Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Its nickname is the city of a hundred spires because of the many it has. Along with a rich and in some parts dark history, food and drink culture and stunning architecture, Prague is definitely a city worth seeing.
I have visited the city twice now and feel I can create a very extensive guide to this city. So if you haven’t been and are planning a trip to Prague, here is everything you need to know!
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Before going to Prague here are some things you’ll need to know to ahead of visiting the Czech capital.
The local currency in the Czech is Czech Koruna, (Often called Czech Crowns). Some places may take Euros but the majority only take the local currency and almost everywhere took cards too. Right now for £1, you get 28czk which is an easyish way to work out the conversion rate.
We had no issues with the language barrier in Prague as everyone spoke perfect English, however, it wouldn’t hurt to learn phrases like hello, thank you and goodbye before you go.
Prague is beautiful all year round but there are seasons which are better than others. Spring is nice and the tourist attractions are generally open without all the tourists yet. But weekends can be quite busy. During the summer, and especially the summer holidays, the city is packed. Honestly, I avoid travelling during this time for this exact reason. I remember seeing photos from Prague in august this year and it looked like people-soup…
The autumn is my favourite time to travel, just after the summer when the days are still long and the sun is shining but most of the tourists are gone. And of course, Prague is famous for its Christmas Market which generally starts the last weekend of November.
Getting around Prague is really easy. Most of the main attractions are within walking distance of each other but if you do need to use public transport, its famous trams and hidden underground subway system is very easy to use. The city works in zones, and your tickets run on time; 30 minutes, 45, 60 and 90, On the various ticket machines, you can put in your final destination (make sure to use the Czech spelling!) and it will print out a route for how to get there with what number bus or tram to get, what time they will arrive and depart etc. All you need to do is verify it on the platform, or busses had the verification box on there. For the 30 minute journeys we did i think it cost 30czk each, so about £1.
Must-see sights in Prague
Prague is full of beautiful sites that are unique to the city. So here is the list of things you just have to do when you come to Prague.
There are three truly iconic sites in Prague, and Prague Castle is one of them. Visible from most of the city, this castle sits on a hill above the west bank of the River Vltava. Right in the middle of the castle complex sits the St Vitus Cathedral.
The castle was first built in the 9th century and has grown to be the size of 7 football pitches as different rulers added parts to the complex. Prague Castle was the foundation of the city for many years.
In order to gain access to the complex you will need to go through a security checkpoint. it is a bit like going to the airport, but a lot less invasive!
Once you’re through you can head through and buy your tickets. There are a few different parts where you can buy them but I would recommend either of the two ticket offices on the west side of the complex. This way you can start your tour of the various areas easily.
There are a few different tickets you can get:
If you chose to do everything then the price will rack up quite quickly so what I suggest you do, to simply see the best parts of the castle is the Prague Castle Circuit. With this, you get to visit the impressive St Vitus Cathedral, the St Georges Basilica, the Old Royal Palace and my favourite part, Golden Lane which was a small street with little shops and houses lining it.
If you really want to take photographs inside the places then you will need a photography pass for 50czk (but no one was checking, so I won’t tell if you don’t!).
They also had audioguides available but we felt there was enough information around the site that we didn’t need one. So again if you want to take in absolutely every single part of this site then go for it. But you won’t have a lesser experience if you don’t.
This is the second and arguably the most iconic location in Prague. It was built back in 1357 and was the only bridge over the River Vltava until 1741. Charles Bridge is known for its silhouettes along the wall and views of Prague Castle. You may also spot halfway along on the north side, a load of people rubbing a bronze statue. Legend has it, if you rub this statue of St John of Nepomuk, you will one day return to Prague. So save this til the last day encase you have a shit time!
While it is a beautiful place to visit, if you try and walk across it at peak times i.e. midday, weekends, etc, you will run into every other person in Prague!
Top Tip: Visit Charles Bridge early morning, or in the evening for bliss shots!
It is also, so much better to get a view of it from the eastern bank as you will get Prague Castle in the background too. And be careful of your pockets here, because it is such a tourist trap there are a lot of sketchy people here so be aware of pickpocketers and street scammers.
