18 Top Things to do in Prague For First-Time Travellers
April 29, 2020
Prague is the capital of Czech Republic and is a popular destination for tourists all over the world due to its rich culture and history. In this article, we will be discovering the top things every traveller must do when visiting Prague as well as recommended itineraries for you to plan your next trip!
Table of Contents
About Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is the capital and biggest city in the Czech Republic. It is also known as “the City of a Hundred Spires,” with the architecture of Prague acting as a visual history to a fascinating city. It is most famously-known for its Old Town Square, located at center of its historic core, with colourful baroque buildings, Gothic churches the medieval Astronomical Clock and Charles Bridge. Many of these attractions escaped the destruction of World War 2 and has been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1992.
How to use the Public Transport in Prague?
Using Prague’s public transportation is simple to understand. All ticket machines have English-language options and you can purchase your tickets without much hassle when you reach the city.
You can purchase a ticket at any metro and most tram stations (through yellow ticket machines or ticket offices), directly from bus drivers, and selected tobacconists. The following fares will apply:
24 CZK = 30-minute ticket
32 CZK = 90-minute ticket
110 CZK = 24-hour ticket
310 CZK = 72-hour ticket
You can transfer onto any metro, tram or bus within the stated time period of travel. It is a must for you to punch the ticket in one of the bright-yellow validation machines that are located at the entrance to every metro station and on trams and buses.
How to get from Václav Havel Airport to Prague City?
Option 1: Public Transportation
There is no direct buses that run from Václav Havel Airport to Prague City. 1. Take Bus bus No. 119, alight after 9 stops at Nádraží Veleslavín (Green Metro Line A) 2. Transfer to metro line at Nádraží Veleslavín station.
Option 2: Book an Airport Shuttle Online
This is probably the most convenient option. You can avoid the hassle of Prague’s public transportation by booking a Prague Airport Shuttle (€22) online before your arrival. The journey will take about 45 minutes and you can choose to book either a one-way or a return trip.
If you’re a solo traveller or a couple, you can book your Prague Airport Shuttle here instead – It is cheaper as Getyourguide charges are based on €10 per pax.
Option 3: Taxi
Taxi is the most costly method if you are travelling in a group of less than 4. Otherwise, if you’re travelling in a group of 4 pax, the estimated cost of the journey by taxi will amount to about €27 by taximeter distance. Splitting the cost, this is cheaper than booking an airport shuttle.
The Top 18 Things to do in Prague for First-timers
The Prague Card
If you plan to stay in Prague for 2-4 days and visit a lot of museums, it will be more cost-efficient for you to get yourself the Prague Card. The card entitles you to free entry into numerous museums such as Prague Castle, the Jewish Museum, the National Museum etc., a Free Sightseeing Tour and a Free River Boat Cruise.
1. Take a “Free” Walking Tour in Prague
There’s no better way to start off your time in Prague with learning more about the history of some of the city’s most famous attractions – Old Town Square, Charles Bridge & Prague Castle. What’s more? You get to decide how much you would like to pay for the tour. The amount depends on the length of the tour and how satisfied you are with it. For a gauge, the common tip ranges from $5-$20 per person. While it is not totally “free”, you’d still get quite a huge discount as compared to booking tours through travel websites.
Reservation for the tour is mandatory in order to limit the size of the groups for your comfort. You can reserve a spot through their website here. The tour duration will last about 2.5-3 hours and you can find your guide at the meeting point who will be holding a green umbrella.
Alternatively, there is also a Prague All in One Day Tour that you can consider if you have limited time in Prague. You get to experience a guided tour to ALL the main attractions in Prague in just one day, inclusive of a Lunch Cruise on River Vltava.
2. Explore Prague Old Town Square
Old Town Square in Prague is the city’s main historical center and is one of the top tourists attractions. Take time to just marvel at the beautiful architecture of the medieval buildings that surround the square such as the the Gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn, the Church of St. Nicholas, the Astronomical Clock Tower and and the Jan Hus monument.
