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The Perfect Prague Itinerary for Your First Visit

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Prague, Czechia is one of the most-visited cities in all of Europe – and it’s not hard to understand why. This Central European capital city is known for its beautiful historic center with stunning architecture, its very good (and very affordable) beer, and its location on the Vltava River.

Add to this the fact that Prague is a fairly compact city that you can easily explore in just a few days, and it’s no wonder why it’s such a popular place to visit.

I first visited Prague in 2013, during a backpacking trip around Europe (read: I was very broke and did zero planning). I found Prague very pretty on that trip, but didn’t quite fall in love with it. A second, longer visit to Prague in 2023 did the trick, though; on this trip I did a better job planning ahead and really diving into Prague’s history, food, and architecture. And now Prague is a city I consider to be a must-visit in Europe!

Prague Castle across the Vltava River

If you’re thinking about visiting Prague for yourself, here’s a 3-day Prague itinerary that can help ensure that you, too, fall in love with Prague rather than just liking it.

When to visit Prague

Prague is a great city to visit year-round, but there are definitely some times that are better than others to go. Summer, for example, is high season in Prague – but it’s also when the weather is the hottest and the prices are the highest. Winter is low season in Prague, but as long as you bundle up you can enjoy dustings of snow and a lovely Christmas market in December.

Spring (April-May) and early fall (September-October) are probably the *best* times to visit Prague in terms of the nicest weather and fewer crowds.

My trip to Prague that I didn’t necessarily love was in August (high, hot season), while the trip I enjoyed much more was in May.

Amanda in Old Town Square in Prague
Prague in May? Loved it!

How many days do you need in Prague?

Prague is popular within Europe for city breaks because it’s a very manageable city for a long weekend trip. You can easily see the highlights of Prague in 3 days without rushing, which is why I’m going to share a 3-day Prague itinerary with you!

Can you see Prague in 2 days, or fill a week in Prague? Yes, for sure! But I think 3 days is the sweet spot for a trip to Prague, especially if you’re combining it with some other plans in Czechia or elsewhere in Europe.

3 days in Prague itinerary

Note: This itinerary is based on my own (multiple) trips to Prague, and is written with the first-time visitor in mind!

The easiest way to structure a visit to Prague is to focus one day on each of the three main parts of Prague: the Old Town (Stare Město), the Lesser Town (Malá Strana, where you’ll find Prague Castle), and the New Town (Nové Město). This way you’ll really get a taste of it all!

Day 1: Prague’s Old Town

Street in Prague's Old Town
Let’s explore the Old Town today!

We’ll start by devoting today to the Old Town, or Stare Město, the most famous, fairy-tale part of Prague filled with Gothic church spires, terracotta rooftops, and colorful buildings. This is also the most touristy and crowded part of Prague, so the earlier you can get started today, the better!

Morning: Charles Bridge + Old Town Bridge Tower

Start your morning at the famous Charles Bridge, which spans the Vltava River connecting the Old Town to the Lesser Town (Malá Strana). Construction on the current Charles Bridge was begun in 1357 under King Charles IV (whom it was later named for). It replaced an even older bridge on the same spot, the Judith Bridge, built in the 1100s that was damaged by a 1342 flood.

Charles Bridge in Prague
Charles Bridge

The Charles Bridge today is one of the top tourist spots in Prague. The bridge is lined with statues, and often filled with vendors and street musicians. If you visit early in the morning, you may be able to beat the worst of the crowds. (Though the bridge is 1,693 feet long and 33 feet wide, so you can definitely find space even when it’s busy.)

You can get very nice views towards Prague Castle from the Charles Bridge, but for even BETTER views, climb the 138 steps up the Old Town Bridge Tower, which sits at the Old Town end of the Charles Bridge.

There’s a fee to climb to the top (190 CZK, or about $8 USD, which you can pay at the tower before you climb), but it’s worth it for the 360 degree views! You’ll see the Charles Bridge and Vltava River from above, and also get excellent views into the Old Town and over towards the Lesser Town and Prague Castle.

Charles Bridge views from the Old Town Bridge Tower
Charles Bridge views from the Old Town Bridge Tower

Pro tip: Climb the Old Town Bridge Tower within the first hour it’s open (it opens at either 9 a.m. or 10 a.m., depending on the time of year), and save 50% off the ticket price!

