The medieval city of Prague is one of our favorite cities in all of Europe. Wandering around the cobbled streets is a little bit like stepping back in time. With all of its historical and cultural sites, you’re sure to fall in love with all that there is to see and do in Prague. While the iconic cathedral overlooking the city and the picturesque Charles Bridge are the two main sites that come to mind when people think of Prague, there are so many more amazing places to discover!
You might need more time than you think to visit Prague, the city is absolutely massive and packed with great sites and cozy beer gardens. A weekend is too short a time to visit so try and stay at least three days in Prague if you can so as to make the most of all that there is on offer. Here our guide to take on Prague in just 3 days.
Day One: Westside of the River
Dominating the hillside overlooking Prague is the humongous Prague Castle that is the largest ancient castle in the world! One of the must-see sites in the city; it is a very popular place to visit and as such attracts hordes of tourists every day. To start off your 3 days in Prague with a bang, head to the castle complex early in the morning before the crowds. Be prepared to spend quite a long time here as within the Prague Castle complex you can find palaces, museums, churches and more.
Dating back to the 9th Century, the Prague Castle has a long and chequered history and has housed a whole host of different royal families and rulers. From the Dukes of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperors to Franz Joseph I of Austria and later on Adolf Hitler and Vaclav Havel; each has left their mark on the castle. As such the architecture is very varied and draws on a huge number of styles from over the last millennia. Visitors interested in learning more about the castle’s past should stop by the Old Royal Palace which contains the stunning Vladislav Hall and houses a number of interesting artifacts. Art lovers can either head to the National Gallery or Picture Gallery contained within the grounds; both of which are well worth checking out for the amazing Baroque art on display.
While exploring all that the Castle has to offer, keep an eye out for the time. Every hour there is the impressive changing of the guard ceremony. At each entrance to Prague Castle, the sentries on duty change over on the hour. However, the main event happens at noon in the first courtyard. Here, the guards ceremoniously march and present arms, while an upbeat military band provides a fanfare in the background. It is quite a spectacle and always draws a large audience.
Although the castle in itself is lovely to visit and houses a number of amazing sites, our favorite attraction is Saint Vitus Cathedral. Located in the heart of the castle, the cathedral’s spire impressively stretches skywards towards the heavens and the Gothic architecture is beautiful to gaze upon. Inside, the stained glass windows bathe the pews in a rainbow of different colors and the pillars seem to stretch into the heavens. Formerly the venue where kings of times gone by were coroneted, the cathedral is the most important religious building in the whole of the Czech Republic. If the 287 stairs don’t put you off, climb up to the top of the Bell Tower for breathtaking panoramic views over Prague.
On the way out of the complex stop by the Golden Lane, a narrow and scenic alleyway that used to house goldsmiths’ workshops. Painting a picture of the past, you can enter the recreated workshops and see how people used to work and live. Franz Kafka, the Czech Republic’s most noteworthy figure in modern literature, used to call this alleyway home. Near to the Golden Lane is one of the exits to the complex; head down the stairs following the castle wall and stop off at the various viewing platforms that look out towards the city on the opposite side of the river.
Before leaving the castle complex, don’t miss the great views from the castle walls for unparalleled views of the entire city. From here you can see thousands of red-roofed buildings and most of the iconic landmarks that make up the city of Prague. This is a great place to visit early in the trip because it will help give you a better understanding of how Prague is laid out.
Feeling hungry yet? A short walk from the castle is U Szwejka, a great restaurant that will fuel you with hearty food for the rest of the day. With great Czech dishes and beer to try, the bread or dough dumplings are a classic of Czech cuisine and will certainly keep you going while exploring the city! Accompanied by an assortment of meats and sauces, it is a delicious but simple meal.
Next stop – Petrin Hill. Adjacent to the castle complex and a ten-minute walk from the restaurant is Petrin Hill. A climb up this sizable hill will help you to walk off the heavy dumplings. It takes around thirty minutes to make it to the top and up there you’ll be rewarded with a nice view over the city. If you’re not feeling up to it there is also a tram that will take you to the top of the hill. For an even better view, you have a little further to go. The Lookout Tower that resembles the Eiffel Tower in appearance has a great observation deck at the top and you can either walk the 299 steps or take the elevator. It’s definitely worth making the extra effort for the amazing view of Prague.
