Guide to Prague: A Solo Traveler’s Perspective On Sights, Culture, Food and Beer
Arts & Culture
Beautiful Praha… one of my favorite places on earth. So full of great memories that have been framed by its stunning architecture. No matter the time of year, this city will make you feel like you have gone back in time. It’s a mood. Some describe it as being “right out of a fairytale.” And they’re not wrong. The Czech cultural love of beer and good food, plus the abundance of historical events and sights to learn about, makes Prague truly a one stop destination. I have spent months in Prague, both as a solo traveler and working in hostels. Now I wish to share my knowledge on this amazing city with you!
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Where to stay in Prague
Hotel Josef, Prague
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BoHo Prague Hotel
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Augustine, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Prague
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Things to do in Prague
Visit The Squares
Prague is home to several town squares which are full of history and architectural beauty. They are often the meeting points for locals and tourists alike. If you happen to be visiting Prague during spring or winter, you will get to experience the square markets which include food stalls, svařák (hot wine), local artists, and live music.
You will always find some sort of buzz happening around the main squares around town. Here are some of them:
Staroměstské náměstí (Old Town Square)
Take a stroll around one of the most beautiful squares in the world. Framed by the iconic Gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn, which was built in the 14th century. Marvel at the Medieval Astronomical Clock (Prague Orloj), the oldest one still operating today. Every hour the clock comes to life attracting crowds from all over the world. You can visit the building that holds the clock as well.
Around the square, you can also find numerous performers and plenty of cafes where to sit, grab a refreshment and people watch.
Best viewpoints of Old Town Square
Old Town Hall Tower - 300 csz to enter (around $14 USD) which includes a tour of the 14th-century town hall.
Teresa U Prince - Cafe with Instagrammable rooftop views. Grab a coffee with an envious view!
Vaclavske náměstí (Wenceslas Square)
Wenceslas Square was the setting for several important moments in Czech history, including the bringing down of the Communist regime in 1989. More of a boulevard than a square, in Wenceslas Square you can find numerous name brand stores, libraries, cafes, restaurants. At the top of the square, you can find the statue of (Good) Kind Wenceslas. And at the bottom is where the Czech National Museum is located. (More on the museum below)
Some places of interests along the square
The Lucerna Passage - a beautiful posh mall that houses a famous piece of art by David Černy: King Wenceslas sitting on an upside-down horse.
Františánská Zahrada (Franciscan Gardens) - Public Gardens established in the 14th century in the vicinity of the Church of the Lady of the Snow. During my numerous visits to Prague, this has always been my favorite place to enjoy an ice cream cone. Enter through passage Světozor (where you can find the ice cream). The gardens also offer public toilets.
Křižovnické náměstí (Krizovnicke Square)
This small square is at the entrance of Charles Bridge from the Old town side. You will find a small Charles Bridge Museum, the St, Francis of Assisi Church, and the Church or St. Salvator. But the main attraction is the Old Town Bridge Tower, a 14th-century tower with an arched gateway towards the Charles Bridge. You can enter the tower for around $8 USD and find amazing views from the top.
This square is considered the oldest marketplace in Prague. During the week you will find affordable produce and on weekends it’s mostly Czech crafts and souvenirs worthy of taking home to family and friends.
At the foot of Charles Bridge on the Malá Strana side. This is a beautifully colored small square that holds markets and events. It is part of Kampa Island and just a few steps south you will find a park and the Museum Kampa.
Hradčanské náměstí (Prague Castle Square)
Located in the main entrance to Prague Castle, this square has grand upper views of Prague. You can overlook the Malá Strana skyline and towards Old Town. Here you can capture those orange rooftop pictures that you see whenever you google Prague. This square also holds lovely Christmas markets, and you can almost always find musicians performing live.
Want to really enjoy the view? Make a reservation at Kuchyñ. Sit down and enjoy amazing food and beer and really take in the sights of the city.
