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15 Best Tours in Prague: Exploring History and Culture

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When I think of Prague, I can’t help but think of its nickname, the City of a Hundred Spires. The Czech Capital is known all over the world for its unique, spiraled architecture that makes you feel like you’ve been whisked away into a fairytale land. You can’t help but explore Prague wide-eyed at the brilliance of this gorgeous city.

Prague is known for its cheap beer, statue-bedecked Charles Bridge, and shimmering Vltava River. But getting to know Prague beyond its Insta-worthy aesthetic is half the fun.

Taking one of the best tours in Prague with a local guide is our preferred way to get to know the city more intimately without spending the day reading pamphlets and signs.

And don’t worry; we’ll help you avoid tourist traps throughout the city, too. The general rule for avoiding these traps in Prague is to recognize price gauging and red flag signs that say “authentic Czech beer.” For example, if beer costs more than bottled water, you’re overpaying, and if the tours are getting average online scores, they should be avoided.

Here, we’ve outlined the best tours Prague has to offer to help you make the most of your visit to the Czech Capital city. Whether it’s your first or fiftieth visit to The Golden City (yes, Prague has a lot of nicknames), there is always more to see.

TL;DR

Prague is one of our favorite cities here at ViaTravelers, and you can see some of the highlights from one of our recent trips below or on our YouTube Channel.

Best Tours In Prague

The Royal Garden in Prague, Czech Republic
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

As someone with a deep-rooted Bohemian heritage (Prague was formerly the capital of Bohemia), getting to know the city was really important to me.

Like anywhere I go in the world, I always love getting to know local tour guides to understand the inner workings of a place. Whether you go on a free tour or some paid tours, these are valuable excursions that take you to see the most famous landmarks in the Czech Republic.

I’ve found that guided tours and walking tours are some of the best things to do in Prague, and if you’re not sure where to start, we’ve listed a few of our favorites below.

Perhaps you’ll even make friends along the way! I’ve befriended quite a few tour operators around the world, some of whom are good friends to this day. I hope these Prague tours help you fall in love with the city as I did.

1. Prague Walking Tours

Prague architecture and skyline
Prague Express Walking Tour / GetYourGuide

Especially in major cities, one of the best ways to get to know a place is by foot. Walking tours provide the chance to see a place from a pedestrian perspective. In Prague, walking tours also mean treading on cobblestone paths that so many feet have pounded in the past.

If you want a quick trot through the city, hitting the major points like the Charles Bridge, the express walking tour is your best bet. At just 90 minutes, these tours give you a broad overview of the city highlights without taking up much of your day. This way, you get the rest of the day to see more of Prague with some locations to note, courtesy of your local tour guide.

I prefer longer tours to better understand the place I’m in. This three-hour walking tour of the city hits big points like Old Town Square and the Charles Bridge and takes you to Prague Castle.

Having toured the castle complex independently would be much more informative with a guided tour. They’ll also make sure you don’t get lost getting up there.

2. Get the Royal Treatment at Prague Castle

Prague Castle and Palace on Sunny Day
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

One of my favorite things to do is explore castles in the Czech Republic, and each one is worth a visit if you love history and architecture. As mentioned above, seeing Prague Castle without a guided tour is a less-than-ideal way to experience it, especially if you know that the towering structure you see from the castle from below in the city is St. Vitus Cathedral and not a place where royalty lived.

It’s over 1,000 years old, as the Prague Castle complex began construction in 890 AD, and at 753,473 square feet, it is also the largest ancient castle complex in the world.

With so much to see, I highly recommend doing the three-hour private tour of Prague Castle. This private tour is a much more regal way of seeing the complex.

You’ll learn much more about Bohemian kings’ buildings and history than you would, especially in areas like Golden Lane or George’s Basilica, which has much fewer information plaques. Your tour guide can also spend more time on areas you’re particularly interested in for an optimized experience.

Should you want budget-friendly tours, you can also do the VIP entry and skip the line at Prague Castle with a broad introduction instead. You can get a little information on the grounds before exploring Prague Castle at just a fraction of the cost.

NOTE: Some areas of the castle complex, like the Old Royal Palace, do not allow photography.

3. Indulge in a Prague Food Tour

People on a Prague Foodie Tour
Prague Foodie Tour / Viator

When travelers think of Prague tours, they probably don’t think of food-focused ones. Believe it or not, Prague is full of delicious food that will give you insight into Czech cuisine.

After all, local food is more than trdelník (chimney cakes) and kolač (filled pastries) – although you should try those too! When you’re building out your Prague itinerary, be sure to add a few food tours to your plans.

Food tours will introduce you to local delights you could find but show you restaurants where locals would dine. Do you want to try Czech roast duck or knedlíky (Czech dumplings) at a tourist restaurant without paying out the nose? You’ll want to book a Prague foodie tour.

