Should you visit Prague?
When you think about visiting Europe, the first places that come to mind are probably the famous Western European cities that have been popular tourist destinations for years now: London, Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, and so on.
But, if you’re looking to get a little off the beaten path, Central Europe is the way to go. And what better place to visit than the true heart of Europe?
So why should you visit Prague? Let’s take a look at what makes Prague special, what makes it shine, and why visiting Prague should be on YOUR travel bucket list.
Why You Totally Should Visit Prague
1. Prague Has Incredible History
What is a visit to any European city without exploring its history? Especially if you’re coming from North America, Prague is older than anything that exists on that continent today. For all you history buffs especially, it would be a shame not to visit Prague.
Prague’s history dates back to 300BC with the arrival of Celtic tribes, from whom the name of the region Bohemia originated. Since then, Prague has been through a lot – it was part of the Great Moravian Empire before the Czechs broke away, it came to its Golden Age under the reign of King Charles IV, and went through centuries under Habsburg rule until finally it became the capital of independent Czechoslovakia after World War I.
Even since World War I ended, which is fairly recent in the grand scheme of things, Prague’s history has been turbulent: its been occupied by the Nazis, suffered under communist rule, and finally when Czechoslovakia split, it became the capital of the Czech Republic as we know it today. Prague has been a centerpiece of the region and its population has played an important role in the changes this country has gone through.
Very few places can say they’ve gone through so much and managed to flesh out a sense of culture and identity as Prague has. As a result, your Prague travel itinerary should include learning about the history to fully understand and appreciate everything the city is today.
2. Well-preserved Architecture
Adding to Prague’s incredible and complex history is its beautifully-preserved architecture! Many of Prague’s most significant landmarks (and even some of its residential buildings) are older than the United States of America itself. This is mind-blowing considering the fact that places like Dresden, Germany, only a two-hour bus ride away, were completely obliterated during World War II.
The Charles Bridge was built in 1357, the Prague Castle in the 9th century, and the Vyšehrad fortress, one of the first settlements in the modern city of Prague, in 1653. The fact that these beautiful pieces of history are still standing strong after everything this city has been through is almost unfathomable. The remains of the various historic architectural styles, including Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque, Renaissance, and Art Nouveau, are staggering.
So why is everything so well-preserved even after the trauma and destruction of two World Wars? Rumor has it that Hitler ordered the city to be preserved because he wanted to retire to Prague after World War II was over. What better reason to visit Prague than to witness the city just as people from some of the most important periods of history once did?
3. Prague is Less Crowded Than Western European Cities
Prague has only recently become a hot tourist destination, while Western Europe has been on the grid for much longer. As a result, Prague is still fairly hidden and less-visited compared to places like London, Paris, and Barcelona. If you’re looking for a lively destination without as many crowds (but don’t get us wrong, you will still find some pretty crowded spots around the city) then you should visit Prague.
With all the magic (and maybe more) of Western European cities with more authenticity and charm, Prague travel is a perfect mix of everything you’re looking for. Of course, the city comes to life with more and more tourists each year, so there are some typical tourists traps you’ll want to avoid, but it’s also fairly easy, unlike in big western cities, to find a quiet spot close to the city center – who knew?
After visiting places like the Charles Bridge and Old Town Square, you can wander down any random side street and find a quieter local watering hole or two without a problem – and this is something that sets Prague travel apart!
4. Reasons to Visit Prague – It’s cheap!
Enough said: Prague is one of the cheapest European capitals. A beer here is less than €2.00 while a meal will cost maybe €20.00 at most, and that’s if you buy a lot of drinks with it or if you’re at a fancy restaurant. The cost of living here is extremely low, with cheap food, beverage, and public transportation prices.
A lot of people visit Prague simply because they will get more bang for their buck here with their western currency, and tourist accommodation (although it has been steadily rising) is still pretty inexpensive compared to most other European capital cities. So if you’re on a tight budget you might not be able to afford Paris…but you’ll do just fine visiting Prague.
5. Location – It’s Easy to Get to and From Prague
Prague is known as the heart of Europe – and for good reason! Its central location provides easy access and connections to other popular travel destinations, whether you’re looking to continue exploring Eastern or Western Europe.
Travel within Europe is already ridiculously cheap, and travel in and out of Prague is fast and easy. With affordable train, plane, and bus tickets to and from places like Austria, Germany, Poland, Hungary, and more (we could sit here naming places all day but you get the picture), it would be silly not to visit Prague, even if you’re just stopping in for a day or two.
