Our trip to Prague marked the first time ever that we actually slowed down on a city break and really savored the experience instead of packing in as many sights as we could, and we loved it. We still saw the sights, of course, but we also made sure to spend a healthy amount of time wandering aimlessly down colorful cobblestone streets and relaxing riverside.
Everyone’s definition of slow travel will be different, but for us, this was it. With three days in Prague, you can easily see all of the city’s most famous sights, some of its lesser known gems, and still have plenty of time for sitting in warm cafes, watching the world pass by through a foggy window. In my opinion, that’s pretty much the definition of a perfect city break!
I have quite a few more posts in the works showcasing just how gorgeous this city is, particularly in autumn, but before I get to those, I’d like to share our three day Prague itinerary and guide in case you’re planning a trip of your own. Be sure to scroll down to the end for helpful Prague travel tips as well!
Day One in Prague
It’s dirty and it’s grungy, and yet it’s always packed with people, so the first place you’ll want to stop on your first morning in Prague is the Lennon Wall.
Since the 1980’s, the Lennon Wall has been continuously painted over and over again with John Lennon-inspired art and Beatles lyrics among other graffiti. These days, it’s hard to make much of anything out anymore, but still, it’s worth a quick stop for a colorful photo, especially if you’re in the area.
- Find the Lennon Wall on a map here.
Right next to the Lennon Wall is a popular spot for couples to leave a love lock behind, the Lovers’ Bridge. We saw the first of these love lock bridges in Paris, but have since found them in pretty much every large European city.
Romantic gesture or nuisance, whatever you think of them, they’ve become an increasingly popular thing to do, particularly for tourists. We’ve never left one behind, but I still like seeing them when we travel. These love locks can be found on a small bridge over the stream surrounding Kampa Island.
- Find Lovers’ Bridge on a map here.
Petrin Hill Lookout Tower
When possible, one thing I like to do early on during a city break is find a place where I can climb up above the city and see it in panoramic view. It’s a great way for my navigationally-challenged self to get my bearings before trying to navigate from sight to sight.
One of the best places to view the city of Prague from above is the Petrin Hill Lookout Tower. There is a small fee to climb the tower, but it’s worth it. As is taking time to walk through Petrin Park afterwards, especially if you’re visiting Prague in autumn when the leaves are changing colors.
- Find Petrin Hill on a map here.
Lunch in Old Town Square
After a walk through Petrin Park, it’s time to head across the river to Old Town where you’ll quickly discover that Old Town Square is a mecca for delicious Czech street food. (Although, admittedly, you probably will pay more for it than you would elsewhere.)
Treat yourself to one of the kebabs with chicken and fresh veggies, and then – if you remember nothing else from this guide, then at least remember this – try the trdelníks. But beware, these little sugar and spice-coated pastries from heaven are crazy addictive. I don’t even want to tell you how many times I ate these instead of real food while we were here.
- Find Old Town Square on a map here.
Old Town Square
Old Town Square is Prague’s prettiest, but also busiest, public square. Quite a few of the city’s most famous sights can be found here.
There’s the astronomical clock that puts on a show for hundreds of tourists every hour, the Church of Our Lady Before Týn whose towering spires are one of the most recognizable features of the city, and the smaller, yet possibly more beautiful St Nicholas Church – all are worth a visit.
It’s easy to spend a couple hours exploring here, so I recommend seeing anything that interests you and then finding a place nearby to get dinner. (For a few suggestions scroll down to the bottom of this post!)
Prague at Night
After dinner, it’s time to head back to Old Town Square to see it glowing at night, and then head over to the Charles Bridge which is equally as stunning after dark. The view of Prague Castle across the Vltava River is brilliant from the Charles Bridge at night.
This city also has a pretty good nightlife (or so I hear) if that’s your thing, but since we were already up and about doing things by 9am every morning, we never got the opportunity to check it out!
Day Two in Prague
Besides the Lennon Wall, one other place you’re probably going to want to visit early in the day if you want crowd-free pictures is the Charles Bridge. There are 17 bridges crossing the Vltava River in Prague and the only one anyone ever uses is this one. Kidding, of course, but if you try to walk across it mid-day during peak season, it’ll feel that way!
For your second day in Prague, I recommend starting the day here, preferably before 9am if you can. That’s when the buskers start setting up, and shortly after that it gets busy.
- Find Charles Bridge on a map here.
If you’re staying on the Kampa side of the river, you won’t actually cross the Charles Bridge because Prague Castle is on the agenda for today. And as it’s the largest ancient castle complex in the world, it’s going to be practically the only thing on the agenda. (FYI – If you don’t buy one of the various tickets offered, you’ll probably be in and out much quicker.)
Since we wanted to see a little more of the castle than just its most popular sight, St Vitus Cathedral, we opted for Circuit B tickets which included private areas of St Vitus Cathedral, St George’s Basilica, Golden Lane, and Rosenberg Palace. (The Old Royal Palace is usually on this ticket, but it was closed for renovations, so we saw Rosenberg Palace instead.)
