The fairy tale-like charm, art galleries, Baroque architecture, cheap pilsners, farmers’ markets and so much more — what’s not to love about Prague? If you want to travel to Europe but are tight on cash, consider visiting Prague.
Navigating Prague — which is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic — is easy due to its walkable streets, a straightforward public transit system and prevalent English speakers.
Check out these 10 amazing, worthwhile, and affordable things you can do in Prague if you’re on a tight budget:
1. Take a self-guided walking tour. (free)
Taking a walk is the first thing you should always do in a new place. You get a feel for the city, spot metro stations, see the main sights and get your bearings. Walk around Wenceslas Square, Old Town Square and cross the Charles Bridge.
Observe the Astronomical Clock, the Church of Our Lady before Tyn, the Vltava River, the National Theatre, the Franz Kafka Museum, the Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral and more on your stroll. As you’re walking around, make note of which attractions or museums you want to return to.
2. Write on the John Lennon Wall. (free)
If you have friends who’ve been to Prague, you may recognize this wall from their profile pictures, but this wall is more than just a good photo op. The John Lennon Wall’s origins go back to when Prague was still under a Communist regime. In 1988, a group of young Czechs started writing grievances with the regime in protest, including John Lennon-inspired graffiti and lyrics from Beatles’ songs, which led to a clash between hundreds of students and security police on Charles Bridge.
Today, layers and layers of new marks and messages cover the original Lennon portrait, and the wall represents global ideals of love and peace. If you stop by multiple times throughout your trip, it will probably look completely different since visitors add new marks constantly.
3. Visit a farmers’ market. (free)
Holešovice Market and Naplavka Farmers’ Market are both great options for picking up produce, flowers, a cup of coffee or snack. Even if you don’t purchase anything, these spots are great places to people-watch and interact with locals.
Look for the word “pěstitlel” on the signs here, which means the produce comes directly from a farmer. You might find that fewer people speak English fluently at farmers’ markets. Here are a few good-to-know Czech words to help initiate a conversation or accompany your finger point toward that bushel of arugula you have your eye on:
Good day: Dobry den (pronounced “doe-bree den”)
Please: Prosim (pronounced “pro-seem”)
Thank you: Dekuji (pronounced “dya-koo-yee”)
4. Drink a beer in Letna Beer Garden and enjoy the view. (depends on desired beer consumption)
Fun fact: The Czech Republic consumes more beer per capita than any other country, so they know a thing or two about beer. Letna Beer Garden boasts one of the best views in the city. The beer selection isn’t as expansive as some of the other beer gardens, but they’ll definitely have a staple pilsner, which you should order since you’re in Prague and all.
There’s no entry fee, and a pint of beer costs less than $2, which is totally worth the view alone. Explore the rest of Letna Park while you’re there. Wear comfortable shoes because you have to take a few flights of stairs to get to the top of the park, but it’s worth it because… that view!
5. Cruise around in a paddleboat. ($3)
After you’ve gotten the aerial view from the high elevation of Letna Park, see the city from a lower perspective by taking a paddleboat ride on the Vltava River. Albeit a little touristy, you can paddle around for an entire hour in a paddleboat that holds four people for just $3. Bring along snacks and drinks for a mini picnic on the boat, which is especially fun when the weather is nice. Find starting points for renting near the National Theatre and Charles Bridge.
6. Tour the Franz Kafka Museum. ($8.50)
The museum displays most of the first editions of Kafka’s works.
7. Visit the gardens below Prague Castle. ($4.30)
Particularly beautiful in spring, explore the five interconnected palace gardens — the Ledeburg Garden, the Lesser Palffy Garden, the Greater Palffy Garden, the Kolowrat Garden and the Lesser Furstenberg Garden.
You’ll see beautifully manicured gardens, statues, fountains and unparalleled views of the red-roofed buildings of the Prague skyline from the terraces for only $4.30.
8. View art at the National Gallery and the DOX Centre. ($9.40 or less, depending on exhibit)
The National Gallery of Modern Arts and the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art are two great stops for art lovers. At the National Gallery, visit one of the many temporary or permanent exhibits individually, for which tickets cost about $9 or less, or you can splurge for the all-access ticket for about $21 that’s valid for 10 days. A little less than $8 will buy you a full-priced adult ticket to DOX for access to all current exhibits.
At the end of 2016, a unique reading room structure called the “Gulliver airship” was added between two existing buildings at DOX. The name nods to Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels and serves as a place for visitors to read and have public discussions about literature.
9. Grab a coffee. (depends on desired coffee consumption)
If you love coffee, hit up a local coffee shop for some caffeine and people-watching. Some good spots to try include onesip coffee, EMA Espresso Bar and Muj salek kavy, the flagship cafe of the doubleshot coffee roasters. For more food and drink recommendations, check out the phenomenal blog and Instagram account Taste of Prague, a company that offers local food tours, which sadly yet understandably, cost more than $10 or would certainly be included on this list.
10. Watch a subtitled Czech film at an art house cinema. ($5 or less, depending on film)
Located in the Letna neighborhood, Bio Oko is a movie theater dating back to the 1930s and a favorite spot among locals.
Hang out at their bar and then take your drink in the theater and enjoy a film. Ticket prices range depending on the day and the movie, but most tickets cost about $5 or less.
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