To take in some of Prague’s most well-known landmarks, spend an afternoon wandering through the medieval streets of the Old Town. While almost inevitably crowded with tourists, Old Town Square is not to be missed. The majestic Church of Our Lady before Týn – known for its Gothic twin spires – looms above the square; be sure to pop inside to admire its impressive Baroque interior. Also on the square is the Prague Orloj, the oldest astronomical clock still in operation, dating back to 1410. From here, follow the narrow, cobbled streets to the famous Charles Bridge, where you’ll be able to pick up souvenirs from the vendors that line the riverside and the bridge itself.
As the home of black light theatre, Prague is the ultimate place to enjoy one of these impressive performances; black light theatre combines bright costumes and UV lights with a pitch-black set, creating a spectacular optical illusion. The performances tell stories using only movement and music, so there is no need to worry about the show getting lost in translation. Classics such as Alice in Wonderland or Don Quixote are retold in this unique style at Ta Fantastika theatre, while Divadlo Metro shares some of its secrets in interactive workshops following their performances.
For the best views of Prague’s famous landmarks, head to higher ground. Prague Castle, Petřín Hill and the Vyšehrad complex all offer breathtaking panoramic views of the city. Photographers will get great shots of the Old Town from the Prague Castle area and Letná Park, while Petřín Hill and Vyšehrad provide stunning cityscapes and views of the castle itself.
Prague’s giant Vietnamese market complex, Sapa, is so big that it is like a city within a city. A great place to stock up on authentic ingredients and imported goods, Sapa is (unsurprisingly) home to the best Vietnamese food in the city. There are no maps to help visitors navigate through the labyrinthine geography of Prague’s “Little Hanoi”, but for those who aren’t feeling brave enough to check it out on their own, a few local companies offer tours of the area.
The Czech Republic is known for its beer, and Prague offers ample opportunities for sampling a pint of local pilsner. During the summer months, the beer gardens at Letná Park and Vyšehrad are great spots to enjoy a drink al fresco. For those who just can’t get enough of the stuff, the city even has several beer spas where visitors can sip a pint while soaking in a bath of hops and brewer’s yeast. The famous Staropramen beer is brewed in Prague’s Smíchov neighbourhood, where beer aficionados have the chance to tour the brewery and learn more about what makes Czech beer special.
Taking a stroll along the Vltava River is a favourite pastime among visitors and Prague residents alike. The riverbank offers stunning views of some of the city’s most famous sights, such as Charles Bridge and Prague Castle, and easy access to top restaurants and bars like the Prague Beer Museum gastropub and Hemingway Bar. For a true Prague experience, head to the Náplavka embankment near Palacký Bridge for a drink by the water on a warm day. For those who want to spend time on the water itself, there are plenty of boat cruises that go up and down the river and pedal boats available to rent.
An excellent way to get an authentic insight into a city is by visiting its local farmers’ markets. The Saturday market at Náplavka takes place from 8am to 2pm during the warmer months, and is arguably the most popular farmers’ market in the city, thanks in part to its picturesque location along the river’s edge. The Jiřák Farmers’ Market in Jiřího z Poděbrad Square is also worth a visit. This bustling yet relaxed market, which is open from Wednesday to Saturday, provides a perfect opportunity for people-watching in one of Prague’s most affluent areas.
Visitors to Prague will undoubtedly run into trdelník stands throughout the Old Town area. Sweet dough is cooked to perfection on a rotating spit before being coated in sugar, creating a warm, sweet treat. Trdelník has become a tourist favourite and, as a result, can be found almost anywhere in the Old Town, but it’s best to grab one from a side street as it’ll likely be cheaper and freshly made.
Although they are now commonly associated with Prague, these pastries are not traditionally Czech but are originally from Hungarian-speaking Transylvania. Trdelník (kürtőskalács in Hungarian) took Prague by storm around 2010, largely as a tourist trap and marketing ploy with no real connection to the city. Nonetheless, a trip to Prague would be incomplete without trying one.
With a history dating back as early as the 10th century, Prague’s Jewish Quarter (Josefov) is one of the most fascinating places to explore on a visit to the Czech capital. Formerly a walled ghetto, Josefov is home to six synagogues, along with Franz Kafka’s birthplace and the best Jewish cuisine in Prague. For an authentic taste of Jewish Prague, dine at the Czech Republic’s oldest kosher restaurant – King Solomon.
Book one of the many walking tours that go through the district to learn about the legend of the Golem of Prague – the tale of a clay figure brought to life by a rabbi in the 16th century. Also, buy a ticket to the Jewish Museum in order to see six historic Jewish monuments, including a number of synagogues and the Old Jewish Cemetery.
This is an updated version of a story created by Liz English.