I’m not shy about saying it—Prague is my favorite city in Europe, if not the entire world. Okay, it’s possible I’m a little bit biased (I lived there for two years after graduating college). But I still think it belongs on every traveler’s list. If you’re already planning a trip there, get excited! There are so many fun things to do in Prague, and my favorite thing about most of these activities is that they’re chill. You won’t be killing yourself to run around a gigantic world metropolis, nor will you be drudging through museums until you’re out of energy. Instead, there’s a lot of admiring beautiful views, relaxing with a beer in hand, and doing both at once.
Below are my picks for how to spend your time in the city. I hope you love it as much as I do!
FUN THINGS TO DO IN PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
WHEN TO VISIT PRAGUE
Prague sits on the 50th parallel north, which also cuts across Canada in North America. Translation? It gets legitimately cold there. Sure, there’s something to be said for the city’s winter charms, like the Christmas markets, hot wine and fireworks over Prague Castle on New Year’s Eve. But if you’re not distinctly in search of a fairytale snowscape, I’d opt to visit in another season instead. While summer is the obvious pick weather-wise, it also brings along larger crowds. Instead, try aiming for a shoulder season, either in April/May or September.
FUN THINGS TO DO IN PRAGUE
Beer gardens – The Czech Republic is extremely proud of its beer, so trying at least one while you’re in the neighborhood is a must. There’s no better place to do it, in my opinion, than Letná Park. The park affords beautiful views of the Vltava river and the Prague skyline. The Letná beer garden has ample picnic benches and a kiosk where you can buy drinks and snacks. You could easily spend a couple hours up here!
Another beer garden option is near Vyšehrad, a historic fort by the river with a beautiful church. It’s super easy to access by metro!
Peddle boating on the Vltava – You can’t beat the views of Prague you’ll get from the Vltava river, and luckily, it’s pretty easy to get them. Rent a peddle boat by the hour (you can pick up boats adjacent to the National Theater, and it’s a great way to see Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, Kampa Island and Frank Gehry’s Dancing House. Pro tip: Beer is totally allowed on the boats, so pick up a couple bottles at a grocery or convenience store beforehand if that’s your thing.
Free walking tour – Walking tours are my favorite way to orient myself to a new city, and I’ve taken this one in Prague several times. It meets four times per day, 365 days per year in Old Town Square in front of the Cartier shop.
Gardens – Two beautifully manicured gardens sit near the base of the castle. Filled with topiaries, fountains and architectural details—along with stunning views at every turn—both Valdštejnská zahrada and Vrtbovská zahrada are worth a look. Valdštejnská zahrada, though, is particularly enchanting, with white peacocks wandering the premises.
Old Town Square/Astronomical Clock – While it’s likely to be incredibly crowded, Old Town Square—Staroměstské náměstí in Czech—is a must-see. The spires of the Church of Our Lady before Týn lend the area a magical quality, and the immensely popular astronomical clock—whose wooden figurines briefly come to life each hour—is beautiful, too, if you can see through the throngs of people. Get there early so you can admire its illustrations: Each one depicts a month of the year.
Jewish Quarter – Prague’s Jewish Quarter, formerly the site of a Jewish ghetto, sits between Old Town Square and the Vltava River. Its six synagogues and cemetery are in remarkably good condition considering the Nazi occupation of the city during World War II; Hitler preserved the Jewish Quarter with the intention of turning it into a “museum of an extinct race.”
Wenceslaus Square/New Town – Not far from Old Town Square is Wenceslaus Square, the main square of Prague’s New Town. While today it’s filled with tourist staples and strip clubs, historically, it’s been an important site for political demonstrations and other public gatherings. Other nearby New Town highlights include the aforementioned Dancing House and the beautiful National Theater (Národní divadlo).
Sample street food – In Old Town Square and Wenceslaus Square, you’ll often find little huts seasonally decorated for Christmas, Easter, autumn, etc., with each one serving a different food item or drink. Choices will likely include sausages, potato pancakes, halušky (a dumpling dish) and trdelník, the tubular “chimney cake” pastry.
Charles Bridge/Malá Strana – You can’t miss historic Charles Bridge, with its Baroque-style statues on either side. Constructed between 1357 and the early 1400s, it served as the city’s only bridge across the Vltava for centuries. Today, you’ll find it crammed with tourists and vendors for the better part of the day. Cross it early to dodge the crowds on the way to Malá Strana, a beautiful neighborhood with pastel buildings and winding streets on the castle side of the river.
Lennon wall – Dedicated to Beatles legend John Lennon, this wall across the street from the French Embassy has been covered in brightly colored graffiti and messages for world peace since 1980. It’s a popular photo spot.
Prague Castle – The castle complex, which dates back to the 9th century, boasts a variety of different things to do and see. You can pay admission for access to different buildings, areas and exhibitions, such as St. Vitus Cathedral and Golden Lane. Alternatively, you can stroll the complex (and the surrounding area, Hradčany) for free and view its buildings from the outside.
Kafka Museum – Fans of renowned 20th-century literary figure Franz Kafka can view first-editions of his books and his original letters and drawings at this museum on the castle side of the river.
Libraries – Book lovers, this one’s for you. It’s hard to find a library as stunning as the Baroque Klementinum, which bills itself as the most beautiful library in the world. But believe it or not, Prague has another contender. On the other side of the river is the fresco-bedecked Strahov library. Check one of them out if you can!
