Things to do in Prague: Attractions and places to visit

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Did you know that Prague was already called “The Golden City” in the middle of the 14th century? Charles IV, King of Bohemia and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, made his native town the cultural centre and the most important city of his time. Many buildings from that construction phase still bear witness to the splendour of that time. The Old Town of Prague is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic and lies at the confluence of the Vltava and Berounka rivers. Already centuries before the time of Charles IV, Prague was the residence of the Bohemian kings, who left their mark in magnificent buildings. But there are also modern buildings to admire. In all this the physical well-being does not come too briefly. Prague is known for its delicious Bohemian cuisine.

Below we present you the most exciting tours, the most beautiful attractions and the best sights in Prague:

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Main square (Francisco Anzola)  [flickr.com]  CC BY 
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1. Prague Castle

Prague Castle is the largest closed castle area in the world. Already in the 9th century there was a residence on the Hradschin, the mountain in the heart of Prague, which was extended and renovated in the course of the centuries.

It served the Czech dukes and kings and later the Czech president as the seat of government. Within the walls there is not only the castle itself, but also various churches, parks and palaces to admire. The walled area spans 45 hectares.

2. St Vitus Cathedral Prague

One of the buildings on Hrad?any is St Vitus Cathedral. During the “building boom” under Charles IV in the middle of the 14th century, construction began, centuries passed before completion. It is still the largest sacral building in the Czech Republic. The main tower is 99 metres high and offers an impressive panoramic view of the city.

The cathedral is splendidly decorated with golden stucco and semi-precious stones. It served many kings and emperors as a coronation site. Some are buried in the cathedral. A part of the cathedral treasure, one of the most valuable of its kind in Europe, can be visited.

3. Golden lane

At the edge of the castle grounds lies the golden alley, an alley with small, colourful houses from the 16th century. There used to be a goldsmith here who gave the alley her name. It bears the nickname “Alchemistengasse” because King Rudolf II commissioned some alchemists to find the Philosopher’s Stone or at least to produce gold.

The alchemists lived in the small houses. At the beginning of the 20th century Franz Kafka also lived in one of the houses. Today the houses are used as cafes and souvenir shops. Today, the Golden Lane is one of the most cute and at the same time most popular sights of the Czech capital.

4. Charles Bridge

The Charles Bridge was also erected during the construction works under Charles IV. It connects the old town with the Mala Strana, the so-called “Lesser Town”. Round arches erected on 16 bridge piers form one of the oldest stone bridges in Europe. It’s over 500 meters long. On both sides, 30 Madonna and saint figures were gradually erected.

It is said that all those who touch the oldest of the figures, John of Nepomuk, will be lucky in the future. In any case, it is lucky to enjoy the view from the bridge. A visit is especially worthwhile in the evening hours, when the bridge is bathed in the light of dusk.

5. Old Town Hall and Astronomical Clock

The town hall was also built in the middle of the 14th century. The oldest part is the Gothic tower with the astronomical clock. Every hour on the hour the twelve apostles appear one after the other at the windows. In addition to the actual clock, a calendar with the course of the sun and the moon is also displayed.

The other representations are also worth seeing: Astronomers, philosophers, Grim Reaper. The town hall, the chapel and the tower can be visited. Also the impressive mechanics of the watch, which was adapted again and again to the progress, can be admired with a guidance.

6. Powder Tower Prague

The Powder Tower was built in 1475 in the late Gothic style and is considered one of the most monumental buildings in the city. Originally the kings passed through this tower during the coronation ceremonies.

Since the beginning of the 18th century, the tower has served as a powder store and thus received its name. It is 65 metres high, the viewing perimeter is 44 metres, the spiral staircase has 186 stone steps.

7. Kafka Museum

The famous writer Franz Kafka was born on 3 July 1883 in Prague, where he spent his entire life leaving numerous traces. His birthplace burned down, only a bust and a plaque commemorate him. There is only a small exhibition in the house. The actual Kafka Museum in Prague was established on the site of an old brickworks on the banks of the Vltava River.

The permanent exhibition includes correspondence, photographs, manuscripts and a unique collection of first editions of Kafka’s works. The influences that Prague had on Kafka and his books are also presented. In the courtyard of the museum there is a well worth seeing by the Czech artist David ?erný.

8. Petrin Tower

The observation tower was built in 1891 for an industrial exhibition. The Eiffel Tower served as a model. The Petrin Hill, on which the tower was built, is 318 metres high, the tower itself almost 64 metres high. A magnificent view of Prague and the surrounding countryside is therefore guaranteed.

The tower can be reached by cable car or on foot through the Petrin Park. The park is also often used by the inhabitants of Prague. There are 299 steps leading up to the tower. Alternatively you can use the elevator. Exhibitions are held regularly in the basement of the tower.

9. The dancing house

In addition to all the historical buildings, the so-called “dancing house” is also a special eye-catcher and is considered a showpiece of modern Czech architecture. The office building was developed and built in 1996 by the Canadian architect Frank Gehry in cooperation with the Czech architect Vlado Milunic in the style of deconstructivism.

The architects are said to have been inspired by the dancer Fred Astair and his dance partner Ginger Rogers. The two curved towers of the house are reminiscent of a dancing couple and are among the most photographed sights in Prague. The best photo light is usually in the early afternoon.

10. John Lennon Wall

After John Lennon, the former member of the Beatles, was murdered in 1980, a stranger used the stone tablet on the wall of the Malteser Garden to erect a monument to the musician. More and more candles were placed in front of the portrait. The wall was inscribed with lyrics and quotations about peace and freedom.

Gradually, the wall was also used for protest slogans against the dictatorship. With the collapse of communism, the Wall lost its importance as a place for political statements, but the colourful memorial to the former Beatle is still one of the most popular sights in Prague.

More things to do and activities for your Prague holiday

Best time to visit Prague

We recommend the following months as best time to travel for exploring the attractions and acivities of Prague:

May, June, July, August, and September

You can find more information about the weather, including all climate data, on our climate page for Prague.

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