When I arrived in Prague, my parents and sister had already been there for three days and had explored a number of sights already. They were nice enough to revisit a few of their favorites and show me around. We had an excellent two and a half days in Prague and a perfect first visit to the city. We visited Prague Castle, took a boat ride on the Vltava River, went on a hop-on/hop-off tour, wandered the cobblestone streets of the city and saw a few town squares.
Prague was the first city I visited on my summer trip to Europe.
Trip report index:
The Sights of Prague
On our tour, we learned that Prague was, throughout many points in history, considered the most beautiful city in Europe… and I can understand why that is. It was referred to as “Golden Prague” and “City of 100 Spires” . The intricate architecture is extremely unique and the amount of history we can see in the city is impressive. The river and bridges are rivaled by none other and the main castle in Prague is among the largest and oldest in the world. What I personally liked about Prague is that it’s extremely walkable. You can get anywhere by walking and it’s a perfect city to walk around.
In my opinion, the most beautiful site in Prague is the Charles bridge built across the Vltava river. It finished construction around 1500 and was the only bridge connecting the two sides of Prague until 1841. The bridge enabled Prague as an important trading center between Eastern and Western Europe during the mid 20th century.
There are other bridges in Prague today, but Charles bridge remains the most attractive among them. It’s a pedestrian only bridge and we enjoyed an evening walk on my first day of arrival. The best place to see the bridge is by walking south along the river from Prague Castle, as must see sight as well.
The next day, weather wasn’t cooperating and we opted for a hop-on/hop-off tour that took us through the sites of the city. Tickets cost us 500 CZK per person for a 24 hour ticket, which is about $25. The main line has 15 stops covering the main sites in Prague with a headset audio tour covering many different languages.
In my mind, what makes Prague great is the fact that it’s small enough that most sites are within walking distance and walking through the city is a very pleasant experience. The cute cobblestone streets are perfect for strolling from site to site. Moreover, the main attractions like Charles Bridge and Prague Castle are pedestrian-only and a bus tour can’t really take you there. We went for the bus tour because of the rain, but if the day was completely sunny, we’d just have walked from place to place ourselves.
Old Town and Old Town Square
After the tour, the rain died down a bit and we went for another evening walk. As our hotel was located in the Old Town quarter, the one landmark we kept passing was Old Town Square. This particular square is the location of the Prague Astronomical Clock. It is the third oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest still working. The Old Town Hall offers a panoramic view of Prague itself. I definitely going recommend going up there and here are a few pictures we took:
The third day, we were determined to make it Prague Castle despite the period rain. According to the Guiness Book of World Records, Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world, built around the 9th century. It encompasses 70,000 square meters and has housed a number of kings throughout the ages. Today, it is the official residence of the President of Czech Republic.
Inside the castle are a number of sites such as St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George’s Cathedral, the Palace and Golden Lane. A single ticket covers all four of these and costs 250 CZK, which translates to about $12. My favorite site was the St. Vitus Cathedral and I recommend setting aside some time to visit here. The whole place is like a stained glass art museum and I hardly remember seeing such detailed and impeccable drawings.
Given that the castle is very high up, after all the sites is another great place to get a panoramic view of Prague.
A Walk And A River Cruise
After the Castle, it was time to make our way down to our boat tour. We passed my favorite Charles Bridge site again and had a lovely walk, ending with a river cruise on the river.
The next day, it was off to Vienna for us for a new set of adventures. As a first visit, I was thoroughly impressed by Prague and it’s definitely now on my personal list of Europe’s most beautiful cities.