If you read my blog, you probably know already that I am not a fan of museums, but I am really into architecture, parks and gardens. I have to say that Prague perfectly combines all the things I consider beautiful and amazing. You can enjoy the city’s architecture just by walking around the city, and its parks and gardens are free to visit. So, what to do in Prague for free? I made a short guide with the free places to see in Prague, and it includes my favorites.
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What to do in Prague for free
1. Rose garden
My absolutely most favorite place in Prague! This rose garden on Petrin Hill is a real gem! Just imagine: you exit the building of stone and steel after a short ride in a small train, and you are treated with the amazing view of colorful roses and wonderful scent. I could easily spend a couple of hours here just contemplating and taking pictures 🙂 Just to clarify: the train is the funicular that takes people from Ujezd to the top of Petrin Hill.
And don’t stay at the station 🙂 In front of the observatory there is another marvellous rose garden!
I had no idea that there is a rose garden on Petrin Hill, so it was a very pleasant surprise. It was unfortunate at the same time, as the day I chose to go to the hill was cloudy and dark. So, make sure it is sunny to enjoy the garden.
How to get: you can get there either on foot or, better, take the funicular not far from the tram station Ujezd.
Things to know: the best thing about the funicular is that one can use the same ticket as for tram or bus. For example, I bought a 90-minute valid ticket and took tram to Ujezd. And I used the same ticket to get to the funicular!
2. Vojanovy Sady
Vojanovy Sady is a nice garden not far from Charles Bridge. While it is mainly trees there and it looks like any other park would look, there is something special here: peacocks! Many peacocks! When I was there, all of them gathered at the farther end of the garden, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t see them immediately. Well, I was, as I was looking forward to seeing them 🙂
The peacocks in Vojanovy Sady were definitely in the mood to attract females when I was there, so they just wandered around with feathers widely spread and posed for pictures 🙂
3. Wallenstein Gardens
Wallenstein Gardens are not far from Vojanovy Sady. This one is more picturesque with a pond at one side and a palace at the other one.
There are several kinds of fish in the pond, and peacocks usually gather around. They are not as happy to pose to tourists as ones from Vojanovy Sady, but you still might catch them posing.
When you go to other side of the park, you will see the Waldstein Palace, the seat of the Czech Senate. A path with statues on both sides leads to it. I did not see a way to go in, but even from outside it is quite impressive.
To the left of the palace you will see a strange black wall: it was put there to remind of caves as these structures were popular then in the architecture.
4. Some areas of Prague Castle
Like I said it before, there are free areas in the Prague Castle complex. For example, the gardens and deer moats are free to visit. In addition, St Vitus Cathedral is partially free: anyone can go in and admire it from the entrance. There is a gated area where visitors can stand and view the cathedral. The farther parts of the church are accessible only with ticket.
5. Palaces of Mala Strana
In my opinion, Mala Strana is one of the most beautiful parts of Prague. The area, covering everything between the Petrin Hill and the Vltava River, is packed full with palaces with amazing architecture. Just take any street below the castle and enjoy the views!
6. Charles Bridge
Needless to say, Charles Bridge is the iconic sight in Prague. This is the first place visitors come to see after dropping their luggage.
Indeed, the bridge is beautiful: long, wide, pedestrian, with statues on both sides. And it is always crowded, there are people on it even at 6 AM. I know because I planned to take a picture of Charles Bridge without any people on it. Total failure 🙂
While you are there, you might want to touch the statue of St John of Nepomuk: it is supposed to bring luck and make sure that one day you will return to Prague. You can easily find the statue as the saint is always depicted with 5 stars around his head.
7. Old Town Square
Old Town Square is the beating heart of Prague. If you did not go to Charles Bridge immediately after check-in, then it is definitely the Old Town Square where you would go. It is no wonder as the famous astronomical clock is there (unfortunately, it was under renovation when I was there).
Performances are held there from time to time, and you can see a giant panda as well 🙂 In addition, just like Spanish plazas, Old Town Square is surrounded by amazing buildings. And it is crowded, very crowded.
While you are there, try Prague ham and sausages: they are sold at stalls right on the square. I know, I know: never buy anything in really tourist places, but the ham was really good! 🙂
8. Our Lady before Tyn Church
The 80 meters tall towers of this church definitely dominate the Old Town Square, and, considering that the Astronomical Clock was under renovation, it was the main interest of all photographers.
The Church of Our Lady before Tyn has been the main place of worship in this part of Prague for 6 centuries.
While the church itself is Gothic, its main altarpiece is Baroque, as it was renovated many times.
