For a first time visitor there are a few absolutely ESSENTIAL things to do in Prague.
In our minds Prague is among the very most spectacular cities in the world. And as such, there are a ton of amazing things to see and to do in Prague.
We have seen many a city, and few of them have left as large an impact on us as the “City of 100 Spires”. While most people associate Prague with stunning views of Prague Castle, or walking across the historic stones of the gorgeous Charles Bridge, beautiful architecture is not the only thing the capital of the Czech Republic offers.
As you will see below, there is sooo much more to see and to do in Prague than marveling at beautiful old stones.
Prague possesses a wildly eclectic mix of history, culture, ambiance, nightlife, beauty (both man-made and natural) and affordability that sets it apart from any other city we have ever spent a substantial amount of time in. Lovers of amazing architecture, green parks, historical ambiance, delicious beer, and incredible Gothic skylines will fall in love and find countless of things to do in Prague.
And still, that’s not all Prague has to offer…
We have spent a good deal of time in Prague over the last five years, living in many apartments and neighborhoods around the city during that time. However, we were once first time visitors to Prague, like you will be, and we distinctly remember how that felt.
Our first visit to Prague, years ago, was like stepping into a fairy tale, a Disney Land for grownups almost. We were a bit lost at first, and drawn towards only the most touristic parts of the city. There truly is a ton of things to see and to do in Prague’s center, especially when you are new.
Prague offers a new tourist a lot more than first might meet the eye, and after you see the spectacular beauty of the center, we highly urge you to explore a bit beyond the small area on your tourist map.
With that in mind we put together a bit of a list, not ranked in any particular order, of top things to do in Prague for a first time visitor. Every single item on this list is either free or as close to free as you can get. Everything on this list of things to do in Prague should be done at least once. Bear in mind that some of these locations and activities are rather obvious, and will be crowded with tourists pretty much all year round. Others are meant to get you out of Old Town Prague to experience the true nature of this city.
Prague Travel Tips
For help budgeting and planning your trip, for information on how to get around the city, or for tips on when to visit Prague check out our Prague Travel Guide for this amazing city. We wrote this guide to help you spend as little as you can in Prague, so if you are a backpacker or a shoe-string traveler be sure to check it out!
If you are looking for an apartment, hostel, or a hotel in Prague there are plenty to choose from. Too many, in fact, with new hotels and hostels popping up all the time.
Check out our articles on the following to find a perfect place to stay in Prague:
- If you’re visiting on a budget check out our guide to the best hostels in Prague
- If you prefer to stay in a hotel, be it luxury, boutique or budget, take a look at our article on the best hotels in Prague
- If you want a unique hotel take a look at the absolute best boutique hotels in Prague
- If you’re keen on the privacy and comforts of home when you travel take a look at the best holiday apartments in Prague
And now, without further ado, things to do in Prague for you, a first time visitor!
Things to Do in Prague
Walk Across Charles Bridge
When we think of things to do in Prague one of the first activities that comes to mind is taking in the views from the Charles Bridge. This is an unforgettable experience that will doubtlessly stay with you for years to come.
Walking across the Charles Bridge is an absolute must for first time visitors of the city. Yes, the bridge will be crowded with other tourists, but so what? We lived in Prague for many months and visited the bridge countless amounts of times, never getting sick of the views. And neither will you!
That’s why, out of all the sites to visit in Prague, the Charles Bridge is the absolute first one you will have to see!
The famous Charles Bridge spans the Vltava river and connects Old Prague Center to Mala Strana, which means “Little Side”. The bridge is protected by three imposing Gothic towers and is home to thirty Baroque-style statues and statuaries.
The Charles Bridge (or Karlův most in Czech) is almost 700 years old, and took about 50 years to build. That’s pretty crazy, right? Think about that as you walk over its storied cobblestones, and marvel at how long this living piece of history has spanned the river.
The Charles Bridge is remarkable both day and night, and draws a large amount of tourists and merchants in all but the quietest hours of dark. Stroll across the Charles Bridge during the day to take in the views, and return at night for the magical atmosphere, musical performances, and the sight of Prague Castle shining brightly against the nighttime sky. You’ll understand, when standing upon the bridge at night, why we refer to Prague as a Disneyland for grownups.
