Prague is often described as a city from a fairy tale and is one of the most architecturally interesting and charming cities in Europe. It is a small city packed with history that reflects of the Czech Republic’s rich culture. It feels like an open-air museum. You’ll love Prague’s world-renowned spas, fairy tale Baroque castles, palace gardens, panoramic views, rivers, Gothic cathedrals, museums, Czech cuisine, and not to mention drinking the what some devotees of the country call the best beer in Europe.
The best time to visit Prague
The best times to visit Prague are the spring and early fall. The weather is perfect and there are fewer crowds. Central European weather is surprisingly warm in September and October. It makes for pleasant walking tours, catching the seasonal markets, outdoor activities, and photogenic landscapes. You can walk anywhere in the city; a light jacket and comfortable shoes are all you’ll need to thoroughly enjoy the sights.
How to get to Prague
In the heart of Central Europe, Prague is easy to access by both plane and train. From the US, it’s about a 12 hour flight. As you arrive, don’t sleep on the view as it overlooks nearby connecting rivers and the city center. It’s a fitting first impression of Prague’s magnificence. Václav Havel Airport is just a half hour by car to Old Town – otherwise known as Staré Mesto, the cobblestone downtown area of Prague. The city is known to be exceptionally safe, great for couples, solo travelers, families, and pets.
How to get around Prague
Prague is one of the most walkable cities in Europe. Old Town is mostly pedestrian and the entire center is less than four miles across. Recognizable landmarks make finding directions easier than most cities. Soak up the sights by taking a city walking tour. Prague has a great local transit system, as well. Most of the sights border both banks of the Vltava River and are easily accessible by local bus. If you want to take a day trip, you can easily travel outside of the city via train.
What to do in Prague
Explore the outdoors
There is a full roster of fun outdoor activities that can be experienced in a day around Prague. The capital city is surrounded by the Vltava River where you’ll see beach goers and boaters.
Hiking tours are popular especially in the north of the city, as are day trips to Bohemia, the countryside, and national parks, including Bohemian Paradise. This UNESCO-protected park is just 23 minutes from Prague and features natural rock formations called the Prachov Rocks.
In the winter, go ice skating on Charles River, cross country skiing, and play ice hockey. For the adventure seeking aficionados there is rock climbing, beer rallies, water rafting, and the world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge, Sky Bridge 721.
Explore Prague’s Old Town Square
Old Town is in the heart of Prague and feels like a 3D architecture book. In this area, you’ll find the Baroque Church of St Nicholas, the Kinský Palace (now an art gallery), and the Stone Bell House. At the top of the Prismatic Tower is a viewing gallery with panoramic views of Týn Cathedral, Saint Nicolas ́Church, and Prague Castle – the former home of several Holy Roman emperors and the current official office of the president of the Czech Republic. In Old Town you can also visit the historic Jewish Quarter, the city’s medieval-era astronomical clock, and lively shopping square.
Prague Castle is worth its own visit. One of the most notable national and cultural monuments in the country, Prague Castle is a monumental complex with impressive fortifications representing all architectural styles and periods. It is made up, in part, of Romanesque-style buildings from the 10th century. It’s also the home of the official bi-annual meeting of the EU. Enjoy lunch at the Lobkowitz Palace café & restaurant. The menu features Czech and international cuisine served on an outdoor terrace featuring a panoramic view of Prague.
Explore Prague’s Lesser Town
Malá Strana, also known as Lesser Town, is a hillside area of Prague with views of the Vltava River and Old Town. The narrow streets are filled with casual eateries, bakeries, traditional pubs and cafes. Stop by the famous John Lennon Wall where you can see written messages to the late musician. The riverside Kampa area offers fine dining, museum exhibits, and the kinetic sculpture of Franz Kafka – the legendary writer was born in Prague. Be sure to walk through the Wallenstein Gardens where peacocks roam freely and large koi can be seen splashing out of the pond.
Walk across the Charles Bridge
Walk across a stunning medieval stone bridge that covers the Vltava river in Prague. Until the mid 18th century, Charles Bridge was mainly a trade route and the only way to cross the river Vltava. It is the oldest bridge in Prague. The bridge itself is almost 520 meters long and nearly 10 meters wide, and is made from local sandstone. The bridge is decorated with imposing statues of Catholic saints, including St. John the Baptist and St. Francis of Assisi.
