Free Things To Do in Prague
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Old Town Square is a popular spot in Prague, with travelers flocking here in droves for its beautiful architecture, colorful history and vibrant atmosphere. The square hasn't changed much since it was established in the 12th century when it functioned as the city's original marketplace.
The square is home to some of the most historic attractions in the city, including the Old Town Hall, one of the best places to get a bird's-eye view of the city and the Prague Astronomical Clock, a beautiful timepiece dating back to the 1400s. Other architectural highlights found within the square include the Church of St. Nicholas and the Church of Our Lady before Týn, instantly recognizable for its two Gothic spires. Meanwhile, the newest additions to the square include a monument erected in 1915 for the religious reformer Jan Hus. There are also several restaurants here that spill out onto the square during the warmer months as locals and travelers alike enjoy a coffee or a beer on the patios. And if you're visiting during the holiday season, expect the square to be filled with Christmas market shoppers.
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The Charles Bridge connects Old Town (Staré Mesto) and Lesser Town (Malá Strana). Visitors come here to soak up the atmosphere, buy souvenirs and to take in the 30 saint statues that line the bridge. Dating back to 1357, the statues were crafted between 1683 to 1928 to honor numerous saints.
Recent travelers said a visit to the bridge is a must-do, especially if it's your first time in Prague. But reviewers do warn that you'll likely encounter claustrophobic swarms of tourists and street vendors and you should keep a close watch on your valuables. Some suggest visiting at dawn or dusk to avoid the crowds; the congestion is at its worst in the afternoons, according to travelers.
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Holding the record for the largest coherent castle complex in the world, Prague Castle serves double duty as the office of the Czech president and a popular tourist destination. The complex where it stands is also home to several other attractions.
Prague Castle has stood in this spot for more than a thousand years and covers a lot of area. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the grounds feature a variety of architectural styles, including everything from 10th-century Romanesque buildings to Gothic structures from the 14th century. Throughout its history, the castle and the area around it have gone through extensive restorations and renovations.
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While the site of St. Vitus Cathedral dates back to about A.D. 925, the church that stands today is actually the third in honor of Saint Vitus (the patron saint of dancers, actors, comedians and epileptics). Consecrated in 1929, the cathedral features neo-Gothic stylings alongside Renaissance and baroque details.
One of the highlights is the tomb of St. John of Nepomuk, famours for its intricate silverwork. Also, don't miss the art nouveau stained-glass window work completed by the famous Czech painter Alphonse Mucha.
- #6View all Photos#6 in PragueShopping, FreeTYPELess than 1 hourTIME TO SPENDShopping, FreeTYPELess than 1 hourTIME TO SPENDRead More
Tourists and locals alike enjoy perusing the Náplavka Farmers Market in Prague. Whether you’re looking for an excellent snack or a keepsake from your visit to Prague, you’ll be sure to find it at a stand in this sprawling marketplace. Alternatively, just stroll along the Vltava River and take in the sights and smells of the bustling vendors.
Previous visitors say that a majority of the stalls focus on food, so it’s best to skip breakfast and arrive hungry; however, there are a handful of vendors that sell handmade gifts. What’s more, recent travelers appreciate the market’s position along the Vltava River, close to other attractions like the National Theatre and the Dancing House.
- #8View all Photos#8 in PragueHistoric Homes/Mansions, Parks and Gardens, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDHistoric Homes/Mansions, Parks and Gardens, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDRead More
Unsurprisingly, the Wallenstein Garden sits outside the Wallenstein Palace, home of the Senate of the Czech Republic, in Prague’s Malá Strana. Both the geometrically designed garden and the adjacent palace were built between 1623 and 1629. Given the era of the garden’s construction, its Baroque style and immense sala (a type of pavilion) are even more impressive. While the Wallenstein Garden earns its spot on any itinerary, regardless of when you visit, travelers who stroll through the garden during the summer may be treated to a concert or theatrical performance.
Past visitors were particularly appreciative of the Wallenstein Garden’s roaming white peacocks, which certainly add a whimsical feel to the area. Travelers also enjoyed the garden’s water features, ranging from fountains to koi ponds. Additionally, access to the Wallenstein Garden is free, making it a cost-effective place to spend a sunny afternoon.
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Josefov, Prague's historic Jewish Quarter, is home to several significant sites, including a number of important synagogues like the Spanish Synagogue and the Old New Synagogue, Europe's oldest active synagogue. The Old Jewish Cemetery is a sight to behold. The oldest surviving cemetery of its kind, there are 12,000 visible graves and countless more underneath. With space at a premium, it became necessary for graves to be placed on top of each other, as many as 12 layers deep.
Recent travelers said the neighborhood offers a hands-on history of Jewish life in the Czech Republic, although some complained about admission fees to individual synagogues or museums. Some spring for a personal or an audio guide (which can be purchased online), but you can save some money and just explore on your own (ideally equipped with a detailed guidebook).
