Prague is an Eastern European destination that has the power to awaken your inner royal. Taking in the myriad of opulent architecture styles found in the city is a vacation activity in itself, one that will make you feel as though a crown fitting is in your afternoon itinerary. Along with enchanting scenery, Prague offers abundant opportunities to learn about its complex history, take a breather in picturesque parks, and sample local cuisine. So book that plane or train ticket and discover why travelers continue to flock to this medieval city. These 10 must-dos will ensure a trip full of unique charm and adventure.
1. Express yourself at the John Lennon Wall
Covered in inspiring words and a splattering of peace signs, the John Lennon Wall is a popular Prague attraction for artistic photos and creative self-expression. The Lennon Wall started as an act of defiance against the Communist regime in the 1980s. Eastern European youth were big fans of Lennon and The Beatles for their peaceful lyrics praising freedom that didn’t exist in their world. Younger residents began sneaking off at night to paint the wall with Beatles lyrics and odes to Lennon.
Today, you can paint your own tribute or message on the original wall without having to creep in the darkness. Occasionally there is an abandoned bucket or two of paint sitting around, but if you’re keen on leaving your mark, bringing your own materials is recommended. Don’t forget to snap a colorful picture!
2. Paddleboat and pop champagne on the Vltava River
Prague is just as glamorous from the water as it is on foot, and renting a paddleboat is a cheap, fun way to spend an hour or two. The rental sites are easily located near the Old Town side of the Vltava River. The boating perimeters around the city are relatively small, so you’ll have the perfect opportunity to soak up more of Prague’s beauty without exhausting yourself. Champagne pairs well with this activity, so bring your favorite bottle to pop when you need a break from paddling.
3. Satisfy your sweet tooth at a trdelnik stand
Trdelnik, twisted cinnamon dough filled with various sweet ingredients, is a must-try in Prague. Luckily, there are numerous trdelnik stands around the city to find the dessert and watch the trdelniks being prepared in front of your eyes. The dough is wrapped around stakes rotating above flames, filling the air with a sweet cinnamon scent while you wait. Trdlo and Good Food Coffee & Bakery are two popular shops where you can buy plain trdelniks or add a variety of fillings including nutella, fruit, and ice cream.
4. Watch the sunset from the Astronomical Clock Tower
This medieval clock in the middle of Old Town Square is steeped in history and legend. For 250 CZK, or 11 USD, you can climb the spiraling staircase inside that leads to the top of the tower. The panoramic view of Prague that greets you at the last stair is totally worth the effort (or elevator ride). There are virtually no skyscrapers and tall buildings in the city, which means an unobstructed view for miles. The fairytale architecture and orange-roofed buildings look even better at sunset.
5. Stroll along Charles Bridge
The Vltava River essentially splits Prague in half, and Charles Bridge is the most famous bridge that connects it. There is a ton of foot traffic at all times of the day because of its popularity, which can make it difficult to navigate. But visiting during daylight means you can wander to the different vendors selling trinkets and artwork. If you prefer a more solitary stroll, go early in the morning, around 5 or 6 am, or late at night. Then you can see the bridge glowing in the lamplight and inspect the 30 statues that line its sides without anyone bumping into your shoulder.
6. Explore Czech cuisine at the Naplavka Market
This riverfront market has a relaxed atmosphere and rows of stalls selling everything from fresh vegetables and cheese to pottery and pastries. Grab a coffee at the market while you browse for homemade bread, honey wine, or Czech potato chips. The market is only open one day a week, so make sure you plan to visit on a Saturday!
7. Spend a scenic happy hour at Letna Beer Garden
If a quick escape from the crowds and tourists is what you desire, the Letna Beer Garden is the place to go. Nestled on a hill in Letna Park, this spot offers ample seating under shady trees to sip a drink and enjoy gorgeous views. There’s a small shop that sells wine, draft beer, and snacks. While it does get busy in warmer months, the scene is largely comprised of locals enjoying the weather, and it’s never too difficult to find a seat. You can also take advantage of the park’s walking trails and bike paths, play a game of tennis, or picnic in one of the many grassy areas.
8. Feed your brain on a free walking tour
There are a number of free walking tours that depart from Old Town Square every morning and offer highlights of Prague history and legend. The two-hour Yellow Umbrella tour is one of the best options, and it’s easy to spot the guides who literally hold yellow umbrellas above their heads. A break at a bakery is also included. The chance to refuel with a cappuccino and chocolate croissant is a definite plus.
The guides walk around some of the oldest parts of the city, including the preserved Jewish Quarter, and share their extensive knowledge of the past. These tours are great for learning significant events in Prague’s history, getting a general lay of the land, and scoping out shops to return to later.
9. Spend an afternoon at the Havlickovy Sady Gardens
Walk around these well-groomed grounds and you’ll discover an array of activities to fill your day. Inspired by the Italian Renaissance, this hidden gem of Prague has plenty of eye candy from charming fountains and statues to water cascades. The beautiful Neo-Renaissance Villa Grobe is a must-see, along with the artificial stalactite cave in the Grotta Pavilion. Next, wander through the hillside vineyard or enjoy a snack in the Café Pavilion.
End your Havlickovy Sady journey in the gazebo at the top of the vineyard, taking in the sweeping views and enjoying a taste of local wine.
10. Enjoy a blueberry beer inside a historic monastery
Located near Prague Castle, the Strahov Monastic Brewery is housed inside a monastery dating back to 1142. The first records of brewing appear in the 13th and 14th centuries. Although the monks aren’t involved with the brewing process these days, the microbrewery has an array of delicious seasonal beers and a pub atmosphere that make it a top destination. The blueberry beer alone is worth the visit.
Sit back with a pint or two, enjoy the terrace, and toast to your time in Prague!