As the biggest city in the Czech Republic, Prague is absolutely packed with amazing things to see and do. From cruises along the Vltava River to evenings in the Old Town Square, Prague is an incredibly laid back and beautiful city to visit. While its medieval Old Town Square is one of the city’s main draws, Prague is also home to many great museums, restaurants, and architectural marvels beyond just the city center. While the city is certainly filled with great things to do, its strong reputation often leaves travelers with very lofty expectations before they visit. This post is going to dive in and take a look at the question “Is Prague worth the hype?”
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Best Things to Do in Prague
1. Relax on a Vltava River Dinner Cruise
Whenever I visit a city on a river, I can’t resist going on a dinner cruise. I mentioned this in my Cologne travel guide, too. I find that the views of the city are often best from on the water, and sipping a glass of wine while admiring the city lit up at night is just one of my favorite vibes.
In Prague, a dinner cruise on the Vltava River does not disappoint. The city is beautiful at night, the crisp air is very refreshing, and there are several great cruise providers that offer really strong value for dinner and a cruise. I went with Premiant City Tour and recommend them!
2. Spend an Evening in the Old Town Square
Prague’s medieval Old Town Square is its biggest tourist attraction, and it doesn’t disappoint. The architecture here is just remarkable, and its style is unlike most other major European cities. While you can visit the Old Town Square at any time, I highly recommend visiting in the evening and grabbing some street food. If you are in a savory mood, I recommend either grabbing halusky or sausage, and if you are in a sweeter mood you need to try a trdelnik. Mulled wine is also a unique choice that will warm you up on a chilly day!
3. See the Infant Jesus of Prague
The Infant Jesus of Prague is a statue of the baby Jesus dressed as a king with a scepter located in the Church of Our Lady of Victories. This statue is interesting, in that the baby Jesus is portrayed as an adult in presence but a baby in stature. This was a very popular form of expression in the Renaissance, and the statue is known as one of the most popular Catholic pilgrimage sights in all of Central Europe.
4. Check Out the Astronomical Clock at the Top of an Hour
The Prague Astronomical Clock is a medieval clock attached to Prague’s Old Town Hall. It is one of the oldest functioning clocks in the world. Every hour, on the hour, the clock puts on a little entertainment for anyone who cares to watch, as the doors at the top of the clock open up and figures of the 12 apostles appear and dance around. The fact that this clock has existed for over 600 years is part of what makes it so cool, and the fact that it is free to see is even cooler.
5. Catch a Sunset on the Charles Bridge
The Charles Bridge is the most popular bridge in Prague, and it has been standing for over 600 years since it was commissioned by King Charles IV. The bridge is known best for its vendors and statues, but I think it should be known for its sunrises and sunsets. If you have the chance, I think that watching a sunset on Charles Bridge is one of the best free things to do in Prague, as you can see the sun rise or set over different parts of the beautiful city backdrop.
6. Explore the Grounds of Prague Castle
Prague Castle has been standing for over 1,200 years, and it is absolutely striking. While the castle is epic, it isn’t the only epic thing located on the castle grounds! The castle grounds themselves are free to visit, but buildings within the complex often have an entrance fee. The most popular structure to visit other than Prague Castle itself is St. Vitus Cathedral, which is incredibly elaborate and is where most Czech kings and queens were coronated over many centuries.
7. Take a Picture at the Lennon Wall
While the Beatles have very little connection to the Czech Republic itself, the John Lennon Wall is one of the trendiest spots to visit in Prague. After his assassination, a local artist painted a mural of John Lennon on a regular wall near the French Embassy. Since then, the wall has been filled with messages of love and freedom, as the Czech Republic was subject to a controlling and depressing communist regime for several decades. Nowadays, the wall is a sign of love and positivity, and it is one of the most Instagrammable spots in Prague.
8. Crush Some Local Czech Beers
While its western neighbor of Germany often gets the most credit for its beer, the Czech Republic has been producing world-class beer for centuries, too, and is the original home of the pilsner! Czech beers are known as some of the best traditional beers in the world, and you know what they say about beer in Prague – it is cheaper than water! Some of the most popular Czech brewers are Pilsner Urquell, Staropramen, and Budvar, but you are likely to come across many other local brewers who impress, too!
How to Get to Prague
As the biggest city in the Czech Republic, you could expect Prague to have a pretty self-sufficient airport. By all intents and purposes, this is true! Prague’s main airport is Václev Havel Airport Prague (PRG), and it is one of the biggest airports for hundreds of miles. If you want to fly to Prague, this is really your only option. There is no city within two hours with a comparable airport, meaning that this is your only convenient option.
One of the best ways to get from the airport to the city itself is by booking a private transfer with our partners at Welcome Pickups.
Welcome Pickups offers personalized, private, comfortable rides from the airport into the city for about the same price as a standard taxi. They monitor your flight status while you are in the air, and a driver will be waiting for you holding a sign with your name on it as soon as you arrive.
If you are looking to save money, there are a few major cities within 5 hours that operate massive hub airports. As I mention in my post on finding affordable airfare, these airports often offer significantly cheaper airfare and more direct flight options. However, once you land, you will need to transit anywhere from 4 to 5 hours to get to Prague. Personally, I love doing this, as it helps me to save money and see an extra city. If you are interested in flying into a hub airport near Prague, you have three solid options: Berlin, Munich, and Vienna.
Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) is a new airport in Germany’s capital that is quickly growing its traffic. At just 4 hours by car and 5 hours by train or bus from Prague, Berlin is a really cool city to explore and isn’t horribly far away. Munich Airport (MUC) is the second-biggest airport in Germany, is located in my favorite city in Germany, and is just 5 hours away from Prague by bus. Vienna International Airport (VIE) is located just 3.5 hours by car or 4.5 hours by bus from Prague, and is located in what is consistently ranked as one of the best cities in the world.
Flying isn’t the only way to get to Prague! Prague Main Train Station is the biggest train station in the Czech Republic, and trains from several European countries pass through here every day. I mentioned in the previous section that there are trains from Germany and Austria, and there are also trains to and from Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary. In under 8 hours on the train or bus, you can get from Prague to many major cities in Europe, including Berlin, Munich, Vienna, Budapest, Bratislava, Brno, and more. If you haven’t yet, I highly recommend that you also read my Budapest travel guide and my Bratislava travel guide before you go!
How to Get Around Prague
METRO | TRAMS | BUSES | UBER
Prague has one of the best public transportation systems in all of Europe. From buses and trams to the very popular metro system, you have little to no need for a car while in Prague. Personally, I only ever needed to use the metro to get around, as its three lines are very well connected within the city and its surrounding areas. Riding on the metro costs between 24 and 32 Czech koruna per ride, 110 for a 24-hour pass, and 310 for a 72-hour pass. At the time of publication (September 2022), these prices are about $1-1.25 per ride, less than $5 for a day pass, and about $12 for a 3-day pass.
For times when you are in a hurry or if your destination isn’t very well connected by public transportation, Uber is widely available in Prague (including from the airport) and it functions just like it does anywhere else in the world. If you are apprehensive about using Uber while in Prague, be sure to read my post about using Uber internationally.
The Best Time to Visit Prague
Prague is a pretty chilly city for most of the year, just like most places in Central Europe. As a result, the only actual warm time to visit is in the summer. As you can probably expect, this is when the droves of tourists come pouring into Prague, too. If you don’t mind the tourists and really prioritize warm weather, visiting Prague in the summer is a great idea.
However, if you don’t mind putting on a sweater or jacket, I think visiting Prague in the spring or fall is a much better idea.
The hotel prices all drop during these seasons, and the amount of tourists is minimal compared to the summer. We visited Prague in March, and while it was certainly chilly, it was still plenty of fun to explore and a light jacket sufficed for me.
Is Prague Cheap to Visit?
Prague has a reputation for being cheap, much like many parts of Central and Eastern Europe. I can’t begin to tell you how many people told me that beer was cheaper than water in Prague. Is there any truth to this? Is Prague actually a budget traveler’s paradise?
Well…yeah, it pretty much is.
Don’t get me wrong. As the tourists continue to pour into Prague, the prices are naturally going to increase. That is just good business practice! But the prices are definitely on the cheaper end of the spectrum compared to other major cities in Europe. Domestic beer is indeed cheaper than bottled water in many parts of the city, and I actually was not able to find one instance of water being cheaper than beer. But having cheap beer isn’t enough to make Prague a cheap city to visit!
There are so many other aspects of Prague that make it an affordable place to live or visit. The metro only costs about a dollar (or 25 koruna) to use. Popular tourists attractions typically only cost a couple of bucks (or 50-100 koruna) too. Dinner at one of the nicest restaurants in the city only cost me around $30 (or 770 koruna), and a cheaper restaurant might cost closer to $5 (or 130 koruna). The prices of Uber rides around the city might make you faint, too…in a good way.
Is Prague Worth the Hype?
Now, the question of the day. Prague has been getting a lot of buzz in recent years, and this buzz has made it one of the trendiest and most popular cities to visit in Europe. Is Prague worth the hype that it has been getting?
As someone who has traveled rather extensively through Europe, I would most certainly say that it is. While I am typically hesitant when it comes to praising “touristy” cities, I don’t think that Prague fits the description of a typical touristy city. I think that Prague is incredibly charming, and it is very clearly a city that exists for the locals and not the tourists. To me, this is what makes a new city great to visit.
Touristy cities like Venice have advantages, too. There is always a lot to do when visiting a place like Venice, but it is clear that the city’s main industry is tourism. This often leads to a watered down experience, even if the city is marvelous. I don’t get these vibes in Prague. To me, Prague remains an extremely authentic, charming city to visit, and I think its reputation is well deserved.
From stunning architecture, to unique street foods, to an interesting history and robust public transportation system, Prague has everything you need for a great trip. Other than the mediocre weather, which is entirely out of the city’s control, I think it’s hard to find any drawbacks at all when it comes to Prague. So, at least in this traveler’s opinion, Prague deserves every bit of the hype it gets.
That’s all we have for you about Prague! Hopefully this post answered the question “is Prague worth the hype?” and is helpful as you start planning your trip to one of the trendiest cities in Europe.
If you’re planning a trip to Prague, comment to let us know! We’d love to chat ahead of time and answer any questions you have. Otherwise, have a wonderful day and stay present!