Charles Bridge (fklv)
List Words : Lauren Williams | 21 September

10 things to do for free in Prague

Prague has cashed in on its reputation for the student and budget-conscious traveller. Here are 10 ways to save your money on a trip to the Czech capital

1. Take a free tour

New Prague Tours offer free walking tours of the 'City of a Thousand Spires' daily; come rain or shine. Expert guides bring to life the city's legends and walk you through the footsteps of Kafka, Good King Wenceslas and the Golem. The free tours cover the main sights of the city, with local insight into the winding cobbled streets and knowledge that no guide book can give you. Booking is advisable, check out www.newpraguetours.com.

2. Take a hike

A 30 minute hop on the metro green line and you'll find yourself amidst waterfalls, creeks and small canyons in the natural park of Dikova Sarka. The park is full of romantic walking trails by trickling streams and jagged rock faces. For the more adventurous, abseiling and climbing are options, as well as hiking to the top of the hills for spectacular views of the valley.

In the summer, head here mid-week to avoid the crowds of young couples and families enjoying the great outdoors. However, if you're in Prague in the winter and seek true solitude, Dikova Sarka is the perfect getaway for walking in a winter wonderland.

3. Wander the markets

Havelske Trziste, an open-air market in Mĕsto Square, is a wondrous blend of scrumptious sights and smells. Local, fresh, home-made produce, colourful flowers and the usual tourist-tat line the streets. To get the most authentic feel from the busy market, shuffle through the people on a weekday, when seasonal foods (rather than toys, puppets and souvenirs) are mouth-wateringly displayed on the stalls.

Prague flea market is held on the river embankment every Saturday from April through the summer. Usually, the market only attracts locals but makes for a good stroll, filled with curios items, along the river when the weather is nice. Don't expect to pick up any unexpected bargains whilst browsing the flea market, as it's well known for being ridiculously overpriced.

4. Old Jewish Cemetery

A bit morbid this one, but well worth the eerie hair-standing-on-the-back-of-your-neck feeling you'll get when traversing your way through the higgledy-piggledy tombstones. The cemetery dates back to the 15th century and is home to 1,000 dead bodies lying layer-upon-layer on top of each other in a topsy-turvy heap. The cemetery lies in the Jewish quarter of the city, which once amounted to no more than a walled ghetto before the walls were torn down in the 18th century. Keep an eye out for Czech novelist, Franz Kafka's grave amid the chaos.

Take a wonder around Josefov, the old Jewish ghetto, before leaving this area of the city. You can almost smell the history in every nook and cranny and there are several synagogues worth a visit. Josevof is the only central European Jewish town quarter that survived the holocaust.

5. Make your mark

After John Lennon was killed in 1980, graffiti about him started to appear on this wall as a protest against the Communist regime that still ruled Czechoslovakia, banning western pop music. The government painted over the wall many times but graffiti and scrawlings of peace kept coming back. After the fall of Communism in 1989, the wall was left alone and is now a progressive and evolving work of art.

The Lennon Wall is not just a memorial to the man himself, but represents free speech and a place to express all kinds of hopes and dreams. Some say that the constant development and perseverance of peaceful slogans on the wall contributed to the non-violent Velvet Revolution. Feel free to contribute to this ever changing, peaceful masterpiece.

6. The weird and the wonderful

Prague is not just home to Gothic and Baroque styles, an array of beautifully modern and strangely attractive buildings have started cropping up in the city. The Zizkov television tower was built between 1985 and 1992.  As an ugly piece of architecture, the tallest building in Prague is not exactly an attraction itself, but artist David Černý's faceless, crawling babies on the tower's pillars are a must see – if only to believe their existence.The Dancing House, sometimes referred to as The Drunk House for it's lack of symmetry and wonky lines, was built in 1996. The Dancing House is said to represent a couple dancing together, if you squint you can make out a woman and man dancing together, holding hands, with a skirt that sways to the music.

7. Old Town Square

One of two main squares in the city, it is one of the most beautiful historic spots in Europe. The square's most notable sights are the Church of Our Lady before Tyn, the Old Town Hall Tower & Astronomical Clock and the stunning St. Nicholas Church.


The clock tower, installed in 1410, is the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world. Every hour, on the hour, the clock puts on a show of puppets, trumpets and skeletons, which always attract a crowd. Arrive five or ten minutes early and beware of pick-pockets.

The Church of Our Lady Before Tyn is a powerful Gothic feature across Prague and the imposing spires can be seen all across the city. Tyn Church is impressive by day, striking by night, and just as aweing on the inside. The two spires are typical to Gothic architecture in that they are not symmetrical. Instead, they both represent the masculine and feminine sides of the world.

8. Charles bridge

It's hard to spend a day in Prague without at least catching a glimpse of the main link between the city's two halves. This wonderful medieval stone bridge is peppered with Baroque statues of famous Czech leaders, saints and artists dating back to 1706.

The bridge is often packed with tourists, buskers and living statues during the day, so wait until night falls to take in the atmosphere and a quiet stroll across the river Vltava. Make sure you place your hand on the statue of St John of Nepomuk, to make a wish come true.

Easily recognisable, this statue looks polished and shiny from the millions of hopefuls who have previously touched it.

9. Stag moat

One of Prague's most obvious, yet least visited sites, stag moat is exactly what it says on the tin. To get to the moat, head towards the main gate of Prague Castle, skirt around the mad crowd of tourists and head down towards a wall with Jelení Příkop written on it.

Wandering through the luscious grounds, you'll find a variety of sculptures, remarkable viewpoints of the city and connections through to the other parts of the castle grounds. The most impressive feature of stag moat, has to be the brick tunnel which runs under the castle's gate.

10. Drink beer

Obviously, this is not a free option, but when beer is cheaper than water it would be rude of us not to put it on this list. The Czech Republic comes in first place out of all the World's nations when it comes to drinking beer. Even us Brits can't consume 156 litres each of the good stuff a year. Beer is served everywhere and is drunk by everyone at all hours of the day.

With Europe's best tasting beer at only 50p a pint, we think indulging in a beverage or two deserves a mention. It is a bit of a steal after all...

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