We landed in Prague on 21st March expecting a better climate than we encountered in Manchester. Although there were no British rains to deal with, the weather was pretty cold for Europe in March. On the bright side, the apartment we had booked on Airbnb turned out to be better than we expected. A lush yet inexpensive apartment five-ten minutes away from all the major landmarks in the city, at least those that we intended to cover.
Best Time To Visit
Best time to visit Prague is from June to October
How To Reach
Book a Package Tour
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.
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.
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.
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.
I had seen the picture of the Dancing House mentioned in an article about Unusual Architectural Designs. Therefore when I saw it, I wasn't very surprised. This structure is only worthy of a picture; you should still check it out if you are strolling south, along the river side.
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.
Plague Column of the Holy Trinity
You travel back even further in time to learn about the history of the region and what importance architecture had in the lives of people during the 17th Century. The Plague Column was constructed by the artists who were the citizens of Olomouc, as a part of a celebration of the end of the Plague which struck the state of Moravia during 1713-1715. This column was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000 when it was described as “one of the most exceptional examples of the apogee of central European Baroque artistic expression”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
ClementiumThe Clementium has a long history of it’s own of it’s transition to becoming the National Library of Prague. But for book lovers, it’s most important aspect is that it is a book heaven- a baroque style library with the old world charm and thousands and lacs of books in the background!Pub Crawl/Nightlife In PragueThere’s no stopping the night in Prague! You could repeat a pub cawl, or visit some cool clubs like Roxy, Chapeau Rogue which make excellent Saturday Night hangout spots in the city!DAY TRIPS FROM PRAGUETravelling to Prague has some additional benefits. It’s not only the capital of Czech Republic but also towards the center. Which means you can explore most of Czech Republic by keeping Praha as your centre. Almost all major Czech towns can be reached from Prague by Cesky Drahy in a span of 2-3hrs. Towns like Telc, Litmosyl are small enough to be covered in a daylong trip.You can also read about our trip to Karlovy Vary, Litomysl, Telc, Cesky Krumlov from Prague.This trip was first published on Awara Diaries
While walking around the city we came across a huge market where they were selling handmade items which were mostly souvenirs. Most popular item was the clock. They were quite overpriced but we loved browsing through nearly 50 such shops. Some of these have fresh fruits and we had a handful of berries which were delicious. I ended up buying a matchbox and a keychain for gifts.
Hotel Prague Castle
All the main sightseeing spots sit on either side of River Vltava. On the left side is the Prague Castle, a complex of medieval buildings with Baroque churches and a royal palace on the top of the hill. The Prague Castle is the largest medieval castle complex in Europe and the ancient seat of Czech kings throughout the ages. Today, it is the seat of the President of the Czech RepublicIt is Prague’s premier tourist attraction.
Mosaic House was not exactly a hostel; its kind of a posh hotel for students. With its glamorous entrance, hip music and price tags of every object you need to stay, you can say that for poor traveler like me , this is not an option. Since my trip was scheduled during Easter there was a mess up in the booking. I had booked another hostel named Art Hole hostel- which was a pretty cool youth hostel but to my utter dismay upon my arrival they informed me that they were overbooked and will need to send me to another hostel. I was in high spirits and too ebullient to fight with the manager since it was my first trip after coming to Europe, and I did not want to spoil the mood. The free beer and the paid difference did make it easier for me to accept the felony ;) The service at Mosaic house was good but you need to act smart since everything is charged, be it breakfast or linen or toothpaste or soap. I would not suggest for students to spend money at this place but if you have got enough, sure! you can try. I love the old house feel so I would have loved staying at art hole but since I only used the hostel to sleep, it was fine. The rooms were super clean and the bathroom was pretty awesome. They also had events happening daily at their pub and bar. I was always crowded with travelers mostly young students.
In the evening, thanks to a friend's recommendation, we found that one thing that would remind us of the best there is in Prague and one of the best experiences in any of our trips in fact - a Mexican restaurant called Pepe Lopez. If I had to, I would gladly write an entire article on how delicious the food was here. But in short, all I'd say is we ended up repeating our entire food order - at least 15 dishes between seven of us.On day 3, we once again took it slow, leaving in the afternoon for lunch and followed by an extremely long stroll to the Petrin tower on the side of the Prague castle. The tower is relatively less famous but features a prominent observation deck giving an alternate overview of the city. More than the tower and the view, the climb upwards and the scenic walk back down made it a memorable experience.
Reduta Jazz Club
Being a musician I have always been open to different genres of music. However, I had never really gone for a Jazz concert. We wanted to skip the pub crawl and just sit back and relax. There was no better idea than listening to some live music.Reduta is one of the most popular Jazz Clubs in the world and Bill Clinton himself has played here.This was by far one of the best musical experience I have had. It was a Eargasm hearing a 15 piece instrumental Jazz Band peform for over an hour.My friends who have never listened to jazz in their life were reluctant to come for this. They thanked me after the concert was over.
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.
VyšehradThe Vyšehrad is a historical fort by the hill on the side of the Vlatva River. It was probably built in the 10th century with a hint of Romanesque, Baroque and Gothic architecture styles. The Basilica of St Peter and St Paul and the Vyšehrad Cemetry are also a part of its premises. The Vyšehrad Cemetry has been a burial ground for some of the most famous Czech people.A walk by the riverside at Vyšehrad at the sunset time is one of the most recommended things on your Prague-To Do-List!
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.
The little quarter called "Nový Svět" (New World) will surprise you with its charming small houses one wouldn´t expect in a capital city. All this will make you approach the Prague Castle in a different and wonderful way. The walk will allow you to observe two different places, which are breathing history and picturesqueness at the same time. The area has never been affected by major urban development; therefore, it has preserved its old-world peace and magic.
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….
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!
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.
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.