Charles Bridge, Prague: Everything You Should Know

The Charles Bridge in Prague is one of those can’t-miss things to see when you visit the capital of the Czech Republic.

When you look at the majestic statues, tiles, and overall backdrop of the Charles Bridge, you’ll know why.

We absolutely loved the place when we stayed for one month in Prague, and we were fortunate enough to be really close to it so we visited almost daily.

Let’s embark on a quick – yet beautiful trip to learn everything about the iconic Charles Bridge in Prague, what makes it so special and, of course, see a bunch of amazing photos that speak more than 1,000 words.

Charles Bridge, Prague in Pictures

aerial view of St Charles Bridge in Prague
Aerial view of the bridge and part of Prague

The Charles Bridge Prague is directly west of Prague’s Old Town Square, right in the middle of everything touristy you may want to do.

That is one of the great things about Prague as a whole – it’s a very walkable city when your goal is to see the touristic sights.

View of the Charles Bridge and Prague Castle
View of the Charles Bridge with the Prague Castle in the background.

When you leave the Old Town area and head to the bridge, this is the view you’ll be greeted by.

Charles Bridge Prague view from Old Town
Walking onto the Charles Bridge.

Pro tip: Pictures of the famous Prague Castle are better the closer you get to it. Don’t waste your time getting clogged up by all of the tourists trying to take pictures as soon as they walk on the bridge.

You’re far better off going 70% of the way across to get a superior shot of the castle.

View from Charles Bridge Prague
The view gets better as you get closer.

This 14th-century stone bridge is breathtaking to behold, especially when lit up at night. Yet, it’s so much more than just a tourist’s photo opportunity. Who knows, maybe you can even meet a local Czech woman and start an unexpected adventure here!

I loved coming here in the early hours of the morning when the city is still wrapped in slumber. It’s a serene time when the bridge is relatively empty, and you can enjoy the majestic vistas of the Vltava River and the Old Town, as well as the castle. Really nice!

St Charles Bridge in Prague early in the morning
Wake up early in the morning to have the bridge just for yourself

In the evening, the bridge transforms into a lively social hub, brimming with energy from the tourists and locals alike.

Street artists sketch fast portraits, children feed the swans near the banks, couples share romantic moments, and groups of friends enjoy a beer while watching the sunset. The atmosphere is simply infectious.

Charles Bridge at night
The bridge at night is equally amazing – some would say even more so

Yes, I did consider Prague to be overrated and I still stand by my words, but some of the attractions in the city are definitely worth it – like this amazing bridge or the easy to miss Dancing House.

Best Hotels Near Charles Bridge, Prague

If you want to always be close to Prague’s landmark, there are plenty of hotels in the area. However, expect to pay a premium fee to be in what is probably the city’s most wanted area.

Here are the best hotels, quickly summed up, on either side of the Vltava river, within walking distance to Charles Bridge:

Hotel Ikona – Budget Friendly

hotel Ikona

I’m starting with the most budget friendly option on the list – a 3-star hotel that is really close to the bridge. Located on the West bank of the Vltava river, in the Mala Strana area, it’s right across the Old Town area.

The fact that it’s not in the historic center makes it cheaper – but you still get a lot of that historic Prague feeling, as it is located on an old, narrow street and surrounded by beautiful buidlings.

This 3-star hotel has some decently sized rooms that are very clean, the place itself is quiet and relaxing and I am sure you will appreciate it a lot, as it is in a very good area.

Click here to check prices for your dates

The Mozart Prague – Full-on Luxury

The Mozart Prague

If money is not a problem, treat yourself and your loved ones with a stay in one of the best hotels in Prague. The Mozart is a 5-star hotel with a price to match it – but also with the services, design and history to make it all worth it.

Located in the heart of the city, within walking distance to the bridge (actually offering a side-view towards the bridge from many of its room), this is the ultimate treat.

Its huge, luxury rooms will make you feel like royalty. As I said – if money is not a problem, choose this one and never look back. If not, at least check it out below to see how amazing it is.

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Little King U Malvaze – Amazing alternative

Little King U Malvaze

If you want to be on the eastern side of the Vltava river, also close to the Old Town and most of Prague’s attractions, then Little King U Malvaze is a great in-between alternative.

Not quite the same level as the recommendation above, but still pretty impressive, this 4-star hotel has large, beautiful rooms and top services.

Click here to check prices for your dates

Charles Bridge, Prague: A bit of history

breathtaking view over Charles Bridge from Vltava shore

Built by King Charles IV in 1357 (hence its current name), the bridge has become a symbol of Prague’s rich heritage.

It took nearly half a century to complete, and the Czech people were really careful about building it because it was replacing a previous bridge that was taken away by floods.

In order to give it the extra strength it needed, and powered by King Charles IV’s passion for numerology, the building of the bridge started exactly at 5:31 AM on July 9, 1357.

Why was that, you might wonder? Well, because if you write the date in a day.month.year.hour format (as people would normally do in Europe), you get what is called a numerical palindrome, 135797531 (a number that is the same if you read if from left to right or right to left).

The king believed that this number, which is also carved onto some of the stones on the bridge, will offer some sort of magical protection to the structure.

And since it’s been standing for so long, surviving various floods, sieges and wars across time, maybe he was right!

The Statues on the Charles Bridge Prague

Charles Bridge Prague at Night

There are 30 statues mounted to the balustrade of Charles Bridge in Prague. They form two rows, one on each side. They are probably the first thing you’ll notice here, and for the right reason

Out of all the statues here, the most famous is that of John of Nepomuk, looking like a man holding Jesus on a Cross.

You can’t miss it – but when you are close, make sure to touch the bronze plaque at the base of the statue. It’s said to bring good luck!

The plaque on the statue has been polished to a shine by countless people having touched it over the centuries, so look for that as a clue for the statue of John of Nepomuk.

Vendors & Fun

The Charles Bridge is full of vendors and performers. You really could make an entire afternoon of being entertained by people on the bridge and the surrounding areas.

Just be aware that it’s a tourist hotspot, so therefore, tourist prices. Make sure you bring your best bargaining face.

Don’t go home with a souvenir that you could have gotten for half the price by walking ten minutes off of the bridge!

And make sure to keep your possessions safe. I’ve never had a problem here, but crowded areas always have pick pocketers, so better be safe than sorry.

Final words

So, my friends, if you ever find yourselves in Prague, make sure you don’t just “visit” the Charles Bridge. Spend time there. Let the rhythm of the city wash over you.

Allow yourselves to become a part of its timeless narrative, breathe in the history surrounding it and, well, act like a tourist and at least check out the vendors and artists and touch the luck-bringing statue.

Then, make sure to check out my mouth-watering article sharing some of my meals in Prague and best restaurants to try in the city.

What are some of your best memories or experiences with the Charles Bridge? Let us all know by commenting below.

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