This four-hour foodie tour showcases local favorite eateries and even includes your alcoholic imbibements, i.e., unlimited drinks?! What better way to truly eat like a local than to be shepherded around Prague with a local? Čas k jídlu! Time to eat!

4. Go at Your Own Pace on an All Day Private Tour

Aerial of Prague at twilight
Prague In One Day Private Tour / Viator

Address: 6, Dělnická 202, 170 00 Praha 7, Czechia

The best way to explore Prague is with a private tour – especially for first-time visitors. On these private walking tours, you get so much more physical and educational access to some of the city’s most phenomenal places.

Basic city tours in Prague will showcase the big attractions like Old Town Square and the Charles Bridge. However, an all-day tour will showcase so much more…

Prague-based LucyTours offers a seven-hour-long tour that gives visitors a much deeper city experience. These all-day tours can be experienced as a walking tour or by a chauffeur. In either case, you get a full day with your tour guide catering to what you are most interested in.

You’ll still see the UNESCO highlights like Prague Castle and the bridge, plus several other locations most tourists may not get to. Those spots include the John Lennon Wall, the Strahov Monastery, and the Petrin Tower. These private tours even pick you up from your hotel!

See Related: Is Prague Safe? Top Important Safety Tips for Travelers

5. Take a Boat Ride Along the Vltava River

Vltava River Cruise
SIAATH / Adobe Stock

You will have no problem finding a plethora of cruises to take on the Vltava River. This iconic Prague waterway is always full of tour boats. That said, this will be your most likely source if you encounter any rip-offs on your Prague tours.

Do not book a boat trip with a company called Prague Boats. They’re one of the biggest tour companies in the city, but their customer service is abysmal.

Despite having a mobile ticket, which, when purchased, was indicated as valid in digital form, we were made to go get physical tickets by an extremely unpleasant employee. We also couldn’t locate our boat and ended up boarding a different boat from their fleet because we were told to get there so early.

These are not uncommon occurrences. Just avoid Prague Boats.

Instead, consider taking a jazz cruise in the evening. Not only will this give you a different perspective of Prague from the river, but you can also purchase a ticket with a three-course meal. It’s a fabulous way to enjoy the river.

See Related: Vienna vs Prague: What’s the Difference?

6. Exploring the Jewish Quarter

Visitors in a Prague synagogue
Jewish Quarter Walking Tour / GetYourGuide

If you aren’t familiar with the history of the area around the Czech Republic, you may be surprised to learn that the country and Prague once had sizeable Jewish populations.

In the former Moravia and Bohemia, which were both absorbed by the Czech Republic, roughly 2/3 of their Jewish population were killed in the Holocaust. All those nearly 80,000 names are written on the walls of the Pinkas Synagogue.

Because of how the names are organized, or with the help of the electronic name registry inside, families can find their loved ones’ names more easily. I was surprised to see my grandmother’s Bohemian maiden name, Trepes (or Trepešová), inscribed on the wall. I would never have found that if I hadn’t explored Prague’s Jewish Quarter.

Like other Prague tours, the best way to experience the Jewish Quarter is on a walking tour. For an experience that can be more personal than any other you’ll have in the city, we recommend this town tour.

Your local guide will take you through the quarter and various synagogues, though you must see Old-New Synagogue alone. Old-New Synagogue is the oldest active synagogue in Europe and one of central Europe’s oldest synagogues in general, with its building dating back to the 1200s.

If you’re unsure where to begin while planning your Prague trip, start with our virtual walking tour of Prague, notebook in hand, and jot down the things you must see.

7. Seeing the Hidden Gems

Woman photographing neon sign in Prague
Best of Prague Private Walking Tour / Viator

Especially for anyone who has been to Prague previously, the city tours can all feel the same after a while. That’s when hidden gem tours come in handy.

These private tours give visitors a local perspective of the city by uncovering places you may not otherwise find. Particularly since so few people speak or understand Czech outside of Czechia, many tourists don’t venture out of Old Town or other English-centric tourist locations.

Like the private guided tours we mentioned earlier, this hidden gem three-and-a-half-hour walking tour can be customized to the interests of your party and can go at your own pace. Even with that in mind, you’ll see some off-the-beaten-path locations that you probably wouldn’t see on other Prague tours.

Some locations you can expect to see on this tour include Laterna Magika Stage, Hotel Clementin Old Town (the narrowest hotel in the world), and Vaclav Havel Library. Don’t think this tour is only for those lesser-known places, as you can still see things like Prague Castle and Strahov Monastery on the guided tour if you want to.

