The historic Prague Castle is beyond any ordinary castle. It is the largest ancient castle as per the Guinness Book Of World Records. This 9th century castle complex has been home to some of the most powerful empires in Czech including Bohemians, Holy Romans, Czechoslovakian kings.Today it is the home to the President of Czech Republic and one of the most tourist savvy spots in the city.Czech DinnerWhen in Czech, eat like the Czechs! Roasted Duck, chicken and fish along with some local wine is just the perfect Czech meal to blend in with the Czech food flavors!We dined at UPavouka, a cool medieval theme-based restaurant with excellent food, unlimited servings of wine/Pilsners and lots of entertainment to keep you hooked (we’re talking sword fighting, belly dancing and a lot more magic!) DAY 2Letna Park
A ten minute walk later, we found ourselves on the banks of the river Vltava that runs underneath the Charles Bridge. Karlův most, as the bridge is called in the local language, is the primary spot to visit in the entire country. It's a simple bridge right at the heart of the city, sandwiched between the Prague castle and the old town. The busiest side of Prague was at night deserted, with just a five-story club and a dance bar attracting any visitors. We instead sat underneath one of the statues in the middle of the bridge, with a few drinks and a speaker. As the drinks wore us down, the night became livelier to us. Bollywood music, a serene atmosphere and a few strangers enjoying with us was the kickstart to our amazing trip.
Old Town Square
Once we were dropped back, we explored the vibrant old town square and the surrounding markets. Mid day, the old town is a heavily crowded destination. Cluttered with tourists are the lovely boutique shops, street performers, high-end Italian restaurants, coffee shops and the astronomical clock. As street performers entertained, the crowd got extremely excited at the sound of the clock reaching the hour mark, a vastly popular sight that should definitely be overlooked.
St. Vitus Cathedral
For a great number of people, St Vitus Cathedral is the Prague Castle, except for the fact that it is not. It is but an extremely vital part of the Castle complex. This 14th Century Cathedral was built for over 600 years and is a cultural and religious symbol of the Czech Republic. Bestowed with all the beauty and luxuriance of the world, the foundation stone for St Vitus was laid by Emperor Charles IV and it now houses his tomb along with a multitude of rulers and saints including St Wenceslas. The many stained glass windows, wooden sculptures, crown jewels, wall paintings, mausoleums and chapels of St Vitus Cathedral are significant pages in art and history. The Gothic south entrance to the Cathedral, known as the Golden Gate is a sight to see considering its intricately beautiful design courtesy of a certain Peter Parler. The otherwise incomplete bell tower is yet another important sight and a 300 step ascent from the inside offers you some arresting views of Prague. The Sigismund bell it is home to, is the largest in the whole of Czech Republic. Essential Information: Two types of tickets for the Prague Castle, a ‘Long Tour’ and a ‘Short Tour’, are available at the information centres in the second and third courtyards inside the complex and both provide entry to different combinations of sights. Other ‘Exhibition’ tickets are also available and you are free to choose one out of the three. These tickets are valid for two days and can also be bought at the entrances of all major sights. However, the information centres are recommended because they are not all that crowded. The first ticket includes a tour of St. Vitus Cathedral, the Old Royal Palace, an exhibition on "The Story of Prague Castle", St. George's Basilica, Golden Lane (Franz Kafka lived here for a short period), the Daliborka Tower, the Powder Tower and Rosenberg Palace. It comes for 350 CZK. The second ticket comprises of St. Vitus Cathedral, Old Royal Palace, St. George's Basilica and Golden Lane with the Daliborka Tower and costs 250 CZK. Entry to the Bell Tower is separate and costs 150CZK and it is open from 10am to 6pm during the summer months and 5pm during the winters. If in case you are a student or a senior citizen, you pay half the price provided you produce a valid ID. Make sure you walk around the beautiful palace gardens towards the end of your tour. Getting There: Tram 22 gets you to Pražský Hrad (Prague Castle). Get off at 'Pohorelec' so that the walk to the fortress is shorter. The historical buildings usually shut by 5 in the evening while the rest of the complex is open till 10.
