Top 21 Things to Do in Old Town Prague: A Complete Guide

Table of Contents

  1. Overview of Old Town Prague
  2. Key Attractions in Old Town Prague
  3. Museums and Cultural Sites
  4. Unique Experiences and Activities
  5. Food and Drink in Old Town Prague
  6. Shopping and Souvenirs
  7. Practical Tips for Visiting Old Town Prague

Overview of Old Town Prague

Stepping into Old Town Prague is like stepping back in time—it's a captivating labyrinth of cobblestone streets, historical buildings, and picturesque squares. The heart of Prague, Old Town, is a must-visit for anyone traveling to this magical city. Known for its well-preserved medieval architecture, this area is brimming with cultural landmarks, museums, and unique experiences that cater to all kinds of travelers. Whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, or simply looking for a place to relax and enjoy the local cuisine, Old Town Prague has something for everyone.

The history of Old Town Prague is deeply intertwined with the history of the Czech Republic. Founded in the 12th century, it has seen countless historical events, from coronations to uprisings. As you walk through its narrow streets, you can almost hear the echoes of centuries past. The Old Town is not just a collection of old buildings; it’s a living, breathing museum. Each corner has a story to tell, from the bustling markets that have operated for hundreds of years to the quiet courtyards that have witnessed the lives of Prague’s residents.

Key Attractions in Old Town Prague

Old Town Prague is home to some of the most iconic attractions in the city. Let's dive into the key attractions you absolutely can’t miss.

The Old Town Square

The Old Town Square

The Old Town Square is the vibrant heart of Old Town Prague, bustling with tourists and locals alike. This historic square is surrounded by stunning Gothic and Baroque architecture, making it the perfect place to start your adventure. Imagine standing in a place where traders have exchanged goods for centuries and where public gatherings have shaped the city’s history. The atmosphere here is electric, especially during festivals and markets, when the square comes alive with music, food stalls, and colorful decorations.

The Astronomical Clock

The Astronomical Clock

The Astronomical Clock, or Prague Orloj, is one of the oldest functioning astronomical clocks in the world. Every hour, crowds gather to watch the clock's mechanical show, featuring the twelve apostles and other figures. It’s a captivating display that combines art, history, and science. Don’t just watch the show—take the time to learn about the clock’s intricate mechanisms and the symbolism behind each moving part. The Orloj is a testament to the ingenuity and craftsmanship of the medieval period, and it’s a must-see for any visitor.

The Jan Hus Monument

The Jan Hus Monument

Dominating the Old Town Square is the Jan Hus Monument, a striking sculpture commemorating the Czech religious reformer who was burned at the stake in 1415. It’s a poignant reminder of Prague’s rich and tumultuous history. Jan Hus’s legacy lives on in the Czech Republic, symbolizing the fight for religious freedom and social justice. The monument itself is a powerful piece of art, with Hus’s resolute figure surrounded by symbolic representations of his followers and the struggles they faced.

Church of Our Lady Before Týn

Church of Our Lady Before Týn

With its twin gothic spires, the Church of Our Lady Before Týn is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. Inside, you’ll find stunning altars and the tomb of the famous astronomer Tycho Brahe. The church’s dark, towering presence is both awe-inspiring and a bit mysterious. Its interior is just as impressive, full of intricate details and historical artifacts. Take a moment to appreciate the beautiful stained glass windows and the sense of peace that pervades the space.

St. Nicholas Church

St. Nicholas Church

This Baroque beauty stands proudly in the Old Town Square, its white façade and intricate interior making it a must-visit. St. Nicholas Church frequently hosts classical music concerts, adding to its charm. The church’s elegant design, with its soaring ceilings and luxurious decorations, creates a perfect backdrop for the haunting melodies of a live orchestra. Even if you’re not a classical music aficionado, attending a concert here is an unforgettable experience that captures the spirit of Prague.

Old Town Hall

Old Town Hall

Climb the Old Town Hall tower for a panoramic view of Prague. This historic building also houses the Astronomical Clock, so you can explore its inner workings up close. The Old Town Hall is more than just a vantage point; it’s a journey through Prague’s past. Each floor of the tower displays a different aspect of the city’s history, from medieval artifacts to exhibits on Prague’s architectural evolution. The view from the top is truly breathtaking, offering a bird’s-eye perspective of the city’s red rooftops and winding streets.

