Prague Travel Summary

Prague – a fairytale city with ancient castles and Gothic churches

The City of a Hundred Spires, with its medieval cityscape intact, continues to dazzle as it has for the better part of a millennium.   The Old Town’s Astronomical Clock still chimes the hour as crowds cross the cobblestone Charles Bridge under the gaze of the castle.

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The Prague Travel Summary is segmented into 4 key travel themes to immerse you into everything Prague:

  1. An introduction and brief history to this wonderful city;
  2. Facts & Figures;
  3. Itineraries;
  4. What to See

Hope you enjoy it!  Carpe Diem!

1. An introduction and brief history to this wonderful city:

The Prague population call their city Mater Urbium – the Mother of Cities – a reference to a time in the 14th century when Prague served as the capital of the Holy Roman Empire.  Architectural treasures like Prague Castle, St Vitus’s Cathedral and the Loreto testify to that former grandeur.  But Prague is more than pretty buildings – it throbs with culture, music, literature, theatre – and intrigue.  All who visit are bewildered by the spires and cobbles and the tiny lanes of the most enchanting city in Central Europe.  It officially became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992.

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And did we mention the beer?  The Czech Republic prides itself as the home of the world’s finest lager.  What could be better than winding through the Baroque streetscapes of Mala Strana, taking the National Gallery’s collection of modern art a the Trade Fair Palace and enjoying the green spaces of the Wallenstein Garden or Petrin ill and then having a few drinks at one of the traditional pubs.

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2. Facts & Figures:

Prague is a fascinating city –  nicknamed “the City of a Hundred Spires,” it’s known for its Old Town Square, the heart of its historic core, with colourful baroque buildings, Gothic churches and the medieval Astronomical Clock, which gives an animated hourly show. Completed in 1402, pedestrian Charles Bridge is lined with statues of Catholic saints.

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Prague Facts Figures 20210813 v0.2

Prague boasts:

  • 6 million visitors per year;
  • a population of 1.6 million

Some fascinating facts:

  1. Prague was founded in the 8th century the first  settlement established in the area of present day Prague, in the Lesser Town (Mala Strana);
  2. Did you know that Prague Castle is the largest in the world? The 130 metre wide medieval castle and its 70,000 square metres of land attract almost 2 million visitors every year and have landed it a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.  It dates back to the 9th century and spans 18 acres with numerous courtyards and ancillary buildings;
  3. The locals drink more beer than any other country in the world per capita, with about 150 litres drank every year. The locals sometimes refer to beer as “liquid bread,” and it has been brewed and sold there for around 1,000 years. The fact that it’s cheaper than water on most menus probably doesn’t hurt;
  4. The most famous bridge in Prague is Charles Bridge, connecting the city’s Old Town to the Mala Strana over the Vltava River. Supposedly the bridge, which was built all the way back in the 1300s, is haunted by ghosts whose heads ended up on nearby spikes.  Locals claim that they have seen them wandering up and down Charles Bridge, going about their business as they please;
  5. The narrowest street in Prague is barely 50 cm wide (super tiny), yet because it’s so narrow it has its own traffic light. The traffic light prevents pedestrians from meeting in the middle and then wondering how to walk past each other;
  6. Prague is one of the best cities in Europe for a fun night out.  With its love for beer and nightclubs.  Check out the Karlovy Lázně nightclub right in the city centre and adjacent to Charles Bridge – it is central Europe’s largest club – make sure you go – it is a hilarious night out;
  7. Prague is known as the City of Hundred Spires, but is it true or is it just a fairytale and made-up number to attract tourists?  here are hundreds and hundreds of spires, and the total number is somewhere between 500 to 1000.  The most famous towers or buildings with towers in Prague are the Powder Gate, New Town Hall, St. Vitus Cathedral, or Petrin Lookout Tower;
  8. One of the oldest universities in the world, Charles University is the most prestigious university in the Czech Republic.   Charles University was founded by the emperor Charles IV in 1348, who is regarded as the greatest ruler of the Bohemian Kingdom;
  9. Where else can you go for a Beer Spa?  Apparently the high hop oil content in the beer helps to open your pores and have a more glowing appearance.

3. Itineraries

Day 1:

Prague Itinerary Day 1 NEW

8am – Marvel at the Old Town Square:

Marvel at the Old Town Square – the most significant square of historical Prague and one of the most impressive in Europe.  Dating from the 12th century it is blessed with Romanesque, Baroque and Gothic styles.

Check out The elegant tower of the Town Hall with the world famous astronomical clock, the proud silhouette of the fairytale Týn Cathedral, the monumental Church of St. Nicholas and countless multicoloured houses of many styles lend this place a unique atmosphere, which will captivate all those who decide to take a look at its charm.

