The 14 essential activities to experience during your stay in Prague

Last update : 26/05/2024 15:41

Prague, nicknamed the "City of a Hundred Spires" or the "Golden City," is an enchanting destination that captivates the imagination of its visitors with its rich historical heritage, stunning architecture, and romantic atmosphere. Situated in the heart of Central Europe, the capital of the Czech Republic is a true architectural and cultural gem that offers an unforgettable travel experience.

Prague is also renowned for its rich artistic and cultural scene. Art enthusiasts can get lost in the galleries of the Malá Strana district, while music lovers can attend a classical concert in one of the city's many Baroque churches.

As you stroll through Prague's vibrant neighborhoods, you'll discover delicious cuisine and a lively nightlife. Be sure to sample local specialties such as goulash, trdelník (a sweet pastry in the shape of a roll), and of course, the renowned Czech beer in one of the city's many traditional pubs.

Whether you're a history buff, an art enthusiast, a foodie, or simply a traveler in search of beauty and charm, Prague will not fail to captivate you with its intoxicating blend of glorious past and dynamic modernity. A visit to Prague is truly an experience not to be missed for any traveler eager for discovery and adventure.

1 - Visit Prague Castle (Pražský hrad)

Visit Prague Castle (Pražský hrad), Prague, Czechia

The Prague Castle, also known as Pražský hrad in Czech, is one of the most iconic landmarks in the city of Prague, Czech Republic. It is located on a hill overlooking the Vltava River and dominates the city's skyline.

The castle has a long history, dating back to the 9th century, and has served as the seat of Bohemian kings, Holy Roman Emperors, presidents of Czechoslovakia, and now the Czech Republic. It consists of several historical buildings, including St. Vitus Cathedral, the Royal Palace, St. George's Basilica, and the Powder Tower.

Today, Prague Castle is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the city, drawing millions of visitors each year for its magnificent architecture, panoramic views, and rich historical heritage.

2 - Charles Bridge (Karlův most)

Charles Bridge (Karlův most), Prague, Czechia

The Pont Charles, or Charles Bridge, is a historic bridge that crosses the Vltava River in Prague, Czech Republic. It connects the Old Town (Staré Město) with the Lesser Town (Malá Strana) and Prague Castle.

The bridge was commissioned by King Charles IV in the 14th century and was completed in the early 15th century. It is one of the most iconic landmarks in Prague, known for its Baroque statues, particularly those of saints, that line its sides. The bridge is pedestrian-only, making it a popular spot for tourists and locals alike to enjoy views of the city and its surroundings.

Charles Bridge holds significant cultural and historical importance in Prague and is often bustling with activity, including street performers, artists, and vendors. It has been depicted in numerous works of art and has served as a symbol of Prague's rich history and architectural heritage.

3 - Stroll through the Old Town (Staré Město)

Stroll through the Old Town (Staré Město), Prague, Czechia

La Vieille Ville, also known as Staré Město, is the historic center of Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic. It is one of the most significant and well-preserved medieval city centers in Europe and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1992.

La Vieille Ville is renowned for its stunning architecture, including the iconic Prague Astronomical Clock, the gothic-style Church of Our Lady before Týn, and the impressive Old Town Square. The area is also home to numerous narrow cobblestone streets, charming cafes, vibrant marketplaces, and historic landmarks.

Visitors to La Vieille Ville can explore its rich history by wandering through its winding streets, visiting museums such as the Jewish Museum in Prague, or taking guided tours of its most famous sites. The area is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, offering a unique blend of history, culture, and charm.

4 - Visit the Jewish Quarter (Josefov)

Visit the Jewish Quarter (Josefov), Prague, Czechia

The Jewish Quarter of Prague, also known as Josefov, is one of the historically rich and culturally significant neighborhoods of the city. Located in the Old Town of Prague, it has a history dating back over 1000 years. Here are some highlights about the Jewish Quarter:

  1. Ancient History: The earliest traces of Jewish presence in the area date back to the 10th century. Over the centuries, the Jewish community thrived, though periodically subjected to discrimination and persecution.

  2. Restrictions and Ghetto: In the Middle Ages, Prague's Jews were subject to various restrictions, and in the 16th century, Emperor Ferdinand I forced them to live in a closed ghetto. The ghetto was preserved, making it one of the few well-preserved medieval Jewish quarters in Europe.

