Prague. Praha. The name actually meant “threshold”. Pollina had said the city was a portal between the life of the good and … the other. A city of dark magic, Alessandro had called it.
― Magnus Flyte, City of Dark Magic
Prague. It’s one of the greatest cities to be seen in Central Europe for various reasons. Its vibrant nightlife is tumultuous enough to feed any hedonist’s needs, while during the day culture and refinement take over the city, as you can visit some of the world’s most beautiful castles with truly magnificent architecture and style. In between the visits, Prague is also the best place to drink a good glass of beer. And not only is it of a stunning beauty, but there are plenty of things that you can do for free.
1. Don’t miss Charles Bridge. You’ll find no other in Central Europe as artsy and romantic, which is mainly why you’ll have to wake up early in the morning or stay until late at night if you’re not a fan of crowds. Being a very popular destination for sightseeing as well as a connection to the Old Town makes it be crossed by thousands of people daily. The good news is, especially if you’re an artsy tourist, there are all kinds of representations on the bridge, all day long, from musicians to dancers and other street performers, making it unique.
2. The John Lennon Wall. After his assasination in 1980, his portrait has been painted across the street from the French Embassy. What started as a normal grafitti shortly became a true symbol of the music of that time, along with social and political messages written on the wall as well. Despite the various attempts of the secrect police of the Soviet Union to erase the political messages and the painting, it kept reapearing as a form of protest and opposition. Symbol of the democracy, the place still exists today and it’s really worth taking a walk there. A place that no bohemian tourist should miss.
3. Petrin Watchtower. It is, indeed, a smaller version of La Tour Eiffel offering, just like its bigger brother, a stunning panorama for any tourist who climbs Petrin Hill. Not more than a fifth of the height of the original, the tower offers a great perspective of Prague. If you want to find it open regardless on the time of year that you’re visiting the city, make sure you get there between 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and if the sky’s clear your reward is going to be an amazing bird-view of the entire city of Prague. If you think the 299 stairs are not enough to offer you one of the most exciting panoramas in Europe, you’re terribly wrong for not taking into consideration the hill it’s placed on. And the absolutely alluring gardens you’re about to see when you’re on top of the hill are one of the bonuses making an entire trip to Prague worth it the effort.
See also: How to Explore Prague Like a Local
4. Have fun like a local! One of the best ways of doing it is joining DOX, the greatest gallery of contemporary art in the country. You’ll find it amazing especially if you’re against the mainstream tendencies of uniformity that most of the people are following. Because what you’ll see here are people with very different, creative and innovative perspectives who are also given the ability to transpose their points of view into artwork. If you’re the kind of person who wouldn’t bear staying away from the photo camera more than one day, then Prague House of Photography’s clearly the type of place you would hate yourself for missing. The projects that are exposed here are famous in the entire Europe not only for being signed by names that have latterly become famous, but especially because of the concepts they’re promoting – a sublime combination of classic photography principles and local contemporary trends, making it unique, substantial and easily remembered.
Another very good way of having fun like a local is catching local acts in bars or experimental theaters. Akropolis is an art deco theater holding great representations which have been given great reviews from famous art critics since its opening, a great place to have a beer or a coffee with local live background music. Otherwise, during weekdays you can go to bars, like Lucerna Music Bar or Vagon. Both popular for themed nights and live music, the first one’s hosting jazz and blues bands, while Vagon’s the place to be if your tastes in music include any kind of rock or metal.
Divadlo Minor. The place where you’ll learn that in the Czech Republic the art of puppetry isn’t only aimed at children, not only at tourists either. The country has a respected tradition in the field and this is where you’ll be spending an interestingly twisted afternoon whenever you’re visiting the city, if you’ve been here once. It is clearly the type of spectacle that you’ll be further recommending to all your friends who’ll visit Prague – an authentic, genuine, well-known landmark. In case you’ve been so impressed by what you’ve seen that you’d like to make sure there’s no chance for you to ever forget the experience, Truhlar Marionety is where you can buy your own puppet to bring home with you.
See also: Wicked Public Art in Prague
5. Go five centuries behind our time. Starometska Astronomical Clock has been loudly announcing the time since 1490. Even if only half of the original medieval Old Town Hall still exists today, its Gothic and Renaissance architectural styles have been delicately restored, since the World War II severely affecting the place. The ridiculous spectacle the Clock offers every day starting 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. is quite spectacular because of the cultural implications, making it a reference position. The wooden saints who ‘hold’ the hourly spectacle symbolize four major concerns of the Czech nation: greed, vanity, death and the Turk. The zodiac of the horologic shows the movement of the Sun and Moon, while the exact hour is displayed in three distinct configurations: the predictable, well-known Central European Time, the somehow predictable Old Czech Time and the very least predictable way – the Babylonian Time.
6. Experience a thousand years’ culture visiting Prague Castle. If you’re not a fan of classic tourism this is certainly a place you won’t like to see and all we can recommend you is a photo atlas of the area – it will save you some time that you could spend doing some other – more entertaining activity. If you’re interested to see a great architectural puzzle, however, you just can’t miss this complex. You’ll love it. Of course, this also means two other things: you’ll have to save at least half a day to come here if you want to have time to visit the most important attractions and two – all the other visitors were advised to do the same, so don’t expect anything else but crowds.