Bohemian crystal, Gothic castles and Baroque churches, Prague is a page out of a storybook. This World Heritage City is a jewel box of historic treasures. As you explore Prague’s cobblestone streets, you’ll soon realise that you need at least 3 days in Prague, but there’s a good chance you’ll want to stay longer. If it’s your first time visiting Prague, here are some of the best things to do in Prague to get you started.
- 15 Incredible Things to do in Prague
- 1- Walk Prague’s Charles Bridge
- 2- Take a tour of Prague’s Astronomical Clock
- 3- Wander around Prague’s Old Town
- 4- Smell the roses at Vrboska Zahrada
- 5- Explore Prague Castle
- 6- Pose in front of John Lennon’s Peace Wall
- 7- Pay homage to the Jewish Quarter
- 8- Seek solace in the Baroque St Nicholas’ Church
- 9- Hunt for Bohemian Crystal
- 10- Stroll along the Vltava River
- 11- Embark on a bike tour around the city
- 12- Experience a scenic river cruise
- 13- Party at the five-storey nightclub
- 14- Visit the fantastic dancing house of Prague
- 15- Drink a world-famous beer
- Where to stay in Prague
- 15 Incredible Things to do in Prague
15 Incredible Things to do in Prague
1- Walk Prague’s Charles Bridge
During the day, the bridge is a bustling hive of activity. Street musicians compete with artisans hawking jewellery, paintings, and Bohemian glass trinkets.
You may have to fight your way past the crowd gathered around the statue of St. John of Nepomuk, a Czech martyr saint who was thrown off the Charles Bridge into the Vltava River during the reign of King Wenceslas IV.
People queue up to touch this statue for good luck.
At night, the musicians come to life, and the bridge becomes a party strip beneath the sinister shadows of the statues and Gothic towers.
According to the Czech writer Milan Kundera, “The thousands of saints looking out from all sides, threatening you, following you, hypnotizing you, are the raging hordes of occupiers who invaded Bohemia 350 years ago to tear the people’s faith and language from their hearts.”
This Gothic stone bridge was built in 1357 for the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. It straddles the Vltava River and connects the Old Town with Mala Strana.
Legend has it that egg yolks were mixed into the mortar to strengthen the construction of the bridge, and as Charles Bridge has indeed survived many floods – including the recent August 2002 flood, which was their worst in 500 years – perhaps the egg yolks were a good idea!
2- Take a tour of Prague’s Astronomical Clock
The 15th-century astronomical clock is Prague’s central meeting point and a distinctive distinguishing feature of this architecturally stunning city.
Each hour, crowds gather beneath the clock to watch the moving apostles appear in its windows.
The clock itself has two round faces – an impressive circular sphere that measures the time and shows the movement of the sun around the earth, and below it, a calendar with paintings of Czech rural life painted by artist Josef Manes.
Join the queue to go up to the top of the Old Town Hall tower, where you can sit and soak in the magnificent views of the city.
3- Wander around Prague’s Old Town
While this is the throbbing heart of Prague’s tourist activities with rows of restaurants and quaint shops,
Prague’s Old Town manages to retain a Disney-like quality with horse-drawn carriages, colourful street performers and buildings that resemble a movie set.
A maze of interesting side streets leads out of Prague’s old town square, where you can wander around for hours admiring the architecture and browsing through shops.
There are many stalls that sell puppets, dolls, original paintings of Prague, and cast iron souvenirs.
At night, the buildings are all lit up like a Bohemian fairyland and provide an enchanting backdrop for one of Prague’s many evening outdoor concerts.
4- Smell the roses at Vrboska Zahrada
This Baroque garden is a unique architectural gem built on a steep hillside and is secreted behind high walls in Karmelitska Street in Mala Strana.
Its Italian-style terrace garden was built in 1715 for Jan Joseph, the earl of Vrtba. The gardens are terraced, and each level is supported by curved walls and connected to the next with sweeping staircases.
The lower part of the garden has an aviary and a neat circular pool surrounded by islands of trimmed hedges. Throughout the various levels, there are frescoes, statues, sculpted hedges, scenic walls and sweeping staircases.
The view over Prague changes as you ascend each level of the garden. At the top, the garden narrows, and there is a seat where you can sit and admire the spires, domes and rooftops of Prague.
