Prague is one of those beautiful cities that has no dearth in terms of options of things to see, do, experience, etc. Though not cheap as rest of Eastern Europe, it still has numerous sights and things that a budget traveler can easily do / enjoy for free. And based on my visit here, my top 5 picks of free things to do in Prague are as follows –
- Visit the Charles Bridge – This is one of the most visited sights in Prague and connects the Old City to the Mala Strana. There are 2 towers at the 2 ends of the Bridge and 30 beautiful baroque statues placed along either side (many of them are copies and the originals can be seen in the Lapidarium).The most popular statue is the one of St. John of Nepomuk, a Czech martyr saint who was executed during the reign of Wenceslas IV by being thrown into the Vltava from the bridge. Touching the statue is supposed to bring good luck and ensures your return to Prague. You should visit this Bridge as early as possible, preferably by 7am as post that is starts getting so crowded (with small roadside stalls, shows and tourist) that you are barely able to see anything and just don’t feel the beauty of this Bridge.
- Prague Castle grounds – The Prague Castle is one of the largest Castles in the world and includes the stunning Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral, Basilica of St. George, monastery and several small palaces, gardens and defense towers. The castle complex also houses several museums, the Toy Museum, souvenir shops and the Golden Lane. You can reach the Castle by climbing up the stairs or walking up a hill (as Prague Castle has 2 – 3 ways to reach it) and check out the beautiful views of the city. While the entry to all tourist things is charged, roaming around the Castle Complex grounds is free and you can see the beautiful sights from outside. If you are there around 12pm (in the afternoon) you can also watch the elaborate change of guard ceremony.
- Vysehrad – If you have had enough of crowds in the above mentioned places, then you might just want to pack your picnic bags and take a trip to Vysehrad. If you need directions to this place, please write and ask the locals about it as the way we pronounce it is not going to help (the actual pronunciation of this name is very different). This is an old castle built on a hill and overlooking the Vlatava river. This place has beautiful green gardens, churches, a cemetery (where quite a few important people in Czech history are buried) and amazing views of the city.
- Watch the Astronomical Clock – This is a medieval astronomical clock, the third oldest clock in the world and the oldest working clock. The clock’s mechanism is composed of three main components: the astronomical dial, representing the position of the Sun and the Moon in the sky and displaying various astronomical details; “The Walk of the Apostles”, a clockwork hourly show of figures of the Apostles and other moving sculptures—a figure of Death (represented by a skeleton) striking the time; and a calendar dial with medallions representing the months. It is placed in the Old Town Square And always has a huge crowd in front of it. It’s a beautiful clock and a must visit when you visit Prague.
- Walk from the Old Town Square to the New Town Square – If you have the time walk from the Old Town Square to the New Town Square. You can see some beautiful sights and architecture that is so Prague. You can also see the change in buildings’ architecture, from old world to newer and more modern. There are a lot of good eating joints around the Old Town Square and shopping places near the New Town Square. I recommend aimlessly walking around and exploring the narrow by-lanes as these lanes have some beautiful small quaint shops and coffee places.