Prague

The Czech Republic’s largest city, and also its capital, Prague strategically hugs the Vltava River and has always played an important part in central Europe’s politics, culture and economy. The beautiful and picturesque Charles Bridge straddles the river banks, famous for its classic monuments as it is for the breathtaking views it offers of the city. Head to the Old Town Square and use it as a base to wander aimlessly through a maze of cobbled lanes, hidden courtyard gardens, ancient stone churches and quaint pubs and shops.
Visitors enjoy Prague’s unorthodox take on classic art and masterpieces are found all around you. Check out the magnificent Gothic altarpieces in the Convent of St. Agnes, or head to the streets to take in a mixture of architecture through the ages that make the city’s skyline so dramatic. St Vitus Chapel, which was built over a 600 year timespan, is famous for its immense treasures, from the 14th century mosaic of the Last Judgement, to Saint John of Nepomuck’s silver tomb. The Veletrzni Palac houses the National Gallery’s collection of 19th – 21st century art and includes works by painters from Van Gogh to Klimt. Cubist abstract art also finds a home in this four-storey palace. The Prague Castle dominates Prague’s left bank, attracting visitors with its historic buildings, museums and cultural treasures behind its fortress-like walls. Prague’s rich Jewish history can be experienced in the city’s Jewish Museum, the Jewish Quarter with the Old-New Synagogue and the haunting Jewish cemetery dating back 1000 years. Prague offers visitors interesting ways to discover its culinary delights, from beer and brewery tours to lunch in world famous beer gardens.

Things To Do In Prague

Prague Castle 

Sitting high on a hill overlooking the Charles Bridge and Vltava River, Prague Castle (Prazsky Hrad) is a huge complex of museums, churches, palaces, and gardens dating from the ninth century. Nestled in the historic center of Prague—all of which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site—the largest castle complex in the world is an outstanding relic of Prague’s architectural history and a must for any visitor to the City of a Hundred Spires.
Comprised of dozens of buildings, Prague Castle can feel like a small town. To allow for ample time to explore, tickets are valid for two days: the day of purchase and the following day. Nearly all city tours include a stop at Prague Castle, and a variety of tickets are available depending on how much of the complex you want to see. Explore the castle on your own with a skip-the-line ticket, or book a guided walking tour for a more in-depth experience. To take in even more of Prague’s highlights, combine a visit to Prague Castle with a cruise on the Vltava River or a walking tour of Old Town.
 
Things to Know Before You Go
  • Entrance to the castle grounds is free and tickets to individual buildings are sold at several spots around the grounds.
  • History buffs may want to allow an entire day to take everything in.
  • Interior photography is prohibited in certain exhibits and allowed only with a permit in others.
  • Don’t miss the ceremonial Changing of the Guard, which takes place daily at noon.
  • Be prepared to wait up to 30 minutes to go through security upon entering the castle grounds.
How to Get There
Easily reach Prague Castle by taking tram 22 to Prazsky Hrad. Other options include taking a tram to Kralovsky letohradek or Pohorelec, or taking the metro to Malostranska or Hradcanska.

Charles Bridge

Forming a grand walkway between Prague Old Town, and the Lesser Town and Castle District, the 15th-century Charles Bridge (Karluv Most) is one of the city’s most striking landmarks. The magnificent Gothic bridge features 16 stone arches, two watchtowers, and 30 blackened baroque statues depicting various saints.

Most Prague tours make a stop at the Charles Bridge; although it’s easy to visit independently, tour guides will provide detailed explanations about the statues, which each has its own story. If you’re still craving more information, visit the Charles Bridge Museum on the east bank. Prague river cruises depart from the foot of the Charles Bridge on both sides of the river. 
Things to Know Before You Go
  • The Charles Bridge is a pedestrian-only footbridge—bikes, Segways, and vehicles are prohibited.
  • Wear comfortable shoes if you plan to explore Prague on foot—the city is full of cobblestone streets and hills.  
  • The bridge is accessible for wheelchairs and strollers.
How to Get to There
The Charles Bridge links the Old Town and Lesser Town over the Vltava River; it’s about a 10-minute walk from Old Town Square or a 15-minute walk from Wenceslas Square. The closest metro station is Staroměstská (Line A) on the east bank of the river, but numerous trams also run along the riverside and stop near the bridge. 

