Article by: Michal Dziendziura, founder and guide at Free Walking Tour Prague
Prague is one of the most beautiful and interesting cities in the world. It offers countless spectacular sights to visit and numerous unique cultural activities to try. Here is our selection of top 10 things to do in the city of a thousand spires:
Charles Bridge is the oldest bridge of Prague, ordered by the first Czech Holy Roman Emperor in the 14th century. It is adorned with 30 beautiful Baroque statues and surrounded by the most stunning panoramas of Prague. Every year, Charles Bridge is visited by millions of tourists. Make sure you are one of them but try to come early in the morning to avoid the crowds!
The most famous attraction of the Old Town has been the pride of Prague since 1410. It shows diverse astronomical details and historical times. The bottom part has a 19th-century calendar. Every hour on the hour, there is a show called the “Walk of the Apostles” with the twelve disciples of Christ, Death striking the time and Lust, Greed and Vanity, shaking their heads. The little spectacle is really cool but don’t expect too much - it’s just 30 seconds long!
The views from the tower of the Old Town Hall or Prague Castle are must-sees but you should also see the more alternative panoramas from the top hills of Prague: Petrin, Letna, Vitkov or Vysehrad. And if you don’t suffer from the fear of heights, take the lift to the observation deck of the TV Tower - it is the tallest tower in Prague providing a unique 360-degree panorama of the city.
Prague Castle is the largest coherent castle complex in the world (according to the Guiness Book of Records), and a UNESCO world heritage site. Apart from beautiful royal courtyards, it offers such attractions as Saint Vitus Cathedral, Saint George’s Basilica, the Old Royal Palace or the Golden Lane. Visit the Castle at 12PM, to enjoy the ceremonial changing of the guard at the main entrance. If you can’t make it on time, there is a shorter guard mounting every hour.
The most famous Baroque libraries are the ones of Clementinum in the Old Town and of the Strahov Monastery in the Castle District. Both will make you feel as if you have stepped into the Harry Potter set. Apart from the spellbinding library hall, Clementinum has a breathtaking observation deck in its old astronomical tower and Strahov an excellent monasterial brewery, with some of the best beers in town.
The terraced Vrtba Garden (paid entrance) on the slope of the Petrin hill, the strictly geometrical Wallenstein Garden by the Czech senate building or the Royal Gardens by the Castle are a perfect escape from the noise of the city center. We also recommend visiting the Franciscan Garden in the less touristic New Town, where you can find more locals. Explore the gardens during the spring-summer period, when they are all open.
Home to talented world-famous composers, including Dvorak and Smetana, Prague is a true paradise for classical music lovers. Concerts take place every day in the most spectacular churches and concert halls in the city centre. Apart from classical music, Prague is famous for opera and ballet. If you are a Mozart fan, don’t miss a performance in the Estates Theatre, where the Austrian composer conducted the world premier of Don Giovanni in 1787.
Saint Wenceslas riding his dead horse in the Lucerna Palace, two men urinating at the map of the Czech Republic at Franz Kafka Museum or the faceless alien-like babies at Kampa Island and at the Zizkov TV tower are just some of the numerous examples to encounter in Prague. The majority of the works by David Cerny are displayed in public spaces, so you can enjoy them for free.
Cruising along the Vltava River is one of the best ways to admire the unique beauty of Prague's riverside. The majority of the cruises depart from the Cech Bridge and Kampa docks. During the summer, we recommend renting a pedalboat for a more private experience. Most of the pedalos are parked in the Slavonic Island next to the National Theatre.
You cannot leave Prague without tasting the unique Bohemian cuisine – beef sirloin in cream sauce, goulash or Bohemian duck are some of the classics. Wash the food down with some Czech beer and then try other local drinks like Slivovice, Becherovka or the non-alcoholic Kofola.
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