A Day (or 5) in Prague
Start your day by walking across the Charles Bridge, stopping periodically to hear the musicians on the bridge and admire the view across the Vltava River. It will likely be one of your first tastes of Prague’s incredible architecture, and the views seen as you cross from Old Town to the Mala Strana will not disappoint. Prague is crowded and chock-full of tourists, and nowhere more so than the iconic Charles Bridge, so make an effort to go either very early or late in the afternoon so you can enjoy the Bridge without feeling too jostled. The statues you’ll see run deep with meaning, and you should read up on their creation before you actually lay eyes on them.
You can angle up straight into the Castle Quarter once you cross the bridge, or you can spend some time exploring the Mala Strana (The Little Quarter). If you have some down time, I would recommend swinging by the Lennon Wall (this is the rock star Lennon, not the Russian communist revolutionary Lenin) within the Mala Strana and the Wallenstein Palace Garden . Admission is cheap (usually around 1 Euro or 25 CZK). If you want to expand your visit to the Little Quarter, there are some beautiful churches in the area to see as well.
The Castle Quarter is easily found from the Charles Bridge or the Mala Strana by following Nerudova Street as it snakes steeply uphill. Once you’re in Castle Square, you can see the changing of the guard every hour and the beautiful, Rococo-styled Archbishop’s Palace. The Castle Quarter is legitimately huge- you don’t realize how huge until you’ve entered it- and requires a day all in itself. Some people will split the Quarter into two days based on what they want to see. Keep in mind as well that security is a big issue here since the Czech president has his offices within the courtyard so expect bag checks, metal detectors, and security lines.
St. Vitus’ cathedral is here, and you need to take some time to explore this opulent source of Czech pride. The cathedral quite literally took SIX CENTURIES to build and it is truly awe-inspiring. The stained glass windows here hold particular significance as they were completed by Alfons Mucha, who designed the famous Slav Epic displayed in Veletržní Palác. Like the statues on the Charles Bridge, this cathedral is best served with a side of historical research. As an American, I wasn’t taught much about the history of this region in school and many items that run miles deep with significance were lost on me due to a simple lack of historical context.
Outside the cathedral, you can see the Old Royal Palace, the Prague Castle exhibit, the Golden Lane, and the Basilica of St. George. You can see how many people feel the need to divide this into two days. Ticketing can be found here.
The next post will cover Wenceslas Square and the Jewish Quarter.