A perfect day in PragueLizet Wesselman - 02/10/2023
A perfect day in PragueLizet Wesselman - 02/10/2023
Prague will always be a bit of home for me. I enjoyed living here from late 2018 to mid-2021. It’s about time to share more about it, starting with a perfect day in Prague. Prague is a fairly small city, but has more than enough to offer. I would recommend spending at least 3 days there, to get a bit of the local experience as well. But if you only have 1 day, here are the highlights for a day in Prague. Stay tuned, because a city guide with many more tips will follow soon!
Early morning: sunrise at the Charles Bridge
Start your day early and take a walk to Charles Bridge (Karlův most) before the other tourists wake up. The bridge is Prague’s most popular highlight and a logical crossing over the river. With millions of visitors to Prague every year, it very quickly gets crowded here. The only time I saw this bridge empty was during the pandemic. But if you come around sunrise, you’ll only share the bridge with a few other early birds.
Despite the crowds, Charles Bridge really is one of my favourite places in Prague. Built in the 14th century, the bridge contains an impressive tower on both sides and no less than 30 statues! Not to mention the beautiful view of the river and the castle across. The towers can be climbed for around €8. They open around 9/10 am (seasonal) and for the first hour, you pay only 50% of the ticket price.
Charles Bridge is right in the centre of Prague, so there’s no shortage of breakfast options around. On both sides, you’ll find plenty of restaurants with ample choices and good coffee. My recommendations on both sides of the bridge are:
- Cafe 11 on the centre side, for things like pancakes and typical egg dishes.
- Bohemian bistro on the castle side (Malá Strana), also for typical egg breakfasts but also, for example, shakshuka.
Late morning: explore Prague’s old town
After breakfast and possibly a visit to the towers of Charles Bridge, it’s time to explore Prague’s Old Town. Stroll through the narrow streets and enjoy the beautiful buildings.
The highlight of the Old Town is undoubtedly Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí), with its famous Astronomical Clock. The clock was installed in 1410, making it the 3rd oldest astronomical clock in the world but the oldest astronomical clock still in operation. Every hour, the clock goes off, and some puppets (the apostles) dance around. Hordes of tourists gather in front of the clock for this, but I don’t recommend waiting in line for too long, the clock itself is more impressive than the show. You can climb the tower again, for around €12. And again, you get 50% discount between 9 and 10 in the morning.
There’s plenty to see in this square, including 2 churches, the famous viewpoint from U Prince roof top bar (provided you order an incredibly overpriced drink, though) and a wide collection of museums. If the weather is bad, I can definitely recommend the illusion museum!
Continue walking around Prague’s Old Town streets, with coloured houses and many more impressive buildings. For example, you will also come across the famous Strahof Library, which many say is one of the most beautiful libraries in the world.
Bad weather options:
Is the weather bad? Then, of course, you just want to go somewhere inside. In addition to the towers and library, there are more than enough museums, including the National Museum, where you can spend hours wandering around. But there are also more unique experiences, like a famous beer spa. This is something you’ll only find in the Czech Republic. Beer is incredibly healthy for your skin and hair, and you get your own tap next to your beer bath, which also allows you to drink some delicious beers. A beer spa in Prague is a unique local experience.
For lunch, I actually recommend leaving the city centre. First of all, because prices in the city centre are sometimes twice as high as outside, but also because my favourite places aren’t in the city centre. Unless you decide to go for a picnic, then you can order a delicious sandwich at Bageterie Boulevard and eat it, for example, somewhere by the river or in one of Prague’s many parks. You’ll find this chain everywhere and it’s quite affordable.
For the best brunch in Prague, you have to be at Sweet & Pepper days! This is located just east of the centre in Prague’s cosiest district. I’ve already written an article on the best brunch in Prague, so read all my tips there.
Still want to stay in Prague’s old town for lunch? Then I recommend looking for something in Malá Strana. Like Velkopřevorský mlýn for typical Czech. Especially try the goulash soup in a bread “bowl”. Or go vegan at Natureza vegetarian house. My personal favourite is Luka Lu, a Balkan restaurant with some kind of tapas dishes.
Afternoon: Prague castle
After lunch, it’s time to head higher up. Prague is built on hills, which makes for a whole collection of beautiful viewpoints. Several of these can be found around Prague Castle, which is of course built on the highest hill. For that alone, a visit to the castle is worthwhile. But the castle itself in of course also one of the highlights in Prague.
You can see the surroundings for free. You do have to go through a check, but to get to the castle you don’t have to pay anything yet. Entrance to Prague Castle is about €10 (+ €2 if you want to take photos inside) which also allows you to visit the Golden Lane. An old street where castle guards and goldsmiths used to live, hence the name. It is a cute little street with coloured houses, but inside it is a museum with mostly weapons and the history of castle guards. You can also check out some of the old houses and see how these people used to live.
For dinner, I would again recommend leaving the city centre if you want to keep it cheap. But there are plenty of options around the castle, of course. For typical Czech food, you can go to Kuchyň, one of the most popular restaurants in the city, with views over Prague.
For vegetarian Czech food, Vegan’s Prague is the place to be. In a normal Czech restaurant, you won’t be happy as a vegetarian. They often think chicken is vegetarian and your only other option is fried cheese. At this restaurant, you’ll find the classics, like goulash, but vegetarian.
Outside the city centre you will find Narodni Pivovar, one of my favourites. This is a local brewery with Czech restaurant. Or go for an American-style burger restaurant at Sad Man’s Tongue, with delicious cocktails and the biggest selection of veg burgers I’ve ever seen.
Evening: sunset in Letna
My favourite place in Prague is Letna park and then specifically all the viewpoints. You can walk along the edge of the park, which of course is again on a hill. This will take you past several viewpoints for a beautiful sunset over the river. Eventually, you’ll end up at the cosiest beer garden in Prague, Letna beergarden. Especially on a nice summer evening, the place is packed, especially with locals and expats. A drink and the fantastic view are a perfect end to a day in Prague.
How to get in Prague?
You can, of course, take the car or plane to Prague. But of course, this blog wouldn’t be this blog if I didn’t have a more sustainable alternative. Prague is located exactly in the middle of Europe and is therefore easy to reach from most surrounding countries. There are direct trains from Berlin, Vienna and Budapest for example. From Budapest, the train to Prague is often as low as € 11 if you take the regiojet trains.
There are a few nighttrains to Prague, from the following locations:
If you’re coming from London, oyu can opt for the nighttrain from Brussels to Berlin. The Eurostar from London to Brussels connects to this train perfectly and from Berlin there’s a direct train to Prague. You’ll be in Prague by noon. You can of course take the same route during the day, but it will be a full day of travel.
How to get around in Prague?
Prague isn’t particularly big, so it’s easy to walk from A to B, especially since as a tourist, you’ll stay reasonably around the centre. But public transport tickets in Prague are dirt cheap, so you don’t have to put up with it either. Pretty handy if you don’t feel like walking up hills all the time. You can buy a day ticket for €5 at major stations or from the Lítačka app. In trams, you can buy a ticket for a single ride.
Sightseeing in Prague
Don’t feel like walking or figuring things out yourself? Then, of course, there are plenty of tours in Prague that take you around.
Prefer to see the city from the water? Then there are more than enough options for boat tours in Prague.