Charles Bridge

Charles Bridge

Connecting Old Town with Lesser Town, Charles Bridge is an iconic pedestrian bridge adorned with statues of saints. It’s especially enchanting at dawn and dusk when the light casts a golden hue over the city. Walking across Charles Bridge is like stepping into a living painting. Street musicians and artists add to the bridge’s lively atmosphere, making it a hub of creativity and culture. Don’t forget to stop and take in the views of the Vltava River and the surrounding landmarks—it’s a sight you’ll remember long after you’ve left Prague.

Powder Tower (Prašná Brána)

Powder Tower

The Powder Tower is a remnant of the old town fortifications and marks the start of the Royal Route. Climb its steep steps for a stunning view of Old Town. This Gothic tower has stood the test of time, witnessing countless historical events. Inside, you’ll find exhibits about the tower’s history and its role in Prague’s defenses. The climb to the top is well worth the effort, as you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views that extend across the city.

The Municipal House

The Municipal House

Adjacent to the Powder Tower, the Municipal House is an Art Nouveau gem. It houses a concert hall, cafes, and beautiful interiors that are well worth exploring. The Municipal House is a cultural hotspot, hosting events ranging from classical concerts to modern art exhibitions. Its opulent décor, with intricate mosaics and gold leaf accents, is a feast for the eyes. Take a guided tour to learn about the building’s history and the architectural details that make it a masterpiece of the Art Nouveau movement.

The Estates Theatre

The Estates Theatre

One of Europe’s oldest theaters, the Estates Theatre is famous for hosting the premiere of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Catch a performance here to experience a piece of history. The theatre’s elegant interior, with its plush seats and ornate decorations, creates a magical atmosphere. Whether you’re watching a classic opera or a contemporary play, the experience of sitting in this historic venue is unforgettable. The Estates Theatre has been a cultural hub for centuries, and attending a performance here is like being part of that rich tradition.

Klementinum - National Library of the Czech Republic

Klementinum

The Klementinum is a complex of historic buildings, including the National Library. Don’t miss the Baroque Library Hall, a visual feast of ornate frescoes and historic books. The Klementinum’s history dates back to the 17th century, and it has been a center of learning and knowledge ever since. The Baroque Library Hall is particularly beautiful, with its ceiling frescoes depicting allegories of education and enlightenment. The library’s collection includes rare manuscripts and early printed books, making it a treasure trove for bibliophiles and history enthusiasts alike.

Rudolfinum and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra

Rudolfinum

For music lovers, the Rudolfinum is a must-visit. Home to the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, this neo-Renaissance building hosts various concerts and cultural events. The Rudolfinum’s grand concert hall is renowned for its excellent acoustics and beautiful architecture. Attending a concert here is a feast for both the ears and the eyes. The building itself is an architectural wonder, with its stately columns and intricate decorations. Whether you’re a classical music fan or simply looking for a memorable cultural experience, the Rudolfinum delivers.

Museums and Cultural Sites

Old Town Prague is rich in museums and cultural sites that offer a deep dive into the city’s history and artistic heritage.

Jewish Museum and Jewish Quarter

Jewish Quarter

The Jewish Museum offers a poignant look at the history of Jews in Prague. The Jewish Quarter, with its synagogues and cemetery, tells a story of resilience and culture. The museum’s exhibits include religious artifacts, historical documents, and personal stories that bring to life the Jewish community’s rich history. Walking through the Jewish Quarter, you’ll see the Old Jewish Cemetery, with its centuries-old tombstones, and the Pinkas Synagogue, which serves as a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. It’s a deeply moving experience that provides a profound understanding of Prague’s Jewish heritage.

Museum of Decorative Arts

This museum showcases an incredible collection of decorative arts, from glassware to textiles. It’s a treasure trove for anyone interested in design and craftsmanship. The exhibits span several centuries, highlighting the evolution of styles and techniques in decorative arts. From intricate lacework and ornate ceramics to modern design pieces, the museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of decorative arts. Special exhibitions often feature contemporary artists and designers, providing a dynamic blend of the old and the new.

