Three Things You Must Do in Prague!

This was the first view I had of Prague.
This was the first view I had of Prague.

Prague is, without a doubt, the most strikingly beautiful city I have ever visited. Granted, I'm still young and (hopefully) have a great deal of travel ahead of me. But of all the cities in all the countries I've explored (from Japan to Costa Rica to Germany), I was most stunned upon my arrival in Prague.

The pictures in this hub are all mine, as are the recommendations. I spent a short time in Prague, so the "top three" assume that you, too, will only have a few days. If you've got more time, you can move on to the last section for some other great ideas of things to do around the Golden City.

Prague's intricate and gorgeous Astronomical Clock.
Prague's intricate and gorgeous Astronomical Clock.

1. A Lot of Walking

Basically, Prague's overall architecture is its greatest feature. Because Prague was not as affected by the destruction of World War II as much of the rest of Europe, its varied types of architecture are in excellent condition. From one block to the next, a visitor will encounter everything from Art Nouveau and Cubist to Baroque and Renaissance to Gothic and ultra-modern architecture.

The place to start is Old Town Square, in the heart of Old Town (where many of the most popular hotels are). This is where Prague's infamous Astronomical Clock resides and is the most popular tourist space in the city. Most of Prague has beautifully narrow and winding streets, so the wide-open Old Town Square acts as a sort of break from those claustrophobia-inducing cobblestoned lanes.

Another place that absolutely must be experienced on-foot is the Charles Bridge, especially at sunset. This bridge is one of the many that crosses the Vltava River. During the day, it is filled with street musicians, artists with their pieces for sale, jewelers with hand-crafted jewelry, and other freelance craftsmen. At sunset, Charles Bridge is filled with people watching the sun fall behind the hill that carries Prague Castle. It's a great place for a romantic moment or -- if you're alone or with a platonic partner -- just an astounding one.

St. Vitus Cathedral within the walls of Prague Castle.
St. Vitus Cathedral within the walls of Prague Castle.
Just a tiny slice of the beauty in the Royal Gardens leading up to Prague Castle.
Just a tiny slice of the beauty in the Royal Gardens leading up to Prague Castle.

2. Visit Prague Castle

This is the obvious attraction in Prague, as you can see Prague Castle from anywhere along the Vltava River, which runs right through the middle of the city.

Prague Castle sits tall atop a hill across the river from Old Town, within walking distance of most of the city. It houses the vast St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George's basilica, many impressive palaces and towers, and is surrounded by several gardens.

For those of you not yet exhausted by walking to explore Old Town, you absolutely must approach the castle through the Royal Gardens. Admission costs just a few Euros, but with ivy-covered walls, ornate trellises, exquisite columns and other embellishments, and more beautiful plants than I ever knew existed, it will be well worth it. (But a warning: The garden is several storeys tall, and the climb is not for anyone even slightly physically handicapped. But, there are plenty of places to stop and rest on the way.)

Obviously, if you think you have the option, you should try to place this visit on the day with the best weather. From the top of the hill, the views of Prague are breathtaking.

After you're satisfied with having visited the castle, walk back down through Hradčany, which is the district surrounding Prague Castle. Beyond the obvious Prague Castle paraphernalia, there are plenty of interesting shops with tempting little knick-knacks. And, it's a beautiful descent as the long-distance view slowly dissolves into views of only the surrounding architecture.

A view of some of the classic Prague architecture from across the river.
A view of some of the classic Prague architecture from across the river.

This little book (with plenty of maps) acted as our walking tour guide while we were in Prague.

3. More Walking

Prague's charm lies in the experience of exploring it, so don't be afraid to explore! When you come to an intersection, choose which way to go by which street looks more exciting. There are plenty of tiny stores (especially antique and hand-made craft shops), cute restaurants, and hip bars to explore on each and every street of Old Town.

Then there's another section of Prague called New Town, which is home to Wenceslas Square. While it's more of a broad street than a verifiable square, it affords gorgeous views of the National Museum at night. There are also plenty of shopping opportunities there (but much fewer individual craft stores). And one end of the street goes right up to the border of Old Town, so it's not too far away from the rest of my recommendations either.

The Dancing House was designed to look like a pair of dancers mid-routine.
The Dancing House was designed to look like a pair of dancers mid-routine.

For Further Exploration...

If you've got more time, check these places out!

