When I booked my trip to Prague, I knew I had less than a day and a half to explore…cue frantic planning about top attractions, must-sees, can’t-misses—you know the articles I’m talking about. To save you that same googling, I put together a lovely list for you. If you have limited time, these are the top sites that you must see, conveniently put in a nice itinerary.
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1. Astronomical Clock
The clock was built in the 1400s, and is the oldest astronomical clock in the world that still functions. I’m going to be honest here—I actually have no idea how to read this clock, but it’s gorgeous and shiny. I figured if I looked long enough, people might actually think I knew what I was doing. The clock itself shows the sun, moon, zodiac signs, and the old Czech time scale, which is a 24 hour period based on the time of sunset. For a unique way to see the city, check out Prague’s Segway Tours.
2. Old Town Square & Old Town
After pretending to understand the convoluted clock, I spent some time wandering around Old Town Square and Old Town Prague. The architecture here has remained relatively untouched since the 10th century, which is actually quite impressive when you consider all of the wars and invasions that occurred on their soil. The square is home to lively street performers, alfresco restaurants that made me want to eat the air (seriously amazing smells–I was also quite hungry), and some of the best people watching in the city. Prague offers some awesome bus tours around the city, so make sure to take advantage!
3. Charles Bridge
Next up, grab some delectable chocolate gelato and take a stroll over the Charles Bridge, built in the late 1300s (sensing the medieval theme here?). The bridge serves as the connection between Old Town and Mala Strana, as well as the Prague Castle. The numerous baroque statues and the statue of John of Nepomuk are just a couple of the things that make the bridge special. Stop and rub the statue’s plaque to ensure good luck! If you’re up for it, the city offers an evening ghost tour to learn some scary stories of ages past!
Beware: there are two statues next two each other, and silly tourists usually don’t know which to rub for luck…I was one of those silly tourists. I rubbed both, which may explain why I missed my flight the next morning. Don’t follow in my footsteps unless you want an extra day in Prague, and then go for it!
4. John Lennon Wall
Cross the bridge, and enter Mala Strana (Lesser Quarter). Honestly, I couldn’t quite figure out how it was “lesser” than any other quarter. It seemed to have just as many architectural delights, hotels, restaurants, and most importantly, ice cream shops, as Old Town.
In any case, this area is home to the John Lennon wall. When I saw it, I was gone. A busker playing old John Lennon tunes, dreamy quotes on peace and love, and a wonderful sense of camaraderie led me to spending wayyyy more time here than anticipated, and I loved every minute of it.
5. Prague Castle:
With the afternoon flying by, I knew it was time to get to Prague Castle, which is undoubtedly the city’s top tourist attraction. Upon arrival, I could see why everyone said that I absolutely HAD to see it. It’s not so much a castle as a entire castle complex, dating back to the 9th century. (We’re still continuing with the old theme, as you can see).
The castle is now the official residence of the Czech president, and previously served as the seat of influence for powerful emperors and kings of centuries past. Sadly, the interior of the castle was closed for an event that day, but I managed to do quite a bit of exploring around the exterior. FYI–it’s worth it to take a castle tour while you’re there…you can learn so much awesome history!
Bottom Line: If you only have a day or so in Prague, these are the absolute must-see attractions. However, if you end up missing your flight like myself and need another day of slightly off-the-wall (read: less touristy) things to do in Prague, stay tuned for my next article on Prague’s 7 Best Kept Secrets! One cool idea is a sunset photo tour of Prague…I sadly ran out of time, but it’s on my bucket list!
Flights to Prague, Czech Republic: I’d recommend searching through eDreams.net. They scan tons of different travel discount sites and feature special flight deals. Fly into Prague, and grab the bus or an Uber to downtown!
Where to Stay in Prague: I personally opted to stay at Hostel Downtown since I was traveling solo. It had a fantastic location, plus a great social atmosphere. If you’d prefer a hotel, I’d recommend the Art Deco Imperial Hotel. Not only is it a fantastic location, but the hotel is an awesome spot for travelers interested in history, architecture and culture.