Bucket List: Dawn At The Charles Bridge In Prague

Bucket List: Dawn At The Charles Bridge In Prague

Quite often, I learn of beautiful places only to arrive and find that everyone else had the same idea to visit. The Charles Bridge in Prague is one of those attractions, and perhaps part of the appeal is all the energy of everyone hustling about, but I, like many others, prefer to enjoy these locations during a more quiet and tranquil time.


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As a photographer, visiting a place at dawn often gives you spectacular lighting, but it’s also a time when the bulk of tourists are still asleep. When I come to Prague, a visit to the Charles Bridge before dawn is something I do every time. Staying at my friend’s hostel, I usually convince a few people to join me to make the morning walk a little less lonely and cold.

Jumping Photo at Charles Bridge

But the main appeal of visiting before dawn isn’t just a lack of crowds, there’s something so magical about the morning mist and fog hovering of the statues that line the bridge. It’s as if for a moment, they all come to life and stretch out when no one is around.

Charles Bridge Statues In Mist

Come Before The First Light Of Day

The best time to come is when its still dark out, so that depends on the time of year you’re visiting. It’ll be cold, so be sure to bundle up and bring along some coffee if you can get your hand on some. For me, I’m usually up by 4:30 to start walking there. When you arrive, it will still be dark, but the bridge is lit. If you’re too early, there might still be some stragglers out from the night before, especially if its a weekend. They usually will be too preoccupied with sobering up or getting home, so the only other people around will usually be photographers.

Charles Bridge Before Dawn

Just before sunrise, the first light of dawn will start to color the skies creating separation for the statues from the background overlooking the river and Prague Castle. If you’re shooting, set your tripod on a slightly long exposure for the best shot. And then just enjoy it. Leave it on time lapse if you’d like to get a few shots as the light changes, but otherwise just enjoy these few moments of calm before people start waking up.

Charles Bridge At Dawn

Charles Bridge From Drone Central Prague From Drone

By sunrise, people will start to gather and though the magic is gone, there’s still much to see. Continue across the bridge into the castle area. Shops will still be close, and most of the people will still be at the bridge, so you’ll get to go through the castle grounds mostly alone, except for a few locals starting their day.

At the top, you’ll get a nice morning view of the central Prague and look down at your watch only to find that’s it’s just 7 am and you still have your whole day ahead of you.

Prague From Castle View

Go back down into one of the coffee and pastry shops that are now open and enjoy a nice warm treat just as the pastries are coming out of the oven. So just how nice of an experience is this? I’ve done it 3 times now and I’ll be heading back to Prague soon and will plan to do it again.

Warm Pastries In Prague

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