Prague, called in Czech Praha, is the capital of Czechia and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe and worldwide. Many people consider it to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The city was founded in the 6th century. It used to be the capital of the Kingdom of Bohemia, of the Holy Roman Empire, of Czechoslovakia, and since 1993 it has been the capital of the Czech Republic, commonly also known as Czechia.
With its rich history dating back centuries, this city offers a unique blend of architectural beauty, cultural heritage, and vibrant atmosphere. Known as the “City of a Hundred Spires,” Prague is famous for its stunning medieval architecture, with landmarks such as Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, and the Astronomical Clock showcasing the city’s grandeur. Visitors can explore the narrow cobblestone streets of the Old Town, soak in the charming atmosphere of the Lesser Town, or take a leisurely stroll along the picturesque Vltava River.
Prague is by far the largest city in Czechia and its cultural and economic center. If you like beautiful cities with great old architecture, you simply cannot miss Prague. The Historic Centre of Prague was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1992 and its architectural and cultural gems amaze millions of tourists who visit it each year.
In this short article about the Golden City, we cover the following topics that may be of interest to tourists:
Top 5 Things to See in Prague – Fascinating Architectural Landmarks
Prague is known for its breathtaking architectural marvels. From Gothic to Baroque, and everything in between, Prague is a treasure trove of stunning buildings that will leave you in awe. Here are some must-see architectural landmarks that should be on every visitor’s list.
1. Prague Castle
Situated on a hill overlooking the city, Prague Castle is a historic and picturesque landmark that should not be missed. It is considered one of the largest castle complexes in the world, covering an area of about 70,000 square meters. Dating back to the 9th century, the castle has served as the residence of Czech kings, emperors, and presidents over the years.
The architecture of the castle is a mix of different styles, including Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque, reflecting the various periods of its construction and reconstruction. Visitors can explore the stunning St. Vitus Cathedral, with its intricate stained glass windows, or take a stroll through the charming Golden Lane, a street lined with colorful houses that were once home to castle servants. From the castle grounds, you can also enjoy panoramic views of the city, including the iconic Charles Bridge and the red rooftops of Prague’s old town.
2. Charles Bridge
This iconic bridge is not only a functional pathway across the Vltava River but also a work of art. Built during the 14th century, it is adorned with stunning Gothic architecture and lined with statues of saints, each with its own unique story.
Stretching over 500 meters in length, this famous bridge offers panoramic views of the city and Prague Castle and is also a hub of activity with street performers, artists, and vendors. Walking across the Charles Bridge is like stepping back in time, surrounded by the charm of Prague’s history.
3. Old Town Square
This vibrant square is a hub of architectural beauty. One of the most notable landmarks in Old Town Square is the Old Town Hall with its famous Astronomical Clock, a medieval marvel that attracts crowds of tourists every hour to witness its intricate mechanics and animated figurines.
The cityscape of Old Town Square is dominated by the Gothic spires of the nearby picturesque Church of Our Lady before Týn. The colorful facades of the buildings in the square transport visitors to a fairy tale-like setting. The square is also home to a variety of cafes, restaurants, and shops, offering visitors the chance to immerse themselves in the vibrant atmosphere while indulging in traditional Czech cuisine or shopping for souvenirs.
4. The Dancing House
A more modern architectural gem, the Dancing House is a unique and fascinating building that stands out among the historic structures of Prague. Designed by Czech architect Vlado Milunić in collaboration with Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, the Dancing House was completed in 1996. Its unique and unconventional design resembles a pair of dancers in motion, hence the name.
The building’s curvaceous and flowing structure creates a striking contrast to the surrounding traditional buildings in the area. The Dancing House consists of two parts, with one side featuring a glass tower and the other side shaped like a concrete cylinder. It has become a symbol of modern architecture, attracting locals and tourists alike. Inside, visitors can find a hotel, several restaurants, and a rooftop terrace with breathtaking views of Prague’s skyline, including famous landmarks such as Prague Castle and the Vltava River.
5. The Municipal House
Located near the Powder Tower in the downtown, the Municipal House is a stunning Art Nouveau building that showcases Prague’s artistic heritage. This grand building was built in the early 20th century and serves nowadays as a venue for various cultural events, including concerts, exhibitions, and conferences.
With its opulent interiors adorned with intricate details, such as stunning mosaics and elaborate chandeliers, the Municipal House stands as a testament to Prague’s rich artistic heritage. It is also home to the Smetana Hall, a renowned concert hall known for its exceptional acoustics, making it a favorite destination for music enthusiasts.