Make sure you enter and climb the Old Town Tower Bridge for amazing landscape views, like the one above. It’s totally worth the 110 Kč (around $5 USD) entrance fee to go up into these towers for a pristine view of Mala Strana. Without a doubt one of the best viewpoints in Prague for photography, as well.
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Thing to Do in Prague – Explore Prague Castle
Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world, and is perhaps the most renown of all of the city’s many landmarks.
Set atop a hilly vantage point overlooking the Vltava River, the castle is a staggering work of architectural design. Its twin spire church, St. Vitus Cathedral, is especially impressive. Sporting an abundance of arches, gargoyles, and massive Gothic spires that soar into the sky. The cathedral IS what everyone pictures when they think of Prague castle.
The park around the castle is peaceful, green, and magnificently landscaped. A walk amidst the leafy pathways while marveling upwards at the castle on a sunny day makes for an unforgettable experience.
If it is your first time visiting Prague then you will, doubtlessly, be spending a lot of time in the vicinity of Prague Castle.
Check out our complete guide to visiting Prague Castle for everything you need to know about exploring this amazing work of wonder!
- If you aren’t sure what time of year to visit check out our guide on which season to visit Prague and the Czech Republic.
- If you like tours you should experience the city with one of these great tours in Prague!
Things to Do in Prague – Old Town Square
Prague’s Old Town Square is one of the most spectacular squares in Europe (it’s probably also one of the few that are actually shaped like a square, but that’s neither here nor there).
The square has seen centuries of history with some of its Gothic buildings dating back to the 14th century. This impressive square managed to survive World War II mostly unscathed, which is rare for European cities, but for which we can all be thankful. Parts of it are so well preserved you might wonder if you took a step back in time.
During high season and the winter holidays the Old Town Square is crowded and festive, catering mostly to tourists. If you’re traveling on a budget in Prague don’t eat here as the restaurants are predictably over priced. Instead sip on a beverage purchased elsewhere, and take in the incredible architecture and ambiance of the city center.
If you are visiting in the winter months be sure to pick up a cup of mulled hot wine from the vendors around the square. It’ll warm you right up!
Check out our article on exploring Old Town Prague for some more tips on where you need to go when exploring this historic area for the first time!
The Astronomical Clock in Old Town Square
The Old Town Hall Tower, constructed in the early 1400’s, sits imposingly in the middle of the square. The tower is among the highest in the Old Town and houses one of Prague’s most identifiable icons, the Astronomical Clock.
Dozens of tourists flock to the clock every hour on the hour to see the mechanical relic put on a small show. We can honestly say that sticking around for the dancing mechanical dolls is not really worth your time, if you are in a rush to discover the city, but it’s an amusing sight to see once in your life.
You can ascend to the top of the Old Town Hall tower, which houses the Astronomical clock, for around 250 Kč. That price is a bit more expensive than other landmarks in Prague but it’s worth the price of admission, so make sure you pay the fee and go.
There are elevators for those who have a hard time climbing stairs, and the views from atop are SPECTACULAR. You’ll get a really good look at Our Lady Before Tyn Church and the rest of the Prague’s magnificent Old Town in all directions.
Absolutely a can’t miss item to put on your things to do in Prague list.
Things to Do in Prague – Step Back in Time in Malá Strana
After you are done exploring Prague Castle take a walk down the hill to the Mala Strana neighborhood. Marvel at the historic cobble stoned streets and the spectacular facades of the centuries old buildings.
No matter what season you visit the city walking this neighborhood is one of the top things to do in Prague, so you are likely to run into many tourists on the main streets of Mala Strana.
Don’t be afraid to jump off the main thoroughfares to turn into a side street and follow your curiosity. There is much to be discovered in this gorgeous neighborhood beyond overpriced food and cheap souvenirs.
Notable Things to See and Do in Mala Strana –
- Walk Through Wallenstein Garden
- Memorial to the Victims of Communism
- Climb to the Top of Petrin Tower
- Marvel at the Church of Saint Nicholas
- Drink a Beer at Strahov Monastery
- Relax at Kampa Park
- Visit the Franz Kafka Museum
Read our guide for more on the marvelous neighborhood of Mala Strana, Prague.
