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Prague and Vienna Summer Trip: The Sights of Prague

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:

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.

Wenceslas Square

Mom and Dad at Wenceslas Square

Charles Bridge

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.

Charles Bridge in Prague

Charles Bridge

Hop-On/Hop-Off Tour

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.

Hop-On/Hop-Off Tour Bus

Hop-On/Hop-Off Tour Bus

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:

View from Old Town Hall

View from Old Town Hall

View of Old Town Square

View of Old Town Square

Prague Castle

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.

Me at Prague Castle in the rain

Me at Prague Castle in the rain

Sadly, the Castle guards don't have umbrellas!

Sadly, the Castle guards don’t have umbrellas!

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.

StVitusCathedral

Saint Vitus Cathedral stained glass windows

Given that the castle is very high up, after all the sites is another great place to get a panoramic view of Prague.

A break from the rain for some nice views

A break from the rain for some nice views

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.

Another view of the Charles Bridge

Another view of the Charles Bridge

Many cute places to stop and have a drink along Prague's cobblestone streets

Many cute places to stop and have a drink along Prague’s cobblestone streets

In Prague, beer is cheaper than coffee

In Prague, beer is cheaper than coffee

A view of Prague from the water on a river cruise

A view of Prague from the water on a river cruise

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.

Comments

  1. Brenton says

    Agreed Mike, especially Prague. Who cares if it has the world’s oldest functioning astronomical clock. Snooze fest! And don’t get me started on Venice! Talk about boring, a city of 118 islands connected by canals and bridge. I almost fell asleep just thinking about it…

  2. Joey says

    I love Prague as well! I backpacked through Central Europe back in 2002 (went to Prague, Vienna, and Budapest in that trip.) I visited again a few years ago and felt that the prices have gone up. :/ Nonetheless, I still love walking in Mala Strana district and agree with you most of the sights are walkable.
    I went to Cesky Krumlov and Tabor by train from Prague to see other Czech Rep sites and enjoyed seeing those towns as well.

  3. says

    @miles professor, lot of negative remarks. If anyone thinks European Cities are boring by all means enlighten us unwashed masses on cities where we should be going.
    My wife and I are in Europe, in Budapest by way of London and heading to Prague this morning. In the fall I am doing the Balkans, Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Romanian, Bulgaria and Serbia. I love Europe but will travel everywhere.
    Miles we are NY’ers and my wife us a college Professor as well. I enjoy your blog and we hope to run into at a meet and greet.

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