Once you’ve slowly made your way back down through the park towards the river, head to John Lennon Wall. The brightly colored graffiti on display features Beatles’ lyrics, inspirational messages and is a tribute to the man himself and the pacifist ideals he expressed. Under the Communist regime that only fell in 1989, western influences were banned in the East and people were often denied their freedom of expression. When Lennon was murdered in 1980, someone painted his image on the wall and odes to his beliefs as well as criticisms of the authorities also sprang up. Despite the officials’ best attempts, the John Lennon Wall could never be erased and it still stands today as a monument to peace, freedom and the man himself.
After a marvelous day exploring all the marvels of the Westside, U Tri Zlatych Hvezd (phew!) is a lovely spot for some dinner. Close to the St. Nicolas Church (which is worth checking out afterward), the restaurant is situated in a 300-year-old building which makes for a delightful setting. With all the staples of Czech cuisine and beautiful murals, it’s a great place to unwind after a long day. Not far away is Charles Bridge which will have to wait until tomorrow…
Recommended Hotels in Prague
- Hotel Josef Check Prices Online Hotels.com | Expedia
- Miss Sophies Check Prices Online Hotels.com | Expedia
There are hundreds of Airbnb listings in Prague where you can rent an entire apartment for a fraction of a hotel price.
Recommended Prague Tours For Day 1 In Prague
- Prague Castle & Castle District Tour With Transport | $14 Book Online
- 3 Hour Afternoon Walking Tour | Visit Prague Castle, John Lennon Wall, Charles Bridge, St. Vitus Cathedral, and More | Book Online $34
- Hop On Hop Off Bus Pass | Never get lost getting to Prague’s attractions Buy Online $27
Day Two in Prague: The Old Town Square and its Surroundings
To make the most of your second day you’re going to have to wake up early. A popular destination, for good reason, Prague can teem with tourists at times so to get the best view of Charles Bridge it’s best to go as early as possible. In the early morning haze with the sunlight slowly seeping over the horizon, the bridge is, as always, absolutely stunning. As you walk over the ancient cobblestones, statues look down at you from either side and only add to the occasion. You’ll find yourself returning to the bridge at all times of the day to see how it changes with the light!
After visiting the beautiful bridge that spans the Vltava River, head to the Old Town of Prague nearby and watch the city come to life before it becomes too busy. The Old Town Square is quite wide and open and has a number of impressive buildings surrounding it. Tyn Church is well worth checking out as is the Old Town Bell Tower; climb to the top of it for some spectacular views of the square below. A lovely way to spend the morning is to wander around the narrow streets and alleys that snake off in all directions from the square and getting lost is just part of the fun!
For a memorable lunch, try and find your way back to the Old Town Square. Bordering it are lots of different rooftop restaurants that, along with great food, offer lovely views of the square below. Nestled amongst the spires of the churches that surround the square is Terrace At Prince, a fantastic restaurant that makes for an epic dining setting. With international dishes as well as the usual Czech specialties; basking in the sun above the rooftops is a relaxing and refreshing experience. Generally, we recommend dining away from main tourist attractions like this, but the views up here more than make up for the prices.
With so much history and culture, it’s no wonder that Prague home to an astounding array of museums. Weird, wacky and downright bizarre, as well as the normal kinds of art and history museums Prague also has a huge range of slightly more peculiar museums. With over 280 museums in the city; there really is something for everyone! Make sure to read our top museums in Prague article where we trim down to the top 11 Prague museums. As there are so many of them to explore, try and fit in a couple over the afternoon. If Alchemy or Chamber Pots are your thing or maybe it is Miniatures or even Torture Instruments that fascinate you, if you hadn’t guessed there are museums dedicated to each of these fields! For more mainstream museum-goers the Czech Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Communism are two great places to explore.
After having delved into Prague’s rich culture, it’s time to get to know their beers! Having rushed around trying to fit everything into just 3 days in Prague, U Pinkasu is also the perfect place to slow down for a bit and relax. Tucked away in the center, the restaurant is a hidden gem for its great atmosphere and setting so grab a couple of beers and sit outside in the small beer garden that is picturesquely right next to an old church. This is our favorite beer garden in Prague. You will undoubtedly see adverts for the famous Pilsner Urquell all around Prague, but it was here at U Pinkasu where it all started. This famous Prague beer garden was the very first tasting room of Pilsner Urquell, so make sure to stop by. Drinking away the end of the afternoon as the sun goes down; it might also be a good idea to fill up on some food here while you’re at it – the pork knuckle is pretty amazing here.
