Prague may be known as the city of a Hundred Spires but it could just as well be the city of a Hundred bridges. As the Vltava River meanders through the historic town, it is crossed by a series of bridges, each of which have their own cultural or architectural charm. From the famous Charles Bridge and the historic Legion Bridge to the Art Nouveau Čechův Bridge and the modern Troja Bridge, these are the most beautiful bridges in Prague.
The most famous bridge in Prague is without doubt the Charles Bridge. Named after King Charles IV, for hundreds of years it was the only structure connecting the two banks of the Vltava River. Nowadays it’s a popular place for a romantic walk at sunset, when lanterns light up the stone walkway. Keep your eyes peeled because the pedestrian bridge is an engagement hotspot, with hundreds of proposals taking place on its cobbled path each year.
Čechův Bridge is a remarkable example of Art Nouveau architecture. While it may be the shortest bridge across the Vltava, its structural and artistic significance is a lot greater than its size. The bridge features a distinctive green design with delicate festoon detailing. Grand pairs of columns stand guard at either end and are topped with bronze sculptures of winged torchbearers – figures that also appear on the bridge’s base. The structure, which links Letná Park with the Jewish Quarter, was named after Czech writer and poet Svatopluk Čech.
Combining neo-Baroque and Art Nouveau styles, Legion Bridge joins Lesser Quarter and the National Boulevard, via Střelecký Island (Shooter’s Island). Standing in place of the ancient Chain Bridge of Emperor Francis I, Legion Bridge features tall towers (former toll booths) on either side, with vehicles and pedestrians welcome to cross freely or stop off halfway at the beautiful island in the middle of the lake, which often hosts cultural events.
Palacký Bridge is the third-oldest stone bridge still standing in Prague. An early example of caisson engineering, the distinctive bridge features seven bold arches made from coloured granite. It was originally decorated with sculptures of Czech mythology by Josef Myslbek, but following WWII these were moved to nearby Vyšehrad Park. The bridge has strong links with intellectuals from history – it’s named after Czech historian and politician František Palacký and was, according to legend, the bridge that Albert Einstein would cross every day as he commuted to work at the German University in Prague.
Open since 2014, Troja Bridge is the most modern of all the bridges in Prague. While most of the city’s bridges have a historic brick style, this contemporary build stands out with a distinctive white bowstring arch structure made from steel. Further adding to its contemporary aesthetic, it also lights up at night. For many locals, this bridge is a symbol of this historic city’s journey into the 21st century.