Prague’s architectural landmarks are not just static structures; they embody the city’s rich history and cultural heritage. Exploring these magnificent sites will transport you to a different era and leave you with a deep appreciation for the beauty and craftsmanship that Prague has to offer.
Are you looking for very unique accommodation in Prague?
We have hand-picked some of the most amazing hotels in Prague that offer one-of-a-kind experiences to their guests. They are located in fabulous spots or boast beautiful views from the rooms or from the premises. The excellent service that they provide is reflected in the guest reviews. While they may be in the luxury or premium segment, it is worth noting that the rates for luxury and high-end hotels in Prague and the rest of Czechia are significantly lower than for hotels of similar standard in the world's major cities, such as New York, London or Paris.
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Top 5 Neighbourhoods to Explore in Prague
Exploring Prague’s historic neighborhoods is like stepping into a fairytale. Each neighbourhood has its own unique charm and architectural marvels that will leave you in awe.
1. The Old Town
One of the most famous neighbourhoods in Prague is the Old Town, where you’ll find the iconic Astronomical Clock in the picturesque Old Town Square, and the beautiful Gothic-style Church of Our Lady before Týn. Strolling through its narrow cobblestone streets, you’ll be surrounded by colorful buildings adorned with stunning Gothic and Baroque facades. As you wander through the narrow cobblestone streets, you will be transported back in time.
Don’t forget to explore the winding alleys and hidden courtyards, which are lined with shops, cafes, and restaurants offering a taste of traditional Czech cuisine. Whether you are a history enthusiast or simply looking to soak up the charming ambiance, the Old Town of Prague is a must-visit place.
2. Malá Strana
The iconic Charles Bridge connects the Old Town with Malá Strana, known in English as the Lesser Town. It is another must-visit neighborhood in the Golden City. Malá Strana is characterized by its charming Renaissance and Baroque architecture. As you wander through its streets, you’ll encounter beautiful palaces, charming gardens, and breathtaking views of the city.
The neighborhood is also famous for its quaint cafes, restaurants, and boutique shops, where visitors can indulge in local delicacies and shop for unique souvenirs. With its cobblestone streets and charming atmosphere, Malá Strana provides a tranquil and captivating experience for both locals and tourists alike.
For a taste of Prague’s medieval past, head to the Josefov neighborhood, the former Jewish Quarter. Here, you’ll find the historic Jewish Cemetery and the stunning Spanish Synagogue, showcasing exquisite Moorish Revival architecture. The neighborhood has a rich history and is home to several fascinating museums and monuments.
A prominent site in Josefov is the Jewish Cemetery, where thousands of tombstones are densely packed, an eerie yet poignant reminder of the community’s history. Visitors can explore the Jewish Museum, which showcases exhibitions on Jewish culture and history, including artifacts from the Holocaust. The narrow streets and charming buildings in Josefov add to the unique and immersive experience of walking through this historically significant neighborhood.
If you’re seeking a hip and vibrant atmosphere, make your way to Žižkov, often referred to as the Montmartre of Prague, or its “hipster district”. This neighborhood is famous for its quirky and artistic vibe, with colorful street art adorning the walls and a plethora of trendy cafes, bars, and restaurants to explore.
One of the most notable landmarks in Žižkov is the TV Tower, which is a prominent feature on the city’s skyline. The tower offers panoramic views of Prague and its surrounding areas, making it a popular tourist attraction. The neighborhood is well-connected by public transportation, making it easily accessible for those wanting to explore its various attractions.
Lastly, don’t miss the charming neighborhood of Vinohrady, known for its beautiful Art Nouveau buildings and leafy streets. This residential area offers a more relaxed atmosphere, with plenty of parks, cozy cafes, and local markets to enjoy.
Vinohrady is also home to several parks and green spaces, such as Riegrovy Sady, where residents can enjoy picnics and outdoor activities. The neighborhood is dotted with cozy cafes, trendy restaurants, and local shops, providing a vibrant and diverse culinary scene.
Exploring Prague’s historic neighbourhoods is like stepping back in time, with their captivating architecture and timeless beauty. Each neighborhood has its own story to tell, and wandering through their streets will transport you to a different era. So grab a map, put on your walking shoes, and immerse yourself in the enchanting world of Prague’s architectural marvels.