Things to Do in Prague – Letna Park River Views
Like a delicious pastry (which the city is full of), Prague is easy on the eyes and leaves you wanting more. Head to Letenske Sady (Letna Park) for a unique view of the River Vltava and all of its bridges.
Perched above the city on a hilltop in a tranquil park you can snap as many incredible pictures of Prague as your heart desires. Just be sure to go when the weather is nice to capture the city in all of its glory.
Letna Park is also home to one of the best beer gardens in Prague, aptly named the Letna Beer Garden. You can chill out here for hours, sipping on fine Czech beers, eating greasy Czech street food, and taking in the stunning views of the city. This is, without a doubt, one of the best places to enjoy a beer on a nice day in Prague, so make sure to put this on your list of things to do!
Petrin Tower and Petrin Hill
Petrin Hill is one of the most beautiful parks in Prague, hands down. Yet another former vineyard site, Petřín Hill boasts the highest elevation of any of Prague’s green spaces at 320 meters above sea level. Getting up there can be a hike, so be sure to wear good walking shoes – or, feel free to take the funicular, which is included in a normal public transport ticket.
Petřín is home to five gardens in Prague so you will find no shortage of beauty here, but the Rose Garden is our favorite. You’ll also find an observatory and a mirror maze up here if you’re looking to get out of the sun for a bit.
And of course, Petřín Hill is also home to one of Prague’s most famous landmarks, the Petřín Lookout Tower. Built in 1891, the tower was inspired by the Eiffel Tower and the height of the hill plus the height of the tower itself make it the same height as the actual Eiffel Tower.
If you’ve made it this far up the hill, we’d definitely recommend taking the stairs to the top of the tower – it is one of the best views of Prague you’ll be able to find. Just be sure to bring your camera and treat yourself to a beer at the bottom of the tower after all your hard work – you deserve it!
The “Times Square of Prague”, Wenceslas Square in a busy consumer hub right in the center of the Prague 1 neighborhood.
History buffs will appreciate the tumultuous and critical role Wenceslas Square (Václavské náměstí) has played over the last century. Named after the patron saint of Bohemia, Saint Wenceslas, the square is part of Prague’s New Town (Nové Město) and is a recognized World Heritage Site.
While today it is a major center for business and retail, Wenceslas Square has been the historical site of many of the country’s most influential demonstrations, protests, and celebrations.
It is also home to the newly re-opened National Museum, which is the oldest museum in Prague, and the Czech Republic.
There are a ton of touristic restaurants in the square that we think visitors are best served avoiding. The square is home to various night clubs (and strip clubs) and becomes a bit raucous after dark.
Things to Do in Prague – Stroll Around Wallenstein Garden
Wallenstein Garden (Valdštejnská zahrada in Czech) is a fabulous Baroque masterpiece situated near the base of Prague Castle. It is not the most secluded and serene of the many gardens and parks in the neighborhood, but it is definitely one of the more stunning parks in Mala Strana, Prague.
While Wallenstein Garden is worth visiting for the views of Prague Castle alone, the park is also home to Wallenstein Palace, a serene Koi pond, and some really sweet statues. All of that combined makes this garden/park a beautiful and tranquil place to leisurely stroll through.
And oh yeah, the garden is home to a couple of white peacocks. These magnificent birds stroll around as if they own the place, and in a way, they do! As always, please don’t feed or touch the animals, and enjoy the incredible beauty of this wondrous garden!
Note – Wallenstein Garden is closed between mid October and early April, so only those visiting in the Spring, Summer, and early Fall will get a chance to experience this awesome gem of a garden!
Things to Do in Prague – Have a Czech Beer. Or Three.
The Czech Republic has the highest per capita consumption of beer in the world. The country has an absolute love affair with beer. And why not? They make damn fine brews.
Prague offers so many opportunities to sit down and have a cheap cold pivo (Czech for beer) that anyone visiting would be remiss not to try at least a pint. Find yourself a nice spot with a good view, either by the river or in a square somewhere and order one of Prague’s many world renown beers.
