This destination guide was created for you by our global team here at Go Ahead Tours! Whether we’re designing new trips or writing guides like this one, everything we do is handcrafted. Read on to get our staffers’ insider tips from their travels.
The City of One Hundred Spires (aka Prague!) is a destination that has gained a lot of traction in recent years. People from all around the world flock to this city to experience top sites like the mysterious Charles Bridge, historic Jewish Quarter, or the intricately designed Astronomical Clock. Or maybe they go for the beer and the melt-in-your-mouth treat called trdelnik. No matter what suits your fancy, we’ve got you covered in our Prague Travel Guide.
Currency: Czech Koruna is the currency in the Czech Republic, and the exchange rate is great for Americans! You can exchange your money before you go at your local bank, or you will find many cash exchange machines in the city itself.
Languages: Czech and English. Locals try to accommodate visitors by speaking English, especially at the popular top sites.
Best way to get around: On foot. Prague is a very walkable city, and you will find impressive architecture everywhere you look.
Phrases to know:
Dobry den (do-bree den) means “hello.”
Dekuji (dye-ku-yi) means “thanks.”
Pivo prosím (pee-vo pro-seem) means “beer, please.”
WHEN TO TRAVEL TO PRAGUE
“Prague is a delightful place to visit in any season,” said Go Ahead staffer Cayleigh. “If you want to experience the true charm of the city, I recommend going around the holidays when there’s a dusting of snow on the ground, festive lights around the city, and the wonderful scent of trdelnik in the air.” Some of the best times to visit Prague include:
- Christmas and New Year’s Eve. The city of Prague truly comes alive during this time of year. You’ll find the Old Square lined with Christmas markets, holiday musical concerts in the main areas of the city, special menus and feasts at traditional Czech restaurants, and locals in a very cheerful mood. Bundle up, buy a glass of hot mulled wine (called svarák), and take in the scenes of the city.
- Springtime. If the winter is too chilly for you, the next best time to experience Prague is the spring, before all the summer visitors typically arrive. If you’re there in May, make sure to check out the Prague Food Festival and the Prague International Music Festival. The spring is also a great time to visit Chateau Sychrov, an excursion option you can add to your tour of Prague. You’ll get to visit this aristocratic residence after it has closed to the general public, making it a truly VIP experience.
- Summertime. If you’re a beer enthusiast, you won’t want to miss the annual Prague Beer Festival in June. The great thing about drinking beer in Prague is that it’s both delicious and cheap! Relaxing while drinking a smooth Czech pilsner is one of the best things to do in Prague.
THINGS TO SEE IN PRAGUE
If you’re looking for a European city with stunning architecture, castles, enchanting bridges, and impressive statues, look no further than Prague—even traveler Dana raved about all the beauty in the city in her traveler Q&A about getting to know Prague! The city itself is a work of art and you won’t miss out on any of the top sites since it’s so walkable. Here are some of the top things to see in Prague.
- Prague Castle has one of the best panoramic views of the city. This enormous 9th-century structure, once home to princes and kings of Bohemia, is now the seat of the president. Take some time to go explore the castle grounds, which are complete with palaces, religious buildings, and gardens.
- St. Vitus Cathedral. This Roman Catholic cathedral sits at the site of the Prague Castle and is well known for its Gothic architecture. It’s the largest church in the entire country, so make sure you get a peak inside.
- Charles Bridge. Some recognize this bridge by the 30 statues of saints that line the edges. “Seeing Charles Bridge in photos isn’t enough,” said staffer Cayleigh. “You feel the significance of the bridge, statues, and the Old Town Bridge Tower waiting for you at the end once you’re there in person. Take your time as you cross the bridge and savor the moment.” According to legend, the statues come alive at night and roam around the city of Prague. If you’re frightened by spooky, mysterious legends, you may want to consider walking Charles Bridge during the day!
- Prague Astronomical Clock. This colorful, 15th-century clock at the Old Town Hall is another symbol of Prague that visitors should take time to experience. This intricate mechanism has three main parts: the astronomical dial, an hourly “show” where the Apostles depicted on the clock dance around, and a calendar dial that represents months. Needless to say, it’s a work of art and engineering.
- Jewish Quarter. On our tours of Prague, our expert tour guides take you through this section of the city, which is known as Josefov to locals. You’ll learn about the history of this important area, and see how much of it survived the devastation of World War II. It’s home to the Old-New Synagogue, which is Europe’s oldest active synagogue. Be sure to come to the Jewish Quarter ready to walk and learn.
WHAT TO PACK FOR A TRIP TO PRAGUE
Prague’s weather is a bit unpredictable, so we want to make sure you’re well prepared when it comes to your packing list. Here’s what to throw in your bag so that you can truly enjoy all the amazing things to do in Prague.
- Raincoat and umbrella. The months with the highest rainfall are in the middle of the summer in Prague, so if you go during the warmer months, be prepared with your rainy day essentials.
- Warm winter coat & layers. Winter in Prague is chilly—don’t be surprised if you get a bit of snow!—so make sure to bring warm layers. You’ll be glad to have a very warm winter coat, hat, gloves, scarf, and lined shoes or boots. You want to make the most of your time touring the city outdoors, so it’s best to bundle up and wear shoes that have traction in case of a light snowfall.
- Backpack. It’s always smart to have a backpack handy while you’re touring the city in case there’s a souvenir you’d like to pick up. You can also carry more layers to wear if it unexpectedly gets windy and cold.