Prague Old Town views from the Old Town Bridge Tower
Old Town views from the Old Town Bridge Tower

Right next to the tower, you can also pop into the St. Francis Of Assisi Church quickly.

Late morning/early afternoon: Old Town exploration

After the Charles Bridge and tower climb, head into the Old Town itself. The cobbled, winding, pedestrian-only Karlova Street is the easiest way to go, though note that it can be very crowded! This street is lined with candy shops (they are obsessed with pirate-themed and mining-themed candy shops here), chimney cake stalls, jewelry shops, gelato cafes, and more.

If you follow this long enough through some twists and turns, you’ll reach Old Town Square. This is the most famous square in Prague, surrounded by Gothic buildings and towers.

Prague Old Town Square
Old Town Square

This is also where you’ll find the famous Astronomical Clock, the medieval clock that chimes and has moving figures every hour. To be honest, I don’t get the hype around this one (beyond the fact that it’s really cool that it still functions). So don’t feel too bad if you don’t see it right on the hour. (And if you do, be prepared to stand in a huge crowd of people.)

Crowd gathered below the Astronomical Clock in Prague
Typical crowd gathered to watch the Astronomical Clock’s “show”
Astronomical Clock in Prague
Here’s what the clock looks like up close

From here, I recommend exploring the Old Town. It’s compact and easy to navigate on foot, and there’s so much to see.

A few suggestions of things you can do include:

  • Visit the Basilica of St. James – This Baroque church has a pretty interior with one creepy decoration: a mummified arm and hand dangling from a chain – purportedly from a thief.
  • Explore the Jewish Quarter – Josefov, Prague’s original Jewish ghetto, is well worth an in-depth visit. You can visit synagogues like the Spanish Synagogue and the Old-New Synagogue (the oldest in Europe), as well as the incredible Old Jewish Cemetery. Tickets are required for entry, and one ticket covers all the main sites. Purchase at Klaus Synagogue, Pinkas Synagogue, or Spanish Synagogue.
  • Check out the Beer Museum – Learn about the history of Czech beer on a self-guided tour, and then do a quick beer tasting.

If you want to explore some of this with a guide, check out this Old Town and Jewish Quarter Guided Walking Tour.

Prague Old Town on a rainy day
Prague Old Town

For lunch, there are lots of options around the Old Town. For something fairly quick but still good, FAT CAT Beerhouse & Restaurant does very good burgers and ginormous gourmet hot dogs. And you can never go wrong by visiting a branch of Lokál (Lokál Dlouhááá is the Old Town location), which serves up really good traditional Czech food and beer.

I also personally can’t go a day in Prague without eating a chimney cake, which are called Trdelník here. Trdelník means “hollowed out log,” and these pastries are cooked on a spit and sometimes filled with whipped cream and fruit, or even ice cream. They’re actually a Hungarian dessert, but have become very popular in Prague.

Eating a Trdelník, or chimney cake, in Prague
Mmm, chimney cake

Late afternoon: Get another view

If your legs aren’t too tired yet, I recommend getting another view of the Old Town from above this afternoon. It’s really only from up high that you can understand why Prague was once romantically nicknamed the “City of 100 Spires.”

There are two different options that I’d recommend:

1. Climb the Old Town Hall Tower

Not to be confused with the Old Town Bridge Tower that you climbed this morning, the Old Town Hall Tower is the tower that the Astronomical Clock is attached to. The tower offers up excellent views of Old Town Square, and admission here includes not just the observation deck, but also other parts of the Tower like a chapel and underground area.

Tickets to visit this tower cost 300 CZK ($13 USD), plus an additional 100 CZK if you want to take an elevator to the top of the tower. (Because of the elevator, this tower is wheelchair-accessible!) You can buy tickets at the tower, or opt to purchase ahead.

2. Tour Klementinum

Another tower you can visit is the tower at Klementinum / Clementinum. This massive complex in Prague’s Old Town was originally a Dominican monastery during the medieval period, and then served as a Jesuit college. Today, it’s mostly used by the National Library of the Czech Republic.