The plaza expands for an area of 129 hectares and comes with a long history that symbolises Prague’s terrifying and glorious past. You can also find rotating minstrels around the square for entertainment, and the square is often a place of political protest for locals to voice out concerns to the government.
3. Visit the Astronomical Clock Tower
The Astronomical Clock is one of the highlights of Old Town Square in the city of Prague. It was first installed in 1410, created by the Imperial clock-producer Mikuláš of Kadaň, It is now the world’s third-oldest astronomical clock (at 600 years old) and the oldest still in operation today. If you come slightly before the hour, you can see people waiting around it to watch it chime, an experience that lasts about 45 seconds.
You can purchase tickets directly at the clock tower if you want to go inside of it. However, expect to queue especially during peak summer months. Alternatively, you can also purchase tickets online in advance if you want to skip-the-line.
Entrance fee No Prebook – without skip-the-line: CZK 250 (about €9.20) – More information on prices can be found here.
Prebook – with skip-the-line + guide: €14 (adult ticket)
4. Tour the inside of St. Nicholas Church & Our Lady before Týn
Church of Our Lady Before Týn – Built in the 14th century, the church is one of the most eye-catching religious buildings in Prague due to its gothic design. The cathedral beholds an extensive gallery of gothic, Renaissance and Early Baroque works. Entrance fee to the church is by donation basis but no sightseeing is allowed during mass timings. You can find out more details about their viewing hours here.
St. Nicholas Church – Since the 13th century, the Church of Saint Nicholas is another Late-Gothic and Baroque church in the Old Town of Prague, and has one of the most impressive church architecture designs in the city. You can find out more details about their viewing hours here.
5. Walk across Charles Bridge
Charles Bridge was built in the 15th century and is a bridge that crosses the Vltava river in Prague. It was the only means of crossing the river until 1841, which made it the most important connection between Prague Castle and the city’s Old Town and adjacent areas.
Legend has it that if you touch the plague below the statue of St. John of Nepomuk on Charles Bridge and make a wish, it will bring you good luck. It was said that the day when John was accused of treachery and was murdered, 7 stars were seen over the exact spot where he was drowned.
6. Tour the Prague Castle
The Prague Castle was founded in 880 AD and is known to be the largest ancient castle complex in the world. Today, the President of the Czech Republic rules from here. The compound is big so there are lots of things to see and do here:
See Magnificent views of Prague City
The Old Royal Palace and the Vladislav Hal
St. Vitus Cathedral
The Basilica of St. George
The Golden Lane
Queen Anne’s Summer Palace
As there is a lot of see and do around Prague Castle, it is recommended that you book for yourself a walking tour to learn more about its history. A 3.5-hour walking tour of Prague Castle & Charles bridge with a guide can be booked in advance online.
Prices: Entrance Fee into Castle + Guide + Skip-the-line: €25.50 (Purchase your tickets online here) Entrance Fee without Guide: 250 CZK (about €9.20) – more information on prices can be found here.
7. See the John Lennon Wall in Mala Strana
A colourful wall with a lot of graffiti, stop by this picture-worthy place to snap a shot after you’ve crossed Charles Bridge.
Between 1948 – 1960s, the John Lennon Wall was originally known as “The Crying Wall”. It was used by people to protest against communism with graffiti texts and art. However, when John Lennon was murdered on 8 December 1980, the wall became a place for the outpouring of grief and protests against his death. Paintings of his face and the old gravestone was then drawn all over on the wall.
Price – Free
8. Hike up to Petrin Lookout Tower & visit the Memorial to the Victims of Communism
The Petrin lookout tower is a great spot for incredible views of Prague city. Its a good place to take a hike and be away from the crowds of the city. The best way to get to Petrin Hill is by tram 9, 12, 15 or 22 (take it to the stop ÚJEZD), and then hike up the hill. Alternatively, you can board the Funicular to go up. The fares for the Funicular ride are the same as those for public transportation.
Close to ÚJEZD Station, at the bottom of Petrin Hill, you can also find a series of statues on steps. This is in remembrance to the victims of communism during the communist era between 1948 and 1989.
