Budget Prague: free excursions, museums, parks and entertainment
Free Prague

Budget Prague: free excursions, museums, parks and entertainment

A great way to discover Prague in a new way is to take a free tour from a local, go to a museum or park where you won’t be asked for a ticket. It brings you closer to the city and makes it more accessible and attractive. I will tell you how to spend free and interesting time in Prague.

There are not many free opportunities in Prague. Even the most beautiful and notable churches are only accessible with a ticket. And the prices for tickets to any museums and churches range from 9—15 €. There are few free entertainments, but they are there.

Free excursions

In Prague, three companies offer an informative introduction to the city. On the plus side, the excursions offer a lot of new and useful information from the locals, but on the minus side, they are only in English. I haven’t come across any in Russian yet.

I recommend taking this chance. With a guide, you will see the most interesting and secret locations, find out where the best beer and veprene knees are, what to see and what to do. Feel free to ask questions. The tours are led by locals. They know enough about their city.

Prague Old Town and Astronomical Clock
Prague Old Town and Astronomical Clock

Free excursions in Prague from Extravaganza:

  • Old Town and the Jewish Quarter. Regardless of season and weather, the first one at 11:00, the second one at 15:30. The tour guide is waiting near the Powder Tower. He can be recognized by the blue umbrella with the logo. The walk lasts two hours, passes through the Old Town and ends at the Charles Bridge.
  • Charles Bridge and Prague Castle. At 13:00 and 15:30, and from April 1 to October 31 and at 17:30. The guide is waiting at the Crusader Square. In hand is the same blue umbrella. On the way you will learn the legends about the statues on the bridge, walk around Kampa Island and Prague Castle.

The guides advise booking two excursions at once. Where the first one ends, the second one begins. During the break you will have time to eat a trdelnik.

St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague Castle
St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague Castle

SANDEMANs offers a three-hour walk through the famous sights of the Old Town. You’ll learn about kings, rebellions and wars, and make your way to the Rudolfinum. The plus side of the tour is up to 10 people in a group, which means lots of attention to guests.

Two free excursions from Discover Prague:

  • The King’s Road. Four excursions per day. Meet your guide outside the office at 12 Celetna Street. The tour takes 2.5 hours with a break for free coffee. The tour goes through the Old and New Town and the Jewish Quarter.
  • Prague Castle. At 11:00 and a little later at 14:00. Before the walk it is advised to buy a ticket for 24 crowns for the streetcar. If you have a single ticket to Hrad, it includes the streetcar ride. The guide meets you at the office at 12 Celetna Street, then take the streetcar to the Castle District.

Excursions are free, but tips are welcome. Money is given to the guide at the end of the walk. Usually 1—3 € or as much as you can spare.

Guides at the information center on Old Town Square waiting for tourists
Guides at the information center on Old Town Square waiting for tourists

Free museums

It is advantageous to visit Prague’s museums in the first week of the month. Almost all of them make admission free or for a nominal fee. Museum Night in 2020 will be held on June 13. There were a lot of free museums in 2019, each one has a queue of people who want to enter. Museums are open from 19:00 to 1:00.

The equally popular Church Night in 2020 will be held on June 5. To make the event interesting, churches organize performances and live concerts.

On the map I have marked only real museums that can be visited free of charge. The Moser Glass Museum, which is supposedly in Prague, is often recommended. The address turned out to be a Czech glass store, and the original exhibition is in Karlovy Vary.

Free museums in Prague

National Museum

Two years ago, the museum completed a seven-year reconstruction. The building impresses with its facade and interior decoration, but only three halls are accessible and there are almost no exhibits.

The collection is being brought in gradually. So far there is only a whale skeleton and a pantheon of busts of all famous Czech leaders. Tickets start at 250 crowns. This is expensive for a modest collection, but if it’s free, why not?

  • Free admission on the first Monday of the month from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
  • Website with all the exhibitions.
National Museum on Wenceslas Square
National Museum on Wenceslas Square

National Technical Museum

Czech technology is on display here: clocks, cameras, cars, chocolate-making devices and telescopes. Full list of exhibits. Ideal for men and children.

  • Open: 9:00—18:00. Free on the first Friday of the month, for 50 CZK on national holidays.
  • Website with information.

Waldstein Palace

A 17th century baroque palace with a park and a pond. The building was built for a rich general who loved art, this is evident in the interior of the palace. Most of the building is now occupied by the Senate and a very prestigious art gallery.

  • Free: only on weekends from 10:00. April-October until 17:00. June-September until 18:00. In March only on the first weekend until 16:00.
  • Senate website.

