What to do at the Weekend:
Things to do in Prague
Last month saw us set off on another little European break, this time, it was a weekend in Prague, in Czech Republic.
So, what is there to see in Prague? What are the best things to do in Prague?
As with our Porto trip, we chose Prague on a bit of a whim having booked time off work for a long UK bank holiday.
Desperate not to waste our precious holiday days, our main criteria when looking where to book was ‘where isn’t going to cost us a fortune?’
….and Prague seemed to tick all the boxes.
Our experience of Prague
We LOVED Prague, and we mean truly loved it!
We landed having not done much research on the city – although as a self-confessed control freak, Tanith did do a tiny bit of Googling.
Vowing to simply wander and explore the sights.
From the second we set foot out of the airport the place had us hooked.
Getting from Prague Airport to the Hotel
We found getting from the Airport to hotel in the middle of Prague really easy.
Ordinarily we would book a transfer from the airport, but in this case we ordered a Bolt when we stepped out of the airport.
Bolt are an app based taxi service similar to Uber, except they are the dominant brand in Prague.
Unlike Porto Airport, stepping out of Prague airport isn’t a complete nightmare.
So we were able to get a taxi pretty readily and hassle-free. In fact, we picked it up from the Marriot hotel across the road.
It cost around 15 quid for a half an hour taxi ride, which we were more than happy to pay.
The City of 100 Spires
It can often be daunting finding your way around a new city, but with Prague, it’s so easy to navigate.
It’s a really walkable city, split into a number of districts which are separated in part by the Vltava River.
Walking the streets means you don’t miss anything – and there really is a lot to see!
However, if your legs are feeling tired – a day of walking will do that to you – there are fantastic transport links. These include buses, trams, metro, and cabs.
Uber and (particularly) Bolt are extremely popular in Prague.
Nicknamed the ‘City of a hundred spires’ there are incredible sights at every turn, including the famous Old Town Square on one side of the river.
That’s without mentioning the incredible 9th century Prague Castle overlooking the city from the other side.
So, whether you’re planning on getting your steps in and venturing around Prague on foot, or want to take a more relaxed approach, you definitely won’t be disappointed.
We spent three days in the Czech capital and feel like we barely scratched the surface.
Where we Stayed in Prague
We stayed at the Hotel Golden Crown situated in Vladislavova Street, only a short walk – in any direction – to many of the city’s main sights.
We were extremely impressed with this hotel in every aspect.
Alongside the exceptional location – just across the street from the Head of Franz Kafka statue (or shiny, spinning head if you’re uncultured like us) – the hotel was really everything we needed.
- Friendly staff – who highlighted some of the key sights on a map for us on arrival
- Delicious breakfast
- Spacious, light, modern room with incredibly high ceilings (we stayed in a superior double).
Great Hotel, Great Location
There’s really not much more you need!
One of the most important things we look for in a hotel is the room’s soundproofing (ok, yeah, sounds weird but let us elaborate).
There’s nothing worse than being in a hotel with paper thin walls, where you can hear the conversations of your neighbours three rooms down.
Or, one where you get woken up by doors slamming throughout the night.
We experienced none of this at Hotel Golden Crown (hooray)!
To be honest, we would have thought we were the only ones in the hotel if it wasn’t for all the other people at breakfast each morning.
- Great transport links (check)
- Great hotel (check)
- Great location (check)
….now let’s get into the things to do in Prague.
The Best Things to do in Prague
As we alluded to above, there is just so much to see in Prague.
We could write a dissertation covering every amazing thing we saw in our three days in the city, but don’t worry, we won’t put you through that.
Here, we’ll sum up some of the ‘best bits’ from our weekend sightseeing trip.
We’ve already got a list of everything we didn’t get to do ready for when we go back!
1. The Astronomical Clock in Prague Old Town
Ok, so let’s start off with probably the most popular thing to do in Prague. It’s an absolute must for any sightseeing trip here.
We’re all about trying to find the lesser-know, hidden gems everywhere we visit…but sometimes things are popular for a reason!
The medieval astronomical clock is attached to the south side of the Old Town Hall, which is located in one of Prague’s busiest tourist areas.
Constructed back in the 15th century, it is now the oldest working astronomical clock in the world!
Pretty incredible if you ask us.
On the hour every hour between 9am and 11pm, the clock’s chimes are accompanied by the parade of the Apostles which can be viewed from the ground.
Get there early
The space in front of the tower gets extremely busy when the clock is about to strike.
We recommend getting there around 10 minutes before the hour to make sure you secure a good spot!
Even if you miss the parade of the Apostles however, the clock is still an impressive sight to behold.