  • The Franz Kafka Museum and/or Kafka's gravesite in the New Jewish Cemetery are potential visitation points for huge fans of the Czech writer.
  • The Communism Museum, which is pretty small, has an interesting chronological walk-through of communism and its toll on the Czech Republic and its people.
  • The Lesser Quarter is one of the areas in Prague I haven't mentioned, and it has a flavor all its own but is not particularly worth a visit unless you have a bunch of time to spend in Prague. The same goes for the Jewish Quarter.
  • The Dancing House, aka the Drunk House, is an architecturally crazy office building near the center of the city. Designed by architects Milunić and Gehry, photographs don't quite do it justice, and it's close enough to plenty of other interesting sites that making a quick stop at the Dancing House is well worth the several minutes it will take.

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Suggestions?

Did you enjoy this article? Have you been to Prague and have a special attraction that you loved? Leave a comment and let everyone know! As I said, I didn't get to spend an inordinate amount of time there so I'm sure there are some little gems I missed.

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Comments 32 comments

Lissie profile image

Lissie 8 years ago from New Zealand

Oh I am so jealous - Prague is high on my to do list!


helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan Author

I totally added it to our itinerary on a whim, based solely on the fact that we'd learned about it in some history class in.. middle school maybe? Little did I know! It is such a spectacular city, and next November the New York Rangers' first game of the season will be played there, so hopefully I'll be going back quite soon! Thanks for stopping by, Lissie!


mroconnell profile image

mroconnell 8 years ago from France

My top 3 must do activities for Prague:

1. Defenestrate somebody.

2. See the Infant of Prague.

3. Visit the hobbit hovel that Kafka lived in.

If at all possible, you should defenestrate the Infant of Prague from the window of that hovel. That's quintessential Prague in about seven seconds. ;D Maybe I'll write a sister hub.


helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan Author

mroconell, that's perfect! While I didn't defenestrate the Infant of Prague from the window of Kafka's hovel, I'll certainly try to remember that for the next time. In fact, I didn't defenestrate anyone... Now I feel as if I missed out!


qatarvisitor profile image

qatarvisitor 8 years ago from Qatar

Looks good - been thinking of where to go in my summer holidays and this seems like a good bet!


Decrescendo profile image

Decrescendo 8 years ago

This place looks great.


mroconnell profile image

mroconnell 8 years ago from France

You didn't miss out. You just have something to go back for! :) I also saw the Mars Volta in a tiny venue while I was there. Not particularly Pragueian, but very very cool.

It's a beauty of a town.


helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan Author

qatarvisitor -- Definitely put Prague at the top of your list! Even if you just want to pass through, it's definitely worth it.

Decrescendo -- It is! Thanks for stopping by!

mroconnell -- That sounds incredible! I didn't get a chance to see any sort of musical performance there, but I really wish that I had. Looks like a second trip is certainly in order!


jimcrowthers profile image

jimcrowthers 8 years ago from Port Charlotte

Great hub! Thanks for the info. What's it like for the people who live there and the surrounding areas (compared to living in America), I wonder? Freedoms and laws, etc.


helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan Author

Thanks, Jim! I'm not sure about the laws there and whatnot, but I do know that many Czech Republicans still like Americans 'cause we helped liberate them from the USSR. They are more friendly to American visitors than many other European countries, I've found.


jimcrowthers profile image

jimcrowthers 8 years ago from Port Charlotte

Now, how can that be possible, that they are more friendly in Czech Republic to Americans than other European countries? Aren't Americans loved no matter where they go? {sligh grin}

Thanks for the response, helenathegreat!


Isabella Snow profile image

Isabella Snow 8 years ago

Do you mean helped to liberate them from the Nazis? Cos the Czechs liberated themselves from the USSR. :) if you meant WW2, the USA only got as far as Plzen during WW2, Russia liberated the rest of the country.


helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan Author

By "helped liberate" I meant more the USA's contribution to the general dissolution of the USSR (therefore loosening its hold on Czechoslovakia). Didn't mean to take any glory away from the Czechs; the US didn't offer anything other than encouragement after the invasions after Prague Spring. :) Thanks for clarifying, though, Isabella. I did some extra research 'cause of your comment and have a much better understanding of what happened now, and my original wording was less than clear.