Regardless of where you consume your beverages drinking beer is definitely on the list of things to do in Prague. Na Zdravi (which means “to health” and is how you cheers in Czech)!
Check out our list of the best places to drink delicious beer in Prague, and create your own beer tour of the City of 100 Spires!
Our list of the best pubs and bars in Prague should help you guys out as well.
Things to Do in Prague – The John Lennon Wall
Right across the river, via the Charles Bridge, behind a small church courtyard lies the John Lennon Wall. This dazzling vibrant homage to the famous poet, singer, and song writer is a living art project. Go and pay tribute, and maybe leave a mark of your own. Drawing on the wall is encouraged.
After you are done you can cross the small bridge near the wall to have a snack at the Beetles Cafe. It’s a bit overpriced but contains many riveting pieces of memorabilia bound to delight fans.
Things to Do in Prague – Arts and Culture in Prague
What kind of art are you interested in? Whatever the answer, Prague probably has a museum devoted to it.
From a museum devoted to the history of the city, to sculpture, contemporary art, classical, textiles, to museums devoted to time-measuring techniques, transportation and photography, to sex and torture, there is something for everyone.
Some of our favorites include the alien babies on Kampa, the Memorial to the Victims of Communism at the base of Petřín Hill, and the giant transforming Franz Kafka head outside the Quadrio shopping center (seen below).
Additionally, Prague has a National Theater, Ballet house and Opera house. Whatever your cultural desire may be you’ll be able to satisfy it here. It’s safe to say that lovers of cultural exploration will find a ton of things to do in Prague.
Check out our article on the best museums in Prague for more information on all the great places you can visit during your time here, and how you can explore a whole bunch of museums for free!
Group Tours in Prague
We aren’t the world’s biggest fans of group tours, we prefer exploring things at our own pace. However, if you are in a city for a short period of time an organized tour can really help you learn a lot, quickly, and can therefor come in handy. So if you want to learn as much as you can in the shortest time possible taking a tour should be on your list of things to do in Prague.
We put together a list of tours in Prague that we think might benefit a first time visitor. Below is a short summary of a few the most exciting tours you might want to consider. For a full list check out our guide to the best tours in Prague.
- Prague Ghosts and Legends Tour – Learn about folk lore and local legends as you explore a bit of Prague.
- Czech Beer Museum Tour in Prague – For the beer lovers out there. Learn all about beer…while drinking it!
- Prague Old Town, New Town, and Astronomical Clock Tour – Comprehensive tour of Prague’s biggest tourist attractions.
- Kutna Hora and Bone Chapel Tour Day Trip From Prague – A 8 hour tour to the fascinating Kutna Hora, which is about 40 minutes outside of Prague.
Hop on a Tram and Ride
Prague has an excellent system of public transportation, using trams, metro, and buses that make getting around the city super easy. The best way to see parts of Prague you might otherwise miss is to hop on a tram and just ride it out in any direction.
Prague’s network of trams is the third largest in the world, following Moscow and Budapest, and is one of the oldest in Europe. In fact, the very first trams were pulled by horses and date back to the year 1879. Today, the extensive network consists of 25 daytime routes, 9 night routes and one historic route. It also stretches over 500 km, and transports over 300 million passengers per year.
We recommend riding a random tram if you are up for an adventure, and people watch as the city-scape slowly passes by. Alternatively, if adventure isn’t your thing, we recommend riding either the historic 91 or 23 Prague trams. These old school trams take you through some of Prague’s most important landmarks.
So if you are a first time visitor make sure to add at least one tram ride to your things to do in Prague list!
A Night Out in Prague
Bars, cafes, lounges, beer gardens, jazz bars, pub crawls, dance clubs, underground clubs, casinos, strip clubs…Prague has ever singly type of venue you can think of when it comes to nighttime entertainment.
As a first time visitor you probably won’t venture outside of the Center much, but trust us when we tell you that Prague’s nightlife extends well beyond the confines of Prague 1. And as it happens, we wrote a guide about that as well! So check that out, and go party!
