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13 Of The Best Things To Do In Prague

Last updated on February 29th, 2024 at 10:40 am

Nicknamed the City of a Hundred Spires, the Golden City, the Mother of Cities and the Heart of Europe, Prague is one of those cities you just have to visit. Its medieval cityscape, cobblestoned streets, Old Town Square, churches, libraries, river and castle are all as magnificent a sight today as they must have been hundreds of years ago.

All of this and much more combine to make Prague, understandably, a very popular tourist destination. To help you plan your visit and to get the most out of it, whether you intend visiting for a weekend or a week, here’s my guide on getting there, where to stay and 13 of the best things to do in Prague.

Getting to Prague

Direct flights to Prague are available from most major UK and European airports. Flight times will vary of course depending on where you’re flying from, but from the UK you’re looking at around 2 hours.

Given its location, Prague is also accessible by train, bus and car. If you are planning a trip to the Central European cities of Vienna, Budapest or Bratislava, you could consider catching a train from any of them to Prague. Average travel times are:

  • Vienna to Prague – around 4 hours
  • Budapest to Prague – around 7 – 8 hours
  • Bratislava to Prague – around 4 – 5 hours

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It’s not uncommon for people to combine a visit to multiple cities during the Christmas market season – I may have to do the same!

Click here for further information on getting to Prague, including details of the train and bus stations.

Currency

The Czech Republic joined the European Union in 2004 but it has not adopted the Euro. Instead, it retains its own currency, the Czech Koruna, referred to in this post as CZK.

Getting to/from the Airport

If you are arriving by air, you will arrive at the Václav Havel Airport (PRG). This is the Czech Republic’s largest airport and is located about 15km from the city centre.

From the airport, there are various ways to get into the city:

Private Transfer

As with any airport, you can pre-book your own private transfer from Prague airport. This will likely be the most expensive option however.

Taxi

Uber is the official taxi of the airport and there are kiosks and service counters to assist with making bookings. You can also use the Uber app as I did. The cost was around £20-22 although of course prices can change depending on when you travel.

Airport Express Bus

This bus will take you to Prague’s main train station from where you can make your onward journey using the subway or tram or on foot.

The journey time is 40 minutes and buses leave every 30 minutes. Tickets are 100 CZK for adults, 50 CZK for children aged 6 – 15 and free for those under 6.

Public Bus

The cheapest option will always be public transport. The following bus lines run from the airport:

  • Bus 119 – this will take you to Veleslavín train station where you will need to change to metro line A (green). The journey time on this bus is about 15 minutes.
  • Bus 100 – this will take you to Zličín where you need to change to metro line B (yellow). The journey time is about 18 minutes.
  • Bus 191 – this will take you to Petřiny (where you change to metro line A) and Anděl (where you change to metro line B). Journey time is about 50 minutes.

For those arriving on late evening flights, there are two night buses in operation – lines 907 and 910.

Tickets need to be purchased before boarding the bus and there are ticket machines in the airport terminals and at the bus stops.

Check the airport website here for up to date transport options and information.

Where to Stay in Prague

Prague has accommodation options to suit all budgets. The question is in what area of the city to stay! The main areas popular with visitors are:

  • the oldest area in Prague, Hradčany, near Prague Castle
  • Lesser Town (Malá Strana), located below the Castle and extending to the banks of the Vltava River
  • New Town (Nové Mesto), centred around Wenceslas Square
  • Old Town (Staré Mesto), located on the other side of the river to Prague Castle

I stayed at the Cloister Inn Hotel in the Old Town and only a short walk from the Old Town Square and the Charles Bridge. If you plan on spending only a few days in the city, then anywhere in these areas would be a good choice.

Research hotels and hostels, availability and reviews on Booking.com, Expedia and Trip Advisor.

Visiting Prague in December

I visited Prague for the Christmas markets but the things I did and saw aren’t just the best things to do in Prague in December, they’re some of the best things to do in Prague at any time of the year!

If you are visiting Prague in December however, then the Christmas markets will be up and running. There are quite a few markets around the city, however the main ones are in the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square but you will also find some in:

  • Republic Square (Námestí Republiky)
  • Na Kampe Square by Charles Bridge in the Lesser Town
  • Peace Square (Námestí Míru)
  • Havel’s Market

The 2023/2024 markets ran until 6th January 2024 so I would expect the 2024/2025 times to be similar. Entry is free of course and there is plenty to eat and drink. Live music also rings out and there are various things to buy including gingerbread, decorations, jewellery, candles and woollen items. 

Temperatures were low when I was there and, rather unusually, there was snow on the ground. My advice is to dress warmly in layers and wear comfortable shoes. Be careful of ice…I saw a few people take a tumble.

Overall, I would definitely recommend visiting Prague in December….drinking mulled wine or hot chocolate beneath a beautifully decorated tree is one of the best things to do in Prague at Christmas!

