The magical Central European city of Prague attracts millions of visitors each year to its ancient castles, cathedrals, museums, galleries, and cinemas. Prague has been an inspiration to artists, poets, and authors for generations, and after a few days wandering its streets, you’ll see why! With so much to do and see, the list of attractions to visit can seem endless, but 10 of Prague’s attractions stand out as truly unmissable.
1. Old Town Square (StareMesto)
Prague is a city with ancient roots. In Old Town Square, you can see that history splayed out in front of you, piece by piece. The Square was founded nearly a thousand years ago in the early 1100s as Prague’s central marketplace and was built up slowly as Europe developed new artistic and architectural styles.
Walking down the square, you can travel through different ages and encounter breathtaking architecture from the Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque periods. Many of Prague’s most alluring buildings are on the square, like the imposing Church of Our Lady before Tyn, the medieval Old Town Hall Clock, the Church of St. Nicholas, the Convent of St. Agness, and the Municipal Hall. If you visit during Christmas or Easter, be sure to visit Prague’s world-famous, medieval-style holiday markets held annually on the square.
2. Charles Bridge
After you’re finished in Old Town, cross the Charles bridge on your way to the Prague Castle complex. Built in 1357, the Charles bridge crosses the Vtlava river, connecting the two sides of the city. Three enormous, stone towers protect the bridge and 30 statues decorate its awnings. For a small fee, you can climb to a fenced platform on each of the towers and enjoy the enchanting views of the city.
3. Prague Castle
Delve even deeper into Prague’s past with a visit to the Prague Castle complex. Construction on the building began 1146 years ago in the year 870 CE. Since then, the castle has been the central seat of power for the kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman emperors, kings of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and now serves as the official residence of the President of the Czech Republic. Wander the numerous chapels, palaces, and halls of the largest ancient castle in the world. The complex is open daily from 5am to 12am from April to October, and until 11pm from November to March. Some of the areas require tickets, while others are free. You can also buy combined tickets and short tours to consolidate your visit. Be sure to catch the hourly changing of the guard ceremony in front of the palace!
4. St. Vitus Cathedral
While you’re visiting the Prague Castle complex, be sure to check out the St. Vitus Cathedral –an absolute must-see during your Prague experience. Founded in 930 CE, the Cathedral is one of the earliest and most excellent examples of Gothic architecture, and contains the tombs of kings, emperors, and saints, including the pure silver tomb of St. John of Nepomuk. The Cathedral includes stunning flying buttresses, beautiful gargoyle statues, and incredible stained glass windows. If you’re up for the challenge, you can even climb the Bell Tower’s 287 stairs for excellent views of the city.
5. National Gallery
The National Gallery in Prague manages the Czech Republic’s largest collection of art. The gallery isn’t located in a single place, however. Instead, it’s scattered throughout Prague’s beautiful historical buildings. Begin your adventure through the gallery’s vast collection at Veletržní Palác to see the gallery’s largest holding, including pieces by Pablo Picasso, Auguste Renoir, and Vincent Van Gogh.
6. Jewish Quarter (Josefov)
In the 1200s, Prauge’s leadership ordered the Jewish inhabitants to exit their homes and settle together in one area. After centuries of anti-Semitism, Prague’s Jewish Quarter now stands as a testament to the history of Jews in Prague and is one of the best preserved Jewish monuments in Europe. Just steps away from the Staroměstská metro station, the ancient synagogues and cemeteries of the Jewish Quarter are easily accessible and well worth your time.
7. New Town
In Prague, even areas of the city called “new” are still quite old. Founded in the 1300s, New Town is adjacent to Old Town, and contains many of Prague’s most interesting destinations, like Prague’s main boulevard, Wenceslas Square, the National Museum, the Botanical Garden of the Charles University, and the Museum of Communism. New Town is accessible by all three of Prague’s Metro lines and contains many of Prague’s best restaurants, bars, and hotels.
8. National Theatre
Prague’s National Theatre is architecturally stunning and home to some of the finest opera, ballet, and drama available in Europe. Constructed in the late nineteenth century, the National Theatre is a testament of Prague’s dedication to the arts, and it’s worth visiting whether or not you plan to see a performance. Consider stopping by the theatre during the day to visit its second floor café. Enjoy the view of the city while helping yourself to their excellent selection of drinks and pastries.
9. Dancing House
The Dancing House is one of Prague’s most fascinating modern architectural works. Completed in 1996, the modernist design stands in stark contrast to Prague’s more historical architecture. The building’s strange curves were built to resemble a man and woman dancing together and was originally named Fred and Ginger after two famous American dancers.
10. Zizkov Television Tower
No trip to Prague is complete without a visit to the unconventional Zizkov Television Tower. Adding a space-age touch to an ancient city, the tower stands above the city’s skyline from the top of a hill in the city’s Zizkov district and overlooks the ancient architecture of the Old Town. The tower is a testament to Prague’s twentieth-century Communist history, and has a mixed reputation among locals.
Prague is a destination of endless wonder, history, and enchantment. Founded in the ninth century, Prague is one of Europe’s few cities to be virtually untouched by war. As you walk through its boulevards and wander through its squares, you are treading on centuries of continuous construction, development, and flourishing. Prague’s temperate climate means that the city transforms with each season, and it’s worth visiting any time of year. After you’ve visited these 10 must-see destinations, be sure to wander around Prague’s cobbled lanes and soak in its vibrant energy. There are more bridges, cathedrals, palaces, and golden towers to see in Prague than could ever fit onto a list. But be careful––you might never want to leave!