Home to over a million inhabitants, Prague is the capital city of the Czech Republic in Central Europe. Called the “City of a Hundred Spires,” Prague is known for architectural marvels that have survived wartime in Europe — the towers of centuries-old palaces, the domes of churches, and charming buildings still standing to this day. Sitting on the banks of the Vltava River, Prague is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
So, what is Prague famous for? Prague is famous for well-preserved castles, Baroque and Gothic cathedrals, medieval squares, dreamy bridges, nightlife spots, and a lively arts scene. It’s known for its centuries of history and cultural heritage, where the medieval heart of Europe can be felt in its cobblestone streets.
Whether you’re a first-time visitor or you’re just curious about the hype, Prague has a little something for everyone. From must-visit destinations to the best nightlife spots, we’ll guide you on everything you need to know about this city!
1. Charles Bridge
If you were to ask someone, “What Prague is most famous for?” they would most likely point you to Charles Bridge. Perhaps the dreamiest medieval bridge in the world, Charles Bridge is a postcard-perfect landmark and an iconic symbol for the city of Prague.
Named after King Charles IV, the length of the bridge contains 30 Baroque-style sculptures of saints. Running over the Vltava River, it connects the Staré Město (Old Town) with the Malá Strana (Little Quarter) of Prague. Here, the defensive Gothic towers at both ends of the bridge are essential structures in the city’s skyline. You can climb up the towers for a panoramic lookout of the city!
Thinking about visiting the Charles Bridge? Here’s a pro-tip: Come here right before the sunrise, when it feels like you have this normally crowded bridge all to yourself.
2. Prague Astronomical Clock
Just like the Charles Bridge, it’s easy to see why the Prague Astronomical Clock is one of the most iconic attractions in the city! Originating in the 15th century, this medieval clock on the Old Town City Hall features an astronomical dial and a zodiac ring that represents the stars. Built around 600 years ago, the Prague Astronomical Clock is the world’s oldest astronomical clock that is still operating to this day.
Every day from 9am to 11pm, the Prague Astronomical Clock attracts tourists who want to watch the “Walk of the Apostles.” When the clock chimes at the hour, the mechanical figurines of the 12 Apostles move in the tower’s window. To beat the crowds, we recommend arriving at the Old Town Square at least fifteen minutes before the hour starts. Remember to keep an eye on your belongings!
3. Old Town Square
Fancy a leisurely stroll through Prague? Head to the Old Town or Staré Město for one of the most picturesque squares in Europe! At the Old Town Square, the winding cobblestone streets and imposing Gothic spires make the perfect spot for appreciating the medieval atmosphere of Prague.
Situated between Charles Bridge and Wenceslas Square, the Old Town Square was once a bustling marketplace in Prague until the 20th century. Now, it’s a UNESCO-listed destination where many tourists gather to admire the Prague Astronomical Clock, Old Town Hall, and the Church of Our Lady before Týn.
4. Prague Castle
Of course, no trip to Prague is complete without seeing Prague Castle! Dating back to the 9th century, Prague Castle was the royal residence for Czech kings and presidents in the Czech Republic.
However, Prague Castle isn’t just limited to a single monument. Rather, the entire complex of the castle comprises vast courtyards, cathedrals, museums, and sprawling gardens that can take several days to explore fully. Covering nearly 70,000 square metres, Prague Castle is officially listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest ancient castle complex in the world. Pretty impressive, right?
Highlights include the Old Royal Palace, St. George’s Basilica, Golden Lane, St. Vitus Cathedral, and the Great South Tower of the Cathedral. These buildings showcase the diverse architectural styles that remain standing in Prague. From the Romanesque architecture of St. George’s Basilica to the Gothic ceilings of St. Vitus Cathedral, every part of the complex is jaw-droppingly beautiful.
5. St. Vitus Cathedral
If Prague has a reputation for towering spires and ancient cathedrals, much of that has to do with St. Vitus Cathedral. Standing proudly on the Old Town Square, this Gothic cathedral took nearly 600 years to build before it was finally completed in 1929. Today, visitors can admire the ceilings with frescoes, the stained-glass windows, and the life-sized sculptures of saints inside the cathedral.
Among the cathedral’s attractions, the most-visited one is the Chapel of St. Wenceslas. Here, you can find 16th-century paintings and semi-precious stones adorning the walls, as well as a staircase that leads to the chamber with the Bohemian crown jewels.
6. Malá Strana (Little Quarter)
After exploring the Old Town of Prague, you can cross the Charles Bridge to arrive at the Malá Strana, which is called the Little Quarter or Lesser Town of Prague. Make no mistake, however, as there’s nothing “little” or “lesser” about this historic district.
Sitting on the west bank of the Vltava River, the Little Quarter boasts of cobblestone streets, pastel houses with red roofs, and elegant palaces that showcase the affluent side of Prague. Keep an eye out for the stunning examples of Baroque architecture, such as the Wallenstein Palace and St. Nicholas Cathedral!
7. Wenceslas Square
Wondering what to do in Prague? For a glimpse of what local life in Prague is like, Wenceslas Square is the go-to area for exploring the hippest restaurants, coffee shops, bars, nightclubs, and fashion boutiques in the metropolis. Just five minutes from the Old Town, Wenceslas Square is a boulevard that measures 60 metres wide and 750 metres long. Formerly a horse market and a site for mass demonstrations, it can hold as many as 400,000 people.
