Founded in the 8th century, Prague is an incredible Eastern European city. The capital of the Czech Republic, this city dates back to long before the country was named as such.
Its skyline is dominated by spires and dreamy Baroque or Gothic buildings, hence one of its nicknames; the City of a Hundred Spires. Prague is an incredibly underrated place that deserves more attention from travelers than it generally receives.
Visiting Prague is like stepping foot into a fairy tale. Surrounded by colorful buildings, a storied history, more Czech beers than you could ever drink, and incredible art, you will fall in love with this beautiful city as I have.
The entire city is a work of art. While it is sometimes included in lists of the gorgeous cities in the world, Prague is too often forgotten.
When you visit Prague, it doesn’t matter what you should do in the city but rather how to prioritize your itinerary. There are so many things to do in Prague, and you may need a hand deciding what’s suitable for your trip.
I genuinely hope this helps you make the most of your visit; Prague is one of my favorite places on Earth. Hodně štěstí! That is: good luck!
Things to Do in Prague, Czech Republic
1. See the Astronomical Clock
Address: Staroměstské nám. 1, 110 00 Josefov, Czechia
You’ll quickly learn that Old Town Square in Prague is full of incredible things to see, yet the famous Astronomical Clock (or Prague Orloj) is easily the most popular sight. There are a few medieval astronomical clocks around the world; however, the one in Prague is the only one that still works. Plus, you can tour Old Town Hall to see the clock figures up close and learn more about the building’s history from high up in the Old Town Hall Tower.
The clock was installed at Old Town Hall in 1410, and every day around the top of the hour, you’ll see crowds gather on the street in front of it. From 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. every hour, the Twelve Apostles begin their march around the front of the clock.
This incredible sight brings tourists from all over the world to the city, so expect a crowd. It’s trendy since it’s one of the free things to do in Prague.
If you want a great spot to see the clock without waiting long to beat the crowds, try getting to the 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. performance. Although you can miss crowds by seeing the clock late into the night, you may see less detail after the sun goes down.
See Related: Best Tours in Prague
2. Visit Prague Castle
Address: Hradčany, 119 08 Prague 1, Czechia
What you may not know about the illustrious Prague Castle district is that it is the largest coherent castle complex in the world. One of many well-preserved castles around the nation, Prague Castle is considered one of the most significant cultural monuments in the Czech Republic.
The castle grounds are a UNESCO World Heritage site. Founded around 880 by Prince Bořivoj, Prague Castle encompasses many of the city’s crucial ancient architecture, including the opulent St. Vitus Cathedral.
What you can see of Prague Castle from the central part of Prague at the bottom of the hill is St. Vitus Cathedral. Technically its full name is The Metropolitan Cathedral of Saints Vitus, Wenceslaus, and Adalbert as of 1997, but it’s referred to as St. Vitus Cathedral. This is the largest religious building in the country, where countless Czech royalty were coronated, and many patron saints and sovereigns were buried.
In addition to St. Vitus Cathedral, six other prominent buildings reside on the Prague Castle grounds, including the Old Royal Palace and White Tower. You can also visit Golden Lane, another side of Prague Castle.
Golden Lane was built in the 16th century to house the Prague Castle guards and was named for the resident goldsmiths. These eccentric houses now contain facsimiles of the workers’ living spaces and adorable little shops.
3. Tour the Vltava River
Also referred to as the Czech National River, the Vltava River is the country’s longest river. Its name is believed to derive from the old Germanic phrase wilt ahwa, which translates to wild water.
This river meanders through Prague, carrying with it an assortment of watercraft. A river cruise along the Vltava is an incredible way to see the city.
I highly recommend taking a dinner cruise to see Prague in the rose-tinted tones of sunset. Or take up a private tour with unlimited beer–this is a terrific option for larger groups of travelers. There are tons of river cruises to consider on the stunning Vltava.
But I do caution you to avoid Prague Boats. My tour with them was the most stressful excursion I have ever had while traveling abroad. Their lack of boarding signage or instructions, hostile employees, and underwhelming tour left much to be desired.
