Things To Do In Prague
Like many other European cities, Prague has retained its historical center in the same form as it was many years ago. Those who take a walk through the cobbled and intricately curved streets will certainly enjoy the interesting architecture of its buildings, sculptures, monuments -- and the fountains that serve as a popular romantic backdrop for couples in love. Every area of Prague has its own charm: Kampa Island, Petrin Hill, the narrow streets running from the Castle to the Vltava Wallenstein Palace and the park of Mala Strana. If you walk down to the Prague Castle by the Charles Bridge, the beauty of the surrounding gardens will amaze you. You won't waste any time in this city, because you can go everywhere without using any kind of transportation. All of the major attractions here can be explored on foot. A city where everything is permeated with the spirit of history, Prague is definitely a must-see!
When To Go:
The spring and fall seasons in Prague are considered to have the best climates for touring, with sunny days and cool evenings. Summers can bring soaring temperatures and turn humid, with a few drizzles and longer nights of hot weather. Winters could be very chilly and are surprisingly long, lasting to the months of April or even May. Rains may occur at any time of the year, so make sure to pack an umbrella.
These are the things to do when in the city of Prague:
Old Town Square
The Old Town Square is the magical part of Prague with its magnificent and very unusual clock. Every hour it plays music and shows different figures in its windows. Watch this spectacle along with an amused crowd that never fails to gather on the hour. On one side of the old town you can walk along and see the framed and colorful houses on the square, across from the church (Tyn Church). From the square in different directions are small streets, each with its own special personality (and with lots of restaurants and souvenir shops.) You will never get tired of walking around the old town to experience the fun and fabulous side of Prague. Near the square you can also admire the beautiful church; it has some spectacular decorations, including a luxurious-looking balcony and main altar. Just make it here early in the morning if you want to walk around and take photos without the crowds.
Prague's range of architectural styles is among the most impressive in Europe. It is no wonder that the city is included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, because all of the buildings are preserved in almost the same condition in which they were built -- or at least very close to the original structures. The paving blocks, facades, statues, moldings are all in harmonious and almost poetic stance. However, even in the old city some of the new buildings and premises are quite modern and up-to-date, and there is entertainment for every taste, price and quality; it is no wonder that this part of the city attracts a huge crowd of tourists and a lot of young people.
St. Vitus Cathedral (Chram Svateho Vita)
The St. Vitus Cathedral is one of the most original, authentic places here and a mandatory site to visit when in the city of Prague. Right next to the cathedral there is a post from where you can send cards to your friends. Inside there are beautiful Mucha stained glass windows located to the left of the main entrance. The majestic cathedral is situated on a hill and is visible from almost anywhere in Prague. You can buy tickets for tours A or B, which differ in price and number of included amenities.
Pictures inside are not prohibited (even DSLRs), despite a sign at the entrance saying that photography is permitted only on a "special license." The staff inside will just request that you turn off the flash if you haven't disabled it. The inside and outside of this church are both very interesting. Outside, it has vintage patios where tournaments and feasts are celebrated. All around there is a large park and past that, the Belvedere neighborhood of Prague with its own large arboretum.
Prague Zoo (Zoo Praha)
The Prague Zoo is located in the lovely area of Troy. It is worth coming here from the opening right on into the evening. The huge area has lots of different animals, birds, and plants. There is a petting zoo and a playground -- and be sure to take a ride on the funicular. You will definitely not stay hungry, as there are lots of cafes and restaurants. The zoo is located on the outskirts of the city and reachable by tram and bus.
You can spend the day there admiring many different types of animals including tigers, elephants, and huge flocks of flamingos that are very close to the visitors' reach. There is a place called House of Africa, where you can almost have a mini-safari with lemurs, hippos, cheetahs, kangaroos, zebras, and giraffes on the run. The grounds are very spacious and green and the animals are provided with large enclosures. There is a cute mini-zoo for kids where they can have a live interaction with baby goats and ponies.
In addition, throughout the zoo you can usually eat lunch or have a snack without departing from the area you are currently visiting -- for example, you can choose a cafe right next to the Valley of the Elephants. You need to come here for a full day to enjoy a leisurely walk, take your time meeting the animals, and appreciate the stunning nature views.
This is a nice pedestrian bridge on both sides of which you will find the statues that are considered the main representations of Jan Nepomuk, a national saint of the Czech Republic. The Charles Bridge offers wonderful views of the Vltava River, St. Vitus Cathedral, Old Town, and the Prague Castle. On the bridge, you can usually see a lot of musicians, artists, and photographers. This is also a very popular place among tourists. If you want to see Charles Bridge in peace and fully enjoy all its charm, it is better to come here early in the morning -- it won't be crowded and will show a very different atmosphere. The place is very attractive and fascinating. Tourists walk here in endless streams, going different directions. In the evening the bridge seems mysterious and even more fascinating than the day.