With so many intricate details, the clock is made up of many elements which show the time, date and also indicate the positions of the Sun, Moon, Earth, and Zodiac constellations.
If you want to know more about the clock and it’s history, we’ve found a handy brochure covering everything you need to know!
2. Prague Castle
A UNESCO monument, Prague Castle is thought to have been founded back in the 9th century.
According to the castle website (Prague Castle for visitors (hrad.cz), the Guinness Book of World Records named it as the world’s largest coherent castle complex, spanning over 70,000 square meters.
From most areas along the Vltava river bank, you’ll be able to see this spectacular castle looming over the city from high up on the hillside.
There are plenty of ways to get to the castle.
Although, you may want to avoid walking if you still want functioning legs by the time you’ve ascended the numerous steep hills.
The most common method of transport is a tram, as there are several different stops (Královský letohrádek, Pražský hrad, Pohořelec) near to the main castle entrance.
Other options include the city’s metro system, or – like us – why not get access to a sightseeing hop-on hop-off bus? (This is the one we got)
Not only does it get you where you need to go – including all the main tourist spots around the city which you can get on and off at as much as you like, but the bus also includes audio information in a whole range of different languages.
Prague Castle Ticket Prices
The most expensive ticket is 250czk – just under nine pounds – so it definitely isn’t going to break the bank to take a visit.
There are numerous ticket options which can be purchased in advance or on the day, giving you access to some or all of the buildings in the castle grounds.
All ticket prices can be found on the Prague Castle website.
St. Vitus Cathedral
Within the castle grounds are a number of palaces and Christian Church buildings dating from the 10th to the 14th centuries.
Our particular favourite was St. Vitus Cathedral.
It is the largest and most important religious temple in Prague, and you can really see why!
Its immense scale is breathtaking, and once inside, you’ll find many vibrant and intricate stained glass windows lining the walls.
As you make your way down towards the altar, there is a ring of Gothic chapels, with the corpses of a number of patron saints and Czech sovereigns inside.
If you want a good view, you can climb to the top of the cathedral’s Great South Tower – an additional cost.
While the sights over the city are definitely worth the effort from the 100m high view-point, your legs won’t be thanking you for the 280 steps you have to climb to get there!
One thing worth noting, while there are four toilet blocks within the castle complex, each charge 10czk for use – so make sure you bring some change.
3. Historical Building of the National Museum
Prague’s National Museum is a spectacle to behold (inside and out).
The main Historical Building of the National Museum was named as a national cultural monument back in 1962.
It is located at the top of Wenceslas Square (you can’t miss it!) just beyond the Statue of Saint Wenceslas.
Once inside, you’ll discover the history of the Czech Republic, with over 2000 artefacts and exhibits spanning 1300 square meters.
We were planning to pay the very reasonable sum of 250czk – around nine pounds – to enter.
But, upon arrival we were surprised to see the museum offering free entry to all visitors that day.
While we didn’t look at everything.
We were excited to get back out into the sunshine (you can tell we’re British!).
So, we explored a lot of the museum floors, looking at exhibits covering the First and Second World Wars, to famous Czech composers.
The architecture inside the building is worth paying the entrance fee alone.
In the main atrium, you’ll find grand marble staircases leading to balconies which wrap around each floor of the building.
Plus, if you venture up to the top floor, you can even access the glass dome which has amazing views over the city.
Although be warned, if – like Tanith – you’re not great with heights, the glass floor may turn your legs to jelly.
4. Charles Bridge
Possibly the second most well-known things to do in Prague, the Charles Bridge is the city’s oldest bridge dating back to the 14th century.
Not only that, it is also the second oldest bridge in the whole of the Czech Republic.
This stone arch bridge is a must-see for any new visitors to Prague, spanning around 514 meters across the width of the Vltava river.
At either end of the bridge is fortified with a gothic tower.
You walk under them as you make your way from one side of the river to the other.
Although the bridge gets busy, with a width of around 10m there’s plenty of space for everyone to happily walk over.
One of the most popular statues on the Charles Bridge is that of Saint John Nepomuk.
This is the 8th statue on the right hand if you are heading from Old Town Square towards the Prague Castle.
You’ll notice the shiny spots on the plaque at the bottom of the statue and the queue of people waiting to touch it.
Tradition says that if you rub the bronze plaque, you will return to Prague one day.
A lot of people consider it a good luck charm too.
The full length of the bridge is continuously marked by statues on either side – 30 in total – which are replicas of the originals constructed back in the early 18th century.
As you pass over the bridge, you’ll want to take your time and enjoy the spectacular views of Prague castle on one side and the city’s Old Town on the other.
