THINGS TO DO IN PRAGUE
Exploring Prague is a fantastic experience. Here's our top pick of Prague's must see sites!
PRAGUE CASTLE (PRAŽSKÝ HRAD)
A dominating feature of the city and the largest ancient castle in the world. This has always been the seat of Czech power as well as the official residence of those in power. Constructed in the 9th century by Prince Bořivoj, the castle has since been transformed from a wooden fortress surrounded by earthen bulwarks - to the imposing stone fortress it is today. Each ruler extended the castle to some degree – so there’s a great mix of styles on show. Make sure you don’t miss the breathtaking St. Vitus Cathedral, inside the castle.
CHARLES BRIDGE (KARLŮV MOST)
This is an amazing historical bridge that crosses the river Vltava and connects the Old Town with the Lesser Quarter. It’s named after King Charles IV, who started construction on this in the 14th century. Charles Bridge is a quiet place to enjoy by night and a great spot to enjoy the sunrise from – if you feel so inclined. During the day however Charles Bridge is a very busy place, bustling with painters, market stalls and many travellers – just like you. Charles Bridge has also made a fair few appearances on TV and you might recognise it for The Brothers Bloom, Mission Impossible, the INXS’ video for Never Tear Us Apart and Kanye West’s - Diamonds from Sierra Leone.
THE JEWISH QUARTER (JOSEFOV)
The Jewish Quarter contains the remains of Prague's old Jewish ghetto. It was named after the emperor Josef II who introduced reforms that eased living conditions for the Jewish people here. Make sure you visit the Old Jewish Cemetery - the oldest surviving Jewish cemetery in Europe where people had to be buried on top of each other, because of the lack of space. There are approximately 12 layers, over 12,000 gravestones and an estimated 100,000 people buried here.
OLD TOWN SQUARE (STAROMĚSTSKÉ NÁMĚSTÍ)
Stepping into the Old Town Square will take you back in time. Dating back to the late 12th century, the Old Town Square started out as the central marketplace for Prague. Over the following few centuries, many buildings went up around the market in Romanesque, Baroque and Gothic styles. The most notable sights in the square are the Old Town Hall Tower (with the Astronomical Clock - Orloj) and the stunning St Nicholas Church. There’s also a Jan Hus statue in the centre of the square which is a popular meeting point for locals.
NATIONAL THEATRE (NÁRODNÍ DIVADLO)
The National Theatre embodies the will of the Czech people, their national identity and the fight for independence. Donations from the people of Prague made the construction possible and the laying of the foundation stone on May 16, 1868, was tantamount to an all state political demonstration. A fire broke out here on August 12, 1881 destroying the copper dome, the auditorium and the stage of the theatre. The fire was a national catastrophe and was therefore met with a great determination to collect new funds and rebuild. Within 47 days a million guldens had been collected and today it’s a great place to see an opera – such as Smetana’s Libuše, composed for the inauguration of the theatre, back in 1883.
OTHER ATTRACTIONS - IN BRIEF
- Stavovské divadlo – the stunning theatre and opera house where Mozart premiered Don Giovanni.
- The Church of SV. Mikuláš in Malá Strana - explore the dizzying heights and great photo spots.
- Havel’s Market (Havelske Trziste) - pick up your souvenirs just off Melantrichova, between Wenceslas Square and the Old Town Square.
- The Petrin Tower - take the funicular up to a scaled down version of the Eiffel Tower.
- Terezín - a day trip destination and chilling memorial to a Nazi - Jewish Ghetto.
- Prague Pubs and Beer Gardens (Reigrovy Sady, Letná, Vyšehrad, Strahov Monastery)
- Malá Strana (Lesser Town)
- Kutná Hora & Ossuary (the Famous Bone Church)
- Karlštejn (a fairytale-style castle just outside of Prague)
- Vyšehrad Castle (Prague’s original fortress)