Prague is big and interesting enough to enjoy over days or weeks.
But if you’re pressed for time, you can see many of the city’s famed highlights in just one weekend.
Day 1 in Prague
Start your day with a delicious breakfast at Den Noc. The popular restaurant is just off Old Town square and specializes in sweet and savory pancakes. Forget IHOP, you’ve never had pancakes like these. For a savory breakfast, you can’t go wrong with the bacon, feta, and avocado pancakes.
From Den Noc, you’ll be just a few feet away from the Powder Tower, one of the original city gates that separates Old Town from New Town. You can admire it from the outside or go up the tower for a small fee. The tower is located right next to the Municipal House, which sounds a lot less grand than it looks.
To find out more about these buildings, you’ll want to head to Old Town Square for a free city tour. That’s right, free! It starts at 10:45, 12, 2 pm in Old Town. The 3-hour tour takes you through many of the important buildings and sights in Old Town. I recommend doing this at the beginning of your 3-day visit so you can get a better idea of what you’d like to explore in more detail. For instance, you can pay to go to the “Jewish museum,” which is actually not one place, but admission to all the synagogues and the Jewish cemetery in the area. The self-guided tour goes through the modern history of Jews in the Czech Republic.
The free tour is great if you want to learn more about the beautiful buildings in town instead of just seeing them. You’ll learn a bit of history about the iconic structures in Old Town Square, Charles Bridge, Wenceslas Square, and the Old Jewish Quarter.
Make sure you stick around Old Town when the astronomical clock comes to life to announce the top of the hour. The clock is on the side of Old Town Hall, a building that you can also visit if you want to get away from the crowds of the square. Old Town Square is a great place to get a quick lunch from one of the stalls. You can’t leave Prague without enjoying some Prague ham and a cold beer. In the winter, you’ll also be able to get mulled wine or honeywine.
Day 1 Afternoon in Prague
After lunch, you can stroll across the lovely Charles Bridge. From the bridge, you’ll be able to see the sweeping view of Prague Castle, the largest in the world. On either end of the bridge, you’ll see two of the most gorgeous gothic towers in the world. For a small fee, you can climb the steps to the top of each tower to give you a bird’s eye view of Charles Bridge and the river.
On Charles Bridge, you can also enjoy plenty of shopping and music as buskers and artisans are always sharing their art along the sides of the bridge. For a truly unique souvenir, it’s probably better to get a handpainted craft from someone on the bridge than a mass-manufactured shot glass from the Old Town souvenir shops.
During the summer months, the best way to enjoy the scenery is from the paddleboats on the Vltava River. You can rent them by the hour and enjoy the sun and the imposing Prague Castle towering over you. Pro tip: If you approach any of the restaurants on the banks of the river, they’ll also sell you beer while you paddle. When it’s cold, there’s still a lot of fun to be had along the river. Many of the docked boats are actually bars so you can duck inside for a quick drink.
Day 1 Night in Prague
Good Czech food is pretty heavy, but you can’t leave Prague without enjoying some meat and potatoes. Mlejnice in Old Town serves up some of the best goulash and ham hock in town. Wash it down with a few pilsners to complete the Czech experience. Just know, you’ll be feeling mighty sluggish after this meal. So it may not be the best idea to eat here if you plan to go out dancing afterward.
But Prague has just the place for a relaxed evening out after a heavy meal. Hemingway Bar, on the edge of Old Town, serves up some of the most amazing cocktails in town. With a dimly lit atmosphere and attentive servers that will walk you through your first absinth experience, this is a perfectly romantic place to end the night.
Day 2 in Prague
After having your fill of Old Town, it’s time to take yourself to the Castle District. Start your morning with breakfast at Café Savoy. The beautifully ornate restaurant is just on the other side of the river and gets mighty busy so reservations are recommended. The hot chocolate there is to die for.
There’s plenty to do on the Lesser Town side of the river, enough to fill up a whole day. Start by checking out the Lennon Wall, a constantly evolving graffiti wall that dates back to the time of communism. It’s not uncommon to see buskers playing Beatles songs in front of the wall. The center of Lesser Town can be just as beautiful, and usually less busy than Old Town. With St. Nicholas Church at its center, the lively streets are full of boutique shops and restaurants. This is a great place to get some trdelník to give you energy for the walk up to the Castle. You can get the traditional pastry with chocolate, ice cream, or whipped cream.