Bedřich Smetana Museum

Dedicated to the life and work of the Czech composer Bedřich Smetana, this museum is housed in a beautiful riverside building and offers fascinating insights into his legacy. The museum’s exhibits include original manuscripts, personal items, and multimedia displays that explore Smetana’s contributions to music. The setting, overlooking the Vltava River, adds to the museum’s charm. Music lovers will appreciate the opportunity to learn about Smetana’s life and listen to his compositions in a setting that inspired much of his work.

Náprstek Museum

The Náprstek Museum focuses on non-European cultures, with exhibits from Asia, Africa, and the Americas. It’s a unique cultural experience in the heart of Prague. The museum’s collections include artifacts ranging from traditional costumes and musical instruments to religious objects and artworks. Each exhibit provides insights into the diverse cultures and histories of the peoples represented. The Náprstek Museum is a testament to the global connections and cultural exchanges that have shaped human history.

The House at the Black Madonna

The House at the Black Madonna

An example of Cubist architecture, this building now houses the Museum of Czech Cubism. Its unique design and artistic exhibits make it a standout attraction. The museum’s collection includes works by prominent Czech Cubists, showcasing the movement’s modern approach to art and design. The building itself, with its angular lines and geometric shapes, is a masterpiece of Cubist architecture. Visiting the House at the Black Madonna offers a fascinating look at a unique period in Czech art history.

The House on the Minute

The House on the Minute

Famous for its intricate sgraffito decorations, the House on the Minute is a historical building with a fascinating past, including a connection to Franz Kafka. The sgraffito technique involves scratching designs into a surface layer to reveal a contrasting layer underneath, creating detailed and unique images. The House on the Minute’s façade is adorned with scenes from Greek mythology and Renaissance legends. Inside, you can learn about the building’s history and its famous residents. It’s a beautiful example of Renaissance architecture and artistry.

The Golden Ring House

This medieval building hosts art exhibitions and offers a glimpse into Prague’s architectural history. Its name comes from the golden ring on its façade. The Golden Ring House’s exhibitions often focus on contemporary art, providing a dynamic contrast to its historical setting. The building itself is a piece of history, with its Gothic and Renaissance elements reflecting the architectural styles of its time. Visiting the Golden Ring House allows you to appreciate both the art on display and the historical context in which it is presented.

The Stone Bell House

The Stone Bell House

The Stone Bell House is one of the oldest houses in Old Town Square. It now serves as a gallery, showcasing modern art in a historical setting. The house gets its name from the bell-shaped stone decoration on its façade. Inside, you’ll find a mix of contemporary art and historical architecture, creating a unique atmosphere. The Stone Bell House’s exhibitions often feature works by leading contemporary artists, making it a must-visit for art enthusiasts. Its location in the heart of Old Town Square adds to its appeal, providing easy access to other nearby attractions.

Unique Experiences and Activities

Old Town Prague is not just about sightseeing; it offers a range of unique experiences and activities that will make your visit unforgettable.

Take a Guided Walking Tour

Explore Old Town with a knowledgeable guide who can share fascinating stories and historical facts. It’s a great way to learn about the city’s rich past. Guided tours often include visits to lesser-known sites and hidden gems that you might miss on your own. The guides bring Prague’s history to life with their engaging narratives and insider knowledge. Whether you’re interested in architecture, history, or local legends, a guided walking tour is an excellent way to deepen your understanding of Old Town Prague.

Go on a Self-Guided Walking Tour

Prefer to explore at your own pace? Download a self-guided tour app and wander through the charming streets of Old Town, discovering hidden gems along the way. Self-guided tours offer flexibility and freedom, allowing you to linger at sites that capture your interest or take detours to explore side streets and alleyways. Many apps provide detailed information and historical context for each stop on the tour, making it easy to learn as you go. It’s a great option for independent travelers who enjoy setting their own schedule.

