How to make the most of 48 hours in Prague

How to make the most of 48 hours in Prague

Prague, the capital city of Czech Republic, is blessed with ample natural, architectural and cultural treasures. With its medieval houses, cobbled streets, and arguably the best beer in all of Europe, Prague has a way to draw the casual traveller in with her magnetism. To put it in the words of the city’s famous son, Franz Kafka, “Prague never lets you go. This dear little mother has sharp claws”. Known as the Paris of the present day, this pretty city is the ideal stopover during your jaunt through Central Europe, and our list of ‘Prague things to do’ will ensure you spend a treasured 48 hours in Prague. 

Day One

Take a walk around Old Town Square 
Start your 48 hours in Prague with a walking tour of the Old Town Square. Examining the various architectural wonders of the historical centre of the city is one of the top Prague things to do. Take special notice of the varied architectural styles that seamlessly blend together across the square, including the gothic church of Our Lady before Týn, the baroque St. Nicholas Church, the Rococo style Kinský Palace, and the 14th century Old Town Hall. 

Watch the ‘The Walk of the Apostles’
On the southern wall of the Old Town Hall is the Prague Orloj, or the Prague astronomical clock, placed there in the early 15th century. Not surprisingly, it is one of the oldest functioning clocks in the world. Apart from telling the date and time, the dials on the clock also denote the position of various celestial bodies, including the Sun, the Moon, and the planets, as well as zodiac information. But that’s not all. Every time the ornate clock chimes to announce the hour, a fascinating little theatre show is simultaneously set in motion. Two blue windows above the dial open up to reveal ‘The walk of the Apostles’, little statuettes of the twelve apostles revolving inside the chamber. Various figures around the dials also come to life, most notably the figure of death, represented by a skeleton ringing a bell and rotating an hourglass to symbolise the passing of life. The performance lasts for 45 seconds and is well worth the wait to watch a second time. 

Visit the Prague Castle and St. Vitius Cathedral
Conclude your first day with a visit to the city’s most famous landmark, Prague Castle, and the top item on every list of Prague things to do. The castle was built in the 9th century and was the seat of Czech royalty. Today, the castle serves as the official residence of the President of Czech Republic. Entry into the castle grounds is free and a stroll around the beautiful gothic structure is highly recommended. Take the time to visit St. Vitius Cathedral and discover its various treasures, including the stunning stained-glass windows, elaborate mosaic of the Last Judgement, and tombs of Bohemian rulers. 

Day Two

Cross the Charles Bridge on foot
A walk along the Charles Bridge is one of the top Prague things to do. The historic bridge across the Vltava River was built in the 14th century and is adorned with 30 statues across the balustrade made in baroque style. The statues represent various saints including St. Luthgard, the Holy Crucifix and Calvary, John of Nepomuk, and the statue of the knight Bruncvík. Most of the statues have now been replaced by replicas while the original structures are housed in the National Museum. Take a walk across the 600-year old bridge to soak up the wonderful atmosphere created by street entertainers and take in the stunning views of the river and the city.

Take a picture with the Dancing House
As you stroll among Prague’s beautiful baroque, gothic and art nouveau structures, you might turn a corner to find a building that seems a bit ‘off’. It’s not just the glass windows or contemporary architecture that makes it the odd one out, it is in fact the shape and the angle of it. You’ll find that the only way to really describe the edifice is to say that it appears quite literally to be dancing. And you wouldn’t be wrong. The quirky Dancing House stands on the site of a house destroyed by U.S. bombing during World War II. After the Velvet Revolution, a Canadian-American architect was hired to build a cultural centre at the site. The building was designed to symbolise the transformation of Czechoslovakia from a communist nation to a democratic one, represented by two elements – static and dynamic. This vision will become immediately clear to you as soon as you lay eyes on the Dancing House. It is recommended you add ‘striking a dance pose in front of the Dancing House’ to your list of Prague things to do. 

Strahov Monastery
During your 48 hours in Prague, take the time to visit the breathtaking 12th century Strahov Monastery, scenically located on top of a hill. Learn about its 900 year history and delight in its many wonders including the treasury and art gallery, showcasing a vast array of important works from both Czech and international artists. Don’t miss the incredible baroque ceiling frescos that will have you gaping in wonder. Take special notice of the ‘The Spiritual Development of Mankind’ composition on the ceiling of the Philosophy Hall, and don’t miss the very curious Cabinet of Curiosities. The Theology Hall is a bibliophile’s paradise and the Miniature Museum will let you write your name on a grain of rice. 

View the metamorphosis of Kafka’s head
To conclude your 48 hours in Prague, visit the head of the city’s most famous son, Franz Kafka. In 2014, an 11 metre tall kinetic sculpture of the famous writer’s head was installed outside Quadrio business centre. This large installation is made up of 42 mechanised tiers that move constantly to transform (or metamorphose) Kafka’s head. Inspired by his most famous work, The Metamorphosis, the stunning transfiguration is fascinating to watch, especially in the varying light of the day. 

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