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11 am – Ramble across Charles Bridge:

The spectacular Charles Bridge (Karluv most) has witnessed processions, battles, executions and increasingly, film shoots since its construction between 1357 and 1402.  Architect Peter Parler built the viaduct in Gothic style to replace the predecessor, the Judith Bridge.  The bridge’s most distinguishing feature is it gallery of 30 statues.  Today the statues are copies with the originals preserved in museums across the city.

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Afternoon – Meander through Mala Strana:

Meander through Mala Strana, pausing at St Nicholas’s Church.  Mala Strana is Prague’s oldest neighbourhood. Cobbled streets, elegant palaces and hidden gardens make this the city’s most entrancing district.  Hike up Nerudova to Prague Castle, where you can tour the Old Royal Palace and St Vitrus’s Cathedral.

The castle was the seat of Czech kings for centuries and is now the seat of President of the Czech Republic. Its history begins in the 9th century with the foundation of a fortified element by Prince Bořivoj. The complex comprises three courtyards and an intriguing mix of palaces, halls, churches and fortifications. St Vitus Cathedral, which looms above the entrance to the Third Courtyard, is the dominant building in the city.

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Evening – Dinner and drinks in the Old Town:

After a long day exploring, there’s no better way to start off the night than with a cold brew or a freshly shaken cocktail at one of this neighbourhood’s hidden joints.  There are many bars and restaurants strung between the Old Town Square and Charles Bridge. If you fancy dancing the night away try Karlovy Lázně is the largest club in Prague and claims to be the largest nightclub complex in Central Europe.

Day 2:

Prague Itinerary Day 2 NEW

8am – Marval at the views from Petřín Hill:

The Petřín Hill (formerly one of King Charles’ vineyards) offers beautiful views of Prague and several attractions for adults and children alike. The hill is easily recognisable by the TV tower that is a miniature of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.  Petřín Lookout Tower was built two years after the Eiffel Tower by the Czech Tourist Club.

You can climb the tower for views and enjoy some other activities while up at Petřín.  The easiest way to reach the top of the hill is with the funicular.  The views over Prague are spectacular.

11am – Art o’clock:

Visit the second oldest gallery in Europe after the Louvre presents masterpieces of Czech and international fine art in permanent and temporary exhibitions.

Its exhibition spaces are in the following historical buildings: the Convent of St Agnes of Bohemia, the Kinský Palace, the Salm Palace, the Schwarzenberg Palace, the Sternberg Palace, the Wallenstein Riding School, and the Trade Fair (Veletržní) Palace.

Afternoon – Explore Loreto:

Once home to monks and a traditional pilgrimage site, this ornate religious complex that houses thousands of diamonds is a charming destination and one of Prague’s most important historic monuments and tourist attractions.

The complex was built between 1626 and 1750 to the designs of Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer and is a significant example of the well-known architect’s work.

At the heart of the Baroque pilgrimage site is a structure representing the Santa Casa, the house in Nazareth where the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary took place.

Evening- Sights & drinks in Wenceslas Square:

Wenceslas Square is Prague’s bustling commercial area. It’s not as historical as Old Town, but essential to sightseeing in Prague.

The two iconic sights of Wenceslas square are: the National Museum and the Wenceslas Monument. Both are located at the southern end of the square. The National Museum is home to displays of natural history.  Wenceslas Square comes alive at night with the various bars and restaurants doing swift business.  Enjoy the bustling bars.

4.  What to See:

Church of Our Lady before Tyn:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • The Church of Our Lady before Týn is among the most beautiful Gothic buildings in Prague. It is the largest and most notable church in the area and has always been considered the heart of the Old Town
  • The Roman Catholic Týn Church (Týnský Chrám) seems as if it belongs in a fairytale. Its style is ornate, with Gothic spires, Renaissance decorations and baroque interior. The iconic place of worship is one of the most photographed attractions in Prague. Visit Týn if you are interested in architecture, history or religious iconography
  • While its exterior is what makes it famous, the church is equally rewarding inside

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The House at the Stone Bell:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • Situated in magnificent Old Town Square, this remarkable Early Gothic house “At the Stone Bell” is one of the most interesting medieval buildings in Prague. Built in the 13th century, most probably for the Royal family, it boasts with a frontage that was one of the most beautiful in Europe at the time
  • This original front was preserved thanks to the extensive restoration project. According to one legend, the name of the house comes from a bell that fell from Týn Church and was placed on the corner of the Gothic structure in 1413

Štorch House:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • An impressive townhouse in Old Town Square is the Štorch House (Štorchův dům), also known as At the Stone Virgin Mary (U Kamenné Panny Marie)
  • It was built at the end of the 19th century in the Neo-Gothic style. The Štorch House stands out from the adjacent buildings thanks to its Gothic bay window and the beautiful painted facade. Among other motifs, the frescos depict the Czech patron St. Wenceslas
  • The Štorch House is located next to Celetná Street and it has the number 16