St. Vitus Cathedral

St. Vitus (or Katedrála svatého Víta) is the biggest and most important church in Prague, the pinnacle of the Castle complex, and one of the most knockout cathedrals in Europe. It’s broodingly Gothic, with a forest of spires and a rose window to rival that of Notre Dame.

Enter by the Golden Portal to take a look at the stunning Last Judgement mosaic. Inside you’ll find the final resting places of both Charles IV (who gave his name to Charles Bridge) and Saint Wenceslas. The chapel containing Wenceslas’ remains is a stunner, encrusted with semi-precious stones.

The cathedral also contains the crown jewels of the Bohemian kings and an Art Nouveau window by Mucha. Climb the tower for a stunning view of the Castle District.

Info

St. Vitus crowns Castle Hill. If the climb looks too daunting, take a tram to stop 22.

Address:Prague, Czech Republic

Hours:Mar – Nov: 9am – 6pm, Nov – Feb: 9am – 4pm. Opens at 12pm every Sunday

Admission:Free

Prague Astronomical Clock

One of Prague’s biggest visitor attractions, the ornate 15th-century astronomical clock is found on the southern side of Prague’s Gothic Old Town Hall. Gilded and complex in design, the clock was made by Czech master clockmaker Mikuláš of Kadaň in 1410 although it has been repeatedly restored and added to over the centuries. Its upper face shows the time and day of the week, the lower one reveals delicately painted signs of the zodiac. Every hour, on the hour, hundreds of tourists gather around the clock to witness the figure of Christ emerge from tiny trap doors above the upper dial of the clock, followed by a collection of wooden Apostles, to act out a mini-medieval morality tale, while the skeletal figure of Death strikes a bell, Greed counts out his money and Vanity worships his reflection.

The Old Town Hall itself was built in 1338 and is today a popular venue for Prague weddings as well as home of the city’s main tourist information center. Trips up its medieval tower reveal superb views of Old Town Square, the sinister twin spires of Baroque Týn church, and the bronze statue of medieval Czech reformer Jan Hus, which lies at the heart of the square. A series of palatial medieval halls are also open to the public.

The Astronomical Clock “performs” daily on the hour between 9am and 11pm in Prague’s Old Town Square.

Address:Staroměstské náměstí 1, Prague, Czech Republic

Prague Old Town

The center of ancient Prague, the Old Town (Stare Mesto) makes a popular starting point for walking tours of the city, sprawled along the eastern banks of the Vltava River and connected to the Lesser Town by the grand Charles Bridge. A key part of the UNESCO World Heritage city, the Old Town’s medieval churches, ancient buildings and maze of cobblestone lanes is historic Prague at its most picturesque, with many structures dating back to the 13th century.

The Old Town Square is the focal point of the district, presided over by the Lady Before Tyn Cathedral, the central Jan Hus statue and the Old Town Hall with its Astronomical Clock tower – one of the most iconic landmarks of Prague, dating back to the early 15th century. The square’s mix of distinctive pastel-shaded buildings and fine Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture has long provided the backdrop for city life, and the public square, once a medieval market, is a popular venue for national celebrations, protests and political events. 

Other notable buildings in the Old Town include the 13th century Convent of St Agnes, Prague’s earliest example of Gothic design; the Baroque Church of St. Nicholas; and the exquisite Art Nouveau Municipal Hall, a masterpiece crafted by some of the most prominent Czech artists of the 19th century. Just north of Wenceslas Square, the boundary point of the New Town, the Carolinum, part of the Charles University (the oldest university north of the Alps), and the 18th century Estates Theater, Prague’s oldest theatre, are also worth a look.

