Prague has long since been a European tourism hot spot, so much so many say it’s a bit crowded. However, I suppose that is part of the Czech charm – cafes bustling with activity and cobblestone squares buzzing with market trade. If you go to Prague you’ll no doubt have your hands full dealing with all the sights and sounds, so here are a few tip for the top attractions to see in Prague.
Yes, Czech food is an attraction in itself and include it first for good reason – it is damn tasty! The Czechs love their hearty food, and restaurants have great atmosphere to sit, relax, and soak up the lifestyle. Many restaurants you’ll find are at cellar level, but for some reason they’re just as cozy and charming as their terrace-based counterparts. Come hungry – between the pints of powerful Czech beer, the beef and the piles of dumplings, you certainly will not starve during your visit.
Of course, you’ll want to visit Prague Castle, and despite its massive size on the postcards, few realise just how big this place is. There are spires and turrets, tunnels and hallways, underground chambers, not to mention all the courtyards and the massive gardens (with their spectacular view). To do the castle properly requires a full morning or afternoon, but it’s well worth it to get a glimpse into the layers of history that make Prague the city that it is today.
This is one of those tourist experiences that just wouldn’t be the same without throngs of people angling for a good camera shot. Charles Bridge, just below the castle hill, is the attraction of Prague – it graces every postcard rack and photo album. The funny thing is that hardcore photographer tourists used to get up for sunrise to try and take photos – but now everyone does that so the bridge is almost busier at sunrise! There are lots of artists selling their wares on the bridge and at either end, so this is a nice place to pick up a souvenir.
The Dancing house is a more modern attraction, in contrast to the previous mentions which have been around for centuries. This riverside building has a surreal architecture to it, almost Dali-like. The building was designed by Frank Gehry, and was originally named the Fred and Ginger House (if you look at it after a couple of beers, you can see a pair of dancers dancing). The house is fun to see, but check out the French restaurant upstairs, which has a fantastic view.
Similar to many other European cities, a fantastic view of the city is to see it from the water. And in Prague, there is no lack of choice when it comes to a boat-based tour. You can go for a simple hour excursion, beer cruise, dinner cruises, or even a jazz cruise (a personal favourite, in fact). It’s actually hard to properly walk along the river shoreline for every long – so much stuff kind of gets in the way, and you also have to remember that Prague is a somewhat hilly and windy place. So take the cruise, you’ll love it.
The Jewish Ghetto is a fantastic experience to step back in time. The synagogues are some of the oldest still active in Europe, and the cemetery – wow oh wow, as far as cemeteries go, this might be the most beautiful and most moving in the world. The tombstones jut at all sorts of different angles and directions, and the entire place has a mysterious silence to it – very emotional. Surrounding the edges of the ghetto are a number of restaurants and cafes, all serving up tasty dishes, so the ghetto makes for the perfect sightseeing and refreshment stop.
Posted : Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010 at 12:20
Andy Hayes is a travel journalist currently based in Edinburgh, Scotland. When not criss-crossing the world to have his next travel adventures, he is spending time hanging out on his own website, Sharing Travel Experiences.