Known as the “City of 100 Spires” and home to the largest castle in the world, the capital of the Czech Republic left us wanting more. This fairytale city with its cobblestone streets and gothic architecture exudes bohemian flair and medieval charm. Although we went for a romantic getaway, Prague definitely has something to offer for every type of city tripper. The city has a vibrant nightlife and a broad choice of cozy bars, making it also a favorite amongst young students and bachelor groups. Planning a first trip to Prague? There is so much to do in this spectacular city that you can easily spend days wandering the streets. This Prague guide sums up the most essential things to do and see for your first time visiting.
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Weekend Guide to Prague | Everything you need to know
BEST TIME TO VISIT | High season runs from April to June, September through October, and during the Christmas holidays. Careful, the Prague Spring Festival takes place in May and is the busiest time of the year. So expect prices to be 30% higher than in the low season.
CURRENCY | Czech crown (Koruna česká; Kč)
LANGUAGE | Czech, but most people can speak English and some German as well.
Prague Guide Day 1 | Things to do and see
With every corner you turn, you will bump into another picturesque sightseeing spot or a cute little row of houses. Everything is within walking distance, so skip public transport and let’s get ready to hit the streets. The Vltava River runs through the middle of Prague, dividing the city as you might say into two parts. The perfect divide for our two-day Prague guide.
Stroll across the Charles Bridge
You will definitely feast your eyes on all the amazing sights that Prague has to offer, but the one that stands out the most is the iconic Charles Bridge (or Karlův most). It’s probably also one of the most touristy-filled spots of the city, but still a must-see! We personally took our time here, to soak in the whole atmosphere and surrounding views of the city. Let me tell you, it’s really an attraction by itself. The bridge is filled with cartoon artists, musicians, and souvenir stands. The perfect first stop to get into the mood for the weekend and get a feel for the history of Prague.
The medieval stone arch bridge itself runs over the Vltava river and connects the two shores of the city. You have Old Prague Town on the one side and Mala Strana on the other side. This UNESCO world heritage site is almost 700 years old and took 50 years to build. Until 1841 it used to be the only way of crossing the river. Even more, it served as the most important connection between Prague Castle and the old town.
When passing over the bridge you will encounter around 30 magnificent Baroque-style statues, depicting various saints and patrons. The statues however have been replaced by replicas since the beginning of 1965. The originals are showcased in an exhibition at the National Museum. At both ends of the bridge, you will find these impressive gothic towers, that look like they are the entrance to step into a fairytale.
PRAGUE GUIDE TIP | If you want to avoid tourist crowds, come early in the morning. Come back around sunset for the vibes or end your evening stroll at the bridge to admire the lights and views of the palace.
Visit the Old Town Square
The historic square (Staroměstské náměstí) in the Old Town of Prague dates back to the 12th century when it used to serve as a marketplace for European trade routes. These days it’s the tourist hotspot where you can find an abundance of cafes. As well as groups of people staring in total awe at all the architectural beauty that is surrounding them. If you are thinking of doing a city tour, chances are very likely that they start from here. Certainly, keep your eyes open for the little food carts that are located next to the Town Hall. Here you can try out some delicious local delicacies or treat yourself to some gelato on a hot summer day.
GUIDED CITY TOUR | Book a tour through the city of Prague HERE
This impressive square features a variety of architectural styles. Its most striking building is the main church of this part of the city, the Gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn. This religious building was constructed from the mid-14th to early 16th century and exhibits nowadays an extensive line of Gothic, Renaissance, and Early Baroque works. The twin towers must be the church’s most prominent feature. With their 80-meter height, you can spot them from all over Prague. The story goes that the towers were the inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping beauty castle. That’s exactly what we were thinking the moment we saw it. When you think the church already looks remarkable by day, then certainly come back in the evening. The lighted-up towers give a dramatic view of the night sky.
Another church can be found on the square, namely the Baroque St. Nicholas Church. This three-aisle church was originally constructed in Gothic style back in the 14th century. However after it got set on fire during French incendiaries in 1689, the orthodox church was completely destroyed. Afterwards the city decided to tear the whole thing down and erect a new one instead. This time in Baroque style. The inside is adorned with a crystal chandelier, gifted by the Russian Tsar Nicholas II in the 19th century. Further, you will find several stunning trompe-l’œil paintings decorating the walls.
