Things to do & see in Prague
There are a ton of things to do when you visit Prague. Here are a list of some of the top things you can do while travelling on a budget with some of the history behind the different sites for the history buffs out there.
Keep in mind, these are just a few of the many things Prague has to offer!
First: If you haven’t already, check out my week experience visit this blog post.
Second: If you are looking for some more click here for more general information on Prague.
The Prague Castle is more of a complex rather than a ‘castle’. It holds a palace, the St. Vitus Cathedral, the Romanesque Basilica of St. George among many others. It provides beautiful views of Prague and the Charles Bridge as well.
there are lots of different places you can get access to, for a price. If you decide it is in your budget, visit Golden Lane. I didn’t go due to that not being high on our list however, I have heard it’s worth it to see!
History: The Prague Castle dates back to the 9th century with the first walls being built in 870. The Church of the Virgin Mary was the first building built as apart of the Castle grounds. Unfortunately, after being rebuilt after a fire, it was destroyed again shortly after and was not rebuilt after that. However, the Basilica of Saint George and Basilica of St. Vitus have both been around and were founded around 940. In the 14th century during Charles IV reign, he had rebuilt the castle in Gothic Style. In 1541, a fire destroyed large parts of the castle where Habsburgs added some Renaissance styles and Ferdinand I build the Belvedere and the Spanish Hall in the northern wing of the grounds. Currently, and castle (palace) is home to the current President and First Lady.
Price: Free to wander. They do have audio and walking tours at a cost (that varies). There are approximately 8 different ‘Types’ of tickets. These range from 70kc for access to the Powder Tower to 350kc that provide access to Circuit A or C. You find find more information on the website.
You can however, go to watch the change of the guard for free. It happens around 12:00 daily in the courtyard.
Location: 119 08 Prague 1, Czech Republic
St. Vitus Cathedral
The beautiful structure and many stained glass windows provide a perfect reason for you to visit St. Vitus Cathedral. In addition, the building is so rich in history.
History: The St. Vitus Cathedral was originally founded in 930. They say it was built so that Wenceslaus I, the Duke of Bohemia could convert his subjects to Christianity easier with two other religious buildings in the castle grounds. The Gothic Cathedral is it is today, was founded in November of 1344. Charles IV, had intended for the Cathedral to be a treasury, coronation church and family crypt – which it still is today. In 1929, the cathedral was finally completed. Today, you can still find renovations happening to keep the building standing.
Price: You can enter the Cathedral free of cost, however there like other parts of the castle, for a cost you can access the Treasury and other portions.
Location: Inside the Castle grounds – very hard to miss near and afar!
The Petřín tower is known to be the Czech, smaller version of the Eiffel Tower. There are two observation decks which you can access by climbing 299 stairs around the inside of the tower (circling around the elevator). It is very tourist heavy, however it provides amazing views of the city. There is a cafe and gift shop at the bottom of the tower where you can purchase tickets.
History: There isn’t too, too much to tell for history of the tower. The idea was thought up by the Club of Czech Tourists in 1889 after visiting the Eiffel Tower and began building it in March 1891. It only took about 4 months to complete. (Information provided by Wikipedia)
Price: 120czk for Adults, 65czk for Students and 65czk for children
Location: Petrinske sady, 118 00 Praha 1, Czech Republic
Giant Metronome in Letna park
The Giant Metronome is a overly large metronome built in Letna Park. It overlooks the Vltava River towards ‘Old Town’ and the Charles Bridge. It is located about a 20 to 25 minute walk North East from the Prague Castle. Here you will find many locals sitting in the ‘look out’ area’s drinking beer or families out for a walk or flying kites.
Location: Nábřeží Edvarda Beneše, 118 00 Praha 7, Czechia
John Lennon Wall
The John Lennon wall is a famously painted wall somewhat near the Charles Bridge and Kampa island. Originally it started as a source of irritation for a communist regime in the late 1980’s by young Czechs who would write grievances. The movement by these young Czechs was called “Lennonism”. The wall has had John Lennon’s portrait painted on it with other John Lennon related “graffiti” – who can call it graffiti when it’s so beautiful. There are also various Beatles’ lyrics. In November 2014, the wall was painted over with the only words on it as “wall is over”. However, some wonderful individuals changes it to ”War is over”.
You can also often find musicians singing and playing Beatles songs.
Location: Velkopřevorské náměstí, 100 00 Praha 1, Czechia
Once you walk from the Castle, across the Charles Bridge, you will step into the wonderful medieval Setting of Old Town. You will find many little concerts you can buy tickets to or little stores and cafe’s open. Entering the town square you will come across the Astronomical Clock (below) and many different forms of talent being performed all over the squares
History: There are reports that there was early settlement as far back as the 9th century. They used to hold Saturday markets for many, many years.
Location: East side of the Charles Bridge
The Charles Bridge
One of the most visited site in Prague is the Charles Bridge with millions of people walking it every year. The bridge provides the perfect view of the Skyline with the Prague Castle in the background over the Vltava River. At night you can find many musicians playing while others are strolling the bridge with a beer in hand.
History: It is reported that the bridge was constructed at 5:31 am on July 9th 1357 where King Charles IV laid the first brick. He believed that this specific time formed a numerical bridge 1357 9, 7 5:31 as he was a firm believer in numerology [thanks to Wikipedia!]. Over the years, the bridge had seen many disasters such as floods, wars, and even executions where the severed heads were set upon the bridge towers.
Luck on the Charles Bridge
Although all of the statues are now replicas, many people believe that if you touch the statues they will bring you luck. While visiting the bridge you will see many tourists touching bronze plated spots on the statues.
It is said that by touching the plaque on the statue of John of Nepomuk (the 8th on the right) will bring you good luck and will ensure your return to Prague. (His tomb is located in the St. Vitus Cathedral)
You will notice many shiny spots on other plaques like the dog or woman, however that is just people mistaken not knowing the real background.
Before the actual statue (closer to Old Town) is a cross marking the spot where he was apparently thrown into the Vltava river. It is said that if you touch the cross and make a wish, it will come true within a year and one day. [courtesy of prague.net]
Price: Free – the best price ever!
While walking from the Charles bridge to Old Town, you will pass the Astronomical Clock from the medieval times. This ‘clock’ is no ordinary clock it’s a monument made with intricate detail and is still functioning!
What: The clock has multiple functions. One shows the position of the sun and the moon which is the astronomical dial. Another function is “The Walk of the Apostles” which is an hourly show of apostles and other figures. Last is a calendar dial signifying each month.
History: The Prague Astronomical Clock was installed at the Corner of Old Town Square in 1410. This makes it the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and now its the oldest operating [thanks Wikipedia]. The first records of the clock date back to 1410 where the mechanical clock and astronomical dials were first created. The Gothic sculptures were added closer to 1490. The creator was blinded by the counsellors in Prague so he could not continue his work and decided to dismantle the clock.
Location: Southern wall of Old Town Hall in the Old Town Square.
The clock was finally repaired around 1552 by another master clockmaker. Over the years following the clock was repaired and added to many times.
In the uprising of 1945 many parts of the clock were destroyed such as the added sculptures and calendar dials. With lots of effort the clock was restored following the Uprising.
The clock was fully renovated in 2005 where many of the pieces were restored and a net was added to prevent birds from sitting on the sculptures. In 2010, the Astronomical Clock celebrated its 600th anniversary.