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The city of a hundred spires…
Prague is an irresistible city, abundant with gothic architecture, arched bridges which span the width of the Vltava River, skyscraping spires, historic castles, cobble-stoned streets, and a charming old-town crammed full with fairytale facades. It is an ideal (and very popular) place for a short city break, as all the main sights are easy to reach by foot or public transport, it is affordable, and there is no shortage of things to do and see. To ensure you don’t miss out, here is a list of 13 of the best things to see and do in Prague which you must not miss!
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1. Wander the Old Town
Prague has a magical Old Town where you can happily spend time losing yourself in the maze of cobble-stoned streets, and photographing the gothic architecture and charming facades. You can’t miss the stunning Church of Our Lady Before Týn, as it intimidates the Old Town Square (Staroměstské Náměstí). If you time it right, you will see Astronomical Clock that’s perched on the side of the Old Town Hall strike on the hour. Why not spend some time on the Old Town Square and perhaps stop for a Pilsner Urquell at one of the many restaurants, to soak up the warm atmosphere and enjoy the fairytale setting?
2. Stroll across Charles Bridge
Charles Bridge is the most famous bridge in Prague and dominates the Vltava River, connecting Prague as one. Walk the length of Charles Bridge, which throughout the day is alive with vendors and tourists, and take your time to look at the many religious baroque statues that line the walkway. You will want to photograph the Old Town Bridge Tower and Lesser Town Bridge Tower, which rise high above each end of the bridge.
3. Explore Prague Castle
If you continue through the arch of the gothic Lesser Town Bridge Tower on Charles Bridge, you will reach the charming area of Malá Strana. From here, wander up to Prague Castle and enjoy the views unfold across the city as you climb the steps up to the complex. Why not spend an afternoon exploring the area, taking your time to explore the Castle grounds, see St Vitus Cathedral, and wander down the quaint Golden Lane?
4. Cycle the banks of the Vltava River
The riverside walkways which span the Vltava River are a cycler’s paradise. There are various bicycle rental shops in Prague where you can easily rent a bicycle for an hour or two so you can spend a morning or afternoon enjoying the shoreline views. Another option would be for you to join a guided bicycle tour, but it can be fun to cycle off, map in hand, in pursuit of your own adventures because you never know what you might find!
Tip: I used Okolo Bike Rental and found the prices to be reasonable, service to be friendly and efficient, and the shop was near to the river for the start of the ride!
5. Shop at Havel’s Market
Located amongst the colourful buildings that line Havelská Street, Havel’s Market is a permanent outdoor marketplace covered by green and white striped awnings, which stocks items such as souvenirs, food, local produce, arts and crafts, and jewellery. It makes for a lovely place to spend a morning, and you will be able to pick up your souvenirs there (I don’t know about you, but I grab a magnet from EVERYWHERE I travel too)!
Tip: Prices for souvenir items seemed noticeably lower at Havel’s Market than in the shops throughout the Old Town. Therefore, I’d recommend you take a trip to Havel’s Market for your souvenirs as you may save a Koruna or two (and there’s a lovely lively atmosphere)!
6. Relax on Strelecky Island
Located in the centre of the Vltava River underneath Legion Bridge, Střelecký Island is a green paradise which offers uninterrupted views of Charles Bridge from north side of the waters edge. It is a tranquil place to sit for the afternoon and enjoy the views whilst watching on as people sail the river in pedalos shaped like classic cars (the same as the cars you will find around the Old Town offering sightseeing tours)!
Tip: To get down onto Střelecký Island, you’ll need to walk across Legion Bridge where you will find some stairs around halfway across. These will take you down onto the island, where you will also find a play area, green spaces overlooked by intimidating trees and cafes.
7. Climb up Petrin Lookout Tower
Petřín Lookout Tower replicates the Eifel Tower on one fifth of the scale. You can take a tram up Petřín Hill, to reach the gardens below Petřín Lookout Tower. Climbing all the 299 steps up to the summit of Petřín Lookout Tower (whilst the structure wobbles in the wind) affords panoramic views across Prague, the Vltava River and the surrounding areas, and is definitely not to be missed! Once at the peak, you will be at the same altitude as the Eifel Tower (given that it is constructed on top of a hill)!
8. Indulge in a Chimney Cake
Throughout the Old Town, the sweet and irresistible smell of Chimney Cakes baking on an open fire fills the air. There is no shortage of shops in Prague where you can grab one of these traditional sugar-dusted treats, which you can have plain or filled with various fillings, including sauces, toppings and ice cream! Who says a dessert for breakfast, lunch or dinner is a bad thing?!
9. Enjoy an afternoon at Letna Beer Garden
Letná Beer Garden is a cheerful place to spend a sunny afternoon outdoors drinking local beer, purchased from one of the kiosks whilst sat on a picnic bench beneath the trees. Located in Letná Park, it is a great vantage point for views across the Vltava River, Prague and beyond, where you can meet locals and travellers alike!
Tip: To get to Letná Beer Garden, you can climb the steps and hilly walkway that can be found directly across Štefanik Bridge or via tram by stopping at Letenské náměstí. Letná Beer Garden is usually open from spring to autumn (until it gets to wintery).
10. Visit the vibrant John Lennon Wall
A brightly coloured visual tribute to John Lennon, this wall layered in graffiti is inspired by all things The Beatles, peace, love and rock ‘n’ roll. You may head across a little padlock-cladded bridge on your way, before reaching the area that oozes calm vibes. The wall makes for a perfect backdrop to grab a funky snap or two for your holiday photo album!
11. See the funky Dancing House
Located on the banks of the Vltava River, The Dancing House is a curvaceous piece of modern architecture surrounded by traditional baroque and gothic facades. If you take a gentle south-bound stroll down the riverside, you will find this quirky building (it’s difference makes it worth a look)!
12. Wander Wenceslas Square
Wenceslas Square is a bustling boulevard, hemmed in by the grand Národní Museum at one end and forming a gateway towards the Old Town at the other. It is the ideal place to rest your feet after a morning wandering and stop for a spot of brunch, as there is no shortage of eateries and bars.
13. Enjoy the Prague nightlife
Alongside its magical fairytale setting, Prague is famed for its nightlife. From buzzing clubs to chic bars to local pubs, there is no shortage of options to suit everyone. If you like a good old happy hour like me (I mean, who wouldn’t because it means you save money?), you will be in your element in Prague. There are many bars where you can enjoy a bargain buy one get one free cocktail between certain hours, before heading off to a quiet pub to enjoy a pint of Staropramen after a busy day of sightseeing!