CZECH REPUBLIC EUROPE

9 Essential Things To Do In Prague

Out of all the European capitals you should visit, Prague should be at the top of your list. The capital of the Czech Republic can be revisited many times and will still remain as beautiful, charming, and impressive as the first time you saw it. There’s always something new to discover in this magical city, no matter how many times you’ve been there. But if you’re a first-timer there, here are 9 essential things to do in Prague.

St. Vitus Cathedral // Prague Castle The famous St. Vitus Cathedral

1. Spend a day in Prague Castle.

From all the things to do in Prague, visiting Prague Castle is the most essential activity. Called Pražský hrad in Czech, it is the largest ancient castle in the whole world. In reality, Prague Castle is not just one castle – it’s a huge complex of buildings that represent nearly every architectural style from the last millennium. There are 4 churches (+1 convent), 4 palaces, 3 halls (+1 gallery), 5 gardens, 2 towers, and many, many tourists. But Prague Castle is so magical, really, that you don’t notice all those people.

Things not to miss: the gorgeous stained glass windows in St. Vitus Cathedral; the Czech Crown Jewels (the fourth oldest in Europe); Golden Lane (Zlatá Ulička).

2. Walk around the historic centre of Prague.

Prague is the rock star of medieval urbanism. Its historic centre radiates magic and makes you feel lost in time. Prague centre is probably one of the most beautiful and wonderful places you can ever find yourself visiting. Everything there is so gorgeous, that I’m afraid my vocabulary is too limited to describe it. So I better not try, and you better go there and see it for yourself.

Things not to miss: Astronomical Clock; Charles Bridge; Minorite Church of St. James; Church of St. Nicholas; Lesser Town District.

The view over Prague from the Town Hall Tower The view from the Hall Tower.

3. Go to the top of the Hall Tower for a stunning view.
When you’re done admiring the Astronomical Clock, go up the Old Town Hall Tower. The view over Prague that opens up before your eyes is something worth climbing up the steps for.

Things not to miss: Messages people write on the walls inside the Tower.

4. Drink the best beer in the world.

They say the best beer can be found in only three countries: Germany, Belgium, and the Czech Republic. Having been to all of the three, I have to say that Czech beer outshines (or, rather, outtastes) its main competitors. It’s a-ma-zing. And even if you’re not a beer drinker (like me), I still advise you to go for some beer tasting in Prague – it’s definitely a worth-while experience.

Things not to miss: dark (Tmavé) or black (Černé) beer.

Trdelník (originally called Kürtőskalács) is a traditional Hungarian cake and sweet pastry, originally coming from Székely Land, Transylvania, which is home of the Székely Hungarians. It also is known within the culinary heritages of Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Austria. It is made from rolled dough that is wrapped around a stick, then grilled and topped with sugar and walnut mix. Nowadays, trdelník is again gaining popularity as a sweet pastry in Slovakia and the Czech Republic and is very popular among tourists. Trdelnik. Image source: here

5. Eat amazing Czech food.

Czechs know how to eat right. They don’t simply eat – they celebrate food in old Eastern European traditions: with huge portions, lots of cream, and lots of butter. I should warn you, by the way, that if you’re a vegetarian, or, God forbid, a vegan, it can get quite difficult to navigate around Prague because the locals love meat. But if you don’t have anything against eating meat, Prague is the right place for you. You should definitely try traditional Bohemian food, always accompanied by dumplings, and yummy marinated beef in cream sauce.

Things not to miss: (Street food) Trdelnik, Sausage with cabbage, Chlebičky; (Restaurants), Guláš, Koleno, Tatarák, Svíčková na smetaně, Vepřo-knedlo-zelo.

6. See the Jewish Quarter.

Prague Jewish Ghetto, also called the Josehof, dates back to 13th century, when the Jews were ordered to leave their houses in the city and settle in this one area. After certain time, when the Jewish people were banned in most of the countries in Europe, more and more of them came to live in Prague. Now, the Czech Jewish Quarter is considered to be the most well-preserved complex of historical Jewish monuments in Europe. Also, the synagogue which is located there is the oldest one in Europe. And finally, the Jewish district is a hidden gem of Art Nouveau architecture.