To make your walk even better, why not follow in our footsteps and treat yourself to a Prague speciality sweet treat known as Trdelník?
More on that later!
5. Head of Franz Kafka Statue
As we mentioned earlier, our hotel was handily located just across the street from the Head of Fanz Kafka statue.
Built by David Cerny back in 2014, the sculpture is formed of 42 rotating stainless steel pieces which make up Franz Kafka’s head.
Compared to all the historic spots we’ve previously mentioned, the statue is a great nod to the city’s vibrant and modern artistic culture.
Standing at 11m tall, it’s pretty cool to see (and very hard to miss).
The shiny stainless steel catches the light, reflecting back the nearby buildings on its surface.
With built-in motors, each of the sculpture’s 42 layers rotate independently, gradually turning 360 degrees before perfectly forming the full face once again.
While you won’t need long to see this sight, it is definitely a popular one.
No matter what time of day, there was always a group of people excitedly waiting to capture the sculpture in action.
What we really liked about Prague
Ben’s Favourite Bits of Prague
1. Prague is a Beer Lover’s Mecca
Predictably, I was always going to comment on the beer.
I won’t go into too much detail here because we actually wrote another post specifically talking about the places we ate and the beer in Prague here.
However, the variety, availability, and price of the amber coloured lovely stuff is definitely going to get me coming back to the Czech capital as soon as possible.
We visited the Staropramen brewery whilst in Prague and I would definitely recommend it to anyone going.
Tanith and I paid about a tenner each for a (slightly surreal) tour and a four sample tasting board.
You can’t go wrong at that price point.
Whilst I would consider Staropramen as probably the most famous Czech beer and quite possibly the best, there are a multitude of others on offer in the numerous pubs, bars and restaurants.
The Cost of Beer in Prague
A pint will set you back anywhere between 40 to 70 Czech Krona, which was about 1.40 to 2.20 pounds at the time of writing.
The more expensive end was found at the Hard Rock, where you would expect to pay a slightly elevated price anyway.
The two pint tankards or the “big beer for the big man” are more like 3.50 and pretty much everywhere has them.
And, If you’re lucky with the weather like we were, you can happily sit in the sun drinking those all day long at those prices.
We talk more about the beers in Prague in our “Places to eat in Prague” blog post here.
2. The Medieval Dinner Show
So, Tanith and I follow a few travel bloggers on Instagram (as you might expect) and we saw that Tamzin from Through New Eyes had visited a really cool medieval dinner show whilst in Prague.
Needless to say, we immediately booked it for our own visit.
Now I was imagining something similar to the Medieval Times shows I had been to America some time ago, but this was quite different.
Within the basement of the U Pavouka bar, you are transported to a dimly lit and dank medieval beer hall complete with long wooden benches and torches.
You get a five course meal and bottomless beer, wine and soft drinks included in the ticket price, and so it should be to be honest, it wasn’t great.
Still, what was great was the absolute spectacle and entertainment value.
Music, sword fighting, fire juggling, and belly dancers in the aisle – up close and personal.
Great atmosphere, great fun, and something genuinely different.
A night I won’t quickly forget and that makes it well worth the entry fee if you ask me.
Tanith’s Favourite Bits of Prague
I have a real sweet tooth, so for me any delicious treat is a must.
We’ll cover this one off fully in our separate food and drinks in Prague post.
But for now, here are the headlines.
Trdelnik is a sweet pastry common in the Czech Republic.
It is rolled into a cylindrical or cone shape.
Once cooked, it is topped with a sugar and cinnamon mix – and often nuts too – to give it a moreish flavour.
It can be eaten as it is, or filled with cream or ice cream, alongside fruit and sauce.
I – of course – had one filled with a thick, delicious toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream.
Absolutely divine – although I made a complete mess eating it!
2. Walks along the Vltava River
One thing I love about most major cities is that there’s usually a river running right through the middle.
City breaks are amazing, but sometimes it can get tiring walking around busy streets.
I completely adored meandering the streets of Prague, discovering hidden parks in the New Town and tiny cobbled streets in the Old Town.
But what I particularly enjoyed was strolling along the Vltava river, taking in the views – which looked especially pretty in the sunshine!
Being beside the water has such a calming effect I find.
Plus, if you want a little break, there are so many green spaces up and down the river banks to just sit and watch the world go by.
Or – as we did – you can visit one of the many riverside bars and enjoy a beer or two with a view!
What’s especially nice about the Vlatva, is that there are many little islands breaking up sections of the river, which can be easily accessed via one of the numerous bridges.
The river provides the ideal break from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Plus, you can entertain yourself by watching other tourists try to steer their hired pedalo boats…always a good laugh!