Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places

Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places


PRAGUE

Growing up in Czech Republic and living in Prague for the course of 4 years, I consider Prague to be my second home. Czechia is a place where my heart melts, and anywhere else is where my heart beats.

Funny enough, it is always a common thing, that people don't explore their own hometown enough, until they move out. Same thing pretty much applies to me. Therefore, whenever I am travelling back home for a visit, I try to use the time to explore new places, and always feeling like a tourist there.  Hence, this post I dedicated to summarize some of the best sights and places to do and see in this beautiful city of Prague. From tourist attractions to lesser known places. Prague is known for beautiful historical city center and as a city of hundreds of bridges and towers. Prague is equal to Paris with its romantic charm. Located in the heart of Europe, it is a convenient to travel to and from.

Things to do and see - the must for first timers

1. Wenceslas Square
Your first stop in Prague will be most likely a Wenceslas Square. It is one of the main city squares for business and cultural, and many events, celebrations, demonstrations, other public gatherings and market stalls during Easter or Christmas are usually happening in here.

It is more like a broad boulevard rather than a typical city square. Wenceslas Square is dominated by a national museum and a a statue of Saint Wenceslas on a horse. The place itself has witnessed a great deal of Czech history, from revolutionary upheavals of 1848 to creation of the new Czechoslovak Republic.

Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places

Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places

Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places

2. National museum
As mentioned earlier, National museum is located just at the beginning of Wenceslas Square, from where you can get a nice view of the whole boulevard. It was long under reconstruction, and finally opened again to the public few years back. It was founded in 1818, and it exhibit natural scientific and historical collections. As part of national museums groups, there are number of other buildings (museums) spreaded around Prague that you can visit, such as the New building of National Museum, Czech Museum of Music, National Memorial at Vitkov Hil, Antonin Dvorak Museum or Bedrich Smetana museum to name a few.

3. Old Town Square & Astronomical Clock
Now you got to the heart of historical Prague. The old town quarter is spreaded around Old Town Square, located between Wenceslas Square and Charles Bridge. Noticed the beautiful details on buildings belonging to various architectural styles. On this square, you will find also a gothic church of Our Lady before Tyn and a baroque St. Nicholas church.

The square is also a center for a large statue of religious reformer Jan Hus, who was burned at the stake for his beliefs in Constance. The highlight of a square is also the Astronomical Clock or so called Prague Orloj mounted on the Old Town hall. The clock was first installed in 1410, and it is the world's oldest one still in operation. You can also climb up to the Old Town Hall tower for a panoramic views of the Old Town.

Lastly, Old Town square is also a place where you will find Easter and Christmas markets to be hosted. Absolutely fabulous atmosphere and place to wonder around if you are travelling during these periods!

Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places

Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places

4. Tyn Church 
The dominant gothic church on Old Town square is the church of Mother of God before Tynm iften translated as Church of Our Lady before Tyn or simply Tyn Church. It has been the main church of the city since the 14th century and its towers are 80m high.

5. Charles bridge
Charles Bridge is located a short walking distance from Old Town quarter. This historic bridge that crosses the Vltava river has been constructed from 1357 under the auspices of King Charles IV. The name came through at 1870 after it was called Stone Bridge or Prague Bridge. This bridge was the most important connection between Prague Castle and the city's Old Town.

The bridge is about 621 m long and 10 m wide. Honestly, it is packed by tourists and local artisans. Try to avoid the peak hour so you can get the beautiful view and walk across the bridge. The bridge is protected by towers on each sides and it is also decorated by alley of 30 statues is baroque style. The bridge is also the icon of Prague and been filmed in movies number of times.

Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places

Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places

6. Prague castle
Prague castle is one of the icons of Prague too as well as the historical institutions of a city. It is a large castle complex on a hill site on the other site of a river from Old Town quarter. It was built in the 9th century as a seat of power for kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman emperors and up until now it is used as an official office of the president of the Czech Republic. The Bohemian Crown Jewels are kept within a hidden room inside it.

The whole complex of Prague castle not only gives a great viewing point of Prague, but you can also visit number of churches, cathedrals, gardens, towers, palaces, halls and other historical buildings and monuments. There is no fee to get to the complex of Prague castle. However, individual fees may apply to get into some specific buildings and monuments.

Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places

Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places

7. St. Vitus cathedral
Once you are in Prague Castle complex, don't miss a visit to the largest St. Vitus cathedral, a Roman Catholic cathedral, and the seat of the Archibishop of Prague.

8. Dancing house
If you are walking alongside the Rasinovo river bank, you may pass around a Dancing House. It was designed by the Croatioan-Czech architect Vlado Milinic in cooperation with Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry.

The style is known as deconsuctivist (the new-baroque) architecture due to its unusual shape. The building is supportted by 99 concrete panels, each shaped differently. On top of the building there is a large twisted metal structure, nicknamed Mary. The building itself is currently used as a hotel and commercial space.

Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places

9. Vltava river
Vltava river is 430km long and it is running through Bohemian Forest, Cesky Krumluv, Ceske Budejovice and then Prague. Finally merging with Elbe at Melnik. It is commonly referred to as Czech national river.

Take on a boat cruise on a river to admire the different view of Prague from the water. Especially, you will have a chance to see the Charles Bridge, Prague castle, Dancing house, National theatre and many other monuments. If you feeling more brave, hire a pedal boats to discover the surroundings yourself. It is especially popular by locals and tourists during summer time. However, pedal boats will have limited access to go around, due to safety.

Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places

10. John Lennon Wall
Once a normal wall, now a famous John Lennon wall, located in small streets across from the French Embassy was first decorated with graffiti in 1980, after assassination of John Lennon, where an unknown artist painted a single image of the singer-songwriter and some lyrics. Since then it was filled with John Lennon inspired graffiti, lyrics from Beatles' songs and other designs relating to local and global causes. The wall is being repainted frequently, so everytime you visit Prague, you may see different street art.

11. Golden Lane
Golden Lane is a small narrow street situated in Prague Castle. Originally built in the 16th century and it takes its name from the goldsmiths that lived there in the 17th century. Although the lane was used to called it as Street of Alchemists or Alchemists' Alley, but in fact alchemists have never worked or lived there.

The lane is consists of small houses painted in bright colours, the houses belonged to known people, such as house number 22 used to belong to the sister of writer Franz Kafka, or Jaroslav Seifert, the writer who won the Novel Prize in Literature in 1984 used to lived there too in 1929.

Nowadays, in order to visit this historical part of Prague castle complex, a fee must be paid to enter. The Golden Lane is connected with Dalibor Tower, which used to be a dungdeon.

12. Jewish quarter
Jewish quarter is located in Josefor, a neigborhood of Prague, located between Old Town Square and Vltava river. The history of Jewish Ghetto began in the 13th century, when Jewish people were ordered to vacate their homes and settle in this one area.

The Jewish quarter, you may visit six synagogues, including Spanish and the Old-New Synagogye, the Jewish ceremonial all, Old Jewish cemetery, Jewish Town Hall or Franz Kafka birthplace house.

Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places

Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places

13. Kampa island
Once you will find yourself at the end of the Charles bridge, on the other side of Old Town quarter, you will be in Mala Strana neigborhood. Kampa is an island in the Vltava river, connected by the street Na Kampe. Here, you can find a bit of Venice vibe, with the river views, romantic lanes, restaurants and a home for Kampa Museum. A museum of modern art.

The area was named in the 17th century as the campus ("field") by Spanish soldiers who tented here during the Battle of White Mountain. Visit Kampa island also to spot the contemporary bronze baby statues of a Czech artist David Cerny. The pieces consists of several sculptures of babies with their faces being replaced with bar code stamps. The first baby was presented in 1994 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.

Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places

Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places

14. The Powder Tower 
Not too far from Republic square or short walk from Old Town square, you may pass the Powder Tower or Powder Gate. It is gothic tower and it separated the Old Town from the New Town. It is one of the original 13 city gates with constructions beginning at 1475. The tower was built with the aim to be an attractive entrance into the city, instead of a defensive tower. The look of the tower was inspired by the work of Peter Parler on the Charles Bridge.

15. Clementinum
Clementinum is a hisotic complex of buildings in Prague near Mariansky square. It is famous for the baroque library hall with its beautiful interior and ceiling artwork by Jan Hiebl. At one time the Clementinum was known as the third largest Jesuit college in the world. Currently the library is used only for academics who has an approval. As part of this complex visit, you can also climb up to the Astronomical tower where you can admire the stunning views of Prague city center.

Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places

16. Wallenstein garden
Wallenstein Palace is a Baroque palace in Malá Strana, Prague, that served as a residence for Imperial Generalissimo Albrecht von Wallenstein and now houses the Senate of the Czech Republic. The beautiful gardens with lush greenery, a large pond and peacocks freely walking around is a great stop for a rest before you would go up to Prague Castle.

Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places

17. Havelsky market
Prague doesn't have many urban markets around, unless it is Easter or Christmas period. However, Havelsky market has been out since 1232 with urban markets selling local products, art, crafts and souvenirs. At the moment, it is very much a touristic destination, but worth to take a stroll and maybe get some Czech souvenirs home. Located not too far from Wenceslas square and Old Town square.

The less known gems

If you have more time in Prague or if it is not your first visit, then there are plenty of lesser known places worth to visit. From beautiful gardens, parks to food markets. Here are I have listed few of them where you can take a different route to explore Prague.

1. Petrin hill and Lookout tower
You may have seen in distance a metal tower looking similarly to Eiffel tower and wonder what it is. That is a Lookout tower of Petrin's hills. A peaceful hillside park with panoramic city views. You can either walk up to the summit or take a cable cars up or down. The observatory tower has an astronomy exhibition as well as in that area you can find a mirror maze. Definitely a good spot for a picnic or for views of Prague.

2. Vysehrad
Vysehrad is a trully amazing place. It is a historic fort on the right bank of Vltava river. It was built in the 10th century. Legend holds that Vysehrad was the location of the first settlement which later became Prague. The whole area is free to visit, and within the fort you can visit Basilica of St. Peter and St.Paul, as well as Vysehrad cemetery where many famous people from Czech history are burried, including Antonin Dvorak, Bedrich Smetana, Karel Capek or Aphonse Mucha.

Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places


3. Zizkov TV tower
The Zizkov television tower is a unique transmitter built between 1985 and 1992. It stands high above the city's traditional skyline. Thus you can see this tower from far. The tower is an example of high-tech architecture, designed by the architect Vaclav Aulicky and the structural engineer Jiri Kozak. What's interesting about the tower is that it has David Cerny's baby statues crawling up and down on tower's pillars. These have been added in 2000. You may also go up to the tower to Oblaka restaurant to enjoy high end dining and views on Prague.

Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places

4. The Vrtba Garden
Located on the left side of Vltava river bank, in Mala Strana neighbourhood. The Vrtba garden is one of several fine high baroque gardens in Prague. With a small fee to get in, you can enjoy the beautiful gardens, statues and views of Prague.

Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places

Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places

Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places

5. Troja castle
Located a bit further out from Prague's city, the Troja palace is a Baroque palace located in Troja neighbourhood of Prague, in north-west borough. The palace's design has been influenced by French and Italian architecture and is mostly the work of French architect Jean Baptiste Mathey. Currently it is owned by the city of Prague and hosts the 19th century Czech art collections of the City Gallery as well as it is available for venues and weddings. The Troja Castle is one of the most significant examples of the 17th century Bohemian castle. Enjoy the visit of the palace alongside with the beautiful French inspired gardens.

Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places


6. Strahov monastery
Strahov Monastery is a Premonstratensian abbey founded in 1143 by Jindřich Zdík, Bishop John of Prague, and Vladislaus II, Duke of Bohemia. It is located in Strahov neighborhood. Alongside the monastery, you may visit the stunning 17th century library as well. The library is divided into two major halls: the Baroque Theological Hall contains 18,000 religious texts, and the grand Philosophical Hall has over 42,000 ancient philosophical texts. If Clementinum gets too touristy, you should definitely visit Strahov library.

Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places

7. Art Nouveau Lucerna Palace
Tucked away off the main Wenceslass square, Lucerna shopping arcade is built in arc-nouveau style back in 1920. The complex was built by Vaclav Havel (grandfather of the president), and is still partially owned by the family. You may see that in Prague you will come across many little shopping arcades, where you can find number of shops, cafes, restaurants as well as cinema and a theatre.

The arcade is beautifully decorated by itself, but the most stunning piece in the atrium is a sculpture "kun" (horse) by an artist David Cerny. A wryly amusing counterpart to the equestrian statue of St Wenceslas in Wenceslas Square. Here St Wenceslas sits astride a horse that is decidedly dead. The neighbouring Novák Arcade, connected to the Lucerna and riddled by a maze of passages, has one of Prague’s finest art-nouveau facades (overlooking Vodičkova), complete with mosaics of country life.

Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places

8. Naplavka
When the weather is nice, most locals will hang out exactly here, at Naplavka. It is also referred to as "hipster hangout". Naplavka is a stretch of pavement next to the banks of the Vltava, between Palacky bridge and the Vyton tram stop. This place truly comes alive, with people just chilling here, to cyclists, farmers markets and other ad-hoc events.

Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places

9. National monument at Vitkov Hill
The National Monument on top of Vitkov Hil in Zizkob district is one of the most important buildings related to the development of Czechoslovak/Czech statehood. It includes the third larhest bronze statue in the world of Jan Zizka, who defeated catholic forced led by King Sigismund in 1420 in the Battle of Vitkov Hill. The Monument also includes the Ceremonial Hall, an exhibition entitled Crossroads of Czech and Czechoslovak Statehood, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and other exhibition halls. The memorial was opened to public in 2009 and besides exploring the history of Czech you can again have panoramic views on Prague from here.

Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places

10. Franz Kafka statues 
Franz Kafka was a German speaking Bohemian novelist and short-story writer, widely regarded as one of the major figures of 20th century literature. In Prague, you may find many references to Franz Kafka, including museums, his birth home or many statues around. One of the first Franz Kadka statue was created by a sculpture artist Jaroslav Rona and you can find it on Vezenska street in the Jewish quarter, near Spanish synagogue. It depicts Franz Kafka riding on the shoulders of a headless figure, in reference to the author's 1912 story "Description of a Struggle".

The newest statue created by artists David Cerny is 42 movile tiers and 11m tall sculpture align to form the face of the famous writer. This can be found just outside the Quadrio business centre, outside of Narodni trida metro station.

Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places

Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places


11. Franciscan garden
Franciscan gardens is a little natural oasis in the city center, not far from Narodni trida and Wenceslas square. It is a public garden established in the 14th century, with benches, flower beds and kids playground. The gardens are especially pretty in spring and summer time when the rose gardens are fully bloomed. Here you can also find several interesting sculptures, fountains it is located by the church of Virgin Mary.

Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places


Food & drink

You may find Czech cuisine similar to many other nearby countries, like Slovakia, Hungary or Poland. In Czech Republic, you will find similar dishes like goulash, dumplings, sausages or chimney cakes. there are many alternative dishes you have to try out, like Svickova, Vepro-Knedlo zelo, smazeny syr, ovocne knedliky and so on. In fact, I have written once a post about where to eat traditional Czech food in Prague. Overall, Czech dishes are heavily meat based, most commonly it will be birds, pork, chicken or beef. 

Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places

Where to stay?

Prague is very popular among tourists. So you won't struggle with finding a place to stay. Depending on your budget, you have wide choices of hostels, hotels or airbnbs.
I recommend finding something in the proximity of city center, so you will have easier walkable access to many places. With this in mind, you will of course face higher rates if it is located in the city center. However, Prague has many great connections, so either way you will be fine getting around. Make sure to lookout for Hotels or Airbnb through my link to get some discounts!
Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places

Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places

How to get around?

Prague is pretty well connected by buses, trams and metros. Moreover, the city center of Prague can be easily walkable. You can easily walk from Wenceslass square, down to Old Town square, Jewish quarter, Charles bridge to Prague castle. 
However, you can purchase full day ticket or depending on how many minutes you are planning to travel. In Czech republic, you purchase tickets depending on minutes, rather than one way/access. Hence, you may change as many times you want, as long as it is within the time frame. The shortest tickets is for 30 min, then you have 90 minutes or 24 hours or 72 hours. You can purchase the tickets on your phone or in ticket booths in each station. All transport systems in Prague are reliable and easy to navigate. 
If you are travelling to or from the airport, you can catch either Airport express bus or a public bus which ran very frequently. Under an hour you can get to Prague city center, depending on where you are heading to. You may also use taxis or Uber to get around. 

Best spots of Prague - Your full local travel guide of must and less known places

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2 Comments:

  1. Nádherné fotky! Praha je opravdu jedno z nejkrásnějších měst!:)

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  2. I visited Prague this summer and I absolutely loved it, I thought I could live there, and I'll come back again to see its Christmas atmosphere!

    xx
    lau

    www.malibluemymind.com

    ReplyDelete