12 Quirky and Unique Things to Do in Prague

January 6, 2017

quirky Prague

Arguably the most beautiful city in Europe – certainly at least an equal with Paris – Prague is a labyrinth of cobblestone streets, picturesque town squares, secluded courtyards, castles, towers,  jaw-dropping views, and interesting cuisine. A place where even a non-beer drinker like me has to acknowledge that here is the best brew in the world.

Prague escaped World War II with minimal damage to its historic buildings, making the city’s architecture some of the world’s most pristinely preserved, including exquisite examples of Gothic, Baroque, Rococo, Renaissance, Art Nouveau, Neo-Classical and über modern.

Ranked sixth in the TripAdvisor list of best destinations in the world, visiting Prague should include the many iconic sights. But the fun doesn’t stop there…there are also some quirky and unique things to do in Prague should be not be missed.

1. Visit the Museum of Medieval Torture Instruments

quirky Prague

Located in the arcade next to Charles Bridge, the Museum of Medieval Torture Instruments will be of interest to those who are fascinated with the history of macabre and gruesome infliction of pain. Three floors include familiar instruments like the Iron Maiden and the Rack, as well as numerous other ingenious ways designed to exsanguinate, garrote, tear limbs, or for the lucky ones just inflict public shame.

2. Party at the Dancing House

Designed by my favorite architect, Frank Gehry, in collaboration with Vlado Milunić, the Dancing House (pictured at top), as it is known, is considered nouveau baroque architecture, but it reminds me more of the deconstruction style of Gehry’s “Building 32” on the campus of MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). The fluid curves of the Dancing House give the illusion of a couple dancing… well, maybe after an amount of absinthe. The best time to photograph the exterior is at twilight, then go to the top floor for a drink on the rooftop with panoramic views of Prague Castle.

3. Tour the Sex Machine Museum

quirky prague

I stumbled on this on a side alley right off the busy Old Town Square and thought, “Why not?”  It turned out to be a hoot! This museum contains every kind of erotic appliance, physical restraint, and contraption – some 200 inventions which were probably designed for pleasure but look anything but pleasant. It’s one of the most unique public displays you’ll likely see and worth a walk around the three floors of kinky devices dating back centuries. There is also a theatre room with a continuously running film; the one playing while I was there was from the silent film era and (unintentionally) hilarious.

4. Drink at the Ice Pub

ice pub

Everything… the walls, bar, tables, sculptures and even your own personal glass filled with vodka cocktails – ice sweet, ice sour, or ice bitter – are made of ice. But don’t worry if you didn’t dress appropriately for this unique experience – you will be handed a very heavy thermal coat and thick gloves to keep you from getting frostbite in the minus 7 temperatures.

5. Go to a Black Light Theatre

prague black light theater

Prague is host to several of these theatrical performances which combine black box theatre augmented by black lights in precise execution of visual tricks. The variation between light and dark, with modern dance, costumes, and performance and audience participation create a mystical experience.

6. Try a Trdelník

prague food

Trdelník is a sweet pastry made from rolled dough that is wrapped around a stick, then grilled and topped with sugar and walnut mix or filled with ice cream. It’s one of the more popular street foods in Prague and easy to find – or better, smell – the fragrant pastries made out in the open air by the small shops in Old Town.

7. Visit the Museum of Communism

museum of communism

The Museum of Communism contains exhibits of communism in Prague as well as the rest of Czechoslovakia. There are authentic artifacts which depict communism in such areas as politics, censorship, and propaganda along with everyday life and labor camps and even a sample interrogation room. While you can find historical propaganda displayed against capitalism and the USA, the museum is presented from a Czech but not pro-communist point of view. The overriding theme of the museum is “Communism: The Dream, The Reality and The Nightmare.”

8. See the Upside Down Sculpture

quirky things to do in prague

Created by provocative Prague-born artist David Cerny, hanging from the ceiling of the Art Nouveau Lucerna Palace in Wenceslas Square you’ll find the monarch himself – King Wenceslas (the “Good King” of the English Christmas carol).  Arguably the most unique thing to do in Prague, he is riding an upside-down horse, which is apparently dead.  The bizarre sculpture is much more thought-provoking than the more traditional majestic mounted version of the king in front of the National Museum at the top of the square.  Definitely worthy of being called one of the quirky things to do in Prague!

