The beginnings of Prague (Czech Republic) can be traced back to the 8th century, when the first settlements were created in the area that is today known as the Lesser Town (Malá Strana). Between then and today, the Czech capital has collected a number of beautiful buildings and places that everyone visiting Prague should include in their itinerary.
If you wonder what those are, continue reading. In this article, we will talk about the many things to do in Prague. Depending on what you’re focusing on when visiting another city, be it historic buildings, museums or something else, you are sure to find something for yourself in this gorgeous city.
#1 Take a Stroll Around the Old Town Square
The Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí) is in the heart of Prague’s Old Town, which was one of the city’s lively marketplaces during the 1100s. Today, the old square is one of the favourite places to visit among tourists visiting Prague. The stunning architecture and unique atmosphere, combined with a mixture of old and new, makes the square a place that you absolutely should not miss during your stay in Prague.
With the Old Town Hall on one side and the Church of Our Lady Tyn on the other, plus the beautiful St. Nicholas Church (Kostel svatého Mikuláše) in between, this is a great place to start your Prague adventure, as well as take some really beautiful pictures to take home.
The pavement of the Old Town Square includes memorial stones marking the Staroměstská exekuce (Old Town Square execution) – the execution of 27 leaders of the Bohemian Revolt by the Austrian House of Habsburg, which happened on June 21st, 1621.
The last thing worth mentioning when it comes to Old Town Square is the famous medieval astronomical clock on the wall of City Hall – the Prague Orloj.
#2 Admire the Astronomical Clock
The astronomical clock is so intricate that each of its parts needs to be admired and talked about individually. After all, not without reason, it is one of the symbols of Prague, the Czech Republic.
Let’s start with the astronomical dial. Made in 1410 by Mikuláš of Kadaň (a clockmaker) and Jan Sindel (one of Charles University’s professors), it features the twelve Zodiac signs, as well as icons that represent the Sun and the Moon and the 24 hours of the day. The dial is surrounded by four figures representing greed, extravagance, vanity and greed.
Once the clock strikes a full hour (between 9 am and 11 pm), the figures move, which happens at the same time as the procession of the apostles. During the procession, the windows open, and the figures appear for about half a minute.
On the lower part of the astronomical clock, there is a calendar designed by Josef Mánes with 12 medallions representing the twelve months of the year alongside four figures – a chronicler, an astronomer, a philosopher and an angel.
#3 Go Shopping at Havelske Trziste (Marketplace)
If you’re looking for something more genuine to bring home with you instead of the various mass-produced souvenirs that can be found almost everywhere along the streets of Prague, then you should go to Havelske Trziste.
It is the only preserved market in the Old Town area, and it dates back to the 13th century – 1232, to be precise. Unfortunately, it is not as big as it used to be – today, the market is located only on Havelská Street, while in the past, it extended to Rytířská Street and Uhelný Trh.
This market has everything – from vegetables and fruit to embroidery and other crafts—perfect for bringing home as a memory of your Prague trip. If someone at your travelling party isn’t interested in buying anything, there are plenty of places at the marketplace where you can get a Czech beer.
#4 Visit Prague Castle
There are always places and sights that you should not miss when visiting a city. One attraction that falls under this category is Prague Castle. Prague Castle was built in the 1100s and over the years it has been the residence of the kings of Bohemia, the Holy Roman Emperors and presidents of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic. Today, it’s one of the largest castles and it’s one of Prague’s main tourist attractions. The architecture, the size and the story behind the castle make this one out of the ordinary.
#5 Relax in Bar and Books
Another place that is perfect for visiting after a long day in Prague when your legs are weary is Bar and Books. The James Bond feeling is palpable in this high-class bar and allows those who want to relax with a glass of whiskey and a fine cigar. Bar and Books is one of Prague’s best and most popular bars and is well worth a visit. Of course, you don’t have to enjoy the luxury of whiskey and cigars—the bar also offers several kinds of cocktails and a selection of Czech beers.
