Europe

5 Fun Things to Do in Old Town Square in Prague

If there’s one thing European cities do better than cities anywhere else in the world, it’s their historic town squares. You can eat a fabulous meal, catch a performance at the theater, visit popular sights, and shop your little heart out in any number of cities around the world, but only in Europe can simply walking into a city’s main square instantly transport you back in time.

The cobblestone streets, the horse-and-carriages, the carefully preserved architecture, just the general European-ness of it all – it made my history-loving heart happy to visit many of these historic squares during our years traveling in Europe. I fell in love with quite a few, but if I had to pick just one favorite, it would be the beautiful Old Town Square in Prague.

Bestowed UNESCO world heritage status alongside other areas in the historic center of Prague, the history of Old Town Square dates all the way back to the 10th century. Back then, this area, known simply as the Big Square, was the beating heart of the city where goods were sold and traded. Today, Old Town Square is more like the beating heart of Prague’s tourism industry, but there is still a lot of history (and a ridiculous amount of European charm) to be discovered here.

Fun Ways to Explore Prague’s Old Town Square

Church of Our Lady before Tyn in Old Town Square in Prague

Visit the Church of Our Lady before Tyn

Set amid a row of multicolored houses, the Church of Our Lady before Týn looks like it was plucked straight off the pages of a fairytale before being placed in its prominent position in Old Town Square. In actuality, it took the better part of a century to build what has become one of Prague’s most recognizable sights.

The Church of Our Lady before Týn is free to enter, but small donations (25 CZK) are welcomed if you feel inclined. Since the church actually sits a bit back from the square, you’ll have to follow the narrow passage behind the row of houses to find the entrance on the church’s western side.

Photography is not allowed within the church, which is a bit of a bummer, and opening times for tourists are a little hit-and-miss, but it’s still definitely worthy of your time to make a stop in here.

Things not to miss: the organ (the oldest in Prague) and the beautiful paintings by the alter.

  • Check opening times for the Church of Our Lady before Týn.
  • Find the Church of Our Lady before Týn on a map.

Read More: 6 Things You Won’t Want to Miss Inside Prague Castle

Interior of St Nicholas Church in Prague's Old Town Square

Details inside St Nicholas Church in Prague

Go Inside St Nicholas Church

While not quite as stunning on the outside as the gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn, I think St Nicholas Church, located on the other side of Old Town Square, just may one up Our Lady when it comes to what you’ll find inside. And photography is allowed. Bonus!

St Nicholas Church, built in the 18th century, was inspired by the chapel at Les Invalides in Paris, which we visited all the way back in 2013. (Spoiler alert: That one was beautiful, too.) The Baroque interior of St Nicholas Church features delicate stucco decor and detailed frescoes adorning every wall and ceiling.

Entrance into St Nicholas Church is free, and it’s open to the public every day from 10am to 4pm, except for Sundays when it opens at noon.

St Nicholas Church is also well-known for its nightly classical music concerts. If you want to attend one of these popular performances, it’s smart to book ahead as they tend to sell out!

  • Have a look at the concert schedule here.
  • Find St Nicholas Church on a map.

Read More: Petrin Hill & Letna Park: Where to Find Great Views in Prague

Delicious trdelnik pastries cooking in Prague

Enjoying trdelniks in Old Town Square in Prague

Eat All the Trdelník Pastries

One whiff of these delicious pastries spinning over the fire and it’s highly likely you won’t be eating anything else ever again in Prague. (Or maybe that’s just me?)

Made from rolled dough cooked on a spit and then sprinkled with sugar, spices, and nuts, trdelníks, while Hungarian in origin, have become one of Prague’s most loved delicacies.

You’ll find trdelníks sold all over the city, particularly in high traffic tourist areas, but there’s just something special about enjoying your first one in Old Town Square where you can sit and marvel at the pretty architecture and watch other tourists while simultaneously trying to keep from covering yourself in rogue sugar crystals.

Beware, though. These little pastries are highly addictive, and you can smell them practically everywhere you go in Prague. It’s pure torture if you’re on a diet.

Read More: The Best Three Day Prague Itinerary + Travel Tips

Old Town Hall astronomical clock in Prague

Up close look at the astronomical clock in Prague

A crowd watching the astronomical clock chime the hour in Old Town Square

See the Astronomical Clock Chime the Hour

Located on the southern wall of the Old Town Hall in Old Town Square is Prague’s famous astronomical clock – one of the city’s most popular sights, at least every hour on the hour, anyway.

A few minutes before the top of every hour from 9am to 11pm, a huge crowd gathers beneath the astronomical clock in anticipation of the show that is performed here 15 times a day.

The “show” is little more than a couple windows opening up to reveal the 12 apostles passing by and a creepy skeleton ringing a bell before the clock chimes the hour – I honestly can’t overstate how anticlimactic this is – but it’s free, and if you’re already in Old Town Square anyway, you really must watch it at least once.

The whole performance lasts less than a minute, so if you’re looking for a little something more from the experience, I recommend buying a ticket for a tour and going to the top of the Old Town Hall where you can get a bird’s eye view of the square and surrounding city.

  • Get ticket info for the Old Town Hall.
  • Find the Old Town Hall on a map.

Historic buildings lit up in Old Town Square at night

Visit Old Town Square at Night

And finally, if you’re in Prague overnight, I recommend checking out Old Town Square after dark, too. It’s like a whole different place after the sun sets.

The crowds clear out, the lamps lining the perimeter of the square cast a warm glow over everything, and there’s always at least one or two buskers playing music. A much more chilled out vibe falls over the square after dark, making it the perfect time to grab your last trdelník of the day or get some night shots from the top of the Old Town Hall. (It’s open until 10pm.)

Read More: 15 Awesome Photography Locations in Prague

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A quick guide to Old Town Square in Prague covering fun things to do, see, and eat! Five fun things to do in Old Town Square in Prague, including what to see and eat!

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  • Marina Carstens
    October 26, 2017 at 6:57 AM

    That town square after dark is a fairy tale waiting to happen.

  • Dannielle @ Chicadeedee
    October 12, 2017 at 9:36 AM

    I love European cities for their squares! I’d visit Prague alone for those pastries!

    • Sarah Shumate
      October 14, 2017 at 3:58 AM

      We’ve seen them in a couple of other cities since this trip, so maybe you’ll be lucky enough to find them somewhere someday!

  • Rachel @ STCL
    October 12, 2017 at 8:29 AM

    The Old Town Square is so beautiful! We visited during the Christmas season so it’s where all the action for the Christmas markets were. Definitely the place to be in Prague!

    • Sarah Shumate
      October 14, 2017 at 3:57 AM

      I wish I could have seen the square filled with Christmas markets! I bet it was beautiful!

      • Marina Carstens
        October 26, 2017 at 6:58 AM

        I would love to just do a European tour of Christmas markets!

  • Emma @ AdventuresofaLondonKiwi
    October 5, 2017 at 10:55 AM

    Honestly, I was sold at your Facebook post of “trdelníks, trdelníks, trdelníks”!!

    • Sarah Shumate
      October 7, 2017 at 5:16 PM

      Haha! I’m glad you thought that was funny. I figured most people would just be like, What the heck is a trdelnik?! ;)

      • Marina Carstens
        October 26, 2017 at 6:58 AM

        When my friend went, she had something that looked a little bit like that, but it was filled with chocolate. Did you try that?

        • Sarah Shumate
          October 31, 2017 at 3:52 AM

          I didn’t…I’m not a big chocolate person. (I know, total weirdo.) I have heard they are delicious filled with ice cream and topped with chocolate, though!