Whether it’s your first or twentieth visit to Prague, travel experts will probably tell you to see the Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, and the Astronomical Clock in Old Town Square. However, like most large cities, Prague has a host of lesser-known attractions and sights, often lying well off the regular tourist trail. Prague is a wonderful city in which to simply stroll and get lost. You may well come across a hidden alley, courtyard or square, a church music recital, or a beautiful garden tucked away behind an apartment block.
These lesser-known Prague sights are worth visiting, if you have already braved the crowds in the more, well-known tourist spots.
The Narrowest Street
Prague’s narrowest street is located in what is known as the Little Quarter—one of the oldest areas of the city, known for its fancy architecture, and next to Prague Castle. It’s really more of an alleyway, leading from U Luzickeho Seminare Street, a wide street of shops, hotels, and restaurants, up a flight of stone steps to the Certovka Canal. The street is just over 19 inches wide, and in an effort to prevent two people walking in opposite directions at once, it even has traffic lights installed at the ends. A popular restaurant and night spot, the Certovka Restaurant, is also at the end of the alley. You may want eat the hearty Czech food after traversing the narrow alley, rather than before. The restaurant claims that a German tourist actually got stuck in the street, although that may or may not be true. You can find The Narrowest Street at U Lužického semináře, 118 00 Malá Strana, Czechia.
The Lennon Wall
Even though the late John Lennon never actually visited Prague, a section of graffiti-covered wall near the French embassy has become known as the Lennon wall. After Lennon’s murder in 1980, young people, artists, and activists all over the city decided to take over the wall as a way of protesting against the lack of freedom in their country at the time. Today, the wall is more of a shrine to peace and love in general, although there is still plenty of Beatles-themed graffiti. But here is a good chance that it will have been painted over with a fresh mural the following day. The wall is actually owned by one of the oldest organizations in the world, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta who don’t seem to mind the paint and the crowds of curious tourists wandering up and down. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants, if you need a break from all that street art, including one of Prague’s most popular cafes, the Caf Kafcko.
The Dancing House
Prague is justifiably famous for its Art Nouveau and Baroque architecture, although one building that really stands out is the Dancing House. Located just south of the center of the city on the site of a house destroyed during WWII, the striking and unusual building was designed in the mid-1990s by Czech architect Vlado Miluni. With a bit of imagination, it is possible to see the leaning parts of the building looking like a man and woman dancing. Not surprisingly, there were complaints and criticism when it was first built, and it has taken a couple of decades for the building to be accepted as part of Prague’s striking skyline. The best views of the Dancing House are from across the river, although you can also enjoy a spectacular city view from the restaurant located on the building’s rooftop. If you really want to take your visit to the next level, The Dancing House is also a hotel, so you can actually stay there!
Cafe Life In Prague
Like other European cities, such as Paris and Vienna, Prague is known for its cafes, many in historic buildings, with extravagant decor, an extensive wine list, and some of the best desserts anywhere. Several cafes are the haunts of writers, artists, and intellectuals, and all of them offer a welcome respite from the often tiring business of sightseeing. Prague has hundreds of cafes, ranging from those around the Old Town Square—with prices to match their location—to smaller ones in neighborhoods where most tourists don’t venture. Prague’s most famous cafe is probably Caf Slavia in the Old Town, which has been serving coffee, pastries, and beer since the late 19th century. There are also wonderful views of Prague Castle on the other side of the Vitava River.
The Tram System In Prague
There is something distinctly continental about riding the tram, and Prague has an excellent system of trams dating back to the early 20th century. Taking the tram is the easiest way to explore the city, although you should expect to do some walking. The 24 lines cover over 300 miles of tracks and connect all the major sights in the center of the city, as well as the suburbs, and trams begin operating as early as about 430 a.m. The number 22 tram is a favorite among tourists is and well worth taking even if you have no particular destination in mind, as it runs past many of the top attractions in the city, including the sprawling castle complex and the National Theater. Don’t forget the most important part of tram etiquette—for a man to give up his seat for a woman. It’s considered rude and unheard of to object. Trams stop at all stops, so you don’t need to put your arm out or wave to the driver.
These are just some of the lesser-known sights that can be found in one of Europe’s most beautiful, elegant, and affordable cities. If you are visiting Prague, travel off the beaten track, take in the city’s culture, and enjoy a cup of coffee or pastry at one of the historic cafes. Any time of year is a good time to visit the City Of a Thousand Spires, although summer months can be crowded. Consider visiting at Easter, which is an important celebration across the city, or at Christmas, a magical time in Prague.
For more travel advice from Sarah Dandashy of Ask A Concierge, check out:
- Travel Tips For Your First Time in Prague
- Can’t-Miss Sights for Your First Trip to San Diego
- The Last of the Great Bookstores in Los Angeles
By Sarah Dandashy and Nino Gordeli for PeterGreenberg.com. You can watch her other videos for travel tips & tricks at AskAConcierge.tv.