Nuclear Bunker Parties And 10 Other Prague Must-Dos

With the help of seasoned Prague tour guides, we delve into the secrets of the riverside city that was once the capital of Bohemia and the Holy Roman Empire).

Tour savvy  

If you’re to take anybody’s advice, it’s that of a local guide: guides know their stuff. So when Roman at Prague Trips & Tickets emphasizes signing up for walking tours because Prague is full of “narrow streets…where you cannot go by bus or even car,” and picking tour guides wisely because “not everyone who looks like [a] tour guide is [a] tour guide really…and some places are accessible only with certified guides,” you know you should submit. Regarding free tours (insider tip: the crème de la crème of free tours is Robert’s trip, The Royal Route and Jewish Quarter), Roman also clarifies, “There [are] not too many things in life [that are] really free…Neither those free tours are really free: It is expected that participants give tips after the tour.” Bottom line: play it safe by hiring trusty Czech guides like Andrea (the mastermind behind The Dark Shadows of the Old Town, a tour that takes you to ancient places where archaic and obscure legends are told among the winding streets, medieval churches and haunted houses) and Eva (the guide behind the Prague City Tour that, in just four hours, fills your knowledge-hungry mind with information on Prague’s architecture and history, as well as the Czech culture).

Unleash yourself in the art scene

Nurture your inner artist – that creative spirit that, praise be to the art gods, keeps blah thinking in check – at the likes of DOX, an alternative art center built to challenge society with contemporary art that throws tyrannical mindsets into doubt. While DOX is one mega place of power that is sure to broaden your outlook on art, humankind, communism, anything, it’s bettered with a lighthearted pre- or post-Segway tour under the guidance of the knowledgeable, fun and friendly guide, Jan Murčo.

Make friends with gargoyles

Set aside childhood fears of gargoyles when wandering Prague’s medieval warrens because they’re there, more life-like than ever, watching over your every step (nope, not freaky at all, right?). The city’s ghost tours are hands-down worth your while (Stepan’s Ghosts & Legends of Old Town tour takes you to the eeriest of eerie winding lanes where processions of ghosts are said to pass), but a must-see is the scene of famously lusty Saint Roch just after a dog sent by God bit off his testicles. And since you clearly hunger for the location of this “charming” sight, the pleasure’s on us: the Charles Bridge, one of Bohemian Prague Tour’s pit stops.

Play with puppets… and burn a witch

Halloween and Bonfire Night smashed into one: not much can beat that; Witches Night in Prague, a celebration that marks the death of winter and the birth of spring, will put a smile on your face lickety-split. If you’re fortunate enough to be in Prague on April 30th, join locals who light bonfires (and burn an effigy of a hag) to purge the winter spirits. And, if you really want to go local, more daring observers leap over the flames. Although most fires are in the countryside, typically one will burn in the city at, for example, Malá Strana. Not making it to Prague in time? No worries: check out the city’s not-just-for-kids historic puppet shows at Divadlo Minor or Formans’ Mystery Boat, where each seat for the show is supplied with its own lifejacket. Safety first!

Shake the cobwebs off with an adrenaline rush

If thrill-seeking is your thing, Steve is your man: he’ll take you tandem skydiving (whether you’re 10 or 100!) from a height of up to 14,000 feet, allowing you to freefall for a heart-stopping minute (at a speed of around 120mph!), and parachuting peacefully for another six. Highlights include stunning views of the Czech countryside, and, most of all, the congratulatory t-shirt gifted at the bottom. Another option for the adrenaline junky in you is bungee jumping off the Zvikovské podhradí, the highest bridge in the Czech Republic.

Travel back in time

Get to the bottom of Prague’s past at the Prague Castle, the most significant Czech monument founded around 880, and, at roughly the size of seven football fields, the largest coherent castle complex worldwide. Magnificent sights like the tomb of St. John of Nepomuk, a two-metric-ton vault held up by silver angels, and a wooden depiction of the crucifixion will leave you in awe, but if that’s not enough, try out their unique music scene, Jazz at the Castle. To make doubly sure you have a grand time, saddle up to the bubbly, info-packed guide, Miss Vondrusová.

Visit the dead

If anything’s going to make you happy (happy to be alive, that is) it’s visiting the dead, and there’s no better place to do it than amidst ancient sandstone and marble tombstones in Prague’s Old Jewish Cemetery, a small – small because so little space was accorded to the ghetto – containing nearly 100,000 bodies piled on top one another. After, come to life with Running Prague; here, sports-mad and energy-filled Martin will take you on a running tour of the center of Prague, or to three viewpoints overlooking the city.

Party in a nuclear bunker

Celebrate the end of the Cold War (shh, it doesn’t matter that’s it’s been over two decades!) in Bunkr Parukarka, a 1950s nuclear-bunker-turned-quirky-nightclub that welcomes partygoers through a graffiti-decorated door. Here, under the supervision of some of the city’s top DJs spinning avant-garde electro-pop and industrial tracks, self-hate runs far away, and, rest assured, claustrophobes are welcome too; “two ventilation towers and a few emergency exits reduce the risk of meltdown.”

Have fun in a funicular

Since fresh air works wonders on keeping cool, calm, and collected – three key proponents of living self-hate-free – catch the funicular railway from Ujezd to the top of the Petrin Hill, one of Prague’s greenest spaces, along the way spotting a miniature version of the Eiffel Tower, a mirror maze, and the Church of St. Michael, a 17th century wooden building relocated from Ukraine for national enlightenment. However, if funiculars aren’t your thing, simply get your fill of fresh air with AVE Bicycle Tours and their epic Moravian and Austrian wine tour (bonus: a visit to the Falkenstein castle ruins), or their tours along the Morava and Vltava rivers, the latter of which includes a stop at Ceske Budejovice, which gave its name to Budweiser beer.

Marvel at creepy infants

Be humored (and bemused) by Prague’s ten giant fiberglass babies who have been scaling Zizkov Television Tower since 2000.

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