You can definitely spend a whole morning in the old town square, visiting also the Gothic House at the Stone Bell, the Rococo Kinský Palace, an art museum of the Czech National Gallery, and the Old Town Hall. The tower of the Old Town Hall is open to the public to visit, where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Old Town. Moving further on the square you can’t miss the monument of Jan Hus right in the middle. There you will notice that the pavement holds memorial stones, referring to the execution of 27 Czech lords in 1621.
PRAGUE GUIDE TIP | You can climb up the tower of the Old Town Hall which gives you a great 360° view of the city.
Gaze upon the astronomical clock
Last but not least before moving to the next spot, is the big showstopper: the medieval Astronomical Clock (Prague Orloj). The clock is mounted on the southern wall of the Old Town Hall. The landmark was first installed in 1410 and is the oldest functional astronomical clock in the world. It contains three main components, the astronomical dial – representing the position of the Sun and the Moon; a calendar dial with medallions that represent the months of the year; and the time that is indicated by a figure of a skeleton that represents Death. Various other statues and saints decorate the clock on both sides. When the clock strikes the hour (from 9.00 a.m. to 11.00 p.m.), “The Walk of the Apostles” sets in motion.
PRAGUE GUIDE TIP | A city like Prague is beautiful every time of the year, but the Christmas market on the Old Square is supposed to be quite an experience. It appears to resemble a medieval kind of market.
Explore the Jewish Quarter (Josefov)
Something you probably didn’t expect to find in Prague is a well-preserved Jewish Quarter. This area remained undamaged during World War II. Unlike many other neighborhoods all over Europe, Hitler wanted to preserve this area. He wanted to make it a “Museum of an extinct race”. The only place where you would still be able to see how Jews used to live. The quarter is now a protected UNESCO site, where the Jewish Museum holds the largest Judaica collection in the world. During the holocaust, most Jewish belongings were brought here. Thousands of artifacts and historical books from the Jewish community have since been archived.
While strolling around in the Jewish Quarter make sure to also visit the Old Jewish cemetery, which dates back to 1478, the oldest surviving Jewish cemetery in Europe. The most remarkable building must be the colorful-looking Jerusalem (Jubilee) Synagogue, painted in Art Nouveau style. In total, you can find 6 synagogues in the Jewish Quarter, including Maisel, Klausen, and Pinkas, the stunning Spanish synagogue in Moorish style, and the Old-New synagogue, one of the most valuable and oldest European monuments.
Surely the most unexpected sight by the riverfront must be the Dancing House. Its unique twisted design definitely stands out among the typical gothic & baroque architecture that Prague is usually known for. The modern building with curvy outlines was constructed between 1992-1996 and resembles a pair of dancers. Initially, the building was named the “Fred and Ginger Building”, after the legendary dance duo.
Do a beer tasting
Since Moritz is a huge beer fanatic, and we both come from countries with the finest breweries in the world – no argument needed there – we couldn’t pass on some beer tastings while being here. The Czech Republic has a rich beer heritage and is mostly known for being the birthplace of Pilsner. You can still find some traditional breweries in the city, but modern craft beer has slowly found its way to the public as well. And of course, the town is filled with pubs, so Prague should really be on every beer lover’s travel wishlist.
As we were visiting Prague during the summer, finding a cozy beer garden was a top priority. A task that Moritz takes care of with pleasure. After a bit of walking around, we found our way to U Kunštátů for a well-deserved refreshment. The Brewhouse is located in an alley not far from the Old Town square and holds a lovely courtyard. This is a great place to experience some beer tasting. They have the best Bohemian craft beer accompanied by some local cold-cut delicacies. The latter is a must for every true Belgian, who enjoys their beers with some cheese or other appetizer.
PRAGUE GUIDE TIP | Let the staff guide you in choosing your beer samples. Just tell them what flavors you like and they will hook you up.
Cruise the River Vltava
If you would visit during summer, a welcoming activity to cool off can be taking a river cruise along the River Vltava. There are multiple companies offering tours with several themes. This could be a wine boat or even a jazz boat, another way of experiencing the beautiful sights of Prague. More on the active side? Rent a kayak and explore the waters at your own pace. Although we didn’t have the chance to enjoy this activity ourselves due to lack of time, we might have enjoyed the beer garden longer than planned, it looked really inviting and a great way to see the city from another side. Absolutely on our list for our next time visit.
