luckily, the area is not that touristic and you can enjoy a peaceful Sunday walk.
Golden Lane and Mala Strana
Prague has some wonderful neighborhoods worth taking the time to explore. One in particular is Mala Strana. Across the river from the Old Town are the baroque backstreets of Mala Strana (the Lesser quarter), built in the 17th and 18th century by victorious Catholic clerics and noblemen on the foundations of their Protestant predecessors Renaissance palaces. At its heart is the baroque square which offers small shops to browse, traditional Czech pubs and restaurants and some fantastic views of the river.
Golden Lane is located within the grounds of the castle, so called because, according to legends, alchemists had to look on this street to find a reaction to turn ordinary materials into gold. Despite the streets name, it is debated whether alchemists ever worked or lived here. Czech-Jewish writer Franz Kafka used a house on the street for around two years as he enjoyed the peaceful environment it provided whilst writing.
Lennon Wall, 7 Foot Sigmund Freud and a Dancing House
There are some fun and quirky finds all over the city. The first being the Lennon Wall in Mala Strana. A colorful wall that has been covered in John Lennon and The Beatles graffiti, lyrics and quotations since the 1980s and a stone’s throw from a Beatles themed pub!
If you’re a Freud fan or just love cool art installations, as your walking through old town on your way toward the Dancing House, keep your eyes toward the sky and spot a dangling Freud. Perhaps he slipped ; )
The Dancing House can be found on the river and like many sights in the city, it is one to behold and great for the gram ; )
That’s not all on Prague, stay tuned as next week I showcase where to eat and drink in this magical city!