10 Best Things to Do in Prague
August 18, 2019
by Sarah Budlow
When I lived in Prague, one thing that was most important to me was intimately getting to know the city, and not feeling too much like a tourist. While my incredibly broken Czech and big polaroid camera gave away that I was certainly not born and raised in the Czech Republic, I achieved my goal of intimately getting to know Prague, and I would like to share a few tips for your visit. Here are the top 10 things to explore in the amazing city that I still like to call home.
1. Old Town Square
Yes, if you have done any research before reading this article, you have heard of this one! Spend some time admiring the beauty of the historic city center, peek into the Church of Our Lady Before Tyn, try to listen in on a tour guide explaining the history of the Astronomical Clock (the largest working astronomical clock in the world!), and pick up the classic Czech dessert, trdelink!
If you like climbing historical towers, go up the Old Town Hall tower. It’s directly above the Astronomical Clock and offers a unique view of Old Town and beyond.
The main point for this area is to enjoy the beauty and history, and of course take pictures!!
2. Charles Bridge
This beautiful structure is one of the most important landmarks of the city. It’s construction began in 1357, under the direction of King Charles IV, and soon the bridge will undergo 20 years of repairs. I do not know if you will be able to walk across it or not, but if you can, walking on that stone at sunrise is a magical experience. If you can get yourself to wake up long before it is flooded with tourists, DO IT! The picture above was taken at sunrise on a class field trip. I almost skipped it. So glad I chose to go.
3. Prague Castle
Definitely walk to the Prague Castle from Old Town. The walk across the Charles Bridge (or a different bridge if this one is closed) and through a neighborhood called Malá Strana is awesome. Malá Strana is beautiful and it would be a great place to stop at a pub and grab a beer (check out Roesel and Lokal U Bile Kuzelky).
Once you have made your way to the castle district, make sure to wander through St. Vitus Cathedral. It is the tallest building on the castle grounds, and it is truly stunning. Definitely get tickets to go all the way in (you can get in the front for free, but it is 100% worth it to spend the money and walk around – it’s massive and you won’t want to miss it). Spend some time exploring the castle grounds, taking in the distinct architecture, and hopefully the beautiful weather.
4. Letna Beer Garden
After you’re finished up at the Prague Castle, head over to Letna Beer Garden! It’s only a short walk away and it boasts some of the most beautiful city views along with your next beer or cider. You can sit at a table in the beer garden area, or you can walk about five minutes towards where you came from and sit on the hill near the metronome. I think the views are better here and I personally prefer to sit on a blanket in the grass.
5. Walk Along the Vltava River
This is a good activity for your second day. Wake up and walk (or run!) along the Vltava on the same side of the river as the castle. There is a path that goes most of the way, but you can also weave around in Malá Strana when the path ends. If you go in the morning, it will be relatively quiet, and your views of the city and the river will take your breath away.
6. Petrin Hill and Strahov Monastery
One of my favorite, most memorable afternoons was spent on a sunny day in Petřín Park. It’s a massive park, but if you’re going just one time, go to the Strahov Monastery. Instead of going inside the buildings of the monastery, walk through the grounds and to the beer garden that is run by the monastery. Either grab a seat at the beer garden or bring a picnic and sit on the hill just below. The picture above shows that view, which is unmatched by any other in Prague. I cannot recommend this spot enough.
7. Sunset Hill
Sunset Hill, as it says in the name, offers the city’s most beautiful sunset (as pictured above). And guess what?! There is a beer garden there too! It is out of the way of more touristy activities and is a very peaceful way to end your day and begin your evening.
8. Manifesto Market and Pivovarsky
You can walk from Sunset Hill to Manifesto Market (or take the metro). Manifesto Market, also located outside of Prague’s mainstream sights, is a hip, new market with live music starting at 6pm. I would recommend visiting Manifesto in the evening, when the string lights are illuminated and the music is playing. Food, drinks, music, and friends. What better way to spend your night?
If you’re feeling like making one last stop, check out my absolute favorite pub, Pivovarsky. Pivovarsky is certainly a locals secret (shhh don’t tell!) and it offers the Czech Republic’s largest beer menu. You can choose from over 200 bottled beers, or one of their six featured beers on tap, which is constantly rotating. Sit at the bar, talk to the friendly bartenders, and enjoy a truly Czech beer and food experience.
9. Lennon Wall
If you have not yet heard the story of the Lennon Wall, here it is: After John Lennon was killed, a little-known but very willful group of fans in Prague painted graffiti on one specific wall in Malá Strana. The graffiti was full of lyrics to his songs and messages about peace and love. The next day, Czech police painted over the graffiti. That night, the artists and fans were back, sharing John Lennon’s message and his memory with their city. After much back and forth, the Czech police stopped painting over the graffiti and let the beautiful work stay. Now, tourists come from all over the world to see the Lennon Wall, and even add their own graffiti to the wall. You can go, admire the wall, take pictures, and even add your own artistic thought to it if you would like to!
10. Jewish Quarter
The Jewish Quarter is the only somber experience in my top 10, but it is just as important and enriching as all 9 other activities. It is a beautiful area to walk through, right off of Old Town Square. The Jewish Museum is the main event of this area. I would recommend getting a ticket package that includes the Old Jewish Cemetery (pictured above and utterly mesmerizing), the Monument of Shoah victims from Bohemian lands, and the Children’s Drawings from the Terezín Ghetto. Though sobering and difficult to see, but these exhibits are an important and stark reminder of the once thriving Jewish community in Prague that is now a fraction of its original size because of the Holocaust.
On a happier note, if you get one thing out of this article, it should be this: soak in the city. Take a stroll without knowing exactly where you’re going, enjoy the architecture, the views over the Vltava, stop for a Pilsner or a Kingswood cider at any pub that sparks your interest, grab coffee and cake at a coffee shop that looks cozy, sit on a park bench or on the grass next to Letna Beer Garden. That is the Prague I love, and I think it is also the Prague you will love.