One of the most famous sights in Prague, a great way to end your second day is to stop by the Prague Astronomical Clock. The ornate and ancient clock that dates back to medieval times is pretty cool to see and each hour, the twelve apostles appear. Flanking the face of the clock are the four figures of Vanity, Greed, Death, and Lust, who are the representation of evil from the époque in which the clock was made. The detail is stunning and every hour crowds of people congregate before it to watch the spectacle begin.
Recommended Prague Tours For Day 2 In Prague
- Prague By Night | 2-hour bus tour of Prague’s most famous sights light up includes pickup | $33 Book Online
- Prague Beer & Evening Bar Tour | Visit 3 bars on this 4 hour Prague beer tasting tour | $18 Book Online
Day Three in Prague: The Jewish Quarter and Further Afield
Day three and it’s time to explore a new part of the city! Home throughout the centuries to a thriving and vibrant Jewish community, the Old Jewish Cemetery is a great place to start learning more about Prague’s Jewish past. Although in times gone by there was a flourishing Jewish population in the city, they were only allowed to live in a small part of Prague and were only given a small parcel of land to bury their dead. Visiting the Old Jewish Cemetery is remarkable as all the gravestones are tightly squeezed together. Due to Jewish burial beliefs, the remains of the dead are not allowed to be moved. With the constraints of the tiny cemetery, the earth was piled on top of the old graves so that more people could be buried above. This process was repeated for centuries and the headstones were all relocated to the top.
Around the corner from the cemetery is the lovely Spanish Synagogue which is definitely worth a visit when in Prague. Built following Moorish styles from southern Spain, the synagogue’s crenulations give it a distinctive look and the golden interior is simply breathtaking. Inside too is an exhibition on Jewish history in the Czech Republic which takes you on an interesting journey through the ages. Right next to the synagogue is a little statue of Franz Kafka which you should check out when in the area.
After exploring all there is to see in the Jewish Quarter, why not take a short walk to the river and hop on a River Cruise to see Prague from a different point of view? Drifting along the river enables you to sit back and relax while getting to see Charles Bridge from a completely new (and worthwhile!) perspective. It’ll also help you see parts of the city that you might not otherwise make it to. The Dancing House, for example, is just one place which is interesting to see but probably not worth making the effort to visit specifically. Having said that though, its unique architecture is probably unlike anything you’ve seen before. Grab a snack on board to save time; you’ve only got 3 days in Prague so make the most of it!
To get away from the touristy side of Prague, get off the boat at Wenceslas Square in the center of the New Town. Bustling with life and with a great selection of cheap bars and restaurants, it would be a shame to leave the city without having seen this part of town. We can’t say the same thing for our next recommendation though which is but a short fifteen-minute bus journey away…
Yes, that’s right, Zizkov TV Tower might be worth giving a miss! Voted the second ugliest building in the world, the tower is what can only politely be described as an eyesore. Almost spaceship-like in design, the glistening Soviet-era building juts out ungainly above the Prague rooftops. With some great views of the city, however, you can be forgiven for not visiting this distinctively ugly building.
With your time in the city of a thousand spires nearly at an end, it’s time for a cross-city treasure hunt! David Cerny’s amazing statues are scattered all around Prague and its great fun trying to find them. Idiosyncratic in style, they push the boundaries of social conventions and challenge the way we see the world. Definitely, keep an eye out for them as you’re rushing around town. One of his most famous ones is the ‘Piss’ statue which is of two Czech politicians urinating on a map of the region.
The perfect way to end 3 days in Prague is to either head to one of the beer gardens that dot the city and reflect on all the amazing sights you’ve seen or muster up the last of your energy and take on a brewery tour. Numerous groups offer tasting tours of various Czech beers and you’re certainly in for a treat if you head on one of them. Wandering around the lovely city with new friends and indeed new beers in hand is a fun and friendly way to end your trip and it’s a great chance to revel in the awesome nightlife on offer. Here’s to one last adventure: Na zdravi! Cheers!
Recommended Prague tours for Day 3 in Prague
- Prague River Cruise | Choose from just a cruise, lunch cruise, afternoon tea cruise, or dinner cruise | $22 Afternoon Tea Cruise or $61 Prague by night & dinner cruise
- Jewish Prague Walking Tour| 2.5-hour walking tour of Prague’s Jewish Quarter |$49 book online
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