6. Weird Art You Won’t Find Anywhere Else
Let’s be honest: Prague is a strange place. With such a unique and turbulent history, this city was bound to produce some really weird people creating even weirder stuff you won’t find anywhere else.
Take David Černý, for example. This famous Czech artist is known for creating the faceless baby statues that sit in Kampa Park and crawl up the Žižkov Tower. He is also behind the peeing men statue in Malá Strana, the Kafka Head that turns in the wind behind Národní třída, the statue with an, ahem, butthole you can stick your head in, and more. You can map a walking route throughout the entire city to visit all his pieces of art.
Prague is also home to monuments like the Franz Kafka statue, the Broken Men at the foot of Petřín Hill, and more. When you visit Prague, we highly recommend checking out some of the weird art you can find here.
7. The Beer and the Food!
The Czech Republic drinks more beer per capita than any other country in the world, so it’s no wonder that Prague is home to the world’s best beer! Of course, the most famous is Pilsner Urquell, but also worth trying are Kozel, Gambrinus, Staropramen, Budvar, Unetice, and more. Really, you can’t go wrong with any Czech beer. Plus, it’s cheaper than water – in the center you can get a beer for maybe 100 czk (about 4 euros) at most (which is pretty expensive, by the way), and outside the center the prices will be closer to 50 czk (about 2 euros) or maybe even 30 czk.
And what are you going to pair with all that beer you’re drinking? Some delicious Czech specialty meals, of course. Czech food is hearty, so you won’t have a problem lining your stomach. Svíčková is a classic – beef in a sweet cream sauce served with dumplings and cranberries. Goulash is also a great go-to, and the fried cheese is to die for. If you try any one of these things (or just try them all!), your Prague travel was a success.
8. It’s Super Safe
Prague is one of the safest cities in the world according to many different rankings, so take advantage of it! The violent crime rate here is very low, and you usually only have to worry about things like pickpockets in crowds near the city center. Even after dark, most areas of Prague are completely safe to walk around, which is more than can be said for a lot of other popular tourist destinations.
That said, still use common sense and be careful, of course. Whenever you travel you should keep your wits about you. However, if safety is a concern of yours when traveling you will definitely want to visit Prague.
9. Easy Access to the Czech Countryside and Smaller Towns
One of the best things about Prague is its proximity to the countryside. As the capital of the country, Prague has easy connections to many of the smaller destinations in the country and even some of the most remote countryside hubs. The Czech countryside is home to some of the most beautiful nature in Europe, so be sure to take advantage of it when you visit Prague.
Plus, there are places just a day trip from Prague, like Český Krumlov and Karlovy Vary, to explore. The smaller cities and towns of the Czech Republic are also home to some UNESCO World Heritage sites that you won’t want to miss during your Prague travel adventure.
10. Reasons to Visit Prague – Nightlife
Prague is well-known as a big party city, and for good reason. After dark, the younger crowd seems to come alive, flocking to bars, pubs, and nightclubs, only to be kicked out at dawn before doing it all again the next night.
Prague is home to a multitude of scenes so no matter what kind of nightlife you’re looking to explore, you’ll be sure to find your niche somewhere. From new modern clubs like EPIC and Duplex to underground EDM venues like Cross Club and Storm Club, there’s no shortage of places to go to dance.
If you’re looking for something a bit more tame, you’ll find tons of dives around every corner. Or, if you want to simply sample the offerings, head over to Bořivojova, the street with the most bars and pubs per square meter in the world and make your own bar crawl down the street.
No matter what vibe you’re looking for, the nightlife in Prague is vibrant and exciting and will be an integral part of your Prague travel experience.
11. Easy to Get Around Within the City
While there’s so much to see and do in Prague, this might actually be one of the easiest cities to get around! If you’re up for a bit of a walk when you visit Prague, you can hit most of the city’s main landmarks on a walking route from Old Town to the Castle, to Petřín and back.
Or, if you’d prefer not to walk around all day, you can get a public transport ticket. Public transport in Prague is cheap and easy – one ticket will cover trams, metros, and buses so you can get virtually anywhere in the city if you find the right route. Plus, Prague is fairly small, so you shouldn’t have to travel more than 30 or 40 minutes if you’re staying within the city center, making for an efficient Prague travel experience.
12. There’s Always Something Going On in Prague
No matter when you decide to visit Prague, you’d be hard-pressed not to find some sort of festival or event going on while you’re in town. The city’s population is lively and animated, filled to the brim with expats looking to connect and locals looking to share their art and creativity with the public.