Prague New Town

Twice as large as the Old Town area, Prague’s New Town (Nove Mesto) is sprawled across one of the banks of the Vltava River. Despite its name, the New Town was founded by Charles IV back in 1348 following his coronation under the Holy Roman Empire. It was later redeveloped during the late 19th century.
The New Town features a mix of historic buildings and squares with more modern developments. Wenceslas Square lies at the heart of the area. This was originally built as a horsemarket and is now a popular place for visitors due to its variety of hotels, shops, restaurants, and nightlife. Other notable squares in the New Town include Charles Square and Republic Square, which also hold plenty of appeal for visitors.
The main attractions and historical buildings within the New Town include the Dvořák Museum, the National Museum, the National Theater, the Dancing House, and the New Town Hall.

Info

Prague’s New Town has excellent public transport links to the rest of the city. Take Line A on the metro to Můstek station for lower and middle Wenceslas Square, or Muzeum station for upper Wenceslas Square. Alternatively, take metro Line B to either Florenc, Národní třída, or Karlovo náměstí stations to visit other parts of the New Town. The area is also accessible by numerous tram lines.
Like many old European cities, Prague once had city walls and gates. The Powder Tower is one of those gates, and it dates back to the 11th century when it was one of 13 entrances into Prague’s Old Town. It was originally called the New Tower, but its name was changed in the 17th century when it was used to store gunpowder. This is the gate future kings of Bohemia used to pass through on their coronation parades along the traditional Royal Way to the Prague Castle. 
Today the tower houses a permanent exhibition called Prague Towers. The tower is 213 feet high, and there is a viewing platform at 144 feet, accessible by 186 stairs, where visitors can see the city from above. The Powder Tower and the Old Town Bridge Tower are the only remaining parts of Prague’s former old town fortification.

Practical Info

The Powder Tower is located at náměstí Republiky 5 at the edge of the Old Town. Opening hours are daily from 10am to 6pm. 

Address:namesti Republiky 5, Prague 110 00, Czech Republic

Much more than just a pretty façade, the Prague National Theatre (Narodni divadlo) is one of the capital’s most important and culturally significant buildings, celebrated as a symbol of Czech cultural and political independence. Completed in 1883 while the country was under Austrian rule, the National Theatre was originally refused funding by the government of Vienna but after a nationwide appeal and a flood of financial contributions from Czech citizens, building commenced in 1865. It’s unique funding means that, more than any of the city’s historic buildings; the Prague National Theatre really does belong to the people.

Taking 16 years to finish, the theatre is the masterwork of Czech architect Josef Zítek, who crafted a dramatic neo-Renaissance façade reflective of the artistic liberation of the Czech National Revival. In 1983, a modernist glass annex – the ‘New Scene’ – was also added to the theatre, the work of architect Zdeněk Vávra, designed to mark the building’s 100th anniversary.

Standing proud by the riverside in the Old Town, with its golden rooftop shimmering in the sunlight, the National Theatre remains one of Prague’s most instantly recognizable sights and those lucky enough to catch one of its many drama, opera and ballet performances will be captivated by its equally impressive interiors.

Info

Within walking distance of Narodni divadlo Station: Trams 6, 9, 17, 18, 22, 53, 57, 58, 59, 91

Address:Ostrovní 225/1, 110 00, Prague, Czech Republic

Hours:Tours and Tickets available daily from 10am – 6pm

Admission:Adults/Students: 200 CZK, Seniors/Children: 150 CZK

Karlstein Castle

Some 18 miles (30 kilometers) southwest of Prague, Karlstejn Castle dominates the surrounding area from its hilltop perch. The castle has been a feature of the landscape here for almost 700 years, and its fairy-tale turrets and steep roofs attract visitors from around the world who come to step back in time.
Karlstejn Castle was founded in 1348 by Charles IV of Bohemia—one of the Czech Republic’s best-loved historical figures (the Charles Bridge in Prague is named after him). He intended the castle to act as a stronghold for his priceless crown jewels and holy relics. In the years that followed, the castle was besieged by Hussite forces and damaged by fire before being restored in the 19th century. Nowadays, guided tours from Prague bring the castle’s many secrets to life.
 