The entrance is free, but donations are always welcome. There is even a recommended amount of 25 Czech Crowns to give. It is up to you whether to donate or not. I do not think it is possible to climb the towers, but if you have other information, please share it in comments.
9. St Nicholas Church
There are a couple of churches dedicated to St Nicholas in Prague. While the one below the Prague Castle is more famous, visitors have to pay to get in.
Here I am talking about the St Nicholas Church on the Old Town Square. It is small, but it has some striking features and beautiful interior decoration in the baroque style.
St Nicolas Church is one of the oldest churches, it was mentioned in the documents from the 13th century. It was renovated and rebuilt a couple of times, and I strongly advise to take a look at the result 🙂 In addition, they hold concerts here, but they are not free.
Prague churches in general are very beautiful and different, you definitely have to see them all.
10. Petrin Hill
Petrin Hill is not the tower and rose garden only! Just walk it as much as you can. Below the rose garden and the observatory there is a nice area with peonies and benches.
There are gardens scattered around the hill, choose a couple of them and explore. Being under shade on a hot day is priceless. And there are many spots that offer views of the city.
Keep in mind that entrance to Vrtbovska Gardens is against a fee of 70 Czech Crowns. In addition, I was told that Lobkowicz, Vratislavska and Schonbornska Gardens are private property, so no visitors are allowed. If that’s not true, I would appreciate a note in comments 🙂
11. Vysehrad (partially)
Vysehrad is an old fortress built, probably, in the 10th century. It served as a royal residence before Sobeslav moved back to Prague Castle.
What everyone sees approaching Vysehrad is two tall black towers. They belong to the Basilica of St Peter and Paul. Frankly, it is the most beautiful church out of everything I saw in Czech Republic. While it is not free to enter, I am sure you can spare 50 Czech Crowns for that, as it is totally worth it!
There is a cemetery next to the basilica with magnificent sculptures where several famous people are buried.
While you have to pay to go inside the buildings in Vysehrad, there is something to do for free and namely walk its walls. And you can see whole Prague from here. There are benches here and there, so you can sit and enjoy the view.
I know it is quite far from the center of Prague, but it is totally worth a visit! In fact, it is my second favorite place in Prague 🙂
How to get: by the red line of subway or from Karlovy Lazne stop at Charles Bridge by tram 17 and even better 18 as it is closer.
12. Letna Park
Frankly, there is nothing spectacular about this place: it is a hill covered with trees. Parks like this one you can see in every city. While it was a really pleasant walk among the trees – considering the soaring temperature, a visit to Letna Park is invaluable thanks to the astonishing views of Prague. I am pretty sure that while watching pictures of Prague everyone comes across the view of the city from above with many bridges in row. In many cases these pictures were taken from Letna Park.
And while you are there, take a look at Prague metronome.
A tip: take Parizska street right from Old Town Square to Letna Park. This street is where you will see many fancy buildings and the shops of world famous brands like Cartier, Jimmy Choo, Gucci, Prada and many others.
13. Dancing House
Of course, this famous architectural masterpiece should be enjoyed from outside. As it is right at the waterfront, everyone can get a clear look of it. The locals were not particularly fond of the building, but now the Dancing House is as iconic as Charles Bridge or the Astronomical Clock.
And it really looks like a dancing couple 🙂
In addition, there are a restaurant and glass bar on top, so you can spend some time here. I did not go there myself, but the bar prices seem to be quite reasonable.
How to get: take tram 17 from Karlovy Lazne stop right at Charles Bridge. Your stop is Jiraskovo namesti.
14. Wenceslas Square
This is a long square right in front of the National Museum. It is quite popular among tourists as there are many restaurants and hotels here. It is a nice place for an evening stroll, and when I was there, there were much less people than in the Old Town Square 🙂
15. Namesti Miru and St Ludmila Church
The square Namesti Miru is in Vinohrady district of Prague. It is particularly interesting for the surrounding buildings and the amazing Church of St Ludmila built in the typical Gothic style.
The dark towers of the church are 60 meters high and are seen from afar. The thing is that, in my understanding, it is open only during services, as it was closed when I was there. And if you are there during service, definitely keep silence, don’t roam it freely and don’t take any pictures.
16. Lennon Wall
The Lennon Wall situated not far from Charles Bridge is a wall filled with graffiti on Lennon and the lyrics of the Beatles songs.
The initial portrait of Lennon is buried under layers of paint as the wall was repainted many times. Students wrote about their problems on the wall, which did not go well with the authorities.
Now it is a quite popular tourist attraction in Prague, and tourists come here just to take a couple of selfies. Other than that, Beatles fans will definitely like it 🙂
I am pretty sure my list is not full. So, what else can visitors do for free in Prague? Comments are welcome 🙂