Staré Město (Old Town) to the Castle
Staroměstské náměstí (Old Town Square)
The heart of the city center, this giant square going back to the 11th century showcases the beautiful eclecticness of Prague’s architecture. It is home to many churches and historical markers, including a statue of the religious reformer Jan Hus, whose burning at the stake for his beliefs triggered the Hussite Wars, the Old Town Hall, and Church of Our Lady before Týn.
You can also find the Pražský orlo (Astronomical Clock) here. Built in the early 1400s, it is the third oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest clock still in operation. Every hour there is a procession of apostles and different figures along the outside of the clock moving, including a skeleton ringing bells to signify death and mortality.
After checking out the square, explore the streets that lead to Karlův most (Charles Bridge). This is an incredibly touristy walk filled with shops of overpriced things – but it’s still fun to wind through the narrow cobble-stoned streets and historic buildings – don’t be scared to go down tiny walkways, you’re likely to stumble into beautiful secret courtyards and pubs.
This Gothic stone bridge was one of the many Czech monuments commissioned by Charles IV in the 14th century and built by the same architect behind the St. Vitus Cathedral. The bridge is lined with Baroque statues, the most famous being that of St. John of Nepomuk, a Czech martyr whose statue has been polished bright by people touching it for good luck.
Down to Lennonova zed’ (Lennon Wall) & Kampa
If walls could talk, Prague’s iconic John Lennon Wall would speak volumes. Located down a quiet, secluded street at the base of the Petřín Hill, the wall was used by Czech youth as a space for anti-communist activism after John Lennon, their Western pacifist hero, was killed in 1980. As a result, the facade bears hundreds of layers of political graffiti, banned Beatles lyrics, and futile attempts at whitewash by the secret police
Be sure to walk around the nearby Kampa Island for a moment to relax and beautiful views. Plus, you can get up and close with Prague’s politically charged art scene. You’ll find the famous and provocative Czech artist David Černy’s giant babies that crawl up the T.V. Tower here, as well as his Piss Sculpture in front of the Kafka Museum. There’s also the Brown-nosing sculptures, giant bottoms you crawl into to watch a video making fun of a former Czech president and director of the National Gallery.
Up to Pražský hrad or Hradčany (Prague Castle)
On your walk up to the castle be sure to check out the Malostranské náměstí (Lesser Town Square) area and the many churches it holds, such as the baroque masterpiece Kostel sv. Mikuláše (Church of St. Nicholas).
Then head on up to Prague’s most popular attraction, the castle that dates back to the 9th century and has been the seat of multiple kings, emperors, and rulers, now home of the president. The complex includes the stunningly unique Katedrála sv. Vita (St. Vitus Cathedral) and also houses several museums, courtyards, luscious gardens and the narrow Golden Lane where alchemists, writers and other castle servants lived.