5- Explore Prague Castle
This ancient castle, which dates back to AD 880, has been the seat of the Czech government since Prince Borivoj founded the first fortified settlement on these grounds.
The castle sits proudly on a hill dominating the river skyline and qualifies as the largest ancient castle in the world.
History and architecture merge to make Prague Castle an awe-inspiring symbol of ancient splendour.
You can spend days wandering through the serene halls of St. George’s Basilica, the Gothic grandeur of St. Vitus Cathedral, and the castle’s magnificent sweeping grounds and palatial quarters.
6- Pose in front of John Lennon’s Peace Wall
Tucked away in a quiet square amidst the baroque architecture of Prague’s diplomatic quarter, you’ll find John Lennon’s Peace Wall.
Although Lennon never visited Prague, he was worshipped as a pacifist hero for Czech youth.
After Lennon was assassinated, young locals painted a 180cm tall portrait of him on the wall in an artistic form of graffiti.
For the next decade, this wall became a gathering place for those that opposed the communist regime and the oppression it represented.
Even though the government continually painted over the wall, John Lennon’s portrait would always magically reappear.
Lennon’s face, surrounded by anti-totalitarian graffiti, is still there, left alone by the new regime.
7- Pay homage to the Jewish Quarter
Recently listed on the World Heritage list, the Jewish Quarter has a rich history dating back to the 10th century.
At the time, Jews lived below Prague Castle in what is now the Lesser Quarter.
Their community grew over the centuries to form a Jewish Town – with its own representative authority, the court system and extensive autonomy – that was divided from the Christian town by a wall.
Named after the emperor Josef II, whose reforms helped to ease living conditions for the Jewish, the Jewish Quarter contains the remains of Prague’s former Jewish ghetto, which was once the largest Jewish settlement in Europe.
Sights worth visiting are St Procopius Basilica (built as part of the Benedictine monastery in the early thirteenth century), the Old-New Synagogue (which is Europe’s oldest working synagogue) and the Old Jewish Cemetery (Europe’s oldest surviving Jewish burial ground).
The cemetery has thousands of crumbling stones from as many as 100,000 graves.
8- Seek solace in the Baroque St Nicholas’ Church
Prague has many elaborate Baroque churches that were designed to impress the common folk with the power and richness of the Jesuit faith.
They come complete with original statues and ceiling frescoes.
St Nicholas’ Church took 80 years to complete and has so many statues it could easily take an afternoon to explore.
Mozart himself tinkled on the ivories of this 2500-pipe organ.
9- Hunt for Bohemian Crystal
Bohemian crystal glassware artwork originated in the 17th century when Italian and German cutters joined the court of King Rudolf II and began to cut the natural crystal found throughout the Czech Republic.
Bohemian crystal became well-known all around the world, and attempts to imitate it were unsuccessful until English lead crystal was discovered.
In Prague, you can buy beautiful vases, wine glasses, plates, bowls, decanters, and other glassware in both traditional and contemporary glass designs.
10- Stroll along the Vltava River
The Vltava River flows from the southern border of the Czech Republic through the centre of Prague all the way to its northern border.
It divides Prague into two – the eastern bank where the Old Town is located and the western bank where Prague Castle stands.
Enjoy the views of Prague’s skyline lit up against the night sky as you glide along the Vltava River past Prague Castle, the Vysehrad area and the National Theatre while tucking into a three-course buffet dinner.
Cesky Krumlov is a lovely spot to visit near Prague. Here are some things to do in Cesky Krumlov.
If you’re planning on spending more time in Europe, hop aboard a Eurail train to Zurich. Here are some things to do in Zurich.
Then head to the Jungfrau Mountain, Switzerland for stunning views.
11- Embark on a bike tour around the city
Providing a balance of adventure and history, a bike tour is one of the most amazing ways to see the beautiful city of Prague.
Ride around Prague’s most iconic sites, including the Charles Bridge, Prague Castle and the John Lennon Peace Wall and experience the best that this city has to offer.
You’ll get the opportunity to learn about the fascinating history, legends and stories that make Prague so unique, as well as visit some secret hotspots that only the locals know.
Become immersed in the enchanting city, discover some of the top landmarks and experience Prague culture at its finest.