One of the best stops on this tour is at a Baroque library hall. You can’t go into the library any longer, but it’s still so beautiful to see.

Baroque library at Klementinum in Prague
Baroque library at Klementinum

A visit to Klementinum mostly focuses on climbing the old Astronomical Tower of the college, which has been recording daily weather conditions in Prague since 1775 – and still does today! You’ll climb stairs to the top of the tower, making several stops along the way to learn about the tower’s history and basic astronomy.

And of course the views at the top of the tower are great!

Views of Prague Old Town from Klementinum Astronomical Tower
Views from Klementinum Astronomical Tower
Amanda and Elliot atop the Klementinum Astronomical Tower
Elliot and I atop the Klementinum Astronomical Tower

This tower is also 300 CZK ($13 USD) to visit, and you must book a timed tour for this one.

Pro tip: Note that tours are offered in either English or Czech, so pay attention to which one you’re booking. You also need to book online in advance either here (GetYourGuide) or here (official site).

Could you technically go up the Old Town Hall Tower AND visit Klementinum this afternoon? Yes, for sure. But I don’t really think you need to do both! (Elliot and I opted for Klementinum.)

Evening: Dinner

If you want to stay in Old Town for dinner, here are a few options to consider:

  • V Zátiší – This fine dining restaurant blends modern Czech and Indian dishes, and is a Michelin Guide-listed restaurant. (Reservations recommended.)
  • Restaurace Červený Jelen (Red Stag) – This steakhouse is another good option if you’re looking for something a little upscale for dinner. (Reservations recommended.)
  • U modré kachničky II – Traditional Czech food at a slightly more affordable pricepoint.
  • Lokál Dlouhááá – This local chain for Czech food and beer makes a good dinner spot, too. If it’s busy, you may share a table with others.

Later tonight, you might want to check out a pub for some Czech beer, or perhaps an absinthe bar, which are very popular here.

Day 2: Prague’s Lesser Town

Prague's Lesser Town or Mala Strana
Mala Strana at the other end of the Charles Bridge

Today we’ll be heading across the Vltava River to the Lesser Town, or Malá Strana, which is filled with Baroque buildings and quiet alleyways leading up to Prague Castle and the imposing St. Vitus Cathedral. This is a beautiful part of Prague, though be prepared for more hills and steps here!

Depending on where you’re staying, you might want to start out by walking all the way across the Charles Bridge this morning into the Lesser Town. On your way towards the castle, you can stop to see the Čertovka canal (also called the “Devil’s Channel”), as well as the graffiti-covered Lennon Wall, which began in the 1980s with John Lennon–inspired street art.

Amanda at the Lennon Wall in Prague
Me at the Lennon Wall

The streets of the Malá Strana get steep leading up to the castle, so if you don’t want to walk, know that you can get on Tram 22 and ride it to the Pražský hrad (Prague Castle) stop.

Late morning: Prague Castle + St. Vitus Cathedral

Prague Castle is actually an entire castle complex – the largest of its kind in the world, in fact! The oldest parts of the castle date back to the 9th century, and have seen a lot of history: the castle has been the seat of power for the kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman emperors, and now the current President of the Czech Republic.

A ticket to Prague Castle includes access to several interior parts of the castle complex, as well as entry into St. Vitus Cathedral. Since the castle is so huge, though, I do recommend taking a guided tour! Tours like this one include skip-the-line access and guided visits to the Old Royal Palace, St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George’s Basilica, and more – you’ll even visit a room where the Defenestration of Prague took place!

If you time your visit right, you may also be able to see the Changing of the Guard ceremony, which takes place in the castle’s first courtyard every day at noon.

Gothic pillars inside St Vitus Cathedral
Inside St Vitus Cathedral
Soldiers marching in Changing of the Guard ceremony at Prague Castle
Changing of the Guard at Prague Castle

Along with your visit to Prague Castle (or as part of your tour), you should also visit Golden Lane (a narrow lane with pretty cottages that once housed goldsmiths’ workshops), and some of the castle gardens that surround the entire structure. There’s even a vineyard up here!

