Prague is a magical city, and most of the people simply fall in love with its charm. I used to live there for a year so trust me, I know where you should go to see the best places in Prague like a local! I prepared a guide around top sights in Prague. You will see the most beautiful spots, not just the well crossed by majority of tourists, but also the off the beaten path gems in Prague. I invite you for a lovely walk during which you will explore the best places in Prague like a local. Walk full of old architecture and astonishing views over the city.
What to see in Prague? See Prague like a local!
Let’s start our walk from the most important place which is the old square with the City Hall and beautiful churches. You are not going to miss that! Especially, the Pražský orloj which is the oldest astronomical clock in the world still operating. The clock mechanism itself is a masterpiece! It includes three main components: the astronomical dial, representing the position of the Sun and Moon in the sky and displaying various astronomical details. Secondly, “The Walk of the 12 Apostles”, a clockwork hourly show of figures of the Apostles and other moving sculptures for instance figure of Death (represented by a skeleton) striking the time. Third part is a calendar dial with medallions representing the months. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it?
Just next to the old market starts the Jewish Quarter with an old synagog and a cemetery. It’s also the most expensive part of Prague with Dior and so on shops.
Continue our walk towards famous Charles Bridge – monument which is an absolute must-see among tourists. Always crowded? No! I was told by my lovely Couch Surfing guest that there are two places in the world which are the best for the sunrise; First is Angkor Wat in Cambodia and second is Charles Bridge in Prague. I am not sure if sunrise on the Charles Bridge could be my favorite, but good photos and no crowd are surely the reasons to consider waking up early. The most beautiful sunrises I have seen in Indonesia so far, on the Bromo Volcano and Borobodur temple. I would add few more to this list, like Bagan in Myanmar or Merapi Volcano in Indonesia. Do you think preparing an article about the best sunrise spots around the world is a good idea?
Old part of the city – top sights of Prague
Walking along the Vltava river from the Charles Bridge on Malá Strana district, you can find many interesting spots to stop by. I have to admit this part is the most charming and original and sadly many tourists skip it heading straight to the castle.
One of the gems is a lovely nook of the narrowest street in the world with traffic lights! It’s just little bit more then 1 m wide and to pass through, you need to wait for a green light. It was so enjoyable to walk that way seeing people stopping and smiling when they saw those traffic lights. If you will be around, don’t miss this cute street. Press the button if the light is red and wait to go down the street to see one of the best views on the Charles Bridge!
Just after this street, walking towards Malostranská metro station, you come by the Kafka Museum. Even, if you are not interested in visiting the museum itself, I recommend entering the square in front of it. You will see an interesting sculpture of two guys peeing on Czech Republic… Metal sculptures even move their hips! More original pieces of this controversial artist later.
Nearby, still on Malá Strana district discover beautiful Wallenstein Palace Gardens. See white peacocks, amazing architecture and interesting black wall of artificial stalactites. Garden is free of charge and closed during the winter season.
Contemporary art in Prague
Not to mention Kampa Island with John Lennon’s wall which you will see walking the opposite direction from the Charles Bridge. John Lennon’s wall is always changing graffiti, as every one can add some message of peace and some colors on it.
Few steps after the graffiti, there is another piece of art waiting for you. Creepy sculptures of huge size black babies crawling around without face! They look like taken out of a horror movie! It’s an art of very famous Czech artist David Černý.
The same babies crawling on the highest building in Prague – the TV tower on Zizkov district. You can see the tower from the castle hill as well, no need to travel to Zizkov (except if you want to discover student’s pubs because it’s a student’s district). I have to mention that this tower had second place in the competition for the ugliest buildings in the world… What an award, isn’t it?
From other original pieces of David Cerny art in Prague, you can see the peeing sculpture next to the Kafka Museum ( I mentioned before). Besides, there is a hidden gem, his sculpture just next to the main walking street in Prague – Vaclavske Namesti. The main statue on that street is the king Venceslav on the horse. The sculpture hidden in Art Nouveau Lucerna Palace has exactly the same sculpture but upside-down… Hanging from the ceiling, ancient King rides triumphantly astride, apparently dead horse.
The best views in Prague – the castle hill
Walking up the hill finally you rich the pearl of Prague – the castle with Cathedral of St. Vitus. You will be overwhelmed by beauty of those buildings. Next to the cathedral, there is a golden lane. This cute little street is full of colorful houses which are all part of the museum. As it’s quite narrow and tiny, it’s crowded and you need to pay a fee. However, if you want to see the golden line for free and avoid crowds, you should come here just before closing. During the summer season at 5 pm and during winter at 4 pm. the golden lane is open for free for visitors. The only bad point is that the little shops will be already closed.
Walking farther you can step in the Strahov monastery (Strahovsky klaster), an old monastery with very good local brewery. Then continue walking along Petřin Hill enjoying view over the city. You may climb up lookout tower, if you wish to pay the fee.
When going behind the castle from the opposite side, you will enter another part of the Royal Gardens. Gardens are free of charge and it’s a great spot for taking photos.
Continue walking until you reach a huge park called Letná. The best views on Prague are from here because you have all Prague underfoot. My favorite view point is from the Letenský zámeček! Small but interesting architecturally building from where you can see few Prague’ bridges in a row.
While having a nice walk through the park and enjoying the views you will reach the metronome in the middle of the Letna park. This famous statue is a symbol of freedom after communism collapse. In the same place was standing an enormous statue of Stalin. Now square next to the metronome is very famous for young people to come for a beer, play music or use the skate-park. Don’t be surprised by long cable with many shoes hanging on it. The story behind it, is that skates were throwing their destroyed shoes on the cable. Somehow it became a tradition for travelers or Erasmus students leaving the city. Throwing shoes will make them come back to Prague again.
Best views in Prague – see Prague like a local
Riegrove sady is a truly local spot where I haven’t seen many tourists. The park is just 10 min. walk from the main street – Vaclavske Namesti. It’s the best spot in the city for a picnic with a view! On the steep hill you will always find people having picnic or beers. Why is it special? Because you have the whole castle hill of Prague in front of your eyes. I specially advice to come there for the sunset! It’s literally like a cinema, but free. You can bring your own beer or weed and enjoy the stunning view on Prague highlights.
Vysehrad is a hill around 2 km from the center of Prague. You can walk along the river to get there or take a tram. The hill has a cathedral and walls after fortification. Local legend holds that Vyšehrad was the location of the first settlement which later became Prague. It’s very peaceful place with a great view on Prague.
What about the evening in Prague?
Prague during the evening is full of people enjoying beers all around. There are numerous pubs in the center and breweries which serve fresh and high quality beer. I have to admit that Czech beer absolutely spoiled me and in my opinion is the best in the world. About Czech beer I have another post, where I recommend where to go for a beer in Prague. Czech Republic is a country of a unique beer culture. If you are confused about Czech Beer degrees and kinds I also prepared Czech beer essential guide for you. It will allow you to learn about mysterious numbers describing beers and not to get drunk baffling them.
Place to enjoy night live in Prague like a local is Naplavka! You will reach it walking or taking tram from the center along the river in the direction of Vyšehrad. Naplavka is a promenade on the river side. People come here to listen live music, talk and of course drink the favorite drink – Czech beer.
How long to stay in Prague?
If you are in a hurry, 2 days in Prague is enough to cover all the highlights of the old part and see the most beautiful spots. Enjoy your stay and walking around top sights in Prague. The more you stay, the more you will fall in love in Prague. I think one week will be the optimal to have enough time to see Prague like a local, and not just the touristic spots.
Feel free to share your favorite spots in Prague and advices on how to visit Prague like a local in the comments below. Happy travels!