Visiting Prague soon? Check out this list with the 25 best things to do in Prague, perfect for those who are visiting for the first time or those who are looking for some extra things to add onto their itinerary.
Prague has slowly but steadily turned into one of Europe’s most popular city break destinations. After having been myself, I totally get the hype. Prague feels so unique and it’s like stepping into a picture book. Fairytale-like streets, towers and churches, stunning green parks, a great nightlife scene and… beer spas. (Yes. Spas. With beer). Especially with Prague being so affordable compared to other European cities, it really grabs the attention of many travellers.
So what should do you and see when in Prague? If you’re not quite sure yet, I’ve made a list with some of the best things to do in Prague – especially when you’re visiting for the first time.
Things to do in Prague
1. Step back in time on Old Town Square
Walking through the Old Town of Prague literally feels like walking into a fairytale picturebook. It’s one of the oldest and most significant places in the city and by far one of the most beautiful town squares I’ve ever seen. Dating back to the 10th century, this square has seen a lot of history. It’s with no doubt one of the best things to see when in Prague – and a perfect place to start your trip. On the square itself, you can find several iconic buildings that are worth a closer look, including:
- Old Town Hall: Dating back to 1338, the Old Town Hall is one of the most iconic pieces you can find on Old Town Square. At 70 meters high, it used to be the tallest building in Prague. You can climb the tower for a small fee to enjoy a beautiful view of the city. On the side of the town hall, you can find the famous Astronomical Clock.
- Church of Our Lady Before Tyn: Old Town Square wouldn’t be complete without its beautiful Church of Our Lady Before Tyn. Legend says this church is the one that inspired Walt Disney for Sleeping Beauty’s castle. It’s never been confirmed, but I can definitely see the resemblance.
- Kinsky Palace: This beautifully decorated former palace is a real eye-catcher on Prague’s Old Town Square. Now housing an art museum, a beautiful as stunning as this deserves a closer look.
During the winter, you can also find the famous Prague Christmas Market on this square. It’s named one of the best christmas markets in Europe, so definitely worth a visit if you’re visiting Prague in winter.
2. Admire the famous Astronomical Clock
As briefly mentioned in the previous section, you can find the Astronomical Clock on the side of the Old Town Hall. But a clock this beautiful and special deserves a little more attention. Prague’s pride and glory is the oldest astronomical clock in the world (1410) that is still operating. There are stories that say the creator of the clock was blinded by the government, to avoid him from creating another clock for a different city.
NOTE: Every hour between 9AM and 11PM, the 12 apostles start moving around for people to watch. It usually gets a bit crowdy during those times, so keep that in mind when planning your Prague itinerary 😉
3. Walk across the Charles Bridge
Connecting the Old Town with Prague’s castle grounds, the Charles Bridge is one of the most famous and most beautiful bridges in Europe (if not the world). While construction began in 1357 following orders by Emperor Charles IV, the bridge wasn’t finished until the 15th century.
According to a popular tale in Prague, egg yolk was mixed into the mortar to strengthen the bridge during construction. If it’s true, something in that egg yolk must have had some super powers as the bridge still stands strong – even after having been flooded many times over the years.
As you can imagine, the Charles Bridge is a very popular tourist spot and if you want to make the most of it, I recommend going very early in the morning or late at night. This way, you avoid the crowds of tourists and many souvenir and art stalls that are set up during the day.
4. Devour a Trdelnik, or two 😉
Despite not traditionally being a Czech treat (this delicious treat originates from Hungary, but took the Czech Republic by storm a few years ago), you simply cannot leave Prague without having tried a Trdelnik (or Chimney Cake, another name they go by sometimes). This sweet treat is made by wrapping thick dough coated in sugar around a pole that is circled over a fire until baked. It sometimes comes with ice cream in the middle (yaaaas).
There are tons of places where you can find them, usually near the tourist attractions. They usually cost anywhere between Kč50-Kč100.
