10 tips how to enjoy Prague by Prague tours by Lenka
Every visitor of a town loaded by attractive sights wishes to know the best manner how to get the most of their visit. The average visit of a European town by regular travelers is about 3 days and in this relatively short time, they desire to cover all the important sights, immerse in the local culture and see something extra that can be easily missed but it’s known well-known among locals. This article is bringing you 10 useful tips on how to enjoy your visit to Prague, cover the key historical sights, avoid crowds and hit the „must do“ spots.
Best time to visit Prague castle (to enjoy the castle in loneliness)
The Prague castle is the biggest medieval castle in the world. It was even inscribed in the Guinness book of records. The whole complex is so vast that it would fit in 9 Buckingham palaces. The area is beautiful the whole year round, no matter if you come in the winter or summer. In the summer season, you can enjoy as a bonus the Southern Gardens (closed for the whole season 2019!)and Royal gardens. You could easily spend the entire day at the Prague castle or even several days if you wished to visit all the museums and sights the Prague castle has to offer. With the entrance tickets, it is possible to enter the Cathedral of Saint Vitus, Old royal palace, Saint George basilica, and many other museums.
Our recommendation for enjoying the castle most would be to visit it in the
evening. You cannot fully take in all the beauty and powerful energy of the area when you are overwhelmed by the tourist’s crowds and groups around you. The area is opened between 06:00 am and 10:00 pm but the opening time of the museums is from 09:00 am and until 4:00 pm in the winter season (from November till March) and until 5:00 pm or 6:00 pm (Lobkowicz palace) in the winter season. Therefore most of the crowds leave around 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Our recommendation for you is to visit the Prague castle after dark – around 08:00 pm. In the summer it gets dark later but that doesn’t take away any of the beauty and charm of the old medieval complex. It is when the loneliness enters in the courtyards that you can fully enjoy the spectacular views of the Saint Vitus Cathedral and catch the best photos. When you walk around the church to the courtyard of Saint George basilica, do not forget to turn around and look at the oldest part of the cathedral with the choir chapels and the detailed flying buttresses. Another bonus of the visit to the castle in the evening is that the Golden-lane, during the day accessible just with the purchased entrance tickets is opened for free (in the winter after 4:00 pm and in the summer after 5:00 pm). You cannot visit the Golden lane inside either enter the shops after the closure but you can walk through the little street and enjoy the romantic atmosphere of it while taking magnificent photos of the tiny fairy-tale houses without the crowds.
The best time to visit The Old town square and Astronomical Clock
The old town square is called by many visitors a Disney world and by this statement, they mostly want to express how colorful and rich in playful architecture the square is. It is thanks to our vibrant history that you can admire such an amazing variety of the architectural styles on the square and that is what forms its today exceptional beauty. Together with the 14th century gothic Tyn church and the Astronomical clock, it counts among one of the most popular squares in Europe. While in the past it was used for people gathering, social events and markets, today it is a place where you can see mainly many street performers and overpriced restaurants not necessarily loved by the locals. So you could fully take advantage of the architecture, we recommend you to beat the crowds, wake up early and get to the square around 8:00 am. You can walk around, take photos from the different angles and see the town slowly waking up. Around 8:30 am you can get an early coffee or full breakfast at Cafe Mozart and watch the show of Astronomical clock starting at 09:00 am in a quiet ambiance by the window of the cafe. You will definitely love that you don’t need to be checking your personal belongings all the time while you are filming the Astronomical clock performance – the square often happens to be the place with the pickpockets who take advantage of people paying the attention to the clock. And what is the performance about? It is 50 seconds „the Astronomical clock become alive“ moment. You can see the 12 apostles statues showing up in the two blue windows on the top open and in the same time skeleton statue is ringing the bell to remind us that the time is short but the statue of Turk next to him is shaking his head to express his disagreement with the Death statue. In the end, the rooster is singing as a symbol that life won over death and that a new day has just started. You can see this “show” every hour on the hour from 09:00 am till 11:00 pm. The Astronomical clock was originally created in 1410 and it is a concept of the universe from that time showing us several types of time used in the middle ages.
The reason of visit to the Jewish quarter of Prague
The visit of the Jewish quarter of Prague should be added to your bucket list as it is one of the best preserved Jewish quarters and museums in Europe. Also, the oldest synagogue in Europe you can find right there. It is called the Old-New synagogue and it is one of the oldest mementos in Prague Jewish town. For over 700 years it has served as the main synagogue of the Prague Jewish community. The structure was built in last third of the 13th century by French stonemasons working on the nearby monastery and convent of Saint Agnes (more details about Saint Agnes convent below). In the 17th century, the medieval part was extended with women’s side-nave with internal windows onto the main twin-nave Gothic section with its five-ribbed vaulting. It abounds with many rumors and legends.
One of it says it was built from the Jerusalem temple stones and another one insists that under its roof are the remains of the Golem, an artificial being made by Rabbi Low to protect the Jewish community. Even though the old Prague Jewish ghetto is not preserved in its original shape due to a massive renovation that took place at the end of 19th century, it was one of the few ghettos that were not touched by the Nazis. It is because of the role that the Prague Jewish community involuntarily played in the Holocaust. During the II war the synagogues were used as the storage of the confiscated Jewish religious artifacts and other Jewish belongings that were stolen by the Nazis and also the final solution of the Jewish question (organized transport to Terezín and then to the East) was lead from Prague. We are happy to share with you more details about Prague Jewish history.