Get Spooked on a Ghost Tour

Old Town’s dark history comes to life on a ghost tour. Hear spine-chilling stories of hauntings and legends as you walk through the historic streets after dark. Ghost tours are a thrilling way to explore the city’s more mysterious side. The guides are expert storytellers, weaving tales of restless spirits, haunted houses, and unexplained phenomena. As you wander through the shadowy streets, you’ll feel a shiver down your spine and a deeper appreciation for Prague’s rich and sometimes eerie history.

Visit the Marionette Theatre

Prague’s marionette tradition is alive and well at the Marionette Theatre. Enjoy a performance of classic Czech stories brought to life by skilled puppeteers. Marionette shows are a delightful blend of art and entertainment, with intricate puppets and elaborate sets creating a magical experience. The performances often feature traditional Czech tales and fairy stories, making them enjoyable for both children and adults. Attending a marionette show is a fun and unique way to experience a traditional aspect of Czech culture.

Ride a Paternoster Elevator

For a quirky experience, try riding a paternoster elevator—an open, continuously moving lift that’s a rarity in today’s world. Paternoster elevators consist of a series of open compartments that move slowly in a loop, allowing passengers to step on and off as they desire. These unique elevators are a throwback to earlier engineering designs and provide a fun, if slightly nerve-wracking, experience. You’ll find one of these rare lifts in the Lucerna Palace, just a short walk from Old Town Square.

Explore the Baroque Library in Klementinum

The Baroque Library in Klementinum is a hidden gem, with stunning frescoes and a vast collection of rare books. It’s a haven for book lovers and history buffs alike. The library’s ceiling frescoes, painted by Jan Hiebl, depict allegorical scenes of education and enlightenment, creating a breathtaking visual experience. The collection includes rare and valuable manuscripts, offering a fascinating glimpse into the history of knowledge and learning. Visiting the Baroque Library is like stepping into a scene from a historical novel, and it’s a must-see for anyone interested in Prague’s cultural history.

Climb the Tower of Klementinum

For an outstanding view of Prague, climb the Tower of Klementinum. The effort is rewarded with a breathtaking panorama of the city’s rooftops and spires. The climb itself is an adventure, with narrow stairs winding through the historic building. Once at the top, you’ll be treated to one of the best views in Prague. From here, you can see the intricate layout of Old Town, the winding Vltava River, and the distant spires of Prague Castle. It’s an excellent spot for photographs and a great way to get a sense of the city’s layout.

Admire the Art at Kinsky Palace

Kinsky Palace, located in the Old Town Square, houses part of the National Gallery’s collection. It’s a fantastic spot for art lovers to explore Czech and European art. The palace itself is a beautiful example of Baroque architecture, with its grand façade and elegant interiors. The art collection includes works by notable Czech artists as well as European masters, providing a rich and diverse viewing experience. Special exhibitions often focus on specific themes or artists, offering fresh perspectives and new insights into the world of art.

Food and Drink in Old Town Prague

No visit to Old Town Prague is complete without indulging in its culinary delights. Here are some must-try food and drink experiences.

Try the Famous Prague Ham and Pilsner Urquell Beer

Prague Ham

Prague Ham is a local delicacy, best enjoyed with a cold glass of Pilsner Urquell. Head to one of the many outdoor stalls to enjoy this classic combination. The ham is typically served roasted and sliced, with a side of mustard or horseradish. It’s a hearty and satisfying snack that pairs perfectly with the crisp, refreshing taste of Pilsner Urquell, a beer that has become synonymous with Czech brewing excellence. Enjoying these local flavors in the lively atmosphere of an outdoor market is an essential Prague experience.

Learn the Absinth Ritual at Absintherie

Absintherie

Discover the mystique of absinthe at Absintherie. Learn the proper way to prepare and enjoy this infamous spirit, and maybe take home a bottle as a unique souvenir. The absinth ritual involves slowly dripping cold water over a sugar cube placed on a slotted spoon, allowing the sugar to dissolve and mix with the absinthe. This process releases the spirit’s complex flavors and aromas, creating a drink that’s both potent and aromatic. Absintherie offers a variety of absinthe brands, along with knowledgeable staff who can guide you through the tasting experience.