I can highly endorse the Four Seasons Prague if you’re seeking unparalleled river views while visiting Prague. This luxurious hotel has an incredible river-facing dining patio, lavish rooms, and a tranquil indoor pool. The pool has multiple built-in spa amenities, offering the best of both worlds without the sometimes overwhelming heat of a hot tub.
See Related: Best River Cruises in Europe
4. Catch The View From Old Town Bridge Tower
Address: Karlův most, 110 00 Praha 1, Czechia
One of the things to do in Prague that visitors tend to forget is heading to the top of Old Town Bridge Tower. Dating back to the 1350s, the tower leads you to the Charles Bridge. This gate to Old Town symbolizes victory as Czech kings would pass through it during their coronation processions through the city.
Although other viewing areas are more accessible, this tower must be climbed. If you can manage the 138 steps to the top, you will be rewarded with views of the river and Prague. Not to mention the separation of Old Town and New Town.
Should budget-friendly options be on your mind, the tower offers a unique discount for visitors. If you can arrive within the first hour of the day, admission is half-price. Remember that from June through August, the tower opens one hour earlier than the rest of the year.
5. Try Some Czech Beer
Okay, beer lovers, I won’t make you wait longer to talk about Czech beer halls. While this isn’t Germany or Oktoberfest, the history of beer in what is now Czechia is a long one.
Dating back to 993, beer has been a massive piece of the culture here. If you can believe it, the first brewing in recorded now-Czech history was in the Břevnov Monastery.
One of the most common ideations of things to do in Prague include beer gardens and cheap beer. It’s true; beer in the Czech Republic is some of the cheapest in Europe and certainly cheaper than in the United States–unless you prefer things like PBR or Red Dog. (Can you tell I’m from the Midwest?)
Taking a private or guided tour to a bar or beer garden will be a little more expensive than just heading out on your own, but you’ll have a local to help you have the best experience. If you want an even more unique experience, consider a trip to the Bernard Beer Spa to bathe in some good, old-fashioned Czech beer — literally.
6. Walk the Streets of Josefov: The Jewish Quarter
Although now referred to as The Jewish Quarter, Josefov began as a 13th-century Jewish Ghetto. At the time, Jews in Prague were forced to move to this city area.
Even Jewish populations from the surrounding countries ended up here when they were forced out of their homes. Despite the Jewish populace’s mistreatment, many significant historical buildings were spared destruction even during Nazi occupation, as Adolph Hitler wanted the area to be a museum for an extinct race.
Now the best-preserved complex of historical Jewish monuments in Europe, the Jewish Quarter is an incredible piece of history you need to see. Some sites you can’t miss are the Jewish Museum, the Old Jewish Cemetery, and the Spanish Synagogue. But please do not miss Pinkas Synagogue.
The second oldest surviving synagogue in Prague, the Pinkas Synagogue, is a testament to the strength of the Jewish Quarter and the human spirit. Among other artifacts of the Holocaust and the Jewish cemetery outside, Pinkas is inscribed with the names of 78,000 Jewish Czech victims of the Holocaust.
These names in alphabetical order are also searchable via electronic guides around the site. Even if this is one of the only things to do in Prague during your trip, please make time for it. Even if your Bohemian ancestry does not indicate a possible connection to any of the names listed, you may, as I did, see a familiar name.
See Related: The Awe-Inspiring Experience of the Anne Frank House
7. See the Infant Jesus of Prague
Address: Karmelitská 9, 118 00 Praha 1, Czechia
One of the lesser-known things to do in Prague is to see the Infant Jesus of Prague located within the Discalced Carmelite Church of Our Lady of Victories. Legend has it that the 16th-century wooden baby Jesus statue once belonged to Teresa of Ávila, also known as Saint Teresa of Jesus.
During the Thirty Years War in 1630, the statue was tossed into rubble behind the church’s altar. It is believed that it was discovered there with its hands broken off in 1637 by Father Cyrillus, who heard a voice say to give the statue its hands and blessings would be given. The infant statue is believed to be connected to healing miracles and protecting Prague’s historic city center from destruction during a Swedish siege in 1639.