TAKE A RIVER CRUISE | Book a cruise on the river Vltava of Prague HERE
Evening walk along the river & bridge
By day, the waterside is the best spot to get an overview of both sides of the city. The castle and the gothic towers definitely stand out from the skyline. By night, walking down here just gives a magical feeling. The city lights reflect on the water and the ambiance coming from the musicians on the bridge. The perfect way to end a first successful day in the city. For those who don’t want the day to end just yet, Prague is the ideal city to hit the nightlife or go for some beers in a pub.
PRAGUE GUIDE TIP | Fans of ghost stories and old legends came to the right place in Prague. This medieval city has multiple Night walking tours to offer. Ready to spend the night with some haunted tales in some dark alleys?
Prague Guide Day 2 | Things to do and see
Spend a full morning at Prague Castle
On the second day of our weekend in Prague, we set ahead for the hill towards Prague Castle (Pražský Hrad). This is one of the largest ancient castles in the world! Although the entrance to the complex itself is free, we recommend buying a ticket for all the wonderful sights. This ticket includes the royal palace, St. Vitus Cathedral, St Wenceslas Chapel, Basilica of St. George, and the Golden Lane.
PRAGUE GUIDE TIP | When buying a ticket make sure to include the option of going on top of the St. Vitus Cathedral. After climbing 250 stairs you get to experience a gorgeous bird’s eye view of the city.
The Prague Castle complex dates back to the 9th century and used to be the seat of power for the kings of Bohemia and holy roman emperors. It has been said that treasures and bohemian crown jewels are still stored somewhere in a hidden room. Today the castle is still the official office of the president of the Czech Republic. Just like the rest of the city, the castle buildings represent many different architectural styles, such as the prominent gothic St. Vitus Cathedral. As the most important church in the country, the cathedral houses the tombs of several kings and Emperors.
We spent quite some time inside this architectural masterpiece. The largest part of which – gazing upon the magnificent stained glass windows. Perhaps the biggest eye-catcher of the cathedral must be the Chapel of St. Wenceslas, the patron saint of Prague. The walls are decorated with over 1300 precious stones and paintings depicting the life of the saint. Sadly the chapel is not open to the public, you can only catch a glimpse of it through the doorways. Lastly, keep your eyes open for the miniature ground plan of the city. It’s a really cool piece that has been carved out of a wooden panel.
The royal palace
The royal palace itself was under construction when we visited and left us a bit underwhelmed. Compared to other European palaces who are usually characterized by a lot of grandeur, this one was more minimalistic. A rather entertaining fact that we learned while being up in the tower, was about the “Defenestrations of Prague”. This took place in 1618 and directly influenced the Thirty Years’ War in Europe. The Czechs were so fed up with Catholic ruling, that the protestants decided to throw two royal governors out of the tower’s window. An act that wasn’t unusual during the Middle Ages. Of this historic fact, you can find a woodcut piece in the castle tower displaying the incidents.
PRAGUE GUIDE TIP | After visiting the castle complex, make sure to witness the Changing the Guard ceremony. This takes place daily in the first courtyard at 12h00.
Stroll through the Golden lane
Within the castle grounds, you can find this picturesque street of colorful houses, called the Golden Lane. The street was originally built to house the castle guards back in the 16th century. The name however originates from the goldsmiths that used to live there a century later. Nowadays, the little houses are decorated with artifacts, to give a feeling of what life used to look like. The house furthest to the left is designed as an alchemist’s house. This resulted in the reference ‘Street of Alchemists’ for the lane, however, alchemists never really lived there. The Golden lane used to be home to several famous residents, with the most known one being Prague native Franz Kafka. He rented house number 22 for around a year to write.
PRAGUE GUIDE TIP | When you exit the lane, turn to the left towards Dalibor Tower. This used to be a dungeon and still exhibits torture chambers from back in the day.
Wander through Mala Strana
After descending the castle, we are heading towards the surrounding area called Malá Strana (or Lesser Town). On your way, you can make a stop at the Wallenstein Garden to enjoy some peace and quiet. We were quite hungry so decided to move on to Nerudova street, a cozy street with awesome lunch places. Afterward make sure to pass through Malostranske Namesti, a vibrant little square with stunning architecture. Among them, you will see the stunning Baroque St. Nicholas church.