Old Town Square, Prague
The main square in Prague is a truly beautiful part of Prague and is really the epicentre of the city. While today the cobblestoned square is lined with churches, restaurants and shops, in the 10th century, settlers started living from over the river Vltava in Prague Castle. From the square, there are a few key pieces you have to see.
The Astronomical Clock on the Old Town Square in Prague was a feat of technological genius when it first was unveiled 600 years ago. And while tourists will stand and watch its 60-second chime every hour (between 9am and 9pm) there is a lot of symbolism in the figures surrounding the clock. the four at the top represent the biggest social issues of the 15th century: Vanity stands with a mirror, Greed with a moneybag, Death manifests as a skeleton and Pagan Invasion as a Turk stand above the Chronicler, Angle, Astronomer and Philosopher. On the hour, Death rings the bell before the twelve apostles dance around.
It’s worth seeing, once… But the Astronomical Clock is a very beautiful thing to see and worth stopping by. You can also choose to climb the tower, (or use a lift) and get some pretty good views over Prague from the top. This will cost 250czk to do.
Church of our lady before Tyn
The other key sights from the square are the twin steeples of the Church of our Lady before Tyn. It was initially built in the 14th century and has been undergoing renovations just about ever since!
You can go into this Church for free but it is very impressive from the outside. You can also book on to tours of the site if you wanted to learn more about its long history.
Petrin is one of those sites that is a must-visit but I do feel a lot of people tend to overlook this site. Petrin Hill offers you stunning views over the baroque district of Prague’s little quarter, to Prague Castle and down to the River Vltava.
There is a funicular up the hill, but it’s much more fun if you burn your lungs and knees off by walking up the hill!
Petrin is the last large green space in Prague and it really is a breath of fresh air and a chance to escape the city. At the top of the hill is the fake Eiffel tower, the Petrin Lookout Tower. it costs 150czk to go up, and a further 150czk if you want to use the lift as opposed to walking climbing the 55m high tower by the stairs.
We chose not to do it as the views from the hill itself are just as stunning.
Also at the top is a mirror maze but after looking at its reviews on google we gave it a miss so I cannot really say much more than that.
In the park, there is also a memorial to the victims of communism. Somehow I have managed to miss this both times while in Prague but it does look like a truly harrowing series of bronze statues which pay tribute to the dark history of Prague.
The Lennon Wall
The Lennon Wall in Prague has been a place of peaceful protest and a way for people to voice their opinions and anguish since the 80s. Throughout the years, the wall has been painted and covered with activists using it to peacefully protest things like climate change and other global crises.
Now there is a museum and a gift shop around the corner from the wall, but honestly, it is just a great space to visit. It also makes a really cool background for selfies!
If you are coming, don’t forget to bring a pen or some chalk to leave a little message of your own!
The Jewish Museum in Prague is a really interesting place to visit, even if you aren’t Jewish.
There are a few tickets you can buy that cover a few different things but I would recommend getting the basic ticket which will have all the most interesting elements included. These are the Holocaust Memorial and the Jewish Cemetary.
The Holocaust memorial is the most shocking visual representation of all the people who lost their lives. It is a room whereby every single wall is covered in the names of those who were killed. Just names. And the walls are covered. It’s a very good way to comprehend just how many people died.
The other interesting part is the Jewish Cemetary. For years, Jews were only allowed to be buried in Prague in this one cemetery. So naturally, the cemetery got full. When this happened, they had to stack more bodies and graves on top of the ones there.
Present day, you can see 12,000 tombstones on the surface level, but underneath there is more like 7x that.
Included in your ticket there are a few other synagogs which you can also visit. Your ticket is also valid for 7 days so if you don’t get time to do it all in one day you can go back to it later.
Hidden Gems Prague
As a general rule, I hate the term ‘hidden gem’ as what it usually means is, ‘I didn’t know it was here therefore it is not common knowledge‘. But since it is a bit of a buzzword I thought I would use it, but what I really mean is, things that many other bloggers and travellers seem to overlook, but you shouldn’t.