Isabella Snow profile image

Isabella Snow 8 years ago

Well, I don't want to argue or anything, but I've yet to meet any Czechs who really think the US seriously contributed to the downfall of the USSR, apart from maybe bankrupting Russia via the arms race, and the US really had no idea that was even happening. As for Czechs liking Americans for any of these reasons; I don't know of any who even attribute them to Reagan (though Ive heard it mentioned once or twice by others) let alone Americans. In fact, I'd say the Czechs are pretty tired of Americans coming to their country and acting like idiots and doing all of the things I mentioned in my hub about American tourists. There was a time when the Czechs thought America was great place -- that time has passed, and that was probably 10 years ago. Sure, they can be kind to tourists, but those are usually the people working in the tourist industry, and they have to be kind. Generally, Id say the rest of the country tends to walk the other way when they see Americans coming. As do I.


Amber Arendsen profile image

Amber Arendsen 8 years ago from Solana Beach, Ca

great page on prague! this is my husbands fav place as well of all time, and he is well traveled. Amercian tourists, I think do have a pretty bad reputation, which I will blame mostly on the "out of high achool through out of college "crowd. My husband was one of those kids!

i can't wait to visit


helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan Author

I tend to blame the uneducated-midwesterner for American tourists' bad reputation abroad, but maybe I'm just biased because I AM one of the out-of-high-school-through-out-of-college crowd. :) I'm glad your husband enjoyed Prague as much as I did, and I hope you guys can get back there!


torino70 profile image

torino70 8 years ago from Pueblo, Colorado

If i ever go to Europe, Prague is the first place ill go, nice hub.


helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan Author

Thanks for the comment, Torino. Obviously I highly recommend it!


Benson Yeung profile image

Benson Yeung 7 years ago from Hong Kong

great hub. I was in Prague some time ago and agree entirely with your suggestions.


helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 7 years ago from Manhattan Author

Always good to hear others in agreement with my recommendations, Benson.  Thanks for stopping by!


RGraf profile image

RGraf 7 years ago from Wisconsin

This looks so wonderful! I would love to visit it. I'm adding it to my list.


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona

Very well written Hub...Lots of good info there....I've never been to Prague but my wife was during a sabbatical in 2005...She loved the Old Town with all the neat nooks and crannies, shops, and tiny restaurants, taverns. She was there in October and it was freezing cold. She said they were kept warm by the " medicinal " liquor, Becherovka, which they found numerous occasion to partake.


BODIE 7 years ago

My goodness I have 2 get out of this country at some point 2 see the rest of the world dammit! I have been in 46 of the 50 united states, and canada and mexico but it is time 2 broaden my horizons at my first opportunity 2 do so...


helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 7 years ago from Manhattan Author

You've gotta just make those opportunities for yourself, Bodie! Go for it; you will have such a blast.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

nice place to visit. and beautiful picture. I'll go there someday. thanks or share.great hub


kcreery profile image

kcreery 6 years ago from Whistler Canada

Great hub on Prague. I have family there so i have a different experience when I go there. I'm sure since the fall of Communism the country has changed immensely. I have visited before and after Communism. Definitely more commercial in Prague now. The North American style mall is something that I found suprising when I was last there in 2007.


marwan asmar profile image

marwan asmar 5 years ago from Amman, Jordan

I visited Prague briefly in 1989, just prior to the tip of the great change. The city was, is now I suppose, dream-like, carved out of a history book that continues to exist for ever.


sunsetofthenight profile image

sunsetofthenight 5 years ago

I visited Prague in 1991...it is one of the most beautiful and interesting cities I have ever seen...I just hope it has not changed too much...


Jan Karásek 5 years ago

Hello guys, I am from the czech republic and I have been in Prague hundread times... and it is a really beautiful city.... especialy the old town :) But don't go to the edge of the town, you will see only block of flats and dirt :D And... by the way... we are friendly to the americans :) and to everybody I think... but never use a taxi in Prague ! Those idiots will try to charge more money than they deserve ! And beware of pickpockets, but those idiots are everywhere in the world... but still :) Be careful. And enjoy your stay in the one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been...


ccdursina profile image

ccdursina 3 years ago from Spring Green WI

Excellent hub, I visited Prague and time is always too short. Thanks for the pics too!


topclasscat profile image

topclasscat 3 years ago from London

Ahhh, 2nd time in Prague and missed Royal Gardens again! Well, another excuse to come back to this wonderful city full of romance!


Jan Grossmann profile image

Jan Grossmann 19 months ago from Czech Republic, Zlín

Prague is always beautiful and nice in every season (it is my country capital)...what else to recommend? For instance Vysehrad, a big church hill overlooking Vltava river with a beautiful view of Prague at night.

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