Vineyard below Prague Castle
Vineyard below Prague Castle

Afternoon: Malá Strana

It’s time for lunch next! If you can make it in before 2 p.m., go for lunch at Kantýna in Malá Strana, which serves up great Czech meat dishes. Otherwise, there’s a Lokál here (Lokál U Bílé kuželky), too, which is great for Czech food and beer.

After lunch, it’s time to see a bit more of Malá Strana. If you missed the canal or Lennon Wall this morning, check those out this afternoon.

Čertovka canal in Prague
Čertovka canal in Mala Strana

You can also visit the Kafka Museum, a small museum on the banks of the Vltava River dedicated to Prague-born author Franz Kafka. The museum explores the life of Kafka, and displays first editions of many of his works.

Near the museum, you might also want to stop to see the Čůrající postavy (peeing men) sculptures by local artist David Černý. This is the first of several Černý works I’m going to recommend you check out in Prague!

Evening: Choose your own adventure!

This evening, there are several things you could do, depending on your interests. A few things I recommend considering include:

  1. Head a little further south on this side of the Vltava to the Smíchov/Anděl neighborhood (reachable by tram from Malá Strana). Here, you can have dinner at the lively Manifesto Market Anděl, which is basically a food market with all sorts of interesting eateries to choose from.
  2. Book yourself a sightseeing dinner cruise like this one on a glass-topped boat, and enjoy the sights of Prague after dark.
  3. Take a nighttime walking tour of the Old Town for some ghost stories and legends! (This particular tour is really good.)

Day 3: Prague’s New Town

Buildings in Prague's New Town along the Vltava River
Prague New Town

Today we’ll dedicate to exploring the New Town, or Nové Město – which, despite its name, is still quite old and historic, dating back to the 1300s. This part of Prague is known for its beautiful Baroque architecture, and there are lots of things worth seeing here!

Morning: New Town exploration

Start with a stroll through the New Town to see some of its most famous sites. A few things you won’t want to miss include:

  • Charles Square (Karlovo náměstí) – A large medieval square and park where you’ll find the 14th century New Town Hall.
  • Dancing House (Tančící dům) – A funky office block designed by architect Frank Gehry that’s said to be inspired by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. There’s a restaurant on the top level.
  • Head of Franz Kafka – Another David Černý creation, this large metallic sculpture of Kafka’s head rotates periodically.
  • Statue of King Wenceslas Riding an Upside-Down Dead Horse – Yup, that’s this sculpture’s full name. The statue (also by David Černý) is inside Palace Lucerna, which today is home to a movie theater.
  • Wenceslas Square (Václavské náměstí) – This half-mile-long “square” leads up to the Národní Muzeum, and contains the right-side-up statue of King Wenceslas on a horse.
Dancing House in Prague
The “Dancing House”
Rotating Head of Franz Kafka sculpture in Prague
Rotating Head of Franz Kafka sculpture

Late morning / early afternoon: Food tour or museum visit

You’ve got options again today depending on what sounds best to you. You can either take a food-focused tour, or check out a great museum.

There are two food/drink tours worth doing in Prague:

  1. Prague Foodie Tour – This food tour actually starts in the Old Town, visits Prague’s hip Karlin neighborhood, and then ends in the New Town. It’s 4 hours long, and is offered a couple times per day (go for the noon tour for this itinerary!). It’s super highly rated and worth the money. (Book this food tour here.)
  2. Pubs of Prague Historic Tour – Not into a full-on food tour? Then how about one that focuses on historic pubs and Czech beer? This afternoon pub tour starts in the New Town, traverses through most of Prague, and ends in the Lesser Town. (Book this pub tour here.)

OR, you could spend this afternoon at the Národní Muzeum (National Museum) in the New Town. This museum was founded in 1818 and its main building is huge and palace-like (but was purpose-built for this museum). The museum has exhibits covering natural sciences, history, arts, and more.

Late afternoon: Beer spa

Amanda in a beer hot tub in Prague
A beer spa visit is a must!

Another must-do in Prague is going to a beer spa, where you soak in a hot tub partially filled with beer and beer ingredients while drinking as much Czech beer as you want. Soaking in beer ingredients – like hops and barley and brewers yeast – is supposed to be great for your skin (and perhaps even your overall health).

