Rooftop Views: Sights in Prague

It probably goes without saying that Prague is quite picturesque. What is quite impressive is the number of rooftops you can visit, each offering their own unique view of this storybook city. I think the best way to visit the sights in Prague is to divide the city into its respective parts of town and spend about one day doing each neighborhood. Overall, I feel that four days in Prague is quite adequate to see the city and do all of the exploring you need. If you were pressed for time, you could possibly fit sightseeing into three days. Below is how we explored and divided our time:
Mala Strana or Lesser Town

1. Wallenstein Palace Gardens – beautiful gardens that are actually quite expansive in size. Free to visit. Public restroom is available.

2. Church of Saint Nicholas – gorgeous church that is part of lesser town square. You pay to go inside. Outside of the church itself and around the corner, you will see an open door that is not well marked. Inside you can pay a separate fee to climb the 200 some steps to the top for some amazing views. There are many places to do this in Prague, but this was one of my favorites. If you are physically fit … it is worth the climb. I would consider myself relatively healthy, and I definitely felt short of breath.

3. Lesser Town Square – square cornered by restaurants and gelato stores. You will walk through this area when touring Lesser Town. Besada is a restaurant at the corner of the square that had many positive recommendations for traditional Czech cuisine.

4. Lennon Wall – a graffiti wall memorial to John Lennon. Many people brought markers and were writing on the wall. I missed the memo for this, so if you are interested in leaving your mark, bring something along. It was a quite crowded spot for photos.

5. Kampa Island – very close proximity to the Lennon Wall and, if you are in the area, nice for a walk through. There are some views here across the Vltava river that are quite nice.

6. Vrtba Gardens – beautiful well manicured gardens. You pay to enter. This was worth the visit and cost in my opinion. Be sure and walk all the way to the top for views, not only of Prague, but a better aerial view of the gardens themselves.

7. Church of Our Lady Victorious – church of the baby Jesus. I was looking forward to visiting this church. They were having mass when we were inside, but I was still able to see the baby Jesus and go just past the altar into the “museum” area. Up the stairs, you will find the elaborate outfits that the baby Jesus wears when his clothes are changed. Just outside the church and to the right of the door is a souvenir shop. They sell beautiful rosaries, holy water, postcards, etc.

We started out our first day in Lesser Town. Our flight arrived that morning, and we did not start sightseeing until around 12:30-1pm. We comfortably were able to visit all of the above sights in a matter of hours. If you are looking for something to add to this list, the Petrin Lookout Tower is a “mini Eiffel” Tower within a large park. I was interested in visiting, but I felt that the views we had from the top of St. Nicholas Church were fantastic, so we did not visit the park and go to the top of the tower.

Hradcany Area
1. Prague Castle. If there is a day to get up early, my recommendation would be to make it the day you visit Prague Castle. We walked from the Old Town area and arrived between 9:30-10am. During our walk up the stairs to the castle, it was still relatively uncrowded. We managed to get some pretty amazing photos from the steps with few people around. At a future visit, I ideally would have been inside the castle area right when it opened at 9am. You will enter the grounds and buy a ticket. We chose Circuit B, which gave us access to my the numbers I have listed as 1-5. Lobkowicz Palace is a separate entry price once you are inside.

2. St. Vitus Cathedral – this cathedral is gorgeous. Of all the cathedrals I have visited, this was one of my absolute favorites. The inside is truly breathtaking. Take the time to walk around and you will continue to be amazed.

3. Old Royal Palace – an easy walk around the inside will give you an idea of what life was like at the time. There are audio guides to purchase if you wish. We opted to just walk around and look on our own reading the signage that was posted.

4. Basilica of St. George – the oldest church building within the complex. Not as grand as St. Vitus yet still unique in its own right.

5. Golden Lane – a true look at what life was like in the 16th century. Number 22 was where Franz Kafka lived for a short period of time.

6. Lobkowicz Palace – separate entry price for this museum. We opted not to go inside, but we did go to the terrace cafe. Once you walk inside, you will see tables in the courtyard. Skip this and walk inside further to get to the back terrace. There are gorgeous views sitting outside. The food was decent. We shared the chicken schnitzel and had a glass of wine. This is a great break to the day.

7. Strahov Monastery with garden viewpoint – if you walk outside the grounds of the castle and uphill you will eventually make it to the Monastery. The most spectacular item here is their library. You can pay to take photos inside or just purchase an entry ticket. I think paying to take photos is worth it. The library is a showstopper. You cannot physically walk inside unless you arrange a tour in advance. While we were visiting, there was a group of 3 people actually inside the library. Our ticket allowed us to stand at the gate and take photos. Also on the monastery grounds, there is a restaurant and just below the restaurant a garden viewpoint. We decided to have a glass of wine in the restaurant area. Because we were not ordering food, they did not let us sit at one of the many open tables right at the edge with the best views (even though there were plenty open). This left a bad taste in our mouth; however, the views even from our seat were amazing. If you do not want to linger, walk downhill little further to the garden viewpoint that I mentioned.

8. Loretta Church – pay entry with additional fee to take photos. They will give you a map that helps guide you around the property. There is a lot to see here, and it can take some time if you want to read all of the signage.

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