Other Main Sights:
Karlův most (Charles Bridge)
This iconic medieval stone bridge links the Old and New Towns. It is lined with 30, mostly baroque style, statues and statuaries which depict various saints and patrons. Charles Bridge is usually crowded and full of artists and musicians throughout the day. You can cross it several times a day and there will always be something new to see. However, if you want that Instagram-worthy picture, be ready to wake up before the crack of dawn to be able to beat the crowds and get an amazing shot.
Pražský hrad (Prague Castle)
The Prague Castle complex is definitely not to be missed. It holds the Guinness Book record as the largest ancient castle in the world. With incredible history (this castle used to be the seat of Tomáš Masaryk!) I truly recommend booking a castle tour and diving deep. But if you’re not a history buff, then just enter the grounds for free and enjoy the pretty sights. Among its many buildings lies St. Vitus Cathedral, the largest church in the country that showcases Gothic architecture. I recommend taking a stroll through Jelení příkop (Deer Moat) a natural park/ravine that used to protect the castle and spans 8 hectares. At the upper part there is an artificial cave, T.G. Masaryk used to have a bear pit here! It housed bears gifted by Russian warriors. Another place of interest is the Golden Lane with several small colorful houses lining the street. These were built around the 16th century and now house several gift shops. Franz Kafka and Jaroslav Seifert (Nobel Prize in Literature winner) have called this street home at some point. It is a lovely place for a stroll and very picturesque.
Josefov (Former Jewish Ghetto)
I recommend touring the former Jewish quarters with a guide since there is so much to learn about in this UNESCO World Heritage site. It is a somber reminder of the city’s past, but also provides insight into the opulence that Prague can offer today. You can visit several synagogues, including the Old Synagogue (built in 1270 in the Gothic style) and the striking Spanish Synagogue with its grand dome plus impressive gilded and multi-colored parquet arabesque. Next to the Spanish Synagogue, you will find the monument to Franz Kafka, who was born into a German-speaking family in Prague and went on to become a famous novelist. Perhaps the most notable site is the Old Jewish Cemetery, managed by the Jewish Museum (more on the museum below). One of the largest of its kind in Europe with around 100,000 bodies buried under the medieval headstones. Located within the quarter is Pařížská street, arguably Prague’s most prestigious boulevard. Named after Paris, the street is lined by luxury name brand stores and lovely Art Nouveau architecture.
Some Museums Worth a Visit:
Národní muzeum (Czech National Museum)
Located at the foot of Wenceslas Square, the National Museum offers natural science and history exhibits. Being founded in 1818, the building suffered damage during WWII, then in 1968 by Soviet machine-guns, and in the 70s during the construction of the Prague metro. But after going through a major renovation between 2011 and 2018, the museum is open for business and looking better than ever.
Muzeum studené války (Cold War Museum)
A former anti-nuclear shelter located in the basement of the five-star Hotel Jalta. It was built to provide shelter to prominent officials. Now it houses a collection of Communist-era artifacts, complete with a greeter dressed in the uniform of an 80s Czechoslovak army officer.
Modern art gallery located in Kampa Island focusing on Czech work. The exhibitions rotate so I recommend checking them out each time you visit Prague. The grounds outside the museum are also great for seeing sculptures by different artists, including the Crawling Babies by David Černy.
Židovské muzeum (Jewish Museum)
One of the most visited museums in Prague, The Jewish Museum was founded in 1906. The museum survived both WWII and the Communist coup d’état of Czechoslovakia. With numerous challenges from the state, the museum was finally able to operate freely after 1994. In its buildings, you can explore the history and heritage of Czech Jews and also visit the Old Jewish Cemetery.
Franz Kafka Museum
If you’re a fan of literature, this museum is for you. The exhibition features the world of Franz Kafka, who was born in Prague and one of the greatest figures of 20th-century world literature. Here you can find letters, diaries, drawings, photos, and most of the first editions of Kafka’s works. Best known for writing "The Metamorphosis," Kafka’s life was a bit tormented and I enjoyed learning about him during my visit to this museum.
My Favorite Parks and Gardens
This is a quiet park that often goes unnoticed by visitors. It is surrounded by walls and the entrance is off U Lužického semináře street. The park is somewhat large with numerous benches, public restrooms, cute beehives, and the main attraction is the peacocks! During the mating months, you can see the spectacle of their dances. Definitely one of my favorite places to sit with a coffee and a book.
