Updated: 8/7/2018 | August 7th, 2018
Prague is a destination that always seems to be in vogue. It’s been on the tourist map for decades, and the crowds show no signs of abating, especially as it becomes a center for digital nomads and tech workers.
Prague is a gorgeous, well-preserved medieval city with a rich history, expansive parks, Vegas-style nightlife, and a hint of romance. It holds a special place in my heart: it was the first city I backpacked through on my round-the-world trip in 2006. It was where I stayed at my first genuine hostel, the first place I was on my own, and the first place I went to where signs weren’t in English. I grew as a traveler in this city.
I’ve been back over a dozen times since that first visit. Over the years, a lot has changed: there are more tourists, prices are higher, the food is more international, and more foreigners live there. But its essence — all the clichéd stuff (cobblestone streets, quaint medieval houses, incredible charm) that makes Prague…well, Prague — is still there.
Today’s blog post puts the best Prague has to offer into a manageable four-day itinerary. If you are looking for a way to organize your trip, this itinerary will help you do so by teaching you what to see and do!
What to do in Prague: Day 1
Take a free walking tour
Walking tours are a smart way to orient yourself to a new city, learn some history, and hear about the main attractions. There are a TON of free walking tours in Prague, so you’ll have plenty of options. All the tour companies meet near the astronomical clock in the Old Town Square at 10 a.m. and last about three hours. They will give you an overview of the main sites, like the Old Town Square, Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, the Jewish Quarter, and more.
If you are looking for a paid tour, check out Prague Alternative Tours, which runs amazing alternative art and history tours throughout town, run by local artists. I highly recommend it.
Visit Prague Castle
The famous Prague Castle is the next logical place to visit, since all the walking tours end near this popular sight. The castle, which lords over the city, consists of multiple sections: St. Vitus Cathedral, the Old Royal Palace, The Story of Prague Castle, St. George’s Basilica, Golden Lane with Daliborka Tower, the Powder Tower, and Rosenberg Palace. You can buy a ticket to any or all of these sights from the box office. The most famous structure is St. Vitus Cathedral — this is the large building you see when you look up at the castle from outside the city walls.
119 08 Prague 1, +420 224 373 368, hrad.cz. The castle is open daily 6am-10pm. Tickets are 70-350 CZK, with discounts available.
Walk around Petrín Park
Petrín Park is the city’s biggest and most beautiful park, with sweeping views of Prague. You’ll find a garden, a maze, and a lookout tower that looks like the Eiffel Tower. You can climb the 299 steps to the top of the tower and get an awesome view of Prague (on a clear day, you can see the Czech Republic’s highest pea, Snezka, some 150km away). What I love about this expansive park is how easy it is to get lost among the trees. Paths meander throughout, and it’s a relaxing contrast to the crowds of the historic center. Keep in mind that this park is on a big hill and walking to the top can be strenuous. There is a funicular that can take you down (or up) the hill if you don’t feel like making the trek.
Petrínské sady 417/5. The park is open 24 hours and admission is free.
Visit the John Lennon Wall
After Petrín Park, head down towards Kampa, a neighborhood by the river, and visit the John Lennon Wall. Toward the end of Communism in the 1980s, students started writing John Lennon lyrics on this wall as a way to air their grievances. Today, the wall represents love and peace. Tourists are allowed to write or paint on it too.
Velkoprevorské námestí. The wall is free to visit anytime.
Relax on the waterfront
It’s been a long day, so relax in Kampa with a satiating drink, some food, or a coffee. There are a number of appealing restaurants and cafés in the area. To get here, just keep walking toward the river from the John Lennon Wall. You’ll cross a little bridge and there you are! You’ll find lots of places to eat, sit, and relax, and when you’re done, you can walk across the famous Charles Bridge back toward the city center.
Suggested restaurant: Kampa Park Restaurant, Na Kampe 8b, Lesser Town, +420 296 826 102, kampagroup.com.
What to do in Prague: Day 2
Explore the Old Town Square
Though you got an overview of the Old Town Square during your walking tour, today you can savor the square’s attractions in detail. Some of the highlights include:
- Hanging out in the square — The people-watching is unbeatable as tourists, families, students, and touts pass through the square. Sit on one of the benches, eat a sandwich, and enjoy! Moreover, there are a number of talented musicians — ranging from jazz musicians to Scottish bagpipe players, and everything in between — that perform in the square.
- Astronomical Clock — Watch the most overhyped attraction in all of Prague! While the hourly chime that people line up for is anticlimactic, the detail and artistry of the clock make it one of the most beautiful in Europe.
- Visit the churches — The beautiful Tyn and St. Nicholas churches line the square. St. Nicholas is open all day, but Tyn is only open in the mornings and late afternoons.
- Explore the catacombs — Under the Old Town Hall, you’ll find a series of catacombs worth exploring. They were the first level of the medieval houses that used to be in the square. Now, they are an exhibit showcasing medieval life (enter through the tourism office).
Staromestské nám. +420 221 714 444, prague.eu/en.
