By Magalí Zaslabsky
A dear friend of ours is going to visit Prague soon, and this is the perfect excuse to write about this beautiful city. I am not an expert in Prague tourism, but I visited the city two years ago and I can definitely recommend some essential things to do:
1. Visit the castle (Pražský hrad)
Visiting Prague’s Castle is a must. The castle complex is breathtakingly beautiful. From the castle, you also get some of the prettiest views of the city. There is a fee to enter the complex which varies depending on what you choose to visit (remember that Czech Republic uses the Czech koruna and not the euro). We took Circuit A and it was more than enough. I recommend you leave a big portion of your day for the castle visit, since there is a lot to see there!
And knowing that Kafka lived in his sister’s house on the Golden Lane, which is now one of the main castle attractions, one can’t help but wonder how much this architectural marvel inspired the Bohemian writer’s novel “The Castle”.
Here are the prices for each castle circuit:
- Visit the inside of St. Vitus Cathedral
Talking about visiting the castle complex, St. Vitus Cathedral is located inside, and I must say, this place has probably the prettiest light I have ever seen. This Roman Catholic cathedral was built during the Gothic period (1344) and has what I think are the most gorgeous stained-glass windows in the world. The colors are otherworldly and depending on the time of the day that you go, you will experience a very special atmosphere inside. If possible, make sure you visit it on a sunny day, so you can enjoy the color at its brightest.
- Klementinum Library
This baroque library, which is considered among the most beautiful libraries in the world, is a must on your visit to Prague. The small group tours to the Klementinum include not only a visit to the library (where photos are not allowed, to protect the books and the paintings), but also the Meridian Hall and the Astronomical Tower, which has some wonderful views of the historic center of the city.
- Artists performers along Charles Bridge
If you are going to the castle, you probably are going to have to cross the bridge. But make sure to take your time when you do it. I remember it felt like I had just walked into a medieval fairy tale. The soft light and fog from the early morning sunrise is a perfect time to take pictures of the bridge.
- John Lennon Wall
With wonderful colors, this graffiti wall is a great place to take your Instagram photo. It may be a little hard to find at first, but that gives you the perfect excuse to walk around “Malá Strana.”
- Feed swans next to the Vlata River
Taking advantage of the fact that you are on the Malá Strana side of the river, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to feed, or at least photograph the swans. I found this place just walking down the hill from one of the exits from the castle, and it wasn’t hard to find at all. Just walk from Manesuv Most and you’ll find the iconic photo from Prague with Charles Bridge in the background!
- Visit the Synagogues
Last time I was there, we tried to visit the famous five synagogues… on a Saturday! We got to the first one and it was closed. It took us a while to realize why (in Judaism, Sabbat – Saturday- is the day of rest). So now you know, don’t go on a Saturday. If you are not interested in entering the synagogues (for which you will have to pay a fee), at least walk around the Jewish neighborhood. There are a lot of vintage jewelry places and the famous statue dedicated to Kafka. If you would like to read more about each of the five synagogues, you can check out this link.
- Prague Astronomical Clock
This beautiful medieval clock is situated on one of the walls of the Old Town Hall in the Old Town Square. Every hour from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. you can see it work its magic! People will crowd in front of it, so you may want to get there a little bit before the hour. And make sure to take advantage of where you are and stroll around. The Old Town Square is a pretty place and is connected to many small streets that are interesting if you feel adventurous.
I hope this was helpful, and I would love to hear what was your favorite thing from this wonderful city!
EXTRA: Make sure that you pay attention to the small things on the streets, like graffiti, paintings and architectural details. This city is full of charm wherever you look. And in the food department, I am not an expert, but the chimney cake, the beer, and the ham are a must try in this trip.