If by any chance you are sailing under the bridge on a boat, tradition says you need to throw a coin into the bridge and make a wish. Charles Bridge has been a pedestrian-only bridge for a relatively short time, but it has a long history and is an example of medieval architecture. This was formerly known as the Prague Bridge; although Charles IV was present at its creation in 1357, only in 1870 was it renamed the Charles Bridge. The bridge is 1700 feet long, 31 feet wide, and based on 16 pillars. During the Baroque period the bridge was decorated with unique statues of the time.
The Prague Castle has a lot of interesting places to explore: the Presidential Palace, the Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral and Golden Lane (which you can visit for free after 5:00) are all part of this complex. It is best to visit in the evening, when the tourists are not so numerous. You can just walk around and see the views of the city, but there are helpful audio guides for the museums inside.
This fortress-castle has long paved stairs that are ideal for a good workout. After each stairway you can look back over the city and have another photograph of your progress. For lovers of Gothic architecture this castle is highly recommended because it is dotted with menacing gargoyle statues, large dark places and very high arches. You can go in from one side and come out the other and go down a different way. You can also see the changing of the guard.
Castle District (Hradcany)
The gorgeous Castle District or Hradcany is adjacent to the Prague Castle. In the times of early kings, this area served as a settlement for palace servants, but very quickly it became a favorite place for the nobility to stay. From the terrace of the Hradcany, there are the most charming views of Prague with its red roofs and the Vltava River with its numerous bridges.
You can walk around the area all day long and explore interesting places and attractions at every step -- all are thoroughly steeped in the spirit of the past history. Wander through the old cemetery that is a bit creepy but otherwise just awesome. Despite the huge number of tourists, there are some quiet and unfrequented places. Take your time and go there during the day and evening.
Old Town Hall and Astronomical Clock
The Old Town Hall and the Astronomical Clock is probably the most important landmark in Prague. You can admire this along with the hundreds of tourists that come every hour. One of the top things to do in Prague is to witness the show that features the astronomical clock with moving figures; it is such a beautiful sight! Be sure to ascend the tower by riding the elevator. The top offers magnificent views of the entire Old Town. Also, there are guided tours to explore the town hall. See the chapel with its figures and chimes, antique rooms and cellars. On the square alongside the clock, you can visit two churches, houses with graffiti, lots of restaurants and cafes, and various kiosks. You can also take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage while touring the Old Town.
At the Lobkowicz Palace, you can first go to a cafe at the museum or head to the balcony for a wonderful view of Prague. The museum itself also hosts a variety of Midday Classic Concerts at a reasonable cost of $23. The audio guide is available in different languages and will maximize the information about the Lobkowicz family and their interesting art collections. They also have an unusual selection of weapons and musical instruments.
There is an impressive art gallery and their family history is dramatically related during the tours -- you will hear how they lost everything and eventually got it back -- twice. You can also learn about their role during many wars and intrigues. It is likely that if you visit the Czech Republic, you will also go to one or more of the other featured estates of this family around the country. If so, you will learn so many things about this fascinating and influential group of people. You will also marvel at the restored collection of paintings and the responsible staff who maintains all the treasured collections of the Lobkowicz family. This palace is one of the most interesting sites, and should not be missed when in Prague.
The Lesser Quarter is a fabulous place that is easily accessible by crossing the Charles Bridge. A few steps away from the famous pedestrian bridge and you are in a completely different atmosphere. Take a stroll along the old streets and see the huge majestic cathedral, the royal palace with guardhouse and painted walls, parks, antique and souvenir shops. Learn the many interesting stories about almost every colonial house in every street -- the friendly locals will be happy to share their lore. On this side of the bridge, tourists are scarce and everything is quiet and beautiful.
The restaurants here offer cheaper menus than you will find in the restaurants located on the other side of the river. Another great thing about the Mala Strana (Lesser Town Prague) is the gardens and parks that are hiding right behind the city walls. There are cute flowery streets that lead out to unexpected areas, there are cobbled paths and it is more pleasant to walk. Take your time and be sure to visit here. It is not as crowded as in the central squares, so walking is really pleasant and everything feels very authentic.
Vysehrad National Cultural Monument
If you plan to stay in Prague for more than 1-2 days, it is highly recommended to include a trip (or hike) to the Vysehrad National Cultural Monument. This is a very special place and the Czechs love to spend time here. The park is big, you can just take a walk, shoot pictures of the lilies in the fields, and see the amazing panorama of Prague -- or you can even go to church. And on the weekend, there are brass band concerts that amuse every visitor. It feels great to walk around this fortress as if you were in the Middle Ages. There are almost no tourists and you can safely walk in the park and enjoy the views of the Vltava River.
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