The "City of a Thousand Spires" is at the centre of great culture, architecture and history. It is the most touristed country and city in Eastern Europe. The city is a place to be experienced as a whole, with many can't miss sites.
Charles Bridge, of course, will link your walk from Old Town Square and the Astronomical Clock to the wonders of the Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral. The Art Nouveau wonders of the Municipal House are right by the Powder Tower, and nearby Wenceslas Square has the statue of the sainted man himself and the golden domed National Museum, on the steps of which Jan Palah burned himself alive. Also, the Jewish area has notable synagogues and the cemetery.
The castle looms above the city, an ever-present wonder of light and stone. A marvel in itself, this is the biggest ancient castle in the world at almost 70,000 meters squared (according to the Guinness World Records). A UNESCO World Heritage site, history is alive as you watch the ceremonial changing of the guards on the hour. There are various point of the complex to visit, many with free admission, however the Prague castle ticket can be a good value at 350 CZK, with an additional 350 CZK for the audio guide. This offers volumes of info, as well as allowing you to skip line for St. Vitus (shorter, cheaper tours area available). The sections of the castle include:
Old Royal Palace (Star kryylovsky palac)- One of the oldest and most impressive parts of the castle, the Old Royal Palace dates from 1135 and was the seat of Bohemian princes. Open 09:00-16:00
St. George's Basilica- The basilica is the Romanesque church lurking behind a Baroque façade in the courtyard behind St. Vitus. Now de-consecrated, it serves as a concert hall. Open 09:00-16:00
St. Vitus Cathedral- Gothic power emanates from this cathedral within the third courtyard. This is the spiritual heart of the Czech Republic and serves as the mausoleum of Bohemian kings. It's popularity may result in long lines of over an hour during the tourist season. The Prague Castle ticket can help you skip the line. Open 09:00-16:00
Royal Gardens & Stag Moat- North of the castle walls, elegant gardens mark the way. Established in 1534, this is also the site for the Micovna or Ball Game Hall. Open 10:00-18:00, closed in winter.
Golden Lane- This picturesque cobbled lane is bordered by workers' cottages that have been turned into shops. (Note: Golden Lane was closed for renovations on May 1, 2010 and it is expected to be closed for at least a year). Open 09:00-16:00
Schwarzenberg Palace- The most distinctive and largest of the buildings on the cobbled square, the Palace was built between 1545 -1563. The building now hoses the Museum of Military History since 1945. Open 10:00-18:00, Mon Closed.
Sternberg Palace- Dating from 1698, this Palace is not part of the National Gallery and home to a collection of European art, including Rubens and Rembrandt. Open 10:00-18:00, Mon Closed.
Archbishop's Palace- Unfortunately, this early Renaissance building is not open to the public, but is still quite a sight.
First courtyard- At the castle gates the Royal Guard can be observed.
Second courtyard- Reconstructed by Empress Maria Theresa, this courtyard is the intersection point for two of the entrances into the castle.
Daliborka Tower- Built in 1496, the tower was used as a prison till the end of 18th century. It is named for its first prisoner, Dalibor of Kozojedy. Open 09:00-16:00
The majestic Charles Bridge (Karluv most) is one of Prague's most beautiful attractions. Spanning the expansive Vltava River, the bridge connects the Old Town and Mala Strana. About 30 Baroque statues dot the sides of the bridge with vendors selling their wares on both sides. One of the most popular statues is St. John of Nepomuk, a Czech saint who was executed during the reign of Wenceslas IV by being thrown into the Vltava from the bridge. The plaque on the statue has been polished to a shine by the thousands of visitors that have touched that spot as it is supposed to bring good luck and ensure your return to Prague.
The Old Town (Stare mesto) is an attraction in itself. Among the many notable buildings and monuments is the famed Astronomical Clock (Orloj). There are three main components: the astronomical dial, representing the position of the Sun and Moon in the sky; "The Walk of the Apostles", a clockwork hourly show of figures of the Apostles and other moving sculptures; and a calendar dial with medallions representing the months.