Things not to miss: the Old New Synagogue; the Old Jewish Cemetery; the Klausen Synagogue.

The view over Prague from the Vltava River. The Dancing House.
7. Rent a paddle boat on the Vltava River.

The Vltava River, which flows across Prague, is what gives a romantic allure to Prague. But simply admiring the scenery can kill the romance if you don’t add a healthy portion of fun into it. So when in Prague, have a ride on the Vltava River on a paddle boat! It’s a great opportunity to explore the city from different angles, burn all those calories acquired over the restaurant table, and keep the love alive.

Things not to miss: the Dancing House.

8. Visit Mucha museum.

Speaking of Art Nouveau, it would be immoral not to mention Alfons Mucha, a brilliant Czech painter famous for his decorative style. The museum, however, is for real connoisseurs of art: it’s quite small and quite expensive for a place that small. But if you love Mucha’s sophisticated paintings, you will enjoy it. Plus, the exhibition is organized in a very clever way, allowing you to learn how Mucha’s artistic tastes and standpoints on life changed over the years.

Things not to miss: The Seasons (series); Zodiac.

Garlands from skulls, enormous chandeliers arranged from shins, the Royal Emblem made entirely from bones... See all that in the Kostnice Church in Kutna Hora, the Czech Republic Inside Kostnice, the notorious Bone Church.

9. Get goose bumps in Kutná Hora.

Kutná Hora is a lovely place but it wouldn’t be that famous if it hadn’t been for Kostnice. In English it’s referred to as The Sedlec Ossuary, but its more famous name is the Kostnice Bone Church. And indeed it is! This little chapel contains the skeletons of around 70,000 people, whose bones are used for decoration purposes. Garlands from skulls, enormous chandeliers arranged from shins, the Royal Emblem made entirely from bones… who on Earth came up with this idea? But as creepy as Kostnice is, there’s something majestic about it, too, which makes it worth the 1 hour drive from Prague.

Things not to miss: Bones and skeletons.

Over to you! What else do you advise to see in Prague?
PS. You might also like:
Top 25 Things To Do In Prague (Author: The Crazy Tourist)

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  • readable…beauty.

  • I love the historical centre of Prague!

    • Me too! It’s breathtaking!

  • Great post, Olga! I’ll be sure to check it out again when I head to Prague! :)

    • Glad you found it helpful!
      Thanks for reading :)

  • Awesome post about Prague! I have been planning a trip to this city so this post of yours would really be helpful!

    • Glad it helps!
      Thanks for reading, Aileen :)

  • I’ve never been to Prague, although my Mom has many many years ago. Such a lovely city, and you made a really good list. Beautiful pictures, too!

    • Thank you!
      You should definitely go to Prague when you can! It is one of the prettiest cities I’ve ever been to!

  • Bold claim on #4! It’s good, to be sure, but better than Germany or Belgium? I find that harder to agree with!

    Sadly I didn’t know about the Mucha museum when I visited though. Yet another point on a very long list of things to do on another visit.

    • As everything else in life, beer preferences depend on taste. I don’t think that Czech beer is any worse than German, and, in my opinion, it’s definitely better than Belgian! At the same time, I never tried dark beer in Belgium and I don’t really like light beer in general, so maybe that was the reason…
      But again, as I said, everything depends on taste!

      Thanks for commenting, Stephen :)

  • I was in Prague for the first time last October and fell in love with the beautiful buildings and great beer! The castle is so gorgeous at night!

  • I love this post! Definitely need to check out these things when I’m next in Europe! The Bone Church looks absolutely incredible!!

    http://www.thetechgypsy.com

    • It’s really spooky! You’ll love it, haha :)

      • Looking across the sea of domes, spreis and red roofs towards the graceful towers of the St. Vitus cathedral, I think I’ve just fallen hopelessly in love with . In the short time since the Velvet Revolution and the fall of Communism, Prague has become one of the premiere destinations in Europe. What stands out most here is the , so diverse, so beautiful, and so concentrated in one place that you can easily be overwhelmed. But unlike other top cities in Europe, Prague doesn’t strike you as shrewd, calculating, or out to get your money, food and are still cheap and at good value. There is still certain innocence, something that does much to relieve the occasional annoyance. Of course Prague is overrun with tourists, who like you are eager to explore its charms. But there are ways to beat the crowds or avoid them altogether, and there are still many places off the beaten paths awaiting discovery.