And, even though I don’t drink beer (and don’t generally even like the smell of it), I LOVED my own beer spa experience in Prague! It’s fun and relaxing – even if you don’t drink the beer.

RELATED: Going to a Beer Spa in Prague: What It’s Really Like

There are 4 different beer spa chains to choose from in Prague, all of which offer a very similar beer spa experience. Most of them have options in the New Town, too (Elliot and I booked with the Original Beer Spa in the New Town).

Your options are:

  1. Beer Spa Beerland – With locations all over the Czech Republic, this was the first beer spa to open in Prague. They now have two locations in Prague with different treatment room options, and serve both a dark and light Czech Krušovice beer on-tap in each room. (Book here or here)
  2. Original Beer Spa – This beer spa chain has three different locations around Prague (two in the New Town, and one in the Old Town). They have a couple different spa room options, and also serve both a dark and light Czech Krušovice beer on-tap to guests. (Book here)
  3. Bernard Beer Spa – They have multiple locations around central Prague, and serve Bernard Beer, a traditional unpasteurized Czech beer. Along with beer spa options, you can also book massages here. (Book here)
  4. Lázně Pramen – They have two different spas, with Lázně Pramen Letná being the newest and largest. They not only offer beer spas serving Kynšperský Zajíc beer, but also wine spa experiences (complete with wine to drink instead of beer), and the chance to relax in a salt cave after your soak. (Book here)
Elliot and Amanda in wooden hot tubs filled with beer
A fun couples activity for sure!

Most beer spa experiences last about an hour, so it’s a great activity to book this afternoon/evening. And you can read more about the beer spa experience here.

Evening: Dinner at U Fleků

If you didn’t fill up too much on your food tour and at your beer spa, then I highly recommend going to U Fleků in the New Town for dinner. U Fleků is a very historic restaurant and brewery dating all the way back to 1499 (it calls itself the oldest brewery in Prague!).

The place is huge, with 8 separate dining halls and a inner courtyard beer garden. It serves up traditional dishes and house-brewed beer as you sit at long communal tables, and it’s definitely worth it!

U Fleků beer garden
U Fleků beer garden
Traditional Czech food at U Fleků
Traditional Czech food at U Fleků

Afterwards, you could go for a walk along the river to round out your 3 days in Prague.

Where to stay in Prague

The great thing about Prague is that all the main sites and things to do are relatively close together. Meaning that wherever you stay is going to be convenient!

Having said that, the most popular places to stay are in the Old Town (Stare Město) and the Lesser Town (Malá Strana) – but don’t discount staying in the New Town (Nové Město), as you can find great deals here, too!

Here are some hotel options to consider in different parts of Prague:

Prague Old Town hotels

  • Hotel Residence AgnesTop-rated Prague hotel on TripAdvisor, located at the northern end of the Old Town.
  • BoHo Prague HotelThis modern Old Town hotel offers spacious rooms and an on-site restaurant.
  • Four Seasons Hotel PragueFor those looking for luxury in Prague, you can’t go wrong with a stay at a Four Seasons. This one has rooms with views of the Vltava River and Charles Bridge.

Prague Lesser Town (Mala Strana) hotels

  • Hotel Pod VežíA boutique hotel with generously-sized rooms right next to the Charles Bridge in the Lesser Town.
  • Alchymist Prague Castle SuitesIf you’re looking for a unique luxury stay in Prague, this is it! Book one of 8 sumptuous suites inside this 15th-century mansion.

Prague New Town hotels

Hotel room at Mosaic House Design Hotel in Prague
Our hotel room at Mosaic House

How to get to Prague

Prague has an international airport, Václav Havel Airport (PRG), that’s located roughly 25 minutes by car or 40 minutes by public transport from the city center. Many international and European budget airlines serve Prague, so you can get here easily from any large city in Europe. From the US, there’s also one daily nonstop flight to Prague from JFK (New York).

Czechia is also located fairly centrally in Europe, and is well-connected by train. You can reach Prague in 6 hours from Frankfurt or Munich, 4 hours from Berlin, and 7 hours from Budapest by train. There are also bus connections (via Flixbus) from other major cities like Vienna. Search for the best Prague transport options at Omio.

