Visiting Prague - What to See and Do
(Prague Ruzyne International Airport PRG, Czech Republic)
It is no secret why Prague
is one of Europe's perennial travel hot spots. The City of a Thousand Spires is an absolute charmer, no matter what your reason for visiting. Crowned by the immaculate Prague Castle, with a superb cobblestone Old Town laid out below, this is a city that requires a week or more to properly experience.
Naturally, you will want to start with the Old Town, wandering its maze of cobbled streets and attractions that date back to the medieval era. This is where most of Prague's charm resonates, in the little cafés and bars tucked into buildings that seem to have been around for centuries. Iconic spots like Charles Bridge and the hilltop castle are essential photo opportunities in this neighbourhood.
Prague also boasts great museums, world-class performance art and a nightlife scene that is mellow, but always enjoyable. Get up early at least one morning to experience the city in a different light, and don't miss a lazy boat cruise on the Vltava River to really appreciate just how pretty this Czech capital really is.
Ten things you must do in Prague
- Make a deliberate effort to get lost in the city's labyrinthine Old Town. The narrow medieval lanes twist and turn, offering an endless string of tempting options. Don't be afraid to take that intriguing alley - it usually ends up somewhere absolutely magical, and it is never hard to find your way back home.
- There are many ways to cruise along the Vltava River, and all of them reward you with unique views of this Baroque beauty, Prague. For a touch of adventure, consider renting a little rowing boat and heading out on your own, especially around dusk. The river is lazy enough that rowing is never a risky proposition and the sensation of being out on the water, away from all the tourists, is rewarding.
- It will easily take an entire day to explore Prague Castle, a city unto itself. There are Baroque churches and other buildings surrounding the main palace, which is an absolute masterpiece of medieval opulence. As a bonus, there are simply no better views of the cityscape than from this hilltop vantage.
- The Charles Bridge (Karluv Most) is the city's other unmistakable landmark. Built in the 14th century, it is magical at dawn, dusk and most other times of day. Artists sell their work along its span under the eternal gaze of the 30 statues that line the bridge.
- This city has some of Europe's finest classical musicians, so it is a shame not to catch a performance of the famous Czech Philharmonic or Prague Symphony Orchestra at the Smetana Hall. If opera is your thing, then the Prague State Opera and the National Theatre are both prime venues for Czech's national opera troupe.
- The hub of shopping in Prague is its L-shaped corridor that starts at Wenceslas Square and wraps around to Na Prikope and the Palladium Shopping Center, onwards to the Námesti Republiky square, where malls aplenty or myriad other retailers await your business.
- The National Gallery is actually a set of museum attractions at different locations, so it is worth mapping out a plan to find the era and style you prefer. In is entirety, the collection is the best in the country, with everything from European masters to modern revolutionaries on display.
- Another wonderful way to see the city and get some exercise at the same time is a bike ride. There are two great paths along the Vltava River, one on each side running north and south. Bike rental shops aren't hard to find and the riverside path is clean, safe and a fun way to spend a day off your feet.
- Prague is an awesome city to drink in. It is generally cheap and most bars are casual homey affairs. The Staré Mesto, near the Old Town Square, is where you will find the swankiest bars in town. Nearly everywhere else in the Old Town is favoured by locals, who simply want a tasty glass of Pils beer and some good conversation.
- It may sound slightly old-fashioned, but Prague has a marionette theatre that is simply out of this world. The National Marionette Theatre is not only a unique form of performing arts, but its Mozart scores and impossibly smooth manipulation make this a top excursion for any age.