Prague is one of the most photogenic cities in Europe. This was the only large Eastern European city to survive WWII without being destroyed by bombs. With gothic towers, ancient cathedrals, and the largest castle in the world, Prague is one of Europe’s great cities to visit.
The list of sites to visit in Prague is long. So long, in fact, it would take days to see all of them. Here is our short list of essential experiences to have in Prague, a good starting point for having the best holiday here.
Stroll Across Charles Bridge
Charles Bridge (Karlov Most) is one of the most famous pedestrian bridges in the world, connecting the Old Town to Mala Strana. It’s gorgeous at sunset, it’s crowded midday, and it is always a joy to stroll across.
View of the Lesser Town Tower at the end of Charles Bridge
Visit the Old Town Square
The Old Town Square (Staromestske Namesti) has been the market square for Prague since the 11th century. Now it is a landmark of the city and a popular tourist attraction.
This is a colorful, vibrant, busy place, day and night. Go shopping at the market, visit the iconic Tyn Church, and ogle at our next must-have experience, the astronomical clock.
Watch the Hourly Show at the Astronomical Clock
The astronomical clock is a complicated mechanism that shows several different versions of time. Every hour, the clock puts on a brief show: a skeleton rings his bell, twelve apostles walk by, a rooster crows, and then the clock chimes.
The astronomical clock draws quite the crowd of people!
We didn’t think the show quite lived up to the hype, but even so, it is still one of those things that you must see while in Prague.
Important Note: If you are traveling to Prague between January 8 and August 31, 2018, the astronomical clock will be disassembled for repair. Read more here.
Climb the Towers of Prague
Prague is called “The Golden City of A Hundred Spires” and there is no better way to view this cityscape than from the top of its many gothic towers.
The Old Town Hall
For the best view over the Old Town Square, climb to the top of the Old Town Hall Tower. The Old Town Hall is located next to the astronomical clock.
Important Note: The Old Town Hall Tower is closed for renovations until December 17, 2017.
Old Town Tower Bridge
This tower is located at the end of the Charles Bridge closest to the Old Town Square. From the top of this tower, the views of Charles Bridge and Prague Castle are unbeatable.
Lesser Town Bridge Tower
This tower is located at the other end of the Charles Bridge, closest to Mala Strana. It offers another unique perspective of the Charles Bridge.
Of all of the towers we climbed, the Powder Tower was the least crowded. Located a short walk from the Old Town Square, this tower once served as an entrance gate in Prague’s Old Town wall.
Wander through Mala Strana
Mala Strana, also called the Lesser Town, is home to some of Prague’s most famous sites, including the Prague Castle and St. Nicholas Church. This is a lovely place to go for a stroll, go window-shopping, and take more photos of this gorgeous city.
The Lennon Wall
When John Lennon was killed in 1980, this wall was covered with memorial graffiti overnight. Every night the police would paint over the graffiti and the next day it would reappear. John Lennon’s ideas gave the Czech people hope during communist rule, so this wall became a symbol of freedom.
Visit Prague Castle
Prague Castle dominates the skyline of the city. It looms over Charles Bridge and Mala Strana, forming one of the most recognizable views of Prague.
The Prague Castle complex is the largest castle in the world. It is still in use today and is one of Prague’s most visited landmarks.
Hours: Castle: 6:00 – 22:00; Historical buildings: 9:00 – 17:00; reduced hours in winter
Cost: prices vary depending on the tour you choose. Visit the official website for full details.
St. Vitus Cathedral
Tucked away inside the Prague Castle is St. Vitus Cathedral. This gothic cathedral dates back to 1344 when construction first began. The St Vitus Cathedral is the site of coronation of Czech kings and queens and the place of burial for saints and noblemen.
For those who want another bird’s eye view over Prague, climb the 287 steps to the top of the spire of the cathedral.
St. Nicholas Church
St. Nicholas Church is a beautiful, Baroque church. It is located in Mala Strana just down the hill from Prague Castle.
For us, the highlight here was the view from the bell tower. In fact, this was one of our favorite viewpoints of the city. From here, you have an excellent view of the Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral.
Try a Trdelnik
This was our favorite snack in Prague. Similar to a cinnamon roll, a trdelnik is dough that is wrapped around a pole, grilled, and then topped with sugar. It’s a delicious treat and it can be found all over Prague.
Visit the Jewish Quarter
The Jewish Quarter, also called the Jewish Ghetto or Josefov, is a small area near the Old Town where Jewish people were permitted to live in Prague. At one time, it is estimated that over 18,000 people lived in this small area. Buildings, synagogues, and tombstones crowded together in this small space.
Now, the Jewish Quarter looks much different. Several of the old buildings stand among the more modern architecture. The best place to get an idea of just how crowded it was in the Jewish Quarter is at the Old Jewish Cemetery. Tombstones are literally stacked on top of one another.
Don’t miss the Old New Synagogue. Built in 1270, it is the oldest synagogue in Eastern Europe.
Enjoy a glass or three of Czech Beer
The Czech Republic is known for brewing some of the world’s best beer. There are numerous pubs and beer halls to visit in Prague. We tried U Fleku and U Medvidku, but the list is endless.
For more recommendations, check out this list on the Prague Stay website.
One Final View of Prague at Petrin Tower
As you can tell by now, we are big fans of climbing towers for the best views over the city. There’s just something about gazing out at a city skyline that excites us.
Petrin Tower looks like a miniature version of the Eiffel Tower. Climb the 299 steps to the top for another spectacular view of the city.
Where We Stayed
We stayed at Hotel Paris, a beautiful, 5-star hotel located within walking distance of the Old Town Square. The hotel is a historical monument in Prague and filled with Art Nouveau accents. Built in 1904, the rooms feel a little old and dated but we still loved this place.
Have you been to Prague? What was your favorite experience? Comment below!