Prague: The Top 20 Attractions - Global Storybook

Prague: The Top 20 Attractions

Kateřina Bartošová

Kateřina Bartošová

Kateřina Bartošová is the Local Contributing Writer at Global Storybook (Czech Republic).
Kateřina Bartošová

Latest posts by Kateřina Bartošová (see all)

Whether you come to Prague to admire the city’s splendid architecture, explore its vibrant culture, enjoy some lively entertainment, or maybe even taste the delicious Czech beer – this magnificent European gem has it all.

From fairytale Gothic castles, breathtaking panoramic views, mouthwatering local dishes to the incredibly stunning and imposing edifices, there’s much to see in this relatively small capital city.  Below you will find a list of the top 20 attractions in Prague that will provide you with the best overview – regardless if it’s your first time or the tenth time visiting the town of a hundred spires.

Prague, Czech Republic - Global Storybook1. Prague Castle

This opulent medieval structure is an important national symbol of the Czech Republic.  For hundreds of years this castle used to serve as the main seat for our kings and queens.  From 1918 it has also become the official residence of the Czech president.

The Prague Castle is also a UNESCO Heritage site.  Its 70,000 square meters area makes it the largest imperial complex in the world, according to the Guinness Book.  Its history goes back more than a thousand years, to the time when Prince Bořivoj founded the castle around the year 880.

Throughout the centuries, the castle was refurbished and remodeled with various architectural styles, to keep up with the latest trends.  There are five different temples, including the biggest and most important – St. Vitus Cathedral built in an imposing Gothic style.  This is where the coronations of numerous Czech kings and queens used to take place.

There are 4 main courtyards where you can see some beautiful halls and chapels, view the famous Prague Castle’s picture gallery, and once tired – escape to one of the charming gardens, surrounding the castle.

  • Address: Praha 1, Pražský Hrad
  • Time required: 4-6 hours
  • Hours of operation: open daily from 9:00am – 5:00pm (9:00am – 4:000 in Winter)
  • Price: 350 CZK
  • Official Website: https://www.hrad.cz/en

2. Charles Bridge

There are numerous bridges in Prague that you can use to get to the other side of the river Vltava, and which will be hardly as crowded as the Charles Bridge.  Despite that, there’s still a good reason to get on the Charles Bridge, since its beauty is so irresistible!  The views over the river, its enigmatic statues mixed together with artists and street performers, create a unique atmosphere that draws thousands of visitors on a daily basis.

The bridge was built between 1357 – 1402, and it is the second oldest bridge in the Czech Republic.  Over its significant length of 516 meters, it is adorned by 30 baroque statues, plus 2 towers.  Among the most important statues are that of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, as well as of John of Nepomuk, one of our most revered saints.

3. Old Town Square

The Old Town Square is located in the very centre of the city – in the absolute core of Prague.  The history of the Czech nation was written numerous times around this area.  It also includes one of the most recognizable structures in Prague – the striking Tyn Church with its Gothic twin towers – that once light up at night, make it an even more unforgettable sight.

Another famous attraction here is the medieval Astronomical Clock hanging at the Old Town Hall tower, right across the Tyn Church.  Head up the spiral staircase inside the tower to enjoy some of the best 360-degree panoramic views in Prague.  The Old Town Square is also the place where the annual Christmas market takes place.  So if you’re visiting Prague in the Winter – make sure to check out this spectacular attraction.

Pro tip: find a cozy place in one of the cafes located in front of the Astronomical Clock, and enjoy a delicious meal or a nice glass of wine.  Every hour on the dot, you’ll be able to witness a unique show with moving figures inside this magnificent clock.

In addition to these famous attractions, there are a number of must-see museums, like the Prague  Gallery of Art, National Gallery at the Kinsky Palace, Prague City Gallery, Madame Tussauds Prague  located around the square.

  • Address: Staroměstské náměstí
  • Time required: 4-6 hours
  • Hours of operation: 24/7
  • Price: free

4. The National Museum

When visiting the Czech capital, save some time for the National Museum, which consists of 8 distinct buildings spread all over the city, though easily reachable by a tram or a metro.  Each building is focused on a different theme, plus some of the permanent exhibitions might even be attractive to children.

The most popular is the main building, which has been closed for a reconstruction in 2011, and is expected to reopen in the Fall of 2018.  This particular structure is a remarkable gem of an architectural genius.  It was built between 1885 – 1891 and finally opened in the beginning of the 20th century.  It was also repeatedly wrecked during the two World Wars.

