Prague is an enchanting old city, and many of the best places to visit are completely free, making it for a particularly cheap destination in central Europe. Whether you’re heading to Prague for the weekend or as part of a longer tour around Europe, don’t miss these must-do free things to do in Prague.
Just a word of warning: because Prague is so beautiful and cheap, the city is often quite crowded, especially at these popular attractions. My tip? Either visit during the off-peak season, in either Spring or Autumn, or head out early in the morning for the best photo opportunities.
? Dog-friendly: All of these things to do in Prague are dog-friendly, except for entry into buildings. Check out more of my tips for travelling in the Czech Republic with a dog.
1. Visit Prague Castle
Holding the record for the largest ancient castle in the world, Prague Castle dates back to the 9th century, but is still the official residence and office of the President of the Czech Republic. Whilst many of the buildings cost to enter, it is free to enter and walk around most of the precinct.
The grand St Vitus Cathedral is hard to miss. Dating back to the 14th century, but on the site of a church founded in the 10th century, the cathedral is a superb example of Gothic architecture. It also contains the tombs of many Bohemian kings and Holy Roman Emperors. Entrance into part of the cathedral is free.
While at Prague Castle, don’t also miss the hourly changing of the guards. The most elaborate ceremony occurs at 12 noon.
2. Stroll Cross Charles Bridge
The historic Charles Bridge connects the Prague’s Old Town with the Castle District. Over five hundred years old, the bridge is lined with a variety of statues. It also features an imposing tower at either end.
A walk over the bridge is a must, particularly before or after visiting the Prague Castle. However, during the day the bridge can be very busy and crowded. Buskers and trinket sellers are also usually found along the length of the bridge, adding to the crowds.
I recommend taking a stroll across the bridge during the early morning or in the evening. After dark it’s also wonderful to enjoy the sparkling lights on either side of the bridge.
3. Explore the Old Town Square
The heart of Prague’s Old Town, the Old Town Square has remained virtually untouched since the 10th Century and is a must to visit in this historic city.
Two of the most significant buildings on the square are the Church of Our Lady Before Tyn and St Nicholas Church. The former was built in the 14th century and has been the main church of the area ever since, while St Nicholas Church is a more recent Baroque church.
If visiting at Christmas time, you’ll discover one of the largest Christmas markets in all of Prague in the square, surrounding a towering Christmas Tree.
4. Gaze at the Astronomical Clock
While visiting the Old Town Square, don’t miss out on viewing the Astronomical Clock, located on the wall of the Old Town Hall. It’s easiest to spot when crowds surround it for its display each hour, on the hour.
Whilst the actual hourly display is short and somewhat disappointing, it is worthwhile to read or listen to an explanation of the different elements that make up the clock. The clock was installed in 1410 and is the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world.
Unfortunately the clock was being renovated when I most recently visited Prague, but this means it should be out on display again for many years to come.
Find out more about the secret alchemy side of Prague
5. Head to the Jewish Quarter
One of the most fascinating areas of Prague to visit is the Jewish Quarter, or Josefov. The area is located abut five minutes walk north of the Old Town Square.
This quarter is the location of the former Jewish Ghetto of Prague. It still contains many fine examples of Jewish buildings, such as the beautiful Spanish Synagogue and the Old Town Synagogue, with its many tales.
Close by to the latter you can also catch glimpses of the Old Jewish Cemetery, Europe’s oldest surviving Jewish cemetery.
6. Take a Free Walking Tour
While visiting Prague, I recommend taking one of the free walking tours that operate in the city. It’s a great chance to visit many of these sights and learn more about them, listening to stories about Prague’s history, both recent and from over the centuries, usually from a local guide.
During my first visit to Prague I went on the Sandemans New Europe’s free walking tour. The tour lasts about three hours, starting at the Old Town Square. While the tour is technically a free, a tip is of course appreciated if you enjoy the tour.
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