7 Best Things To Do in Prague on Your First Visit
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ROMANCE ON THE BRIDGE
The Charles bridge owes its name to the emperor who ordered its construction and is number one on the list of things to do in Prague.
Everyone comes here to admire the bridge, the view across the river Vltava, and the atmosphere! This medieval bridge connects the Old town to the Lesser town.
Try, however, to enjoy the bridge early morning or late evening. Otherwise, well, you will be sandwiched by humans on all sides.
When looking for things to do in Prague, go halfway down the bridge, and you’ll notice 2 Gothic bridge towers. You can visit them for a fee. Climb the narrow stairs alllll the way up and enjoy a fantastic view!
Also, notice the majestic Baroque statues that line the bridge representing various important figures in Czech history.
The Charles Bridge is rightfully a Unesco World Heritage Site and one of the most iconic things to do in Prague.
WANDER THE OLD TOWN – STARÉ MESTO
Walking in the Old Town is one of the most obvious and of course one of the best things to do in Prague. Its cobblestone, medieval, narrow alleys, and amazing architecture wherever you look will make you feel like a you’re in a fairy tale.
Get a map, or if you get lost, keep walking, and you’ll find your way.
The Old Town Square is extremely rich in history.
Here is also where you’ll admire the Gothic Church, Old City Hall, a row of pastel-colored buildings, and much more including the famous astronomical clock.
Most people can’t wait to see Prague’s Orloj clock. An amazing piece of medieval technology in operation since the 1400s.
Under repair several times over, this beautiful clock has several different features: an astronomical dial, and each hour it puts on a show – the “walk of the apostles” for its visitors.
Note: For Kafka lovers, he lived in the house adjacent to the astronomical clock
For more information on The Orloj
The Jewish quarter in Prague bears witness to those who settled here as far back as the 10th century, as well as the painful scars of history throughout time. What remains of the former Jewish Ghetto are a few synagogues and a very poignant and touching cemetery.
To learn about the tragic history of this Jewish community, take an afternoon to understand the history of the Jewish people of Prague.
If you’re interested, read about the Jewish quarters in Amsterdam
Josefov, the former Jewish ghetto, became a part of Prague in the 1800s. It was one of the most populated Jewish neighborhoods in central Europe.
In the 19th century, this old Jewish neighborhood was partly demolished and split in 2. On one side, the very ancient cemetery, a museum, several synagogues, cobblestone maze-like streets, and the 16th-century town hall.
On the other side, a more popular avenue with designer stores that represent a more modern style. The split takes place on Parizska Avenue. (Paris Avenue)
Be sure to include Josevof on your list of things to do in Prague during any given season.
Learn about different landmarks and visit these 6 synagogues full of history:
- PINKAS SYNAGOGUE
Rebuilt in the 1500s by a member of the important Horowitz family, Pinkas synagogue is today a holocaust memorial for Jews from the Czech lands.
When you enter the synagogue you see close to 80 thousand names written on the walls in alphabetical order. Very emotional to say the least.
It is very close to the Old Jewish Cemetery.
Adress: Široká 3, 110 00, Prague 1
- SPANISH SYNAGOGUE
The Spanish synagogue built in a Moorish style in the 19th century is the newest synagogue in the Josefov district.
The inside is richly decorated with an intricate layout of gold mosaic. Be sure to see the permanent exhibit about Jews up to the holocaust in the Czech Republic.
If you’re a fan of Kafka, (a literary genius) you’ll want to come here and visit the Franz Kafka Memorial next to this synagogue.
Adress: Vězeňská 1, Praha 1
- MAISEL SYNAGOGUE
Maisel synagogue dates back to the 16th century and is today a non-active synagogue in the Josefov district
You can, however, see fantastic and very detailed video footage and objects on display that retrace the history of Jews from Czech lands from the 10th century to the 18th century.
Adress: Maiselova 10, Praha 1
- OLD-NEW SYNAGOGUE
Completed in 1270, it is the oldest active synagogue in Prague’s Jewish quarter. You need a separate ticket to enter here.
You could join the Shabbat services for a unique experience.
- HIGH SYNAGOGUE – Temporarily closed
- KLAUSEN SYNAGOGUE
The largest synagogue in Josefov. On display: scenes and objects of Jewish traditions and holy holidays, as well as rituals of daily life.
Don’t miss the Jewish Cemetery (Starý židovský hřbitov).
Founded in the 15th century, the old Jewish cemetery is a place of rest for more than 11 thousand tombs. I think it’s a must place to see when searching for things to do in Prague.
