Prague Is a Real-life Fairy Tale, and These Photos Prove It
When was the last time you felt Wonder? Capital W wonder, like the kind you felt as a kid, when a stick and a pile of leaves were really a giant paddle and raft, the grass, a river, and a great-escape plot was playing out in your backyard.
In adulthood, we don’t allow our daydreams to become indiscernible from reality like this, and instances of Wonder can be few and far between. One perk of being an adult, however, is that we have more access to travel, which makes recapturing some of that exuberant childhood perspective achievable.
With some of the biggest and oldest monuments in the world, Prague fosters that make-believe wonder like few other cities. The cobblestone squares and spiking gothic architecture make you feel immersed in a classic fairy tale, when witches cursed princesses to sleep and Sundays were spent buying groceries from pushcarts with a wicker basket in tow.
Once considered the capital of historical Bohemia, Prague makes buying into this whole fairy tale narrative easy. The city is home to the largest ancient castle in the world, and there’s a church decorated with over 40,000 actual human bones (fairy tales always have a sinister side).
Through a Medieval lens, you can amble across the Charles Bridge over the longest river in the Czech Republic, dotted with local artists’ stands of scenic sketches and musicians with unusual instruments. About a 10-minute walk from the bridge is Old Town Square: Look up and admire the architecture, stopping in front of Old Town Hall to see the hour strike with marching apostles on Prague’s astronomical clock, which has roots dating back to 1410.
If you’re lucky, you’ll pass a food cart selling one of Prague’s local delicacies: fried cheese. Typically made with Edam cheese, the dish—sometimes in sandwich form—is common throughout the city and available at unassuming stands and sit-down restaurants alike.
While daytime wandering evokes history’s gothic past, nightlife in Prague blasts you back to the present...if not the future. Underlit buildings keep the haunting but magical vibe steady, while people head out to places like Karlovy Lazne, a famous five-story nightclub that boasts being the largest of its kind in Central Europe.
From spinning in cobble-stoned streets and taking in all the sights to eating fried cheese off a street cart, you’ll be living out a fantasy when you visit the Czech Republic’s capital.
Here are 20 photos to help your daydreams of a Prague adventure take shape.
The Charles Bridge
This notable bridge connects the land on either side of the Vltava River, which runs 267 miles in total and 19 miles within the city boundaries.
Old Town Square
Comprised of Old Town, Lesser Town and New Town, the Historic Centre of Prague is listed on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) World Heritage List for showcasing the city’s leading role in culture and architecture since the Middle Ages.
Glance From Above
A vantage point like this really lets you appreciate the scope of the city’s detailed architectural landscape, from the top of its roofs to the winding alleyways beneath your feet.
Old Town Square
The city is admired for its Baroque and colorful structures, and the square houses prime examples.
Old Town is packed with monuments worth a visit. The Prague New City Hall, for one, is where curious travelers will find the mayor’s office and residence.
The Prague Astronomical Clock, a.k.a. the Prague Orloj
Although the clock falls in third place when it comes to oldest astronomical clocks in the world, it is the oldest still working. A grim legend surrounds the intricate timekeeper: If it’s neglected, doom will supposedly befall the city.
Church of Our Lady
The prevalence of Gothic church towers dotting Prague’s skyline gave way to the nickname “The City of a Hundred Spires,” but the Church of our Lady is the main place of worship in the area. It’s also the only one linked to a Disney legend: Rumor has it the towers inspired Walt Disney in his design for Sleeping Beauty’s castle.
Spires on Spires
The city is no stranger to tourism, so there’s plenty to do in and around Old Town Square.
Chances are, your feet will need a break at some point. Why not kick back at a quaint outdoor café?
The Jewish quarter, or Josefov, is also part of Old Town. Many visit the Old Jewish Cemetery, the oldest surviving of its kind in Europe.
Across the river from Old Town is Lesser Town, also known as Mala Strana.
Leaving Old Town
There’s a park-laden climb up Petrin Hill also on the other side of Charles Bridge that provides a beautiful view of the city (and the perfect photo backdrop).
The Estates Theatre, National Theatre, and State Opera performance centers showcase the arts in three main genres: ballet, opera, and drama.
St. Vitus Cathedral
Owned by the Czech government and part of the Prague Castle, this is the oldest and most prominent church in a city full of old and prominent churches.
The Perfect Weather
Wintertime in Prague can be quite brutal and snowy, but if you go in the warmer months, you can really take advantage of the discoveries that wandering (via foot or boat) provides. Summer months have an average high of 75 degrees Fahrenheit, with cooler nights.
Beer With a View
Steeped in History
While Prague is known most for its Pale Lager, or Pilsner, the city’s official tourism site lists 28 open breweries and brewpubs that serve up a variety of beers.
In addition to occupying such a significant place in the city’s cultural identity, beer is the perfect complement to the local fried cheese, called smazeny syr.
As the sun sets, the city stays alive with a vibrant nightlife scene.
But before you go out, find yourself some of that smazeny syr, grab a beer, and take it all in. You’re in Prague.