Astronomical Clock:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • The Astronomical Clock (Pražský orloj) is built into one side of the Old Town Hall Tower (Staroměstská radnice) at the Old Town Square
  • The clock dates from the 15th century. To fully appreciate its intricate construction, join the crowd in front of the tower to watch the procession of the Twelve Apostles: on the hour, every hour a trap door opens and Christ marches out ahead of his disciples, while the skeleton of death tolls the bell to a statue of a defiant Turk
  • Below the Astronomical Clock are 12 medallions with the signs of the zodiac, added by Josef Manes in 1865.
  • The clock was first installed in 1410, making it the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest clock still operating

 

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Charles Bridge:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • The spectacular Charles Bridge (Karluv most) has witnessed processions, battles, executions and increasingly, film shoots since its construction between 1357 and 1402
  • Architect Peter Parler built the viaduct in Gothic style to replace the predecessor, the Judith Bridge
  • When the day’s first rays of sunlight touch the cold cobblestones and illuminate the monumental Gothic towers at both of its ends, you would be hard put to find a more romantic location. With the powerful silhouette of Prague Castle in the background and the gallery of Baroque statues on both sides, it is no wonder that this is one of the most beautiful places in Europe
  • The bridge’s most distinguishing feature is it gallery of 30 statues. Today the statues are copies with the originals preserved in museums across the city

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The Loreto:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • Once home to monks and a traditional pilgrimage site, this ornate religious complex that houses thousands of diamonds is a charming destination and one of Prague’s most important historic monuments and tourist attractions
  • The complex was built between 1626 and 1750 to the designs of Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer and is a significant example of the well-known architect’s work
  • At the heart of the Baroque pilgrimage site is a structure representing the Santa Casa, the house in Nazareth where the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary took place

Petřín Hill:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • The Petřín hill (formerly one of King Charles’ vineyards) offers beautiful views of Prague and several attractions for adults and children alike. The hill is easily recognisable by the TV tower that is a miniature of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
  • Petřín Lookout Tower was built two years after the Eiffel Tower by the Czech Tourist Club, who had visited Paris and had been so fascinated by the wrought iron lattice structure that they decided to build a similar one for the Jubilee Exhibition in Prague in 1891
  • You can climb the tower for views and enjoy some other activities while up at Petřín.
  • The easiest way to reach the top of the hill is with the funicular

Powder Gate:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • The Powder Tower, also called “Powder Gate” (“Prašná brána” in Czech), is among the most amazing and treasured sights of Prague and is one of its symbols
  • It marks the beginning of Celetná street, part of the “Royal Way”. This route, leading through the Prague’s historical centre and connecting the former Royal Court with Prague Castle, was a significant part of Czech kings’ coronations. Ceremonial processions took the Royal Route on their way to castle

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Wenceslas Square:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • Wenceslas Square is Prague’s bustling commercial area. It’s not as historical as Old Town, but essential to sightseeing in Prague
  • This famous Prague site has been home to various events in Czech history – from invading Russian tanks in 1968 to masses of protesters in 1989.
  • The two iconic sights of Wenceslas square are: the National Museum and the Wenceslas Monument. Both are located at the southern end of the square. The National Museum is home to displays of natural history

St. Vitus Cathedral:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • Situated at Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral is the most important and largest church in Prague. The cathedral is the burial place of the former Czech kings and a home of the Czech Crown Jewels.
  • The spires of St. Vitus Cathedral, an elegant but domineering French Gothic structure, soar above the ramparts. It is the country’s largest church containing numerous side chapels, frescoes and tombstones: not to forget the nave’s beautiful coloured stained-glass windows (created by the famous Czech Art Nouveau artist Alfons Mucha)

The National Gallery:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • The second oldest gallery in Europe after the Louvre presents masterpieces of Czech and international fine art in permanent and temporary exhibitions.
  • Its exhibition spaces are in the following historical buildings: the Convent of St Agnes of Bohemia, the Kinský Palace, the Salm Palace, the Schwarzenberg Palace, the Sternberg Palace, the Wallenstein Riding School, and the Trade Fair (Veletržní) Palace

The Municipal House:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • Prague’s most prominent Art Nouveau building was built between 1906 and 1912 and is situated on the site of the former Royal Court Palace. It is a popular stop for visitors drawn in by the Art Nouveau gold trimmings, stained glass, sculpture, and the regular exhibitions and concerts
  • Smetana Hall, situated in the heart of the building, is used as a concert hall and ballroom. The interior is decorated with works by leading Czech artists from the first decade of the century – most notably the famous Alfons Mucha

Further Photo Gallery:

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