Image showing one of the wooden cabins selling food and drink at the Prague Christmas markets

So, What are 13 of the Best Things to do in Prague?

Whatever time of the year you choose to visit, Prague has something for everyone. Here are my 13 best things to do in Prague!

1. Join a Walking Tour

In case you didn’t know, I’m a big fan of walking tours! A walking tour is a great way to start your time in any city and Prague is no different. I booked this tour via Guru Walk and can highly recommend it. This is a tips based tour meaning you pay what you think the tour was worth.

Image of a walking tour group taken during a walking tour of Prague. Walking tours are one of the best things to do in Prague.

There are a number of companies operating walking tours and a variety of options to choose from. Whichever you decide to opt for, a walking tour is definitely one of the best things to do in Prague. Not only does a walking tour introduce you to a local, but you will also meet fellow travellers and get a taste of the many things to see and places to visit in Prague. The tour I joined met at the Powder Gate. Although built in the 15th century its name comes from it having been used as a gunpowder store in the 17th century.

Image showing the Powder Gate in Prague seen as part of a walking tour, one of the best things to do in Prague

If walking isn’t for you, then consider a bus tour, but note that access to the smaller parts of the city may not be possible. Check Get Your Guide and Big Bus Tours for options.

2. Visit Prague Castle

You can’t go to Prague and not visit its famous, huge Castle. The Castle is in fact a complex of buildings dating from the 9th century. Although you can enter the grounds for free, you do need to buy a ticket to see inside the historical buildings.

The main buildings to see are the Old Royal Palace, St George’s Basilica, Golden Lane and the very imposing St Vitus Cathedral.

Image of Prague Castle. Visiting there is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Prague!
Prague Castle as seen from Charles Bridge

Getting to the Castle

Whilst you can walk to the Castle, the walk is a little steep and there are steps so if walking is a challenge then consider using public transport or a taxi. The Castle’s official site provides details as to the trams to use and relevant stops.

Tickets

There are a few options available when it comes to Prague Castle tickets. I chose the basic circuit which allows access to the 4 historical buildings I mentioned. My ticket was 250 CZK (concessions available) – check the official site for up to date prices. I would encourage you to decide which ticket you want in advance. The ticket queue was long and it can be frustrating waiting while people decided what to do!

I would also suggest buying the audio guide. It costs 350 CZK but the Castle complex is so large, it’s helpful to know what you’re looking at. Note that there is a 500 CZK refundable deposit payable when taking the audio guide and you must return it by the time you are given otherwise it’s deemed to have been stolen!

If you’re planning to take photos with a classic camera you will need to pay an additional 50 CZK. No additional charge is payable if you are using a mobile phone to take photos. Either way, tripods and flash are not permitted and it’s a no fly zone so neither are drones.

Keep in mind that if you don’t want to go inside any of the historic buildings, you can wander around the Castle grounds for free.

How Long Should You Visit For?

I would allow a minimum of 2.5 hours for your visit. There’s much to see and if it’s busy you will need added time (and patience!).

Be sure to take a walk around the streets outside of the Castle complex as well, especially the little medieval street Novy Svet.

There are also various cafes and restaurants nearby so you can take a break from all that walking!

There is no doubt that visiting the Castle is one of the best things to do in Prague.

3. Climb the Charles Bridge Towers

In order to see both the Old Town and the Lesser Town you will have to cross the Vltava River. I would suggest you do that via the beautiful Charles Bridge. Construction began in 1357 and was completed in 1402 – I still marvel at how things so old can remain standing for so long!

The bridge is 516m long and almost 10m wide. Notwithstanding all that room, the bridge gets really busy. If you’re looking for less people in your photos, I would suggest going early morning or in the evening but there are no guarantees!

View over the Charles Bridge from the Old Town Bridge Tower

As you cross the bridge, be sure to check out some of the 30 statutes that line it. For those hoping to have their wishes fulfilled, stop off at the Lorraine Cross. It was here where Saint John of Nepomuk’s body was thrown off the bridge into the river. It’s said that wishes made here will come true!

The Old Town Bridge Tower is located at the Old Town entrance onto the bridge and the Lesser Town Bridge Tower is, unsurprisingly, located at the Lesser Town entrance. Both towers can be climbed. I climbed the Old Town Bridge Tower which cost 190 CZK, however if you decide to climb both then a combined ticket will cost 280 CZK. Check Prague’s official tourist site here for up to date visitor information and pricing.

Image taken from the Charles Bridge toward the Lesser Town tower. Visiting the bridge is one of the best things to do in Prague
View from the bridge toward the Lesser Town Bridge Tower

4. Visit the Idiom at the Municipal Library

The Idiom is an art installation located in the Municipal Library of Prague where it’s been since 1998. It’s made up of 8,000 books and was created by Slovak artist Matej Krén.