5. Snap a picture with the Lennon Wall
On the other side of the Charles Bridge in Mala Strana, you can find the Lennon Wall. As you may know, Prague and the Czech Republic have a difficult history with the Communist Regime that ruled the country until 1989. During the totalitarian area, pop culture and music were banned in Prague. Seeing that Lennon’s songs often referred to freedom, it stood in direct contrast with what was happening in the city.
This wall turned into a homage to the singer after his murder in 1980. He became a hero for Prague’s youths that didn’t agree with the way the country was ran. Painting pictures, quotes of his songs and other texts relating to the freedom they so desperately craved. Despite the police painting over the wall multiple times, grafitiy and quotes kept returning to it even though they risked going to jail.
John Lennon himself never actually visited Prague, in fact. But not only does this wall represent him, it represents freedom and Lennon’s ideas for peace. Even today, new quotes and images are being painted onto the wall – it’s constantly changing.
6. Wander through the Wallenstein Garden
The early Baroque garden in front of Wallenstein Palace located near Prague Castle. Giving you a stunning view over the Castle, the garden itself is also a real gem. Including the 30-meter high three-arcade building, a koi pond and a selection of some beautiful statues. It’s a serene and peaceful spot in the mids of Prague.
During the summer, concerts and theatre performances are held inside the gardens. Keep in mind that the gardens are not open between October and April.
7. Visit Prague Castle
If you only have a few days in Prague, you kinda have to visit one of the most significant buildings in the Czech Republic: Prague Castle. Being one of the 12 UNESCO world heritage sites in the country and the largest castle complex in the world (at 70,000 m²), it’s no surprise this is the number one tourist attraction in Prague.
Prague Castle was founded in 880 by Prince Bořivoj. With a mixture of the original Romanesque style and the gothic alternations, it is one beautiful building.
Visiting the castle is completely free, but do keep in mind that you will have to get your bags checked before entering the castle grounds. To take a peek inside the castle, you do have to pay a small fee. You can get skip the queue tickets to avoid any waiting times.
Also read: One day in Prague. The most efficient self-guided route to see the main highlights in one day.
8. Enjoy the view from Letna Park
With it’s beautiful, gothic buildings, Prague’s skyline is one for the picturebooks. There are many great viewpoints in Prague, but the best one can be found in Letna Park. From there, you have a lovely view across the orange roofs and the Charles Bridge. Even though there is a little hill to climb, it’s more than worth the effort!
Apart from the picturesque outlook over the Vltava, Letna Park is a quiet green area where you can enjoy some peace and quiet away from the busy inner city. Many locals and (international) students use it to unwind, play sports or skateboard. You can also find a large Metronome on the top of the hill near the park. There used to be a huge statue of Stalin on the spot the metronome stands, which was taken down in 1991. On the east side, you can find a beer garden – perfect for a Czech beer in the sun.
9. Explore the Jewish Quarter
Between the Vltava river and the Old Town, the Jewish Quarter (also known as Josefov) can be found. Despite its beautiful and well-preserved historic buildings, the Jewish Quarter in Prague has a troubled history. For centuries, Jews had to withstand hardships in this part of the city. Being banned to live anywhere else in Prague, this was the only place they could reside. Since 1992, Josefov has been a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Jewish Quarter dates back to the 11th century. It didn’t start with any bad intentions, it actually helped to protect the Jews in Prague. But things quickly worsened. In the 12th century, all Jews in Prague were ordered to move to this part of the city, isolating them from the rest of the world. They were banned from living anywhere else in Prague.
New arrivals from neighbouring countries were also forced to move into this already crowded Quarter. Over the next few centuries, pogroms killed many of the Jews that lived here. During the Second World War, most of the Jewish community was deported to concentration camps by its Nazi occupant. The Nazis planned to turn the Jewish Quarter into a “Museum of an extinct race” once the war ended, leaving most of the buildings intact and preserving them. Luckily, things turned out quite differently. Here are a few key points to check out when visiting the Jewish Quarter in Prague:
- The Old Jewish Cemetery: With over 12.000 gravestones, this cemetery is one of the most remarkable in Europe. It’s one of the oldest Jewish burial grounds in the world. Even though the cemetery has been expanded many times, it is said that graves go as deep as 10-12 layers.