The Old Town Hall is a fine example of Prague's unique and beautiful architecture. Exhibits from Dum U Minuty, a house with beautiful 17th century sgraffito decorations, can be fond within town hall. There are also many historic churches in the area, including St. James Church and Church of Our Lady before Them.
The National Memorial & Jan Zizka statue are important monuments to the Czech Republic. The statue of Zizka, a one-eyed leader of the Hussite army, is one of the largest equestrian statues in the world. It is about 9 meters (30 ft) high and weights 16.5 tons. Inside the National Monument there is a memorial hall and the space was used as a mausoleum for the remains of Klement Gottwald and other Communist leaders.
Admission is 30 CZK. Taking pictures and videos: 30 CZK
The Dancing House was designed by Frank Gehry and Croatian-Czech architect Vlado Milunic. Inspired by the dancing team Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, the design was controversial among the traditional Baroque, Gothic and Art Nouveau buildings that stand around it. Address: Praha 2, Rasinovo nabr. 80
Prague's Jewish community was one of the oldest in Europe. It is said that it was here that Rabbi Loew created the Golem nearly half a millennium ago. The community was confined to a ghetto until 1781. Josef II issued the Edict of Tolerance at this time which permitted the free exercise of religion. The Jewish town is called Josefov in his honour. During the 1880s, most of Josefov was razed to the ground in the name of "slum-clearing". The cemetery, old town hall, and a few synagogues were spared and grand Art Nouveau buildings emerged. During the reign of the Nazis, Josefov and the Jewish people of Prague were once again all but annihilated. Post-WWII, the communists continued to persecute the religious community. Despite these insufferable hardships, remnants of the rich Jewish society have been preserved, and are now held in honour. A visit to the city is incomplete without seeing something of the rich cultural history.
The Jewish Museum is the best starting point for an exploration of Prague's Jewish past and present.
Address: Praha 1, U Stare skoly 1
Open: 09:00-16:30, Sat Closed.
Zizkov Jewish Cemetery was originally a plague cemetery. Only a small corner of the site remains.
Address: Prague 3, Fibichova
Open: Tue & Thu 09:00 - 13:00.
The Jubilee Synagogue is the newest, biggest synagogue.
Address: Praha 1, Jeruzalemska 1310/7
Klausen Synagogue houses a permanent exhibition showing Jewish customs and traditions.
Praha 1, U Stareho hrbitova 3A
Maisel Synagogue has a display of silverware, previously confiscated from Jewish families by the Nazis. Their permanent exhibition, "the History of Jews in Bohemia and Moravia", is a worthwhile exhibit.
Address: Praha 1, Maiselova 10
Pinkas Synagogue reminds visitors of the vast loss to the community as the walls are covered with 77,297 Jewish Holocaust victims from Bohemia and Moravia.
Address: Praha 1, Siroka 3
The Old Jewish Cemetery dates from the 14th century. It is a startling site of about 12,000 graves piled on top of the other.
Address: Praha 1, Siroka 2, (entrance from Pinkas Synagogue)
Old New Synagogue was established in the 13th century and has withstood fires, floods and the Nazi occupation. Today, it is the spiritual centre of the Jewish community.
Address: Praha 1, Cervena 2
Open: 09:00-16:30, Fri 09:00-14:00, Sat Closed.
Josefov- The historical Jewish ghetto. Interesting for its well preserved historical synagogues, unique in the entire world. The Old
For those interested in more aspects of Jewish Prague, Kosher Prague is an excellent resource.
Prague's rich history and cultural ties make for a plethora of events and festivals throughout the year.
International film festival, including television programs and videos from around the world.
An international Human Rights Documentary film festival.
Prague Easter Markets
Around Easter- late March to early April
Prague's Easter Markets take over the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square with over 100 stalls. Hand crafted goods can be found in the form of wooden toys, crystal glasses, candles, jewellery, metal ware, embroidery, puppets and dolls. Look for the brightly coloured Easter eggs. Ladies in traditional costume will customize the eggs with your name or a special message.
