Old Town Prague: What to do
January 1, 1970
by Kiara Isabelle Mijares
One of the many reasons I really insisted on myself to go to Prague for my Euro-Trip was because I knew about 5 people who wouldn’t stop recommending it. I’ve always loved new places and wouldn’t mind going to a place historically influenced by Eastern Europe (geographically, they’re in the centre area).
More than that, I also read tons of blog articles about the place, and the absolute must-do’s. I was so hooked by the time I finished, that I had to absolutely go there.
Believe me, Prague did not disappoint – the architecture is beautiful, coffee was amazing, and beer was everywhere.
For the purpose of this post, I’ll be showing you around only places in the Old Town which is also the City Centre.
#1. Look at the Astronomical Clock
The Astronomical Clock was only one of the few astronomical towers that were not modified according to modern science. What was so interesting about seeing it, is that our tour guide kept joking about how sometimes the clock would just stop working.
Since it’s been there since the middle ages, the clock has been designed for the old calendar and no longer applies to our own. What’s more interesting is that in the hours of 11am and 11pm everyday, the clock would randomly play a tune, and have a little show.
It’s been like that for centuries and although it would only last for about a minute, the show was something tourists still flocked to see.
#2. Walk around the Main Square
The entire square is decorated with coffee shops that could go on for miles as well as restaurants. There’s so much history going on in the square which makes it a treasure chest for pickpockets. One of the things that the Czech like to warn you about is the many people who would like to deceive tourists, and steal small trinkets from them. Going around the square, one should always be careful on what to carry with them.
There are cathedrals that are littered all over the place, as well as coffee shops that serve great coffee with ice cream. One of the many attractions in the square is the music all around it and if you’re a music lover like me, going around the square by the time sunset hits and jazz players everywhere, it’s magical. There’s so much activity going around in the main square that even the small alleyways to be discovered are bustling with energy.
I was able to talk to a local there who recommended eating at Lokal, a local restaurant where not many tourists go to but they serve the best Beef Goulash in town (Prague’s speciality meal). I did find it since it was only a 5-minute walk from the main square, and it was probably the best goulash I’ve had my entire life. I strongly recommend people find this place and try for themselves.
#3. Have beer at a local pub
If there’s one thing that you simply can’t miss while in the Czech Republic, it’s this: Beer.
Prague has changed my standards in beer forever. It’s so common for everyone to be drinking beer everyday that on average, locals drink about 1.5 litres.
Plus, they don’t have an age limit when it comes to drinking, so it’s pretty common for parents to allow their kids to drink some beer.
There’s so many places to drink beer to choose from in the city, that I was lucky our tour guide recommended a really good place to try. They have so many varieties of beer, from light to dark, malt & non-malt, and also alcohol & non-alcoholic. It’s also crazy cheap to buy beer in Prague and has a big difference compared to water! Half a litre of beer would be about one euro, a litre would be two euros, and a bottle of water would be about three euros.
#4. Watch an Opera Show or Theatre Play
The Czech are crazy about plays as they are about beer. They have so many plays available during the day that it’s nearly impossible to go around them all.
What I’ve noticed is that they also aren’t choosy about what people wear to watch these plays, sometimes girls go watch while wearing a crop top and shorts. Since watching plays are so common here, they have them also in different languages to accommodate the tourists.
One of my favourite buildings in the entire city is the Opera House (pictured) because it’s so grand — especially on the inside — and since they love advertising their local bands, finding music all over the Opera House isn’t difficult.
#5. Go to the President’s Palace
From the Opera House, it’s not hard to take a tram ride going to the President’s palace. The entrance is free of charge to the public and even though people can only explore about 25% of the entire place, there’s still so much you can do. There are coffee shops inside, you can stroll through the vast gardens, watch the stationary guards, and simply walk around with a stunning view to guide you.
When going around the palace, it was pretty interesting to see people protest against the President. One man there who has become pretty famous around the local newspaper has been standing outside the palace for about seven years, in protest for his legal rights.
The reason was not very clear but our tour guide emphasised that protesting has become pretty common around Prague. Nevertheless, the entire palace was beautiful and huge. They literally had a little village inside of it, to preserve what houses looked like in the past.
#6. Step inside St. Vitus’ Cathedral
The cathedral was inspired by Paris’ Cathedral de Notre Dame which was evident especially in its front portion. Inside, however was different because instead of a Gothic revival like Notre Dame’s, the Czech had wanted something uniquely their own. Since they were also popular for their stained glass windows all over town, the entire cathedral was covered in it. The windows displayed several coloured themes per portion and created a rainbow effect inside.
For any tourist, it’s really worth visiting and what’s great about it, is that it’s just inside the President’s palace.
#7. Stroll around the Gardens
In finding your way out of the President’s palace, you’ll come across a garden. The garden overlooks the entire city of Praha (as the locals call it), and gives you a stunning view. It also affords the opportunity to wander around and see the magic of the city for yourself since this is the part of town that’s not always visited.
In the photo, you can clearly see that almost all the houses are identical in this portion and that’s because Praha used to be divided — meaning, the rich wanted to live a separate life from the poor, that’s why you have to literally cross a bridge just to get to this side of the town.
According to our guide, this is still part of the Old Town, so present day Prague would have a lot of tourists flocking all over this place. When we went around it, we saw more churches and restaurants to choose from and at a much cheaper rate than those near the Astronomical Clock.
#8. Try Trdelnik
Surprisingly, this famous Czech pastry did not originate from the Czech Republic. Our tour guide retaliates by saying that no one knew who started making this delicacy but they have a crazy suspicion that it came from Slovenia or Poland.
It’s famous for having crazy amounts of Nutella and fruits with whipped cream but since I’m allergic to nuts, I had to ask the lady if she could make me a new dough that had no nuts in it. It’s still really really good and another tourist whom I met at the line for this told me that even with the copious amount of sweets, it wasn’t very sweet that you wouldn’t want to finish the whole thing.
The one I found was also recommended by our tour guide who said that the best pastry are always those in alleyways. This stall didn’t have a name, but it’s located really near the local market at Old Town (this isn’t hard, there’s only one market).