  3. Synagogues: The quarter is home to several historic synagogues, some of which are still in use today. The oldest is the Old-New Synagogue, dating back to the 13th century. The Spanish Synagogue and the Maisel Synagogue are also among the key sites to visit.

  4. Jewish Cemetery: Prague's Jewish cemetery, one of the oldest in Europe, is an impressive site with thousands of tombstones, some dating back to the 15th century. Due to limited space in the ghetto, graves were stacked on top of each other, creating a unique and poignant atmosphere.

  5. Jewish Museum: The quarter also houses a Jewish museum that tells the story of Jewish history and culture in Prague. It includes several historic buildings, including the former Jewish town hall and the Pinkas Synagogue, which serves as a memorial to Holocaust victims.

  6. Cultural Heritage: Prague's Jewish Quarter is not only a place of historical significance but also a vibrant cultural center with festivals, artistic events, and community activities throughout the year.

The Jewish Quarter of Prague is therefore a must-visit for visitors interested in European Jewish history and medieval architecture, as well as those seeking to understand the complex and sometimes dark history of the city of Prague.

5 - The Prague Astronomical Clock

The Prague Astronomical Clock, Prague, Czechia

The Prague Astronomical Clock, also known as the Old Town Astronomical Clock, is one of the most famous attractions in Prague, Czech Republic. It is located on the Old Town Hall Tower and is one of the oldest and most complex astronomical clocks still in operation.

The clock was built in the early 15th century by clockmaker Mikuláš of Kadaň and astronomer Jan Šindel. It measures several aspects of astronomical time, such as the positions of the sun and moon in the sky, lunar phases, and star movements. It also features artistic and symbolic representations related to medieval and religious life.

Every hour, between 9:00 AM and 9:00 PM, the animated figures of the Twelve Apostles appear in the upper windows of the clock, while statues representing Death, Greed, Vanity, and other vices set in motion.

The Prague Astronomical Clock is not only a technical marvel but also a symbol of the city's history and culture. It attracts thousands of visitors every year who come to admire its beauty and ingenuity.

6 - Petřín Mountain (Petřínská rozhledna)

Petřín Mountain (Petřínská rozhledna), Prague, Czechia

Petřín Mountain (Petřínská rozhledna) is a prominent landmark located in Prague, Czech Republic. It is often referred to as Prague's own "little Eiffel Tower" due to its resemblance to the famous Parisian landmark. Petřín Mountain is situated in the western part of Prague, overlooking the city center and the Vltava River.

The Petřín Tower (Petřínská rozhledna) stands at 63.5 meters (208 feet) tall and was built in 1891 for the Jubilee Exhibition. It was inspired by the Eiffel Tower and offers panoramic views of Prague from its observation deck. Visitors can reach the top of the tower either by climbing the stairs or taking an elevator.

Aside from the tower, Petřín Mountain is a popular recreational area with parks, gardens, and walking paths. It provides a peaceful escape from the bustling city below and is a favorite spot among locals and tourists alike for picnics, leisurely strolls, and enjoying nature.

In addition to its recreational offerings, Petřín Mountain also has historical significance. It is home to several notable landmarks, including the Church of Saint Lawrence, the Mirror Maze, and the Hunger Wall, a defensive wall built in the 14th century.

Overall, Petřín Mountain and its iconic tower are must-visit attractions for anyone exploring Prague, offering breathtaking views and a tranquil retreat amidst the city's charms.

7 - Take a cruise on the Vltava

Take a cruise on the Vltava, Prague, Czechia

A cruise on the Vltava sounds like a wonderful experience! The Vltava is the largest river in the Czech Republic, flowing through Prague and offering stunning views of some of the city's most iconic landmarks, such as Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, and the Old Town. Sailing along its tranquil waters while admiring the breathtaking architecture and picturesque landscapes must be truly enchanting. You can also opt for evening cruises to witness Prague illuminated, creating a truly magical atmosphere.

8 - The Lobkowicz Palace

The Lobkowicz Palace, Prague, Czechia

The Lobkowicz Palace is a fascinating cultural gem located in Prague, Czech Republic. It's renowned for its rich history, impressive art collections, and stunning architecture. The palace houses the Lobkowicz Collections, which include world-class paintings, decorative arts, historical artifacts, and manuscripts accumulated over centuries by the Lobkowicz family.