FYI – There isn’t a whole lot of information displayed as you walk through Prague Castle, so if you’d like the benefit of a guide to tell stories and provide a historical context, you can book a tour here.
- Find Prague Castle on a map here.
If you buy a ticket into the castle, one of the first places you’ll want to stop is Golden Lane. Getting here early is key, because once tour groups start descending on this narrow street, it gets nearly impossible to walk down. (At least comfortably, anyway.)
It’s hard to imagine people living in the tiny homes that line Golden Lane, but they did for many centuries. Now-a-days they are little miniature museums to the lane’s past, but as these houses put the new “tiny house movement” to shame, moving around in them is difficult. Another reason to arrive early!
St Vitus Cathedral
St Vitus Cathedral is open to all visitors free of charge, but if you purchase a ticket, you’ll have access to private (read: far less crowded) areas of the cathedral. Those without tickets are only allowed into the cathedral’s entrance, which turns into a madhouse pretty quickly.
St Vitus is the Czech Republic’s largest cathedral, and even though I haven’t seen the others, I can’t imagine them being prettier than this one. For more photos of this gorgeous place of worship, check out the link below.
St George’s Basilica
St Vitus Cathedral may hold the title of largest church on the castle grounds, but the oldest goes to St George’s Basilica. To enter this church, a ticket is required.
Out of all the places on our ticket, this one was my favorite. St George’s Basilica is not a large church, by any means, but I loved all the natural light and shadows inside it. It was so much fun to photograph. (FYI – The colorful exterior is completely at odds with what you’ll find inside. We almost missed this one because we couldn’t even tell it was a church from the outside.)
Changing of the Guard
Every day at noon, the Changing of the Guard ceremony is performed in the first courtyard of Prague Castle. There is a musical performance, as well as a parade. It’s nowhere near as large a production as the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, but it’s still worth your time to see if you’re already at the castle.
Be there about 5-10 minutes early to secure a good spot along the barrier if you want to take photos!
Prague Castle Moat
Prague Castle’s moat has got to be its most underrated feature. Technically called the Stag Moat (due to the deer breeding that happened here in the 17th century), the castle’s moat is actually two – an Upper Moat and a Lower Moat.
In both moats you’ll find the prettiest, tree-lined walking trails in the city, and they’re open free to the public, no ticket required. When we visited in late October, some of the trails were completely blanketed in colorful leaves, making this one of the most beautiful places we saw while we were visiting the city.
After leaving the castle, head towards Nerudova Street. On the way, you’ll pass an overlook with gorgeous views over the city. Stop there for a photo and then continue on to Nerudova Street, one of the most colorful streets in Prague.
Back in the day, houses in Prague were signified by symbols instead of house numbers, so if you lived here, you told people you lived at the House of the Two Suns or the House of the Red Lion vs just boring, old 47 Nerudova Street. Most of the house symbols have since been taken down, but they remain on Nerudova Street, which is pretty cool to see. This street also has the best trdelníks we tasted (and we tasted a lot), so there’s that reason to visit, too.
St Nicholas Church (not the same one in Old Town Square) is located in the square at the bottom of this street. Considered one of the most important Baroque churches in Central Europe, visitors are allowed in for a look around for a fee. We were pretty churched out by the end of the day, so we skipped it, but I just wanted to mention it since it’s so close by!
- Find Nerudova Street on a map here.
Day Three in Prague
Our third and final day in Prague began in Wenceslas Square, the furthest sight away from where we were staying across the river in Kampa. Located in the New Town, this square doesn’t have quite the same old-world charm the Old Town Square has in spades, but several of the buildings and hotels in Wenceslas Square stand out from the rest due to their colorful designs and unusual architecture.
You’ll find lots of retail stores and restaurants over here, as well as the National Museum, but unless you pop in somewhere, Wenceslas Square will probably be a quick stop.
- Find Wenceslas Square on a map here.
Havelské Street Market
After Wenceslas Square, head over to Havelské Street Market where you’ll find all sorts of unique souvenirs and gifts to bring home. The market is open every day from 6am and vendors are selling everything from wooden toys and puppets to fresh fruit and vegetables.
Havelské Street Market is located off Melantrichova Street which connects Wenceslas Square and Old Town Square, so if you go that route, you can’t miss it!
- Find Havelské Street Market on a map here.
Lunch at Sisters Bistro
Sisters Bistro came highly recommended to us before our trip, so we made a point to eat there for lunch on our last day and it definitely didn’t disappoint.
Serving up chlebíčky, traditional Czech open-faced sandwiches, the hardest decision we had to make at Sisters was which sandwiches to try. There were so many choices, and every single one looked good. (Well, maybe not the herring and wasabi, but definitely the rest.) Two or three chlebíčky are perfect for a light lunch.
- Find Sisters Bistro on a map here.
The Josefov is Prague’s Jewish Quarter. Once a walled ghetto, the Jewish Quarter today is mostly a tourist attraction, one with a fairly steep admission fee if you want to gain entrance into the Jewish Museum, the synagogues, and the Old Jewish Cemetery.