Explore the Jewish Quarter
The Jewish Quarter in Prague is located between the Old Town Square and the Vltava River and has six synagogues, a Jewish Ceremonial Hall, and the Old Jewish Cemetery. It is one of the most popular attractions in Prague. Hitler saved it from Nazi destruction because he wanted to make the area a museum to the lost Jewish race. Now, the museums, synagogues, and historic graveyard in the area honor the history of what was one of the largest Jewish communities in Europe.
Explore Letenské sady (Letná Park)
This park, across the river from the Jewish Quarter, features several walking trails, a café, and expansive views of the city. You’ll see a lot of art students painting the cityscape. Crossover to Chotkovy sady for beautiful gardens and rear views of the Prague Castle. It’s quiet, with secluded paths that make for an intimate romantic stroll.
170 00 Praha 7. The park is open 24 hours and admission is free.
Take an underground Prague tour
Prague Underground Tours runs an underground tour of the medieval houses in the city center. There are many “catacombs” in Prague, which are basically the first couple of levels of old houses below the Prague that has risen on the rubble of many centuries. This tour may be short, but it provides a detailed history about medieval Prague and is super interesting!
Malé nám 459/11, +420 777 172 177, prague-underground-tours.com. The tour costs 410 CZK and lasts about 70 minutes.
What to do in Prague: Day 3
Take a day trip to Kutná Hora
Kutná Hora was an important center for silver mining in medieval Bohemia. It helped keep the kings of Prague rich. Now the town is famous for its creepy bone church, Sedlec Ossuary, which contains 40,000-70,000 bones. Since the church takes only about 15 minutes to see, head into the historic city center to see some of Kutná Hora’s other attractions, including marvelous medieval churches, overlooks, well-preserved streets, and a large town square. It’s a small and quiet town that feels like Prague without the crowds. You can take a tour or travel to Kutná Hora on your own.
Trains for Kutná Hora leave the Prague main train station every two hours in the morning, and the journey takes about an hour. It costs around 100 CZK.
What to do in Prague: Day 4
While Prague Castle gets all the love, Vyšehrad, located in the southern part of the city, was also one of the original castles of the kings of Prague. It was built around the 10th century and contains Prague’s oldest surviving building, the Rotunda of St. Martin. Few tourists ever come here, so you’ll get the castle and its views of Prague to yourself. It also offers good upriver views of the city.
V Pevnosti 159/5b, Praha 2, +420 241 410 348, praha-vysehrad.cz. Open 9:30am-5pm (6pm during the tourist season). Guided tours cost 120 CZK.
Walk up the river back into town
From the castle, you can take a nice walk along the river back into the center of town. There are walking and bike paths, as well as places to stop, sit, and maybe read a book. It’s mostly locals around here, despite it being about 20 minutes from the city center.
Visit the Powder Tower
Back in town, be sure to check out this medieval tower, one of the original 13 city gates. Construction began in 1475 and, during the 17th century, the tower used to store gunpowder. It was heavily damaged in 1757, and most of the sculptures on it were replaced in 1876.
Namesti Republiky, 5, Stare Mesto, +420 725 847 875, muzeumprahy.cz/prasna-brana. Open daily 10am-10pm. Admission is 100 CZK, with discounts available.
Wander the streets of Prague
Prague is a stunningly beautiful and historic city. Meander its winding streets. Find random restaurants, markets, and churches. Sit and watch the people go by. Get happily lost and find your own offbeat attractions and things to do while you’re here! Travel is, after all, an act of discovery!
Other activities while in Prague:
- Take in a concert — Prague is famous for its classical music, and there are concert halls throughout the city. They perform nightly shows of classical piano and singing, and you’ll find people selling tickets throughou town.
- Visit the Franz Kafka Museum — Love Kafka? Great! Then you know Kafka was from Prague. There is a museum dedicated to his life and work on the banks of the river. Cihelná 635/2b, +420 257 535 373, kafkamuseum.cz.
- Visit the National Monument at Vitkov Park — This hill has played an important role in the development of Prague and has a gigantic statue of Jan Žižka, who defeated the Catholic King Sigismund and his forces in 1420 on this very hill! You’ll also find the Ceremonial Hall here, which has an exhibit on the history of the country during the 20th century (it’s really good and detailed) and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The high vantage point gives you incredible views of the city, and the park is popular for running.
Suggested places to eat:
- Country Life — Cheap vegetarian buffet that offers travelers great value for their money.
- VinoGraf — Off-the-beaten-path wine bar serving only Czech wines. Its small, candlelit setting makes it a good date spot.
- U Medvídku — Traditional Czech food with delicious soup and goulash. They also brew their own beer.
- Las Adelitas — Delicious and authentic Mexican food for those with a fiery palate, the best I’ve found in continental Europe.
- Prague Beer Museum — Despite its cheesy name, this place has a wide selection of beer and good food with large portions.
Prague has been one of my favorite cities in the world since I first visited in 2006. Though there is a constant horde of tourists, Prague’s magnificence will always make it worth visiting. And hopefully this itinerary will help you decide what to see and do during your visit to Prague.
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