Valdštejnská zahrada (Wallenstein Garden)
These gardens located at the Senate Palace can get more crowded. Built in the 17th century, they offer a step back in time, making you feel like part of the bourgeoisie. There is also wildlife here including many ducks and a gorgeous white peacock that commands attention when it strolls around the premises.
Located in Letná Hill, north of Old Town, this large park offers lovely views of the city, the Vltava River, and its bridges. Here you can find great running and cycling paths. The red Prague Metronome is located in this park and has been operational since 1991. The Letná Beer garden is also worth a visit. During New Year's celebrations, this is where the main fireworks show takes place, which I was lucky to see! There is also a 19th-century Art Nouveau pavilion.
Riegrovy sady (Rieger Gardens)
Located in the Vinohrady neighborhood, this park also offers lovely vistas, events, and my personal favorite beer garden in the city. You can maybe see a little hedgehog waltzing around if you’re lucky.
Botanická zahrada Praha (Botanical Garden of the City Prague)
If you have the time and the $9 USD entrance fee… definitely visit the botanical gardens. They sprawl in a huge area and you can experience local and exotic flora. There is also a vineyard and cafe. You can certainly spend most of a day walking along the gardens and taking it all in. Here you can also see blooming cherry blossom trees in the spring (they are also located in other parks including Petřín, Wallenstein Gardens, Vojan Gardens, etc.)
Zoo Praha (Prague Zoo)
Not far from the botanical gardens, Prague Zoo is a great destination. Whether you are traveling with or without children, this zoo can offer a very enjoyable visit. My favorite animals to see here are the climbing goats and the bats! There is a dark exhibit where the bats roam free around you! Honestly, it was one of my favorite experiences in Prague, but if you’re squeamish, then I recommend passing on the bats.
Olšanské hřbitovy (Olšany Cemetery)
Not really a park, but I include it in this category since it is a lovely place for a walk and to explore. With its decorative headstones, it can certainly be described as beautiful. This is the largest graveyard in Prague and its history goes back to 1680 when it was created to accommodate plague victims. Buried within the grounds are numerous Czech artists, writers, politicians, and presidents. The most striking resident to me was Jan Palach, a student who committed self-immolation in Wenceslas Square as a protest against the 1968 Warsaw Pact Invasion of Czechoslovakia.
Tours and Day Trips From Prague
Walking Tour: I am a big fan of free walking tours in every city I visit. It really gives you a good feeling for the area and provides plenty of background knowledge on a city's history. You can also backtrack and visit sights of interest to you with more time after. If you prefer a more personalized approach, private tours can be arranged.
Prague Foodie Tour: Want to learn about the food history of the city and visit some of the top food stops? This tour is for you.
Prague Castle Walking Tour: An in-depth look into the huge Prague Castle complex, including admission tickets to the main buildings. Please check out the amazing St. Vitus Cathedral's interiors.
Pilsner Urquell Beer Experience: Enjoy an immersive experience getting to know the most popular beer in the Czech Republic. This smaller scale experience is located in Prague and offers tastings. But for the true beer aficionado, I recommend taking a full Pilsner Urquell Brewery Tour. The brewery is located in the town of Pilsen, about an hour drive from Prague, and is where Pilsner beer was born! Take a private drive and tour of the brewery and town. Or wander off on your own, it's an easy bus ride away.
Prague's Merry Markets Christmas Tour: If you are visiting during the Christmas season, this tour will help you take advantage of all that the gorgeous local Christmas markets have to offer.
Private Day Trip to the Fairytale Town of Ceský Krumlov: I had the pleasure of spending a day in Ceský Krumlov during my first trip to Czechia, and it does not disappoint. A UNESCO sight that provides a lovely setting for stunning pictures, cobbled streets, a hilltop castle, and plenty of local shopping.