One interesting collection inside the National Museum is about the famous Czech musical composers.  Other great collections are related to Czech history, nature, art and much more.  There are a number of fascinating temporary exhibitions as well – so make sure to check out the official website.  And since rainy days are not that uncommon in Prague – you already know your programme for the day in case it rains.

5. Wenceslas Square

Once upon a time – there used to be a horse market around the Wenceslas Square.  Nowadays this large boulevard is a core of the new city quarter, a big shopping zone, and a famous meeting point.  You should see it for its lively atmosfere and its remarkable history.

If Czechs decide to protest against something – this is the main place they will usually turn to.  In 1918 the Republic of Czechoslovakia was proclaimed here.  Mass demonstrations against the occupation during the second World War were also held here, followed by another against the Russian occupation in 1968.  Needless to say, the Wencelslas Square is an important witness to every fight for freedom, which our small nation had to undertake.

  • Address: Václavské náměstí
  • Time required: 2-3 hours
  • Hours of operation: 24/7
  • Price: free

6. Prague Zoo

If you’ll ever feel tired of the city life, the huge inflow of crowds or maybe even of our architectural marvels – now would be the right time to visit our wonderful zoo!  It’s located in the Troja Prague quarter, and is easily reachable by a tram or a metro.

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Opened in 1931, the Prague zoo quickly became an important, as well as a very popular attraction, and it proudly belongs to the top zoological parks across the world.  It boasts 5,000 plus animals installed around 58 hectares of land.  It also makes a huge emphasis on providing comfortable, natural surroundings to all of its inhabitants.  In 2015, it hosted over a million visitors and became one of the most visited sights not only in Prague, but in the entire Czech Republic.

  • Address: U Trojského zámku 3/120
  • Time required: 4-6 hours
  • Hours of operation: 9:00am – 4:00pm (in Winter); 9:00am – 9:00pm (in Summer)
  • Price: 200 CZK
  • Official Website: https://www.zoopraha.cz/en

7. Clementinum and the National Library

The Clementinum is a large collection of beautiful Baroque buildings, that originally belonged to a Jesuit College.  In the 18th century it was finally opened as a public library, and is now a seat of the Czech National Library.  Holding more than six million books, the Clementinum’s collection is huge and includes a copy of every book ever published in the country.

In addition to the library, there are other famous sights, like the Mirror Chapel, the Baroque Library Hall, as well as the 68 meters tall Astronomical Tower, where you can enjoy a wonderfull view over Prague.   There is even a special service for couples who are looking for a romantic place to get engaged in.  Just imagine, for one special night – the tower could be all yours.

8. St. Vitus Cathedral

The most important, as well as the largest church in the Czech Republic, is also found in Prague.  It is situated in the Prague Castle’s grounds (sight #1).  The initial stone was laid here in 1344, and it took more than 500 years to complete this monumental building.  And that’s also why you can see a unique blend of Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance styles when you gaze at the St. Vitus Cathedral.

Inside the cathedral you can admire the St. Wenceslas Chapel with its richly decorated altar and a number of other attractions.  And if you have time – make sure to climb the cathedral’s 97 meters high tower for some splendid views over the whole Prague.

  • Address: Hrad III. Nádvoří
  • Time required: 1-2 hours
  • Hours of operation: 9:00am – 4:40pm
  • Price: entry to the front part of the Cathedral is free, to see more tickets to the Prague Castle are necessary (250 CZK)
  • Official Website: https://www.katedralasvatehovita.cz/en

 9. The Petřín Lookout Tower

Standing tall on a green hill in the middle of Prague, there’s a metallic tower, originally constructed in 1891.  The famous Parisian Eiffel Tower’s twin sister is only 65 meters high.  It was built by a group of Czech architects who were so enamoured by the original Eiffel Tower, that they succeeded in collecting money to raise our own carbon copy here in Prague.

The area quickly gained a name of the “lovers hill” and became one of the most popular sights for young people, families and tourists to hang around.  The peak is reachable by a railway tram or via a short hike.  Apart from the magical views, one can also find a number of interesting exhibions inside the tower or can even explore the fun mirror labyrinth located not far from this sight.

  • Address: Petřínské sady
  • Time required: 3-4 hours
  • Hours of operation: 10:00am – 10:00pm (in Summer); 10:00am – 6:00pm (in Winter)
  • Price: 120 CZK
  • Official Website: http://www.petrinska-rozhledna.cz

10. The National Theatre

Striking a pose on the bank of the river Vltava, our gorgeous National Theater attracts every gaze.  You can hardly miss it due to its sparkling New Renaissance facade and its signature rooftop.  The best Czech actors and singers have all performed here.

