This Prague travel guide will give you the overview you need to plan a trip to Praha!
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For years, Prague has been on my dream travel list. It’s one of those cities that’s packed with history, culture, and beauty at every corner. It’s also a very affordable city, meaning you can really enjoy your time without worrying too much about your budget! Today, I’m sharing a Prague travel guide to jump-start your next trip!
Prague is small enough that you only need transportation occasionally. (Translation: if you’re like me, you probably won’t use it and annoy your husband as you schlep your bags from the train station. If you’re a normal human, you’d only want it a few times.)
Prague positively begs to be wandered. The city boasts almost every conceivable style of architecture as you meander through. From ornate baroque and art deco to more spartan postwar, there’s just so much to see. Hands down, that was my favorite part of Prague.
Take a Free Walking Tour
Have you ever taken a walking tour? I am obsessed with them. They’re such a great way to really see a place, instead of rushing from historic spot to historic spot.
The first time I came to Europe (nearly a decade ago! gulp) I stumbled across Sandeman’s free walking tours. As a solo backpacker at the time, it was the perfect way to learn about the city, and the price was definitely in my budget, so it was an easy yes. I loved it!
More recently, we’ve found ourselves in several cities offering free walking tours and have done one everywhere they’re available. Every time our guide has fantastic knowledge of the area and its history, much more than you’d get from the most detailed of guidebooks.
In Prague, our guide spent his whole life in the city and did an amazing job contextualizing what we could see within the city’s larger history, both ancient and recent. He also gave insights on the country’s current political situation that, to be honest, I’d have never been able to pick up from a translated newspaper.
The tours are about three hours and tipping is traditionally suggested at about 10€ per person. We often try and do them on the first day in a new city, because the overview helps us figure out what we most want to see. The guides also always have great restaurant or local food suggestions and will give it to you straight about which museums and attractions are worth the cost of entry.
Enjoy a River Cruise
One of my favorite ways to see a city is by the river. It offers a fantastic overview of the sights and history, and since much of these old cities’ economy and life revolved around ports, you can see a lot this way while enjoying a boat ride. Win-win.
There are several options for river cruises in Prague, ranging from elegant dinner cruises to quick and touristy. We opted for one in the latter category this time because Prague’s riverfront is fairly compact and we decided we’d rather spend more time (and more of our pennies) exploring on foot afterward. Prague Venice Boat tours (I know, what a name, right?) offers a 45-minute cruise with a hot drink, snack, and language-specific audioguide of the sights along the river. An advantage of this particular cruise is that because the boats are fairly small, the journey takes you a bit up the Vltava River that cuts through Lesser Town.
The ticket also includes a kitschy museum after, which is worth a fifteen-minute glance through to see more on the construction of the bridge but doesn’t merit much time.
Classic Prague Sights
One of the most iconic spots in Prague, hands down. The Charles Bridge is a pedestrian bridge connecting Old Town and Lesser Town. It’s lined with statues of saints and other famous figures and usually packed with tourists and vendors. Hopefully, this goes without saying, but watch your bags here. It’s cool to walk across, but it’s arguably better to cross the neighboring bridge and take photos looking back at the Charles Bridge!
No Prague travel guide would be complete without including the astronomical clock. Striking at any time, you can watch its performance at the top of each hour. While it may not seem that impressive to 21st-century eyes, it represented a masterful technological feat back in the 1400s when it was created. Fun fact: after completing the clock, the creator was blinded by city officials so he couldn’t repeat the creation in any other cities. He promptly disabled the clock and no one could figure out how to repair it for a century.
Old Town Square
This spot holds a ton of history. In addition to the astronomical clock, the Old Town Square hosts a stunning gothic cathedral and baroque church and a massive statue. The area has centuries of disagreement (at varying levels of violence) between Catholic and Protestant Christians, and many of the buildings and landmarks here relate to that. It’s one of the great parts of the walking tour – I wouldn’t remember the stories from reading them, but being told the stories while standing in the exact spot brings it to life. It also hosts the biggest of the Christmas markets in Prague.
Another classic Prague sight is the Dancing House. Also called Fred & Ginger, the two buildings really do bring a surprising amount of movement to their structure. They’re located along the river in New Town, not really near any other big sights but less than 10 minutes’ walk from the Old Town Square. There’s an expensive restaurant on an upper floor, but the bar above is a bit more reasonably priced for the same view.
Located in Nové Město, or New Town, the area clocks in at over 700 years old and only earns the “new” in that it’s newer than the Old Town. Wenceslas Square is the heart of it. With tons of big-name shopping on either side, it feels a little less magical than the rest of the city, but the square ends with a gorgeous building that looks more temple than museum. It holds the National Museum, which I’ve heard mixed reviews about so we skipped it.
The Jewish Quarter of Prague formed in the 13th century when Jews were forbidden to live anywhere other than this area. Nowadays, it’s also famous for another reason: in a city of gorgeous architecture, it still manages to set itself apart. It’s arguably the most expensive part of town, so it’s better for wandering than for eating or staying over here. The best things to see, though, are the synagogues. They have a storied history, including the origin of the Golem myths. You can buy a combo ticket to see the synagogues in the area, and it includes entry into the famous cemetery. Franz Kafka was also born in the Jewish Quarter and you’ll find a museum in his honor here.
There are a few obvious things not on this list today, and there’s a reason for that. There’s way more to see on the other side of the river! From cool and bizarre art to the historic Infant Jesus of Prague to the unmissable Prague castle, I’m sharing Prague across the river next week as a part two of my Prague travel guide!
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