Prague: the Czech Republic’s Capital – the Top 10 Places of Interest
Prague Castle and Charles Bridge are the two most famous sights in the Czech capital. But Prague is home to hundreds of other sights that are also well worth seeing. One beautiful place just follows another here. It therefore doesn’t come as a surprise that Prague’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It’s also unsurprising that Prague is very popular with travelers. An incredible number of 9 million visitors came here in 2019! Luckily, the city’s infrastructure can deal with these large crowds. Whether you take the subway, streetcar, cable car, or bus, you’ll always arrive safely at your destination.
Whether you’ve been to Prague before or whether this is your first time, a trip to the Czech capital is always well worth it! Of course, you’ll likely never get to enjoy the city’s prettiest spots completely on your own, but the large crowds of travelers from all over the world also give the city a rather special atmosphere.
To help you prepare for your trip, we’ve collected the most important information about the Czech Republic and its capital. We’ve also compiled a helpful list with the 10 sights you simply cannot miss while you’re here.
Prague in a Nutshell
As you probably know by now, Prague is a very popular travel destination. Can you guess how many people live in the Czech Republic? The answer is a little over 10 million people. That’s just one million more than the number of visitors in 2019!
No trip to Prague is complete without trying some traditional Czech dishes. There’s just no city that does roasted pork better than the capital. The side dish usually consists of cabbage and dumplings. The Czech Republic is also famous for its fantastic beers. A regular Czech person drinks around 142 liters of alcohol a year, which is twice the global average. This fact is basically all you need to know to imagine the fantastic choice of drinks available in Prague.
The Czech Republic borders Germany, Austria, Poland, and Slovakia. Prague lies on the banks of the Vltava, pretty much in the middle of the country. The best time to travel to Prague is during the summer, although the weather can still be pretty unreliable. This shouldn’t be a problem, though, as long as you bring appropriate clothing!
Did you know that the Czech capital has a lot of nicknames? The most famous ones are the “Golden City” and the “City of 100 Spires.” As you can tell by these names, the city’s architecture is one of its most impressive features.
Prague is also home to hundreds of fantastic events. One of our favorite ones is the traditional Walpurgis Night, or Witches’ Night, on April 30th. Make your way up Petřín, a 325-meter-high hill, to be transported right back to the Middle Ages. The celebration includes not only a large bonfire but also lots of music and theater performances. If you look closely, you might even see some witches around. If you’re more interested in Czech beer, however, we would recommend visiting the Beer Festival in May. It features food, tents, music, and, most importantly, lots of beer! Another great event is the United Islands of Prague Festival at the end of June. Whatever your taste in music is, we’re sure you’ll find a show to enjoy at this amazing music festival!
The Top 10 Places of Interest in Prague
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s take a closer look at Prague’s most interesting locations! No trip to the Czech capital would be complete without them.
Watch out, this bridge tends to be overcrowded! We therefore recommend visiting the 515-meter-long Charles Bridge early in the morning. That way, you’ll have plenty of time to admire its 30 beautiful statues in peace. Keep an eye out for John of Nepomuk – touching his pedestal is said to bring good luck!
The origin story of Charles Bridge is quite interesting. According to legend, the then Emperor Charles IV gave the order to build the bridge on July 9, 1357, at exactly 5:31 a.m. If you take a look at the year and time, you’ll notice an interesting pattern. It’s said to represent the durability and robustness of the bridge. Some people even claim that food was mixed into the bridge’s building material, making it absolutely indestructible.
Do you want to see the largest castle in the world? Well, today’s your lucky day! Of course, this isn’t the only reason you should visit Prague Castle. It’s also just a beautiful building that combines many different architectural styles. The castle complex includes a Romanesque basilica, a Gothic palace, and some Baroque courtyards. Our favorite part is probably the Renaissance Summer Palace, though. There’s even some modern architecture for you to discover at the castle’s greenhouses. Time-travelling has never been easier than at Prague Castle!
Don’t miss out on the castle’s interior, either. You can visit several museums here, including the Picture Gallery and the Toy Museum. You should also visit St. Vitus Cathedral, while you’re here. It’s the largest church in the country as well as an absolutely unforgettable sight.
Vyšehrad is Prague’s other famous castle. The fort offers a wonderful view of the city and the Vltava River. We recommend taking a guided tour while you’re here. This will allow you to see the Brick Gate, the Devil’s Column, the cemetery, the casemates, as well as a very interesting exhibition. Getting to the 10th century castle is luckily very easy, thanks to a nearby streetcar stop.