Sample a Variety of Trdelniks

Trdelnik

Trdelniks, or chimney cakes, are a sweet treat you’ll find throughout Prague. Try different variations, filled with everything from ice cream to Nutella. These spiral pastries are made from dough that’s wrapped around a stick, grilled, and coated with sugar and cinnamon. The result is a crispy, sweet shell that’s often filled with delicious extras. Whether you opt for a simple trdelnik with just sugar or a more decadent version with ice cream and toppings, this treat is a must-try while exploring Old Town.

Enjoy a Meal at Lokál

For a taste of traditional Czech cuisine, dine at Lokál. This popular eatery serves up hearty dishes in a lively, authentic setting. Lokál is known for its fresh, locally sourced ingredients and its commitment to preserving traditional Czech recipes. Menu highlights include svíčková (marinated beef with creamy sauce), goulash, and knedlíky (dumplings). The restaurant’s beer, brewed on-site, is the perfect accompaniment to your meal. Dining at Lokál is a chance to experience the warmth and hospitality of Czech culinary traditions.

Have a Větrník in a Hidden Garden

Větrník

A větrník is a Czech pastry similar to a cream puff. Enjoy one in a hidden garden café for a delightful and serene experience. These pastries are filled with caramel-flavored cream and topped with a caramel glaze, making them a sweet indulgence. Finding a quiet garden café in the midst of Old Town’s hustle and bustle offers a peaceful retreat where you can relax and savor this delicious treat. The combination of a beautiful setting and a decadent pastry is a perfect way to unwind after a day of sightseeing.

Visit a Cocktail Bar with a Secret Invisible Menu

For a truly unique nightlife experience, visit a cocktail bar with a secret invisible menu. These hidden gems offer innovative concoctions and an air of mystery. The invisible menu is revealed only to those who know to ask for it, adding an element of intrigue to your night out. The cocktails themselves are often creative and beautifully presented, featuring unusual ingredients and inventive combinations. Visiting one of these bars is not just about the drinks—it’s about the adventure and the thrill of discovery that comes with uncovering a well-kept secret.

Shopping and Souvenirs

Old Town Prague is a shopper’s paradise, with everything from traditional markets to high-end boutiques.

Buy Souvenirs at Havelské Tržiště

Havelské Tržiště is a bustling market where you can find a variety of souvenirs, from handmade crafts to fresh produce. It’s a great place to pick up gifts for friends and family. The market has been operating since 1232, making it one of the oldest markets in Prague. You’ll find a wide range of items, including wooden toys, jewelry, ceramics, and traditional Czech puppets. The lively atmosphere and the opportunity to haggle with vendors add to the fun of shopping here.

Go Window Shopping at Pařížská Street

For luxury shopping, head to Pařížská Street. This upscale avenue is lined with high-end fashion boutiques, offering a taste of Prague’s stylish side. The street is home to some of the world’s most prestigious brands, including Chanel, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton. Even if you’re not planning to make a purchase, strolling along Pařížská Street is an experience in itself. The elegant architecture and the beautifully designed storefronts create a glamorous and sophisticated atmosphere.

Buy Handcrafted Gingerbread at Perničkův Sen

Perničkův Sen is the place to go for handcrafted gingerbread. These beautifully decorated treats make for perfect gifts and delicious souvenirs. The shop offers a variety of gingerbread shapes and designs, all made using traditional recipes and techniques. The gingerbread is often intricately decorated with icing, creating stunning edible works of art. Whether you’re looking for a tasty snack or a unique gift, Perničkův Sen’s gingerbread is sure to delight.

Practical Tips for Visiting Old Town Prague

To make the most of your visit to Old Town Prague, keep these practical tips in mind.

Where to Stay in Old Town Prague

Old Town offers a range of accommodation options, from luxurious hotels to cozy guesthouses. Staying in this area means you’re always close to the action. Some popular options include the Four Seasons Hotel Prague, known for its stunning views and exceptional service, and the Hotel U Prince, a charming boutique hotel located right on the Old Town Square. For a more budget-friendly option, consider staying at one of the many guesthouses or hostels that offer comfortable accommodations at a lower price point.