Book World Prague
International book trade fair. Often features a genre of books, such as Literature for Children and Young People.
Khamoro- World Gypsy Festival
A festival of Roma culture with performances of music and dance, exhibitions of photography and art. Held in Old Town usually in late May.
Prague Spring International Music Festival
This festival is a platform for performing artist, symphony orchestras and chamber music ensembles of the world. Founded after WWII, this is one of the continent´s major classical festivals.
Summer Shakespeare Festival
June - September
The Supreme Burgrave´s House at Prague Castle hosts a summer celebration of the works of William Shakespeare.
Prague Writer's Festival
This is a significant literary events that is now in its 20th year.
Prague Dance Festival
Tanec Praha (meaning "Dance Prague") has been the city´s major dance festival since its inception in 1989.
Prague Autumn Festival
This end of the season festival again whips the city into an artistic frenzy of performances.
The Prague Tourist Information Portal is an important resource to help plan a visit to the city and its sites. A green "i" marks offices.Centers include:
Most sightseeing companies offer bus tours with walking around sites. There are also river cruises, bike trips, and pb crawls to see every aspect of Prague.
Cityrama Prague - The City Tour (daily 09:30 and 14:00) joins boat tours, night explorations, excursions around the country and the region.
Martin Tour - a short city bus tour starting at 250Kc per person.
Best Tour - A basic two-hour bus tour of the city. Costs 350Kc/person and leaves daily at 10:00, 14:00 and 16:00 from F-4, Vaclavske nam.
Precious Legacy Tours- Offers standard city tours plus tours focused on Jewish history and culture.
City Bike - Organized tours by bike cost 450Kc/person. Tours leave daily at 10:00, 14:00 and sunset.
Velotrixi- Modern rickshaws are utilized to show the city in a unique way.
Clocktower Bar Crawl- Meets in front of the astronomical clock in Old Town square at 21:15 nightly. euro 15 for TWO HOURS of unlimited beer, wine, Sangria, vodka, rum, and absinthe shooters at various bars, pubs, and night clubs.
The Prague Underground Backpackers Pub Crawl- Voted FHM Magazine's "Top 100 Great Adventures of the World", this crawl meets in front of the Astronomical Clock at 9:45 every night but Sunday. Power hour from 10-11:30 at The Drunken Monkey bar with unlimited beer, wine, vodka, and absinthe. Tables are set up for Beer Pong and Flip Cup. Crawlers also receive a welcome shot at every bar and VIP entry to a different club every night for the euro 16 cost. T-shirts are available for euro 4.
Prague Pub Crawl- claims to be the original Pub Crawl Bar. Guests may join any time from 9PM-10:30PM with a drink lottery and an hour-and-a-half-long open bar with all the free beer or wine you can drink, and three rounds of super shots. Entrance is 490Kc.
To see the sites at a discount price there are many discounts, tourist cards, and various savings to be had.
This all-inclusive tourist card is valid for 4 days and grants free entry to over 50 top attractions in the area. Included is a book with information on all the attractions and a voucher for each attraction. You can only enter the attraction with a valid card AND a voucher. The card does not include public transport and a separate ticket will have to be bought. The Prague Card costs 790 Kc.
Offers free admission to Prague castles and towers and discounts to other attractions. This includes Prague Castle short tour, which normally costs 250 Kc. The only major attraction that is not included is the Old New Synagogue and Jewish Museum. Price: 990 Kc.
Free entry to various attractions in Prague within a 1 year period. This includes discounts, sightseeing tours and 72 hours of public transport for 860 Kc.
National Gallery Gift Ticket
A darkova vstupenka (gift ticket) for National Gallery can save money for the art patron spending time in Prague. The ticket is valid for a year and allows unlimited entry into all exhibitions (both permanent and non-permanent) of National Gallery. A gift ticket for one person costs 650 Kc, for two persons 1000 Kc. For 240 Kc you can have one-person ticket valid for two days in all "Old Art" exhibitions of National Gallery.