How to get around in Prague

Tram on a street in Prague
Trams in Prague are a great way to get around!

Like I mentioned before, central Prague is a fairly manageable size, and is easy to get around! The main ways to navigate include:

  • On foot – You can definitely walk from your hotel to most places in this itinerary. From the Dancing House (New Town) to Old Town Square, for example, it’s a 25 minute walk; from Old Town Square to Prague Castle (if you walked the whole way), it would take you about 20 minutes.
  • Via public transport – Prague has an excellent tram system, along with 3 underground metro lines that connect all the various neighborhoods. It’s very easy to purchase a 72-hour ticket (which costs 330 CZK, or about $15 USD), which is then good on all Prague trams, metro lines, and buses. Otherwise, short-term transit tickets start at 30 CZK each. More info here (and yes, there’s an app you can download; get the PID Lítačka app to buy tickets on your phone).
  • Using ride shares – If you’re going a longer distance (or perhaps need to move luggage), then you might just want to call a cab or rideshare. Uber works in Prague, though Bolt (a very similar rideshare service) is even more popular. Both are very affordable. Be wary of taxis at the airport or main train station, as they often try to overcharge tourists.

Pro tip: If you purchase a paper ticket for public transport, be sure to validate your ticket before you use it for the first time! There are little validation machines to use before or right when you board.

Things to know before visiting Prague

Prague Castle illuminated at night
Prague Castle at night

Here are a few things to know about traveling to Prague:

  • Prague can be very affordable – Yes, it’s true that Prague can be a very affordable travel destination when you compare it to other European capitals like Paris or London. But things like food and accommodation have definitely gotten a little more expensive in recent years. (You can still purchase beers that are cheaper than bottled water, though.)
  • Beware the stag do – Because of its reputation as a budget-friendly city with cheap beer, Prague is a very popular destination for bachelor parties (AKA stag dos). If you visit Prague on a weekend, you absolutely will encounter inebriated groups of men – sometimes in costumes – stumbling around the Old Town especially.
  • You don’t need much (if any) cash – Before my recent trip to Prague, I had read some tips that suggested I would need cash in the city. So I spent time when I got there searching for a local ATM so I could take out Czech koruna (Czech crowns). And then I never used any of it! Many businesses have gone contactless/credit-card-only, and I bought all my public transport tickets via the PID app.
  • Watch your stuff – As in any big city, you want to be vigilant about pickpockets in the most touristy areas of Prague. It’s really the only crime you need to worry about here. I recommend using a theft-proof bag (I like this purse and this backpack), not carrying more cash/cards than you need, and just being aware of your surroundings, especially in crowds and on public transit.
  • No, you don’t need to speak Czech – Fear not, my fellow English-only-speaking travelers. You can get by just fine in Prague with English. (Though it’s always nice to learn a few words in the local language; start with Hello, which is Ahoj in Czech, pronounced “Ahoy!”)

More time in Prague?

If you have more than 3 days in Prague, there are some excellent day trips from Prague you can take. Czechia is home to so many historic and beautiful cities and towns, and most are reachable within a couple hours at most from Prague.

Český Krumlov view
Český Krumlov is a great day trip from Prague

My top 3 day trips from Prague are:

  1. Day trip to Kutná Hora – Just a little over an hour from Prague by train, Kutná Hora is a beautiful town known for its churches. You can visit the Gothic Cathedral of St. Barbara, as well as the Sedlec Ossuary, which is decorated with human bones. (Or book a guided day tour here.)
  2. Day trip to Karlovy Vary – You can reach Karlovy Vary in about 2 hours by bus (going by bus is much faster than by train!) from Prague. Karlovy Vary is a popular spa town (and has been for hundreds of years), with thermal springs and very pretty architecture. (Or book a day tour here.)
  3. Day trip to Český Krumlov – This historic town on the Vltava River is incredibly charming and less than 3 hours from Prague by train. In Český Krumlov, you can visit the 13th-century castle, soak up the views of orange rooftops, and enjoy a drink at one of the many riverside terraces. (Or book a day tour here.)

Who’s ready to book a trip to Prague now? What would you most like to see/do there?

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