Prague has always been considered one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, filled with Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture, stunning churches, and all the beer you can drink. There is a lot to see and do in the Czech Republic’s capital to keep you busy for at least a week. But often times people visit Prague as part of a bigger European itinerary and they can only spend 2 or 3 days in the city.
Nonetheless, three days will give you enough time to get a feel for the city and visit some of Prague’s most important sites and landmarks. Prague is compact and easy to navigate via metros, trams, and buses. But for the most part, you can see a lot on foot.
- What’s Unique About Prague
- The Ideal Itinerary for Exploring Prague in 3 Days
- More Than 3 Days in Prague?
- Where to Stay in Prague
- How to Get Around Prague in 3 Days
What’s Unique About Prague
What makes Prague unique is that it’s really old. Unlike the vast majority of Eastern European cities that didn’t survive the bombing of World War II, Prague was given the chance to grow old. And unlike Dresden, whose main landmarks have been rebuild after the WWII, Prague still has the original churches, churches and monuments built centuries ago.
With its soaring gothic towers and domed cathedrals, Prague has been nicknamed the”city of a thousand spires” and once you see its skyline you’ll understand way.
The Ideal Itinerary for Exploring Prague in 3 Days
The list of things to do in Prague is quite long. So long in fact, that it may take weeks to see them all. You can never get bored sightseeing Prague, no matter how often you visit the city.
If this is your first time in Prague, this 3 day guide will show you the best things to see in the city and give you tips on where to stay and how to get around.
Day 1 Itinerary: Charles Bridge, Malá Strana, Old Jewish Cemetery
If there is one landmark in Prague that all visitors will remember, it’s most likely Charles Bridge. The iconic bridge is a very popular attraction and one of the free things to do in Prague. It’s also the most photographed site in the city.
The 600 year-old bridge over the River Vltava was commissioned by King Charles IV in 1357. The bridge replaced the Judith Bridge which was destroyed by a flood in 1342.
Charles Bridge is a pedestrian area connecting Old Town and Lesser Town. Thirty Baroque statues line the sides of the bridge, along with a multitude of vendors, musicians, street artists and beggars. On each end of the bridge there is a tower that you can climb for some great view of the area around.
The bridge is almost never empty. If you want to take a good shot of the bridge without the crowds, you should try to come at dawn, or or late at night. Or you should try to visit Prague in winter, when cold weather keeps the crowds away.
Visiting Charles Bridge is free and is one of the best things to do in Prague with kids.
On the other end of Charles Bridge from Old Town Square lies the Malá Strana or Lesser Town district. The area is home to many old churches, palaces and beautiful gardens, as well as international embassies located in elegant Baroque buildings.
Also in this area are some of some of the best hostels in Prague. Surrounding the Lesser Town Square are pubs, shops, and restaurants with lots of character.
As you stroll through this historic part of the town, you’ll notice many beautifully decorated building façades, particularly on Nerudova Street up which you can walk to reach the castle district and the Church of St. Nicholas.
Old Jewish Cemetery
The Old Jewish Cemetery is among the oldest surviving Jewish burial grounds in the world. The crumbling headstones toppled and clustered together are quite a site!
There are around 12,000 headstones in the cemetery, but it’s believed that over 100,000 bodies are buried below them, stacked up on top of each other. Burials in the Old Jewish Cemetery ceased when a new decree prohibited interment in areas where people lived, because of health risks.
When a new road was closed, part of the cemetery was displaced and the dead and their headstones were moved into empty spaces in the already crowded plots.
It comes to no surprise that many prominent figures in Jewish are buried here.
Day 2 Itinerary: Tin Church, Astronomical Clock, Dancing House
The emblematic structure of Tyn Church (also known as Our Lady before Tyn) dominates one side of the Old Town Square. Its elegant towers soaring 80 meters into the sky and can be seen from all parts of the city. The present Gothic building was founded in 1385 as the main Old Town church. Tyn Church holds many works of art in Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance styles.
The highlight of the Old Town Square is the Astronomical Clock. This complicated oroloj attracts huge crowds every time it strikes. The clock strikes every hour, on the hour. While the bells start ringing, in the upper two windows appear the figures of the 12 Apostles, Death Avarice and Vanity.
Crafted in 1410 by a professor of mathematics, the clock has been working perfectly for the past 600 years. One interesting thing about the Astronomical Clock is the different displays time. You can see Babylonian time, German time and Old Bohemian time, as well as phases of the moon and the sun’s position in the zodiac.