The walk up to Prague Castle can be grueling no matter which entrance you choose. The grounds are totally free to enter and pretty big, including two big gardens. The gardens, particularly the Royal Garden which faces the river, have a fantastic view. But if you want to get the full Prague Castle experience, you have to pay to see the interiors of the buildings and St. Vitus Cathedral. There’s a separate entrance fee to go up to the clock tower of St. Vitus Cathedral. The walk is absolutely grueling but the view is incredible, one of the highest in all of Prague.
Day 2 Afternoon in Prague
After you’ve had your fill of Prague Castle, you’ll probably be starving. There are places to eat in the castle, but you can also enjoy one of the many restaurants in Lesser Town from the upscale Coda to the casual Ferdinanda. After lunch, you can stick around to enjoy more of the west side of the river. You can go up the funicular to Petrin Hill which is where you’ll find Prague’s version of the Eiffel Tower. It’s not nearly as spectacular but the views are, and in the summer, you’ll also find beautiful gardens up there.
The nearby Strahov Monastery is also worth a visit. Here you can get a unique view of Prague Castle that you don’t normally see from the rest of the city because Strahov is behind it. The large complex houses a gorgeous library complete with wood accents and painted ceilings. It’s the kind of place you usually see in library porn on Pinterest come to life. Strahov also has its own brewery so this is a good place to get some freshly brewed beer.
If you time it right, sunset is the perfect time to visit the Dancing House. This bit of modern architecture is one of the city’s most unique buildings. At the top, you’ll find a small bar. If you buy just one drink, they let you go out onto the viewing deck for free. The sun setting behind Prague Castle is an incredible sight to see.
Day 2 Night in Prague
You might be surprised to find that some of best Mexican food in the world is in Prague. Check out the best margaritas and nachos in town at Las Adelitas, which has several locations around the city. After dinner, it’s time for one of the best underground bars in the city, Vzorkovna. When you enter, you’ll put a deposit on a chip, which you will use to drink and eat inside. The bar is made up of nearly a dozen rooms with a mix of furniture and décor. A live band is usually playing in one of the rooms and you can enjoy the company of the bar’s huge dog that hangs out among the visitors.
The later you go to Vzorkovna, the more crowded it will be. But you can always escape to any of the local pubs, bars, and lounges in city center for something a little less grungy and crowded. If there’s anything Prague doesn’t lack, it’s places to get a beer.
Day 3 in Prague
A long night deserves a hearty brunch. To get a bit off the beaten path, head to La Bottega Gastronomica, where you can get eggs benny to wake you up followed by an incredible chocolate dessert. Located in the Vinohrady district, this will give you a look at the serene residential life in Prague. It’s popular with expats so you don’t have to worry about a language barrier in this local area. You might also be able to catch the farmer’s market nearby.
After a yummy brunch, you can take advantage of the city’s museums. Right off of Wenceslas Square, you’ll find the New Building of the National Museum. Here you’ll find history, science and pop culture in a series of permanent and temporary exhibitions. This also puts you at the very tip of Wenceslas Square, which is a terrible name for a very long shopping street that walks you all the way back to Old Town. During many months of the year, you’ll find markets set up on Wenceslas Square with food, crafts, and even sometimes petting zoos.
If you’re a fan of literature, you can’t leave Prague without visiting the Franz Kafka Museum. Here you’ll find Kafka’s first edition books, drawings and letters. The museum gives you an intimate look at his works and his connection to Prague. If you’re not a fan, you can still enjoy his rotating sculpture just off of Wenceslas Square.
Day 3 Afternoon in Prague
If you don’t want to spend your day museum-hopping, you can head off-the-beaten path to some of Prague’s less busy sights, like the National Monument in Vitkov. Located in Žižkov, you’ll be able to see great views of Prague from the giant monument, which even has an interior section that you can visit. Nearby, you'll be able to see one of the leftover structures from the communist era, the hideous Žižkov Television Tower. The gray structure, which has sculptures of babies crawling all over it is kind of charming in a horrifying way. You can go inside for the view and even to eat at the restaurant.
But like any eateries that exist to provide sustenance while you enjoy a nice view, it will leave quite a bit to be desired. Instead, I recommend having dinner at Dish, which is the best burger place in town. It’s just off Peace Square, which is another beautiful spot where you’ll often find pop-up markets under the shadow of St. Ludmila’s Church.
Day 3 Night in Prague
Prague is considered by many to be the party capital of Central Europe. And though you’ll see the largest club advertised all over old town, it’s better to go where the locals go for nightlife. Clubs like Retro Music Hall and SaSaZu are the places where the DJ will be spinning until the early morning and where drinks won’t cost you an arm and a leg. So make your last night in Prague a memorable one and dance until the sun comes up.