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The 12 best attractions in Prague

Navigate your way through must-see attractions in Prague including hilltop castles, historic bridges and vibrant squares
Photograph: Shutterstock
By Nicole Ely |
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Prague is the perfect under-the-radar city; while it’s not as well-known as other European capitals like Paris or Berlin, this Bohemian paradise offers travellers a healthy amount of history and things to do at a great price. Perhaps Prague’s most appealing quality is its ability to appease both the highs and lows of European culture. Whether you want to spend the day standing in awe of the attractions, museums and architecture that define a proud—and, also, understandably defensive—people or wash those hours away in any number of restaurants and bars where the beer flows freer (and sometimes cheaper) than water, Prague has you covered. And if you put in a little effort towards speaking Czech, you can find a warm reception to go with your cold beer. Na zdraví!

Best attractions in Prague

1
Attractions, Historic buildings and sites

Old Town Square

After you check in and unpack, head over to Old Town Square. Lined with pastel Baroque buildings reminiscent of classic fairy tales, the city centre provides a perfect hub to grab a beer or coffee and people-watch in between catching the sights. The 600-year-old square is home to many monuments and historic buildings, including the Astronomical Clock, Old Town Hall and the Church of Our Lady before Týn.

2
Prague Castle
Attractions, Historic buildings and sites

Prague Castle

You can easily spend a day exploring the gardens, museums and tombs of Prague Castle. Considered the world’s oldest castle, the structure dates back to the 9th century and has been the seat of power for the country’s emperors, kings and presidents. At the centre of the complex stands the Gothic gem St. Vitus Cathedral, a perfect place to gaze at the Art Nouveau stained glass windows, designed by iconic Czech artist Alfons Mucha.

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3
Attractions, Historic buildings and sites

Charles Bridge

Linking Prague Castle to Old Town, Charles Bridge offers a romantic promenade for lovers and tourists alike. The open-air gallery of Baroque statues has been the inspiration of poets and novelists since its construction in 1357. Pick up a souvenir from one of the artists stationed on the bridge’s cobblestones while you listen to jazzy renditions of pop songs from the street musicians, and don’t forget to touch the base of the St. John of Nepomuk statue for good luck.

4
Attractions, Public spaces

Wenceslas Square

When you want to combine historic architecture with great shopping, Wenceslas Square is the place to go. Just a short walk from Old Town, the Square was originally a horse market in the Middle Ages, so it makes sense that now it’s the city’s main shopping centre. The area also functions as the meeting place for most of Prague’s public gatherings, from protests and rallies to parades and celebrations. The famous statue of St. Wenceslas perched on his horse sits near the National Museum, located at one end of the square.

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5
Theatre, Performing arts space

National Theatre

A night of music at the National Theatre feels like a trip to the 1700s. Technically, four stages make up the complex—the National Theatre, the State Opera, the Estates Theatre and the New Stage—with the oldest dating back to 1783. The Estates Theatre, which features high gallery seats, was where Mozart premiered his opera Don Giovanni, with himself acting as conductor. Since then, the opera has been a long-standing cultural tradition in Prague, and is the most performed title at the venue.

6
Spanish Synagogue
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Tine Van Voorst
Attractions, Religious buildings and sites

Spanish Synagogue

Although it’s located a few blocks from Prague’s Old Town, the Jewish Quarter feels like a distinctly separate neighbourhood from the centre. The Spanish Synagogue is the perfect escape from Gothic cathedrals, with its Arabic-inspired design and graceful arches. The Jewish Museum, one of Prague’s most popular among tourists, is located next door.

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7
Letna Beer Garden
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Robert S.
Bars and pubs, Craft beer pubs

Letna Beer Garden

Prague boasts countless beer gardens throughout the city, but Letna features one of the best views to pair with your Pilsner. Sitting on top of a hill overlooking the Vltava River, Letna Beer Garden is little more than a collection of picnic tables and food stands. However, once the sun comes out, the area is bustling with locals and their dogs, snapping beer-guzzling selfies with the city’s spires providing the perfect background. During the summer, the garden also hosts outdoors movies and occasional live music events.

8
Žižkov Television Tower
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/David McKelvey
Attractions, Historic buildings and sites

Žižkov Television Tower

Perhaps you’ve encountered David Cerny’s “Tower Babies” crawling up the sides of Žižkov Television Tower on your Instagram feed. This transmitter tower offers panoramic views of the Žižkov and Vinohrady neighbourhoods from 216 metres above. Up in the tower, the Communist-era landmark houses a restaurant, bar and cafe, as well as the luxurious OneRoom Hotel, while on the ground below sits another restaurant, a mini-golf course and a beer garden perfect for picnics.

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9
MeetFactory
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Wikimedia Commons/ŠJů
Art, Contemporary art

MeetFactory

Those interested in Prague’s local music scene should make sure to pay a visit to MeetFactory, a gallery and performance space located in a somewhat isolated area of the city’s southwest. Don’t let the train tracks and industrial surroundings fool you into thinking you’re in the wrong place. Whether you’re visiting during a daytime flea market or taking in an evening concert, you’re certain to be mingling among Prague’s trendiest creatives.

10
Petřín Hill and Lookout Tower
Attractions, Parks and gardens

Petřín Hill and Lookout Tower

Did you know there’s a little bit of Paris in Prague? A scaled-down Eiffel Tower located at the top of Petřín Hill, to be precise. While it’s not an exact replica of the famous French landmark, it does offer a nice lookout from the hillside. (If you’re a stargazer, you can survey the heavenly bodies from Štefánik's Observatory, which is located nearby.) Once you’ve had your fill of views, take a stroll through the idyllic cherry blossom orchards that paint the landscape with cotton candy-coloured delight in spring.

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11
Museum Kampa
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Armin S Kowalski
Art, Contemporary art

Museum Kampa

Czechs are very proud of their artists and never waste an opportunity to put them on display. One of the best places to educate yourself about Prague’s artistic tastes is Museum Kampa, located on the east bank of Kampa Island. The modern art museum features collections and exhibitions of contemporary Czech and Central European artists. The sculpture garden and surrounding park provides the perfect respite from the crowded city centre.

12
Lucerna Music Bar
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Pavel J.
Music

Lucerna Music Bar

So you’ve spent all day wandering down Prague’s narrow streets, visiting museums and churches. Now it’s time for a little nightlife. At first glance, Palác Lucerna looks like the entry to a metro station. For many locals, the multipurpose centre symbolises the dream of a modern city, where cultural and commercial forces unite. The complex houses a music club, theatre and concert hall as well as a mix of restaurants and bars, making it perfect for a night out.

More Prague museums

Frank Kafka Museum
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Mikel Santamaria
Things to do

The 10 best museums in Prague

Prague’s best museums are refreshingly manageable in size, making them an easy addition to any itinerary. These are ten of our favourite places to get a glimpse into the complexity of Czech life.

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