See Related: Cheap Places to Visit in Europe

8. Prague Beer Museum Tour

A guest bottling beer at the Prague Beer Museum
Prague Beer Museum Tour / GetYourGuide

Address: Smetanovo nábř. 205, 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia

Alright, folks, if you’re going to Prague for the beer, this one’s for you. At the Prague Beer Museum, you can learn all about the history of beer in the Czech Republic, the process of beer making, beer sampling, and even the chance to bottle your brew.

That’s right, you can take your own beer home with you – or drink it back at your hotel. If you’re staying in the Brewery Hotel in Prague, that’s even better!

On this tour, you’ll even head into the 13th-century cellars to learn how ice was dug out for storing the beverages. Along the way, you’ll also see hundreds of artifacts related to brewing.

These 90-minute tours are a terrific way to understand the proud history of Czechia’s beer-making. Although these tours don’t offer unlimited drinks, it is still an incredible value. You get knowledge from one of the tour guides on the history of beer on a larger international scale.

If you know you’ll be spending time in the bars and breweries, arrange a ride back to where you are staying. Many of the best hotels in Prague offer concierge services that can help you call for a car.

9. Get Underground

Underground dwelling in Prague
Prague Underground & Dungeon Tour / GetYourGuide

Even with the cobbled lanes that cover much of this historic city, it can be hard to remember that Prague is one of the oldest cities in central Europe. This medieval town has history beneath its streets since the Old Town area of Prague was built on top of former living quarters.

One way to visit these buried areas is to take a Medieval Underground tour. These semi-private guided tours take you under the streets of Prague into the former dwellings of long-gone days.

You’ll even see some old-school dungeons. While they may not give you the heebee-jeebies, medieval torture devices certainly will.

Part of what makes this a great tour is that you’ll also learn how these underground tunnels and dwellings helped save Prague during WWII. Our tour guide told us that a lot of people survived because the Germans didn’t know the underground areas existed.

Hence, resistance fighters and persecuted residents could hide down there largely undetected. The fact that so much Old Town and Prague survived the war and Soviet occupation is nothing short of a miracle.

10. Hop on a Bike Tour

Tourists on a bike tour in Prague
Mijn Praag Tours / Viator

Address: Michalská 12, 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia

So many of the Prague tours are on foot. However, they don’t all have to be. A bike tour will get you through areas of the city much more quickly while offering a little bit of respite from the long days of walking through Old Town. Plus, Prague tours on bike with Mijn Praag Tours are appropriate for all ages.

With your bikes, you can cover so much more ground! That means you’ll see Old Town, Wenceslas Square, Lesser Town or Malá Strana, New Town, and even the Municipal House. You’ll see practically the whole city in just three hours.

During this visit, you can admire the Baroque architecture and take in the sights and smells of various neighborhoods, all while seeing more of Prague than the other tours could show you in half a day. Bike tours are the best way to see as much as possible in a single morning, afternoon, or evening.

See Related: Cheap Places to Travel This Year

11. Visit the Terezin Concentration Camp

Graves and memorial at Terezin
Peteri / Shutterstock

More of a day trip than any of the tours we’ve mentioned thus far, the Terezin Concentration Camp is roughly 30 miles North of Prague. This camp is where 40,000 people from Prague were taken, with a total of 141,000 people sent there in total.

From Terezin, 88,000 people were sent to extermination camps, but 33,000 died before they could be sent anywhere. At the end of WWII, Terezin had more survivors than any other concentration camp.

Tours of Terezin show visitors the camp itself as well as the barracks where prisoners were held. You’ll learn of how Terezin became known as Theresienstadt and how it received its first group of Jewish prisoners in November 1941. There is no denying the heaviness of this location.

A tour of any concentration camp can be difficult, but private guided tours from Prague help make the visit as accommodating as possible. Take a tour of Terezin, like this four-and-a-half-hour tour that departs from Prague, which includes admission to the site and a guide who can walk visitors through the history of the place.

NOTE: Please be mindful of the sacred nature of the camp when taking photos or touring.

See Related: How is WWII Taught in Germany?

12. Go on a Pub Crawl

Partiers on a Clock Tower Bar Crawl
Prague Clock Tower Bar Crawl / Viator

There is no denying that Prague has a party side to it, and we think it’s one of the best party cities in Europe. Though some might say a pub crawl doesn’t count among Prague tours, we disagree. What better way to experience the party side of Prague than unlimited drinks, a tour of the local hangs, and spending some time in Old Town?

There are a few ways to get hammered and absorb the very best of Prague on the go. There are Prague party bus tours where you can sup top Czech beers from the comfort of your private sightseeing bus.

There are even nightclub gurus who can treat you to the best karaoke experiences in town. But my personal favorite boozy tour is the Clock Tower Crawl.

