You’ve got to read that title and think, “there is no way you can do Prague in a weekend,” and – you’re absolutely correct! You can’t do EVERYTHING Prague has to offer over a weekend…but you can put a good dent in it!
Now, since this will be a quick trip, let’s dive right into how to explore the City of a Hundred Spires best! If you are going to really make a dent in the city, you need a plan – or even better, a MAP! Now I can’t draw a complete map for you, but I can guide you on a short route to follow!
This route will take you from the heart of the Old Town, through the winding streets and up the rising hills to the view and the ancient castle of Prague. Are you ready? Tighten your shoelaces, and let’s go!
1) Old Town Square
You will probably visit the Old Town Square in the city’s heart when you are out and about in Prague. Once a thriving market, this square is now a pedestrian area with shops, hotels, restaurants, and bars, a place to meet fellow travelers and take in some of the city’s most jaw-dropping sights.
Around the square, you will find some of the city’s most impressive medieval buildings; this includes the Old Town City Hall, which was built in 1364 and has maintained its fame because of the Astronomical Clock. The northern portion of the square stands the 18th-century Saint Nicholas Church, where countless classical concerts take place all year, and each evening, the sunset’s rays gleam against the white facade of the church.
Overlooking the square, the 14th-century Tyn Church is probably the most photographed religious site in the city, laded with gothic spires (access inside is through the Tyn School – another impressive Gothic building).
On the South side, beautiful Baroque and Renaissance buildings are named after their house signs: At the Golden Unicorn, At the Blue Star, At the Stone Ram, and At the Red Fox. Throughout the city’s history, the buildings weren’t numbered but identified by their names.
If you want to climb or take an elevator to the top of the clock tower for a 360-degree bird’s eye view of the city – it is worth the cost to enter! To save money, you can purchase a Prague City Pass.
2) Church of our Lady before Tyn
The grand Church of Our Lady before Tyn, with a 14th-century Gothic edifice characterized by its irregular twin towers capped by four small spires, dominates not only the Old Town Square but can also be seen from everywhere around the city.
Like the nearby Hus Monument, the Tyn Church is a source of Czech national pride, adding to the overall feel of “Magic Prague” – it is no wonder that Disney used it as part of his inspiration for his fairytale castle.
The best exterior view is found by climbing the clock tower across the square. The interior is a beautiful triumph of gilded wood – the product of Baroque transformation with countless alters everywhere! Us Astronomy nerds enjoy taking a moment at the stunning marble tomb of Tycho Brahe, who served as Rudolf II’s “personal consultant” (right next to the tomb – look for a wood relief carving that shows him holding astronomical symbols), much as the chance to wander the imposing 17th-century organ. They also have concerts here for a small fee, and trust me…it is worth it!
3) Astronomical Clock
The most famous and intriguing feature of the Old Town Hall since the 1400s, the Horologe (Astronomical Cock), is a marvel to behold. The sophistication of its form – the moving features set in motion on the stroke of each hour by a complex mechanism, the astronomical and calendar dials – reveals the degree of scientific advancement of its creators.
The first version of the horologe was completed in 1410 by Jan Růže, the old town locksmith, who produced a timepiece based on the pendulum system. In 1552 the clock was repaired again.
In 1629 wooden statues were installed, followed by the Apostles’ figures added in 1787-1791. During another significant repair, in 1865-1866, the golden figure of a crowing rooster emerged. The most recent repairs, after World War II, saw the badly damaged original statues replaced with copies later. Still, despite the numerous repairs, the most fundamental features of the clock remain unchanged.
The clock face represented the Earth and the Sky: one part of the day and the other for the night. The outer ring shows old Bohemian time, while the astronomical dial charts the Sun’s and planets’ movement around the Earth. The third dial charts the movement of the Sun and the Moon through zodiac signs. Around the edge, yet another pointer shows what day of the month and week it is, and (some think, what saint’s day it is).
4) Karlova Street
If you continue to follow the “Royal Route” from the Old Town to Prague Castle, a part of it will take you through Karlova Street, and I’m sure you will want to spend a little more time exploring it little more. Karlova Street begins at the Square of the Knights of the Cross and ends near the Charles Bridge. Most buildings have Baroque facades but keep their Gothic or Romanesque cellars and vaults.
If you’ve been taking photos thus far of the house signs, you can add several to your collection of photos. “At the Blue Pike” was once a pub frequented by Wenceslas IV and his magician Zito; “At the French Crown,” where the German Astronomer J. Kepler lived; “At the Golden Crown”/”At the White Horse,” once two Gothic houses; the house sign is the original and dates back to the 16th century.
5) Old Town Bridge Tower
The entire beauty of the city of Prague can’t be summarized with just a few photos from the street – it is time to take it aerially! The architecture is best seen when you visit the towers and many spires of the city. Time to start climbing! This tower was built in the 14th Century and was part of the old fortification built to protect the city from invaders coming from the North. From above the arch, you can see the coat of arms of the Bohemian Kingdom and the symbol of Wenceslas IV, a kingfisher. Above these are the three statues: Charles IV on the right, Wenceslas IV on the left, and St Vitus in the middle. Statues of St Vojtech and St Sigismund are higher up, near the top of the tower.