PRAGUE GUIDE TIP | Had enough of walking? Hop onboard one of Prague’s iconic red trams! Specially Tram 22 which takes you through all the scenic neighborhoods of the city.
Gaze upon the Lennon wall
A known stop for music lovers, and more specifically Beatles enthusiasts, is the Lennon Wall. You can find it in a secluded square across from the French Embassy. Following his assassination in 1980, this wall has been filled with John Lennon graffiti, Beatles songs, and love poems. The wall became a creative outlet for Prague youth. They used John Lennon as a symbol of freedom and western culture, against the political regime. As you can imagine this famous wall is quite a selfie spot for tourists.
The last stop of the day is Kampa, which is kind of a tiny island on the Vltava river. You can reach it by taking the street Ulice Na Kampě. Kampa Island is separated from Malá Strana by the Devil’s stream, a narrow artificial stream dug to power water mills. On the island, you can find Museum Kampa, a modern art gallery that displays central European pieces. Overall the little island is quite peaceful. Especially if you compare it to the lively atmosphere of the Charles Bridge, which is only a few meters higher. It’s the perfect place to get outstanding views of the river and more specifically the bridge. With its pretty painted houses, it’s a pretty romantic area to wander around. Head over here for some great views, incredible art, and cozy vibes at the end of the day.
Prague Guide | Best restaurants & bars
Beer tastings in Prague
In our opinion, you just cannot visit Prague without doing a beer tasting. As mentioned earlier, we enjoyed some Craft Beer tasting in the Old town at U Kunštátů. It’s kinda a hidden gem, located on a little side street away from the busy tourist spots. When you come during warmer days you can enjoy the beer tasting in their cozy courtyard. The staff is super friendly and helpful with assembling your beer selection. Definitely worth the small detour! Don’t forget to head downstairs to the establishment, where you can witness Roman foundations in the cellar that date back to the 12th century.
Another option is Klášterní Pivovar Strahov (Strahov Monastery Brewery), a brewery located near the iconic Prague Castle. This unique location was originally a monastery and has been crafting beer for more than 600 years. They have around 25 beers on their menu for you to try out on their courtyard pavilion. Little hungry? Next to their exquisite beers they also have a lovely menu with some hearty Czech dishes that go well with your drinks.
Wine & cocktail bars in Prague
Not much of a beer drinker? We found the perfect little Italian gem located close to the water. Wine O´Clock Shop is this intimate venue that has a fantastic selection of wines. Accompanied they offer freshly made Mediterranean dishes such as bruschettas, burrata, and antipasti plates: absolutely amazing service and atmosphere. Make sure to book a table since the capacity is rather limited!
Fancy a cocktail? Head over to Hemingway Bar for some fine mixology or one of Prague’s favorites, Absinth. The bar is located in Stare Mesto, the medieval heart of Prague. It’s a small and intimate place, with a very friendly & knowledgable staff. We absolutely loved the interior, a perfect moody sphere to enjoy a cocktail.
Czech cuisine for dinner in Prague
On the first evening of our stay, we wanted to try traditional authentic Czech cuisine in a more classic setting. We found this place called U modré kachničky II, which was an absolute experience. Compared to other restaurants in the old town this one is a bit more on the high end. However, for the menu and quality that you get, the price was definitely reasonable and of good value. The main dishes we wanted to try were the goulash and the duck, which were both exquisite. This place had that classy European charm to it, with even more charming service. We really left this place totally satisfied at the end of the day.
The second evening we went to this cozy little restaurant called U Červeného páva. This bohemian place is located on a really tiny street, right by the town square. We actually ended here up by accident because we had to find shelter from a major rain shower. But how lucky we were! It’s a small cozy restaurant with a lively atmosphere, where more locals come. They serve typical Czech dishes at excellent prices and the service is super friendly! We really recommend this little hidden gem if you want something less touristic and prefer to experience real local food.
Breakfast or afternoon tea spots in Prague
Looking for a breakfast spot in an old European-style setting? Head over to Cafe Savoy to enjoy your start of the day in a picturesque setting. They serve the french breakfast classics, but we can highly recommend the apple strudel and french toasts. If you are stopping by for some afternoon tea, they have a wide range of patisseries to choose from. Beautifully served dishes in an even stunning decor.