Price – Free
9. Go Shopping at Wenceslas Square
Wenceslas Square is a vibrant area of hotels, apartments, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. It is a 700-meter long and 60-meter wide boulevard in Prague, so take some time to walk through its streets and get some shopping done!
10. Eat Trdelník and Hořice rolls
While walking along the streets of Prague, you’re sure to find many stalls selling Trdelník and Horice rolls. Trdelník is made from grilled rolled dough that is wrapped around a stick, topped with sugar and walnut, while Hořice rolls are thinly rolled wafers that are filled with cinnamon and sugar. It is a must to try one these local snacks while in the city!
11. Relax on the Water Front or Take a River Cruise Tour
The Dancing House was designed by the Croatian-Czech architect Vlado Milunić and is currently used as an office building. It symbolises two famous dancers – Ginger Rogers and Fred Astair and become a tourist attraction due to its fascinating architectural design. Many stop by to take a picture or visit the Ginger & Fred restaurant on the roof which has a panoramic view of Vltava River and Prague Castle.
13. Wander the Streets
Just simply wander and walk around the streets of Prague, there’s so much to see and appreciate in this beautiful place.
If you have more time in Prague, here is a list of additional places you can visit as well:
14. Český Krumlov Day Tour
Český Krumlov is a city in the South Bohemia region of the Czech Republic. It is a UNESCO Heritage Site as the town escaped the destruction of WWII and its buildings are well preserved. It’s a beautiful town with a fairy tale-like atmosphere, with Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque buildings for you to overlook. If you have time in Prague, book a Day Tour to Český Krumlov for some sightseeing and learn about the city’s history.
15. Prague National Museum
Right at the top of Wenceslas Square, you’ll find the Prague National Museum which is home to a wide variety of natural scientific and historical collections.
Opening hours: Mondays to Sundays from 10 am to 6 pm. Entrance Fees: 260 CZK for adults; 170 CZK for seniors & students. Children under the age of 6 have free entrance. Tickets can be purchased at the entrance of the museum.
16. National Library of the Czech Republic
The National Library is said to be the most beautiful library in Czech Republic. Walking along the book shelves of the library will make you feel as though you’ve been transported into a magical realm. Even if you’re not interested in reading the books, the architecture and design of its interiors are sure to amaze you.
More information on the entrance fees and opening hours can be found here. Guided tours of the Klementinum include the Baroque Library, Astronomical Tower and Meridian Hall. Tours run every 30 minutes from 10 am to 6pm, and last 45 -50 minutes. There is no need to prebook the tour and you can purchase tickets at the entrance of the ticket office.
17. Visit the Municipal House Concert Hall
The Municipal House is known mainly for its Concert Hall. It is an Art Nouveau building that was built between 1906 and 1912 and is situated on the site of the former Royal Court Palace. The Municipal House also offers guided tours of the concert halls for visitors. You can view the scheduled tours timetable through their official website here.
18. Watch a performance at The National Theatre
If you are an art-lover,you should definitely visit one of the performances in the National Theatre in Prague. There are three art ensembles: opera, drama and ballet.
For performance tickets: Tickets can be purchased personally at any of the National Theatre box offices or online on the official website of the National Theatre. You can also get tickets to watch the Nutcracker Ballet here.
For Guided Tours: Purchase a guided tour ticket at the entrance on-site. Price list can be found here.
Where to stay in Prague?
Old Town is the most centrally located neighbourhood and the best place to stay in Prague in terms of convenience and being closest to all the attractions. Prague is not an expensive city to visit in general so as long as you book early, you’d be able to find some good deals around the central area.
The map below shows a range of booking.com accommodation choices around Old Town area. Pick your preferred price & location!
When is the best time to visit Prague?
Similar to most other European countries, the best time to visit Prague is during Spring (April to May) and Autumn (September to October) where temperatures range at about 18-20 degrees celsius. During these periods, the weather is comfortable and the city is a little less crowded than other months of the year. Avoid July and August, which is their peak summer months and it gets super crowded.
The Currency used in Prague
The currency in Prague is the Czech Crown (CZK). The euro is not widely accepted here and, even if it is, the exchange rate will not be favourable either.