If you are looking for best things to do in Prague thru a weekend, a city full of mystery and museums, dripping with history, hauntings and great things to do, then your adventures in the city should be equally unique. Prague boasts some of the most picturesque architectural landmarks in Europe.
Bisected by the Vlatava River, Prague will astound even the most well traveled tourist with its Gothic grace and Renaissance architecture, its many world-class museums and baroque style churches and bridges.
Here you’ll find the sprawling Prague Castle, the bustling Charles Bridge, the famous Astronomical Clock in the Old Town, and the quirky, art nouveau Dancing House. Prague is also famous for its abundance of tasty beers, pubs and beer halls. When you’re not sipping on a Pilsner, make time for cultural events; operas and symphonies attract large crowds and can be very affordable.
Let’s have a look at the best things to do in Prague, if you have just the weekend:
Old Town Square (Staromestské námestí)
Despite Prague’s lively history of invasions, the Old Town Square has remained relatively untouched since the 10th Century. Swarms of tourists crowd the historical streets, packing out the alfresco restaurants everyday. The square itself is the perfect place to admire the wonderful architecture Prague has to offer and if that isn’t your thing then the various street performers, musicians and merchants that line the streets here will certainly keep you entertained.
The square is home to some of the most historic attractions in the city, including the Old Town Hall, one of the best places to get a bird’s-eye view of the city and the Prague Astronomical Clock, a beautiful timepiece dating back to the 1400s. Other architectural highlights found within the square include the Church of St. Nicholas and the Church of Our Lady before Týn, instantly recognizable for its two Gothic spires. Meanwhile, the newest additions to the square include a monument erected in 1915 for the religious reformer Jan Hus. There are also several restaurants here that spill out onto the square during the warmer months especially on weekends as locals and travelers alike enjoy a coffee or a beer on the patios.
Charles Bridge (Karluv Most)
The Charles Bridge connects Old Town (Staré Mesto) and Lesser Town (Malá Strana) of Prague. Visitors come here to soak up the atmosphere, buy souvenirs and to take in the 30 saint statues that line the bridge. Dating back to 1357, the statues were crafted between 1683 to 1928 to honor numerous saints.
A simple walk across the 14th Century bridge is one of the most enjoyable and memorable experiences of visiting Prague. The bridge was commissioned in 1357 by Charles IV to replace an older bridge that had been washed away by floods. Although completed in 1390, with the striking statues added in the 17th century, the bridge did not take Charles’ name until the 19th century.
Located in Hradcany (the Castle district), Prague Castle is without a doubt the city’s most popular tourist attraction and it is easy to see why. The breath-taking castle has traditionally been the seat of Czech rulers and is today the official residence of the president.
Holding the record for the largest coherent castle complex in the world, Prague Castle serves double duty as the office of the Czech president and a popular tourist destination. The complex where it stands is also home to several other attractions.
Prague Castle has stood in this spot for more than a thousand years and covers a lot of area. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the grounds feature a variety of architectural styles, including everything from 10th-century Romanesque buildings to Gothic structures from the 14th century. Throughout its history, the castle and the area around it have gone through extensive restorations and renovations.
The grounds include St. Vitus Cathedral, the Royal Palace, St. George’s Basilica and the Golden Lane – where homes have been converted into period scenes to show how artisans lived and worked in ancient times.
Jewish Quarter (Josefov)
The Jewish quarter, also known as Josefov, is located between the Old Town and the Vltava River. Its history began in the 13th century when Jews living in Prague were ordered to vacate their homes and settle in this one area. The Jews were banned from living anywhere else in the city and were joined by fellow exiled Jews from other European countries. To add to their hardship, many buildings in the area were destroyed in the late 19th century when the cities layout was remodeled. Fortunately, many significant historical buildings remain including six synagogues and are well worth a visit.
Located in the Old Town Square, the Prague Astronomical Clock was built in the fifteenth century and despite being damaged and repaired during its lifetime, it is widely regarded as the best preserved medieval mechanical clock in the world.
This clock doesn’t display the time of day. Rather, it’s meant to be used to determine the phases of the moon and the equinoxes. The clock uses depictions of symbols, such as a money bag representing greed, a figure looking at himself in a mirror to represent vanity and a skeleton to depict death. Each hour the clock shows a visualization of time unlike anything else in the world. Beware of the crowd if you’re visiting over the weekend.
St. Vitus Cathedral (Chrám svatého Víta)
While the site of St. Vitus Cathedral dates back to about A.D. 925, the church that stands today is actually the third in honor of Saint Vitus (the patron saint of dancers, actors, comedians and epileptics). Consecrated in 1929, the cathedral features neo-Gothic stylings alongside Renaissance and baroque details.
One of the highlights is the tomb of St. John of Nepomuk, famours for its intricate silverwork. Also, don’t miss the art nouveau stained-glass window work completed by the famous Czech painter Alphonse Mucha.
BONUS – John Lennon Wall
After the killing of John Lennon in 1980, an activist painted an image of the Beatles’ lead singer on the wall opposite the French Embassy. This small act of deviance (Communist Czechoslovakia banned Western images and symbols) blossomed into a colorful collage of protest text, images and lyrics. The city’s secret police continuously whitewashed the wall, which young Czechs subsequently covered with more graffiti. Even after Communist Czechoslovakia fell and the country divided in two, the John Lennon Wall continued to evolve, most recently sporting fresh coats of paint in 2014 and 2019.