Planning your trip to Prague? Well, be prepared to enter into a world of castles, cobbles, and beer that’s cheaper than water. It’s gothic architecture and vibrancy make the Czech capital a must-go-to place, and right now it’s pretty hot on the map. The Vltava river weaves through it and spires on buildings can be seen from nearly everywhere. It’s truly beautiful and definitely one of those places you could go to a billion times and still see something new so there’s a lot to fit in for your first time visiting Prague!
With over 10 districts and loads of history, food, beer and castles to explore, it can be tricky to know where to start. Here’s my guide to seeing the top things to do in Prague, perfect for a long weekend there and for your first time in Prague.
Transport around Prague
There are no direct transport links between the Václav Havel airpot and the centre of Prague, but it’s still pretty easy to get there. You will need to get either bus 119 to the Nadrazi Veleslavin Metro station (line A) or bus 100 to Zlicin Metro station (line B), then hop on one of those to wherever you need to be.
The city is easy to explore by foot but if you’re looking for a quicker alternative, Prague has an excellent Metro, bus and tram network that stretches all across the city. Tickets for public transport can be bought lasting for 30 mins, 90 mins, 1 day, 3 days or a month and can be used across all means of transport. To find out more information about this, take a look at the Prague Tourism site.
When you buy a ticket you must validate it using the machines near or on your chosen choice of transport. There are a shit tonne of inspectors and if you haven’t validated it they will literally frog march you to a cash machine to pay a fine. It all sounds very dodgy and unofficial and pretty scam-like, but you will not get out of paying them. So, whatever you do, DO NOT FORGET TO VALIDATE YOUR TICKET!
Top things to do on your first time visiting Prague
1) Old Town Square and the Astronomical Clock
Old Town Square is the part of Prague you will have most likely seen in photos. This square is simply stunning and has some of the most beautiful architecture in the city. It’s home to the beautiful gothic church Our Lady Before Tyn, and of course the famous Astronomical Clock. This clock has been here for over 600 years and gives its full show on the hour every hour. It has a lot of history and has a story and meaning behind it. I would recommend taking a free walking tour to learn more about it.
2) Charles Bridge and the Old Town Bridge Tower
I LOVE this bridge. Some people have a thing for doors and some people have a thing for bridges (ok, so I’m both but whatever), and this bridge is one hell of a beauty. It stretches over the Vltava River and connects the Lesser District of Prague to the beautiful Castle District. The Bridge is named after King Charles IV who instructed the bridge to be built in the 14th century and is decorated with 30 different statues depicting Patron Saints. You walk across it through the beautiful gothic Town Bridge Tower and along the way you will see the statue of St John with a rather shiny plaque which is said to bring you luck if you touch it. When in Prague and all that…
3) The Powder Tower
This is one of the original gates in the city and I love it. I think I just have a thing for gothic architecture! It gets its name from when it use to be used to hold gunpowder during the 17th century but today it contains an exhibition about the Prague Towers.
4) Prague Castle
Just in case this city didn’t already look like a real-life fairy tale, there’s a castle to add to the mix. It was built in the 9th century and is the largest medieval castle in Europe with the most iconic building on this estate being the amazing St. Vitus Cathedral. The castle was originally home to the Kings of the state but today the president of Prague uses it. The area also has a number of gardens, a microbrewery, the colourful golden lane of miniature houses, Deer Moat and a Toy Shop. Bit weird, but outside the toy shop is a statue of a small boy and it’s apparently lucky to give his penis a rub. Seems to be a bit of a trend with statues in Prague.
It’s easy to spend a whole afternoon exploring this area of the city and to make the most of it I would recommend going with a tour guide. Sandeman’s offer this as a paid tour at a reasonable price and I thought it was well worth it! Also, you will need a transport pass to get up to the castle on the tram. Make sure you validate your ticket!