- #11View all Photos#11 in PragueChurches/Religious Sites, FreeTYPELess than 1 hourTIME TO SPENDChurches/Religious Sites, FreeTYPELess than 1 hourTIME TO SPENDRead More
The Infant Jesus of Prague statue was carved in an unknown location around 1340 and found its way to Prague more than 100 years later. While the origin of the Infant Jesus statue remains unconfirmed (legend has it that the figure originally belonged to Saint Teresa of Ávila), the statue certainly plays a significant role in Prague and the Roman Catholic Church. Many notable figures attributed miracles to the Infant Jesus of Prague over time, bolstering its status as a holy symbol. These miraculous claims were compounded by the church and statue’s continued security, despite the multiple wars and periods of unrest in the city. As the statue’s profile grew, copies of the Infant Jesus of Prague were (and continue to be) sent to churches around the world.
Regardless of their religious orientation, previous travelers praise the church for its beautiful decor. Visitors also tend to appreciate the small museum upstairs, which houses a variety of the Infant Jesus of Prague’s robes. Keep in mind that the ornate interior of the church is tiny, so don’t allot a significant amount of time for the Church of Our Lady Victorious ( Infant Jesus of Prague) unless you intend to attend mass.
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Located in the Old Town Square, the Prague Astronomical Clock has been around since the 15th century, though it has required repairs many times over its history.
This clock doesn't display the time of day. Rather, it's meant to be used to determine the phases of the moon and the equinoxes. The clock uses depictions of symbols, such as a money bag representing greed, a figure looking at himself in a mirror to represent vanity and a skeleton to depict death. Each hour the clock shows a visualization of time unlike anything else in the world.
- #15View all PhotosfreeLetná Parks#15 in PragueParks and Gardens, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDParks and Gardens, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDRead More
Overlooking Prague's Old Town from across the Vltava River, Letná Parks provide an excellent opportunity to relax. In addition to taking in the spectacular views, travelers can explore the parks' landmarks: the Hanavský Pavilion, the first cast-iron structure and the home of a luxury restaurant; the Letná Carousel, the oldest surviving floored carousel in Europe; and the Prague Metronome, a 75-foot-long metronome designed to replace the largest statue of Stalin in the world.
Letná Parks are also home to a popular beer garden, where recent travelers recommend you stop for a meal of sausage and Pilsner. In addition to the excellent food, past visitors were most impressed by Letná Parks' panoramic viewpoints of the city. Strolling through the park and enjoying its views is free and the park is open at all hours, but be sure to pack a snack or be prepared to spend some koruna on food if you choose to visit during a mealtime. And because the park is conveniently located near the city center, several tram stops are adjacent.
- #16 in PragueMonuments and Memorials, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDMonuments and Memorials, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDRead More
Once the site of a World War II-standoff, this monument sits in an underground crypt of the Church of Sts Cyril and Methodius. The location was a secret hideout, where the Czech Orthodox Church allowed seven Czechoslovak parachutists to hide after they were involved in the assassination of the Reich Protector Reinhard Heydrich in 1942. They hid in the church's crypt for three weeks until they were betrayed, and the Germans besieged the church. Three paratroopers were killed in the fight, while the other four took their own lives in a desperate act to avoid surrender. You can still see bullet marks and shrapnel marks on the walls.
During a visit, you'll see an exhibit and a video that details the Nazi persecution of the Czechs. You'll learn about the history of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia in March 1939 and the arrival of Reinhard Heydrich as a representative of the Reich Protector in September 1941, as well as the subsequent reign of bloody terror. Past travelers said this museum is small, but very powerful and definitely worth visiting.
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After the killing of John Lennon in 1980, an activist painted an image of the Beatles’ lead singer on the wall opposite the French Embassy. This small act of deviance (Communist Czechoslovakia banned Western images and symbols) blossomed into a colorful collage of protest text, images and lyrics. The city’s secret police continuously whitewashed the wall, which young Czechs subsequently covered with more graffiti. Even after Communist Czechoslovakia fell and the country divided in two, the John Lennon Wall continued to evolve, most recently sporting fresh coats of paint in 2014 and 2019.
Today, the John Lennon Wall attracts travelers from around the world. Beatles fans will appreciate the riffs on the band’s popular lyrics, while it does not take a music enthusiast to enjoy the wall’s bright colors. Recent visitors suggest swinging by the wall after walking across the nearby Charles Bridge. Don’t plan on spending more than a few minutes at the wall, though, as visitors also say that the John Lennon Wall only warrants a quick visit. Travelers hoping to make the trek via public transit can take bus No. 192, while a variety of tram lines also stop within walking distance of the wall.
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Wenceslas Square, which is one of Prague’s two main squares (the other being the Old Town Square), offers a more modern slice of the historic city. Cafes, casinos and clubs are all located nearby, while the National Museum is the area’s most visually stunning spot. Despite the exceedingly modern storefronts nearby, the square firmly established itself in Prague’s history due to its role as a gathering place during the Velvet Revolution, in addition to other cultural moments. Wenceslas Square also houses the Statue of Saint Wenceslas, a patron saint of Prague whose statue overlooked many important moments in the history of the Czech Republic.
Recent visitors suggest perusing the square for its small army of stores and food stalls, especially if you find yourself with time to kill after visiting one of the nearby museums. As a public space, the square is free and accessible 24/7, while the nearby businesses all operate on their own hours. Both Prague’s trams and subways offer an assortment of stops near Wenceslas Square, and it also sits only slightly more than a half-mile southeast of Old Town Square.
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