The Idiom is meant to symbolise the infinity of knowledge – the sense of infinity is achieved through the use of mirrors. Checking out the view by staring into the Idiom is one of the crazy things to do in Prague!

The Idiom was created in 1991 and displayed initially in what was, in the 1950s, a Communist warehouse of banned books.

My tips for visiting the Idiom:

  • It’s free to enter the library to view the Idiom but it’s likely you will have to queue so I suggest going early or late in the day. I didn’t notice a queue when I was in the area the evening before, however I did have to queue for about 40 minutes when I visited the following day.
  • The library is open on Monday (1pm – 8pm), Tuesday to Friday (9am – 8pm) and Saturday (1pm – 6pm). Closed Sundays. Holiday hours will differ so check before visiting
  • allow 30+ minutes for queuing and viewing
  • If you don’t want to queue, you can view the Idiom from the 2 staircases either side of the main staircase, however this will give you a side view only and you won’t be able to approach it
  • Photography is allowed but no tripods
  • Touching the Idiom is not permitted

Image showing the Idiom, an art installation made of books on display  in the Municipal Library of Prague. Visiting the Idiom is one of the best things to do in Prague.

5. Walk Through the Narrowest Street in Prague!

When you’re in Prague, you have to make a visit to its skinniest street, Vinárna Čertovka. Located in the historic neighbourhood of Malá Strana, the street is so narrow there is a traffic light at either end telling you when you can move!

The street measures about 50cm wide and is actually a stairway connecting the upper street with a restaurant. Apparently it was never meant to be a street, but a fire escape.

You can find the street not far from the Charles Bridge on the Prague Castle side of the river. It’s free to enter but there may be a queue!  

When you’re done squeezing through Vinárna Čertovka, cross the Charles Bridge into the Old Town and stop by the Clemintin Hotel, the narrowest hotel in Prague!

Image of the Clementine Hotel, the narrowest hotel in Prague

6. Visit The Old Town Hall and Climb the Tower

Prague’s Old Town Hall is hard to miss! It comprises a number of buildings in the Old Town Square and its tower is home to the famous astronomical clock. 

The tower is the oldest part and dates from the 1300s. It stands almost 70m high. 

Image showing the various buildings comprising the Old Town Hall in Prague. A visit here is one of the best things to do in Prague
Old Town Hall and tower

I visited the Town Hall and climbed the tower later in the day (it was winter so it was dark) for wonderful views over the Christmas Market below. Note that access to the underground parts of the Town Hall is by guided tour only.

My tips for visiting:

  • Tickets are 300 CZK. If you visit between 9-10am tickets are half the normal price 
  • Ramps and a spiral staircase are used for the final part of the climb to the top of the tower and viewing gallery. There is a lift available but you have to pay extra so make sure to include lift access when buying your ticket
  • Allow 30-40 minutes for your visit

Not only is visiting the Old Town Hall one of the best things to do in Prague, but climbing the tower is one of the best things to do in Prague at night!

Image of the Old Town Square taken from high up in the Old Town Hall tower in Prague. Climbing the tower is one of the best things to do in Prague

7. Visit the Jewish Quarter (Josefov)

The Jewish Quarter, also known as Josefov, is located between the Old Town and the river.

Prague’s Jewish community has suffered from antisemitism basically from the time they arrived in the city in the 11th century. A Pogrom in 1389 saw many Jews killed (I’ve read figures ranging from 1,500 to 3,000) and between 1893 and 1913, many buildings were destroyed when the authorities decided to remodel the area. Some significant buildings remain however including:

  • 6 synagogues (including the Spanish Synagogue, Maisel Synagogue and the Old-New Synagogue)
  • Jewish Ceremonial Hall
  • Jewish Cemetery

During World War II, tens of thousands of Prague’s Jewish population were murdered.

There are various tour options available for visiting the Jewish Quarter, including walking tours or you could visit independently. I spent my time walking around the area but you can visit some of the existing sites – check the official Jewish Museum site here for ticket types and up to date visitor information. Check Get Your Guide and Viator for other possible tour options.

Image of the Spanish Synagogue within the Jewish Quarter of Prague. A tour of this area is one of the best things to do during a visit to Prague
Spanish Synagogue

8. Watch the Astronomical Clock

The famous astronomical clock was first installed in 1410 making it one of the oldest in the world. On the hour from 9am to 11pm there is a performance – the procession of the 12 Apostles. There are additional characters in the performance, including a skeleton representing death.

You can view the performance from the Old Town Square. It’s a rather sedate performance but taking less than a minute, it’s worth it! It’s also one of the most popular tourist attractions in Prague so go early. 

Image of the astronomical clock located in the tower of Prague's Old Town Hall. A must see when visiting Prague.