Free parks

Regular events are held in Prague’s parks. In spring and summer, these include music concerts, film screenings and performances, and Christmas fairs in winter. Some of them allow picnics. And you don’t need a ticket for all this.

Park on Petřín Hill

When the cable car takes you to the hill, the first thing you see are roses of different colors and sizes. Can you imagine the aroma? The rose garden is part of a large complex, and there are six parks in all. In the neighborhood are apples, pears, almonds, cherries, chestnuts! Everything is kept in exemplary order.

  • Open: April-October from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
The rose garden on Petřín Hill
The rose garden on Petřín Hill

Waldstein Garden

A well-maintained and organized garden with fountains, statues and a green labyrinth. Peacocks walk in the park, owls are in cages, and carp swim in the pond. In the warm season after 16:00 concerts and performances are free of charge.

  • Open: June through September from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Zlata alley

This ancient street with miniature houses from the 16th century is located in Prague Castle. Czech alchemists used to brew potions here, craftsmen worked here and Franz Kafka lived here. The street is unusual and colorful, a visit is included in many paid tours. But an hour before sunset is free of charge.

  • Works free of charge: from 1.04. to 31.10 after 18:00, from 1.11 to 31.03. from 16:00.
Zlata Street during free hours
Zlata Street during free hours

Free parking lots

It is difficult to find a parking space in the center of Prague, even more difficult to understand the system of zones and payment. A tip for those who need to leave their car for 1—2 hours: shopping centers have their own parking lots. In the center — Koruna Palace, Palladium. From 50 CZK per hour — in Kotva shopping center.

You can park electric cars (after registering at Prague City Hall), mopeds and motorcycles for free.

Free Wi-Fi

Unlike Riga and Warsaw, there are no public spots in Prague, but you can catch free Internet near KFC, McDonald’s and Starbucks, H&M, Palladium, Kotva, Atrium Flora. Even more spots on the website or in the app with the same name.

Free Wi-fi is available near the Prague City Library, but only during opening hours. Weekdays from 9:00 to 20:00, weekends from 13:00 to 18:00. You need to connect to the mestska knihovna network.

Internet is available in modern streetcars. A sticker on the Wi-Fi door indicates that it is available and can be used.

Free water

In Prague, unlike in Austria or Italy, cafes do not serve free natural water. The price for such a pleasure is sometimes higher than for a mug of beer.

There are nine columns at the center. They are open from May 1 through November 1. Don’t be afraid to fill up your water bottle. The people of Prague make sure it is clean and safe. I have marked all the drinking points (Pitna voda) on the map.

Map of drinking fountains in Prague

Free toilets

In Prague, you realize the value of a free public toilet like nowhere else. Beer is cheap, light, drinkable by itself, and there are few toilets on the streets. Even at McDonald’s, toilets are paid, and you can’t get in by check, but only for a fee.

Free toilets in Prague:

  • in the subway at the entrance, in the center on almost all three branches;
  • in shopping centers Palladium, Atrium Flora, Eden, Kotva, Nový Smíchov;
  • in the building of the City Library and Prague City Hall, next to the synagogue on Paris Street, on Staroměstské nám. 12 and Staroměstské nám. 1/3.

Free toilets are available at any Bageterie Boulevard. This is a large chain of establishments open from early morning when other cafes are still closed. The establishments are well located throughout the historic center and in residential areas. The yellow design is a good place to go.

Bagetteria Boulevard: delicious pancakes and free toilets
Bagetteria Boulevard: delicious pancakes and free toilets

What else is free in Prague?

In Prague, the observation decks from where you can see the red roofs in the center and 80% are free.

There are musical groups (talented!) performing on the Charles Bridge. They don’t ask for money, but offer CDs of their work.

What else to watch for free:

  • The astronomical clock shows a performance from 9:00 to 21:00 every hour.
  • In Prague Castle, the changing of the guard at noon is accompanied by live music, standard every hour from 7:00 to 22:00. In winter until 18:00.
  • John Lennon’s wall.
  • David Cerny’s shocking sculptures scattered around the city.
  • Free movies in the parks with Meet Factory.
Changing of the guard at Prague Castle
Changing of the guard at Prague Castle
John Lennon
John Lennon’s wall
Sculpture by David Czerny
Sculpture by David Czerny

The City Hall website posts up-to-date information on free events such as concerts, exhibitions, wine festivals and Christmas fairs.

If you know what else you can do in Prague for free, share your experience in the comments.