See the symphonies – Prague has two symphony orchestras, the Czech Philharmonic and the Prague Symphony Orchestra. Both play in gorgeous buildings (the Rudolfinum and Municipal House, respectively) and almost always have tickets available.
Petřín hill – Some of the activities on this riverside hill are pretty touristy (see: mirror maze). But the rose garden beside the Eiffel Tower-like Petřín Tower is a beautiful spot for picnicking or just pausing during your exploration of the castle side of the river. You can walk up the hill or take a funicular from Malá Strana!
WHERE TO STAY IN PRAGUE
Augustine – Situated on the castle side of the river, the Augustine, a member of Marriott’s Luxury Collection, is tucked away in a dreamy neighborhood of winding streets and beautiful buildings. Architecturally, it takes after the 13th century Augustine monastery with which it’s directly connected, but rooms are modern and well-appointed.
Carlo IV – The Carlo IV, part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, sits across the river from the Augustine. A 12-minute walk from Old Town Square, its location is ideal for exploring the city by foot. Other highlights of the property, originally a Neo-Renaissance palace, include magnificent high ceilings and a stunning indoor pool.
WHERE TO EAT IN PRAGUE
TRADITIONAL CZECH FOOD
U Medvídků – You’ll find all the Czech food staples—including guláš (beef stew), svíčková (roast beef with sour cream, dumplings and cranberries) and smažený sýr (fried cheese)—at U Medvídků. The restaurant, on the border of Prague’s New Town, doubles as a brewery.
Lokál – This chain also serves up Czech classics, as well as vegetarian options. There are a few locations, including in Old Town and Malá Strana.
U Sadu – This Czech restaurant and pub has an extensive menu (in English!) and a great selection of beers. It’s a bit outside the tourist center, so metro will be your best bet for getting there. But it’s worth the trip for their version of nakládaný hermelín, a spicy, marinated soft cheese.
Choco Café – Tucked away in a maze of Old Town streets, Choco Café serves open-face sandwiches and salads—as well as the world’s best hot chocolate—in an adorable setting (don’t miss the selection of vintage Czech postcards by the door!).
Café Louvre – This elegant cafe in Prague’s New Town is draped in old-world charm. It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Můj šálek kávy – Located in the hip, up-and-coming neighborhood of Karlín, Můj šálek kávy features fresh-baked pastries, third-wave coffee and an array of international lunch and dinner options.
Las Adelitas – Las Adelitas was the first authentic Mexican restaurant in Prague, and as far as I know, it’s the only one that to this day serves the quality of Mexican food you may be used to coming from the U.S. I know this pick is bound to draw some skepticism, but I promise you, it’s legitimately very good!
Cukrkávalimonáda – Located on the castle side of the river, Cukrkávalimonáda is a great spot to pop into for lunch before or after exploring Malá Strana and Hradčany, the castle district. There, you’ll find a selection of pastries, salads, pastas and more.
Nejen Bistro – Nejen is another pick from trendy Karlín. Lunch specials change daily, ranging from soups to burgers, and you can see the Czech influence on the dinner menu through extensive use of mushrooms, meats and local cheeses.
WHERE TO DRINK IN PRAGUE
U Sudu – This brick-vaulted bar sits underground, making it a sight to see in itself. Inside, the atmosphere is pretty casual. It’s a good place to hang out with a beer or play foosball, a local favorite.
Prague Beer Museum – The name of this bar is misleading, as it’s not much of a museum at all. Instead, it’s a great place to try a range of craft beers from all over the country, albeit a bit of a touristy one.
Strahov Monastery brewery – This 17th-century brewery run by monks reopened as a craft brewery in 2000. The beer lineup at St. Norbert’s, the restaurant within Strahov, is extensive, but it surprisingly doesn’t include a pilsner—the country’s pride and joy!
U Zlatého tygra – This classic Czech pub close to Old Town Square is about as typical as they come. It’s a great, central place to hang out for a beer or two!
Futurum Music Bar – The ultimate Euro dance club. Futurum regularly hosts what it calls “80s/90s video music parties,” themed nights where all your favorite music videos will play overhead to accompany your playlist from junior high. It’s the actual most fun.
DAY TRIPS FROM PRAGUE
Karlštejn Castle – Not far from Prague sits Karlštejn Castle, a Gothic castle founded in 1348 by Bohemian king Charles IV. It’s less than an hour from the city by car. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can also get there by bike!
Terezín – Once a resort for Czech nobility, the Nazis repurposed Terezín to be a concentration camp during World War II. Terezín is unique in that it was used for propaganda and to give international organizations a false impression of what life was like in the camps.
Kutná Hora – A short train ride away from Prague, Kutná Hora is the home of the famous “bone church” (Sedlec Ossuary). It’s literally what it sounds like: a church built from human bones. You’ve never seen anything like it—trust me.
Český Krumlov– Picture the most picturesque town you can think of, with red tiled roofs, a winding river and a castle on a hill. Then Google Český Krumlov. I bet it’s prettier than what you imagined! This historic center of this city in South Bohemia is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
CHECK OUT THESE POSTS FOR MORE ON PRAGUE:
Hope this post gave you some ideas for fun things to do in Prague! If you’ve been there, anything I missed? Let me know in the comments! >>
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