- Franz Kafka Monument: The famous author Franz Kafka resided most of his life in the Jewish Quarter. It is located on the street he used to live.
- Prague Jewish Museum: Apart from being one of the oldest Jewish museums in the world, Prague’s Jewish Museum holds over 40,000 artefacts and 100,000 documents sharing the history of its people.
- The six Synagogues: Obviously, synagogues play an important role for the Jewish people. But in the Jewish Quarter in Prague, they were more than just a place for religion. Students would meet their teachers here and other public affairs would be dealt with here (until the Jewish Quarter got their own town hall). The six synagogues include the Pinkas Synagogue, the Maisel Synagogue, the Spanish Synagogue, the Klausen Synagogue, the High Synagogue and the Old-New Synagogue.
10. Drink Prague’s Craft Beer
The Czech love their beer and so do we! They drink the most beer per capita in the world. Known for its tasty (and cheap) beer, you simply cannot visit Prague without trying a pint of Pilsner Urquell. There are tons of local breweries that supply Prague’s pubs with their own craft beers, so don’t be afraid to try something new – chances are you may love it.
With such a big focus on this national drink, Prague has a wide variety of pub crawls, beer tasting tours through the city and… beer spas. Yes, you read that correctly: spas with beer. Bathe in thousands of liters of Czech beer. A once in a lifetime experience that is one of the craziest things to do in Prague.
Nightlife in Prague is also something that is definitely worth a try. With many pubs, clubs and venues, this central European gem makes for a great night out. Especially because they do such a great job at their beers, I highly recommend spending an evening in on of Prague’s greatest pubs.
11. Ride the funicular to the top of Petrin Hill
If you’re looking for a little peace and quiet during your time in Prague, check out Petrin Hill. Apart from some more stunning views across Prague, Petrin Hill also has beautifully landscaped gardens, a mirror maze and Prague’s own Eifel Tower: the Petrin Tower.
To reach the top of Petrin Hill, you can either hike up the hill or take the funicular. Just like other public transport in Prague, you can use a single ticket to ride to the top. This is the same ticket you’d use for a single metro or bus ride, super easy. The funicular was first installed in 1891 and still active to this day! I would recommend taking the funicular to the top and walk down. This way, you still get the experience the ride and see all the amazing views while slowly making your way back down to Prague’s city centre.
If you’re looking for more views in Prague, consider climbing Petrin Tower. Either climb the 299 steps, or take the elevator. On a clear day, you can see as far as 150 kilometers!
12. Admire all the cool statues
While making your way through Prague, some crazy statues may catch your eye. Heck, it’s impossible to wander around Prague and not see one of the many quirky statues. The city has tons!
From “Piss” outside the Kafka Museum, where two male figures urinate on a map of the Czech Republic (can you see why this one’s a bit controversial?) and huge faceless babies that crawl around the city to a replica of Franz Kafka’s face divided into 42 pieces that turn around.
There are so many, it’s impossible to list them all. But keep an eye out for them, they can be found on almost any street – and it’s really fun when you come across another, even crazier, one.
13. Explore Prague by bike
When visiting this city for the first time, it’s impossible to read up about all the fun facts and hidden gems Prague has to offer. One of the best ways to do get this extra information is by going on a tour with a local/tour guide. And because Prague is quite flat, I highly recommend going on a bike tour through Prague! Being Dutch, I am definitely a bit bias when it comes to cycling, but going on a 2.5-hour cycling tour through Prague was one of the best things I did when I visited Prague. The tour taking you through the Old Town, Prague’s New Town and the Jewish Quarter.
On bike, you can easily make your way from one part of Prague to another without wasting too much time. You’re much fast on bike compared to seeing the city on foot. Especially with a tour guide, you get all the insider knowledge, fun facts and you get to see some real hidden gems that you can return to after your tour.
If you’re not much of a cyclist yourself, you can also check out one of the many amazing walking tours that are offered throughout the city. Some of these are free to join!
