Prague is a magical and historical city that I have been lucky enough to spend time living in. Cobbled streets, mediaeval architecture, a magnificent castle, art nouveau influences, so much history and beautiful panoramas everywhere you go – this really is a city best enjoyed on foot.
In the summer the Vltava river invites you to enjoy her river banks with a beer and perhaps even a bit of paddle boating. In the winter, the misty and snow-covered Charles Bridge evokes a sense of mystery as you cross the river looking for place to warm up with hot mead. Whatever the weather, the astronomical clock and Prague Old Town Square will inspire awe, despite the crowds of tourists. The good news is that for every busy street, there are also many quiet streets that tourists don’t seem to bother with.
For a time, I was lucky to call Prague home and every morning when I stepped out my front door, I had to pinch myself for living in such a beautiful city. My friends frequently ask me for tips of how to best spend their time in the city, so I put together some suggestions.
The size of the city allows you to discover most of its attractions simply by wandering the many cobbled streets on foot and when you need a bit of a rest, just hop on a tram. The metro is worth travelling on just to see some of the very cool station designs. I highly recommend wearing flat, comfortable shoes – those cobbles can be tiring after a while.
Although it is recommended in every guide book and can be very busy, the walk from Prague Castle, across the Charles Bridge and into the Old Town Square is a must-do. I would personally recommend doing this walk twice – once in the day and at least part of it again at night when it’s quieter. The views across Prague at night are just so stunning and romantic.
You can download this official free map here. But I don’t like to recommend any exact routes because part of the joy is to find your own route and you can’t really get lost anyway.
- Prague Castle [Pražský hrad]– much of it is free to walk around on your own, but you can also do tours of the interior. Come in the evening to see the changing of the guard.
- Malá Strana– The entire old town which lies below the castle is gorgeous. You’ll also find the Lennon Wall which constantly gets covered with graffiti and came into being when John Lennon was assassinated.
- Petřín– A large sprawling park which sits on the hill next to Prague Castle. At the top is a tower which is like a mini-Eiffel tower which you can climb and enjoy the highest view over Prague. You can take the little furnicular railway all the way up. If you have a Metro Card this is included in the fare.
- Charles Bridge [Karluv Most]– Always filled with musicians & artists and is stunning in all kinds of weather.
- Old Town Square & Astronomical Clock [Staroměstské náměstí]– This is the busiest part of Prague but it is worth buying an overpriced coffee on the square so you can spend some time enjoying the beautiful view. The astronomical clock shows a cute display on the hour and you can also take the steps up to the top of the tower to get a great view. If you come in December, this is where you will find the fabulous Christmas Market and massive Christmas tree.
- Prague Jewish Museum– This gets very busy and has long queues so start early if you can.
- Vyšehrad– Dates back to the 10th Century and was the royal residence before Charles IV built Prague Castle. It has spectacular views of Prague and many famous historical figures have been laid to rest in the cemetery. I recommend stepping inside the church to enjoy the beautifulart nouveau painted interior.
A personal favourite of mine. So far every friend that I have sent here has said how much they enjoyed a hearty, traditional and meat-filled meal. It does get very busy at dinner so a reservation is recommended. All staff speak impeccable English so don’t be scared to call. If a romantic evening stroll strikes your fancy, then a great way to burn off your meal is to take a walk (or tram from the stop outside the restaurant) up to the castle and enjoy the view.
- Kavárna Slavia
This cafe has a lot of history, it was opened in 1884 and was frequented by many great thinkers and artists. It is said to be Prague’s best known cafe. It is designed in art deco style and the front windows have a great view of the castle. You can order meals here, but I would also recommend coffee & cake from their massive selection.
- Café Louvre
Another historical and beautiful restaurant/cafe. This place doesn’t offer special views, but it does have great food and great desserts in particular. It does get very busy so a booking is recommended if you want a guaranteed seat for dinner.
- Lehká hlava (Clear Head) – Vegetarian Restaurant
Vegetarian and super popular to book ahead to get a table.
- Miss Sophie’s offers both hostel and hotel accommodation in centrally located and quiet buildings.
- Czech Inn also offers modern hostel accommodation that is welcoming for those of all ages.
- Kutna Hora
Famous for it’s bone church and lovely little historical town. An easy day trip.
- Cesky Krumlov
A bit further afield and it can get overrun with tourists in the summer, but it is highly worth it. This beautiful little UNESCO listed town in the southern region of bohemia has its own castle which also sits above the Vltava river and little cobbled lanes to get lost in. But beware – you may be enticed to stay longer. It has a magnetic pull on many. You can visit on your own either by train, bus or come with a guided bus tour. Eat a meal at one of the riverside restaurants.