When in the center start off with a beer or mixed drinks at Chapeau Rouge (pictured above), which is a famous three floored bar/club/underground music venue right near Old Town Square.
Or check out U Vejvodu Pub & Beer Hall Restaurant. It’s got a great relaxed atmosphere, you can get a pint of Pilsner for under $1.70, there are always pretzels on the table, and the bartenders seem like they’ve been around for ages.
Most clubs don’t start going till about 1:00 AM, but if you get there before midnight there is rarely a cover charge. Let loose…just leave your valuables locked up in your hostel/hotel/rental apartment.
We have experienced absolutely zero crime during our time in Prague. However, as with any other location, pick-pocketing and petty theft does occur, so use common sense whilst enjoying your night out.
For more information check out our guide to Prague nightlife, which includes the best bars and clubs in Prague!
Other Incredible Views in Prague
For more incredible views of Prague outside of Letna Park head to Petrin Hill, or if it’s a nice day take a trip to Riegrovy Sady to catch views like the one above.
Bonus Tip – There is an awesome beer garden in Riegrovy Sady that is open from April to mid-October. We have spent many an evening there, and absolutely love it.
[Update – As of October 2018 the Riegrovy Sady beer garden has been closed. We hope it’s only being renovated and will re-open in the Spring or Summer. We will update this article again to let you all know.]
Other places with incredible views of Prague include the Dancing House, the Old Town Bridge Tower, the St. Nicholas Church tower, Strahov monastery, and the Zizkov TV tower.
Dining Out in Prague
Prague seemingly never stops giving and it’s certainly the case when it comes to food. Not only do you have countless options when it comes to Czech delicacies a cuisine, the city also offers a surprising abundance of international fare.
From Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, fusion, Italian, and Spanish, you never have to look to long to satiate whatever ethnic culinary craving you might have.
Read our recommendations on great places to eat with our guide to the 18 best restaurants in Prague!
Additionally, the city has a growing vegetarian scene with over over 50 vegan restaurants alone.
Things to Do in Prague – Visit Karlstejn Castle
Prague was the capital of the Holy Roman Empire not once but twice, from 1346 to 1437 and then again in the late 15th century. Karlstejn Castle was initially built to house and guard the Crown Jewels of the Empire. A great little day trip outside of Prague, this magnificent castle is a a mere 40 minute train ride away.
A round trip ticket should cost you 99 Kč and trains depart just about every 30 minutes. Keep your eyes open on the train, the Czech Republic has some gorgeous country side to gaze at as you zoom by.
Read our detailed article for much more information about taking a day trip from Prague to Karlstejn.
Prague Christmas Markets
If you are visiting Prague in December and you like all things festive and Christmas related, you’re in luck. Prague in December is home to many a Christmas market, from huge ones in Old Town Square to small intimate markets in areas like JZP.
December in Prague is filled with festive lights, mulled wine, Christmas trees, traditional (and non traditional) Czech street food, and bright decorations. So if exploring Christmas markets strikes your fancy add it to your list of things to do in Prague, and come visit in December. Most markets close soon after New Year.
For more on Prague’s Christmas markets, and on markets elsewhere in the Czech Republic have a look at our mega guide to Xmas markets in Prague.
Get Off the Beaten Path
Exploring outside of traditional tourist zones can be a challenge when you visit a city for the first time. Thankfully Prague has a great public transportation system of trams, metros, and buses to make getting around the city very easy.
Now all you need is a list of places to go, and some wander-lusting feet to take you there. No worries, we’ve got you covered on the first part. Check out our article about getting off the beaten path in Prague and explore the Prague that most tourists never get to see!
For a more specific dive into the lesser seen (by tourists) areas of Prague you can check out our guide to Zizkov, one of our favorite neighborhoods in Prague. How much do we like Zizkov? Enough to live here for over a year!
Day Trips from Prague
There are a TON of things to do in Prague. However, if you are in town for longer than a few days we highly recommend you take some time to see a bit of the Czech Republic outside of its capital.
