There is something so magical and charming about old world European history, but nothing comes close to the history and charm of Prague. Prague is a stunningly beautiful city, with an old world appeal, full of rich history. The capitals of many other European nations were flattened or heavily damaged during World War II, but Prague survived intact. If you’re looking for old and historical, you might want to start with Prague Castle – the largest ancient castle in the world where construction started in 870 – and the castle is still in use today.
There is so much in Prague that you can enjoy for free. Here are our top 5 free things to do in Prague:
The Charles Bridge – The Charles Bridge, built in the 14th century, connects the Old Town with the Lesser Town and the Prague Castle and is lined with figures of saints. You can’t miss the gorgeous views of the city and the river while you enjoy a walk across the pedestrian bridge. Don’t forget to stop at the statue of St. John Nepomuk (8th on the right when crossing from the Old Town Square) and touch the gold spot on the plaque for good luck. If you’re looking for some locally made, inexpensive souvenirs, the vendors on the Charles Bridge have a wonderful variety and surprisingly good prices. For a more laid-back experience, you can stroll the Charles Bridge at night and enjoy some very talented street performers and dazzling views of the city at night.
Astronomical Clock – Old Town Square is the heart of Prague, with a traditional marketplace, and brightly colored baroque, Gothic, and Renaissance buildings lined around the square. One of the highlights in the Old Town Square is the Prague Astronomical Clock (currently being repaired and will be back August 2018), which grandly strikes the hour with a mechanical performance of moving statues from 9am until 11pm daily. While the clock is an amazing sight, be aware of yourself and your surroundings while watching the clock – with many tourists gathered together and all looking up this is a prime spot for pick pockets. The clock is free to view from the Square, if you want a more exclusive view, buy a ticket to the Old Town Hall where you can watch from the tower’s chapel.
Golden Lane at Prague Castle – While most of the buildings at Prague Castle charge admission, you can walk around the grounds for free and enjoy stunning views of Prague from just about everywhere. Golden Lane is a part of the castle grounds added at the end of the 16th century with a new wall of the castle; the smallest street in Prague gives “tiny living” a new meaning where these houses are built in to the castle wall. If you’re looking for Kafka history, he lived in house no. 22 with his sister in 1916-17. Golden Lane is included in the Prague Castle long and short tour if you want to pay admission and visit the rest of the buildings, but if you want to visit for free, come after 5pm from April to October and 6pm the rest of the year and you can wander the tiny street and the castle grounds for free. Also at Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral has long been considered the center of Prague’s religious and political history. You can enter the foyer of the St. Vitus, St. Wenceslas, and St. Adalbert Cathedrals without buying a ticket.
The John Lennon Wall – Since John Lennon’s death in 1980, The Lennon Wall in the Little Quarter neighborhood has changed constantly with art and graffiti highlighting positive messages, political activism, and Beatles lyrics. It has been painted white a few times – many times in the early years of the wall, and again recently in 2014, and once all green in 2000 – the wall continues to be decorated in colorful art and graffiti representing love and hope around the world.
The Dancing House – This beautiful building designed by Frank Gehry and Vlada Milnuic was inspired by Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire and sometimes referred to as “Fred and Ginger.” Enjoy a leisurely walk down the Vltava River to see the building, comprised of two towers that appear to be dancing. The art gallery inside does charge admission, however, the building is free to enter, and has spectacular views of Prague Castle and the Vltava River from the terrace on the top through the Glass Bar.
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