Prague is the only city I’ve visited in the Czech Republic (well, at the time of writing this it is!), so I have no basis for comparing Prague to other cities in the country but the number of tourists visiting must count for something.

The Charles Bridge is one of the most popular attractions in Prague. It’s a stone Gothic bridge with towers at either end and connects the Old Town and the Lesser Town.

Old Town side of the Charles Bridge at sunset

Construction was commissioned by Czech king and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV and began in 1357. In charge of the construction was architect Petr Parléř whose other works include the  St.  Vitus Cathedral  at  the Prague Castle. Czech legend has it that construction began on Charles Bridge at 5:31am on 9 July 1357 with the first stone being laid by Charles IV himself. This exact time was very important to the Holy Roman Emperor because he was a strong believer of numerology and this specific time, which formed a numerical bridge (1357 9, 7 5:31), would imbue Charle’s Bridge with additional strength.

You can find musicians and performers entertaining the crowds most days. The area is almost always crowded with tourists especially in the evenings. If you want to have the bridge to yourself (as much as possible), then you need to get up early and visit it around sunrise. In the early morning, it’s easy to imagine what it would have been like centuries ago.

Charles Bridge and Prague Castle in the twilight

There’s a nice mix of restaurants and bars on the Lesser Town side of the bridge and the streets are interesting to wander around. If you like beer, you have to try some of the local beers. In summer there are barges moored along the banks of the the river in parts, where you can enjoy some good beer, food and maybe some live music. There’s a great atmosphere in this area, when the weather is warm and the evenings are long.

Street performers on the Charles Bridge