The infant statue is often adorned in incredible embroidered vestments that change throughout the year according to the liturgical calendar. Even if you don’t go to the church to venerate the statue, it is worth visiting to see it in person.
8. Tour the National Museum
Address: Václavské nám. 68, 110 00 Nové Město, Czechia
Prague’s National Museum is the largest museum complex in the Czech Republic and one of Prague’s finest museums. It comprises five individual sections: the Museum of Natural Sciences, the Náprstek Museum of Asian, African and American Cultures, the Historical Museum, the Library of the National Museum, and the Czech Museum of Music. It was founded in 1818 as the Fatherland Museum in Bohemia and houses almost fourteen million artifacts.
Initially located in the Sternberg Palace, the gallery eventually needed more space. That’s how the building ended up in Wenceslas Square after another relocation to Nostitz Palace.
While this museum complex could easily take an entire day or two to explore, general visitors only need a few hours to see what they want. If you want to learn more about the Czech Republic, I suggest spending more time in the Historical Museum section.
9. Stroll Across the Charles Bridge
The Charles Bridge is, without a doubt, one of the most iconic sights in Prague. Construction on the bridge began in 1357 and was known as the Stone or Prague Bridge until Charles Bridge became its moniker in 1870. Crossing the Vltava via the bridge is one of the top free things to do in Prague during your first visit, especially if you appreciate historical landmarks.
Unless you cross the Charles Bridge in the early morning or later in the afternoon or evening, chances are tourists will flank it. We highly recommend hiring a photographer for professional photos on the bridge.
The 30 statues and statuaries that line either side of the Charles Bridge are what folks travel to the Czech Republic to see. These Baroque-style statues date back to 1700; though all the figures are now replicas, they’re still incredible to see.
See Related: Virtual Walking Tour of Prague
10. Walk the Backstreets of Malá Strana
Translating to mean Little Side, Malá Strana is more commonly referred to in English as Lesser Town in Prague. Settled in the shadow of nearby Prague Castle, the Lesser Town neighborhood isn’t referred to as such in a demeaning way; it simply means it’s smaller than the other side of Prague. Truly, Malá Strana was founded in 1257 by King Ottokar II of Bohemia to be a royal town because of its proximity to the castle grounds.
No disrespect to Old Town Square, but the streets of Malá Strana are more distinctive. The neighborhood was destroyed multiple times through the centuries until another rebuild in 1541, so the area is aesthetically Baroque. Some unique sites include the Kafka Museum, Petrin Tower (which resembles the Eiffel Tower), the Hunger Wall, and the St. Nicholas Church.
11. Visit the Beer Museum
Not to be confused with the line of pubs called the Prague Beer Museum, the Czech Beer Museum is a proper museum. Czechs drink more beer per capita than any other country, so it makes sense that multiple places would denote themselves as museums dedicated to the hoppy beverage. The Beer Experience Tour at the museum even includes tastings in 13th-century cellars, making the experience even more unique to Prague.
While at the museum, you can even participate in bottling your own beer. You can design your label, bottle some beer, and enjoy a unique souvenir from your time in Prague. You may want to drink the beer before transporting the bottle home to help ensure it is home in one piece.
See Related: Cheap Places to Visit in Europe
12. Pay your respects at the Church of Our Lady Before Týn
Address: Staroměstské nám., 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia
Located in Old Town Square, the Church of Mother of God before Týn is a 14th-century Gothic church you couldn’t miss if you tried. More commonly referred to as the Church of Our Lady before Týn, this Czech church’s iconic spires are surrounded by eight additional spires, adding to the population of The City of a Hundred Spires by more than a dozen.
This Old Town Square marvel is free to visit, though you should note that photography is not allowed inside the building. So take all the photos you want of the exterior before tucking your camera or phone away before entering the sanctuary.
13. Embrace Art Nouveau at the Mucha Museum
Address: Panská 7, 110 00 Nové Město, Czechia
I have yet to talk to anyone who has visited the Czech Capital and actually visited this incredible little museum in Old Town Square. The Mucha Museum is the only one in the world dedicated to the life and art of Alphonse Mucha. This Czechian artist is known worldwide for his incredible Art Nouveau work that you will immediately recognize.