9. Buy a Marionette

quirky things to do in prague

Making marionettes from wood is the Czech tradition.  Although pricey, the workmanship is extraordinary.  The puppets made from plaster are much less expensive, but also much less unique.  There are several shops selling marionettes in Old Town, but none as exquisite as Galerie Michael.  I spent quite a bit of time there, captivated, my inner five-year-old unable to tear myself away.  If you have the means, this souvenir from Bohemia would make a fabulous conversation piece.

10. Go to Absintherie

absenthe

Absinthe is a distilled, anise-flavored, highly alcoholic spirit, made in Prague since time immemorial.  Historically, it has been associated with bohemian culture and portrayed as a dangerously addictive psychoactive drug and hallucinogen. The chemical compound thujone (wormwood), although present in the spirit in only trace amounts, was blamed for its alleged harmful effects; however, studies have shown that the psychoactive properties have been exaggerated. The Absintherie in Franz Kafka Square serves a variety of absinthe drinks mixed with such components as cactus flower or chocolate, as well as absinthe beer, coffee, and ice cream.

11. Sing on the Charles Bridge

quirky things to do in prague

The stunning cobblestone bridge on the Vltava River was built in 1357 with 16 arches and 30 baroque religious statues. There are always hordes of elbowing tourists, so if you’re looking for a free performing place to be noticed, this would be the spot.

12. Blow Bubbles in Old Town square

bubbles in old town

The most significant square in the Old Town quarter of Prague (Staroměstské náměstí) was founded in the 12th century. It’s a step back in time, flanked by the Old Town Hall, the Church of Our Lady before Týn, and baroque St. Nicholas Church.  The square is notably one of the most beautiful in Europe, so it’s well worth spending time here soaking up the atmosphere with a cold beer or steaming mug of coffee from one of the cafés surrounding the square, or doing whatever you like.

12 Quirky Things to Do in Prague was first published in the Huffington Post.

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Disclosure:  The author was honored to be the guest of JayWayTravel and CzechTourism during her stay in Prague, but as always, the opinions, reviews, and experiences are her own.

5 comments

  1. Pingback: 3 Days in Prague, Czech Republic - A No-Frill Prague Itinerary | Bel Around The World

  2. Comment by Rob's Prague and Czech Folk Architecture Tour

    If you visit Prague, its worth exploring the local historical architecture.
    For me walking through the streets of historical Prague, is like walking a gallery of all major European architectural styles, spanning a thousand years of architectural history in enchanting colors and shapes and, it is interesting to discover how these splendid buildings shaped the history of the Czech Republic and in contrast, how history shaped the designs of many of these buildings and what they came to symbolize in an historical context.

    In the historical center of Prague you can walk past the Municipal House, the Art Nouveau jewel of Prague, that is covered in floral motives, guilded wroth iron curved around beautifully shaded stain glass.

    And continue through the Gothic and neo-Gothic styled powder tower going to the Celetna street , covered with Baroque palaces with Gothic interiors and Renaissance courts yards. On the way you encounter the unique Cubist house at the Black Madonna with its straight angular lines, then continues on to the medieval Ungelt compound with its Renaissance palace , past the heavily Baroque St, James Church and into the Old town Square with its legendary Astronomical clock. Which is followed by the Art Nouveau Jewish Quarters with its ancient synagogues.

    • Comment by luggageandlipstick

      luggageandlipstick Reply February 1, 2017 at 4:34 pm

      Yes, I agree and I did all of that. But a lot has already been written about it — I wanted to write about things to do and see in addition to the iconic sights, not in place of. 🙂

      • Comment by quando.sumus

        quando.sumus Reply February 20, 2017 at 4:34 am

        Actually, it’s a cool article. It shows everything you need to see here, and it’s a good HuffPost level. 🙂
        Probably you should mention, that Prague became one of the biggest centres of s.c. escape games – you can have a look at it here – http://www.questerland.cz/en/, just to know, what it is. If you look up on Tripadvisor, you’ll find a standalone section for them. A friend of mine came here just to try all of them out in 2 days. 🙂

    • Comment by quando.sumus

      quando.sumus Reply February 20, 2017 at 4:31 am

      True that.
      One of the best recommendation: don’t look only under your feet or straight forward.
      There’s lotsa interesting things above (I mean facades).

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