Visiting Prague for the first time?
This beautiful city attracts millions of visitors every year. However, as with any popular tourist destination, there are some things to keep in mind when planning your trip to Prague.
For example, you’ll want to spend more than three days in the city, and pack cobble-proof shoes!
So, without further ado, let’s look at the most essential tips for visiting Prague.
1. Visit in September
The best time to visit Prague is in September. The weather is mild, the summer crowds have dispersed, and there are many festivals and events happening in the city.
If you’re lucky, you might even see some autumn foliage!
The Czechs celebrate St. Wenceslas Day on September 28th, as well as Czech Statehood Day, which is a public holiday.
2. Stay in Mala Strana
Mala Strana, or the Lesser Town, is a beautiful neighborhood in Prague. It offers a quieter and more authentic experience than the Old Town.
It’s also home to many historic buildings, including Prague Castle, and has a charm of its own.
Consider staying in Mala Strana to get a taste of the city’s true character. We booked 10 nights at the Three Golden Crown Apartments, right in the heart of the neighbourhood.
Our apartment was super clean and cosy, with a nice little kitchen, a spacious bedroom, and a private bathroom.
Plus, the apartments are within walking distance of Charles Bridge and Prague Castle. There are also several bars and restaurants on the same street.
3. Spend a full week in the city
Prague is a city with much to see and do, and a full week is the ideal amount of time to truly experience everything it has to offer.
You’ll be able to explore the city at a leisurely pace and have plenty of time to discover its hidden gems.
Here’s a quick 7-day Prague itinerary:
- Day 1: Prague Castle and the surrounding gardens
- Day 2: The main sites in the Old Town, including Clementinum, and the Astronomical Clock.
- Day 3: The Jewish Quarter and Letna Hill
- Day 4: Vysehrad and the New Town
- Day 5: Petrin Hill and Strahov Monastery
- Day 6: Wenceslas Square and the National Museum
- Day 7: Vinohrady and Grébovka Gardens
We spent 10 days in Prague and still felt that it wasn’t enough!
4. Wear good walking shoes
Prague is a walkable city, with many attractions within walking distance of each other. However, the city’s cobblestone streets can be challenging to navigate in heels or shoes with thin soles.
To make the most of your time in Prague, wear comfortable walking shoes that can handle uneven terrain. You’ll be able to explore the city without worrying about foot pain – or twisting your ankle!
It’s almost impossible to avoid cobbles in Prague. You’ll find them in almost every street, and they come in different shapes and sizes.
I recommend wearing hiking boots in Prague – or walking shoes with thick, padded soles.
5. Get off the tourist trail
Prague is a popular tourist destination, which means that some areas can get pretty crowded.
While you’ll definitely want to see the city’s main attractions, such as Charles Bridge and Prague Castle, don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path.
Prague has many hidden corners and lesser-known sites. These include the stunning Strahov Monastery and the ancient fort of Vysehrad.
6. Stamp your tickets!
While Prague is a walkable city, you might prefer to use public transport to get around.
The city has an efficient public transportation system that includes buses, trams, and the metro.
You can buy tickets at vending machines located in metro stations. Consider purchasing a multi-day pass if you plan to use public transport frequently during your stay.
When using public transport in Prague, make sure that you timestamp your paper ticket at validation machines. You can find these machines on buses, trams, and at metro stations.
If an inspector checks your ticket and doesn’t find it timestamped, you risk getting a large fine.
7. Explore the parks and gardens
Prague is home to many beautiful parks and gardens. These provide a peaceful escape from the city’s bustling streets.
For example, Letná Park offers stunning views of Prague and is a popular spot for picnics and leisurely strolls.
Other notable parks include Petřín Hill, which has a miniature Eiffel Tower, and the Wallenstein Garden, which is home to peacocks and a beautiful Baroque palace.
8. Avoid eating out in the Old Town Square
The Old Town Square is a beautiful and historic part of Prague, but it’s also a popular tourist destination. As a result, many of the restaurants and bars in the area are overpriced.
You could end up paying 20 euros for three beers if you happen to be sitting right in front of the Astronomical Clock (been there, done that, never again!).
To get a more authentic experience, consider exploring other parts of the city for dining and drinking options. For example, Vinohrady is known for its trendy atmosphere and lively dining scene.
If you want a hearty Czech meal with a modern twist, check out Blue Wagon in Vinohrady:
They serve a variety of dishes, all prepared with fresh ingredients and reasonably priced. Plus, the service is very good!
9. Walk across Charles Bridge early in the morning
Charles Bridge is one of Prague’s most famous landmarks, and it can get quite crowded during the day.
To avoid the crowds, try getting to the bridge early in the morning. You’ll be able to enjoy the beautiful views of the city without having to jostle your way through throngs of tourists.
You’ll also want to take a walk along Charles Bridge at night. The Gothic buildings at either end of the bridge give the city a very eerie yet romantic ambiance!
10. Drink beer at U Glaubicu
U Glaubicu is a traditional Czech pub located in Mala Strana, right next to St. Nicholas Church. It’s a popular spot among both locals and tourists, and is known for its excellent beer and cozy atmosphere.
Plus, it claims to offer the cheapest beer in Prague! So stop by for a pint or two, and experience the local pub culture.
11. Try the pork knuckles at Pork’s
Pork’s in Mala Strana is a popular restaurant known for its delicious pork knuckles. This traditional Czech dish is a must-try when in Prague, and Pork’s is one of the best places to sample it.
They also offer several other pork-based dishes. I recommend the pork scratchings as a starter!
12. Watch out for pickpockets and tourist scams
Like many other tourist destinations, Prague has its fair share of pickpockets and tourist scams. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and take some basic precautions.
Here are some tips for Prague to help you stay safe:
- Keep your valuables in a secure place, such as a money belt or inside pocket. Pickpocket hotspots include the Astronomical Clock and the Old Town Square.
- Be wary of strangers who approach you, especially in crowded areas like Charles Bridge. Scammers might try to sell you something or distract you while someone else steals your valuables.
- Only use official taxis, and make sure the meter is turned on. Some taxi drivers may try to overcharge tourists.
By staying alert and taking these precautions, you can enjoy your time in Prague without worrying about falling victim to pickpockets or tourist scams.
13. Indulge in trdelník
One of the best things about visiting Prague is the delicious food. And if there’s one food you have to try while you’re there, it’s trdelník.
This sweet pastry is made by wrapping dough around a spit and roasting it over an open flame. It’s then coated in sugar and cinnamon, making it the perfect treat for a chilly day.
You can find trdelník all over the city, from street vendors to cafes and restaurants. Plus, you can get it with chocolate, strawberries, cream, and other mouth-watering ingredients.
14. You don’t need to tip, but round up the bill
Tipping culture varies from country to country. In the Czech Republic, you’re not expected to tip at restaurants.
However, it’s still a good idea to round up your bill as a gesture of appreciation for good service. For example, if your bill comes to 220 CZK, you could leave 250 CZK.
Note that some places might include a service charge in the bill.
15. Try the wine and absinthe
The Czech Republic has a long tradition of wine-making, and the wine produced in the country is often overlooked in favor of its more famous beer.
However, Czech wine is starting to gain recognition for its unique taste and quality. The Moravian region, in particular, is known for producing some of the best wines in the country.
Absinthe, on the other hand, is a strong alcoholic drink that is made by distilling herbs and spices, including wormwood. Although it was banned for many years due to its hallucinogenic properties, it’s now legal and widely available in Prague.
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