The east and the west facades were once also decorated, but the west side decorations were destroyed by invading Swedish troops in 1648. Marking that period is a stone plaque depicting citizens of Prague repelling the Swedes, installed shortly after.
6) Charles Bridge
This is one of the most renowned iconic sights of the city of Prague. The famous historic bridge crosses the Vltava (Moldau) river in Prague. Its construction started in 1357 under the auspices of King Charles IV and was completed 45 years later in 1402. A legend has it that the construction began precisely at 5:31 a.m. on 9 July 1357, with the first stone being laid by Charles IV himself. This exact time was very important to the Holy Roman Emperor as he firmly believed in numerology and felt that this specific time, which formed a palindrome (1357 9, 7 5:31), was a numerical bridge and would imbue Charles Bridge with additional strength.
As the only means of crossing the Vltava, standing 516 meters long, nearly 10 meters wide, and resting on 16 arches shielded by ice guards, the Charles Bridge had been the most critical connection between the Old Town, Prague Castle, and the adjacent areas until 1841.
This is where a lot of the lift of the city happens! Artists
7) Bridge Street (Mostecka)
Passing through the arch shared by the Lesser Town Bridge Towers, you will find yourself on Mostecká (“The Bridge”) street. Flanked by colorful, gabled Renaissance Baroque and sometimes Rococo facades dating back to the 14th-18th centuries, this narrow cobblestone thoroughfare has existed for 750 years, linking Charles Bridge to The Lesser Town Square.
Some of the facades still carry original decorations, such as a chained bear at No. 4, the cellist Zelenka bust, a beautiful door in bronze at No. 17, three goats at No. 18, and more. On the right, on the Malá Strana side, ahead of The towers, you can see the House painted with three ostriches.
This Renaissance-style edifice now houses a Hotel, but before, it was the home of Jan Fux, The feather merchant and fashion designer Who sold ostrich plumes and other precious Bird feathers – quite fashionable at the time. For decorating ladies’ hats, courtiers’ and Officers’ headgear, horse trappings, fans, and Other garments.
In 1606, Fux invited Daniel Alexius from Květná to paint this bombastic advertisement over the façade to promote As you take a stroll along “the Bridge,” Further, make sure to check out also the Gothic tower in the courtyard of “At the Three Golden Bells,” the ‘At the Black Eagle” house for its lavish sculptural décor and magnificent Baroque wrought-iron Grille, as well as the ornate Rococo façade of The Kaunic Palace The lower part of the street is lined with Boutique shops, restaurants, and bars, all Catering to the passing tourists.
8) Lesser Town Square
Ever since the 10th century, Prague’s Lesser Town Square has been a significant marketplace and epicenter of activity on the left side of the river. Today, it is still abuzz with restaurants, pubs, and shops and is well worth an extended visit to see the many remarkable buildings lining it.
Among them is the 14th century Old Town Hall where non-catholic nobles once wrote “Ceste Konfese,” demanding religious tolerance. The centerpiece of the square is the impressive 18th-century Baroque St Nicholas Church. Built on the remains of a Gothic chapel, this church boasts some genuinely beautiful frescoes, including some truly beautiful frescoes, including a 1,500-square meter one on the ceiling and statues.
If you happen to relax over a drink at the renowned Malostranska taverna, make sure to realize that you are sitting in what was once the Gromling Palace, the most essential Rococo building in Prague. On the northern edge of the square, you will find Smiricky House, where the city nobles used to gather in 1618 to plot the assassination of Imperial Catholic Governors.
The latter was thrown out of the window but miraculously survived, thus sparking the “30-year” war. The nearby Sternberg Palace today is used by the National Gallery for expositions. On the façade of the 18th-century Kaiserstein Palace, you will see the bust of the famous Czech soprano Emma Destinnova, who lived here in the early 20th century.
Why You Should Visit:
Historic Prague, at its core, is replete with unique historical palaces and monuments.
Stop by to browse the small shops, explore The churches or taste some traditional Czech Cuisine.
9) St. Nicholas Church (Lesser Town)
The Church of Saint Nicholas, also known As St. Nicholas’s Cathedral, is a Baroque Church in Lesser Town, Prague. It was built between 1704 and 1755 on the site Previously occupied by a Gothic church Since the 13th century, also dedicated to St Nicholas.
Constructed by Christoph Dientzenhofer and his son Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer, the new temple has been Described as “the most impressive example Of Prague Baroque” and “without doubt the Greatest Baroque church in Prague and the Dientzenhofers’ supreme achievement”.
The building excels not only in architecture but also in decoration. Its Baroque-style Organ has over 4,000 pipes, up to six meters In length each, and is known to have been Played by none other than Mozart himself In 1787. The 79-meter tall belfry is directly connected to the church’s massive dome and Offers terrific panoramic views of the city.
