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The Best Things to Do in Prague According to a (Sort of) Local

Originally posted 26/9/2014, updated 13/5/2018

“Going local” seems to be the fashionable way to travel these days, but what does it really mean? From what I can gather, you do the things that locals do, eat where they eat and generally try not to look like tourist. I’m not one to follow trends, so when a friendly American pub crawl captain gave us his “local” opinion on the best things to do in Prague, it felt like the perfect balance between being a tourist and getting the inside, local knowledge (he’d lived in Prague for a few months).

It was around 8 am and we had just arrived on the night train from Budapest. We couldn’t check into our guesthouse until lunchtime, so we went for a walk to do some Prague sightseeing. The pub crawl guy (I can’t remember his name) was apparently walking home after a big night with two British backpacking ladies, and while I’m not sure if I entirely believed his story, his tips for what to see in Prague seemed genuine. In a hung-over state, he circled some things on our map, told us about his pub crawl tour, finished his coffee and went on his way, leaving us to fend for ourselves

Here are some places he suggested we visit, and some others we bumped into along the way:

Prague Castle

Whether you’re going local or not, you’ll probably end up at Prague Castle – which is more like a church surrounded by some other non-castle like buildings. We didn’t pay to go inside (that’d be such a tourist move – or we were just cheap) but we got to see inside the church and had a good walk around the area.

Prague Castle - a must see when exploring Prague

The mini Eiffel Tower

That’s how our friend described it anyway, but I’m pretty sure the real Eiffel Tower has a lift (update: it does!). After a fairly gruelling climb we were presented with one of the best views of Prague from above. The tower sits at the top of a hill which can be reached by a short funicular ride – there is also a church and a “mirror maze” up there. We purchased a ticket for the maze and the tower (it was pretty cheap); you’d have to be an idiot to get lost in the maze though, but the crazy reflections from the mirrors made for a fun few minutes.

Exploring Prague with tips from a local - the view from the mini Eiffel TowerExploring Prague - the mirror maze

The weird robot babies

The pub crawl guy told us about the “Baby Tower” (I’m pretty sure that’s not its official name though), which is basically a huge tower with giant babies climbing up the side. Unfortunately we didn’t make it, as we saw some other giant robot babies down by the Vltava River. Three creepy robot babies were enough for 1 trip — definitely an interesting thing to see in Prague though!

We say these weird babies while Exploring Prauge

The bridges of Prague

Prague has some pretty cool bridges, with the Charles Bridge being by far the most popular. It’s a pedestrian bridge, meaning annoying cars are replaced with bands, beggars, touts and plenty of tourists). If you’re sick of bumping into people and getting in the way of their photos (photos steal your soul you know), then head to the next bridge down the river, it’s quieter (apart from the cars) and the views from it are just as good.

Exploring Prague - so many bridges!

The Old Town Square

This is one of the better old squares I’ve seen in Europe – the churches are huge, the towers are tall and the whole area feels like a trip back in time (at least I think they had African tribal drumming in ancient Prague). It gets pretty crowded, but our “local” guide told us it was one of the best things to do in Prague, so you can’t really miss it!

The Old Town Square - a must see when exploring Prauge

The winding streets of Prague

Prague is the kind of city where you can just wander the streets aimlessly for hours – there’s always something to see. The old streets are about as atmospheric as they come in Europe, and head a few minutes from the popular ones and you’ll have them all to yourself. We walked around a lot in our three days in Prague, the best streets being the ones just across the Charles Bridge, the streets of the Jewish Quarter and the ones close (but not too close) to the main square.

Exploring Prague while walking its streets

The John Lennon Wall

Once a wall for young people to write their grievances towards the communist regime, it now seems like the Lennon Wall has become a bit of a graffiti free for all. The original words of hope, peace and protest have been covered, but it’s the ever changing face of this otherwise ordinary wall that makes it so interesting.