Visitors can explore the palace's opulent rooms, which offer insights into the lives of the Lobkowicz family and the historical events they witnessed. Highlights of the collection include works by famous artists such as Bruegel, Canaletto, and Velázquez, as well as original manuscripts by Mozart and Beethoven.

In addition to its cultural significance, the palace also boasts breathtaking views of Prague Castle and the city skyline. It's a must-visit destination for anyone interested in art, history, and the cultural heritage of the Czech Republic.

9 - Discover the Malá Strana district

Discover the Malá Strana district, Prague, Czechia

Malá Strana, meaning "Lesser Town" in English, is one of the most charming and historic districts in Prague, located on the west bank of the Vltava River just below Prague Castle. With its picturesque alleys, colorful buildings, and beautiful Baroque churches, Malá Strana exudes a captivating medieval atmosphere.

Among its most famous landmarks is the Church of Saint Nicholas, a superb example of Baroque architecture, and Malostranské náměstí square with its Holy Trinity Column. Nerudova Street, lined with historic houses and quaint shops, is another major attraction in this neighborhood.

Malá Strana is also home to numerous restaurants, cafes, and bars, making it an ideal place to stroll and soak in the unique atmosphere of Prague. From here, you can easily access other major tourist sites in the city, such as Charles Bridge and the Old Town.

10 - Wallenstein Gardens

Wallenstein Gardens, Prague, Czechia

The Wallenstein Gardens, known as "Valdštejnská zahrada" in Czech, are Baroque gardens located in Prague, Czech Republic. They are part of the Wallenstein Palace complex, which currently houses the Czech Senate. These gardens are open to the public, providing a peaceful retreat in the heart of the city.

Designed in an Italian Baroque style, the Wallenstein Gardens were created in the early 17th century. They feature fountains, statues, terraces, and meticulously maintained flower beds. One of the highlights of the garden is the large fountain with a statue of Neptune, surrounded by mythological figures.

In addition to their aesthetic appeal, the Wallenstein Gardens offer panoramic views of the Malá Strana district and Prague Castle. They serve as a pleasant place for strolling, relaxation, and appreciating the tranquil beauty of nature in the midst of the historic city.

11 - National Museum (Národní muzeum)

National Museum (Národní muzeum), Prague, Czechia

The National Museum (Národní muzeum) is a prominent cultural institution located in Prague, Czech Republic. It is one of the largest museums in the country and covers a wide range of disciplines including natural history, history, arts, and music.

The museum was established in 1818 and has since become a symbol of Czech national identity and heritage. Its main building, located on Wenceslas Square, is an architectural masterpiece in itself, featuring a neo-Renaissance design by architect Josef Schulz. The building underwent extensive renovations and reopened to the public in 2018, showcasing both its historical significance and modern facilities.

Within the museum, visitors can explore a vast array of exhibits, including geological and paleontological collections, archaeological artifacts, historical documents, fine art, and musical instruments. Notable highlights include the Venus of Dolní Věstonice, a 29,000-year-old ceramic sculpture, and the Slav Epic, a series of monumental paintings by Alfons Mucha depicting Slavic history and mythology.

The National Museum serves as a center for education, research, and cultural enrichment, offering visitors a deeper understanding of Czech history, culture, and natural heritage. It's a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring the rich tapestry of Czech civilization.

12 - Excursion to Český Krumlov

Excursion to Český Krumlov, Prague, Czechia

Planning a day trip to Český Krumlov from Prague is a fantastic idea to explore the beauty of this medieval town. Here are some steps you might follow to organize this excursion:

  1. Transportation: The distance between Prague and Český Krumlov is around 170 kilometers, making car, train, or bus viable options. If you prefer a more comfortable option, travel agencies often offer day trips with round-trip transportation from Prague.

  2. Timing: Český Krumlov is a small town but has a lot to offer. Ideally, depart from Prague in the morning to maximize your time for exploration. Check transportation schedules to ensure you have enough time on site.

  3. Český Krumlov Castle: Start your visit at Český Krumlov Castle, the focal point of the town. Explore the courtyards, gardens, and richly decorated interiors. The view from the castle also provides a stunning perspective of the town.

