Charles Bridge is one of the most picturesque landmarks in Prague, and capturing its beauty through photography is a must-do for anyone visiting the city.
With its stunning Gothic towers, 30 Baroque-style statues, and panoramic views of the Vltava River and the city, Charles Bridge offers endless opportunities for photographers to create stunning images.
However, with so many people visiting the bridge, it can be challenging to find the perfect spot and time to take photos without crowds or distractions.
In this blog post, I want to share with you my tips and tricks on how to take great photos of Charles Bridge in Prague, including the best spots to capture the bridge’s beauty, the ideal time of day for photography, and some creative techniques to make your photos stand out.
I’m not a professional photographer, just a ‘happy-go-lucky’ travel blogger who likes to take photos and (hopefully) gets a bit better at it every year. I take all my pictures for my View from Prague blog, and the photos in this blog post were taken over the period of the last four years during different seasons and times of the day and with different DSLR cameras and phone cameras.
Whether you’re a professional photographer or just someone who loves taking photos, my guide will help you capture the magic of Charles Bridge and create stunning memories of your trip to Prague.
Here is an extra tip for those of you who are not that bothered about photos of Charles Bridge…
You can use my best spots for taking photos of Charles Bridge to walk around the area of Lesser Town and Old Town side of the Charles Bridge to see and discover the area around Vltava and Charles Bridge whilst (mostly) avoiding the crowds.
My photo tour, which I think it’s also a great free thing you can do in Prague, will also take you to the best two green parks close to the Prague Castle where you can enjoy the views of Prague, have a picnic or local beer at the park restaurant and escape the busy centre of the city for a bit.
What’s the best time to take photos on Charles Bridge?
The easiest way to take a photo of Charles Bridge is when you are actually walking across it.
If you want to take a photo of you walking on the bridge with nobody else, you need to get up super early before the sunset. This is 5-6 am in the summer or spring and 7-8 am in the winter or autumn.
Charles Bridge is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year, and there are no barriers or restrictions, which means that you can visit Charles Bridge any time you like.
The bridge becomes the busiest from mid-morning to mid-afternoon most of the week, and the busiest times are at the weekend (Saturday, Sunday or during national holidays when people have a day off).
Even as early as this, you will still see people around – mainly professional photographers, tourists wanting to get the best photo of Charles Bridge.
There are also considerably less people around after 5 pm in the winter or about 7 pm in the summer when the organised day tours leave Prague and only tourists that are staying overnight in Prague might be around.
Night time is also a good time to take photos of Charles Bridge – mainly the towers and houses on each side of the bridge as these are nicely lit up. I’ve taken the night photo early evening in the middle of winter, when there was hardly anyone on the bridge because it was very cold!
Where to take the best photos of Charles Bridge (and you) when it’s busy
The problem with taking photos on Charles Bridge (and what no guide book shows you…) is that during the day time the bridge is constantly busy with streaming people. So, you can forget getting a nice picture with just you in it and the bridge towers as a background.
What you can get (even when the bridge is busy) is a great photo of you with the Prague Castle in the background (go in the morning for the best light) when you pose for a photo at the side of the bridge about 1/3 into walking across the bridge from the Old Town Tower.
The other option is to go down to Crusaders square (next to the Old Town Tower) and take a photo with the Prague Castle behind and the bridge on the left hand side.
Day light & sun positioning on Charles Bridge
I think it’s quite important to know that the sun is rising behind the Old Town Tower and the sunset is behind the Prague Castle.
This means that if you want to take a sunrise photo it will be of the Old Town Tower side, but a little bit later on, you will have a great light to take photos on the other side of the bridge going towards the Lesser Town Tower.
Where to take the best photos of Charles Bridge
The best spots to take a great photos are on the bridge itself and then scattered all round the bridge in surrounding streets, all a short walk from the bridge. For photos of Charles Bridge in the background, you’d need to head over to Letna or Petrin Park to get the best views.
From the Charles Bridge
Some of the most beautiful photos of Charles Bridge can be taken from the bridge itself. I’ve taken the above photo from about the middle of the bridge facing the Old Town Tower just before the sunrise, when the bridge lamps were still switched on.
Another lovely spot is to go about 1/3 from the end of the bridge on the Lesser Town side and take a photo of the group of the different towers and houses. It looks lovely any time of the year.
From the Charles Bridge Towers
The view from the bridge towers is great and it doesn’t really matter that the bridge is full of people – it actually looks really good in photos – seeing the endless stream of people walking across the bridge.
The Old Town Tower is taller of the two towers and best to visit if you want to have a photos of the Prague Castle in the distance (probably best to go in the morning as in the afternoon you would be taking photos against the sun).
The bridge towers are open from 9 or 10 am to 7 pm (and in the summer until 9 pm), so if you want a good sunset photo that’s definitely a possibility.
From Kampa Island on the Vltava River bank
If you want to take a picture of Charles Bridge from the side, then you have several options. One of them is to come down to Kampa Island and get close to the Vltava River for the best shot of the bridge and the Charles Spa buildings in the background.
From the side of the Liechtenstein Palace
My favourite sunrise spot for taking a glimpse of Charles Bridge is next to the Liechtenstein Palace on Kampa Island.
From Kampa Island next to the Sova’s Mills
If you walk a bit further into the Kampa Island, you can see the famous yellow penguins installation on the Vltava River. I think it looks quite fun positioned against the historic bridge. The penguins are lit up at night, so you can come up any time of the day and take an interesting picture.