Top Sights in Prague – Find out more in Our Detailed Articles
If you would like to read more about the best things to see, or the recommended places to visit in Prague, please see our articles below. They contain more detailed information with maps, practical tips and beautiful photo galleries.
Selected Museums in Prague
The Franz Kafka MuseumAddress: Muzeum Franze Kafky, Cihelná 2b, 118 00 Prague 1
Phone: +420 257 535 373
The City of Prague MuseumAddress: Muzeum hlavního města Prahy, Kožná 1, 110 00 Prague 1
Phone: +420 221 012 911
The Czech Beer MuseumAddress: Beer Museum, Husova 7, 110 00 Prague 1
Phone: +420 778 072 337
The Josef Sudek GalleryAddress: Galerie Josefa Sudka, Úvoz 24, 118 00 Prague 1
Phone: +420 778 543 900
The Náprstek Museum of Asian, African and American CulturesAddress: Náprstkovo muzeum asijských, afrických a amerických kultur, Betlémské náměstí 1, 110 00 Praha 1
Phone: +420 224 497 500
The Mucha MuseumAddress: Muchovo muzeum, Panská 7, 11000 Praha 1
Phone: +420 224 216 415
The Jewish Museum in PragueAddress: Židovské muzeum v Praze, U staré školy 141/1, Josefov, 110 00 Prague 1
Phone: +420 222 749 211
The Apple MuseumAddress: Apple Museum, Husova 156, 110 00 Prague 1
Phone: +420 774 414 775
Introduction to Prague’s public transportation system
While the Old Town of Prague can be explored on foot (assuming you are in good shape and don’t have disabilities), if you would like to visit other parts of the city, you will need use taxis or public transportation. As a tourist, navigating a new city with public transportation can be daunting, but fear not! Prague’s efficient and extensive public transportation system is here to make your exploration journey seamless and enjoyable.
The backbone of Prague’s public transportation system is the integrated network of trams, buses, and metro lines. Trams, the iconic red and yellow vehicles that glide through the city streets, are a convenient way to travel above ground and take in the picturesque views. Buses, on the other hand, provide access to areas not covered by the tram network, ensuring that no corner of the Golden City is left unexplored. And let’s not forget the metro, a fast and reliable underground railway system that connects key areas of the city.
One of the best things about the city’s public transportation system is its affordability and accessibility. With a variety of ticket options available, including single-ride tickets, day passes, and longer-term passes, you can choose the option that best suits your travel needs. Plus, Prague’s public transportation operates around the clock, ensuring that you can move around the city at any time of the day or night.
To make navigating the system even easier, Prague’s public transportation offers a range of user-friendly resources. Maps and timetables are readily available at stations and online, helping you plan your routes and explore the city with confidence. Additionally, digital ticketing options allow you to conveniently purchase and validate your tickets using your smartphone, saving you time and effort.
Types of public transportation in Prague
- Trams: Trams are the heart and soul of Prague’s public transportation network. These vehicles traverse the city’s streets, offering an excellent way to explore the different neighborhoods and attractions. With an extensive network of tram lines, you can easily reach the most popular sights. Trams are known for their reliability and frequency, making them a convenient mode of transport for both locals and tourists.
- Metro: Prague’s metro system is another popular choice for getting around the city. With three lines – A (green), B (yellow), and C (red) – the metro covers a large part of the city, connecting various neighborhoods and important landmarks. The metro is known for its cleanliness, efficiency, and speed, making it an ideal choice for longer journeys or when you want to quickly reach your destination. The metro operates from early morning until midnight, with trains running at regular intervals.
- Buses and trolleybuses: Prague’s bus network is extensive and complements the tram and metro lines. Buses are particularly useful for reaching destinations that are not directly served by trams or metro stations. They cover the entire city, including residential areas and suburbs, ensuring that you can easily access any part of Prague. Bus routes are well-marked, and the timetable is readily available, making it easy to plan your journey.
- Funicular: For a unique and scenic transportation experience, Prague offers a funicular that will take you to the top of Petřín Hill, which provides stunning panoramic views of the city.
- Ferries: Although Prague is not a coastal city, it is blessed with the Vltava River, which adds to the charm of the transportation options. During the warmer months, ferries operate on the river, allowing you to enjoy a leisurely cruise while moving between different parts of the city. This offers a refreshing alternative to the usual modes of transportation and provides an opportunity to appreciate Prague from a different perspective.