Rome, Paris, and Madrid are some of the well-known global cities of Europe attracting travelers. But are you familiar with Prague a lesser-known international European city in central Europe that will not disappoint in comparison?
The capital city of the Czech Republic is also its largest city. Prague has a gilded past filled with history and riches as the Bohemian Kingdom of the Holy Roman Empire and a key city of the Austro-Hungarian Habsburg empire.
Prague is culturally comparable to the formerly mentioned iconic European cities, offering modern amenities, theatres, galleries, and museums scattered throughout the region.
Having survived the second world war, “The golden city of a hundred spires” is named for the extensive number of towers that fill her skyline. Prague stands as a baroque historic center of world heritage sites drawing visitors to her endless number of architectural gems. Breathtaking cathedrals, historic palaces, and hundreds of statues scattered throughout this very walkable city make it a must-visit.
Visiting Prague offers amazing opportunities to tour attractions and sites, read on to further investigate which ones ought to be at the top of a must-see list and why.
Prague Castle –
One of the most visited sites in Prague is a 9th-century castle, that is Prague’s namesake. The complex has been in use continuously as the ruling location for emperors, kings, queens, and presidents since its erection. At 750,000 square feet, this ancient castle has been declared the largest in the world. If that isn’t daunting enough, she also sits high above the city on a hill overlooking the Vltava River, making her appear even larger than reality.
Step into the past by watching the changing of the guard ceremony from the grand entrance at Matthias’ gate. All within a stone’s throw from the entrance of the massive compound are stunning cathedrals, mesmerizing from the spires outside to the glittered treasures within. The old royal palaces represent the original medieval and renaissance architecture and tell the stories of their past residents. The various beautifully manicured gardens that once entertained nobility are all waiting to be discovered and enjoyed.
Due to its popularity and the number of sites, it is highly recommended to purchase tickets in advance.
Old Town –
Not far from the castle is the historic “Old Town” quarter of Prague. The oldest part of Prague dates back to the 10th century when it was the central marketplace.
Later developed in the 12th century as the significant center of the city, it became the location for some of the Czech most notable historical events including riots, revolutions, and executions.
Surrounded by a mixture of architectural buildings built in various styles, at first sight, you will find gothic churches and the medieval Old Town Hall with an astronomical clock, one of the oldest working clocks in the world.
As you venture further along the cobblestoned streets past residences and shops you come upon the Jewish quarter. (Josefov) is near Old Town Square and the Vltava River. From the ruins of buildings and synagogues, you can follow the history of the former Jewish Ghetto from its beginning in the 13th century to its destruction during World War II. A guided tour is a must to fully appreciate this area of Prague.
Located nearby the old town, crossing over the Vltava river are the towers of the famed stone arch Charles Bridge. Named after the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. Lined with statues representing saints, patron saints, and some of Prague’s most famous inhabitants, the pedestrian bridge, connects the old town and the lesser town of Prague
Prague’s less visited upper castle on the east bank of the Vltava is a 10th-century fort. Believed to be the location of the original Prague settlement, here you will find a fortified castle built up with bastions, ramparts, and gates. The Vyšehrad complex is a location popular with Praguer’s with many opportunities for outdoor recreation to enjoy local celebrations.
Within the ancient fortification, many hidden gems can be found and if that does not draw you here, the stunning views over Prague make this a location worth exploring. The castle serves as a historic monument of the reign of Czech dukes and contains many architectural riches. The Saints Peter and Paul Basilica is a neo-gothic church originally built in the 10th century featuring intricately adorned pic worthy twin towers that are easily spotted from the river. Vyšehrad cemetery is the final resting place for hundreds of Czech most famous past residents including artists, composers, and writers, among others from the 18th and 19th centuries. Within the fortress grounds, there is plenty of green space where you will find locals enjoying the area out for a jog and on weekends, frequenting the restaurants and bars making this experience more culturally immersive.
Tip: The Prague Card is the perfect companion for an all-inclusive city pass. It will get you into every site you want to see.
Prague is a gilded and historic destination treating you to beautiful architecture and innumerable cathedrals that draw you into the various town squares filled with friendly Czech culture. As a modern city, Prague offers all the necessary amenities with easy-to-access public transportation, luxurious accommodations, and some of the best shopping and dining in the heart of Europe. When desiring to experience the best of central European cities, we recommend spending time in Prague among other breathtaking cities like Vienna, Salzburg, and Budapest. A top travel experience is enjoying these iconic regions on a ten-night river cruise traveling along the Danube River.
Find out more about the river cruise experience from our website.