What do locals do in Prague? Many locals love to explore the very same sights in the historical centre. Yet, there are many other cool places to visit. This is the list of top 5 local sights tin Prague that are not on the list of must-see attractions. It’s not like you won’t meet there any tourist. More likely, you would meet those who are seeking for the same local experience as you do. So, pull up your map and start your adventure.
No.1: Spend a day at Prague ZOO
Prague ZOO is one of the best world’s zoos (4th best in 2015 and 5th best in 2017) with more than a million visits every year.
What is the reason for a visit? Not only because of all the popular animals (tigers, giraffes, penguins, sea lions or polar bears). There are many rare animals as well. Let’s mention some of them:
- Giant salamanders are the largest amphibians in the world. They rank also amongst the most endangered species of animals.
- Gharials are the most endangered crocodiles in the world. They live together with the brown-roofed turtle in a special Pavilion. Prague Zoo was the first zoo in the world to breed these turtles.
- Prague ZOO is one of the few European ZOOs in breeding the Humboldt’s penguins.
Did you know? In September 2020, Fox News published an article about Elvis and Prague’s gorilla Richard. What is the connection between them? Check it out.
Prague ZOO is a place to visit where you can learn about animals not only about observing them. Zoo organizes special lectures, feeding sessions and birthday parties for animals, of course. All the inhabitants have names. Even more, you can adopt them, which is an amazing Christmas gift that many Czechs like to buy.
The thing I like the most about Prague ZOO is the approach. You feel like being among friends (even some of them would eat you). People who conduct lectures and feeding sessions are real experts who love their job. Moreover, they know all the details about animals they take care of. You can find out more about a romantic relationship between penguins Pippin and Pinďa or Galápagos tortoises Antonio and Eberhard.
No.2: Climb up the Žižkov Tower, 2nd Ugliest Building in the World
Visiting Prague and seeing it from above is a must. One of the best views of the entire city is from the TV tower in Žižkov district. It is pretty easy to get there by using public transport – metro green line stop Jiřího z Poděbrad. Tower was built between the years 1985 and 1992 and so far it is the tallest building in the city.
There are three decks, two open for visitors as the observation room, restaurant and bar. In 2000, local sculptor David Černý added on the pillars statues of babies crawling up and down. Although they were supposed to be there only for 10 years, the city decided to keep them up as the permanent installation. Three babies are also crawling on Kampa Island, next to the Kampa Museum, as well.
Btw, this tower is the 2nd ugliest building in the world.
Did you know? In the vicinity of the TV Tower, there are tombstones of the old Jewish cemetery. It was used from the end of the 17th century until the mid-18th century, during the plague epidemic. Some tombstones were removed in the 20th century, especially because of the construction of the TV Tower. Of course, the more famous Jewish cemetery is in the Jewish Quarter.
No. 3: Taste some delicious food at farmer’s markets
Farmer’s markets are getting more and more popular. Some of them, like on Square of Republic, happens daily. Others, only during the weekends. I highly recommend you to visit Saturday’s Náplavka Farmer Market on Saturday.
This is a great opportunity to try some local food and drinks, observe people and listen to some music. If you are lucky, you might also find a special market in the very heart of Prague, on Kampa Island. It’s usually dedicated to French, Italian or Mediterranean cuisine.
No.4: Take a break in Franciscan Garden
Is it possible to find some hidden places in the very heart of the historical centre? Well, if you know where to go, there are many of them. Once you walk through the houses on Wenceslas Square, there is Franciscan Garden. This small garden is perfect for relaxation and escapes from the busy streets. There is a lovely view for the Church of Our Lady of Snow, children playground and plenty of benches to sit down. Many locals grab a sandwich, ice-cream or cake from the bistros nearby ( Ovocný světozor and Café Truhlarna).
Garden belongs the Order of the Discalced Franciscans since the 17th century. But its begins dates back to the 14th century. Garden was devastated several times in history but always restored. During World War Two, the Nazis excavated two fire reservoirs that were filled up only in the 1980s. In the 1950s Communists expelled monks and opened the garden to the public. They could return after the regime fell in 1989 and received back the monastery property in the restitutions.
Local Sight no.5: Explore Vyšehrad Castle and Cemetery
Follow the Vltava river upstream and you will find another Prague’s ancient castle. Although it is not so popular by the tourists as Prague Castle, it’s the place where locals love to spend their time. Even more, it’s easier to get there as there is a metro station around the corner (Vyšehrad).
Vašehrad dates back to the 10th century and for some time it was used as the seat of Czech kings. One of the first monuments you see is the Rotunda of St. Martin from the 11th century. The must-see part is Vyšehrad cemetery situated next to the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul. It is the resting place of many composers, artists, scientists, politicians, and athletes. Let’s mention some of them:
- composer Antonín Dvořák
- writer Karel Čapek
- opera singer Emma Destin
- the cenotaph of Milada Horáková, who was the victim of the communistic show trial in the 1950s.
Before you go…
Prague is the city that you have to fall in love with. As the city attracts more and more visitors every year, it is important to explore its hidden areas. Only then you can truly appreciate the city and its people. See you in Prague!