Keep in mind that Bar and Books has two locations in Prague – one is located on one of the many cobblestone streets, just metres from the Old Town Square, while the other is in Vinohrady, which is one of the most luxurious residential parts of the Czech capital.
#6 Take a Boat Trip on the Vltava
When you’ve had enough of wandering around the streets of Prague, and your legs start getting tired, then taking a trip on Prague’s river – Vltava – is a perfect idea. A ride on the Vltava River provides a unique view of the city with the opportunity to see new details of the cityscape that you might not see from the land.
Rowboats and pedal boats can be hired for a fairly low cost, but there are also larger boats with several passengers departing daily. For those who want to get an extra special experience on the water, every night you can take the Jazz Boat, on which you can eat and listen to live music while you get a spectacular view of the illuminated city of Prague.
#7 Take a Ghost Walk in the Old Town
It’s said that Prague is Europe’s most haunted city, and it is mainly in the Old Town that the ghosts are said to be. For those who dare to, it’s possible to go on a ghost walking tour along the city’s maze-like streets and small alleys. On tour, you’ll follow a personal guide who tells spooky stories about Prague’s past.
Although it may be hard to get to sleep after the ghost walk, this is a distinctive attraction to end the day with before going back to the hotel and to bed. The whole family can join in, but if you have very young children, it’s probably best to let them stay at home.
#8 Drop by the Dancing House
In order to see a different side of the Old Town of Prague, you should visit the Dancing House (Tančící dům in Czech). The Dancing House is located on the Vltava River and is a special building with comic architecture that’s very different to the eye. This is because the building is not straight but has a jelly-like shape that makes it look like it’s dancing.
The shape of the house is like two dancers, and the building is also known as “The Fred and Ginger House” after the world-famous dance couple Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The house was designed by Vlado Milunić together with Frank Gehry.
#9 See the Old-New Synagogue
The Old-New Synagogue (Staronová synagoga) in Prague’s Jewish Quarter (north of the Old Town) is Europe’s oldest synagogue still in use, as well as the oldest surviving one of the twin-nave design. The building was completed around 1270 and, over the years, has been one of the main gathering places for Prague’s Jewish population.
The specific name came from the time when it was built and when it was named “The New Synagogue”. This name was used for several years by the population, but after several new synagogues were built in the city, the name was changed to “The Old New Synagogue”.
Outside the synagogue, you will find attractions such as the Renaissance-style Jewish Town Hall (Židovská radnice), which was constructed in 1586 under the sponsorship of Mordechai Maisel – Prague’s major at the time. When visiting it, you should pay special attention to its two clocks – one with Hebrew numbers that run counterclockwise and the other with Roman numbers. Today, the Jewish Town Hall serves as headquarters for Prague’s Jewish Community.
Another famous landmark that is worth seeing when visiting Prague and that is located nearby is the old Jewish cemetery that was in use between the 15th and 18th century. Although about 12,000 graves have been counted, it is said that as many as 100,000 were buried at this Jewish cemetery – Mordechai Maisel among them.
#10 Walk Through the Charles Bridge
The famous Charles Bridge (Karlův most) is perhaps the main symbol of Prague and an extremely popular tourist attraction. It is the oldest bridge in Prague and the second oldest bridge in the whole Czech Republic.
The building of the bridge was started in 1357 by the then King of Bohemia, King Charles IV, to replace the former Judith Bridge, which collapsed after a high tide in 1342. However, it took a few decades to finish it – the construction process ended in the early 15th century.
Through the years, the Charles Bridge was part of a series of historical events, such as the fierce fighting between Prague’s population and the Swedish army in 1648 that actually took place on the bridge. The Charles Bridge has been extremely important for the city’s population for centuries, and until 1841, it was actually the only bridge crossing the Vltava River, connecting the Old Town with Prague Castle. This connection was what made Prague an important trade route between Eastern Europe and Western Europe.
