Recently, someone from our travel blogging group asked which city is the best to explore on a short visit to Europe.
While answers were varied, there was one city mentioned by everyone: Prague.
True, not all European cities are cast in the same mold, but others possess certain characteristics and unique charms that make anyone who has visited it long to visit again. That’s Praha for you.
I stayed there less than a week–mostly just walking along the Jewish Quarter, sitting by the fountain in the Old Town Square, and drinking in the pubs of Žižkov–but this historic city has left a lasting impression on me that’s difficult to forget.
If you’re visiting Prague soon, you can certainly ‘Czech off’ a few of the usual highlights: gallons of superior Bohemian pilsner, a hyper-efficient Metro system (I love their Metro stations!), and an old town, complete with an atmospheric castle, cobbled streets, and rustic rooftops.
However, Prague also has plenty of quirk and some unexpected sights. As you make your way around the city, look out for these unique attractions.
The Astronomical Clock
Dating back to the 15th century, this intricate timepiece on the side of the city hall still keeps perfect time.
Every hour, on the hour, a crowd gathers around the clock as the decorative figures surrounding its face come to life, and if knowing the hour isn’t enough, the clock’s face also shows ancient Babylonian time, the phases of the moon and the position of the sun.
Located in the Old Town Square, it’s a definite must to see this beautiful work of art.
David Černý’s Sculptures
It’s quite possible you’ll encounter one of David Černý’s sardonic sculptures when visiting Prague’s most famous sights; the Czech artist has left his mark all over the city.
Admire the convoy of metallic alien babies crawling up the legs of the Žižkov TV Tower, giggle at the upside down horse in Lucerna Passage, or strain your eyes looking for the figure of Sigmund Freud dangling from a steel bar in the Stare Mesto.
His twisted sensibility is sure to evoke at least a wry smile of appreciation.
Escape the crowds of tourists and explore this alternative, beautiful collection of monuments to some of the Czech Republic’s most famous citizens.
It is not just a bunch of crumbling tombstones; some of the grave sites in Vyšehrad are true works of art, adorned with art nouveau sculptures from the likes of Ladislav Šaloun.
John Lennon Wall
Street art lovers should also check out this stretch of wall, a canvas for the artistic outpourings of a disenfranchised Czech youth of the late 1980s. Today, it’s covered in a rainbow scrawl of graffiti.
While the original image of John Lennon’s face has been lost under layers of paint, the messages of love and peace that it represents endure.
Prague is unlike any other European city, and it wears its rich history and artistic highlights on its streets and buildings with pride. Make sure when you visit, you take the time to notice its more subversive charms in order to better appreciate the bigger picture that it offers the world.
For more things to do in the city, check out the 10 Best Attractions to See in Prague. You can also see a lot of Prague in 24 hours. Spending longer time in the Czech Republic? Make sure to go on a day trip from Prague, as well!
Have you been to Prague? What did you like best about the city?