One of the highlights of a visit to the castle is the chance to see the Chapel of the Holy Cross in the Great Tower. The walls of the chapel are decorated with more than 2,000 semiprecious stones along with 128 paintings by the craftsman Master Theodoric.
 
Things to Know Before You Go
  • Entry to the castle is by paid ticket.
  • All visitors must join a tour to see the castle.
  • Discounted tickets can be purchased for seniors, students, and children under 15.
  • With steep steps and uneven floors, the castle is not suited to people with limited mobility.
  • Horse-drawn carriages can be hired to transport you from the village to the castle.
  • A number of cafes and restaurants offer refreshments on-site.
  • Try a glass of Karlstejn wine—grapes have been grown here since the 14th century.
  • Click here for Karlstein Castle’s website
 
How to Get There
Trains depart several times a day from hlavni nádrazi (Prague’s central station) to Karlstejn village at the bottom of the castle hill. The walk up to the castle takes around 30 minutes. Alternatively, numerous guided tours visit the castle from Prague with round-trip transport from Prague. It’s also possible to drive and there is parking in the village.

National Museum

The magnificent headpiece of Prague’s historic Wenceslas square, the Prague National Museum (Národní Muzeum) is the largest museum complex in the Czech Republic, encompassing five specialized departments. The History and Natural History museums are the most sizable, housing an enormous permanent collection of prehistoric remains, archeological artifacts, rock specimens and other items from all over the world. The National Museum Library, Czech Music Museum and the National Museum of Asian, African and American Cultures, are also part of the complex. 

It’s not only the exhibitions that warrant attention – the museum itself is a glorious homage to the Czech National Revival, adorned with the busts of Czech historical figures and fronted by a commandeering statue of St Wenceslas on horseback. The inescapable domed structure is an elaborate feat of neo-Renaissance architecture, featuring over 10 adjourned buildings designed by famous Czech architect Josef Schulz and dominating the Prague skyline since it opened its doors in the 1880s.

Info

The museum is currently undergoing major redevelopments and much of the old buildings is set to remain closed until 2015. Despite the significant closure, visiting the museum is still possible with the Museum’s newest building, erected in 2009, showcasing a small selection of the vast permanent collection and the grounds remaining open for visitors to admire the spectacular architecture.

Metro: Muzeum (lines A & C), Tram: Muzeum (11), Bus: (504, 505, 511)

Address:Vaclavske namesti 68, 115 79, Praha 1, Czech Republic

Hours:Closed until 2015. New Building currently open: Thu-Tue 10am – 6pm; Wed 10am – 8pm.

Admission:Adult: 100 CZK, Child/Student/Senior: 70 CZK

Dancing House 

In a city known for its baroque, Gothic, and Art Nouveau architecture, Prague’s postmodern Dancing House (Tancící dum) stands out for displaying none of these architectural styles. The curvaceous, concrete, metal, and glass building was designed by the architectural duo of Czech-Croatian Vlado Milunić and Canadian-American Frank Gehry (of Guggenheim Bilbao fame) and completed in 1996. 
On Prague’s Rasin embankment, overlooking the Vltava river, the Dancing House occupies the site of a house that was destroyed during the U.S. bombing of Prague in 1945. You can learn more about this history on a World War II-focused walking tour of Prague; other, more general, sightseeing tours by foot, bus, or bike also typically visit the building. You can get a different perspective on a sightseeing cruise along the Vltava. 
Most of the nine-story building is given over to offices, but the top floor is home to several public spaces, including a modern French restaurant and a bar with a terrace offering excellent views across the river to Prague Castle. A ground-floor art gallery supports young Czech artists. 
 
Things to Know Before You Go
  • The Dancing House is a must-see for architecture lovers. 
  • There’s no fee to enter the building, but there’s a small fee to enter the gallery.
  • When the building was completed, its nontraditional aesthetic initially caused much controversy in Prague.
How to Get There
Jiraskovo namesti tram station is right next to the building, and the Karlovo namesti Metro station is a five-minute walk away.