Today there are several bridges that cross the river, but there is no doubt that the absolute nicest way to cross the Vltava is to walk over the Charles Bridge. The bridge is constantly the hustle and bustle, and you’ll usually come across several street vendors and street artists.
If you want to get a great view of the Charles Bridge as well as the Prague Castle, consider climbing the Old Town Hall tower.
#11 Go Shooting on the Shooting Range
If you prefer cool and action-packed experiences instead of regular sightseeing, there are great opportunities to try shooting various weapons in Prague. This is an activity that provides a good dose of adrenaline. There are so-called Prague Shooting Trips organised, where groups go out to a shooting range outside the city to test-fire various weapons.
If you are staying in a hotel, you can ask the staff if they have information and can tell you more about the opportunities to try sniping in Prague. If you’re not, you can still ask about different shooting trips in other places where there is tourist information.
#12 Visit the John Lennon Wall
The John Lennon Wall (also known as just Lennon Wall) is located close to the Charles Bridge, across from a French embassy. The first artwork on the wall was made by an unknown artist following Lennon’s murder in 1980 – it was very simple, just the image of the singer, accompanied by a few lyrics from The Beatles’ songs. Over the years, the number of graphics on the wall grew as people joined the artist’s initiative, adding their own song lyrics, images, messages as well as wishes for world peace.
Aside from being a perfect Instagram location, the John Lennon Wall holds a deeper meaning. The wall symbolises freedom of speech, as well as the non-violent resistance of young people in the Czech Republic. The youth admired John Lennon and his songs because they preached freedom and happiness – things that they didn’t have under Communist rule. During this time, many Western songs and artists, including John Lennon’s, were banned, and many were arrested just because they were listening to his music – that didn’t stop them, though, as they continued to support him.
Over the years, there were many attempts to get rid of the wall and stop people from adding more to it – the artworks were painted over, there was CCTV installed, security guards were patrolling the area and so on. However, nothing worked, and today, the wall is as colourful as ever, attracting thousands of people yearly, whether they’re Lennon’s and/or The Beatles’ fans or not really.
#13 Take a Tour of Franz Kafka Museum
Franz Kafka is probably one of the most well-known authors born in Prague. The German-speaking Bohemian writer was born in 1883 to a middle-class Jewish family. His work includes works such as The Trial, in which a man is convicted of a crime that is never revealed, and The Metamorphosis, in which the protagonist – a salesman named Gregor Samsa – wakes up in a body of an insect.
The museum’s exhibition includes things such as first editions of most of Kafka’s works, as well as letters, manuscripts, diaries, etc. and drawings. In the museum, you can learn quite a bit about Kafka’s personal life. Although he never married, he was engaged twice to the same person – Felice Bauer. The wedding never happened as the two parted ways in 1917. A few years later, he fell in love with Dora Diamant, with whom he maintained a relationship until his death in 1924.
Although you would probably be fine touring the museum on your own, as almost everything is signed and has a short description of what is it and why it is significant, you can also opt for an organised tour.
#14 Admire the St. Vitus Cathedral
The St. Vitus Cathedral, part of the Prague Castle complex, is probably one of the most beautiful buildings in Prague, Czech Republic. Its full name is the Metropolitan Cathedral of Saints Vitus, Wenceslaus and Adalbert (in Czech Metropolitní katedrála svatého Víta, Václava a Vojtěcha).
The construction of the Cathedral as it is today took several centuries. The building process started around 925 when Prince Wenceslas build a rotunda where the St Vitus Cathedral stands today, which was converted into a basilica around 1060.
It wasn’t until 1344 when the construction of the actual cathedral started – however, it was stopped shortly after, in 1419, due to Hussite Wars. Throughout the centuries, more parts were added to the building (such as the Golden Gate, the Great South Tower, or St. Wenceslas Chapel), while some were replaced (e.g., the helmet on the South Tower was replaced by a new dome in the 18th century). The St. Vitus Cathedral was officially completed and consecrated in 1929.