An interesting fact about this building is that it was built… twice.  After 15 years of hard labour, the theatre was completed and opened to a big fanfare in June 1881.  Only 2 months later in August, a huge fire destroyed most of this gorgeous site.  The Prague residents were so upset that they managed to collect a large sum of money needed for a reconstruction – by the year’s end.  The theatre was rebuilt and finally reopened in 1883.

If you do not wish to spend your evening trying to decipher the Czech langauge, at least take a peak inside to see the beautiful interiors, preferably with a knowledgeable guide.

  • Address: Národní 2
  • Time required: 2 hours
  • Hours of operation: Every day, guided tours individually
  • Price: 200 CZK
  • Official Website: http://www.narodni-divadlo.cz/en

11. Josefov – The Jewish Quarter

For more than six hundred years the tough Jewish history was written in this area of Prague.  Throughout the years, Prague Jews were repeatedly separated from the rest of the citizens and then re-integrated again.  In the 18th century there was a dirty ghetto.  One hundred years later, a brand new quarter has sprung up with a number of spectacular buildings, called Josefov.

The highlight of this interesting area is the Jewish Museum.  It includes the Old Je,wish Cemetery, the Maisel Synagogue, the Pinkas Synagogue, the Spanish Synagogue, the Klaus Synagogue as well as the Ceremonial Hall.

To learn more about this quintessential, historic quarter – a guided tour is highly recommended.  You can find one inside the Jewish Museum.

  • Address: U Staré školy 141/1
  • Time required: 2-3 hours
  • Hours of operation: 9:00am – 6:00pm (in Summer); 9:00am – 4:30pm (in Winter)
  • Price: 200 – 500 CZK
  • Official Website: https://www.jewishmuseum.cz/en/info/visit/

12. Karlštejn Castle

If you just spent your holiday entirely in Prague, you will not learn much about the Czech Republic in general.  Sadly, most of our visitors rarely leave the town.  While there are plenty of things to see in Prague – a trip to the Karlštejn Castle is definitely something special!

Charles the Fourth was a Czech king in the 14th century.  He erected the Karlštejn Castle, to be used as his private residence in 1348.  It’s located on only 30 km away from Prague in the midst of a beautiful nature.

Today Karlštejn is the most popular medieval castle in all of the Czech Republic.  Thanks to this fact, you will find numerous restaurants, cozy cafés and bars next to the castle.  Various other services like the horse carriage rides are also available on site.  The easiest way to get there is by taking a train (about 40 min one-way ride).

  • Address: Hrad Karlštejn, 267 18 Karlštejn
  • Time required: 5-6 hours (including the travel time)
  • Hours of operation: 9:30am – 5:30pm (in Summer); 9:30am – 3:00pm (in Winter)
  • Price: 190 – 330 CZK
  • Official Website: https://www.hrad-karlstejn.cz/en

13. The Municipal House

In the early 20th century, the Czechs were fighting for independence but did not feel too confident in their struggle.  In the area around the former King’s Court, the Municipal House was erected specifically to represent and support the emerging Czech Nation.  We are very proud of it ever since.

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The Municipal House is one of the most remarkable examples of the Prague Art Nouveau movement.  Despite a significant mixture of numerous architectural elements, the final harmony of the Municipal house’s facade is simply adorable.

So what’s the best way to explore the Municipal House?  You can either go on a guided tour or just choose one of the interior cafes or restaurants and look around while enjoying a nice drink.

  • Address: Obecní Dům, Nám. Republiky 5
  • Time required: 2 hours
  • Hours of operation: 10:00am – 8:00pm
  • Price: 300 – 500 CZK
  • Official Website: http://www.obecnidum.cz/en/

14. The Little Quarter

Two of the major highlights mentioned above are located within the Little Quarter  –  The Prague Castle (sight #1) and the Petřín Lookout Tower (sight #9) plus numerous others.  This area was once an independent city, called the ‘New Town’.  It was founded in 1257.  Unfortunately it was razed to the ground during the Hussite period, though rebuilt later in the 15th century.

There are a number of charming areas around this neighborhood, including some wonderful points of interest, like the Little Quarter Square or the St. Nicholas Church with its striking bell tower, which visitors are allowed to climb.  From the top one can enjoy great views over the church’s huge dome, as well as the Old Town.

  • Address: Malá Strana
  • Time required: 4 hours
  • Hours of operation: 24/7
  • Price: Free

15. Žižkov Tower

There are 3 awesome facts characterizing this sight: it’s the highest structure in the Czech Republic, it’s the highest observatory in the country, and it’s the second ugliest construction in the world, according to locals.  Now you definitely must see it, don’t you?