From Vltava River Bank on the Lesser Town side close to Cihelna Park
If you’ve seen the beautiful photos with swans and Charles Bridge in the background, you need to head over to the Vltava river bank close to the Manes Bridge. There is access to the water there and also a river bank made with stones where you can sit and pose. Don’t be upset, if you get ducks in the background instead of swans…
This spot is accessible from the Cihelna Street and you can walk there from the end of the Charles Bridge on the Lesser Town side if you turn right and walk towards the Staromestska Underground.
From the wall behind the Pedal Car Museum
Another great shot (if you want to sit on a pretty wall) is behind the Kafka Museum as you go down to the Pedal Car Museum (on the Lesser Town side accessible from the Cihelna Street again).
From the children’s playground area
Another great spot is at the end of a children’s play area right next to the Charles Bridge on the Lesser Town side. You can get there from walking under the bridge from the Kampa Island side.
You can get some great shots from there both during day time and in the evening. I recently went to see the Navalis celebrations, which take place each year on the 15 May in Prague and had the chance to take photos of the bridge and the buildings lit up by colourful lights.
From the Smetana Statue on the Old Town Side
You can also get an unusual shot of Charles Bridge from the Charles Spa buildings, especially if you walk towards the Smetana Museum at the end (this is on the Old Town side – for best light, head over there in the morning).
This spot is accessible from Smetanovo Nabrezi – Smetana Bank Street and you can get there from the end of the Charles Bridge on the Old Town side if you turn right.
From Letna Park
If you fancy having Charles Bridge in your photos as a distant background (and take photos of most of the other Prague Bridges at the same time), you can also take a great shots from Letna Park (close to the Hanau pavilion on the top of the Letna Park).
From Petrin Lookout Tower
Another option to take photo of Charles Bridge from a distance is to climb the top of the Petrin Lookout Tower at the top of Petrin Hill and take a photo from there. I think you probably need a decent camera lens for this, as the bridge is quite far, but you get to see the whole of Prague from there, not just Charles Bridge, so you get some lovely pictures regardless.
From a boat
I’ve also recently took some photos of Charles Bridge from a boat, when I went to Prague ZOO. It was the first time I’ve ever been under the Charles Bridge and it was quite a surreal experience – all the history, people and buildings from a completely different angle!
You can take the regular boat trip to Prague ZOO from Rasinovo Nabrezi – River Bank close to the Palackeho Square or the same company (Paroplavba) offer a circular 1 hr boat trip in the centre of Prague, which includes the Vysehrad on one side and Charles Bridge on the other.
Alternatively, you can also take a shorter ride (which will bring you back to where you started) from Certovka (under the Charles Bridge) or from the Charles Bridge Museum (next to the Old Town Tower on the Charles Bridge).
Prices are very similar to all the boat trips; currently, it’s 250 CZK for one-way ticket to Prague ZOO or 250-300 for the round trips.
From the Shooter’s Island
You can also get an unusual photo shot from the far end of Shooter’s Island (Strelecky Ostrov) with both of the towers, Charles Spa buildings and the Sova’s Mills (now gallery) at Kampa Island. It’s probably the only place where you can get the bridge comfortably in without looking too distort.
The island is accessible from the Legioner’s Bridge and to get there you can walk through the Kampa Island park.
The Shooter’s Island is also a good place to relax, sit in the grass and have a homemade lemonade from my favourite coffee place (called Cocovan) on the island.
From the Crusader’s Square (Křižovnické náměstí)
To get a great photo of Prague Castle with the Charles Bridge on the side, head over to the lower part of the Crusader’s Square next to the Old Town Tower. It’s perfect for a photo any time of the day, but especially great for sunset (the sun is setting behind the Castle).
Take interesting photos from Charles Bridge
When the bridge is busy or if you want to take few photos that will be a bit different to everyone else’s, try to take photos from the bridge.
There are lovely views of Kampa Island houses as you start to walk from the Lesser Town side and you can also take detailed photos of the statues or buildings you see from the bridge.
Pre-wedding photos at Charles Bridge
If you come in the spring or summer (and you arrive at the bridge at sunrise), you can also witness a fairly recent phenomenon of pre-wedding photography at Charles Bridge.
If you are not sure what I’m talking about, let me explain. So, apparently, pre-wedding photography has been popular in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong for a long time, but since about 2010 people started to travel for their pre-wedding photography to Europe and to Prague.
Although Prague is known for being a romantic city, it wasn’t until a song called ‘Prague Square’ by Taiwanese songwriters Jolin Tsai & Jay Chou became so popular that couples wanted to travel to Prague to take their photos.
I should also explain that the pre-wedding photos are taken well in advance of the wedding and the photos are often included in the wedding invitations. The pictures are taken with the bride and groom-to-be in their wedding outfits, with hair and make-up done professionally as if it was the wedding day.
The happy couple is going to marry back in their own country and take more official wedding photos, but the pre-wedding photos are all about finding the perfect background. The bride-to-be would often wear a red dress as it symbolises good fortune.
So, if you happen to walk around the Charles Bridge very early in the morning and see wedding photos being taken, don’t be surprised! You can tell if it’s the pre-wedding photos or real ones if you happen to notice the bride’s shoes – the pre-wedding photo bride will most likely have comfortable trainers underneath her beautiful dress!
This blog post was originally written on 17 May 2023 and last updated on 17 May 2023