As you probably know, the Vlata river crosses the beautiful city of Prague, right in the city centre. One of the bridges that communicates one side of the centre with the other, and the most famous of all, is Charles Bridge. This impressive bridge is 10 metres wide and 621 metres long, so you will need a good 5 minutes to cross it!
Charles Bridge is the oldest bridge in the city, and the second oldest in the Czech Republic. It was built in 1357, under the rule of Charles IV, and it became the main communication between the Old City, the Prague Castle and the adjoining areas, since it was the only crossing point of the Vlata river.
Charles Bridge won’t leave you indifferent: It is a unique bridge, not just for its size. It is decorated with 30 statues, most of which are of baroque style, and its ends are guarded by three bridge towers. The Old Side starts in the most beautiful of the three.
Charles Bridge is located on a river, and it communicates two of the neighbourhoods that formed Prague’s city centre, the Old Town and Malá Strana, which translates as ‘Little Town’ or ‘Little Quarter’. Despite its name, it is also one of the historic districts of Prague, even if the name ‘Old Town’ is given to the other side of the river. Malá Strana was founded in the 13th century, even if most of its architecture dates from the baroque period – as you will see in its beautiful streets.
Prague has a population of more than 1,2 million people, and it isn’t a cosmopolite city compared to other European capitals and cities. Only around 14% of people come from outside the country, most of them, from Ukraine, Slovakia and Russia.
Charles Bridge is just 15 minutes walking from the biggest shopping centre in Prague, the Palladium Centre, which is located in Republic Square. The Palladium Centre is a very modern space with several floors and more than 200 shops. In this shopping centre close to Charles Bridge, you will be able to buy all sorts of things: clothes, shoes, accessories, glasses, jewellery, gifts, toys, home items, health & beauty items, books, records… You will find all major clothing brands, such as H&M, Mango, Levi’s and many more.
Besides, you will also be able to buy gifts and souvenirs in Charles Bridge itself, since there are many stands where the locals sell handicrafts and other items.
Did you know that Prague has one of the best systems of public transportation in Europe? Even if the city isn’t too big and you can walk to most places, during your stay in the apartments near Charles Bridge you will be able to use the tramway, the metro and the bus system, which most of the locals use themselves. Near Charles Bridge you will find metro stop Staroměstská (if you are in the side closest to the city centre) or Malostranská (in the other side of the river), which belong to line A. Close by, you will also find a tramway stop where you will be able to get several different tram lines.
Of course, the first thing you will want to do around Charles Bridge is to visit the bridge itself. You will be there for a while so you can admire the beauty of all the statues and the beautiful towers, two in the side of Malá Strana and one in the side of Old Town. Besides, there are plenty of locals selling handicrafts, postcards and souvenirs, so it is a good place to buy a few for your loved ones back home.
Right next to Charles Bridge, in Malá Straná you will find the Franz Kafka Museum, where you will be able to learn lots about this figure of world’s literature. You will be able to see diaries, manuscripts, first editions, pictures and also first drafts of his writings. A great option for fans of the writer! Also in this side of the river, you will find the Lennon Wall, a wall that has been filled with graffitis and lyrics by The Beatles and the musician John Lennon. And a bit towards the west, you will be able to see the beautiful Saint Nicholas Church.
Of course, in the other side of the river you will find tons of interesting things to se and to do. And you will come across the first one right after crossing Charles Bridge back to Old Town! We’re referring to Clementinum, a historical complex of buildings that now hosts the National Library of the Czech Republic. It used to be the world’s largest Jesuit college, and it is very beautiful inside. You can have a guided visit that will be worth it, since the beauty of the complex increases with every room you enter.
Are you familiar with Czech cuisine? There are some things you must definitely eat during your visit to Prague, such as yummy goulash, knedikly (a type of dumplings made of wheat or potato flour that are usually served as a side dish), onion or garlic soup, tartar sauce… And beer! Near Charles Bridge you will be able to try Czech cuisine of a few wonderful restaurants, such as U Zlateho Hada and Mylnec. Czech cuisine is heavy on pork and other meats, but there is also a vegetarian option around, the delicious Lehka Hlava!
If you’re travelling with children, something as different as Czech cuisine may not be easy for them. If you don’t feel like making them try in every meal, near Charles Bridge you will find Don Giovanni, a wonderful pizza place. Enjoy!
Are you ready for beer and dancing? Because those are the top things to do in Prague at night! Right next to Charles Bridge and the Clementinum, you will find the Zlaty Strom Music Club, where you can have a nice drink or a cocktail, or go downstairs and dance all night in the club. Near Charles Bridge you will also find Klub Lavka and Karlovy Lazne, a club with 5 different floors. Besides, there are many pubs and bars in the area where you can have a drink and a fresh beer, so cross to the Old Town and start mingling with the locals!