When I was 20 years old, way back in June 2006, I landed in Prague knowing no one nor a thing about the country. All I knew was to find the admissions staff, holding a sign with my name on it at baggage claim. I was enrolled in a study abroad program at Charles University, and so at the airport, I found the group and piled into a van toward an apartment I’d share with two Canadian classmates and a Czech lady who was our “apartment mom.” I had class three days each week, and the rest of the time I was out and about exploring Prague as well as neighboring cities/countries. The gothic architecture lining the streets, the unobstructed local culture, the electricity all around because the World Cup was in full swing—it all drew me in and I immediately fell in love with the first foreign city in which I lived. With help from my intern Cole who lived in Prague in Summer 2017, here are our Top 10 Things To Do In Prague!
Nothing says Europe quite like a castle! Across the Charles Bridge and the Vltava River, atop the hillside in New Town, sits an enormous complex of churches, museums, and government residences that beams with history, dating back to the 9th century! Either walk or take the tram to the foot of the castle and take a long walk through gardens and cobblestone streets, overlooking the Czech Republic capital. I recommend a walking tour so a local guide can share its extensive history. Be sure to walk inside the church to view its stunning gothic architecture, stained-glass windows, and high-vaulted ceilings. And I challenge you to make the guards at the entrance gates, standing at attention, dressed in blue to smile, to crack a smile!
One of the main hubs of culture and commercial life in Prague, Wenseslas Square is more rectangular than square, where restaurants, hotels, and businesses line up, one after the other. It’s a main attraction for tourists and often where city events and even demonstrations are held. At one end of the square, where it slopes upward, sits the Czech National Museum with a statue of St. Wenseslas himself in front.
Czech National Museum
The Czech National Museum is an absolutely stunning feat, architecturally inspired by neoclassicism. Enjoy the art, but even more so look up and around inside at the spectacular interior craftsmanship!
Pražačka Swimming Pool
Whether you want to get in a workout or simply cool off during the hot summer months, definitely don’t miss the Pražačka pool. Wear a suit or bare all, this is a truly local scene. Laid back, bustling with loud kids and many naked adults! A Czech Republic travel guide wouldn’t be complete with mentioning this local pool!
John Lennon Wall
You can’t visit Prague without visiting the John Lennon Wall. Decorated with colorful drawings and lyrics inspired by The Beatles, this hints at Prague’s communist past, where citizens were forced into conservative conformity. The wall is all about self-expression, just as Lennon himself was, and often mentions current issues. You can tag the wall yourself and share your message with the world!
The Charles Bridge is the staple of Prague. Iconic, photogenic, and busy, the bridge is romantic and full of history. It’s lined with artists and gift sellers, so be prepared to feel like a sardine. Or, walk along the bridge between 4 to 6am when no one is really there for a much more peaceful experience. (Pictured above at the top of this article.)
In the middle of Old Town Square, you can find the Astronomical Clock. People wait hours to see the hands move, i.e. the 12 apostles passing by the window. Personally I never understood the appeal; I was more wowed by how many people gather for this hourly occurrence!
Old Jewish Cemetery
Considered one of the oldest in the world, the Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague draws many tourists. Tombstones are stacked one on top of another, in seeming disarray. Prague had a vibrant Jewish community that suffered greatly during World War 2; therefore you can find many Jewish memorials around town such as this.
Museum of Medieval Torture
If you’re looking for a bit different museum experience, stop into the Museum of Medieval Torture. It’s right before the Charles Bridge and showcases a ton of torture tools. Very creepy, very fascinating.
The corner markets aren’t technically a “sightseeing destination” but more so a cultural experience. Almost every street offers small shops with produce and basic essentials. They’re authentic and give you a true local flavor.
Did my Top 10 Things To Do In Prague list inspire you to check it out? (Pun intended.) Give it a share on social media!