By SARAH SILBERT
Prague is a city of castles, churches, and wonderful views. Did we mention there are lots of churches? From museums and opera performances to public squares and impressive architecture, there’s no shortage of activity in this beautiful Czech city.
Here are ten of our favorite, Cheapo-friendly attractions for Prague:
Perched on a hill above the city, the Prague Castle is impossible to miss—but it's also worth taking a closer look at. Photo: Captain Chaos.
It doesn’t get more must-see than this! The Prasky Hrad (as it’s called in Czech) is synonymous with the city’s romantic, old-world feel. The Prague Castle, across the river from Stare Mesto and all the Old Town attractions, houses a church as well as museums and art galleries.
Tours of the castle cost CZK 250-350. Admission to the Prague Castle Picture Gallery is free every Monday from 4-6 p.m. The pretty castle gardens are free for you to explore, and a Changing of the Guard ceremony takes place every hour by the castle gates.
The Charles Bridge is always lively—if you're lucky, you might get a free concert! Photo: Fenners1984.
The Charles Bridge, built in 1357, is a people-watcher’s dream. Besides offering a wonderful view that connects the Old Town with Mala Strana and the Prague Castle, the bridge is the perfect place to sit—along the walls lined with 75 tall stone statues—and watch the never-ending stream of tourists and locals pass by.
Charles Bridge is a hub for street artists and musicians, and best of all, the first-class view of Prague is absolutely free.
The stunning Astronomical Clock, at the base of the Old Town Hall Tower, draws plenty of admirers. Photo: lyng883.
You can’t miss Prague’s Old Town Hall Tower and Astronomical Clock—even if that means you simply walk by its façade. The clock and tower sit in the heart of Stare Mesto, Prague's Old Town. The clock, which sports the 12 signs of the zodiac, is a striking masterpiece—and a photo-op you won’t want to miss. Every hour, the clock bell’s toll is accompanied by a procession of Christ and his Twelve Apostle, who parade out from the clock’s trap door.
For CZK100, you can climb the Old Town Hall Tower for yet another magnificent view of Prague. The Old Town Hall is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday through Sunday.
Wenceslas Square in Nove Mesto is the central hub for hotels, clubs, and shops in Prague. But it isn’t just a commercial district; at the top of the city center sits the famous statute of St. Wenceslas, a former Czech king and national hero, on horseback.
Wenceslas Square is also famous for two plaques commemorating protestors who were killed during the Communist occupation. Behind the Wenceslas statue is the stately National Museum, a building that only adds to the grandeur of this central boulevard.
…Which brings us to number five, the National Museum itself, the Czech Republic’s oldest and largest museum. Sitting right behind the Wenceslas statue in Nove Mesto, the museum is home to paleontological and zoological collections, including a large number of stuffed animals. What’s most interesting, though, is the building itself, a testament to the neo-renaissance style and a symbol of the Czech National Revival.
Admission to the National Museum is CZK 120, and admission is free on the first Monday of every month. The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from October to April and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from May to September, excluding the first Tuesday of the month, when the museum is closed.
Note: The National Museum is closed until July 2015 for renovations
The Jewish cemetery in Josefov is a testament to Prague's longstanding Jewish cultural tradition. Photo: redbike.really.
Josefov, Prague's Jewish quarter, is located between Old Town Square and the Vlatva River. The area's history dates back to the 13th century, when laws forced the Jewish to settle in one area. Josefov's cultural tradition is still its main draw: there are six synagogues, among them the oldest in Central Europe, and an Old Jewish Cemetery.
We recommend taking a walking tour to explore Josefov. Prague Walking Tours leaves from the Old Town Square at 10 a.m. daily. Check out our blog post on free walking tours in Prague.
Mala Strana is an area of Prague known for its picturesque surroundings, including St. Nicholas Church and a lovely baroque square, Malostranske Namesti. There are plenty of striking, ancient buildings to be seen here, making this the perfect neighborhood for a leisurely stroll or guided walking tour.
The company Prague Walking Tours offers tours daily at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The 2 p.m. tour begins in the Old Town and explores Mala Strana, Parliament, and the Prague Castle, among other sites.
Though its opulence implies it would be beyond most Cheapo's means, the Prague State Opera actually offers tickets for as little as CZK100! Photo: scott_prestridge.
Just off Wenceslas Square, the beautiful Prague State Opera has been home to world-famous operas and ballets, including works by Tchaikovsky, Puccini, Verdi, since 1888. Performances run at the opera house year round, excepting a break from late June to late August. Tickets can cost as little as CZK100 if you settle for a less than stellar seat. We also like the National Theater, where Mozart conducted his opera Don Giovanni in 1787. The impressive opera buildings sit along the Vltava river.
Alphonse Mucha, famed painter and print artist, was the father of Art Nouveau in the Czech Republic. His prints pop up all throughout Prague, though they have a special home at the Mucha Museum in the city's Old Town. The collection includes Mucha's much celebrated paintings, posters, statues, and photographs. The Mucha Museum offers a guided tour, though you must give advanced notice. Admission costs CZK 120. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
One of three St. Nicholas Churches in Prague, the version in Old Town Square is a Baroque masterpiece. Photo: timrawle.
Yet another must-see in Old Town Square, St. Nicholas Church dates back to the 16th century. The building is in the baroque style with three prominent towers. Sculptures and a grand chandelier decorate the interior. During the second World War, Czech army units were stationed in the church. Today, St. Nicholas serves its original function: along with classical musical performances, Sunday mass is held weekly at 10 a.m.
The church is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the months of March through October, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the months of November through February.