Here are 20 things to do in the Old Town of Prague
On our every day free walking tour, we visit the most famous sights of Prague Old Town but obviously, there is still a lot more to see and do. Here is our list of twenty more things to consider after the tour:
There are countless observation decks in Prague but none is like the tower of the Town Hall in the Old Town Square, located right in the middle of the old city. The admission fee is CZK250 (around EUR10) and, apart from the breathtaking view, the ticket includes a visit in the Gothic chapel, the historical state rooms and the dungeons. During the visit, you will also be able to have a closer look at the mechanism of the astronomical clock. Getting to the top of the tower is easy thanks to an elevator.
After visiting the crowded Old Town hall you might want to relax in a place little-known to the tourists. Go to Skautský Institut, a hidden student café located a minute away from the town hall in another historical building upstairs (see map). They have extremely cheap beer (1-2 euros), coffee and snacks. Open the window in the coffee shop and you will see a great view of the Old Town square. Other nice student cafés we like are Kafe Damu in Karlova street and Studentský klub in Celetná.
If you would like to bring home classic souvenirs like magnets, Czech puppets, paintings, etc. look no further than Havelské Tržiště. It used to be a normal market with fruits and vegetables once but now the majority of the stalls sell souvenirs. Our tip: some fruit stands are still there. Get some local pears or apples, wash them in the water fountain in the middle of the market and have a healthy brunch on a bench by the nearby Wimmer’s fountain. Chill out surrounded by the beauty of local architecture.
Famous for the world premier of Mozart's Don Giovanni in 1787, the Estates Theatre is the main venue for the operas by the Austrian composer in Prague. The shows, including the Marriage of Figaro, the Magic Flute or, of course, Don Giovanni, are staged in the original Italian version with Czech and English subtitles. See the program and buy the tickets here.
We recommend the Baroque Church of St. Nicholas in the Old Town Square or one of the churches of the Klementinum complex. If you like bigger events choose the Municipal House or the Rudolfinum (National Philharmonic) with the best acoustics in the country. The dress code ranges from casual to smart casual, so don’t worry if you don’t have evening dress. See the program and buy the tickets here.
We look at this site from outside on our Free Prague Old Town tour. The house of the Black Madonna is the first Cubist building in the world. It hosts the Museum of Czech Cubism, a tiny Cubist design store and a unique Cubist café, where you can even order a Cubist cake (a geometrical cream puff). Another thing we love about the building is the (Cubist) staircase. Take a lift to the 3rd floor and look down to see how special it is!
If you are an Art Nouveau enthousiast, one of the two Alfons Mucha museums in Prague will be a must. The famous Czech artist is best-known for his distinctly stylized and decorative theatrical posters, particularly those of Sarah Bernhardt, the Parisian theatre super star in the Belle Epoque period. Have a quick look on the smaller exhibition on the Old Town square or go to the main museum in Panská street to see the most complete Mucha exhibition in the world!
A paternoster (like the prayer, because the mechanism resembles a rosary) is an old-style elevator that never stops. You jump in and jump out as you please. Some find it pretty exciting, especially those who stay on the last floor and go over the top (although officially you shouldn’t do that). Our favourite pater noster is in the City Hall at Marianské Square. Remember to use it tactfully giving priority to the clerks.
On our Prague Old Town tour we provide an overview of the Jewish history and culture in Prague and show you the most famous sights from outside. We recommend you to return with the ticket and see all the exhibitions, ideally with the services of the official Jewish Museum guides. Moreover, there are regular classical music concerts in the Maisel or Spanish synagogues, which are worth considering.
The Municipal Library of Prague at Marianské Square has a hidden gem. Right in front of the main hall there is a vertical tunnel made of 8000 books. Take a peek inside - there are mirrors at the bottom and at the top of the tunnel creating an optical illusion of a never-ending tunnel of knowledge. Stuck your head in and take a selfie, it’s pretty cool! (Mon-Thu 9:00-20:00, Sat 13:00-18:00, Mon 13:00-20:00, Sun Closed).
This 17th century Jesuit college (nowadays National Library) is the second biggest complex of buildings in Prague after the Castle. Buy a ticket to see its spectacular Baroque library and visit the observatory tower where the temperatures have been recorded since 1775. The view from the top is stunning. Our tip: on your way out find the sculpture of a little dirty girl sitting on the wall in the courtyard with a paper plane in hands and the metallic tree next to it. They are interesting examples of contemporary local art!
Cruises through the Vltava river are great if you don't have too high expectations. We recommend them after lots of walking :) Just sit back and relax with the panorama of Prague slowly moving on the horizon. The main cruise companies in Prague are Prague Boats (general sightseeing and dinner cruises), Prague Venice (smaller boats around Charles Bridge) and Paroplavba (longer cruises). When you are not too tired and the weather is good, switch to pedalos, parked on the Slovanský ostrov Island, for a more active experience.