For a hot chocolate to warm you up go to Choco Café. Here you will find a wide range of hot chocolates, desserts but also breakfast. It’s a very cozy place for colder days to enjoy some warm drinks to relax from all the exploring. For sunnier days, there’s also a garden in the back.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to Letna Park during our trip, which we originally planned to visit for sunset. The park is located north of the city across the water and is supposed to be a nice viewpoint. We were recommended Café Letka by friends as a great breakfast & coffee spot. So pop in if you would check out that part of town and let us know how it was 😉 For now, we keep it on our list for our next visit to Prague.
Prague Guide | Where to stay?
Prague has many hotels and AirBnB options in the city center. Compared to its Western neighbors it’s a very affordable destination overall to stay and eat. So you can definitely stay here at a nice place for good value. At the same time, it’s a good city to take advantage of its affordability if you would like to once experience a 4 or 5-star hotel. A lot of hotels are often located in historic buildings such as former monasteries or palaces. So if you would like to experience once-in-a-lifetime unique stays, Prague is the best place to do so!
For those who prefer to stay in an Airbnb when discovering cities, there are enough options there as well. However, most of them are very minimalistic and modern in style. So it will be harder to find a charming authentic stay this way.
For our Prague getaway, we opted to stay at the Cloister Inn hotel, based on location and its value. We chose it to be close to the famous Charles Bridge and purely to spend the night. Since we booked it quickly at the last minute, it normally would have been our first choice. Overall it was a comfortable, well-located, and very good value place, but it’s quite outdated.
BOOK A HOTEL | Find your perfect hotel for a weekend getaway in Prague HERE
Prague Guide | Lower price range
Hotel Residence Bijou de Prague: A condo-hotel located right by the Prague castle. All rooms are uniquely decorated in historical style, making you feel like you are living in a castle yourself.
H7 Palace: Another condo-hotel in a more sleek design set in a 19th-century renaissance Palazzo.
Prague Guide | Mid-price range
Hotel Pod Věží: Located right by the Charles bridge on the Lesser town side. Very spacious rooms, a nice atmosphere, and a cozy terrace to enjoy your breakfast.
Mosaic House Design Hotel: Stylish decor with a local touch. Supposed to have really friendly staff and is located close to a lot of attractions. Depending on your choice of room, some come with a nice balcony that gives an amazing view over the city.
Prague Guide | Higher price range
The Mozart Prague: Located in the heart of the Old town of Prague and only one minute away from the Charles Bridge. This upscale hotel was supposed to be the favorite stay of Mozart and Casanova when visiting Prague. Spending the night in one of their rooms looks comfy.
Grand Hotel Bohemia: Conveniently located close to all attractions in the old town. The hotel is housed in a historic building but equipped with all the modern facilities. Elegantly decorated and spacious rooms.
Prague Guide | How to get around?
Prague Guide | By foot
Although Prague is quite a big city, you will notice that it’s fairly easy to get around. In our opinion, it’s mostly a walking city since the top attractions are rather close in proximity. Most historic sites are also located in pedestrian zones so you can easily spend your day just walking around. Make sure to bring comfortable shoes though, since most streets are cobblestones 😉
Prague Guide | Public transport
There are different forms of public transportation available to get you around the city, such as the metro, tram, and bus. Overall public transport in Prague is quite affordable. If you would be spending the weekend, it’s a good idea to get a tourist transport pass. With this card, you can travel unlimitedly and use any type of public transport in the city. The tram network is extensive and probably the best way to travel between different neighborhoods for shorter distances. As mentioned earlier, tram line no 22 is the famous classic red tram that goes from Malá Strana to Prague Castle. To cover the longer distances you will need the metro to get to areas further away. The bus is more common outside the city center and is mostly used to travel to/from the airport.
Prague Guide | Taxis & Uber
Taxis can be an easy option and are relatively cheap to get around Prague, however, be aware of rip-off drivers. Maybe good to know that Uber also operates in Prague and is perhaps a more convenient and reliable option.
Prague Guide | By car
If you came to Prague by car, just like us, don’t even think about using it within the city. Since most parts of the city are pedestrian areas, it’s not easy to get around. The streets themselves are often charming cobblestone lanes, which are not so convenient to drive around. Getting to our hotel was quite an endeavor since some streets were blocked off due to construction. There are some parking lots around the city, but not that many. So we advise you to take a hotel that offers parking space if you come by car. Overall Prague is a really affordable city, only parking fees are a bit outrageous in comparison.
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