Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. It's often referred to as the “City of a Hundred Spires,” and it's no wonder. From its bridges to its castles and towers, Prague has a fairy-tale feel that transports people back to an older time.
You can see this when you're strolling along Vltava River, admiring the views from the many arched bridges that span it. A favorite pastime for tourists is walking across the Charles Bridge—a wide stone archway, flanked by statues of saints on either side—that connects the Old Town district with Prague Castle high above.
Once you reach the top of the hill where Prague Castle stands guard over its city, you'll get even more views that take your breath away. This castle is an enormous complex made up of several palaces and buildings constructed over 900 years ago by kings and emperors who wanted to live in luxury (and safety). In addition to being a fortification system, these powerful men used their castle residences as places where they could invite their friends (who were other kings and queens) over for parties—a bit like having a penthouse in Brooklyn today!
Prague Castle is a complex full of beautiful architecture and an interesting history. The grounds offer fascinating museums, galleries, gorgeous gardens, and grand palaces to explore. It has held the Guinness World Record for the largest ancient castle in the world since 1970, with an area of almost 70,000 square meters (750,000 square feet).
The castle's palace areas are mostly open to the public every day from 6 am until midnight. You can take a guided tour of St. Vitus Cathedral or roam the grounds on your own. You can visit a variety of museums including Convent of St. George Museum and Story of Prague Castle exhibit; check out galleries including Toy Museum and Franz Kafka Gallery; see palaces such as Golden Lane Palace and Daliborka Tower; or catch an evening concert at St. George Basilica or in one of the halls within the palace complex.
If you're traveling to Prague and want to enjoy the city's most famous landmarks, be sure to visit the Charles Bridge. It's a stone bridge lined with statues of saints that crosses the Vltava River. The Old Town area is another spot you won't want to miss, as it has colorful buildings and historic monuments like the Astronomical Clock, Tyn Church (an impressive Gothic structure), and Wenceslas Square.
If you're looking for a peaceful escape from the crowds, set out early on a weekday morning. This is an especially good idea if you plan to take pictures—you'll have the entire bridge to yourself if you do this!
Constructed in 1357, the Charles Bridge was named after King Charles IV, who came up with the concept and oversaw its construction. Prague's previous bridge was destroyed by floods in 1342 and 1357, so it was important that this one be as sturdy as possible—and it's held up well over time. The only major damage occurred in 1683 during a massive flood when two of the statues fell into the Vltava River. All of them were replaced between 1844 and 1928 (including those lost during past floods), but some of those originals still remain.
You can find most of these statues along the bridge's southern edge (the Střecha side). A popular one is St. John of Nepomuk, which has a small metal plate at its base inscribed with five stars that represent his death by drowning while in prison (he was thrown off this very bridge!). Legend has it that rubbing this plate brings good luck and many visitors try their luck at it throughout each day. You'll notice that many of these statues are covered with small tin or gold plaques or ribbons left by others hoping for luck in love or health.
Did you know that Prague is the “beer capital of the world”? Beer culture is big in the Czech Republic, so it’s not really a surprise that beer tours are some of the most popular activities for visitors. From pilsners to lagers to stouts, there are many varieties and local brands to try. A visit to a brewery isn’t just an opportunity to drink great beer; it’s also a chance to learn about Czech culture and meet other travelers who share your passion for all things fermented.
Prague is one of Europe's most affordable cities for travelers. In fact, it is consistently ranked as one of the cheapest cities in Europe for tourists to visit. You can find cheap hotels and hostels throughout the city center, where you'll also find plenty of affordable restaurants. Transport within Prague is also very cheap, and a beer costs just $1 USD! To save money on your trip to Prague, I highly recommend staying in a hostel instead of a hotel to save money on accommodation. Traveling through Europe by train? It's really easy to get around cheaply, but if you're planning on visiting several countries consider purchasing an Interrail pass (also known as Eurail) that allows you to travel through several countries on one ticket!
If you’re going to visit Prague, make sure you plan your trip around one of the many festivals that take place throughout the year. There are music festivals such as the United Islands and the Stromovka Summer Festival, where you can listen to local and international bands in some of Prague’s most beautiful venues. If you want to embrace the LGBT community and support equality, then don’t miss out on attending Prague Pride, when a rainbow-colored river flows through the Vltava River. If you come at a time when no festivals are taking place then there is still plenty for you to do in this enchanting city. You could venture up Petrin Hill, where the famous Eiffel tower of Paris has been replicated on a much smaller scale. Explore the Jewish quarter of Josefov where there are six synagogues for you to visit and learn about Jewish culture. Take a stroll down Charles Bridge and marvel at this Gothic bridge that spans across the Vltava river in its glory or have fun wandering around Old Town Square where there are loads of souvenir stores selling traditional artworks or handcrafted goods from Bohemia glassware to wooden toys.
Prague has been a bucket list destination for some time, but it's only recently climbed to the top of the list. In fact, Prague is now one of Europe's most popular cities and is quickly becoming a city that draws in both casual and serious travelers alike!
The reason for its newfound popularity is simple: Prague has everything. It's got history; it's got culture, it's got world-class food and drink. It also happens to be one of the cheapest cities in Europe—so much so that visitors often find themselves putting more items on their bucket list just to spend more time here.