Sight see at national monuments
The Petřín Funicular Railway links the Malá Strana district with Petřín Hill, a park of pathways and gardens at the center of the city. You’ll arrive at the base of a magnificent steel tower almost 65 meters tall that was built in 1891 to resemble the Eiffel Tower, measuring three meters higher. Today the tower is a major tourist attraction but historically was used as an observation and transmission tower. At the top of Petřín Hill visitors can take part in a Monastery walking tour, and or explore the Strahov Monastery Brewery, which was established in the 17th century.
Experience a Prague Glass Workshop
In the heart of Prague you can discover and experience the world of glass art in every form. Watch while the masters of glass show you their process. You get to try blowing your own piece of glass and learn traditional artisan techniques. Afterwards, take home your own glass piece, and snap pictures as you melt and torch glass. In the gallery you can explore the collection of glass sculptures made by Czech artists, and watch live demonstrations while enjoying a beer.
See a show or take an art tour
Prague has a variety of literary, art, and music tours. Catch a performance of the Abrakadabra Black Light Theatre or take an art tour at the World of Banksy exhibit. There are also many magnificent theater, art, and music halls including the Rudolfinum and the Municipal House for performances and classical concerts.
The Mucha Museum celebrates over two hundred original works from Alphonse Mucha, a world-acclaimed painter of Czech Art Nouveau. The collection presents his works and life story as told through selected pieces, sculptures, and photographs. The tour takes about an hour and you can get a discount if you purchase your tickets in advance online.
Go wine tasting at St. Wenceslas Vineyard
Enjoy this spot for wine tasting with unbroken panoramic views of the Old Town and the Lesser Side. St. Wenceslas Vineyard is said to be the oldest vineyard in Bohemia (established in the 10th century). This picturesque vineyard in the middle of the city is perfect for a day visit or special event. It’s located on a scenic hillside which overlooks the vineyard. There are three restaurants where you can drink and dine while taking in the city sights. In the center of the vineyard is Villa Richter, a panorama pergola restaurant. You’ll find Czech and Moravian wines on the menu. On the ground floor, the restaurant Piano Nobile is located inside a glasshouse. Catch sunset from the Northern and Southern Terraces at the Piano Terra restaurant.
Experience a fairytale at Castle Blanta
Castle Blatná feels like a real life fairytale. Just an hour south of Prague, it’s well worth a visit. The entrance towers and dreamy castle bridge exude luxury inspired by European nobility. The three floor Gothic palace is currently owned by the Hildprandts family, who have been working with historians on castle restoration.
The family is still finding secrets among the grounds including a gothic chest that was buried deep inside the moat, a hidden cellar, and most shockingly, the remains of a lady within the tower walls discovered during renovations. In the beautiful castle park you can spot a large resident herd of freely grazing deer, pettable alpacas, and peacocks.
Explore South Bohemia and Třeboň
South Bohemia is considered a land of lakes and castles. Whether you spend time sightseeing or relaxing, a must visit is Třeboň near the Austrian border. The nearby Šumava Mountain range creates the rivers that wind below. The landscape is full of deep forests, large meadows, and charming ponds. The air is sweet with the smell of spruce, oak, birch, and pine. Třeboň is a quaint town with a local spa tradition and many historical monuments and activities to explore nearby.
In Třeboň, a pathway through a pine and aspen grove leads to a pond. Just before the entrance to the pond is a large outdoor local market of fresh fish, produce, and sweet smelling deserts. At the pond you’ll see fishermen drain, sort, and collect fish collected into long nets. The protected Třeboň carp farms and the pond itself is one of hundreds of fish ponds, rivers, and canals gradually built up from the 15th century located throughout Prague.
While in Třeboň, which is just an hour and half drive from Prague, make sure to take a tour of the Schwarzenberg Tomb. The neo-Gothic structure near Třeboň is located in the middle of a landscaped park, near a fish pond. Built in 1877, the Schwarzenberg tomb is the burial place of one of Bohemia’s most powerful noble families. The perimeter of the park is met by forest, an inviting storybook path, orange aspens, and benches scattered along the way.
Relax at a Beer Spa and Microbrewery in Pilsen
Pilsen is the Czech Republic’s most iconic beer town. It’s the cultural and social capital of Western Bohemia and is only an hour drive southwest of Prague. On every corner of Pilsen you’ll be surrounded by baroque architecture, fountains, and historical monuments. At the town’s center is a lively square of artisans, vendors, and markets. In winter, the square is taken over by holiday markets. There is also a yearly celebration of the Pilsen liberation, in honor of the civilian uprising against occupying Nazi forces in May 1945.