If you have a day spare or are visiting the city with your family Prague Zoo is a great alternative to wandering around the streets all day. Situated just outside the city center it is easily reachable by public transport or a taxi. From March to October it is also reachable by steamboat. The trip takes 75 minutes and is an exciting way to start your visit. Highlights include Elephant Valley home to around 12 Elephants, an Indonesian Jungle with orangutans, various monkeys, tropical birds and Komodo Dragons! There are also Polar Bears, Big Cats Habitat, Lemur Island, a large pavilion of Gorillas including a big Silver back and an African Savannah, filled with Giraffes, Zebra, Meerkats, Lions and other African animals. There is plenty of things to do and see for the entire family as well as various shows and talks about some of the animals. There is even a petting farm for the young ones. TIP ALERT: Entrance for a family of four is 600Kč. Adult/Child 200/150Kč. Prague Zoo is open daily all year round. Time period: Opening hours: April, May, September, October 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. June, July, August 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. March 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. November, December, January, February 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
The next morning we headed to Wenceslas square, a strip in the more recently developed side of Prague that includes the National Museum. The square is the commercial hub of the city featuring high end restaurants, branded retail outlets, a few nightclubs, a local market in the centre of the strip and the starting point of our bus tour across the city. The tour in itself was moderately good, nothing out of the ordinary as we covered the stretch from Wenceslas square to the Prague castle and back to the old town square.
Prague Astronomical Clock
Perhaps the most conspicuous structure of the Old Town, the Astronomical Clock of the Town Hall draws crowds at the end of every single hour for a performance that is best described as insipid. The excitement leading to the display, however, is noteworthy considering the hundreds of cameras and eyes that are tenaciously focused on the gigantic clock for a 45 second drama, which I must add, is replete with deep symbolism. There are four figures beside the clock that symbolize four major apprehensions of the times: There’s Vanity with a mirror. There’s Greed in the form of a Jewish moneylender with his bag of gold (this was modified after the Second World War). Then comes Death as a skeleton followed by a Turk representing Pagan Invasion. The four figures standing below are the Angel, Chronicler, Philosopher and Astronomer. On the hour, Death upturns his hourglass after ringing a bell, the 12 Apostles appear in the windows and some of the aforementioned sculptures then begin to move, signifying their refusal to go. Once the Apostles finish their journey, a cock crows and the hour is chimed. Getting there: In order to witness the spectacle, you could either walk right up to Staroměstské Náměstí or get off at the Staroměstska metro station and walk 350 metres. The clock chimes every hour between 9am to 9pm.
John Lennon Wall
John Lenon WallAfter witnessing the horrid scenes of the past, it could be some relief to visit the John Lennon Wall. It is also known as the Peace Wall, which is filled with graffiti and the lyrics of the songs by Beatles.Over the years, it became a medium for the youth to voice their opinion against communism and spread the message of peace!
Old Town SquareThe Old Town Square is one of the most popular squares in Prague with the Wenceslas Square on one side and The Charles Bridge on another. This square is the center to some of the most historic statues and structures in Czech Republic- the Old Town Hall, Jan Hus Memorial, The Church of St. Nicholas and the Astronomical Clock, oldest active astronomical clock in the world.The Astronomical Clock particularly attracts a lot of attention amongst tourists, with its popular hourly displays and the legends that surround it. Towards December, the Old Town Square becomes even more vibrant with the Christmas Markets; it is the biggest and most visited in Czech Republic.
Church of Our Lady before Týn
My first glimpse of the Church of Our Lady Before Tyn deluded me into believing that I had somehow arrived at Hogwarts. As I stepped closer, I changed my mind and thought that I was facing a much darker version of Disney's Sleeping Beauty Castle. This magnificent structure is however a Gothic-Baroque church that dominates most of the cityscape of Prague and even serves as an emblem of sorts. The Tyn courtyard behind the cathedral is the source of its name. The most intriguing aspect of the Church of Our Lady is the fact that the two tall and imposing yet asymmetrical spires, replete with their fairy tale charm, are representations of masculinity and femininity. While most of the structure is hidden behind the Tyn School, it manages to dominate the fabled Old Town of the Czech capital. The golden image of the glorious Mother Mary is as conspicuous as it could possibly be. This cathedral of the aristocrats is therefore unmissable. Getting There: This 14th century beauty is open from 10 am to 1 pm and 3pm to 5 pm on Tuesdays through Saturdays. On Sundays, it is open from 10:30 am till noon. For those taking the subway, the station 'Staroměstská' should be your stop and if in case you are taking the tram, lines 17 and 18 get you to Staroměstská. The stop is some 500 metres from the church.
