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Haunted Prague: A Spooky City Guide to Prague


Charles Bridge layered in fog at dawn, Prague, Czech Republic
Hi, I'm Karen!

Karen is a Scottish freelance travel and culture writer based in the US. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, National Geographic, BBC, and Condé Nast Traveler.

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Hi, I'm Karen!

Karen is a Scottish freelance travel and culture writer based in the US. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, National Geographic, BBC, and Condé Nast Traveler.

see more

Originally from the UK, paranormal investigator and guide Victoria Burton had felt a then-inexplicable connection to Prague from her first visit. It was only after moving there that she discovered her grandmother's possible Czech roots. “There's a few weird connections that pull me here [and] unravel and reveal themselves over time,“ she says of the “paranormal paradise“ in which she now lives.

And paranormal is the operative word, because you can expect something a little different to the standard spooky experience on the Prague Ghosts and Legends of Old Town Walking Tour: “I project my passion for [the paranormal] in my storytelling and I mean every word I say.”

Burton’s tours lead guests to locations where they're transported to the tragedy-filled past. “We tell stories that give an insight into Prague’s history and the legends of the Old Town. With alchemy and executions, love stories and bloody murder, expect to be entertained and informed ... but sleep with one eye open.”

Victoria Burton is a paranormal investigator and tour guide. Photo: Courtesy of McGee's Ghost Tours of Prague

A haunted history of Prague

Prague is known as one of Europe’s most haunted cities, for which Burton has an easy explanation: “It's so old! And [has] so much death!”

“Human rights weren’t a thing back then. People were tortured, executed in horrible ways, held prisoner in horrifying conditions, and punished in ways that were absolutely inhumane,” Burton says, of a period in which alchemy was forbidden and sent underground. “No wonder there are some ghosts left. Curses and magic left their mark here and people died in some terrifying circumstances.” And this heady legacy of mystery, violence, and tragedy still hangs over the city today.

Do

Prague’s most haunted attractions.

Burton’s favorite spooky place to visit is Houska Castle. “Built for seemingly no reason other than to cover a gateway to hell,“ according to Burton. “Legend has it that the hole used to have winged beasts and creatures coming out of it.” When construction first began in the 13th century, prisoners could commute their sentences if they agreed to be lowered down into the hole and report back on what they saw. “They aged decades in the moments spent in the hole,” says Burton. “[And their] hair turned totally white.” And its demonic reputation was so feared that, during the occupation, Nazis were said to have conducted research into the occult there.

However, for someplace off the beaten path, Burton recommends the Bohnice Cemetery, where patients from the nearby Bohnice Psychiatric Hospital were buried. “It’s as spooky as they come [and] a deeply moving place to visit. There’s also a pet cemetery next to it,“ she says.

A tour guide leads a group through Prague's Old Town at night
Prague's Old Town dates back to the 9th century. Photo: Courtesy of McGee's Ghost Tours of Prague

Eat/Drink

Don’t-miss spirited establishments.

For traditional Czech dishes such as beer goulash and smažený sýr (fried cheese), Victoria recommends U Mecenáše on Malostranské Náměstí. One of the city’s oldest restaurants, she notes that it claims to have the 1626 signature of Jan Mydlář (the red masked executioner known for the 1621 execution of 27 Bohemian Revolt leaders in Old Town Square) on the wall. “Whether or not it is true, it's a great location with a charming outdoor area with great views of St. Mikulas church and Prague Castle.”

For drinks with a side of what Victoria calls “somewhat supernatural paintings,” head for the Magical Cavern on Petřín Hill. It’s an art gallery dedicated to the work of Rean Argondian and drinks are covered by the admission fee. Alternatively, Green Devils—Prague’s oldest absinthe bar—may not be spooky per se, but who knows what might appear to you after imbibing a glass of ‘the green fairy.’

Stay

Find out what goes bump in the night.

“Here, it's hard to get people to talk about genuine hauntings,” says Burton. “I feel like if it is haunted, they won't tell you... and if they are selling it to you as haunted, it's probably not haunted.” That said, rumor has it that the Augustine Hotel Prague, a 13th-century monastery-turned-luxury hotel, is haunted by a monk who likes to roam around rooms, flipping light switches on and off, and moving objects around.

A tour group in Prague hunt for ghosts using EMF meters
EMF meters help detect the presence of spirits. Photo: Courtesy of McGee's Ghost Tours of Prague

Meet

Prague’s most famous ghosts.

Prague is steeped in legends but that of Jan Mydlář is Burton’s favorite. “He intended to be a doctor and ended up an executioner,” she says. “What little we know about him suggests he was anything but a killer by nature. We used to have access to the underground prison under the Old Town Hall where he spent his career, so I feel particularly close to his story.. and I do wonder sometimes if I have ever met him.”

However, her favorite tour stop is the window of the famous Czech artist, Josef Mánes. “I have a genuine piece of paranormal evidence that I love to share with our guests,” she teases. “The story itself is fascinating and the photographic evidence I have has left few skeptics still [feeling] totally skeptical.” Maneš has been known to make himself known on her tours. “I have heard things and have experienced members of the tour being touched on the back, with no one near them. And the reason for it all? A curse. Classic stuff.”

The Convent of St. Agnes is another reliable spot for meeting Prague’s undead, namely a girl accidentally killed by her father who now wanders the grounds, appearing to people with romantic problems. “I wasn't sure about this when I first heard it, but then strange things started to happen, from unusually warm moments in -12°C (10°F) conditions, to wet footsteps appearing out of nowhere and small [gusts] of wind.” And, one day, during a time of personal romantic strife, she found the whole gate vibrating with no explanation.

Spookometer: 👻

Take the Prague Ghosts and Legends of Old Town Walking Tour

Prague Ghosts and Legends of Old Town Walking Tour

Prague Ghosts and Legends of Old Town Walking Tour

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Learn about the ghosts and ghouls of Prague on this informative and entertaining walking tour through Prague's Old Town. Wander down cobbled lanes and through intimate squares, stopping at landmarks like the Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia and the Church of the Holy Ghost to hear about Prague's shady side.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • English
  • Free Cancellation
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$17.56
From
$17.56

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