Best of all, Prague bike tours provide some excellent photo opportunities with panoramic views of the city and the iconic river. Bring your camera along.
And if you’ve eaten too much pork knuckle, you can enjoy burning off some extra calories while taking in the picturesque landscapes.
It’s a win, win!
Prague bike tours cater to riders of all skill levels, from beginner to advance, and include plenty of stops and drink breaks along the picturesque trail. Or, if you want to pick up the pace, there are a range of tandem and e-bike tours on offer.
Insider tip: Bring along a permanent marker to sign your name on the John Lennon Peace wall.
12- Experience a scenic river cruise
Embark on a scenic river cruise along the breathtaking Vltava.
Offering a unique way to see the sights and monuments of Prague, river cruises provide a tranquil and insightful holiday experience.
Sit back and relax, learn about Prague’s historical buildings from the onboard guide and see the gothic city from a unique perspective.
Many of Prague’s scenic river cruises include a traditional Czech lunch or dinner and drinks, depending on the time of day you choose to cruise.
Prague river cruises range in length, however, typically last for three hours.
From basic sightseeing cruises to luxurious cruise experiences, there’s a range of Prague river cruises to suit every style and budget.
Prague River Cruises are offered in English as well as many other languages.
13- Party at the five-storey nightclub
If you want to experience the best of Prague’s nightlife, Club Karlovy Lazne is a must-visit venue.
Holding the title of the largest music club in Prague and Central Europe, Club Karlovy Lazne is an unforgettable night out.
Located beside the iconic Charles Bridge, Club Karlovy Lazne was once a 14th-century bathhouse.
Today, the building has transformed into a five-storey nightclub that plays different genres of music across each floor.
From mainstream music to techno and hip hop, there is something for everyone at Club Karlovy Lazne.
The historic building has retained some of the original bathhouse features, including mosaic wall tiling and Roman baths that are now dance floors.
While the club is a popular tourist attraction, it is frequently visited by locals as well.
Open from 9.00 pm until 5:00 am, you can dance the night away and experience the thrill of Prague’s nightlife at the incredible Club Karlovy Lazne.
14- Visit the fantastic dancing house of Prague
A striking seven-storey building in the heart of the city, the Dancing House is one of Prague’s top attractions.
A must-visit location on any Prague holiday, the Dancing House is located right by the Vltava River.
Built in 1996 by Croatian-Czech architects Vlado Milunic and Gehry, the building is renowned for its unusual shape and curvy outlines that resemble the famous film couple Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.
It was originally named “Fred and Ginger” until the locals dubbed it the dancing house.
Some locals even call it “the drunk house” as the curved lines symbolize a boozy night out in Prague.
You can visit this iconic landmark by staying at the newly opened luxury hotel or dine at the spectacular French restaurant located on the top floor.
The restaurant offers breathtaking views of the Vltava River and Prague Castle, so be sure to take your camera along!
Insider tip: Visit the restaurant just before sunset to watch the beautiful sky turn orange before setting below the horizon. You can then view the city light up and sparkle over the Vltava River.
15- Drink a world-famous beer
It’s no secret that the Czechs love their beer, they even claim to have the best beer, or should we say “pivo” in the world.
Therefore, you cannot go to Prague without sampling some delicious pivo and with a variety of bars and micro-breweries, there are plenty of options available.
Some of Prague’s most famous beers include Pilsner, Budvar and Staropramen, which are light beers brewed naturally from hand-picked hops.
These beers are sold all over the world and taste their best when consumed in the enchanting city of Prague.
Experience the delicious brews for yourself, and be sure to pair them with some local Czech snacks, including dumplings and sumptuous pork knuckle.
For the best Czech beer experience, sign up to a local brewery tour and learn about the process of creating these world-famous beers.
Where to stay in Prague
Enjoy the river at the Riverside Hotel, which is located on the western bank of the Vltava River, just two bridges from Charles Bridge. This boutique hotel has an Art Nouveau facade and is decorated in Belle Époque style with luxurious custom-made furnishings.
Mandarin Oriental Prague is a five-star luxury hotel in Mala Strana. Part of the hotel occupies a former monastery. Most rooms offer fairy tale views of the city’s towers and turrets.