The Dancing House is a modern building designed in by the American architect Frank Gehry in 1969. The non-traditional design was controversial at the time because the house stands out among the Baroque, Gothic and Art Nouveau buildings in Prague.
Gehry originally named the house Fred and Ginger (after the famous dancers Fred Astaire and ) as the building resembles a pair of dancers. However, this nickname is now rarely used.
At the top the building there is a rooftop bar with beautiful panoramic views. This is a great place to go for sundowners. You have an amazing view of the entire city.
Day 3 Itinerary: Prague Castle, Golden Lane, Wenceslas Square
Prague Castle is more like a complex than a single building. The castle buildings consist of the royal palace, the cathedral, three churches, the royal stables and the defensive towers. There is also a basilica and a monastery in the castle area.
Initially, in the 9th century, Prague Castle was just a wooden fortress. By the 11th century, it already included a royal palace. The castle complex is a beautiful example of Gothic architecture. Many kings and emperors are buried here.
Within the castle walls are a number of Prague’s most popular attractions, including St. Vitus Cathedral, the Powder Tower, the Old Royal Palace, and the Golden Lane.
Golden Lane (Zlatá ulička) is an ancient street within the Prague Castle complex. This picturesque street is named for the goldsmiths who lived here during the 17th century. The street is lined with colorful, tiny houses that look like out of a fairy tale. These houses were occupied until the Second World War. Franz Kafka lived and worked in house number 22 from 1916 to 1917.
At the center of the New Town and guarded by the statue of St. Wenceslas, lies one of the two main squares in Prague: Wenceslas Square. The square which is right in the heart of the commercial district, is surrounded by many bars, clubs, restaurants, hotels and shops.
Wenceslas Square is also home to the grand National Museum and the Prague State Opera. It’s also close to most of Prague’s attractions, such as Old Town Square and Charles Bridge.
Much of the Czech’s 20th century history happened in this Square. Political movements and gatherings met at the statue of St. Wenceslas to parade down the square.
More Than 3 Days in Prague?
If you have more than 3 days in Prague, don’t miss some of the other beautiful towns around like Česky Krumlov, Pilsen, or Karlovy Vary. In fact, here are quite a few things to do in Cesky Krumlov if you can spare a few days.
Also, just 2 hours away from Prague, you can visit the rock formations of the Bastei Rocks, in the region of the Saxon Switzerland. Another interesting site to visit in the Saxon Switzerland is the Königstein Castle, about 10 km away from Bastei Rocks.
Where to Stay in Prague
Although Prague is a relatively small and walkable city, where you stay during your visit it’s important. While most tourists choose to stay in or near Prague’s historical center, there are plenty of other nice areas in Prague. Staying in some of these other neighborhoods will still allow you to enjoy the main attractions, while saving you some money.
The most popular neighborhoods for tourists are Malá Strana and Old Town Prague. Find hotels for Old Town Prague here.
Another nice neighborhood is New Town Prague. This 14th century neighborhood that surrounds the Old Town is not exactly new, but it’s easily walkable and very well connected to the tourist areas in Prague. Find hotels in New Town Prague here.
How to Get Around Prague in 3 Days
Prague is easy to navigate. The City Center is a compact and rather small area (2.5 square miles) which can be easily explored on foot. Many of the Prague’s historic districts are within pedestrian zones, including the famous Charles Bridge, Prague Castle and Old Town Square.
For the most part you’ll be walking in Prague, especially if you only have 3 days to spend there. It’s important to bring comfortable walking shoes with thick soles. Walking on the cobblestones can make your feet hurt after a few hours of walking.
If you need to go into the outskirts of the city, you should use public transportation. Prague has an integrated metro, tram and bus network. That means that tickets are valid on all types of transport, and for transfers between them.
We mainly used the metro in Prague, which is the fastest way to get around. If you plan to use the metro lines in Prague, you should get a map of the Metro System and get yourself acquainted with the details before you use the metro. Most of the staff that work in metro stations in Prague do not speak English, so it is best if you know where you are going and how to get there.
You can purchase metro tickets in the metro station or at most newspaper stands. Tickets are valid for a certain amount of time, so be aware of how much time you have on your ticket. Tickets vary from 20 minutes to 120 hours and the cost is based on the length of time the ticket is valid.
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