14. Visit one of Prague’s best museums
With more than 80 museums in Prague, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when trying to figure out which one of these is worth your time. Here are my top recommendations for the best museums in Prague:
- Franz Kafka Museum: Born and raised in Prague, Franz Kafka turned into one of the biggest and most influential writers in the 20th century. In this biographical museum, you can learn all about his life and his work.
- Cubism Museum: If you’re interested in modern art and design, the Cubism Museum is a must. Cubism was a very popular art-style in the 20th century in Prague. The museum itself is actually fitted into the very first Cubist building in the city!
- The National History Museum: The National Museum is a big one, so I’d recommend to only go here if you have enough time in Prague or if you really – REALLY – want to go see it. It contains more than 14 million artefacts, telling the story of the Czech Republic. You could easily spend an entire day here.
- Museum of Communism: With the Czech Republic having such a complicated history with communism, it’s only natural to find a museum dedicated to teach about the aftermaths of World War II and the communist regime.
- Beer Museum: Yes… More beer! What a surprise! Prague has its very own Beer Museum. Being so famous for its beers, it’s no surprise Prague has a whole museum dedicated to the history of Czech beer brewing.
15. Wander around the Baroque Library in the Clementinum
If you – like yours truly – love a good bookshop or library, checking out the Baroque Library in the Clementinum should be on your list of things to do in Prague. Located near the Charles Bridge, the library opened in 1722 and is home to over over six million documents. Some of the pieces date back to the 1st century.
But the documents and books are not the only impressive thing worth mentioning about this library. The beautifully decorated library hall in baroque style is a sight for sore eyes. As well as the painted ceiling and the decorated bookshelves, the library also houses some absolutely stunning globes. Not many people take the time to visit this gem in Prague, but you should absolutely check it out (if time permits!).
16. Sail the Vltava River
The Vltava, the longest river making its way through the Czech Republic, flows through the middle of Prague. With the Charles Bridge crossing it, leaving both the Castle Grounds and the Old Town on either side of the water, the Vltava makes for a perfect place for a river cruise.
Many touring companies offer a sail over the Vltava’s waters. From historical sightseeing tours to tours that include a meal. I would recommend joining the Prague Dinner Cruise to see Prague at night. This tour includes a 3-hour sail across the river, the opportunity to try some of the best traditional Czech dishes and beautiful views of some of Prague’s best monuments showered lights.
17. Admire the beautiful, colourful architecture
As you may have noticed already, Prague is beautiful. Its fairytale-like buildings and cobblestoned streets really make it feel like you stepped into a time machine. Wander around the city and taking notice of all the stunning pieces of architecture. Obviously some of the most iconic buildings that are included in this article are incredible pieces of architecture, but what I loved most about Prague’s architecture are all the colours. Pink, yellow, blue with their iconic red roofs. It was such a treat walking around, looking up at the buildings.
18. Wander around Wenceslas Square
Located in the heart of the New Town of Prague, Wenceslas Square can be found. New Town may not properly reflect this side of Prague as it was established in 1348. Not so new after all 😉 Near the square, you can find hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and shops. This lively part of the city is one of the two main squares in Prague (the Old Town Square being the other one, only 5 minutes away from Wenceslas Square).
The 750 meter long boulevard used to be a horse market, but turned into a vibrant shopping district over the centuries. The National Museum can be found at the end of the boulevard. Many famous historic events have happened here. Including the protest of Jan Palach, a student who set himself on fire to protest the Warsaw Pact Invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1969.
19. Climb Prague’s Powder Tower
Prague’s architecture will never get boring – just look at this beautiful tower. Formerly used as one of the 13 entrances to the Old Town, and used to be called the “New Tower. The name changed in the 17th century when the tower was used to store the city’s gun powder (hence the name Powder Tower).
If you’re looking for another view over the red-tiled roofs of Prague, climbing the Powder Tower is a great idea. 186 steps towards the viewing platform which sits 40 meters above the ground. There is a small entree fee to climb the tower, but the view is beautiful!
20. Walk through the Golden Lane
Want to amplify the fairytale feel? Head north-east from Prague’s castle district to find the Golden Lane (Zlata Ulicka). These tiny houses look like they’re inhabited by dwarfs. They were built in the Mannerism style during the 16th century after an order from emperor Rudolf II. In them, the castle fortifications lived.