For the best view of Praha, the park of Letna Hill is one of the best spots to relax and take pictures. Climbing up hill could take a while, but the view is absolutely worth the efforts! It is also where Legendary Pop star Michael Jackson started his HIStory World Tour in the September of 1996!
An ancient street located within the Prague Castle complex, the colourful yet quaint Golden Lane is somehow largely reminiscent of the tiny cottages that formed a major part of Enid Blyton’s works. 16th Century alchemists and artisans once called these historic cottages home. Today, their doll-like houses have been brilliantly restored in order to illustrate the kind of life they led during their times. While a handful of them now function as souvenir and book shops, some are just wonderfully refurbished homes. Right from the cottages of seamstresses and film historians to goldsmiths and fortune tellers, every one of them looks lived in and you often feel like the owners have merely stepped out for work and are perhaps on their way back. The most popular out of all cottages is House 22, the one in which Franz Kafka’s sister resided. Kafka himself spent a couple of years in her humble abode in order to write his most celebrated pieces. As you stroll down the Golden Lane, you realize that there’s some magic here; inexplicable yet tangible. Essential Information: Two types of tickets for the Prague Castle, a ‘Long Tour’ and a ‘Short Tour’, are available at the information centres in the second and third courtyards inside the complex and both provide entry to different combinations of sights. Other ‘Exhibition’ tickets are also available and you are free to choose one out of the three. These tickets are valid for two days and can also be bought at the entrances of all major sights. However, the information centres are recommended because they are not all that crowded. The first ticket includes a tour of St. Vitus Cathedral, the Old Royal Palace, an exhibition on "The Story of Prague Castle", St. George's Basilica, Golden Lane, the Daliborka Tower, the Powder Tower and Rosenberg Palace. It comes for 350 CZK. The second ticket comprises of St. Vitus Cathedral, Old Royal Palace, St. George's Basilica and Golden Lane with the Daliborka Tower and costs 250 CZK. If in case you are a student or a senior citizen, you pay half the price provided you produce a valid ID. Make sure you walk around the beautiful palace gardens towards the end of your tour. Getting There: Tram 22 gets you to Pražský Hrad (Prague Castle). Get off at 'Pohorelec' so that the walk to the fortress is shorter. The historical buildings usually shut by 5 in the evening while the rest of the complex is open till 10.
Church of Saint Thomas Situated in Mala Strana this beautiful church has some of the best examples of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture and frescoes in the whole of Prague. Filled with gold statues and beautiful carvings, this is one of the most beautiful churches I have had the pleasure of being part of. Situated next to the Augustine Hotel, the church is also part of a monastery, of which part of the hotel now owns and has built into. It’s worth a visit if you are in the area. It’s a stone throw away from Charles Bridge and St Nicholas Church. Entrance is free. TIP ALERT: If you’re visiting during the weekend be mindful that there will be several masses held, especially on Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings. Please respect that people will be attending mass and will not want flashing cameras going off during the service.
Travelling all the way to the Prague Castle is pointless without first visiting the Strahov Monastery located right behind it. Founded by Prince Vladislav II in 1140, this magnificent structure is located on the Petrin Hill and therefore also offers brilliant views of Praha. The monastery was once shut down by the Communist Government and opened its doors yet again in 1990. It is home to the Church of St Roch, the Church of the Assumption of Our Lady and the Strahov Library, the largest monastic library in Czech Republic. The Baroque Theological and Philosophical halls of the library are home to over a thousand valuable manuscripts and volumes. The Cabinet of Curiosities located in the lobby is an array of morbid yet mysterious remains. The Strahov Picture Gallery and Miniature Museum are also popular sights in the complex. Additionally, the most popular brewery in Prague, the Klasterni Pivovar Strahov, where monks brewed their own beer, is located right here. Exit the main courtyard of Strahov to come to the beautiful orchards and parks of Petrin and spend some time soaking in the glory of Praha. Getting There: The Strahov Library is open daily from 9am to noon and 1pm till 5pm. You’d have to shell out around 80CZK to enter. The Picture Gallery would cost you another 80CZK and it is open from 9am till noon and 12:30pm to 5pm. Tickets to the Miniature Museum come for 100CZK and it is open from 9am to 5pm. Tram no. 22 brings you to Pohorelec and from there you can walk around 300 metres to get to the monastery.