Just outside of Pilsen is the Purkmistr Hotel, restaurant, and beer spa. Built on a former farmstead from 1603, the wellness and beer spa is a luxurious yet cozy private experience that leaves your spirit refreshed and body exfoliated.
There are a large variety of treatments including your choice of beer, peat, chocolate, hop, lavender, or cannabis bath. The bathtubs are filled with a special mixture containing Pilsner beer and infused ingredients. A wooden barrel of Purkmistr 12° lager on tap is placed next to the wooden bath for your enjoyment.
Visitors to Pilsen praise the Hotel Purkmistr’s restaurant and microbrewery. At Purkmistr, guests can enjoy traditional Czech cuisine and a variety of beers on tap. The world’s first pale lager debuted here in 1842 so don’t forget to taste the world-famous Pilsner lager.
Explore Český Krumlov
Less than an hour from Trebon, you can visit a lively, medieval town surrounded by unspoiled countryside. Dominated by a castle which overlooks the meandering Vltava river, Český Krumlov’s narrow cobblestone streets wind along romantic nooks between aristocratic houses. Visitors should pay special attention to the stunning architectural detail and castle moat that is home to three rescued brown bears.
The Museum Fotoatelier Seidel is also located in Český Krumlov. The exhibit itself feels like going back in time. The building itself is photographer Josef Seidl’s studio and home, which he used in the 1880s. It is filled with his works, photo equipment, and journals. Visitors can pursue his photographs, glass plate negatives, cameras, darkroom, and enjoy the period ambiance. The tour concludes with a themed period photography session in the studio.
Where to eat and drink in Prague
Restaurant Mlynec is one of the best in Prague with modern Czech and international cuisine. It has a lovely terrace with a view of the river and Charles Bridge. Helmed by Chef Vladimír Vaníček, the restaurant is known for using traditional Czech cooking techniques with local ingredients.
Family-run Bílý Koníček cafe is in the magical Old Town Square, and is located inside a 12th century medieval cellar. The menu features local fish and an extensive wine list with German, Austrian, and Hungarian selections. It is in one of the oldest buildings on the square and the perfect spot for a touch of old-fashioned romance while dining with live jazz or blues in the background.
Municipal House Restaurant
Reservations are recommended for dining at the famous Municipal House Restaurant. It is known as the most beautiful Art Nouveau restaurant in the Czech Republic with stunning chandeliers, wood furnishings, and murals on all the walls. Guests will experience a traditional 3-course Czech dinner in ornate surroundings with live music.
Šupina a Šupinka
The Šupina a Šupinka restaurant in Trebon is worth a visit, although it’s not in Prague. The restaurant’s Müller family shares 20 years of culinary tradition and experience with patrons. Order the famous carp tartar or try the carp fries. Other local favorite dishes are the catfish and fish soup. For dessert try the pudding, cheesecake, or parfait.
Where to stay in Prague
Relax at a gorgeous five-star landmark hotel steps from the Charles Bridge. Hotel Mozart is a distinct and vibrant mainstay of local art, music, and history. Prestigious guests from politicians to Hollywood stars have been known to stay at the property. Guests delight in hearing stories of hotel history, legendary Aristocratic parties, and royal courtyard concerts held over 300 years. Mozart and Casanova were both guests of the hotel. Legend has it that Mozart wrote his 6 German Dances in one of the hotel rooms. The hotel restaurant is elegant and delicious. There is an underground wellness center for a serene spa getaway during your stay.
The K+K Hotel
The K+K Hotel is centrally located in Prague’s historic Old Town and steps away from the Powder Tower, a Gothic tower that was once part of a gate that separated the Old Town from New Town. It is one of the oldest Art Nouveau buildings in the city featuring elegant interiors and friendly hospitality. Many historical sights including the city’s Jewish Quarter, are within walking distance of this hotel.
The Hotel OLDINN
If you plan to visit Český Krumlov, stay at the Hotel OLDINN. This hotel is modern, elegant, comfortable, and pays homage to this city’s stunning architectural heritage. The hotel appeals to sophisticated travelers seeking a charming local experience. The hotel has a relaxing atmosphere and beautiful rooms with views overlooking the square, shops, and landmarks. It’s walking distance to the town square and the must-see Castle Krumlov.