Today, Wenceslas Square is a bustling commercial district in Nové Město or the New Town, as well as the heart of entertainment and nightlife in Prague. From dining in restaurants to shopping for Czech souvenirs, pedestrians won’t find a shortage of things to do in Wenceslas Square. Popular attractions in Wenceslas Square include the National Museum and the Prague State Opera.
8. Museums and art galleries in Prague
Beyond its impressive architecture and scenic boulevards, Prague is also known for its thriving arts and cultural scene. So, if you have a knack for exploring art galleries, then you’re in the right place to be! From natural history exhibits to vast collections of European paintings, the museums of Prague have treasures for every traveller.
Check out the National Museum on Wenceslas Square for over 14 million historical artifacts that include jewellery, sculptures, and other timeless treasures. Visit the Prague National Gallery on the Old Town Square for the second oldest art gallery in Europe, where you’ll find rare masterpieces from famous artists like Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh, Rodin, and Klimt.
9. Traditional Czech cuisine
Did you know that Prague is also famous for its food? Great news for meat lovers out there — traditional Czech cuisine tends to focus on meat ingredients, such as pork, chicken, and beef. For an introduction to Czech flavours, you can start with guláš or goulash, a hearty stew of meat and vegetables with paprika. This fragrant dish is served with bread-like dumplings called knedlíky. Aside from goulash, we also recommend trying the vepřo knedlo zelo, a comforting dish of roasted pork with knedlíky and sauerkraut.
Along the streets of Prague, you might see vendors preparing trdelník — a rolled pastry topped with sugar, cinnamon, or nuts. Why not grab a bite? For another sweet delicacy, you can also taste the palačinky, a crepe-like pancake filled with cream, jam, or fruits.
Planning a food trip through Prague? Luckily, the best places to eat in Prague are pretty affordable! For our restaurant picks, we suggest heading to Mjelnice in the Old Town or U Magistra Kelly in the Little Quarter to satisfy your Czech food cravings!
10. Shopping in Prague
What else is Prague famous for? Why, shopping, of course! From fashionable clothes to charming souvenirs, Prague is one of the best destinations for shopaholics in Europe.
If you’re looking for the latest trends, Pařížská Street is a well-known shopping district in Prague with designer boutiques. But for affordable retail options that won’t break the bank, the Prague Thrift Store in Vinohrady and the Kotva Department Store at the Náměstí Republiky are your best bets for great bargains!
Wondering what to bring back from Prague? Drop by the stalls at Havel’s Market or Golden Lane for budget-friendly souvenirs to remind you of your trip! Popular souvenirs in Prague include garnet jewellery, wooden puppets and marionettes, leather goods, spa wafers with sweet fillings, and Bohemian crystals.
11. Czech beer
Beer enthusiasts will feel right at home in Prague, where a decent pint of Czech beer only costs around CZK35 ($1.50) in many bars! Gaining worldwide fame as the birthplace of the Pilsner, the Czech Republic drinks more beer per capita than any country on the planet. Drinking beer isn’t just a pastime but a way of life for the locals. And Prague is famous for producing some of the world’s best beer brands.
Whether you prefer a light beer or a lager, Prague has plenty of bars, microbreweries, and underground cellars to suit a variety of tastes. Indeed, going on a pub crawl in Prague can turn any trip into an unforgettable one. That is, if you can still remember anything when the night is done!
12. Prague nightlife
Party animals will have a blast in the Prague nightlife scene, where the streets blare with dance music until the morning! Underground clubs, artsy cocktail bars, hipster music venues, cosy pubs — honestly, it doesn’t matter what kind of music or environment you prefer. Rest assured that Prague has plenty of entertainment to get your heart beating faster!
Want to be where all the action is? Hit up some of the local pubs in the Old Town, like Anonymous Bar and Hemingway Bar. Even better, show off your awesome moves in Cross Club and Lucerna Music Bar, two of the best nightlife spots in Prague for travellers looking to dance the night away!
Needless to say, Prague’s love affair with live music and performance go a long way back. In fact, some dance clubs like the Chapeau Rouge have been entertaining visitors for over 100 years. Just imagine that!
13. Vltava River
Another great thing to love about Prague? It looks just as magical from the water! After all, Prague is situated on the banks of the Vltava River. And what better way to experience this riverside capital than to sail through its most historic sights?
Floating on a cruise along the Czech Republic’s longest river lets you see the bridges and red-roofed houses of Prague from a different perspective. This way, you won’t have to compete with the crowds for good photos of the attractions, too!
Here’s a tip: Choose a sightseeing cruise that will take you around the city in the evening. From the boat’s observation deck, you can enjoy illuminated views of Charles Bridge and Prague Castle reflected on the river!
14. Christmas markets
Christmas markets are a celebrated tradition in Europe, and Prague is an amazing city to ring in the festive season! From November to December, the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square become winter wonderlands with Christmas trees and dazzling lights. Expect the streets to be packed with market stalls selling everything from local handicrafts to Czech desserts to mulled wine.
Additionally, the ice skating rinks and live music events around the city will ensure that you won’t run out of fun activities to enjoy. With this much magic in the air, it’s no wonder that Prague is known for having some of the best Christmas markets in the world!
We hope this cleared up the question: What is Prague famous for? Now that you have enough information about this city, you’re ready to start planning your future trips to Prague! Good luck!