Mucha practically defined the artistic aesthetic of Art Nouveau. He is known for his stylized theatrical posters, illustrations, panels, and advertisements, which became symbols of the artistic period.
His posters depicting the incredible Sarah Bernhardt and his Four Seasons images became some of his best-known works. This petite museum in the Prague city center won’t take you very long to explore, but it’s a can’t-miss destination for art lovers.
See Related: Best Museums in Europe to Visit
14. Spend Time at the Prague Zoo
Address: U Trojského zámku 120/3, 171 00 Praha 7, Czechia
Considered by many as one of the best zoos in the world, a visit to the Prague Zoo is one of the best things to do in Prague for families visiting the city. Founded in 1931, this zoo has long since been a vital part of conservation. Here, the world’s first artificially bred polar bear and the first artificially bred Andean condor were conservation success stories.
Over 5,000 animals across more than 670 species call this zoo home, including many species that are threatened in the wild. The Prague Zoo is known for its incredible Giant Salamander House, one of the only places to see the critically endangered Chinese Giant Salamanders. Because of the size of the zoo, you’ll want to dedicate several hours to your visit.
15. Learn Sordid History at the Museum of Communism
Address: V Celnici 1031/4, 118 00 Nové Město, Czechia
Following World War II, communist rule took over former Czechoslovakia. The Museum of Communism in Prague shows how life was along the Iron Curtain during this post-war period. Visitors can see artifacts, photographs, art, historical documents, and exhibits that bring the Czech Republic’s reality of communism to life.
Spanning life in Central Europe and in Prague, Czech Republic, from 1948 to the Velvet Revolution in 1989, the Museum of Communism is something a lot of people miss when visiting the Golden City. The museum has three main parts: The Dream, Reality, and The Nightmare.
You won’t need an entire day to see the exhibits or the 1500 artifacts. Even so, I highly recommend stopping here on your next trip to Prague to understand the complexities of Czech culture more fully.
See Related: Interesting Facts About the Berlin Wall
16. Catch a Puppet Show at the National Marionette Theatre
Address: Žatecká 98 /1, 110 00 Josefov, Czechia
Another of the most popular things to do in Prague for families is to visit the National Marionette Theatre. Puppets have a celebrated history in Prague, from when it was the capital of Bohemia.
The stunning art deco-style theater is also where the Worldwide Puppetry Organization was established in 1929. It’s even the largest specialized non-governmental theater organized through UNESCO.
Known primarily for the adaptations of classic opera and theater, shows at the theater are generally friendly for audiences of all ages. Their most popular production was that of Don Giovanni, which ran for over 4000 performances!
17. Visit the Medusa-like Dome at Dancing House
Address: Jiráskovo nám. 1981/6, 120 00 Nové Město, Czechia
Prague’s most unique piece of architecture is the Nationale-Nederlanden (or NN building). More famously, it’s known as the Dancing House or Ginger and Fred. Its nickname comes from the absurd shape that makes the building look like two individual buildings dancing. The Dancing House has been in Prague since 1996 construction was finished.
Dancing House’s architectural style is referred to as deconstructivist or new-Baroque. It is a stark contrast compared to the historical architecture around Prague, making it a fascinating duality to witness. You don’t have to pay anything to see this incredible piece of Prague’s skyline, though you absolutely should make a point to stop and see it even for a moment.
18. Wander Around Wenceslas Square
When you need fresh air during your trip to Prague, Segway over to Wenceslas Square on foot or by bike. This city square in the New Town area of Prague is a popular tourist attraction because it is a big shopping hub.
Plus, many moments In Prague’s history occurred here in both Czech and Bohemian histories. Demonstrations, public protests, and significant times in the history of this amazing city took place in this square.