Escape crowds in Vyšehrad
If you are tired of the crowded Prague and want to know a place where locals like to hang out, we highly advise you to look for the Vyšehrad castle. It is easily accessible by subway, you can get off at the stop Vyšehrad and walk directly towards the church towers of Saint Peters and Pauls basilica and in 5 minutes you stand in front of the baroque gate of Vyšehrad fortress. The history of Vyšehrad is going back to the 10th century, there is Romanesque Rotunda of Saint Martin and neogothic basilica of Saint Peter and Paul. Do not forget to enter inside of the basilica to admire its unique art nouveau painted interior. From Vyšehrad fort there are gorgeous views of the city. It is like being in the castle of Prague but without the thousands of tourists. Before you jump back to the metro, stop by in a pleasant restaurant Fine cafe to enjoy a delicious meal.
Saint Agnes convent to meditate in the mediaval atmosphere
The medieval convent and monastery of Saint Agnes was founded in the middle of the 13th century and belongs to the wide roster of buildings falling under the Prague national gallery. It displays the collection of local and central European Medieval art of the periods between the 13th and 16th century. The gallery also recently opened up its beautiful gardens and purchased and placed in those some more contemporary artwork on display. So you can admire not only the medieval art in the gallery itself but also plunge yourself in the modern art exhibition in the open air outside. The convent itself is uniquely preserved gothic complex, one of the oldest gothic buildings in Prague. You will be amazed by the well-preserved architecture and calm atmosphere. Our tip is to walk through, close your eyes and imagine you are back in the middle age and simply breathe in the atmosphere. You can also sit down in the reader’s corner and read the art and history books to understand the story behind the convent. The middle age time will make much more sense when you are there at the source.
Karlín neighborhood to live like locals
To get to know the local life you should step out of the historical center and follow the footsteps of the Prague inhabitants. Many of them enjoy today’s Karlin neighborhood. Its development started after the massive flood in 2002. New office buildings on the riverside and refurbished old industrial warehouses changed the mood of this once sleepy area and Karlín became a new office and food venues hub of Prague. Walking from the Náměstí republiky you pass the Florence bus station and you can start at Karlínské square with lunch and beer at Lokál Hamburk. For a more sophisticated food, in the French style, head to the favorite Krystal bistro. For a cup of coffee and delicious cake, you can look for the dressy café Můj šálek kávy. If you are for a something more fine dining, Eska will not disappoint you with its stylish Czech cuisine in modern style. In the summer the former military barracks Kasárna now operates as a venue for concerts, debates and film screenings. Lastly but definitely not as a last option, do not forget the bakery Antoníovo pekařství and taste the real Czech kolaches and to forget chimney cake “trdlo” that can be seen everywhere in the city center.
Letná park to see the best views
Cosy and residential, Letná park and its quarter is a place you should not miss if you want to relax and experinece to local people life.
Situated on the left side of the river, it boats tow of Prague most popular parks – Stromovka and Letná. You can get there from the centre crossing one of the two bridges – Čechův most or Štefánikův most and walk up the hill or also you can take one of the trams up the hill to Holešovice and then walk from there. If the weather permits, walk to the park and have some beer at the beer garden Letná. There are several great food venues in the local neigherbhood. Very delicious ice cream you can get at Amato and great lunch you can grab at the bar Cobra. Dont forget to walk around the park and get the the edge to catch the views of the city and bridges. Onew the best view is the the barock restaurant Hanavsky pavilon.
To get the best chocolate of your life
For those who cannot live without chocolate and tend to call themselves „chocaholics“ there is a place in Prague that should not be missed. It is called Choco cafe. The cafe is a small family business with the idea to sell the chocolate that is made directly at the spot. They also have a bakery where they prepare every day all the delicious pastries you can find in the cafe. This chocolate definitely is not anything like you are used to drink.
This hot chocolate you need to eat – not drink . It is so thick that you can plunge your spoon in it. You can have dark chocolate, milk chocolate or also white chocolate and taste it with your dream flavors – sea salt, whipped cream, nuts, ginger, fruits, chili or lots of other options. For those who cannot eat dairy, the chocolate can be also prepared with soy or coconut milk. We highly recommend you to try „Hořické trubičky“ wafer rolls filled with whipped cream inside that you dip in the delicious hot chocolate!
Restaurant Cafe Imperial to eat great food in art deco stylish ambience
There are just a few places in Prague where you can still experience the atmosphere of the 1st Czechoslovakian republic and the Cafe Imperial is one of them. You will be impressed by the ceramic art deco ceramic tyles wall linings. The excellent food will make you absolutely happy, here the quality is a high priority, the restaurant is owned by the “Czech Gordon Ramsay” Zdeněk Pohlreich, known as the Czech food guru. You should not miss his veal cheeks, the specialty that he brought back to life. For the sweet food lovers, the Imperial cake is a must!
Manifesto market to eat amazing Prague street food
Do you like street food but only enjoy it if it’s of great quality? Then you should not miss the Manifesto design market with 27 containers with food from local suppliers. This is a place where meets music, design, movie, food, and fun! There is also a couple of design shops. While sometimes in Prague you can still bump into places where the credit cards are not accepted, this is the exact opposite, the Manifesto market only accept credit cards and no cash! For sure stop by at Fancy fries to grab some delicious fries and by Angelatto icecream, to eat one of the best ice-creams of your life where pistachio tastes like real pistachio or actually any flavor they have tastes the real thing! And how to reach it?
Simply continue straight from the Republic square towards Florenc bus station, pass by the Masaryk station and then before you reach the bus station, it will be on your right side. The project also uses the empty space below the Prague highway. Prague Manifesto market you should visit to understand today’s Prague gastronomy scene and atmosphere which can be simply characterized as a mixture of a modern touch with the delicous and quality ingredients.