Including cool things to do in Prague
Prague, with its labyrinthine streets and gothic tales, is captivating. Even more wonderful is the food, a mix of local and modern, international cuisines.
Prague is a city of mystery based in Eastern Europe. From the moment visitors see Prague Castle looming over the Vltava River, the gargoyles perched on the corners of buildings, the magnificent Astronomical Clock in the Old Town Square, they are captivated. Like being transported through history, the city offers a wealth of stories and gothic beauty.
With a multi-layered history – the Czech Republic was a communist country for 40 years – Prague has rapidly become a massive tourist destination. It is a modern city, but still lurking beneath the glitz of cosmopolitan living is it’s darker medieval side.
Today Prague attracts hen and stag parties because of relatively low prices compared to Western Europe, and it also attracts couples and groups, more so than families. In that sense, it is a young city, vibrant and full of life, and it caters to its market accordingly.
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Top 5 Prague Spectacular Attractions
We’ve picked the best top attractions in Prague that are hidden gems and perfect for day trips out. Explore the city and really get to know Prague.
Wenceslas Square is the large commercial center of Prague, which runs quite a few blocks from the National Museum and is near the State Opera House. As you walk along the Square, you’ll see shops and restaurants, including the art-deco Hotel Europa, which is a great place to stop for an apple strudel. The square was home to demonstrations both at the beginning and the end of the Communist Regime in the Czech Republic, so there is also a profound sense of history among the new commerce of a growing nation. Be sure to stop at one of the many kiosks selling sausage and Czech beer for a snack.
Prague Castle was home to many rulers, including Empress Maria Theresa, and dates back to the 9th Century. During the 20th Century, the imposing structure was used both as a presidential palace and as the home of the Nazi governor during World War II. One of the most impressive buildings inside the Castle grounds is St. Vitus Cathedral, which was begun in the 9th Century and not completed until 1929.
The Cathedral even boasts stained-glass windows created by 20th Century Art Nouveau founder Alfons Mucha. Although there are nearly 300 steps up the tower of the cathedral, it is well worth the exercise to get a great view of Prague and to enjoy the cathedral’s architecture in close view. Inside the Castle, you can also find outdoor seating for restaurants that serve local gulash – a very scenic way to enjoy traditional Czech cuisine.
The area surrounding the Castle, called Hradcany, is a wonderful place to explore and shop for antiques and souvenirs. Be sure to walk down to Hradcany along the side of the Castle, where you’ll also find local artisans and artists selling their wares.
Old Town Hall and Old Town
The Old Town Square, in the Stare Mesto, or Old Town section of Prague, is alive with outdoor cafes, shops, and both gothic and baroque architecture. The Tyn Cathedral and St. Nicholas Church are great examples of both and will give you a good idea of the history of the area.
The most interesting attraction in the Old Town Square is the Astronomical Clock, which is part of the town hall and dates back to the 13th Century. The clock, with various moving parts and animated figures, is an hourly tourist attraction, so stake out a spot in the front where you can see the action well. Afterward, stop at one of the cafes along the square and have a coffee – another great way to watch people as they come and go.
Another way to spend some time is to explore the streets that feed into the Square, which wind and twist their way past antique shops, museums, and art galleries.
Petrin Hill, rising some 130 meters on the left bank of the Vltava River, is also a spectacular vista for the entire city of Prague. Surrounded by parks, Petrin Hill is accessible by walking or by the funicular, which transports visitors up and down. Any public transport ticket will work on the funicular, so you can purchase tickets in the subway stations, the tram kiosks, or at the funicular itself.
At the top of the hill, you’ll find a replica of the Eiffel Tower, which is another climb worth risking. You’ll also find a house of mirrors as well as the famous Hunger Wall, a defensive structure that was built by Emperor Charles IV between 1360 and 1362 to provide work for the people of Prague.
Finally, be sure to walk across Charles Bridge, possibly one of the most unique architectural features in Europe. Originally built in the 1300s, the bridge became a showcase for about 30 statues of saints during the 1700s. One of the more famous statues is the likeness of St. John of Nepomuk, who was thrown into the river in 1396 by King Wenceslas himself.
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Touching the statue is said to bring good luck, although most of the original statues have been moved to the National Museum. The bridge is home to strolling musicians and singers, as well as kiosks for local artists and souvenir vendors.
Prague is one of the most interesting and intriguing cities in Europe. If you take time to see these five things, you’ll also have the ability to explore each part of the city surrounding these attractions, which will give you a great idea of the beauty and history of this fascinating city.
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