Ahoj! (Czech for ‘hello’)
It’s not nicknamed “the golden city” for nothing – Prague is a real life fairy tale with all of its beautiful Baroque buildings, breath-taking views, fabulous bridges and of course, its castle. I fell in love with this city just after one day of being in it, and I am sure many of you would too.
Here is a definite list of must see places and things to do in Prague, the heart of Europe:
- Go to Old Town
Stroll through the charming narrow streets brimming with small shops, museums, coffee shops and the sort. The square is the main attraction here, and don’t miss out on what it has to offer:
-Take a lift up Old Town Hall Tower
-Watch the hourly mechanical puppet show inside the astronomical clock located on the outside of Old Town Hall Tower
-Admire the church of Our Lady before Tyn
– Visit the art gallery.
2. Visit John Lennon Wall
That’s right, Beatles’ fans; a wall covered in fantastic graffiti of Beatles song lyrics and many messages of peace is located right in the heart of Europe. The Knights of Malta own this wall and have painted over it several times, but have now given up and left it to be decorated by new artists each day. There’s even John Lennon Pub just down the road from there.
3. Walk across Charles Bridge
It’s the oldest bridge in Prague, and in my opinion the prettiest. Thirty Baroque statues of religious figures were placed along either side of the bridge, but many of the original ones have since been placed in the Lapidarium and have been replaced by replicas. Charles Bridge is pedestrian-only which gives you the best opportunity to take in the views, browse through the street vendors’ stands and enjoy the street performers’ music.
Top Tip: Look out for the small statue of a golden sleeping priest. Legend has it that if you touch the small metal cross resting on the bridge in front of it your wish will be granted.
4. Take a river boat tour on the Vltava
You’ll get to see Charles Bridge from a different angle and will be able to go through one of its sixteen arches. Look out for the castle on top of the hill and keep an eye out for Franz Kafka Museum close to the river bank.
5. Take a tram up to Prague Castle
Have a look at the royal gardens before entering the castle. You are able to buy tickets to see specific areas within the castle since it is so big, but I highly recommend visiting the glorious gothic-style St. Vitus Cathedral; its stained glass windows are a must-see. Golden Lane is a quaint medieval street which can also be found within the castle.
Left: Stained glass inside the cathedral. Right: The cathedral.
6. Visit the Jewish Quarter
In the 13th century, Jewish people were ordered to vacate their homes and settle in one area. This area is today known as the Jewish Quarter or Josefov, and still houses the various artefacts which the Nazis transported from other occupied countries to form part of a “museum of an extinct race”, as Hitler called it. All of the six synagogues (except the Old-New synagogue) and the remaining monuments form the Jewish Museum in Prague, which is open to tourists.
- Try some homemade lemonade whilst in Prague; nearly all of the restaurants and bars serve it. It is usually served in a big glass jug with a straw.
- Have a peep in a traditional puppet shop. Puppet-making is a Czech tradition.
- If you’re up for a shopping spree, head to Palladium (200 shops under one roof) in Republic Square and Wenceslas Square (lined with shops and cafes).
- No holiday in Prague is complete without a concert. You’d be surprised to hear that some concerts are actually held in churches, but others are also held at grand concert halls. Classical music is big in Prague, and it’s a huge break from the thumping techno tunes of everyday.
- House signs are unique here. They are actually made up of small statues or plaques revealing pictures not words.
- The currency is the Czech Crown (czk). It’s a good idea to have a currency converter chart in your wallet, since the exchange rate might be very different to your own currency.
Whatever you decide to do and wherever you choose to go in Prague, always – and I repeat ALWAYS – have a camera on you. It is a city of many wonders and enchanting sights, so forgetting to pack your camera will be one of the greatest regrets you’ll ever have!
Sbohem! (Czech for ‘goodbye’)
The Little Green Journal