I hear the ticket price is very much worth it if you’re interested in hearing the history of the city’s Jewish population, but as we had plans to visit Poland (a trip focused entirely on Jewish history) a few weeks later, we decided to skip buying tickets and instead simply see what we could see walking through the streets of the Josefov. (Which wasn’t a whole lot, to tell you the truth. If you’ve got time, a guided tour of the Jewish Quarter is the way to go!)
- Find the Jewish Quarter on a map here.
We ended our three day itinerary in Prague similarly to how we began it – in a park overlooking the city.
Letna Park (or Letenské Sady) is a beautiful public park across the river from the Old Town with tree-lined walking trails that offer multiple look-out points overlooking the Vltava River and city below. In some places in Letna Park, the views are even better than they are from Petrin Tower. (And they’re free here!)
- Find Letna Park on a map here.
Prague Travel Tips
Where to Stay in Prague
Our love affair with Airbnb began on this trip. We’d used Airbnb once before in Italy, but we had such a fabulous experience in Prague that we never again stayed at a hotel while traveling in Europe. (And probably would have done the same in Asia if hotels weren’t as cheap as they are here.)
We chose a lovely apartment just a few steps away from the Charles Bridge. (It’s this one here.) Our apartment had everything going for it – location, comfort, quiet, and less important, but still worth mentioning – it was adorably decorated and delightfully cozy.
Our location across the river from the Old Town was close enough that we could walk to most sights in under ten minutes, but far enough away that the vibe was noticeably more laid back. This central, but not too central, location also allowed us the option to return to our apartment anytime during the day to rest, which we did often.
Regardless of whether you choose to stay in a hotel or an Airbnb, I suggest picking somewhere in the Kampa/Mala Strana area if you’re visiting Prague on a budget. Accommodations are a little cheaper on this side of the city, but still perfectly convenient for walking to all of the major sights.
How to Get Around in Prague
Getting from the airport to the city center via public transport requires taking both a bus and the metro which is why I recommend taking the Airport Express bus instead if you’re trying to save a little cash. Tickets on the Airport Express cost 60 CZK ($2.50 USD) and can be bought directly from the bus driver. The buses leave every half hour and terminate at the main station. From there, if you’re staying centrally, you should be able to make it on foot to your hotel.
If you don’t mind spending a little more, private airport pick-up is an even easier option. Prices for this service fluctuate, but generally range from $15 to $20. We booked transportation ahead of time with AAA Taxi Service, but you could just as easily use Uber or other ride-sharing services.
As for getting around to the sights in Prague, if you’re able, walking is the best way to get from place to place. Prague is a compact city, so it’s fairly easy to get around on foot without getting too tired. But if you’d rather not walk, public transport is also easy to use. A single ticket covers all forms of public transport (metro, bus, and tram) and is good for whatever time period you specify when you purchase it.
If you’re spending three days in Prague and plan to use public transportation to reach most places on this itinerary, purchasing a 72-hour ticket for 310 CZK ($13 USD) is the way to go. Otherwise, 30 or 90-minute tickets (24 or 32 CZK) are the most economical choice for getting around the city.
Map of Prague Sights
To make it easier for you to plan your Prague itinerary, I’ve plotted all the sights and locations above on a map which you can print or download to your phone from Google Maps here. The map will let you sort all of the sights by a single day, or you can view all of them together in case you’d like to structure your itinerary differently than we did.
Where to Eat in Prague
No matter how you look at it, street food in Prague isn’t healthy, but it is delicious. Trdelník pastries, sausages with spicy mustard and sauerkraut, fried cheese sandwiches – you’ll find these cheap and filling culinary delights sold from carts in Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square, and elsewhere near major tourist sights.
If a proper restaurant or cafe is more your jam, you might enjoy these budget-friendly places to eat in Prague (all quality-tested on our own trip) –
- Bella Vida Cafe – Relaxed atmosphere with views of the Vltava River
- Karlova 30 – Traditional Czech cuisine conveniently located near Old Town Square
- Na Kampe 15 – Cozy hotel restaurant near the Charles Bridge in Mala Strana
- Sisters Bistro – A must-visit for an aesthetically beautiful and healthy lunch
The Best Time to Visit Prague
After being told multiple times by fellow travelers that we must visit Prague, we decided, sort of on a whim, to see what all the fuss was about and booked it for our autumn break. And, oh my goodness, did we choose the perfect time of year to visit.
Prague is beautiful in the fall. The city is full of trees and parks and all of the leaves were so rich in color, they almost didn’t even look real. Not to mention, the crowds were also significantly lighter in late October which made visiting sights around town a lot more enjoyable.
As the city’s popularity as a tourist destination has increased, naturally so have the crowds. They’re at their greatest during the summer months, but Christmas also sees a fair amount of tourism. (That being said, the opportunity to see Christmas markets would make visiting in December worth it, too.)
Obviously, if the only time you can visit is July, then of course you should still go. But if you’ve got a choice, you won’t regret going in the fall!
Read More: 15 Awesome Photography Locations in Prague
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