The Clock Tower Bar Crawl is certainly not for the faint of heart. This tour is six hours long and doesn’t start until 8:30 pm. Your tour fee includes drinks at all the bars you stop at, VIP skip-the-line entry at the nightclubs you visit, and unparalleled access to some of the city’s hottest party spots.

Honestly, for the price, this is the tour with the most bang for your buck. You won’t get more inclusions than this bar crawl, that’s for sure. Na zdraví! Cheers!

For a place within easy post-party walking distance from this tour, book a room at the Ibis Praha Old Town. Not only is this an incredibly affordable hotel, you can get home in minutes. Hopefully, the breakfast buffet will cure any hangover ills that plague you the day after.

13. See the Famed Bone Church

Interior of the Sedlec Ossuary, Czechia
mitzo_bs / Adobe Stock

Address: Zámecká, 284 03 Kutná Hora, Czechia

Just an hour outside of Prague is one of those day trips that fans of the macabre clamor for. A visit to the bone church, aka The Sedlec Ossuary, is one for the books.

Human bones from between 40,000 and 70,000 people adorn the ossuary. Though it isn’t as big as the Parisian catacombs, it is home to an eight-foot-tall made from nearly every type of human bone.

Worldwide there are roughly 40 ossuaries, so this isn’t that unique to Czechia. What makes it unique is its legend. Legend has it that a Bohemian king sent an abbot to Jerusalem in the 1270s, and he returned with soil from Golgotha (or the Place of the Skull, where Jesus was crucified), which he then scattered around the Sedlec cemetery.

Day trips from Prague, particularly this one that includes tours of other sites, are great ways to see more of the Czech countryside. This six-hour tour with Prague Bus Tours or a private car tour of the town allows you to see other parts of Kutná Hora. All of Kutná Hora is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

NOTE: Photography is not allowed in The Sedlec Ossuary.

14. Don’t Forget the Free Tour Options!

City Center of Prague, Czech Republic
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

When looking at Prague tours, it’s easy to forget that you can easily find a free tour too. My go-to for free tours is always Free Tour Community. These tours are offered all over the world and are truly free, but don’t forget to tip your incredible tour guide after the tour is over!

We would agree with the common recommendation of tipping your guide between 200-400 Czech Koruna (which equates to $9 to $18) — especially since these tours are otherwise free.

Free Walking Tour Prague, the local division of Free Tour Community, offers a range of topics, just like paid tours do. Their offerings include Old Town, the Jewish Quarter, Prague Castle, and New Town.

If saving money is the name of your Czechventure game, consider a stay at the adorable Prague Dream Hostel. This charming spot is more comfortable than your traditional hostel, plus they have an airport shuttle and breakfast available.

See Related: Top Free Travel Magazines & Travel Guides

15. Consider Day Trips from Prague

An aerial view of the Medieval city of Cesky Krumlov
Premiant City Tour / GetYourGuide

Not that you’d be without tours or things to do in Prague, but there are a lot of day trips from the city that offer a broader look at Czechia. Prague has much to do without leaving the city limits, from wine tasting to visiting art galleries or taking cooking classes. Yet full-day trips can take you to almost mythical places like Český Krumlov or České Budějovice.

It takes just three hours to get to the medieval town of Český Krumlov from Prague; tours of this UNESCO site are worth the long bus ride. Or if you’d prefer a more personal excursion, you can also book a private car tour instead.

Český Krumlov is home to the oldest Baroque theater in the world, the second largest castle complex in Czechia, and a range of architecture. You can experience Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque-style buildings in this town all day.

České Budějovice is the capital of South Bohemia and is just a wonderful place to be, seemingly plucked from a golden-age Disney movie. Touring the historic city square, lined with Renaissance and Baroque buildings, is highly recommended for shutterbugs.

Other day trips you should consider from Prague are visiting the fairytale 14th Century Gothic Karlštejn Castle, one of the best castles in the country, and tours of the beautiful historic spa town of Karlovy Vary.

See Related: Best Castles in Slovakia to Visit

FAQ

Is Prague good for tourists?

Prague is ideal for tourists. Not only is Prague one of the safest cities in Europe, but it is also one of the most affordable. Especially if you avoid touristy restaurants, Prague will be kind to your wallet.

What is Prague best known for?

Other than beer, Prague is known for its brilliant architecture. Its nicknames, like the “Golden City” and the “City of a Hundred Spires,” allude to the marvelous architecture throughout the city.

How many days do you need in Prague?

If your plans involve staying in Prague, I’d recommend four to five days to experience the city. Tours can take up parts of your days, but with several days in Prague, you have some downtime, too.

What should I avoid in Prague?

Tours with middling online reviews, taxis that will try and rip you off, and any place that claims to serve authentic Czech food or beer, be careful of the trams that always have the right of way. If it seems like a tourist trap, it most likely is.

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