Prague is one of the most beautiful medieval cities in Europe and the best way to see it is to simply walk around the old town. One popular route is to start in Prague Castle and walk down via Charles Bridge and end up in the Old Town Square.
Prague Castle is a large castle complex on top of a hill. From our hotel, we took an Uber (for just 3 euros!) that brought us to the base of a long stairway that goes up hill to the castle entrance. If you are not going inside any of the buildings/museums, it’s actually free to enter and walk around the castle complex.
The most prominent landmark inside the complex is St. Vitus Cathedral. Construction of the current Gothic Cathedral started in 1344 and was completed after almost 600 years in 1929.
We visited during the holiday season and there was a small Christmas market between St Vitus and the smaller St. George’s Basilica.
Before making your way back down to St. Charles Bridge, you can check out the view of the city from the top of the stairs.
From the base of the stairs going up to Prague Castle, it is a short 5-10 minute downhill to the start of Charles Bridge.
Charles Bridge is a pedestrian only bridge across the Vlatva River that runs across Prague. Up until 1841, it was the only way to cross the river.
After crossing the bridge, the small plaza on the left side gives a great shot of Charles Bridge with Prague Castle in the background.
Prague Astronomical Clock
Another 10 minutes of casual walking from Charles Bridge towards the Old Town Square will lead you in front of the 600 year old Astronomical Clock that decorates the southern facade of the Old Town Hall. Stay till the top of the hour to see it spring to life.
Old Town Square
The Old Town Square turns into a very busy Christmas Market during the holiday season. Dozens of food and souvenir shops offer their wares to locals and tourists alike. The various streets branching out from the Old Town offer a range of things to see from beautiful medieval architecture, posh boutiques, street entertainers, interesting restaurants and of course endless souvenir shops.
Tips and Tricks
- Prague is a very touristy city. Be wary of scams, pick pockets and overpriced merchandise and restaurants.
- Taxi drivers then to over charge (especially coming from the train station). Opt to just walk around, or use public transport. Using Uber is also a good option as prices are quite cheap!
- You can walk around Prague castle for free if you choose not to enter the churches and museums.
- This is one city where it is fun to get lost and wander. Just read up on the sites, plot them in your maps app in your smartphone and walk around at your own pace without the need of a tour guide.