Why You Should Visit:
Spectacular Baroque cathedral, with plenty Of historical information
Climb to the second floor for a closer look At the ceiling paintings. You may also attend one-hour concerts Daily at 6 PM (except Tuesday) from the End of March till early November. Advent And Christmas concerts start at 5 PM (on selected days only)
10) Nerudova Street
You will find Nerudova Street in The Lesser Town area, and if you don’t mind walking up a rather steep hill, this street makes for a Very interesting visit, mainly if you collect House-signs. The street is named after Jan Neruda, the writer who used the Lesser Town area as The backdrop for his stories and essays.
The Buildings are Renaissance or Baroque, but Most have kept their Gothic origins in the Form of cellars and vaults. The Embassy of Romania is housed in Morzin Palace, with Its statues of two Moors holding up the Balcony.
The Italian Embassy is found at Thun-Hobenstein Palace and has a pair of Eagles spreading their wings over portal Thun-Hobenstein Palace and has a pair of eagles spreading their wings over the portal. The street is full of quaint pubs, restaurants, and shops. House signs were used before houses were numbered, and Nerudova Street has plenty of fine examples.
Among others are: “At the Golden Cup,” you’ll see the symbol of goldsmiths, which dates back to 1660. “At the Three Fiddles” is where the violin maker T.Edlinger, the founder of the Prague School of Violin Making, once lived. “At the Golden Horseshoe,” you can see a real horseshoe on the foot of the painted horse, put there in 1559.
The Lesser Town is probably the most haunted area of Prague, and Nerudova Street is no exception. “At the Black Eagle” was owned by a miserly old woman who locked all her possessions away so her heirs couldn’t get them. Now you can hear her late at night, rattling several keys as she opens and closes doors to check on her treasures.
Why You Should Visit:
One of Prague’s most picturesque cobblestone streets.
11) Prague Castle
Prague Castle (Pražský hrad) is where the Kings of Bohemia and the Holy Roman Emperor. As well as, Czechoslovakia and The Czech Republic presidents have had their offices. The Bohemian Crown Jewels are kept here. Prague Castle is one of the biggest in the World (according to the Guinness Book of Records, the biggest ancient castle) at about 570 meters in length and an average of About 130 meters wide.
The castle buildings represent virtually Every architectural style of the last Millenium. The Prague Castle includes the Gothic St Vitus Cathedral, the Romanesque Basilica of St. George, a monastery; and The castle buildings represent virtually every architectural style of the last millennium.
The Prague Castle includes the Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral, the Romanesque Basilica of St. George, a monastery, and several palaces, gardens, and defense towers. Most of the castle areas are open to tourists. Nowadays, the castle houses several museums, including the National Gallery collection of Bohemian baroque and mannerism art, an exhibition dedicated to Czech history, a Toy Museum, and the picture gallery of Prague Castle, based on the collection of Rudolph II.
Why You Should Visit:
Prague’s highlight; is a remarkable blend of history with different architectural styling from the inhabitants of the castle and its walls over the years
There are multiple ticket booths, so if the main line is too long, walk into the courtyard to check the other line as well. Plan for a minimum of 3-5 hours to explore the whole Castle complex. Gardens are free; you can enjoy them as much time as you like.
12) Golden Lane
One of Prague Castle’s most fascinating areas is undoubtedly Golden Lane, where you will find a collection of tiny houses, all brightly painted. There were once 24 built up against the castle’s northern fortification in the 16th century. At first, they housed Rudolf Il’s marksmen, and legend has it that he ordered them not to build houses that exceeded the wall’s arches.
Besides being small, they were also poorly made out of stone, mud, and wood and had to be regularly restored. When the marksmen were moved to new lodgings, the tiny houses were given to various palace workers, including goldsmiths (where the name Golden Lane derived from). The most famous resident was the one and only Franz Kafka, who stayed at number 22 with His sister Ottla briefly (a memorial Plaque has been fixed to the wall).
The tiny houses were occupied until World War I1. Still, already during the period Of the First Republic, care was taken to ensure that the picturesque character of The Lane was not changed in the course of Modifications. The eleven remaining houses Have been restored and repainted and are now Used to exhibit medieval armor, weapons, and textiles or have become souvenir Shops and snack bars.
‘The Lane ends at The prison tower called Daliborka – a little and textiles, or have become souvenir Shops and snack bars. The Lane ends at The prison tower called Daliborka – a little Gory in parts, with examples of torture Instruments that are hideous (but part of History, after all)
Why You Should Visit:
To see the last remnants of Prague Castle’s Small-scale architecture. No golden Pavement, unfortunately, but plenty of Cobblestones, colorful facades, a few small Windows, and fascinating histories.
Buying a ticket will grant access to other parts of the complex, including Prague Castle. If you’d rather not pay for the ticket, you May still walk through the street after 5 pm, Although most houses and shops are closed by then.