  • I agree with everything! I wish we had more time to go to Kutna Hora or just any other day trip to the countryside. But you know there’s always a next time xD
    Also, if you have enjoyed the Tower, the Klementinum and Petrin Tower are also a must ;)
    -Sianna

    • Isn’t Klementinum a famous library? I should definitely check it out next time I’m in Prague!

  • Prague totally stole my heart. Great tips for a first time traveler. The city really never gets old.

  • I’ve been to Prague twice, and much preferred it in the winter without all the tourists (and before it became a hot spot for stag parties). Have to say I wasn’t really impressed with the castle, probably because it wasn’t as ‘castley’ as I’d expected, but otherwise thought it was a beautiful city.

    • Prague Castle wasn’t, really, what I expected too, because I didn’t know it was a complex of buildings. But I still found it incredibly cool!
      And I think it’s very difficult to predict the amount of tourists in Prague… My boyfriend first visited it for Christmas, and he said it was horribly overcrowded. And then we came together in summer at the peak of the travelling season (I think it was June or July), and there weren’t as many people!

      I guess it just depends on how lucky you are ;)

  • I’d love to eat the amazing food and go out on a paddle boat ride. I am just itching to get to Prague, I haven’t been yet!

  • One place I wanted to revisit such a beautiful place to explore

  • Wow all sounds great, can’t wait to finally go to Prague and when we do we’ll be sure to do all of these!

    • You’ll love it there!

  • Great post with pretty much all of my favourite things in the city! I love Prague and the vibe and the food … and everything

  • We’re visiting Prague for the first time in May, so this post is a great find for us. I’m already dreaming about the food!

  • I adored Prague. It was a real highlight on my Eastern Europe trip last year. The castle and surrounding area is stunning, the architecture and view at the top are fantastic. I didn’t get a chance to go to Kutna Hora but would be really interested to see this strange place. Food, beer and atmosphere in the streets was great. Definitely a city people should visit in Europe. Great post and photos

  • Great list Olga. I was in Prague for the first time last year and it’s a beautiful city. However it was only a very short visit so I didn’t get to many of the things on your list so I’ll be sure to bookmark this for when I’m visiting again. Kostnice is must for my next visit, it sounds creepy but I would really like to see it!

  • Hi, thankn you for this post, Im planning to visit Prague this year with my friends. But I think Im goona skip the last one, Im not fan of bones and skulls and stuff like that.

  • These tips are very helpful. This’ll be handy once we visit Prague. Thanks! Awesome post!

    • Glad you found it useful! :)
      Thanks for reading!

  • Sigh. Prague is a popular spot for us advertising kinds in India to shoot ad films. I’ve still never been. Hopefully we’ll get down to travelling there someday!

  • Ahh, Prague is amazing! It’s been a few years since I visited but we plan on returning so the other half of RR can experience this amazing city too. That photo with all the umbrellas is awesome! I didn’t see the bone church last time so looking forward to that!

    • Thank you!
      And you should definitely make a trip to Kostnice – this church is very tiny, but is so unique! I mean, real bones!!! Right?

  • Great :) but just one thing, i am not sure if its just cause translation but the Jewish Quarter is Josefov not Josehof :)

    • You’re right!

  • Love this! I’ve been to Prague twice, but still haven’t made it to Kutna Hora. Next time :)

  • I really enjoyed reading you post. Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and I think your post did a great job conveying this idea.

  • Kara

    Hi! I’m from Košice, Slovakia and I think it’s also amazing city to visit. It’s not as big as Prague, It’s small in compare, but has also a long history and beautiful buildings. I think Košice is one of the most prettiest city in Slovakia and I like it more than our capital Bratislava..

    • I’ve never been to Bratislava, but I actually heard it’s not even that pretty! There’s basically only a castle, and that’s it.
      Have you seen the movie “Eurotrip”? They make fun of Bratislava there, mocking the absence of sight and general post-Sovietism. Quite funny)