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BEST THINGS TO DO IN PRAGUE DURING FREE TIME
One of the best things about visiting Prague is that there’s plenty to do without spending a lot of money. There are a lot of opportunities to just walk around and enjoy the scenes of the city. Here’s a list of places you shouldn’t miss if you have some free time in Prague.
- Visit Old Town Square. When you see photos of Prague, the Old Town Square is usually included. This is where you’ll find the Prague Astronomical Clock, and can even go to the top of the Old Town Hall for a fantastic viewing point of the square and city beyond. Another landmark of the square is the Church of Our Lady before Týn, which is known for its two towers.
- Walk up Petřín Hill. Speaking of views, take some time to check out Petřín Hill, a park right in the city center that gives you a panorama of the entire cityscape. You can spot most of the city’s main landmarks from the top of the hill, and the relaxing atmosphere in the park will give you a peaceful break from the city streets.
- Browse the Naplavka Farmer’s Market, a popular place for locals and visitors alike. A visit here is truly one of the best things to do in Prague. Set along the Vltava River, this market offers everything you can imagine in terms of local specialties. If you want to browse the stands or enjoy a quick bite during your free time, this market is for you.
- See the Lennon Wall. This graffitied wall is known in pop culture around the world as a dedication to the late John Lennon from The Beatles*. The wall is covered with Beatles-inspired art and lyrics, but also features designs about selfless acts and global causes. *Beatles fan or not, we recommend checking out this artists’ haven.
- Visit Kampa Park. Have you ever seen a photo of giant baby statues when researching places to visit in Prague? Well, if not, we can give you some insight! Kampa Park is right alongside Prague’s Vltava River and is home to some pretty unexpected and fascinating statues, like giant bronze babies with barcode stamps where their faces should be. Wander around this park and decide for yourself what the meaning of the statues are.
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WHAT (& WHERE) TO EAT IN PRAGUE
Eating is one of the best things to do in Prague! Like the rest of Eastern Europe, the cuisine in Prague is typically on the heavier side with meat, potatoes, and gravy as some of the main stars. There’s nothing better than sitting down to a comforting meal after touring the city in the crisp winter weather.
- Knedliky is basically a bread dumpling, and you’ll find that many dishes containing gravy will also include knedliky to soak up all that leftover saucy goodness!
- Goulash. Goulash is a must-try dish in Prague. It consists of beef in a rich gravy flavored with paprika, a very popular spice in Eastern Europe. If you want to try goulash in a traditional Czech environment, look no further than the restaurant, Staromácek. You might even get lucky enough to enjoy dinner with a live musical performance.
- Vepro knedlo zelo is one of the national dishes of the Czech Republic, and is a bit more basic than goulash. This dish consists of pork, sauerkraut, and dumplings. The pork is roasted and served with—you guessed it—a gravy made with onions and caraway seeds.
- Smazený veprový rízek is the local way to say pork schnitzel. This dish is popular in other European cities, but the best place to try this mouth-watering meal in Prague is at Café Savoy.
- Kulajda is a cream soup with mushrooms and potatoes that’s flavored with a considerable amount of dill. This soup is topped with a poached quail’s egg, adding a pop of color to the dish.
- Trdelnik is the one sweet that you can’t leave Prague without tasting. This doughy dessert is comparable to a chimney cake and is topped with cinnamon and sugar. We recommend that you also take the time to watch this delicious pastry as it’s roasted over an open flame. Around Christmastime, you’ll find many trdelnik stalls in the streets, where you can purchase a freshly made treat.
WHAT TO DRINK IN PRAGUE
The Czech people are very proud that they drink the most beer per capita than any other country. So it’s no surprise that beer happens to be the drink to order while visiting Prague. We promise you won’t want to miss out on sampling more than a few of the traditional, smooth Czech brews! Here are some of our favorites Czech sips, along with a few must-visit bars and breweries to pop into along the way.
- Pilsner Urquell. Did you know that this famous beer comes from the Czech Republic? Get a fresh-from-the-tap glass of this beer during your meal, but make sure to sample a few other beers as well. We recommend trying Gambrinus, which has more of a bitter, tangy flavor. It’s one of the many beers produced at Staropramen, the second-largest brewery in the country.
- Malinovka. If you’re not in the mood for an alcoholic drink, try this raspberry-flavored soda. Malinovka is very popular among the younger Czech population, and is the perfect drink for a warm day in the city. You can also try Kofola if you want a more traditional Coca Cola-like drink.
- Unique cocktails. If you’re someone who prefers cocktails, go to Anonymous Bar, where the theme is to keep everything, well, anonymous. You’ll find this unlit bar down an alleyway and once you enter, you’ll notice that all of the bartenders wear Guy Fawkes masks. The bar is centrally located and the cocktails served here are very high-end and unique.
SOUVENIRS TO BUY IN PRAGUE
Prague is a special place, to say the least. Here are a few mementos you can buy in the city to remember the time you spent on tour in Prague.
- Marionettes. Puppets can be found all over the city and are a unique gift to take back home with you. These handcrafted figurines come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from cartoons to literary and political figures.
- Franz Kafka keepsakes. If you’re impressed by the stories from author and Prague native Franz Kafka, plan to pick up something from the Kafka Museum. You can even find literary keepsakes at one of the many stores that house his writing, and writing-related souvenirs in the Jewish Quarter.
- Bohemian glass is another locally produced product that is also called Bohemian crystal. Although it’s not what we would consider “crystal,” it’s a type of high quality glass with a significant amount of lead, making it easier to engrave.