The street also goes by the name “Street of Alchemists”. Legend says that alchemists lived on the street, trying to create the elixir of youth and the philosopher stone. Some famous residents were also part of the Golden Lane. Franz Kafka lived on number 22 for a year.
21. See the swans at the Vltava River
The swans that made their home on the banks of the Vltava river are photographed by tourists so often, they deserve a place on this list. On the Lesser Town side of the river, near the Franz Kafka Museum, you can find the perfect viewing spot. Not only do you get to see these elegant river residents, but with a backdrop of the Charles Bridge makes for the perfect Prague photograph.
22. Eat a traditonal Czech meal
The Czech cuisine is massively underrated (in my opinion), so definitely make sure to sit down for a traditional Czech meal during your time in Prague. Try to go into the side streets to find restaurants that aren’t located too close to the main tourist attractions. Even though those restaurants may still be great, walking a little further can usually save you a lot of money and the atmosphere is often much nicer! Some of the best traditional Czech foods to try include:
- Smažený sýr: Fried cheese. That’s it. Literally a block of fried cheese. Because the Czech Republic isn’t quite there yet with many vegetarian options, this is usually the go-to item on the menu for those who don’t eat meat. As a cheese-over, I really enjoyed it 😉
- Czech Guláš: Yes, there are a lot of different goulash dishes from different countries, but Czech goulash definitely sits high on the list. It’s a thick and hearty stew with chunks of beef. It’s the perfect winter dish.
- Svíčková: Tasty slices of beef vegetable purée in a vegetable purée with dumplings on the side. Probably one of the most popular dishes in the country.
Alternatively, you can book a food tour through Prague. Follow a local to some of the best places to try the best Czech dishes and learn about both the Czech cuisine and the culture.
23. Snap a pic of the Dancing House
One other piece of architecture in Prague that you cannot miss is the famous Dancing House. It’s probably the most famous piece of contemporary architecture in the city. The Dancing House is designed by Vlado Milunic and Frank Gehry. Despite its strange shape, it fits in perfectly with its neighbouring buildings. On the top floor, you can find a restaurant with a lovely view over Prague.
24. Shop at one of Europe’s best Christmas Markets
Visiting Prague in winter? Check out one of the best Christmas Markets in Europe on Old Town Square. As you can imagine, Prague is even more fairytale-like with a little layer of snow covering the roofs and buildings. On this atmospheric square, dozens of stalls are set up for their annual Christmas Market. From handmade goods to tasty Czech street food, this is the place to find it. Add some lights, a Christmas tree and you’ve got yourself the perfect winter destination.
If you walk over to Wenceslas Square (which is located only 5 minutes from Old Town Square), you can find an extension of Prague’s Christmas Markets. With more stalls, more vendors and more Christmas cheer. Both markets tend to open from 10AM till 10PM. One of the best things about these markets is that they open from the end of November until the start of January. This includes Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Years Day. It’s one of the few markets that is open on these days – making it even more temping to spend your Christmas in Prague.
25. Take a day trip to Cesky Krumlov
When in Prague, it would be a real shame to not take one day to visit Cesky Krumlov. If you think Prague looks and feels like a fairytale, get ready for this tiny city (even though it’s very tiny, it’s an official city!). Classed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cesky Krumlov was build in the 13th century. It luckily escaped any bombings during the war and therefore remains one of the best preserved cities (and a beautiful castle) in the country.
Even though it takes a few hours by car or public transport to get to Cesky Krumlov, I highly recommend it. You won’t regret it!
Check out my Cesky Krumlov itinerary for a guide on all the best things to do in this beautiful fairytale town.
If Cesky Krumlov’s not your cup of tea, you can also check out one of these 15 day trips from Prague. Including many nearby cities and nature parks.
Suggested Prague Itinerary
Convinced that Prague should be your next city trip? Check out my 4 day Prague itinerary for a detailed itinerary to make the most of your trip to Prague. If you’re looking to see more of the country while visiting Prague, you can find a recommended route in my 7 day Czech Republic road trip guide.