Even though the building wasn’t fully finished, it was still used – for more than religious purposes – many Czech queens and kings had their coronations there. It also served as the burial ground for many of Prague’s noblemen, patron saints, and other important people.
#15 Visit the National Museum
If you’re someone who loves going to museums, then the National Museum should definitely be included in your itinerary. The National Museum (Národní muzeum) is not only the largest one among Prague museums, but it is also the largest one in the whole Czech Republic.
In the museum, you can see plenty of exhibitions connected with natural history and prehistory having both Czech and foreign origins. Probably the most well-known piece is the skeleton of a fin whale, which has been a part of its collection for over 130 years now.
#16 Visit the Church of Our Lady Before Týn
The Church of Our Lady before Tyn in Prague (Kostel Matky Boží před Týnem), located in Old Town, is probably the most dominant feature of the area, as it is visible from a distance. The construction of this gothic building started in the 14th century and ended in the 16th century – however, soon after, in the 17th century to be precise, the interior of the church was changed to match the Baroque style.
The inside of the church is home to many interesting works, such as the altar paintings done by Karel Skreta. It also holds the tomb of a Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, whose death circumstances are rather interesting, as he died from a burst bladder. He was a guest at a royal banquet that took place in October 1601 and apparently too polite to excuse himself to go to the bathroom. Holding the pee in led to a bladder infection, which caused his death soon after. He died on October 24, 1601, so just a few weeks after the banquet.
#17 See Infant Jesus of Prague in the Church of Our Lady Victorious
The second to last thing on our list of things to do in Prague is seeing the Infant Jesus statue and the church it is located in – the Church of Our Lady Victorious. The Church of Our Lady Victorious. is a Baroque church (one of the oldest in Prague), situated in Lesser Town and close to Charles Bridge.
The Infant Jesus is a 16-century wooden statue coated in wax of a Child Jesus that holds a globus cruciger of Spanish origin in his hand. The origins of how the statue was created aren’t known – it is said that Jesus in this exact form appeared in front of a monk, who then had it made. It is known, however, that Infant Jesus ended up in Prague thanks to Maria Manrique de Lara – a Spanish duchess that got married to a Czech. The statue was donated to the church in which it is now by her daughter.
Despite its small size, as the statue is only 45 centimetres tall, its importance among Catholics cannot be denied. Every year, thousands from all over the world visit Prague to worship it, wishing for peace, asking to be cured, or believing in finding help, among other things.
#18 Take a Look at Crawling Babies
Babies, or in Czech Miminka, is a collection of giant baby sculptures created by David Černý. The collection features dozens of sculptures, which were and are still shown all over the world.
When it comes to Prague, Czech Republic, a few of them are located in Kampa Park, near Mala Strana quarter, while ten of them can be seen climbing the žižkov television tower. They were placed there in the year 2000 and were supposed only to be there temporary. However, they proved to be so successful that a year later, in 2001, they returned there as a permanent feature. The original sculptures were removed in 2017 and returned to the author as there were some safety concerns. New, lighter ones were installed on the tower in 2019.
When it comes to their international appearances, the most worth mentioning ones are Palm Springs, California (the original pieces that were removed from the tower were shown there from 2018 for about two years) and the Gevel Casino in Blankenberge, Belgium (they were installed on the building in 2006).
The Bottom Line
Prague is without a doubt one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, if not in the world. Throughout the centuries, the city gathered a number of historic buildings, so no matter where in the city you are, you can be sure that there will be something worth seeing. Truthfully, the things mentioned above are not even half of all the things to do in Prague.
To see everything there is to see in Prague could take a few days – and if you aren’t careful, the trip can make a dent in your pocket. However, there’s a way to make sure that doesn’t happen – and those are discount codes. Check out our selection of Travel Agencies & Travel Booking Websites discount codes as well as our Hotels & Accommodation discount codes for the best deals for your Prague trip.
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