Prague Old Town
The center of Prague is Old Town Square (Staromestska namesti). This where you find the iconic picture of the town of the spiky topped Church of Our Lady of St Tyn across from the Astronomical Tower. This square is filled with a Christmas Market or Easter Market in the right season. The rest of the year it is just filled with people and a handful of food stalls. You can take an elevator to the top of Town Hall tower, but save that for tomorrow. Start your Prague trip here. Try to ignore the throngs of tourists and the hawkers trying sell everything under the sun or that there is a Starbucks on the square. Try to look at the city as a center of culture and science with a well preserved skyline of spiky towers, medieval cathedrals, and Victorian age buildings. From the square, you can get to all of the big sights in Old Town. Wenceslas Square is an enormous long square lined with retailers that you can find nearly anywhere in Europe, capped with the National Museum. This is the center point of much of the revolutionary history of the city. The Velvet Revolutionbegan here. Josevov is the Jewish district in the old town of Prague. There is a cemetery and the Old New Synagogue as well as a museum. You can walk it on your own or book a guided tour. Walking and wandering around the old town area is a lot of fun. There are a lot of little winding streets and tiny hidden squares to find. As mentioned in the “where to stay” section below, Prague’s center has embraced commerce and tourism completely, so be aware of that. Hopefully the new law banning Segways will help.
Try a Prague Beer tour
Czech beer is a wonderful thing and is very steeped in the history of the place. Check out our review on this Prague craft beer tour. It really was the highlight of the trip. And the best part is that it starts at 5pm, so it gives you almost the whole day to go sightseeing and know that there is beer in your future. There is enough food on the tour to not be too drunk and not have to worry about dinner.
Experience Czech food
In almost every city we visit, we book a food tour. Food tours give you a look at the food and a list of places to try right off the bat. It also gives you a bit of the history as well. Check out our review of the Eating Prague food tour here. The food tour we did started at 12:30, so gives you some time to see things in the morning. The food tour runs until late afternoon, so you have time after it to do a few more things. You will probably want a light dinner anyway and walking off the food can be good.
After the food tour
The Old Town Hall Tower is open from 11am until 10pm, so makes a good stop after the tour. And it has an elevator, so no worries about walking steps on a full belly.
Crossing the River on Charles Bridge
The typical approach to Castle Hill is a long upward sloping road lined with tourist shops to the cathedral-crowned, fortified hill of Prague Castle. To get there from old town, cross Charles Bridge and make your way upwards. Charles Bridge is a pedestrian only bridge that crosses the Vltava River. The spiked towers on either side were used as models to rebuild several of the other towers in town during the Victorian era. This is definitely a worthwhile site to stroll over. Be aware that in the high season it will be quite crowded. Even at sunrise (5am in June), we were not alone on the bridge, though there were far fewer people that early. There are usually peddlers of art and musicians during the day.
Castle Hill and Beyond
Prague Castle is a fortified hill with several different things to take in. You do have to pay to get onto the premises, but the ticket lasts for two days. Highlights of the hill include St Vitus Cathedral, whose towers dominate the skyline of the hill, and you can climb one of the towers. There are also several exhibits about the history of the castle, and the palace buildings. A row of old low houses called the Golden Row once housed the city’s famous author son, Franz Kafka.