The Prague Astronomical Clock
We can promise you that you’ve never seen anything like this 15th century clock before! The Astronomical Clock is decorated with beautiful figures, including one of the Grim Reaper. Make sure you come here at the full hour to see the apostles, which are usually inside the clock and therefore out of view, come out and strike the bell.
If you look closely, you’ll notice that the clock has three hands – one for the sun, one for the moon, and one for the zodiac signs. Make sure you don’t miss out on this amazing sight during your time in Prague!
The Old Town Square
The Old Town Square lies in the heart of Prague. The 12th century marketplace is home to many historically significant buildings, such as the houses “At the Blue Goose,” “At the Unicorn,” and “At the Golden Camel.” You can also visit the Church of Our Lady before Týn, the St. Nicholas Church, the KinskýPalace, and the Stone Bell House here. Take your time exploring the whole area!
This square is named after Wenceslas I, Duke of Bohemia, and is the center of Prague’s New Town. It’s a small but historically and socially significant square. Look out for the bronze statue of Saint Wenceslas! It’s located in front of the National Museum, which is also well worth a visit, because of its picturesque architecture and interesting exhibitions.
You can also see a lot of other beautiful buildings on Wenceslas Square, mainly in the Baroque and the Art Nouveau style. Finally, it’s also a great place to stop for some coffee and a delicious piece of cake.
The Powder Tower
You don’t have to worry about missing the Powder Tower, because this building really stands out from its surroundings. Actually, there used to be 13 of these towers around Prague’s Old Town. The one you can see today serves as the entrance to the Old Town and is, with a height of 65 meters, a very impressive sight. You can also go inside the tower and have a look at the exhibition there.
The Dancing House
Don’t worry – the Dancing House isn’t actually swinging its hips. It just looks like it’s been frozen in the middle of a dance move. The gallery housed in the Dancing House is equally exciting. It offers newcomers in the art world a space to display their works. So don’t miss this chance to see tomorrow’s stars before anyone else! After you’ve had a look around the gallery, why not head to the upper floor and enjoy a meal at the fantastic restaurant there? For the full experience of the Dancing House, spend the night at the luxury hotel that is also located in the building!
Following in Kafka’s Footsteps
Franz Kafka was born in Prague on July 3, 1883. He’s one of the most important writers of all time, and his works include “The Metamorphosis,” “The Trial,” and “Letter to His Father.” To this day, he enjoys the reputation of being one of the best German-language writers ever. We highly recommend visiting the Franz Kafka Museum during your time in his hometown.
Don’t forget to check out his former residence in the Golden Lane, either! The street would be well worth a visit anyway due to its colorful houses, but Kafka’s stay at number 22 makes the Golden Lane a staple of any Prague trip. By the way, the street’s unusual name stems from the fact that alchemists used to work here. One of their tasks was the creation of gold, hence the road’s name.
Finally, we would like to recommend two sculptures of Franz Kafka to you. The more impressive one is located near the Quadrio shopping center. The 40 ton statue is made of sheet metal and even moves around! The more modest statue of Kafka is in the Old Town. Well, we say modest, but you won’t have to worry about missing this one, either. The 4-meter-tall statue consists of a headless man with a smaller man sitting on his shoulders. It was created by Jaroslav Róna and is the artist’s attempt to depict Kafka’s internal conflict.
The Petřín Lookout Tower
The Petřín Lookout Tower is located on the hill of the same name. It opened in 1891 and was modeled after the Eiffel Tower. Although the resemblance is striking, it is a lot smaller than its Parisian counterpart and measures only around 60 meters. We still highly recommend visiting the Petřín Lookout Tower, because the view from its top is simply amazing. Don’t worry if you don’t want to face the 300 steps – there’s also an elevator available. Don’t let the climb up the hill stop you, either – there are cable cars available, and the view from up here is just mind-blowing.
The Czech capital is a city full of life and people from all over the world. It’s also one of those places you just want to go back to again and again. Whether it’s the exciting traditional events or the fascinating history of the Castle and the Powder Tower, you can just never get enough of Prague!
Plus, there are enough sights here to ensure that you’ll never get bored. Even just the Old Town Square has enough interesting spots to keep you occupied for days. And, if you ever get tired from all the sightseeing, a delicious Czech beer will help you recover in no time. Thanks to its central location in Europe, Prague is also incredibly easy to reach and therefore a perfect destination for backpackers. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to pack your bags and head to Prague!