Sedlec Ossuary

As impressive as it is macabre, Sedlec Ossuary is the peculiar star attraction of the Kutná Hora UNESCO World Heritage Site. The subterranean ossuary lies beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints and is decorated and furnished entirely with human bones and skulls, earning it the nickname the “Chapel of Bones.
Most travelers opt to visit Sedlec Ossuary on a day trip from nearby Prague. A walking tour is the most popular way to explore Kutná Hora, taking in UNESCO-listed monuments, such as the Church of St. Barbara, the Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady at Sedlec, and the 14th-century Church of St. Jacob. It’s also possible to visit one of Kutná Hora’s old silver mines, a throwback to the town’s heyday as a silver mining center.
 
Full-day tours from Prague typically stop at other attractions, such as the Gothic Zleby Castle along the way, and afford stunning views of the Bohemian countryside.
 
Things to Know Before You Go
  • There is an admission charge for visiting Sedlec Ossuary, and combination tickets for other Kutná Hora attractions are available.
  • Although there is no official dress code, modest attire is recommended when visiting the church and cemetery.
  • Sedlec Ossuary is wheelchair accessible via an elevator.
 
How to Get There
Direct trains run to Kutná Hora from Prague and take around an hour; it’s just over an hour’s drive along the D11. From Kutná Hora-Sedlec Station, it’s a 10-minute signposted walk to the Sedlec Ossuary.

Nizbor Glass Factory

Home to Ruckl Crystal, Nizbor Glass Factory carries on the tradition of making the high-quality Czech glass and crystal that was originally known as Bohemian crystal. All stages of production are carried out here, including glass blowing, painting, crackling, and cutting. Champagne glasses, bowls, plates, vases, perfume bottles, and lamps are just a few of the items you’ll see made. 
Although some of the Ruckl’s wears stays in the Czech Republic, most is exported around the world. On a tour of the factory, which you can access by coach from Prague, you can learn about the 300-year-old tradition of Bohemian glass and crystal making. You’ll see the molten glass being blown straight from the fiery furnaces and watch  artisans hand-cut the products with amazing skill and precision.
 
Things to Know Before You Go
  • Nizbor Glass Factory is a must-visit for those with an interest in craft and heritage.
  • The factory has a showroom where you can purchase crystal at a discount.
  • Tours of the factory typically last around 45 minutes.
  • Some organized tours from Prague include also visit to the nearby Pilsner Urquell Brewery.
  • Click here for the Factory website
How to Get There
The factory is around a 35-minute drive from the center of Prague. Take highway D5 toward Pilsen and turn off at Exit 14. Alternatively, skip the hassle of driving by visiting on an organized tour from Prague—many even include pickup and drop-off from your hotel.

Museum of Communist

Following World War II, Czechoslovakia fell under Soviet rule between 1948 and 1989; during this time the Communist authorities arrested more than 205,486 Czech nationals and executed 248 after show trials, with 4,500 prisoners dying in jail. Around 170,940 people were driven into exile, with many more killed trying to flee the country. These dark days behind the Iron Curtain are explored at the Museum of Communism -ironically housed alongside a casino on the first floor of the Baroque 18th‐century Savarin Palace. Using photos, political posters, medals, a jumble of busts of Lenin and Marx, Soviet uniforms and movie reels, the displays deal with the perils of living under state‐sponsored terrorism, showcasing anti‐capitalist propaganda; the constant threat of Cold War warfare; work conditions in a Soviet factory and Russian teaching in schools. Highlights include the mock‐up of a stark interrogation room and rare film footage of the 1962 destruction of the massive, granite Stalin Monument in Letná Park. Happily, the exhibition ends on a positive note, with a video showing events that led to the (largely) peaceful Velvet Revolution and the re‐
establishment of Czech democracy under the leadership of Václav Havel.
Anyone wanting to learn more about Prague’s 20th‐century history can visit the Nuclear Bunker Exhibition near Olšanské Náměstí. The Memorial to the Victims of Communism, whose disintegrating bronze figures were created in 2002 by Czech sculptor Olbram Zoubek, stands on a stone stairway at Petřín Hill on the west bank of the River Vltava.