Vysehrad is often described as Prague’s Other Castle, which I think is a really sad way to describe what was perhaps my favourite part of Prague. As though it’s just an afterthought or a spare.
Early indications show that Vysehrad was first used nearly 1000 years ago but most of the remaining buildings are from the 18th century. Within this fortified citadel, you will find Prague’s oldest building dating back to the 11th century, a graveyard with the graves of some famous Czechs, and perhaps most importantly, some incredible views back over Prague.
If you get a particularly sunny day, or even better if you know there will be an incredible sunset, this is definitely somewhere to go for that reason!
I don’t think a lot of people know that the River Vltava has a few islands on it. There is one which is just south of Charles Bridge called Strelecky Island that you must visit on your trip for two reasons.
The first is that it offers very beautiful and somewhat peaceful views of Charles Bridge without all the tourists who will be on the bridge itself. On the north of the island, it is a very pretty place to just sit and take in the view.
The other reason is the number of nutria on this island. Although they are essentially huge water rats that look like mini capybaras, they are very cute little critters.
They have no natural predators in the city so their numbers have boomed in the last few years. So much so that there could be a call for action soon if they continue to grow in number and become a problem.
But regardless of this, they are very funny to look at and watch run about – just don’t feed them!
The Bastion which is south of Prague is another great place to take in the city of a hundred steeples. It is a small park which once served as part of the fortifications of Prague, however, now there are modern art statues throughout. But the main reason people come here is to sit and take in the view. It is also right next to Vysehrad so if you are heading there this is a great little extra place to stop by.
Sts Cyril and Methodius Church
For any WW2 history fans, then this is somewhere you have to visit. I will attempt to give a brief historical background.
Before the start of the war, in an attempt to not cause another war in Europe, the PM at the time Nevile Chamberlain and the leader of France and Italy got together and signed the Munich Agreement, which meant they literally handed over Czechoslovakia.
As a result of this, Prague was under the nazi rule from 1938, and things would get awful for the people of Prague. This got worse when a man called Reinhard Heydrich came to be in charge of Prague. In the nazi hierarchy, only Hitler and a few others were above him. He is most famous for his role in the extermination of Jews in Europe. He has later nicknamed the butcher of Prague.
In 1941, seven paratroopers were snuck into Prague with two of them being tasked to assassinate this man.
With the help and sacrifice of many who helped conceal these men, they succeeded in their attempt in the spring of 1942. The paratroopers were forced into hiding and the SS took out their anger on many in Czech with two villages from which rumour had spread the paratroopers were from. All men and boys over the age of 14 were murdered and all the women and children were sent to camps.
This whole situation came to a head when the SS found out the soldiers were hiding in the Church of St Cyrils and after 21 days of hiding in the basement, there was a violent standoff and all seven troopers were killed or committed suicide in the fighting.
There is a great free exhibit you can visit as well as the actual basement vault they hid in. It is a little dark and heavy, but well worth a visit!
Where to Eat and Drink in Prague
Prague is absolutely full of amazing eateries and, as the beer-drinking capital of the world, plenty of bars and drinking holes. But you have to know where to go and which spots are total tourist traps, and which aren’t.
Typical Prague cuisine is quite a meat and stodge based – a lot of bread or dumplings. But in most of the ‘Authentic Prague Cuisine’ restaurants around the city centre, the food is actually crap. I would highly recommend leaving the old town square and heading away from the touristy areas to find the best eateries.
The first time I was in Prague was before I went vegetarian and I do remember trying some kind of beef stew with bread, which was alright… But that was the only time I bothered trying the local food as that experience was average at best. Instead, we opted for international foods which have expanded a lot within the city. There are a lot of Italians especially. If you are ever in doubt, check google reviews before you go in, and generally anything less than a 4* is not worth your time or money.
You will however be spoilt for choice for nice bars and traditional pubs in Prague. But here are the best restaurant and bars that I have found:
If you’re after a quick easy bite to eat, plenty of drinks, great service, and somewhere to watch some spots then this is the place. It is loosely ‘Dutch’ themed, but really is it a sports bar with good food which won’t be too far from your comfort zone and local beer on tap. What else could you want?