Saint Agnes Convent is a complex of some of the oldest historical buildings in Prague. It dates back to the 13th century and its original Gothic architecture is very well preserved. Visit the now empty interiors and the peaceful gardens with interesting contemporary art for for free. Then, buy a ticket to the permanent exhibition Medieval Art in Bohemia and Central Europe (1200-1550). It's a fascinating display of over 200 works of painting, sculpture, and crafts from the deep Middle Ages and early Renaissance. The entire monastery is an oasis of calm in the extremely busy and touristy Old Town of Prague. We are sure you will appreciate it.
Lokál is a chain of classical Czech restaurants reputable for their great value for money and arguably the best Pilsner Beer and Prague ham in town. Our tip: There are several Lokál restaurants in Prague - skip the most touristy ones in Dlouhá street and U Bilé kuželky and go for a more local experience (Lokál Hamburk in Karlín, Lokál Korunní in Vinohrady - both relatively close from the Old Town). They also have delicious fried cheese and other beer specialties like pickled camembert or marinated olomouc cheese. Yummy! (Check the menu of each restaurant here.
Absinth is a green (sometimes colorless) bitter-taste spirit derived from anise, wormwood and other aromatic herbs. Due to the trace amounts of the potentially hallucinogenic thujone the drink was for long forbidden in many countries of the world, but never in the Czech Republic where in the 90s it started to be produced on a big scale.
If you haven’t tried absinth yet, do it in Prague. The Old Town is full of great bars specialized in the “green fairy”. We particularly recommend the Absintherie in Jílská street, which rightfully calls itself the Mecca of absinth in Prague. Try some of the 100 different kinds of absinth and learn from the friendly stuff about the traditional way of drinking it. And don’t worry, there are little chances you will get high. The amount of thujone in the absinth sold in Prague is within the acceptable European norms. Be careful not to drink too much though, it is a very strong beverage containing up to 75% alcohol!
If wandering around the Old Town you see a suicider hanging out by one hand from an old building, don't call the police. It's just Sigmund Freud - the Austrian psychoanalyst has been dangling there since 1996. It is of course just a sculpture, made by the controversial Czech artist David Černý - the same one who made the Peeing Men, Franz Kafka's Head, St. Wenceslas on a horse upside down and so on. The sculpture is reportedly a statement about the modern intellectualism and Cerny’s uncertainty about it. You will find it at the intersection of Husova and Skořepka streets (see map).
We won't lie to you - trdelník is not original Czech street food, it is more traditional for Hungary or Slovakia. And yet we think the best chimney cakes are here in Prague, where in 2016 the recipe was reinvented with the addition of different toppings by a small bakery called Good Food Chimney Cake located a minute away from Prague's most famous bridge. Cream, ice-cream, chocolate, nougat, apple strudel, you name it. Warning: some of their trdelníks are hard to resist :)
Mozart's fans will not be disappointed to see that the main shows of the National Marionette Theatre in Prague are the puppet versions of the operas Don Giovanni and the Magic Flute. Puppet theatres have a long tradition in the Czech Republic and the stage on Žátecká street is the most respected. The 2-hour show is great for both children and adults. The theatre also offer a great behind-the-scene experience. Check the details here.
The tradition of gingerbread in Prague dates back to the 14th century, when the first bakeries appeared in the Celetná street by the Old Town square. Perničkův sen continues this long-lasting tradition with love and creativity making each of the gingerbreads special and the visit in the shop a very pleasant experience. We recommend their gingerbreads as beautiful and tasty souvenirs from Prague.
...or even buy something, but be prepared for spending a lot of money! The most expensive street in Prague, which was meant to be the beginning of the Champs Elysees of Prague, is located in the Jewish Quarter between the Old Town square and the Čechův most Bridge (see map here). The numerous boutiques include such luxury brands as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Cartier, Christian Dior, Rolex or Bulgari with the prices reaching 300 000 euros for a necklace. If luxury fashion doesn’t excite you, we recommend to still go there to admire the beauty of the boulevard adorned with trees and ravishing eclectic architecture of the turn of the 19th and 20th century.
The above list was a selection of 20 things to do in Prague Old Town after our daily free walking tour. Apart from the Old Town tour, we also offer another daily tour of Prague Castle and Charles Bridge, as well as the weekly free tour of Prague New Town and several seasonal tours, like our free tour of Prague Zizkov. You can check our full schedule here. Join us!
Disclaimer: prices and opening hours were updated in May 2020. Please check in google for updates :)