9. Visit the Klementinum

One of the best things to do in Prague is to visit the Klementinum.

The Klementinum is a complex of historical buildings that date back to the 1500s and took some 170 years to build. They were built by the Jesuits on the site of the former 13th century Dominican Monastery of St. Clement, after whom the complex is named.

The Klementinum occupies an area of over 19,000 sqm and is the second largest building complex in Prague after Prague Castle. It is associated with 2 famous figures:

  1. Albert Einstein – he worked here for 3 semesters, teaching basic physics courses and holding evening seminars on theoretical physics
  2. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – who first visited in 1787

Included within the complex of buildings are the famous Baroque Library and Astronomical Tower. Construction of both of these began in 1722. The Astronomical Tower is 68m high and there are 172 steep spiral stairs leading to the top and the viewing gallery outside. Meteorological and climatic measurements are taken from the tower and have been continuously since 1775.

The Baroque Library is simply stunning! Its ceilings are decorated with frescoes and there are ancient globes in the centre.

Image showing the beautiful Baroque Library at the Klementinum. A visit here is one of the best things to do in Prague

It is possible to visit the Baroque Library and Astronomical Tower but only on a guided tour. I booked this tour.

The tour lasts 45 minutes and although you cannot enter the library, you can view it from a designated area and take photos and videos for about a 12/15 minute period.  The stairs are steep and most are part of a spiral staircase, but the views from the top of the tower are worth it!

10. Stop by the Lennon Wall

One of the must see sights in Prague is the Lennon Wall. Located just off the Charles Bridge, the wall has been the site for graffiti artists for many years but it’s connection with John Lennon only began following his assassination in 1980. 

The wall was also the site of grievances during the time of the communist regime. It’s been painted over regularly and in recent years it’s featured contributions from all EU member countries and Ukraine. 

I visited it as part of a walking tour. The wall is located opposite the French Embassy so be sure you write on the correct wall! 

Image showing the Lennon Wall, a wall for graffiti artists in Prague. A must see in Prague

11. See the Dancing House

If architecture is your thing, then you will want to visit the Dancing House, a hotel located in Prague’s New Town. Built between 1992 and 1996, the Dancing House (or Fred and Ginger as it’s also called) is named as such due to it resembling two dancers.

12. Visit the Church of Our Lady Before Tyn

One of the most imposing sights in the Old Town Square is the Gothic Church of Our Lady before Tyn. Construction of the current church began in the 14th century, although churches have stood on the site since the 11th century. The two towers are said to depict Adam and Eve, the south tower being the stouter of the two.

Access to the church is down a small alley off the Old Town Square and a voluntary admission fee of 40 CZK is suggested.

13. Spend Time in the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square

You’re unlikely to miss the Old Town Square but it’s worth spending some time here, admiring the architecture and people watching. In the 11th century, the area was home to a marketplace but by the mid-14th century the Old Town Hall was built and the Square came into its own. Today, you can dine in the restaurants and cafes that line the Square, take a horse-drawn carriage ride or visit the various buildings, churches and memorials in the Square. In December, it’s the site of the main Christmas market in the city.

In contrast to the Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square was once a medieval horse market that began being redeveloped in the 19th century. As a result, many of the buildings here date from the early 20th century. Wenceslas Square is a longer (about 750m), thinner area than the Old Town Square and is more of a commercial centre of the city with lots of shops lining the Square (it’s more of a rectangle actually). In December, you will also find Christmas markets in the Wenceslas Square.

If You Have More Time in Prague

Unfortunately, my time in the city was limited so this post has set out what to you can do in Prague for 3 days. If you decide to spend longer in Prague or you’re looking for alternative activities, then you may want to consider adding the following to your itinerary:

  • visiting Petrin Tower – Prague’s answer to the Eiffel Tower with views over the city
  • taking a cruise along the Vltava River
  • joining a ghost tour – with a history as long as Prague’s there’s bound to be a ghost or 2 lurking in the shadows!
  • visiting the historic fort of Vyšehrad
  • taking a day trip to Česky Krumlov
  • joining a beer tour
  • joining a food tour

If you’re looking for something more, then check out Get Your Guide and Viator for further options.

Final Thoughts

I’ve been to Prague twice now and still don’t feel that I’ve seen it all. Its long history, amazing architecture, magnificent Castle, towering churches, Old Town and the famous Charles Bridge make it a city that has something for everyone. If you are planning a visit in December, as I did, then all this is further enhanced with wonderful Christmas markets, sparkling lights and beautifully decorated trees.

If you need any further help in planning a trip to Prague, or to anywhere, please check my Resources page here.

Disclaimer – Information correct at the time of writing but do check before visiting.

Disclosure – This post may contain affiliate links. That means that if you book something using them, I will earn a small commission but you will not pay anything extra. Thank you for supporting my blog.

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