More photos and Google Map with all details coming soon!!
There are about a hundred millions of things to do and see in Prague, the ‘City of a Hundred Spires’. As someone who grew up and lived most of life in beautiful Czechia, it’s my honour to share some tips and guide you around a few of my favourite spots. Since there’s quite a lot to cover, please, consider this post as an introductory, “Weekend in Prague” kind of episode.
First, let me answer a few common questions and put right a few misconceptions people frequently ask about Prague.
Is Prague a country?
No. Prague is the capital city of the Czech Republic, also known as Czechia, which is a country geographically situated in Central Europe and is a member state of the European Union. Foreigners frequently associate Czechia with Eastern Europe, but that’s not completely right. It indeed was – involuntary – part of the Soviet Union or Eastern Bloc, but geographically it is still Central Europe.
Currency in Prague
Even thought Czech Republic is part of EU, interestingly, currency used is a Czech Crown (Koruna) instead of EURO. The most of places with higher concentration of tourists will likely accept both (for a not so favorable exchange rate). But in general, you are better off to exchange money to Czech Crown, especially if you plan to explore more local places or travel out of capital.
Prague bone church
You very likely mean “Sedlec Ossuary” (Czech: Kostnice v Sedlci) and it’s actually not in Prague, but in Kutna Hora – a town down south of Prague with a rich silver-mining history. You can easily get there by train that leaves several times a day and shouldn’t take more than an hour. Perfect for a day trip.
The main areas of tourist interest in Prague is Old Town area, with dominant of Old Town Square where you can find majority of historical monuments and sites and then Mala Strana, which is pretty much continuation of Old Town on the other side of the Vltava river – a national and the longest river in Czech Republic coming right through the center of Prague. You can get across the river from Old Town to Mala Strana by walking using famous Charles’s Bridge (CZ: Karlův Most). It’s not surprising that these areas attract a lot of tourists which means that the prices are oftentimes 3x more than what is standard in other neighbourhoods. But no matter what, it’s really worth seeing these places.
How To Get Around
Public transport is superb developed in the city and I wouldn’t be afraid to say one of the most functional in terms of reach in a whole Europe. You have either Subway (CZ: Metro), which has only three lines (red, green, yellow) or train cars, operating on several lines (plus buses and trolleybuses but I don’t think you will need to use them). If you want to get anywhere, use Google Maps and find out the nearest station, it will show you the best route then plus timetables. Which brings me to the next topic – every train car actually follows pretty accurately timetables, so you always know how long are you gonna wait.
Subway and the most of public transport stops operate after midnight so careful about that.
However, it’s very easy, comfortable and even enjoyable to walk around the centre of the city and close by the river, so in the worst case, you can always get home by taking a walk (unless you’re gonna stay in some ultra suburbs, which you won’t).
Places to see in Prague
Old Town Square
With dominating Jan Hus Memorial (Czech hero from the 16th century, who revolted against ruling corrupted Christian Church, telling them not to be hypocrites and stop making a business out of the word of God – as an answer from officials he was sentenced to death by burning on the stake. That pissed of his followers – mostly peasants and ordinary people – so much that they formed whole armies lead by war chief Jan Žižka (another big name in Czech history) and for some time they pretty much-kicked asses of official Royal Army and Church troops, using only farmer’s tools transformed DIY-style into deadly weapons. Very badass. Read about it if you are interested).
Prague Astronomical Clocks
In one of the streets is also located famous Prague Astronomical Clocks. You will find it easy – the place with the densest crowd with cameras staring to the sky will tell you-you are there. Every full hour (11 am, 12 am, 1 pm, etc..) there special thing happening, a few puppets parading over the clocks. Why is that interesting is that it was built in exactly this form (mechanics included) 500 hundred years ago, which was back in a day quite a feat. However, do not have to big expectation.
From Old Town Square head to Charles’s Bridge (CZ: Karlův Most) and get across the Vltava river to Mala Strana. A lot of beautiful small alleys, shops. Also the site of the Czech government and parliament.
My tip: After crossing the bridge, try make your way to the left and up north through alleys and reach Valdštejnská zahrada. A beautiful garden with a royal history.
Then make your way out and continue to Palácové zahrady pod Pražským hradem or Ledeburská zahrada – not entirely sure which one now, but basically you can get through one of these nice gardens (maybe both) up to Hradcany and St. Vitus Cathedral (CZ: Katedrála Svatého Víta) while having a beautiful view, especially towards the sunset, over the thousands of red roofs and towers of Prague. Highly recommend finding your way here.
Note: There is an entrance fee to enter the garden.
Prague Castle aka Hradčany
The site of the presidential palace and the most important gothic cathedral in the Czech Republic, St. Vitus Cathedral. If you have a chance, go definitely in (check entrance fee and opening hours). The building is an impressive piece of medieval architecture and you shouldn’t miss it.
Then feel free to walk around in surrounding areas and back alleys.
A watchtower in a lovely park on the hill overviewing the whole city. It can be nice during morning or sunset but anytime is fine in general.
How to get there:
- Option A | Walk from Hradcany, another must-place to visit north of Petrin (20mins walk)
- Option B | Take a cable car nearby train station Ujezd (which is across the river from Narodni Divadlo=National Theatre)
After you are done with Petrin Tower and it’s gardens, let’s chill down a bit and have some beer. Take a cable car to Ujezd and take a walk across the bridge Most Legii back to Old Town side of the town and take a walk south alongside riverbank following street Masarykovo Nábřeží (25min walk)
A beer at Naplavka Riverbank
(Google Maps: Naplavka Farmer’s market) – a riverbank alongside Vltava river. At the evenings (especially Friday + weekends) turns into quite a busy spot for hipster and other gatherings. Beer, chill and watch the sunset from a houseboat deck while listening to the music.