Getting Around Old Town Prague

Old Town is best explored on foot, but there are also trams and buses if you need them. The compact nature of the area makes walking the most convenient option. The narrow streets and pedestrian zones are perfect for leisurely strolls, allowing you to take in the sights and sounds of the city. Public transportation is also efficient and affordable, with trams and buses connecting Old Town to other parts of Prague. If you prefer biking, there are several bike rental shops in the area, offering a fun and eco-friendly way to get around.

Best Times to Visit Old Town Prague

Spring and autumn are the best times to visit Old Town Prague, as the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller. However, each season has its own charm, so there’s no bad time to visit. In the spring, the city comes alive with blooming flowers and outdoor festivals. Autumn brings cooler temperatures and beautiful fall foliage, creating a picturesque backdrop for your explorations. Summer is the peak tourist season, with warm weather and numerous cultural events, while winter offers the magic of Christmas markets and the possibility of snow-covered streets. No matter when you visit, Old Town Prague is sure to enchant you with its timeless beauty and rich history.

Popular excursions in Prague
Prague Castle and Jewish Quarter Tour with Cruise and Lunch
Prague Castle and Jewish Quarter Tour with Cruise and Lunch
See the highlights of Prague by land and water on a 6-hour tour, including stops at the Charles Bridge, Prague Castle complex and much more. Enjoy a delicious lunch at a local restaurant. Then, take a relaxing boat trip down the River Vltava.
€79
per person
Guide rating
More details
Vltava Riverwalk with Lunch on an Open-Top Glass Boat
Vltava Riverwalk with Lunch on an Open-Top Glass Boat
Discover the magic of historical Prague from the deck of a riverboat on this cruise. Savor a delicious buffet lunch on board as you sail on the Vltava River, taking in the city’s iconic landmarks. Enjoy the soothing sounds of live music along the way.
from €45
per person
784 reviews
More details
Vltava River Sightseeing Cruise (Daytime or Nighttime)
Vltava River Sightseeing Cruise (Daytime or Nighttime)
Admire Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, Kampa Island, and other landmarks of Prague from the water during an evening city cruise. Enjoy views of the city’s iconic monuments highlighted by night lights.
from €16
per person
1196 reviews
More details
Prague Castle: Skip-the-line Castle Ticket and Optional Audio Guide
Prague Castle: Skip-the-line Castle Ticket and Optional Audio Guide
Experience Prague Castle with an entry ticket that offers an introductory overview of the complex. Get recommendations from your local host to make the most of your visit.
from €18
per person
724 reviews
More details
Prague: Old Town, Medieval Underground & Dungeon Tour
Prague: Old Town, Medieval Underground & Dungeon Tour
See what's underneath the city of Prague on an insightful guided tour. Learn its history as you visit hidden rooms, cellars, and corridors in the Old Town's underground.
€23
per person
772 reviews
More details
Evening eco-cruise with a glass of Prosecco
Evening eco-cruise with a glass of Prosecco
One-hour evening cruise on the fully electric boat Marie d´Bohemia or Bella Bohemia with a glass of Prosecco and a tour of Prague's historic attractions.
€24
per person
Guide rating
More details
Prague Castle 2.5-Hour Tour Including Admission Ticket
Prague Castle 2.5-Hour Tour Including Admission Ticket
Explore spectacular Prague Castle and visit St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George’s Basilica, and Golden Lane. Take a tram ride up to the castle from the city’s Lesser Town, and learn about more than 10 centuries of the Czech capital’s history.
€35
per person
839 reviews
More details
Prague: Old Town and Jewish Quarter Guided Tour in German
Prague: Old Town and Jewish Quarter Guided Tour in German
Enjoy a 2-hour guided walking tour in Prague's Old Town and Jewish Quarter. Travel back in time and hear about the city's history and legends.
€19
per person
640 reviews
More details
Sign in
Sign up
Please fill in the required fields
By sending this form, i accept Terms of service and agree to the processing of my personal data in accordance with the Personal data processing policy.
Restore password Sign in
Restore password
Please list e-mail or phone number linked to your account to receive restore password link.
Sign up Sign in
To improve the service Alle! uses cookies. By continuing browsing, you agree to their use. By continuing using our website you agree with Terms of use and Privacy policy.
Close