Private Day Trip to the Medieval Town of Kutná Hora: If you Google "bone church," you will find stunning pictures of the Sedlec Ossuary chapel, located in the town of Kutná Hora. This UNESCO sight dates back to the 13th century and it is decorated with human bones! It is definitely worth a visit.
There are many other tours and attractions to be had! Let me know what interests you.
Place to eat & drink in Prague
Breakfast and Brunch
Café Savoy: Probably the most popular breakfast spot in Prague, offering an opulent breakfast experience within its beautiful Art Nouveau decorated establishment.
Venue: One of the highest rated Brunch spots in Prague, with locally sourced ingredients and a hip menu including vegan options and refreshing cocktails.
Mezi Srnky: A quaint cafe with healthier options, plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free dishes, and a farm-to-table concept.
Eska: A bakery offering homemade breads, pastries, and fresh full breakfasts all day, with Czech koláč as a must-try.
Ovocný Světozor: A famous bakery with several locations, offering traditional Czech chlebíčky (open-faced sandwiches) and a variety of cakes, pastries, and pies.
Sisters Bistro: Another great spot for chlebíčky with a contemporary approach to toppings, along with salads and in-house pickles.
Restaurace Karlův Sklep: A dear restaurant offering a rotating local menu of hefty portions, accompanied by a pint.
Kuchyň: Located near Prague Castle, offering fresh salads along with traditional meat-centric dishes, and a stunning view of Prague.
Lokál: A popular Czech comfort food restaurant with several locations, serving meat-heavy cuisine and vegetarian options, accompanied by a pint of Pilsner.
U Pivrnce: A traditional Czech pub-style restaurant with quirky art, serving Svíčková and other delicious Czech dishes, along with plenty of beer.
Terasa U Prince: Offering a great view of the Old Town Square, featuring grilled meats, seafood, salads, and pastas, with an impressive wine list.
tāst restaurant: An evolved and more interesting approach to traditional Czech cuisine, offering a deliciously fresh menu with expert wine pairings.
Field: A fine dining option with a rotating seasonal menu, highlighting the best of what grows in the field, and one of the only two restaurants in Prague awarded a Michelin Star.
Where To Drink
Beer Garden Riegrovy Sady: A spacious beer garden in the park with live music and sports events during the warmer months.
Pivovar U Supa: Arguably the oldest brewery in Prague, offering a beer tasting and great food.
Hemingway Bar: A casual lounge bar in Old Town with a selection of cocktails, including the absinthe-based "Breath In The Afternoon."
Bukowski's Bar: A cool dive bar located in the Žižkov neighborhood, where you can hang out with the locals.
Fermé: A bar in the hip Vinohrady neighborhood, known for its friendly staff, exciting drinks, and late closing kitchen.
Need to Know
For more travel tips, check out this guide to Prague by Fora Advisor Cliniece Goodluck's guide, Top Things to Do in Prague, Czech Republic.
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Czechia, although part of the European Union, mainly utilizes Czech Koruna (crowns) as its currency. This helps keeping a visit to this country on the more inexpensive side. Euros are still accepted in most establishments, but my recommendation is carrying a little cash in crowns because some bars/restaurants and street vendors may prefer cash to credit/euros. Keep an eye on the exchange rate because some exchange establishments can try to take advantage of tourists, or just take cash out from an ATM like I do.
The city of Prague is easily walkable, but the main way to get around are its historical trams. There are also 3 metro lines and plenty of bus routes that can get you anywhere you need to go! I recommend a day or multi day pass, depending on how long you will spend in the city. They are very inexpensive and help you hop on a tram from any location when your feet are weary and you want to sit and look at the sights the city provides.
30 minutes - 30 czk (Approx. $1.36)
90 minutes - 40 czk ($1.82)
24 hours - 120 czk ($5.45)
72 hours - 330 czk ($14.97)
*Pro tip* - Once you purchase your ticket, it is not validated until you stamp it in one of the machines available inside the tram carts, busses, or before boarding the metro. It is an easy tourist mistake to not stamp the pass, and you can get fined if stopped by an officer. It happens A LOT.
I hope my guide is useful to you.
Enjoy the beautiful city of Prague!