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Prague is a travel destination that has become incredibly popular in recent years because of its affordability and intrigue among tourists. There are so many architectural wonders and iconic landmarks here, but the city is also well-known for its exciting cultural events, locally made beers, and art events. If you’re planning your first trip to Prague, here are the top things to add to your itinerary!
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Prague Castle is a large castle complex and a must-see landmark for first-time visitors to Prague. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and features Gothic and 10th century Romanesque architecture. You can check out many other landmarks on the castle grounds here as well, including the Royal Palace, St. George’s Basilica, and St. Vitus Cathedral. The area around the castle is pretty touristy, so you’ll likely want to get food and drinks elsewhere in town once you’ve toured the area. The attraction has slightly different opening hours by season, and there are a few different ticket options to choose from based on what you’d like to see. You can also take a guided tour or audio tour in numerous languages.
Old Town Square
Old Town Square is a very popular destination for travelers who come to Prague. Well known for its history that dates back to the 12th century and beautiful architecture, the square is just a vibrant as it was in the past. The Prague Astronomical Clock, described below, is here as well as many restaurants and cafes. Around the square, you can also see the Church of Our Lady before Týn, the Baroque Church of St Nicholas, the Rococo Kinský Palace, the Gothic House at the Stone Bell, and the monument to Jan Hus. It’s also fun to come here to people-watch and take in the vibe of the city.
Astronomical Clock Tower
The history of the Prague Astronomical Clock dates back to the 15th century, and it has been used to depict equinoxes and lunar phases rather than the actual time of day. It’s easy to check out this tourist attraction while you’re in the Old Town Square. Back in the Middle Ages, this clock tower was considered to be one of the great wonders of the world. It’s still a unique attraction to see today, with its procession of Apostles and moving statues.
This is a place to learn about Jewish history in the Czech Republic and take in even more of the city’s impressive architecture. Here you’ll find the Old Jewish Cemetery, which has thousands of graves and a fascinating glimpse into history, as well as synagogues and museums. In the 13th century, Jewish people were ordered to move from their homes in Prague and all settle in this one area. Also known as Josefov, the Jewish Quarter is located north of Old Town. There are sightseeing and boat tours available that can help you learn more about this part of Prague’s history.
Another important site in Prague worth visiting is Charles Bridge, which connects Lesser Town and Old Town. Construction on this bridge began by Charles IV in 1357 and was completed in 1402. Come here to check out the statues of saints that are on the bridge and look for souvenirs. The statue of St. John of Nepomuk is the most famous statue here. There are lots of street vendors in this area, and it does get crowded with tourists. Come early in the morning for fewer crowds and gorgeous views with photo ops.
Sample Czech Beer and Liquor
It would certainly be a shame to visit Prague and not sample a fair amount of locally made beer. To get the full experience, lots of travelers like to join a Prague beer tour to visit several microbreweries and bars in the same day. Some recommended spots to try local beer include Beergeek, Zly Casy, T-anker, U Fleku, and Novomestsky. It’s also fun to try a favorite liquor here known as Becherovka, which is made with spices and herbs. Prague has a really exciting nightlife scene, especially if you enjoy jazz music and tasty drinks.
Eat Koleno and Other Czech Foods
Foodies have a lot of delicious foods to try when they visit Prague, including a meat specialty called koleno. This local favorite is a giant pork knuckle, and you can feast on one in various Prague restaurants like Mlejnice. Essentially, it is a meat lover’s dream consisting of tender pork and crispy skin. Pickled cheese is another traditional food here worth trying. Or to get a sampling of local foods, order a Bohemian platter in Prague, which typically consists of roast duck and pork, beer sausage, bacon, smoked meats, cabbage, bread, and potato dumplings.
Mala Strana is known as the Lesser Quarter, a part of town on the other side of the River from Old Town. This is a fun area to walk into little shops and traditional Czech pubs, and it’s filled with quaint streets and ancient houses. If you’re still looking for accommodations, this is a great area to stay in because it’s typically quieter than Old Town and New Town but still has plenty to do and lots of unique character. It’s also easy to walk to Old Town and New Town because of how compact the city of Prague is.
There are quite a few lovely gardens and parks in Prague, but you definitely won’t want to miss the Wallenstein Garden. This garden is near the Prague Castle and absolutely stunning. It’s common to see Koi fish, peacocks, and statues in this geometrically designed Baroque-style garden. If you plan your trip for the summer, you may be able to catch a concert or theatrical performance here.
National Marionette Theater
Interestingly, puppets are quite popular in Prague, so why not check out an entertaining puppet show while you’re in town? A great venue for this is the National Marionette Theater. This is a fun event for the whole family, with performances, opportunities to make your own puppet, tour the theater, and check out the marionette museum. You can browse the theater’s website before your trip to see what’s playing and even buy tickets online.