The Žižkov TV Tower is 216 meters high and was built between 1985 and 1992.  Despite the intense criticism from countless residents pointing out to the contrast between this high-tech construction and the historic neighborhood of Žižkov, the tower was still completed.

Today, the Tower is recognised as a dominant feature of the Prague’s panorama, serving as a TV tower, an observatory, a restaurant and a very original and luxurious One Room Hotel where a night can cost as much as $870 dollars.

  • Address: Mahlerovy sady 1
  • Time required: 2 hours
  • Hours of operation: observatory: 9:00am – 12:00am
  • Price: 230 CZK
  • Official Website: https://towerpark.cz

16. Rieger Gardens

The Rieger Gardens is a hundred year old park, with an area of 11 hectares, which provides a pleasant environment for walking, relaxing and having a picnic in the Summer, or enjoying the fun kids activities like sledging in the Winter.  The park also offers splendid panoramic views of the Prague Castle, the Petřín Hill and other important places in Prague.

In addition to that, the young locals love this park for one more great reason – a well-situated beer garden with 8 different kinds of beer available on tap.  Praguers often enjoy their well deserved pint after work here, especially during the hot Summer evenings.

  • Address: Riegrovy sady
  • Time required: 2-3 hours
  • Hours of operation: 24/7
  • Price: free

17. Farmer’s Market

For almost an entire year (from February on) you can visit this fine event, taste some local Czech treats, pastries, fruits, veggies and so much more.  Here you can also encounter the real Czech temperament in its true element.

Prague’s famer’s markets have a long-standing tradition, though after the 1990 revolution, people started slowly loosing their interest in this historic custom.  In 2006, the last market in Prague was officially closed.  Some years later, an initiative was finally born to renew the farmer’s markets’ legacy.  The main goal was to bring fresh, local products to the city and to arrange a direct contact between producers and their customers.

Nowadays you can find a farmer’s market held almost every Saturday, in numerous spots all over the city.   Thankfully, this ancient tradition was fully re-established again, becoming increasingly popular with locals and even outside visitors.

Farmer's Market, Prague, Czech Republic - Global Storybook

Photo: yingko / Shutterstock.com

18. Letná Park 

Tired from all the sightseeings yet?  Then escape to the wonderful Prague’s nature – a large park situated on beautiful Letná hill.  In addition to providing a relaxing and peaceful atmosphere, the park offers spectacular panoramic views of the Prague’s Old Town.  Our New Year’s Eve fireworks also take place at this site.

During the communist era, a large monument dedicated to Joseph Stalin was erected here, at the edge of Letná Park.  The statue was demolished in 1962, and the Prague Metronome was built in its place.  On September 7 1996 Michael Jackson kicked off his HIStory World Tour at this park, with approximately 127,000 people attending that dazzling event.

  • Address: Letenské Sady
  • Time required: 2 hours
  • Hours of operation: 24/7
  • Price: free

19. The Dancing House

This home to an insurance company is now one of the most recognizable sights in Prague.  The building seems to dance right on the edge of the river Vltava, reminding people of the crazy times after the Velvet Revolution of the 1990’s.

Its unofficial nickname is Fred and Ginger, after the famous Hollywood dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.  It was designed in 1992 and was completed in 1996 by a couple of architects – the Croatian-Czech architect Vlado Milunić and the Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry.

If you wish to take a peak inside – you can visit its restaurant, gallery or even stay overnight in a luxury hotel occupying the highest floor.

  • Address: Jiráskovo nám. 1981/6
  • Time required: 30 minutes – 2 hours
  • Hours of operation: gallery: 9:00am – 8:00pm; the restaurant closes at 11:00pm
  • Official Website: http://www.ginger-fred-restaurant.cz/en/

20. The Upside-Down Statue of King Wenceslas Riding a Dead Horse

The Lucerna Palace is an important secession building situated only a few steps away from the Wenceslas Square (sight #5).  Apart from seeing its huge underground concert hall, cinema and a popular patisserie, you should catch a glimpse of this controversial statue mentioned above.

Its designer, David Černý, has been famous for his provocative art installations for numerous years.  The Upside-Down statue, built in 1999 was placed in the middle of the famous Lucerna’s arcade, so that nobody could possibly miss it.

Although some locals don’t like it, the statue corresponds very well with the Czech character, our sense of humour and can even help you understand why we, Czechs, are sometimes perceived to be..  weird. 😉

Upside-Down Statue of King Wenceslas Riding a Dead Horse

Photo © Chris Shervey www.flickr.com/photos/34179117@N00/

  • Address: Vodičkova 704/36, Palác Lucerna
  • Time required: 1 hour
  • Hours of operation: 24/7
  • Price: free

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