This is the tallest structure in the city. The architecture is very unconventional. Some may say it's quite creepy as Giant Babies are crawling all over the tower. It's an interpretation by sculptor David Cerny.Zizkov has an Observatory, a Hotel and a Restaurant & Bar called Oblaca. A must visit for couples who would like to enjoy a romantic dinner. Reservation is recommended.
Rudolfinum is one establishment that is so grand and so unabashedly gorgeous, that you cannot help but stop and stare. This Neo-Renaissance marvel dominating the Jan Palach Square in Prague is deservedly the most popular art gallery and music auditorium in the city. The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra calls Rudolfinum home and it also served as an administrative office of the Nazis during the Second World War. It now houses the Galerie Rudolfinum and the massively popular Dvorak Hall. Architects Josef Schulz and Josef Zitelk deserve all our gratitude for adorning Praha with this spectacle. Getting There: Take Trams 17/18 up to Staromestska and walk 150 metres to stroll around and get pictures of this stunning architectural wonder. Entry to the Rudolfinum Galerie costs 140CZK and it is open from 10am to 6pm on Tuesdays and till 8pm on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
St. George's Basilica
St. George's Basilica is the oldest church building within the Prague Castle complex. It is also the best-preserved Romanesque church in Prague. Within the church lie several tombs of major historic importance. In the Gothic Chapel of St. Ludmila lies the tomb of St. Ludmila, the saint and widow of the 9th century ruler Prince Borivoj. Also buried in the basilica are Prince Vratislav and Boleslav II.
Voted the world’s 2nd most ugliest building, the Žižkov Tower rises over Prague 3 district and can be seen from most of the city centers tall buildings including the Old Town’s Clock Tower. This “unique” Zizkov Tower was constructed over a period of seven years between 1985 and 1992 pre the Velvet Revolution. Architecturally brutal and high-tech, with a height of 216 metres (709 feet), the Zizkov TV Tower dominates Prague’s skyline. TIP ALERT: For a perfect evening head up the tower just before sunset for a great view across the city, and dine in the towers restaurant, 66 meters above ground for some fine dining and a beautiful night-time vista. For reservations visit www.oblaca.cz
Museum of Medieval Torture
The view from the top made it all worth it. To further enhance our experience the next stop was the ” Museum of Torture “ . Yup, we have all read about the dark ages, Hollywood has put many a movie down our throats filled with blood and gore from the pre-renaissance era. A booklet with English descriptions let our imaginations run wild as to how each individual instrument was used and we said a small silent prayer thanking the powers that be, that we were not born in the dark ages. The room has a collection of torture chairs, brazen bull, torture cages, chastity belts, pear of anguish, boiling pot, Iron maiden, Witch cages, witch stools etc. The museum is housed in an old time dungeon, it also has prison cells with real nail marks on the walls, as if screaming for a release….
Letna Beer Garden
Want to escape to the most peaceful place in Prague? Letna garden offers you a splendid view of the city, with a variety of Beers and Wines to choose from. The climb to the garden is a great workout. If you are feeling lazy, take the tram around and to the back of the garden. This is also a great picnic spot as there are several benches overlooking the city.The garden is very big and you will see people primarily coming here to walk, run, relax or walk their dogs.
Beach with beer
When someone told us about a beach in Prague, we laughed. It's a land locked city. But when we looked up on the internet, there is a beautiful place by the river. It's an artificial beach and often there are parties happening here. We couldn't go there,but do check this out.