I wish I had some kind of photo from this night to prove what happened. But this place feels almost like a speakeasy. Hidden in the basement of one of the hotels on Old Town Square this bar is hidden. There are rules you must follow in this establishment, one of which – no photos.
For a blogger, it was my actual nightmare, especially when the cocktails started coming out. Everything was created with thought and a dramatic flair. Shaun ordered one drink that has a literal flaming cinnamon stick on it!
If you can get in, this is a MUST VISIT in Prague!
The name is a bit of a mouthful, but this burger place in the heart of Prague was a really great stop for us. They did both meat and vegan burgers which is ideal and both were absolutely delicious. They did have a great cocktail menu but we didn’t get to try any because the night we went there fell on one of the nights I was rocking a two-day hangover from the cocktails of Black Angel’s bar the night before!
Although it is a little out of the way of the touristy places, Lights Coffee is an amazing place to stop and get caffeinated. Especially if you need a break from the tourist-rammed coffee spots in the centre of Prague. The decor is lovely and the coffee was absolutely delicious.
I have saved the best til (almost) last. This pizza spot is just around the corner from the Lennon Wall, so you might expect it to be tourist trash. But it is actually fresh homemade pizzas made to order with incredible ingredients, friendly staff and a great atmosphere. If you’re craving a delicious pizza while you’re in Prague, this is the place to visit!
I mean, did you really think you would get through one of my guides to a European destination and not have a hard rock?
The one here in Prague is very similar to all the others, but you know that you are absolutely going to get a great meal and amazing service. I opted for their veggie fajitas, and Shaun their ribs. Both were delicious and we wolfed down a chocolate brownie dessert to share too because why not!
Day Trips from Prague
Although Prague Zoo is still technically in Prague, it will take you the better part of a day to get there and explore the surprisingly massive zoo!
Getting there was pretty easy on public transport. the metro doesn’t go all the way there but there is a bus that does which is very clearly the bus to the zoo, the 119. Prague is set up for tourists so you should be able to find your way. And if all else fails, get an uber!
The zoo costs 250czk to get in. So roughly £10 which is dirt cheap compared to many others I have been to,*cough cough, Edinburgh…*
Prague Zoo has recently won a Trip Advisor award for the best Zoo in continental Europe, and it’s very obvious to see why. Not only were there over 5000 animals living there, but 560 of them are endangered animals that are thriving in the zoo.
There were so many amazing animals, and I thought the indoor pavilion areas were really well set out too. So many of them were just open so you could walk through the animals and in theory touch them which I enjoy!
If you have an extra day and are unsure what to do, this is a really worthwhile day trip.
Terezin Concentration Camp
Terezin (Theresienstadt) was a quiet town with a fortress until the middle of World War 2, when german soldiers transported the first Czech Jews to the converted prison, turning it into a concentration camp.
Terezin wasn’t a death camp like Auschwitz, but there were still dying from malnutrition and disease here at Terezin. Roughly 33,000 of the 88,000 total prisoners died here. Although, those who survived this were then deported to extermination camps at the end of the way. Only around 23,000 survived in the end.
Although it can be quite a sad and harrowing place, it is a very interesting place to visit and something I do recommend you do.
Admission for the size is 260czk and you can pay at the door when you arrive. There are also buses you can get which take you straight there for about £5 and the journey will take you about an hour but these need to be pre-booked.
Dresden is one of the more popular day trips from Prague as it is a 2-hour journey via bus and less on the train. But Dresden is a truly stunning city and somewhere you can spend a day wandering in amazement.
There are so many beautiful museums you can visit, but if you are only there for one day I would recommend picking the one you are most excited about and that’s it. There is so much to see.
The highlights are: Walking along the river and the ‘Balcony of Europe’
The main square is absolutely stunning, especially if you visit during the Christmas markets which are incredible!
The stunning architecture of Frauenkirche, Dresden Castle and the Zwinger.
A full guide to a day trip in Dresden is coming so keep an eye out if you want that, or drop your email in the box below!
Well, that’s my full guide to visiting Prague! I hope you have enjoyed it. I know it was a long one so if you got to this point, thank you for your support as always.
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