The John Lennon Wall - a great stop while exploring Prague

Things to Do in Prague at night

Walking around Prague at night is a must – seeing the buildings of the main square lit up is an amazing site, and there are also some great bars. Prague is famous for absinth, although we didn’t try any there (we bought a bottle with us to Vienna, where we drunk it all with some people I’d met in Indonesia a few months before). The pub crawl guy told us a bar to check out, called U Sudu. As you walk in it looks tiny, but as you head down through a series of tunnel things (he described it as “The hobbit bar”), it becomes a bit of labyrinth. There were lots of little rooms/bars and it felt like you were in an underground lair in a fantasy movie.  Speaking of movies, we also saw Interstellar on our last night in Prague. Go and see it if you haven’t already (which I’m guessing you have as it’s now 2018)!

Exploring Prague at nightExploring Prague - the Old Town Square at night

Sightseeing on Prague using our “local” tips was a lot of fun. There was a lot of other stuff he told us to do as well, but we ran out of time. I guess the first rule of not looking like a tourist is to not rush around and try and see everything, so it worked out well!

FURTHER READING: Planning a trip to Prague? The Wikitravel page is a great resource

Have you been to Prague?  Let me know your local tips!

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Jon Algie

Jon Algie

A travel blogger from New Zealand who hates talking about himself in the third person and has no imagination when it comes to naming websites.
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9 Comments

  1. November 27, 2014 at 8:29 pm — Reply

    Hi Jon,
    We spent 3 months there this summer. Fantastic city and I compiled a list of some of the highlights: http://bbqboy.net/50-things-prague/

    I’m embarrassed to say we didn’t explore many of the sights in the Castle either. We just wanted to see the St. Vitus cathedral – which you can enter and see but if you want to see explore more you have to get a package that is both expensive and comprises a whole bunch of things. Too much commitment and we were getting annoyed by the hordes of people. Prague Castle and Charles Bridge have a huge amount of traffic.

    You saw the Lennon wall before they painted it over.

    Frank (bbqboy)
    Ps. Its the Vltava river not the Danube 🙂

    • Jon Algie
      November 27, 2014 at 8:41 pm — Reply

      Haha thanks for spotting that! The ticket did seem pretty expensive for the castle and these things are usually more impressive on the outside. There are lots of towers to pay for too, we went up the Powder tower which was alright but the views were better from big tower up the hill. We were only there a few weeks ago, haven’t they given up painting over it yet? What’s the point!

      • November 27, 2014 at 9:27 pm — Reply

        Yeah, you can get a single ticket that allows you to see the 6 best towers in the city (including the Petrin tower that you are talking about)over a 2 month period. I did them them all: http://bbqboy.net/photo-essay-towers-prague/

        I just read about the Lennon wall a few days ago. I think it was because they thought the wall was just too full of stuff so they wanted to clean the slate for others. Maybe someone else can clarify…

        • Jon Algie
          November 28, 2014 at 5:35 am — Reply

          I see, would be kind of annoying if you went to see it and there was nothing on it though!

  2. Sandra
    December 1, 2014 at 6:26 am — Reply

    Haven’t been yet but have known for years it’s an amazing city! So you also go to the movies while traveling? Nice! So do we. Dubbed or subtitled?

    • Jon Algie
      December 3, 2014 at 8:39 pm — Reply

      Yeah I’ve been to a few, especially in Asia where it’s way cheaper. It was in English with Czech subs – I went to one in Myanmar and it was in English with no subs, not sure how most of the locals understood it (It was Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, so I guess it didn’t really matter!).

  3. December 28, 2014 at 11:10 pm — Reply

    Hey Jon! I live in Prague 🙂 The ‘baby tower’ is just a TV tower (televizní věž). There’s a cool restaurant up there.

    The Lennon Wall no longer exists. I mean the wall is still there but as of the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, somebody painted it all white. It’s now being covered with new drawings and graffiti, but it’ll look much different from what it used to.

    • Jon Algie
      January 4, 2015 at 8:38 am — Reply

      Thanks for the info Veronika, can’t really understand why they’d change it!

  4. January 6, 2016 at 8:15 pm — Reply

    Visited Praha twice while living in Bratislava. It sure is a nice city with a lot of views. Only issue we had was that it was crowded with tourists groups everywhere, which made it hard to see many of the mainsights.

    For the Czech Republic, I must say that I prefer Brno and Olomouc and not Prague. Smaller towns in comparison, but they still got a lot to offer. 🙂

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