Once you enter the cemetery, you quickly realize there is something extremely symbolic about how it is arranged. Due to lack of space, tombstones tightly fit against each other, sometimes overlapping or tilted.
No flowers here.
As per Jewish tradition, when a family member or friend visits any Jewish cemetery, they leave a small pebble or gravel stone on top of the tombstone before leaving.
You may purchase a single ticket to visit the Old Jewish Cemetery and all synagogues except for the Old-New Synagogue.
For more information and tickets
Further reading: Jewish Quarter in Amsterdam
Definitely, on the list of things to do in Prague, this 9th-century medieval castle is worth exploring. And the view. Unbelievable views of Prague, its rooftops, and the skyline.
Don’t miss Saint Vitus, one of the largest gothic cathedrals in Europe with gorgeous stained glass and elaborate carvings.
I walked all the way up to the castle, but if you’re short on time buy a skip-the-line ticket or go with a tour guide.
These are highly recommended. Just click on the one you prefer.
IMAGINE – ZED JOHNA LENNON
Put the John Lennon wall on your list of things to do in Prague to get a glimpse of what’s happening in society today.
At the time, the purpose of this wall was to convey messages against the communist regime.
Yet in 1980, after John Lennon’s death, his portrait was painted on the wall in his honor as a memorial with messages of love and peace.
Over the years, messages, graffiti, poems, and other amazing street art got layered over john Lennon’s portrait.
Still, the purpose of the wall remains the same: to spread peace and love and represent the political events of our time. Over 30 artists have contributed to the wall.
Address: Velkopřevorské náměstí , 118 00 Praha 1 – Malá Strana
SCULPTURES, PAINTERS AND STREET ART
KAFKA’S ROTATING HEAD
This incredible moving sculpture is mesmerizing. Wait a few moments and you’ll see the myriad of pieces rotate in opposite directions.
Are you an Art Nouveau lover? If so, then you’ll love the guided walk in the footsteps of Alfons Mucha.
Go here for more information and reserve online.
VACLAV HAVEL’S HEART
Havel was an author poet and playwright and the last president of the Czech Republic.
Havel’s party was also known for being a major player in defeating the communist party.
Learn more here about the Velvet Underground.
Havel’s heart is Kurt Gebauer’s creation and is located on what was the piazzetta of the National Theater. In 2016 it was renamed Vaclav Havel’s Square.
Other sculptures on Vaclav Havel Square:
MEMORIAL TO THE VICTIMS OF COMMUNISM
A series of statues that will probably provoke some emotion. They are dedicated to the victims of communism during the period 1948-1989.
These statues represent human figures that seem to be slowly disintegrating with no end in sight. Missing limbs and deep physical attest to the endless torment.
It’s not an easy place to visit, but it attests to the turbulent times that lasted more than 40 years.
Prague is home to many artists and writers, and it includes, of course, Franz Kafka. Throughout the capital, there are many reminders of this famous writer as well as a museum in his name.
At the Franz Kafka museum, you can see the original letters he wrote, photos, manuscripts, and pages of his personal journal.
If you love Kafka, then go visit the museum, it’s an important part of the things to do in Prague. You won’t regret it.
There is an entry fee.
Artist David Cerny’s very provocative and controversial sculpture of 2 statues peeing on the Czech Republic (in the form of the basin) will probably peak your curiosity!
They are supposedly spelling out quotes from political and literary leaders. If you send an SMS to the number on the plaque beside the statue, these guys will spell out your message in the basin.
I didn’t try it. Let me know if you do 🙂
Address: Cihelná 635, 118 00 Malá Strana, Czechia
More about the exhibition here.
PREFER A TOUR?
CHOOSE YOUR SEASON WISELY
When visiting Prague, you’ll often feel like in a fairy tale,
However, July and August are crowded because it’s a European summer vacation so lots and lots and lots of people everywhere! If you don’t have a choice, try exploring early morning or late evening for a more tranquil experience.
If you come in winter then you will love the Christmas markets! Read here for more market information.
FANCY A DAY TRIP?
If it’s your first time in Prague, then it’s probably a better idea to stay near the Old Town to gain insight into its history and just wander around this wonderful town.
However, if you have more time and would like to explore a bit further, then it’s this way for a great day trip from Prague.
FOUND ENOUGH THINGS TO DO IN PRAGUE?
You could probably visit Prague within a few days, but you wouldn’t even start to scratch the surface.
Try to allow enough time to visit, learn, enjoy and chill by just taking a walk or relaxing in a small cozy cafe.
Prague is filled with museums, culture, and arts, not to mention architecture, making the city so beautiful and captivating so please don’t rush!
all photos are the property of VNT