5) John Lennon Wall
If you love street art when taking some time to soak in the John Lennon Wall is a must. It may seem a bit unexpected to find a wall dedicated to John Lennon in Prague, but it was symbol created by lots of young people who were defying the communist authorities in the 1980s. Pop Music was banned during this time but John Lennon was idolised by many and when he was assassinated, the wall was created as a memorial to him and a huge message against the communists.
6) Petrin Hill and Tower
A trip up Petrin Hiss is a fantastic walk with a fantastic view of Prague at the top. You will walk through loads of beautiful gardens and at the top there is Prague’s answer to the Eiffel Tower. Here you can walk to the top and get an even better view of the city. It cost just ISK120 to go up the tower and is a winding staircase of 299 steps to the top. Even if you don’t have a head for heights it’s a great spot to scoff an ice cream. If you can’t face the walk down there is also a cable car to take you to the bottom.
7) Try a Trdelník
You may not know them by their name, but you will see this awesome sweet treats everywhere in Prague. These doughnut-like twists are delicious, warm and can come with Nutella inside them. They are amazing and I miss them every day now I’m not in Prague to scoff one down as I wander along.
8) The Old Jewish Quarter (Josefov)
The history of the Jewish people in Prague is a tragic one as I’m sure you will be aware. in the 13th century, the Jewish people were forced to leave their homes and move into one area of the city together. When the Nazi regime took over about 90% of the Jewish population were killed. Ironically, Hitler wanted to create a museum to remember the ‘destroyed’ Jewish race, but today there are museums to preserve their treasures and a number of synagogues (including the Old-New Synagogue which is the oldest in Europe) and the cemetery. This area has a completely different feel to it compared to the rest of the city and is somewhere you should definitely spend some time soaking in.
9) The Dancing House
To be honest, this building is far cooler from the outside than the inside. But it is one of a kind so worth a walk past. It’s located near the river as well so it’s a nice walk to it.
10) Churches and Synagogues
There are so many beautiful religious buildings in Prague and each has their own beauty about them. They’re well worth a look in as you make your way around the city. My favourite story about one is that there is a shrivelled up very old dead hand hanging from the wall in which is rumoured to be that of a thief who tried to steal some jewels from the Madonna in the Church! So brilliantly gross!
11) Wencelas Square
Ok, so not gonna lie, this is a bit of a confusing one for me because it’s not really a square but more if a street. It’s where tonnes of hotels, restaurants and bars are located so a good place to aim for!
12) Prague Golf and Games
So not exactly a well-known attraction but I really liked it because I’m a big kid and I don’t want to grow up! Basically, it’s glow in the dark mini golf and you get 2 free beers when you buy an entrance ticket, so it’s a win-win if you ask me! They also have an escape room game which would be a great thing to do if you’re part of a decent sized group.
Where to eat in Prague
Prague is teaming with cafes, restaurants and bars, offering some delicious food. Whether you want traditional dishes or some of your favourite comfort foods, there’s a big variety. Here are some of the restaurants I ate at:
Marina Ristorante – This is an Italian restaurant on a boat. What a better place to have a chilled out part of the day! The food is delicious and has a very acceptable price tag!
U Parliamentu – A great place for a snack or a main meal with lots of choices of traditional Czech food to try.
Dish – This places honestly served up one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. It’s not a massive restaurant and it gets crazy busy, so if you wanna go, I would recommend booking!
Beer in Prague
I think it’s fair to say that beer is a pretty big thing in Europe and Prague is one of the best places to sample a great selection. Not only is it cheaper than water (eep, hand me the panadol already), it’s part of the whole experience and tasting some local beers is something you have to do on your first time visiting Prague
The King of beer in Prague is Pilsner, the local pale ale but there are a tonne of others to try and lots of bars do tasting trays. The average size of a beer is about the size of your head and costs the equivalent of wait for it…80p! It would be rude not to try a few then, right?
Have you been to Prague? Tell me about your trip in the comments below!