  4. Old Town: Head down to the medieval Old Town next. Stroll through the cobblestone streets, admire the colorful houses, and discover the main square with its cafes and shops.

  5. Vltava River: Enjoy a walk along the banks of the Vltava River. Consider taking a short boat cruise for a different view of the town.

  6. Museums and Galleries: If time allows, visit some of the small museums and art galleries scattered around the town. They often provide interesting insights into local history and culture.

  7. Local Cuisine Tasting: Wrap up your day with a tasting of Czech cuisine in one of the local restaurants. Try traditional dishes for a complete experience.

Make sure to check transportation schedules for the return journey to Prague and plan accordingly. Český Krumlov offers a unique experience with its well-preserved medieval atmosphere, making this day trip a memorable getaway from the Czech capital.

13 - Taste Czech cuisine

Taste Czech cuisine, Prague, Czechia

Czech cuisine is rich, flavorful, and reflects the history and culture of the country. Here are some Czech dishes and culinary specialties that you might enjoy:

  1. Svíčková na smetaně: This is one of the most iconic Czech dishes. It consists of a roast meat (usually beef) served with a creamy sauce, cranberries, and a bread dumpling.

  2. Goulash: Czech goulash is a tasty version of meat stew, typically made with beef, onions, peppers, and spices. It's often accompanied by knedlíky, dumplings made of dough or potatoes.

  3. Trdelník: A popular pastry in the Czech Republic, trdelník is sweet dough wrapped around a cylinder, grilled, and often sprinkled with sugar, nuts, or cinnamon.

  4. Smažený sýr: This is breaded and fried cheese, often served with fries and salad. It's a popular choice for cheese lovers.

  5. Koláče: These small sweet pastries are often filled with jam, fruits, nuts, or poppy seeds. They are perfect to accompany a cup of coffee.

  6. Pilsner: The Czech Republic is renowned for its beer, and Pilsner is one of the most famous brands. Czechs have a long brewing tradition, and tasting a local beer is a must.

  7. Knedlíky: These doughy dumplings, similar to dumplings, are often served as a side dish. They can be made from potatoes or flour and are excellent for soaking up sauces.

  8. Vepřo-knedlo-zelo: A classic Czech dish consisting of roast pork (vepřové), knedlíky (dumplings), and sauerkraut (zelí).

  9. Utopenec: A marinated sausage often served as an appetizer, sometimes with pickled onions, peppers, and other vegetables.

  10. Svíčková: A creamy soup made from liver, parsley root, celery, onions, and sour cream.

Czech cuisine offers a variety of delicious and hearty dishes, showcasing the unique culinary heritage of the country. Exploring these dishes will give you a better understanding of Czech gastronomic culture.

14 - Enjoy the nightlife

Nightlife in Prague is renowned for its vibrancy and diversity. Here's an overview of the nightlife scene in the Czech capital:

  1. Bars and Pubs: Prague boasts numerous bars and pubs, offering a variety of local Czech beers as well as cocktails. The neighborhoods of Malá Strana and Vinohrady are particularly popular for their laid-back bar scenes.

  2. Clubs: The clubbing scene in Prague is lively, with venues catering to different musical tastes. The Žižkov district is known for its trendy clubs, while Karlín offers chic spots.

  3. Rooftop Parties: Enjoy city views by attending rooftop parties. Some bars provide panoramic views of Prague's iconic landmarks.

  4. Alternative Art Scenes: Districts like Holešovice host alternative venues, art galleries, creative spaces, and underground clubs, perfect for those seeking a more alternative experience.

  5. Vltava River Cruises: Nighttime cruises on the Vltava River offer a unique perspective of illuminated Prague. Some boats offer dinner cruises with live music.

  6. Evening Cultural Events: Check the city's cultural calendar for concerts, theater performances, festivals, and other evening events.

  7. Night Markets: During the summer season, night markets feature food stalls, concerts, and entertainment in various Prague neighborhoods.

  8. Casinos: For those seeking a livelier nightlife experience, some casinos stay open late into the night.

  9. Cafés and Chill-Out Spots: Prague has numerous cafés and chill-out spots where you can relax, chat with friends, or simply enjoy the atmosphere.

  10. Cabaret Shows and Themed Bars: Some venues offer cabaret shows, themed bars, or special evenings for entertaining experiences.