There are many places to go, like the fairy tale town of Cesky Krumlov pictures above, so we wrote this handy guide detailing a bunch of different day trips from Prague just for you guys! We really hope you enjoy your time in this wondrous city, and hope you find some time to explore the rest of the country as well.
You can also take day trips from Prague to explore 11 of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites you can find in the Czech Republic. Read the linked article for much more information!
Want to explore the Czech Republic by car? Compare the best car rental rates in the Czech Republic here!
Take a Unique Tour of Prague
You can spend years living in Prague and not learn all of its little secrets. So, unless you choose to move to the Czech Republic and begin your in-depth exploration of Prague, we suggest taking a highly specialized tour with our favorite Czech owned and operated tour company ThinkPrague.
ThinkPrague offers both traditional historic tours and unique tours. We recommend you have a look at their excellent Street Vibes tour which focuses on the Prague’s unique modern art, design, and gastronomy. All tours are lead by enthusiastic and knowledgeable locals and are private so you’ll have the full attention of your guide.
Click here to read more about ThinkPrague’s tours.
Beer Spas in Prague – Should You Visit?
We often get asked by people arriving to Prague for the first time if we recommend visiting a beer spa. The answer is yes…and no. I guess you can say we’re conflicted. Let us briefly explain.
Despite what it sounds like a beer spa treatment does not consist of submerging yourself into a vat of pure golden brewed pilsner. Instead beer extracts, such as hops and yeast, are added to a tub filled with hot water. You bath in that concoction of water and herbs, which is said to have various positive effects on skin and physical health. We can’t actually vouch for the beneficial effects of doing so, mind you.
The average beer spa treatment lasts about a half hour to an hour, and during that you can drink as much beer as you want during the session. Some beer spas may add other perks like massage treatments, saunas, or light fare to snack on while you drink and soak.
So, if you fancy the idea of bathing in herbal water while drinking all the beer you can hold inside of you, and you have some money to burn, visit a beer spa. If you are going to a beer spa in Prague thinking you will bathe in foamy delicious beer we’re sorry to burst your bubble. Save your money for other activities and things to do in Prague.
Read more about beer spas in Prague here.
Where to Stay in Prague
Prague offers a huge amount of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to budget hostels. Sorting through all the options can be quite a chose so here are two quick options, depending on your travel budget. We put some options down below for you guys, but if you want more options you can have a look at our complete guide to where to stay in Prague depending on your budget.
Luxury Hotel in Prague – The Alchymist Grand Hotel & Spa Prague
The Alchymist Grand Hotel and Spa is one of the best luxury hotels in Prague, and will definitely make your stay in this magical city that little bit more special! Ideally located in the centre of Prague, it takes the hassle out of getting around the city. In just 5 minutes you can reach Charles Bridge on foot! This charming and luxurious 5 star hotel is situated in a landmark baroque building which dates back to the 16th century.
Want more options? Check out our guide to hotels in Prague.
Boutique Hotel in Prague – Vintage Design Hotel Sax
Located a short five minute walk from Prague Castle, Vintage Design Hotel Sax is one of the best hotels in Prague due to its fantastic location in the historic centre, and its great atmosphere. The Charles Bridge is only a 10 minute walk away, and many of Prague’s top attractions are easily accessible with the metro.
Want more options? Check out our guide to the best boutique hotels in Prague!
Budget Hostel in Prague – Czech Inn
From the moment you set foot inside the Czech Inn you’ll appreciate its beautiful and unique decor. The bright splashes of color against muted tones, the perfectly balanced mixed of modern and vintage furniture, and the odd baubles throughout the building, go a long way to making this one of the most visually attractive hostels we have ever visited.
Czech Inn is located in Prague 2, just a few minutes by tram from Namesti Miru, and is a great choice of hostel for budget travelers and backpackers.
Want more options? Check out our guide to the best hostels in Prague!
Well, there you have it folks. Our guide to things to do in Prague. Please let us know if you have visited Prague and think we missed something that should absolutely be on our list of things to do!
As always, safe travels and we’ll see you on the road! Or if you are visiting Prague, feel free to drop us a line either via email or on our Facebook page, to let us know you are coming! Maybe we can have a beer or three!
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