Whether it’s a food festival, a concert, an art exhibition, a demonstration, or a protest, you’ll find something to do – and if you don’t, you’re not looking hard enough! A quick look at Instagram or a Google search of Prague events will yield tons of results.
13. Tons of Museums
What would a city with so much history be without a bunch of museums to commemorate every aspect of it? During your Prague travel experience, you’ll want to visit at least the National Museum if you’re looking to learn more about Prague’s culture and history.
If you want to see more than just the National Museum, there are a ton of other options so you’ll be sure to find something you’re interested in. For art lovers, check out the National Gallery or the Mucha Museum, or for tech lovers the National Technical Museum is your spot. Also worth checking out are the Museum of Communism, the Czech Museum of Music, and the Museum of Senses.
A quick Google search (or our article on the best museums in Prague) will be able to find something tailored to whatever topic you’d like to explore when you visit Prague!
14. Castles, Castles, Castles!
There are hundreds of castles and chateaus in the Czech Republic, and there’s no shortage of them both within Prague and within a simple day trip away. If you’re a castle fanatic, you definitely need to visit Prague.
The Prague Castle itself is the world’s largest cohesive castle complex – so this is a must-see during your Prague travel experience. Also worth visiting within the city are the Vyšehrad castle and fortress, the Troja Chateau, and the Průhonice Castle. There are a few other smaller chateaus peppered throughout the city and its suburbs, but these are the most famous.
Outside of Prague but still worth the short trek to go visit are Karlštejn Castle, Český Krumlov Castle, and Hluboka Castle, among many many others. If you’re looking to check out the old stomping grounds of ancient royalty, Prague and the surrounding countryside is a must-visit for you.
15. Bohemian Spas & Saunas
If you’re looking for a little TLC during your Prague travel experience, look no further. After all that exploring and walking around, we totally get it if you’re trying to relax for a bit. The Czech Republic is famous for its natural mineral water that’s said to have healing properties, so this is the perfect place to check out a traditional Bohemian spa – something you won’t find anywhere else!
People in Prague are super into health and wellness, so there’s no shortage of places to check out. Try a Karlovy Vary-style spa and soak in the mineral water rich in magnesium, potassium, and calcium to detox your body. If you’re looking to simply relax, try a Teplice bath that’s rich in sulfur. An iron-rich Marianske Lazne bath will improve blood flow and heart activity.
You can also choose to pamper yourself with a sauna or a massage – the spa options are vast and varied when you visit Prague.
16. Czech Nature, Gardens, and Parks
Did you know that Prague is the greenest urban space in the world? That’s right – even within the confines of the city you’ll be able to escape into nature by visiting beautifully-manicured gardens and parks or checking out one of the nature reserves outside the city center.
Prague’s parks are huge and definitely worth a visit. Close to the center, you’ll find great parks with even better views. Riegrovy Sady is the perfect place to watch the sunset during the summer, while Letná is home to the Metronome and several beer gardens. Stromovka is the biggest park in Prague, and the Wallenstein Gardens are well-kept with fountains and peacocks to complete the atmosphere. If you’re looking for some more intense hiking, you can check out the Divoká Šárka nature reserve on the outskirts of Prague.
Or, if you’re looking to truly leave the city and explore Czech nature (some of the most beautiful in Europe!), visit one of the national parks, like Bohemian Switzerland or Czech Paradise, both easy day trips outside the city.
17. An Up-and-Coming and International Atmosphere
Prague is truly an up-and-coming, still slightly hidden gem of Europe. Part of the magic of the city that you’ll find when you visit Prague is that you’ll meet people from all over the world, whether they’re living in the city or if they’re just passing through like you.
Since it’s still a tad under the radar, the city isn’t nearly as commercialized as a lot of other tourist destinations and you’ll find pieces of genuine authenticity and creativity if you know where to look.
With new people constantly bringing new perspectives and aspects to the city, Prague is ever-changing and always exciting. It’s super easy to meet people and there’s always something going on. The grit of the city streets and its history combined with the constant flow of people creates a special kind of atmosphere that you won’t find anywhere else. This is a place where almost anything goes.
There you have it – 17 reasons why you should visit Prague. If these aren’t enough to draw you in, never fear – we could write an entire book on why Prague travel is worth it, but we’ll leave you with these for now. Prague is a place you have to discover for yourself, so don’t be afraid to dive right in. Once you experience the city, you won’t want to leave. As Franz Kafka’s famous quote goes, “Prague never lets you go…this dear little mother has sharp claws,” and truer words have never been spoken.