For example, Alois Jirásek read the Czechoslovak Declaration of Independence here on October 28, 1918, and many of the public demonstrations during the Velvet Revolution also took place on the square. You’ll also find accommodations like Hotel Juliš with its rooftop terrace and charming indoor pool. You can go shopping, see the sights, visit art galleries or enjoy people watching.
See Related: Best & Most Beautiful Cities in Europe to Visit
19. Explore the History in Old Town Square
We’ve mentioned Old Town Square a few times now, though a few mentions are hardly enough to exemplify how much there is to do here. Old Town Prague is where you’ll find things like the astronomical clock, tons of Czech cuisine, and a pub crawl or two.
Many places are within walking distance of Old Town, making Prague an incredibly walkable city. Several bus tour operators, free walking tours, private day tours, and other Prague guided tour options meet in Old Town, so you’ll be familiar with it by the end of your trip.
At the center of the square, you’ll see a massive statue known as the Jan Hus Memorial. This statue commemorates the martyrdom of Jan Hus, a religious reformer who was burned at the stake at this site in Prague preceding the Hussite Wars. The square is also where you’ll find both Easter and Christmas Medieval-style markets, giving the area a new aesthetic.
See Related: Best German Christmas Markets to Visit
20. Pay a Visit to the John Lennon Wall
Address: Velkopřevorské nám., 118 00 Malá Strana, Czechia
Now known as the John Lennon Wall, there wasn’t anything extraordinary about this wall until the public started decorating it with art. Following Lennon’s assassination, visitors started leaving notes, lyrics, and designs related to Lennon and local and global issues.
When Prague Spring took place in 1988, pushback against the communist regime of Gustáv Husák, the wall became the location of student protest. Decades later, the wall collects notes, art, and other memorabilia from visitors. Fun fact; Lennon Walls also exist in Hong Kong.
See Related: Best Places to Visit in Slovakia
21. Check Out the National Theatre
Address: Národní 2, 110 00 Nové Město, Czechia
Founded in 1881, the National Theatre is home to an opera, ballet, and drama company. Keeping the theater alive helps preserve the Czech language and the dramatic elements and musical traditions developed by Czechian artists. The lovely building was designed in the Renaissance Revival style.
While dress codes aren’t very common in American theaters, the National Theatre in Prague has one. Patrons are asked to dress in at least a smart casual style when seeing shows. Even if you don’t speak Czech, seeing a live show in this magnificent theater is one incredible way to celebrate art during your trip to Prague.
22. Take a Day Trip from Prague
Prague’s great and all, but maybe you want to branch out? Day trips from Prague are an amazing way to see more of Czechia without much trouble. Many day trips are available for just a few short hours or a whole day, depending on what you’re trying to see.
One way to spend the day is to stop at Český Krumlov to see the charming town and 13th-century castle. Don’t forget about the Medieval town of Kutná Hora, where you’ll find the Sedlec Ossuary (or the Bone Church).
Though Prague isn’t a huge European metropolis, it is central if you want to see more of Europe. It’s remarkable how easy it is to hop from one country to another, even for a day.
One day trip you may not have considered is to spend a whole day visiting Vienna from Prague. Want to see Switzerland? You got it! What about the town of Katowice in Poland? Done! The options are endless and awesome!
See Related: Vienna vs Prague: What’s the Difference?
How many days do you spend in Prague?
What you shouldn’t miss in Prague?
When you visit Prague, it’s important to see a few key locations: Old Town Square, the Jewish Quarter, the Charles Bridge, and the Prague Castle Complex. While you could easily spend weeks here seeing everything to be seen in Prague or the Czech Republic, if you need a few absolute must-visit locations, those four are it.
What is Prague well known for?
Prague is known for its incredible architecture, cheap beer, centuries of history, and art. This city has influences from several countries’ histories to demonstrate to visitors. It is a relatively inexpensive place to visit, perfect for travelers looking to save money.
What food is famous in Prague?
Prague isn’t known for a ton of food like some other foodie cities in the world, though there are some tasty things to try. You’ll want to get Trdelník (chimney cakes), Kolácek (a pastry), and Knedliky (bread dumplings). While you’re in Prague, you can also try Czech Duck which is divine.