Info

Opening hours daily 9am–9pm. Admission adults CZK 190; seniors CZK 170; students CZK 150; children younger than 10 go free; family tickets CZK 450. Accessed via Metro Lines A or B to Můstek; alternatively walk through the pedestrianized Staré Město (Old Town). Click here for the Website

Address:Na Příkope 10, Prague 1, Central Bohemian Region 110 00, Czech Republic

Hours:Daily 9am–9pm

Admission:Adults CZK 190; Seniors CZK 170; Students CZK 150

KBG Museum

Opened in 2011, the KGB Museum in Prague is a small museum dedicated to displaying memorabilia related to the activities of various national security authorities, including the KGB, the Cheka and the NKVD. Items on display include spy cameras, weapons, electrical interrogation equipment and other equipment from KGB laboratories. Of particular interest to visitors are Vladimir Lenin’s death mask, the weapon used to kill Leon Trotsky and the personal belongings of Lavrentiy Beria, the head of the NKVD.
A separate room of the museum features a collection of photographs taken in Prague in 1968 by KGB officers, while other rooms give visitors a sense of the offices and everyday work environments of the officers. It is said that some of the materials on display are still officially classified.

Info

The KGB Museum is located on the west side of the Vitava River in Prague, less than a ten-minute walk from Prague Castle.  Using public transportation, the museum can be reached by taking tram 12, 20 or 22 or bus 192. It is also about a 15-minute walk from the Malostranska subway station.

Address:Vlašska 13, Prague, Czech Republic

Hours:Daily, except Mondays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Admission:300 Czech koruna

Krizik Fountain 

Travelers in search of a unique and memorable performance need look not further than Prague’s Krizik Fountain. This iconic Czech landmark has been in operation since 1891 and served as an easy meeting place for city residents on the move. Today Krizik Fountain hosts dozens of live shows and its one-of-a-kind spectacle features dancing water, traditional music and brilliant colors. A few of the regularly schedule evenings even include film projections on the water and live accompaniment by the regional ballet company. While tickets are essential, advance reservations aren’t, so catching a show at Krizik Fountain can be done on the fly for visitors who find themselves nearby when the performance starts.

Info

Travelers can take the red C line to Nadrazi Holesovice and then take the 1, 12, 15, or 25 tram to Vystaviste. The fountain is located in Vystaviste Fairgrounds. Click here for the website

Address:U Výstaviště 1/20, Prague, Czech Republic

Hours:Hours vary

Admission:10 Euro

How To Visit Prague

 

SubWay

In terms of tariff the area of the City of Prague is divided into two zones, i.e. P and 0 (in total the area of Prague is counted as 4 tariff zones). Zone P has a double tariff value; Zone 0 is divided into Zones 0 and B – a border stops zone.

Zone P includes the metro, trams, city buses (lines Nos. 100 – 299 and 901 – 930), the Petřín funicular, ferries and the selected railway sections.

Zones 0 and B include suburban bus lines (lines Nos. 300 – 420 and 951 – 979) that are operated in the area of Prague and the selected railway sections.

The quoted ticket prices are inclusive of VAT 15%. Fare and travel information within the PID system are provided as guidance only; more details can be found in an up-dated full wording of the PID Tariff (available in the Download Files box).

The information concerning the procedure for obtaining a simplified tax document for a ticket purchased in vending machines, metro operators and drivers of urban and suburban bus lines operated by the Prague Public Transit Company can be found here.

For more information see The PID Tariff and The PID Contractual Transport Conditions.

1 day   tycket 110czk ($  5)

3 days ticket  310czk ($14)

Basic 90 min    32czk ($1.50)