TOP 5 MUST SEE
TOP 5 ATTRACTIONS IN PRAGUE
Prague, capital of the Czech republic, is jam-packed with magnificent sights, possesing one of the best preserved historic city centres in Europe, each endowed with a long and varied history a many stories. To make the most of your visit there, make sure to include these 5 Prague wonders in your itinerary.Prague, capital of the Czech republic, is jam-packed with magnificent sights, possesing one of the best preserved historic city centres in Europe, each endowed with a long and varied history a many stories. To make the most of your visit there, make sure to include these 5 Prague wonders in your itinerary.
VLTAVA RIVER & CHARLES BRIDGE
The Vltava River cuts across Prague's centre. Jump aboard one of the many tour boats and take in the wonderful sights on both sides of the river while sipping a delicious Czech beer.
One of the most recognizable old bridges in Europe, magnificent Charles Bridge (Karlův Most) boasts 32 stautes along its 621-meter span. Built in 1357, the bridge has long been the subject of a great deal of superstition, including the builders having laid the initial bridge stone on the 9th of July at exactly 5:31am, a precise set of numbers (135797531) believed to give the structure additional strength. The bridge is particularly famous for its many fine old statues. Among the most important are those of Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV and John of Nepomuk, the country's most revered saint, unveiled in 1683 (a more recent superstition involves rubbing the plaque at the base of the statue for the granting of a wish).
Other highlights include spectacular views over the River Vltava and the structure's superb Gothic gates. Viewing Charles Bridge at night is also highly recommended (an added benefit are the smaller crowds, particularly after the spectacular sunset).
OLD TOWN & JEWISH QUARTER
The Old Town Square in Prague offers a charmingly eclectic mix of architectural styles spanning several centuries – undoubtedly one of Europe's most beautiful sights.
The historic center of Prague, the Old Town (Stare Mesto) is where you'll find the splendid Old Town Square (Staromestske namesti), one of the best places to begin exploring the city. Here, you'll find the Týn Church and the Clementinum, along with numerous other fine old churches, as well as splendid old architecture dating back as far as the 11th century, while the Jewish Quarter, Josefov, is just a short walk north.
A highlight is the Old Town Hall (Staromestska radnice), home to the wonderful early 15th-century Astronomical Clock (Orloj). Each hour, it springs to life as the 12 Apostles and other figures appear and parade in procession across the clock face. Other Old Town Hall highlights are the Gothic doorway leading to its splendid interior with its art exhibits and displays, a chapel built in 1381, and an old prison. Be sure to make the ascent (by stairs or elevator) to the top of the Old Town Hall Tower for its fine views over Prague. Dating back to 1410, this astronomical clock is the third-oldest in the world and the oldest still in operation. Don't miss its fantastic moving display on the hour, every hour.
PRAGUE CASTLE & ST. VITUS CATHEDRAL
The largest ancient castle in the world, as well as one of the most gorgeous, Prague Castle has been home to all the different Czech heads of state ever since the 9th century. Located in Prague's Hradcany neighborhood, Prague Castle (Prazsky hrad), once the home of Bohemia's kings, is today the official residence of the Czech Republic's President and one of the city's most visited tourist attractions. Originally built as a walled fortress around AD 870, the castle has changed dramatically over the years and contains examples of most of the leading architectural styles of the last millennium. Within the castle walls are a number of Prague's most popular tourist sites, including St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George's Basilica, the Powder Tower, the Old Royal Palace, and the Golden Lane.
As i tis the largest castle complex in the world, this vast fortress requires considerable time to tour, but it's time well spent (particularly rewarding are the excellent views over the Vltava River with the old town and its many beautiful spires in the background). Highlights include the Old Royal Palace's main hall, the Vladislav Hall, so large it could be used for jousting tournaments, and staircases wide enough to allow mounted knights to use them. Be sure to also spend time in the Royal Garden, dating back to 1534 and home to a number of superb old buildings, including the Ball Game Pavilion, the Royal Summer House with its Singing Fountain, and the Lion's Court.
MUSIC & THEATRES
The Prague National Theatre is a resplendent neo-Renaissance building on the banks of the Vltava River, magnificent both inside and out, is often singled out as the finest achievement of Czech architecture. Idyllically perched on the banks of the River Vltava, Prague's National Theatre is a must-visit for lovers of the performing arts. Home to the country's top opera, ballet, and drama performances, the National Theater was opened in 1881 as a symbol of Czech national identity and to promote the Czech language and culture. Despite a somewhat checkered past that saw the building destroyed by fire and even closed by the communists, this stunning theater has undergone extensive renovations and stands as a monument to the city's rich talent and cultural significance.
Another Prague theater of note is the Estates Theatre (Stavovske divadlo), built in the late 18th century in Neoclassical style and once a favorite of Mozart, who chose to premier Don Giovanni here.
The Prague Municipal House (Obecní dum) is widely considered one of the finest examples of Art Nouveau in the city. Built in 1912, this splendid civic building is also home to one of Prague's most important (and largest) concert venues, Smetana Hall, and boasts numerous striking features, from its sumptuous façade with a large mural on the arch above the second floor balcony, to the large dome that rests behind and above the arch.
The interior is equally impressive and includes many fine stained glass windows and important paintings. While English language guided tours are available (including a chance to see otherwise closed ceremonial rooms), one of the best ways to enjoy this landmark is to take in a concert or sample its café, restaurants, and luxury boutique shops.
NEW TOWN & NATIONAL MUSEUM
A highlight of Prague's New Town (Nove Mesto) district—an area that grew out of the city's need to expand as it prospered—is the wonderful Wenceslas Square (Vaclavske namesti), home to the National Museum and numerous other architectural treasures. Named after the patron saint of Bohemia, whose statue can be seen here, Wenceslas Square was created in the 14th century during the reign of Charles IV as a horse market and has since become one of the city's most important public spaces, still used for demonstrations and celebrations alike.
A visit today is a fun experience and undoubtedly one of the top free things to do in Prague, and will introduce visitors to some of the city's best dining and restaurant experiences, as well as great shopping. If you are visiting Prague in December, it's also the site of the city's largest Christmas Market.
Fresh from a seven-year-long renovation, the National Museum (Národní Muzeum) in Prague is spread across a number of locations and houses numerous important collections representing a variety of fields, with literally millions of items covering mineralogy, zoology, anthropology, and archaeology, as well as the arts and music. The entomology collection alone numbers more than five million specimens. The oldest museum in the Czech Republic, it was established in the early 1800s before moving to its current location in 1891.