Prague with its gold-tipped towers, romantic castle, towering church domes, dramatic bridge, and scenic Vltava River, is the stuff fairy tales are made of. It’s a beautiful city that seems to be constantly permeated with magic in the air. I love this about Prague and the fact that it offers a plethora of wonderful and fun activities that are free!
If you are bound for Prague in the near or distant future, here are the top 13 activities that you must do to ensure that you get the most out of this amazing city. Again, the great thing is: they’re absolutely free!
1. Climb your way to Prague Castle
According to Guinness World Records, Prague Castle is the biggest ancient castle in the world. It stands on a hill and rises like a glorious beacon over the beautiful city below.
While it’s a bit of a trek going up the hill to Prague Castle, it’s a breathtaking experience (literally if you’re out of shape, and figuratively with Prague’s beauty), nonetheless. With each step you take, the beautiful panorama below that is the city of Prague slowly comes into view.
2. Watch the changing of the guards
While entrance to the insides of Prague Castle comes with a fee, viewing the changing of the guards outside is, however, free. It’s fairly a simple affair with minimal fanfare that takes place daily at 12 o’clock noon at the first courtyard, but a great watch to tick off from your bucket list, nonetheless. Come early to find a good spot to watch as a lot of people flock to see the show.
3. Marvel at the magnificence of St. Vitus Cathedral
St. Vitus Cathedral is hands down one of the most beautiful churches I’ve seen! It has an intricate design with lots of outstanding and interesting details. I sat on an outside bench for sometime just to marvel at its gorgeousness (or gloriousness).
4. Gaze upon St. Nicholas Church
From the castle, you can find your way to the Old Town via a set of stairs located at the back of the castle grounds. Along the way, you’ll comes across this remarkable Baroque church dedicated to St. Nicholas that also bears his name.
The current St. Nicholas has been built on the site of a former Gothic church by well-known Baroque artists and is considered to be their masterpiece. Sadly, they never got to see its completion. It’s by far the largest Jesuit-founded church in Prague and is said to be the most impressive example of Prague Baroque. It is used today as both a church and a concert hall.
While entrance to this famous edifice in Mala Strana comes with a fee, admiring its impressive white structure from the outside is free.
5. Laze around Old Town Square
A few minutes walk from St. Nicholas is the Old Town Square, one of the two famous squares in Prague. Flanked on its sides with many beautiful edifices and monuments (the statue of Jan Hus, Czech priest, philosopher and reformer, takes center stage), it’s an interesting place to find oneself in when in Prague. It’s also a nice spot to go enjoy a cup of coffee, munch on some Trdelnik (a cake/sweet pastry made from rolled dough that is placed around a stick, then grilled and topped with sugar and walnut mix) or two, and go people watching.
For where to stay in Prague, please read: An Amazing Yet Cheap Hotel in Prague
6. Admire the Church of Our Lady Before Tyn at night
When in the Old Town Square, it’s quite difficult to miss this magnificent church (although its entrance probably is as it’s hidden behind the restaurants fronting it. It’s the one with the towering spires on the right portion of the above photo). With its high towers soaring into the sky, this 14th-century Gothic masterpiece provides a nice backdrop to the cobbled lanes of Old Town Square. It also houses the oldest pipe organ in Prague. Try visiting it at night when it is wonderfully lit up. Entrance is free, although donation via a donation box at the exit is most welcome.
7. Watch the Astronomical Clock Show
Just a little bit off the square is the much famous Prazsky Orloj or more commonly known as the Astronomical Clock. It’s probably the most visited or viewed emblem in Prague (there’s a HUGE crowd flocking it every hour when it’s set to perform its hourly show) and one of the most interesting with the many curious figures that make their appearance during the show. Arrive early before the hourly display starts to be sure you’ll find a good viewing spot. Trust me, it gets real crowded.
8. Stroll through Charles Bridge
Walking the length of this famous bridge is a must when you’re in Prague. It’s beautiful and especially enchanting during sunset. At night, it is filled with vendors selling their wares, musicians showcasing their talents, and tourists doing their share of the requisite stroll. If you want to avoid the crowds, an early morning walk is the way to go.
9. Enjoy the view of the scenic Vltava River
Prague is built around the Vltave River. While a river cruise comes with the expected fee, taking in the scene is just the opposite. Picture taking is also recommended.
10. See The Lennon Wall
The Lennon Wall is actually just a graffiti-filled wall located at Velkoprevorske Namesti in Prague’s Mala Strana district. It was started as a tribute to the late musician John Lennon to commemorate his plea for world love and peace. The graffiti now range from the simple to the elaborate, with the overall effect of being artistic and unique. A selfie is, of course, free.
11. Wander around Wenceslas Square
Wenceslas Square is the other popular square in Prague and is located in the New Town. It’s a boulevard lined with restaurants, hotels, shops and other business establishments, and is flanked at the top by the statue of St. Wenceslas, once Bohemia’s good King and at present Prague’s patron saint. Wenceslas Square is the center of Prague’s entertainment and night life, and a stroll through its nifty boulevard is a pleasurable endeavor.
12. Take a selfie in front of the Dancing House
Also called the “Fred and Ginger” in reference to American dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, the Dancing House stands (or leans, if you may) differently and uniquely from the old art nouveau structures prevalent in Prague. It resembles two people dancing close together, and is actually an office building. If you’re a fan of modern architecture, be sure not to miss this spectacle. There’s an upscale french resto and bar on top where you can enjoy some good views of Prague; entrance is free when you buy drinks.
13. Pay homage at the Jewish Quarter
The Jewish Quarter or the Josefov is an area in Prague that’s composed of many synagogues, museums, other Jewish buildings, and a cemetery. Going inside the building comes with a fee, but walking around the area, taking a look at the structures, and remembering the Jews who perished during the war are free.
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