Prague's nightlife caters to a diverse audience, whether you're looking for a quiet evening in a café, exploring the local music scene, or enjoying a lively night in the city's clubs. It's recommended to explore different neighborhoods for a comprehensive experience. Keep in mind that opening hours may vary, and Prague's nightlife tends to be quieter early in the week compared to weekends.

Prague - Where to Stay?

For a stay in Prague, there are several popular neighborhoods where you can consider staying, depending on your preferences and budget:

  1. Old Town (Staré Město): This is one of the most popular neighborhoods for tourists, with its picturesque cobblestone streets, bustling squares, and numerous historical sites nearby. Here, you'll find a wide range of accommodations, from luxury hotels to vacation rentals.

  2. Jewish Quarter (Josefov): Located right next to Old Town, Prague's Jewish Quarter is steeped in history and offers an authentic atmosphere. You'll find charming hotels here as well as more intimate accommodation options.

  3. Malá Strana District: This quaint neighborhood, situated across the Vltava River from Old Town, offers a quieter atmosphere while still being close to major attractions. You'll find luxury hotels, family-run guesthouses, and vacation rentals here.

  4. Hradčany District: Just below Prague Castle, the Hradčany district offers a majestic atmosphere and panoramic views of the city. It's a great choice if you're looking for quieter, picturesque accommodation options.

  5. Vinohrady District: If you prefer a more local and less touristy vibe, Vinohrady is an excellent choice. This chic residential neighborhood is filled with cafes, restaurants, and shops, offering a relaxed atmosphere just a few metro stops away from the city center.

Whichever neighborhood you choose, be sure to book your accommodation in advance, especially during the peak tourist season, to secure the best deals and ensure availability.

Prague - How to get around?

To get around Prague and explore its attractions, you have several transportation options available:

  1. Walking: Most of Prague's tourist attractions are located in the city center and are easily accessible on foot. Walking allows you to fully enjoy the city's magnificent architecture and discover its charming streets and squares.

  2. Public transportation: Prague boasts an excellent public transportation network, including the metro, tram, and bus systems. The metro is fast, efficient, and easy to use, with three main lines covering much of the city. Trams are also very convenient for getting around the city center and surrounding neighborhoods. You can purchase single tickets or opt for daily or weekly passes, depending on the duration of your stay.

  3. Taxi: Taxis are widely available in Prague, but it's advisable to use them cautiously to avoid scams. It's best to book a taxi through a taxi app or ask your accommodation to arrange one for you.

  4. Biking: Prague is a fairly bike-friendly city, with numerous bike lanes and bike rental options available. You can rent a bike to explore the city at your own pace, sometimes avoiding busier streets and discovering less accessible spots by public transportation.

Depending on your itinerary and preferences, you can combine these different transportation options to optimize your visit to Prague.

Prague - Best period

The best time to visit Prague largely depends on your preferences for weather, crowds, and events. Here's a breakdown of Prague's seasons:

  1. Spring (March to May): Spring in Prague brings milder temperatures, blooming flowers, and fewer crowds compared to the peak summer months. This season is ideal for exploring the city's outdoor attractions and enjoying pleasant weather for sightseeing.

  2. Summer (June to August): Summer is the peak tourist season in Prague, with warm temperatures and longer daylight hours. The city comes alive with outdoor events, festivals, and concerts. However, expect larger crowds and higher prices for accommodations and attractions.

  3. Fall (September to November): Fall is a beautiful time to visit Prague, with mild temperatures and fewer tourists compared to the summer months. The city's parks and gardens display stunning autumn colors, making it a picturesque time for sightseeing.

  4. Winter (December to February): Winter in Prague can be cold, with temperatures often dropping below freezing. However, the city's festive atmosphere during the holiday season, including Christmas markets and decorations, can be enchanting. Plus, you'll encounter fewer tourists and potentially lower prices for accommodations.

Ultimately, the best time to visit Prague depends on your personal preferences. If you prefer mild weather and fewer crowds, consider visiting in the spring or fall. If you want to experience the city's vibrant summer atmosphere and outdoor events, plan your visit for the summer months. Alternatively, if you enjoy winter activities and holiday festivities, winter can be a magical time to explore Prague.

Last update : 26/05/2024 15:41

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