Things to Do in Prague

Historic meets avant-garde in Prague. Discover 13 amazing activities in the Czech capital that strike a balance between the city's historic sites and its vibrant new culture.
By: Kelly Hould
Related To:

Photo By: iStock

Photo By: Ronira / iStock / Getty Images

Photo By: Thinkstock

Photo By: alcuin, flickr

Photo By: Dnaveh / iStock / Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Marina Geysman / iStock / Getty Images

Photo By: iStock

Photo By: Yuri4u80 / iStock / Getty Images

Photo By: iStock

Photo By: Wikimedia Commons

Prague Castle

Dating back to the 9th century, the Prague Castle complex is home to the Bohemian Crown Jewels, the office of the president, courtyards, shops and countless other sights that shouldn't be missed. Open daily, Prague Castle is the largest castle in the world. Though many areas of the castle are free, it's worth the price of admission to tour St. Vitus Cathedral. Other attractions include the changing of the guard, castle gardens and Golden Lane shops. The castle is not well-marked, so bring a map.

Charles Bridge

The Charles Bridge is Prague's iconic vaulted arch bridge, connecting Old Town Prague to Lesser Town. Huge crowds swarm to the 15th-century bridge each day to watch performers, browse street art and vendors’ wares, and to take pictures of the 30 Charles Bridge statues. Trips across the historic bridge vary from a half-hour crossing to a day-long guided tour. Start your visit before 9 a.m. to get the entire bridge to yourself.

Prague Astronomical Clock

Prague’s Old Town Square features animated entertainers, hot local street food, horse-drawn carriages, colorful architecture and a medieval astronomical clock that is impossible to miss due to the large crowds who gather every hour. Go in the morning and enjoy ham and coffee while you watch the short mechanical performance on the hour. For a small fee you can take a tour behind the clock and gain an impressive view of the city.

Dancing House

Evocative and unique, the deconstructivist Dancing House stands out in rich contrast to the cobblestone streets and traditional architecture that surrounds it. The building was designed in 1992 by Croatian-Czech architect Vlado Milunic with Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry. At the top floor, you'll find Celeste: a highly regarded French restaurant with a glass-enclosed dining room and soaring views of the Vltava River and Prague Castle. From June through September, diners have access to a rooftop terrace. Celeste is open for lunch and dinner, and reservations are a must.

National Gallery at Veletrzni Palac

Not to be confused with the larger National Gallery, the gallery at Veletrzni Palac offers five floors of contemporary art. The museum boasts important Czech works from artists like Kupka and Mucha as well as widely recognized masters such as Picasso, Seurat, Gaugin, Cezanne, Klimt, Rodin and Renoir. Veletrzni Palac also features items on loan from other Prague museums, including the Museum of Decorative Arts, making it an efficient visit for those on a tight schedule.

Old Jewish Cemetery

The surreal Old Jewish Cemetery is home to an estimated 100,000 gravesites in what is thought to be up to 12 layers, with approximately 12,000 grave markers visible at the surface. The price of admission is worth the moments you'll spend reflecting among crooked tombstones, moss and erosion fighting to reclaim the space for Mother Nature. Visitors must pay an extra charge to take pictures, and access is granted as part of a combo ticket to visit other Jewish Quarter sites.

Prague State Opera

The Prague State Opera features an often-changing schedule, English subtitles and wonderful acoustics. The Prague State Opera offers a surprisingly populist and fun atmosphere for audiences whose dress varies from casual to formal. The interior drips gold with opulent balconies, a baroque ceiling and ornate side panels. Prague opera tickets are affordable and specials are often available. A large second-floor balcony is where you can sip champagne and indulge your senses.

Vltava River Cruise

One of the most notorious Prague activities is the scenic river cruise. Cruising down the Vltava and admiring the Charles Bridge from the river is appealing, but it is important to find a trusted recommendation. Prague river cruises are notoriously overpriced with lackluster gastronomy, but that is not the case with every cruise tour. Select Prague cruises rival even the best European river cruises in beauty, entertainment and cuisine. Premiant City Tour in Zizkov comes highly reviewed by American travelers, as do the river cruises arranged by Prague Airport Transfers.

Wenceslas Square

Take in the festive atmosphere and enjoy a trdelnik (traditional sweet pastry) at Wenceslas Square. Originally the site of a horse market, Wenceslas Square is home to a garden center, the neoclassical National Museum, the Wenceslas Monument and the main shopping area of New Town Prague. In addition to shopping and entertainment, the square was the site of critical chapters in history, from Nazi demonstrations to protests as part of the Velvet Revolution.

Zizkov

Zizkov makes a refreshing break from tourist-oriented districts. Zizkov, a district centered between streets named Histka and Seifertova, is home to many pubs and fashionable but affordable cafes. Visit Palac Akropolis, a venue famous for indie culture, music, theater and art projects that also houses a restaurant, independent cinema and bar. Another must-see is the unmistakable TV tower. Zizkov offers panoramic views of downtown and the best green open spaces in Prague, including Vitkov Hill, a wooded ridge with a statue commemorating a 15th-century battle, and Parukarka, a public park with stunning views.

Karlštejn Castle

Take a bike tour through Prague to Karlštejn Castle, a Gothic castle founded in 1348 AD by the King of Bohemia, Charles IV. One of the most famous and most frequently visited castles in the Czech Republic, this castle has served as a safe place for the Imperial Regalia, Bohemian or Czech crown jewels, holy relics and other royal treasures.

Nizbor Glass Factory

See how the world famous Czech Republic pilsner beer glasses are made at the the Nizbor Bohemia glass factory. Learn the history and see the production firsthand of decorative Bohemian crystal used for decanters, perfume bottles and trophies. Visitors can also pick up newly-blown crystal at discounted prices.

Shakespeare Company

Prague Shakespeare Company, continental Europe's premiere English-language classical theatre company, presents a wide variety of classic and modern plays and musicals year round. Relish in the rich history and culture of the city during the day and then in the evening be entertained with Prague Shakespeare Company.