Prague is the city that made me fall in love with European city breaks. A short flight from the UK will bring you cobbled streets, baroque architecture and the best beer in Europe. Prague offers something for every visitor; from those on a romantic break, those wanting to find solitude in museums even to those groups wanting a few too many beers. I’ve been four times now, including twice on a stag do (just imagine), and I’m finally ready to share my thoughts on the best things to do in Prague.
House of The Black Madonna
The House of the Black Madonna is a great example of cubist architecture in the Old Town of Prague. The building houses the Czech Museum of Cubism as well as the Grand Cafe Orient restaurant. However, in my opinion, the real star of the show is the lightbulb style staircase. It’s a great and iconic photo opportunity from both the top and the bottom. This is definitely something a little different and often missed from a lot of itineraries.
The best bar in Prague hands down. A secret bar that should really be considered one of the best in Europe. The concept is great taking inspiration from the classic film V for Vendetta as well as the hacking group Anonymous. The bar staff wear Guy Fawkes masks and the cocktails are very very cool. One comes in a blood bag dripping into your glass whilst one comes with a postcard that you can fill out and the staff will post in the mail for free.
Not rated particularly highly on Tripadvisor, it’s 413 out of 5,220 restaurants, but this restaurant on Zatecka Street is incredible. Absolutely perfect for experiencing traditional food in Prague. I’ve been here four times now I think, on three of my four trips, and had pretty much the same thing every time. I’m surprised they don’t know my order by now.
So, what do you order? Pork knee roasted in black beer with horseradish and mustard. For those that are put off by the ‘black beer’ part, trust me you can’t taste it. If you could, there’s not a chance Emma would love this dish. Pork knee or knuckle is a huge piece of meat with the bone left in, presumably slow-cooked longer than you could imagine. The meat literally falls off the bone, so juicy and tender.If that’s not enough, you have to share some sides. I adored the potatoes with cream, blue cheese and garlic. I can literally taste them right now. Maybe add some spinach too just to get one of your five a day.
Astronomical Clock Tower
The Old Town Square is a beautiful part of Prague but also the busiest. This is where all the tourists congregate, especially on the hour every hour, when the Astronomical Clock does its thing. Whilst it is something you have to see, I wouldn’t get your hopes up. My recommendation would be to climb the tower instead for great views back down to the crowd of tourists as well as across to the Church of Our Lady Before Tyn. The church is probably one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen and it looks even better from the top of the tower. It can get busy at the top of the tower so try and go earlier in the morning when the crowds should be lower.
Before my first visit, I had no idea that Prague Castle was the largest castle complex in the world. If you’re really into history, you could probably spend a full day here if you purchase one of the tickets. We just wandered through looking up at the very impressive St Vitus Cathedral, watched the changing of the guard before walking back down the beautiful staircase (Old Castle Stairs) to the Lesser Town. The staircase offers beautiful views again and you’ll often find newly-weds getting their photographs taken here.
The first time I visited Prague we didn’t make the time to visit this park which is something I regret. The park is nestled on a hill to the north of the Vltava River offering the best views of Prague. There’s no doubt about that one. You can see straight down the river all the way past Charles Bridge. If you’re visiting Prague in Summer, there’s no where better to enjoy a beer in the late afternoon golden sunshine.
I wasn’t lucky enough to see the artwork and graffiti on the Lennon Wall before a group of art students in 2014 (on the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution) painted over it all in white adding the words ‘Wall is Over’. However, artwork has quickly re-appeared remaining quite political and relevant including amending the above to ‘War is Over.’ Nearby you’ll also find Lover’s bridge where people have added hundreds of padlocks with their lover’s name engraved on.
Charles Bridge is the most famous of the, apparently, 300 bridges that cross the Vltava. This is a very old bridge which was completed in the 15th century. You will naturally use this bridge when crossing to the Prague Castle from the Old Town. Unfortunately, during the day, hundreds of other tourists have the same idea. It can get very busy and is often full of street traders too. All 30 of the statues on Charles Bridge look old but are all replicas. Tradition remains though; if you rub the bronze plague on the statue of John of Nepomuk you will one day return to Prague. I can vouch, it really works.
For the best views of the bridge, climb the Eastern Tower and the bridge will act as a leading line straight to Prague Castle.
Petrin Hill Lookout Tower
This tower on top of Petrin Hill offers an exceptional panoramic view across the whole of Prague. This is one of the first things I’d recommend to do as soon as you arrive in the city. I always like to get up high just to get my bearings and work out exactly where everything is. I’d recommend saving your legs and pay a little extra for a lift straight to the top!
The Jewish Quarter
Not far from the Mjelnice Restaurant I mentioned above, lies the Jewish Quarter of Prague. It used to be a walled ghetto and there are a few museums along with the Old Jewish Cemetery which is certainly not to be missed. It’s hard to imagine just how many bodies are buried here but there are apparently around 12,000 tombstones. It’s not a large cemetery by any stretch of the imagination, it’s just that they decided to bury people on top of each other sometimes up to ten deep.
If you need any more tips or recommendations for your trip to Prague, just let me know in the comments below or drop me an email! For more photos, check out my post here.