Prague, Czechia is one of the most visited cities in Europe, and the sizable crowds are proof of that. It’s perfectly picturesque! The intriguing art installations and streets lined with colorful buildings are oh so instagramable. And at times, the passing red trams are the only reality check from being swept away into a fairytale. Other times, it’s the unmissable tourist crowds. Keep reading our Prague Travel Guide to learn more.
There are plenty of things to do in Prague, Czechia that will keep you busy. One of them is standing in lines to see attractions. So we decided to take another challenge upon ourselves (read about John’s marathon experience in Zagreb here) and provide some equally exciting swaps to popular tourist destinations around Prague that will get you to step away from the crowds. At the end of the day, it’s your choice where to go and what to do in Prague. However, we are happy to supply options for a unique experience.
If you insist on hitting the hotspots, here are two tips. One, purchase entry tickets in advance to avoid wasting time queueing. And two, visit in the shoulder season – spring and autumn. We visited Prague in October and enjoyed the added bonus of autumn foliage.
Old Town Square vs Novy Svet
If it’s your first time in Prague, there are some places you absolutely can’t miss, like the astounding Old Town Square. Go early in the morning and capture as much detail as possible before the crowds arrive, from stunning architecture, crosses of rebellion, to the Prague Meridian, and more. One of the unique attractions on the Square is the 15th-century Astronomical Clock Orloj. Time your visit to watch the clock perform when it strikes an hour, which starts at 9 am.
The Old Town Square lets you into the past. To provide another perspective minus the crowds, walk through the cobbled streets in Novy Svet (New World). This neighorhood was originally built for the maintenance staff of the Prague Castle. Tiny winding streets, historic buildings, and quaint cafes are close enough to the Old Town Square. It’s a great place to duck away anytime and enjoy the refreshing tranquility.
Prague Castle vs. Vysehrad Castle
The breathtaking UNESCO-protected Prague Castle has housed previous rulers and now the president. It is undoubtedly the city’s most popular tourist attraction. To get in, you either queue or purchase the tickets online in advance to skip the line. If you found yourself among the crowds in Prague Castle, an escape to Jeleni Prikop will not disappoint. This beautiful stretch of forest is the perfect place for a stroll, especially when the greenery starts to change colors. It’s located behind Prague Castle, so challenge your inner artist to photograph the Castle’s spires peaking from the thick tree tops.
Tourists travel to Prague Castle is the top tourist attraction for good reason, but here is an alternative. Vysehrad hill is adorned with a historical fort and a castle, offering stunning views over the Vltava River, bisecting the city, and bridges.
Narrowest Street with a Traffic Light vs. The Prague Sun
There is a street tucked away in the beautiful Mala Strana neighborhood, which is less than 20 inches wide. In fact, it’s so narrow that it needs a traffic light for the people not to bump into each other, as the path can accommodate only one person at a time. The street has become a popular attraction. However, aside from a restaurant at the end, there is not much else to see and perhaps not worth lining up for. But that’s for you to decide. If you pass through to eat at the restaurant, don’t order the pork knee, which comes in humungous portions. Otherwise, you may face issues squeezing through on the way back. Jokes aside, the narrow street is not the sole entrance to the restaurant, so feel free to indulge.
The Loreta monastery and church, unassuming from the outside, is spectacular inside and is home to the Prague Sun – an object studded with over 6,000 diamonds in the shape of a beaming sun.
John Lennon Wall vs. The Museum of Communism
The John Lennon wall used to be an anti-regime and free-speech symbol before 1989, but since has been converted into an art space. Now, it’s a wall covered with graffiti and quotes from the Beatles. The wall is popular with tourists because it’s close to Charles Bridge, but you can skip it guilt-free. Head to The Museum of Communism instead, where you can learn about the dark time before the Velvet Revolution in 1989. This turned out to be one of our favorite communist museums. It’s remarkable to see what the citizens went through and what they overcame. Freedom is powerful!
Trdelnik Chimney Cakes vs. Kolache
Wandering around the center of Prague, you will notice people walking around with cone-shaped doughnuts filled with ice cream in hand. These are called Trdelnik chimney cakes, and while they do look mouthwatering, they are not unique to the Czech Republic but to Romania and are very overpriced. So, skip the Trdelnik and try Kolaches instead, which are Czech pastries with poppy seed, apricot, prune, or cheese.
Petrin Hill vs Letna Hill
Petrin hill is Prague’s favorite park with a lookout tower. You can get there by taking a leisurely stroll or the funicular and enjoy sweeping views over the city from the mini Eiffel Tower at the top. A half day can easily be spent taking in the beauty of orchards. You can also admire the statues, and refuel at the restaurants. Alternatively, you can visit the Letna district, which is an insight into how the locals live. Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere, climb to the hilltop for unbelievable views over Prague’s historic center and Vlatna river, and stop at one of the many beer gardens in the area.
Indulge in Local Delicacies
Locals claim that the Czech Republic produces the best beer in the world. And if it’s not the national beverage, it should be! There are pubs on every corner. Beer fanatics will be pleased to know that it’s among the cheapest beverages in the Czech Republic and cheaper than abroad. So, if in Kentucky you taste bourbon, in Prague, you join a beer tasting tour or visit a brewery.
Czech cuisine is hearty and focused on meat, stews, dumplings, and cabbage, which was the perfect comfort food combination during our visit in the cooler months of autumn. Here are the must-try dishes:
- Goulash – thick stew made with meat, greens, and spices.
- Knedliky – unusual bread dumplings are unlike the typical pockets of dough you find throughout Europe. If we could liken it to anything, it would be something between a boiled bread loaf and gnocchi served with gravy.
- Hermelin – this unique dish consists of camembert-like cheese marinated in oil with pepper, garlic, and spices for a few days and usually accompanies beer.
Until the end of the communist era, Czech food was bland and calorie dense, served in large portions to sustain families. But since then, the food scene has undergone a revolution, which you should acquaint yourself with outside the Old Town, where the restaurants are overcrowded with swarms of tourists.
Head to U Kroka after watching the sunset from the Vysehrad hill and walk the delicious meal off along the river as the bridges illuminate in the evening.
Cestr is a modern steakhouse that features meats from local Czech breeds. The beautiful contemporary design, laced with traditional details and an open kitchen, adds an upscale yet cozy feel to your dining experience.
Lokal is a chain of restaurants serving homemade food using fresh and locally sourced ingredients. So if you are searching for a quick and satisfying traditional lunch accompanied by classes Czech beer, look no further than Lokal.
We hope our swaps in our Prague, Czechia travel guide allowed you to escape the crowds and see Prague from a new perspective. If you have other recommendations or questions, leave them in the comments below!