The first time I went to Prague, I was 16. I was on a European Tour with my family and I remember my sisters and I agreeing that we liked Prague the least of all the cities we went to. I think a big part of that had to do with the rain…but I just spent 2.5 days there in the glorious summer sunshine and absolutely LOVED it. (It’s funny how the weather can have such a big impact on your opinion of things). Prague is beautiful, historical and exciting – here are the top 10 things I would do in Prague based on my experience:
Charles Bridge at Sunrise
Known in Prague as Karlův Most, Charles Bridge is the famous historic bridge from the 14th century that links Old Town Prague with the Prague Castle area. If you’ve done any research on Prague, you’ve probably heard the name thrown around – indeed, it seems to be the most touristy place in the whole city! Throughout the day, it’s crammed with people walking every which way. Artists sell their works and some people stop to get their caricatures or portraits drawn. It’s a very happening place – but if you’re looking for a quieter experience, waking up earlier and crossing it at sunrise is the best time. It is hauntingly beautiful and quiet and almost ethereal. You can always cross it again later in the day to get the other experience. So set your alarm and beat the maddening crowds – it’s worth it!
Climb to the top of Old Town Tower Clock
For a small fee, you can climb to the top of the Clock tower for magnificent views of the Old Town Square and the surrounding areas of Prague. The colorful red roofs, the Gothic churches, and the beautiful rolling hills are a sight to behold!
Sit Under the Charles Bridge
While everybody’s busy crossing the Charles Bridge, do yourself a favour and walk under it. You can walk along the Vltava River or sit on the banks of the river, mingle with the swans (there are lots) or simply relax. It gives you another perspective of the city and it’s often less touristy.
Petrin Hill at Sunset
After you cross the Charles Bridge, you can climb to the top of Petrin Hill (the hill with the look-alike Eiffel Tower on it). Alternatively, you can also take trams 6, 9, 12, 20 or 22 and get off at Újezd in order to take the funicular up. If you’re physically up for it though, I would recommend walking. It’s a beautiful walk and you can do it at your own pace, stopping whenever you please to take a picture of the gorgeous view. The view is particularly nice at sunset.
Attend the Opera or a Classical Concert
Prague has played a huge role in the history of classical music – with composers such as Bedřich Smetana and Antonín Dvořák hailing from the Czech Republic – and it would be shame if you did not get to experience traditional sounds of the culture. The music they wrote was very nationalistic and thus they played important roles in preserving the Bohemian culture. You can hear the inspirations they drew from the Czech countryside and nature reflected in their music. The Czech people remain very proud of their composers and there are concert halls, museums, and public statues in their honor – but I think the best way to appreciate their work is to actually go to a concert! I went to the Estates Theatre production of Don Giovanni , but you will have no trouble finding a performance that suits your fancy in one of the many different venues – ranging from churches, concert halls, and theatres.
John Lennon Wall
The Lennon Wall features John Lennon inspired graffiti and lyrics. I feel like not a lot of people know about this because I went there twice during my 2.5 days, and both times it was almost completely deserted, except for a tour group that came marching through. You can easily find it by exiting the Charles bridge from the staircase a bit past the half way point.
Walk Without a Map
This might sound scary to you – what, wander around a new city without a map! I, too, find it sometimes overwhelming to explore a new city without any sense of where I am going. But with Prague, I tucked my map into my bag (okay, okay, I’ll admit I only did this because the map was confusing the hell out of me) and lost myself in the cobble stone streets of Prague. To be able to wander wherever I wanted, without having to be anywhere particular or do anything specific…it was very liberating and exciting and I found myself having an exceedingly enjoyable experience. I think sometimes the best travel experiences come when you simply lose yourself in the moment and just immerse yourself in the city, don’t you?
People Watch in the Old Town Square
After you’ve walked and walked and walked, your feet are probably in need of a break. Hopefully you’ll be able to find your way back to the Old Town Square and find yourself a seat around the big monument in the center. Now you can sit back, maybe eat a snack, and watch everything that is going on around you. There will definitely be no shortage of people to entertain you. The square is always packed with tourists gathering beneath the famous astronomical clock (pushing each other out of the way to get the perfect picture), street performers and musicians, food vendors, artists, and people on segways – have fun!
Letna Park offers stunning views of Old Town Prague! I think looking out at this view was the moment I fell in love with Prague. It was a very hot day (hence why my bangs are pinned back) and there were quite a few stairs to climb, and maybe I did run out of water, but once I reached the top, I simply stood there mesmerized and felt so completely happy that I was alive and lucky enough to experience life.
Enjoy a Glass of Wine or Beer
Drinks, beer specifically, are particularly cheap in Prague so if you’re wondering whether you should wind down and relax after a busy day: go ahead! The Czechs are quite proud of their beer – I’m not a beer drinker (white wine all the way!) but I did try a glass and based on the fact that I finished it, I would say they have a right to be proud. So find a nice bar -maybe one with a nice view – and soak up the energetic and thriving Prague atmosphere!