Prague is a city that’s stolen a bit of my heart. My recent trip was my second 3-day trip to Prague, and I definitely wish I could have spent longer in both the city and the Czech Republic. Nowadays, Prague is one of the hottest tourist spots in Central Europe, and is very much open to tourism. Prague is a comfortable city: I found it very easy to travel as an English-speaker, as many people in the stores, restaurants, and attractions speak English (or at least enough in order to get by), and many places have information in English. A city so beautiful that Hitler spared it from destruction (as they say), Prague is truly a stunning city with remarkable architecture. Here’s my guide for making the most of Prague in three short days!
If Prague is your only stop in the Czech Republic, I’d recommend spending two full days soaking up the sites in the city center of Prague, and spending your third day on a daytrip outside of the city.
Prague Castle should be one of the top sites for any visitor. It’s a steep, meandering hike up to the castle, but the views are incredible. The Castle complex is made up of several different buildings and exhibits, and they have two different tours you can buy for your self-guided tour around the castle. I did the Short Tour/Circuit B (as opposed to the Long Tour/Circuit A), which I was very pleased with and didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything. On Circuit B, I got to see the Old Royal Palace, St. Vitus Cathedral, the Basilica of St. George, and Golden Lane.
Make sure you check out the stunning St. Vitus Cathedral while you’re in the castle. The cathedral was completed in 1929, almost 600 years after construction first started. There are also great views of the city from all over the castle. Give yourself a few hours to do the castle area justice.
The John Lennon Wall is on the same side of the river as Prague Castle. It’s a graffiti landmark in Prague that’s definitely worth a stop. On that same side of the river is St. Nicholas’ Church, a Baroque church that’s also definitely worth visiting. Make sure you visit the gallery to see the church nave from above!
The famous Gothic Charles Bridge, crossing the Vltava River, is lined with huge, old, beautiful statues. The bridge tends to get super crowded with tourists (and vendors), so visiting either early morning or evening (dawn/dusk) would be your best bet if you’re looking to avoid crowds.
Old Town Square (Staromestke namesti) is the central tourist area—you can admire the old churches, colorful houses, tourist shops, and more. The two main churches are Tyn Church and another St. Nicholas Church. Be there on the hour and see the Astronomical Clock from 1410—there will be hordes of tourists (waiting with ready cameras) to see the windows of the clock open and the figures inside peek out.
The Dancing House is the nickname for a modern building south of Old Town Square along the Vlatava River. Look for signs for “Tančící dům.”
Josefov neighborhood is another must-see in Prague. The neighborhood is the old Jewish quarter of Prague, and there are several different places to explore. The Jewish Museum is actually a collection of several different buildings in the surrounding area, including: the Maisel Synagogue, the Pinkas Synagogue, the Old Jewish Cemetery, the Klausen Synagogue, the Ceremonial Hall, and the Spanish Synagogue. All of the places were interesting in their own way, with different exhibits on Jewish life and culture, and buying an all-around ticket was an efficient way for me to see them all. The Old-New Synagogue is also worth visiting—it’s the oldest active synagogue in Europe.
Another great area in Prague is Wenceslas Square in New Town, with tons of shopping and restaurants. The Museum of Communism is in that area and exhibits what it was like to live under communism. It’s a little quirky, but great for history lovers like myself. Complete with statues of Lenin, Stalin, and more, it was a fascinating look into everyday life in Prague during the time of communism. It also charts the events in the late 1980s that led to the Czech Republic’s transition to democracy.
No trip to Prague would be complete without one of the Czech Republic’s greatest gifts to the world: beer. Czech beer is great and cheap and should be on any Prague “To Do” list. (Cheap=$1.50/half liter!) In terms of food, throughout the city you will see these delicious cinnamon sugar pastries being made in food stands—they’re called a trdelnik and are absolutely amazing, please buy and eat as many as possible.
If you’ve “czeched” out Prague’s main sites and still have the time, a daytrip to see the Czech countryside is a must.
I’ve done two daytrips from Prague: my first daytrip was to Kutna Hora, an easy train journey from Prague’s main rail station. The two main attractions in Kutna Hora are St. Barbara’s Cathedral, a stunning Gothic cathedral with a huge nave and wall paintings, and exquisite ribbed vaulting (and a UNESCO site!), and the Sedlec Ossuary, a small monastery decorated with the bones of over 40,000 people. The ossuary was about a 3km walk through town from the cathedral.
My daytrip on this most recent trip was to Cesky Krumlov, one of the most picturesque small towns I’ve ever visited. The main attraction is the castle—the views from the tower are incredible! The town itself has a few churches, a regional museum (which was unfortunately closed when I visited), and two monasteries. It was a 3-hour bus ride there and then another 3 hours back to Prague, but it was definitely worth the early start. Student Agency has buses running almost every hour—just make sure to book in advance, as they sell out quickly. (These buses don’t leave from the main bus station, but from one further south of the Old Town.) Check out my full post on Cesky Krumlov here!
Getting around: Prague is a fairly compact city, and most things are within walking distance. The city has an extensive tram system, as well as a Metro with three different lines. You need to buy a ticket (24czk for 30 minutes, or 32czk for 90 minutes) from a ticket machine and validate your ticket at the machines before you get on.
Where I stayed: The first time around, I stayed at Tyn Hostel. It was in an excellent location about 2 minutes walk from Old Town Square in a quiet back street, with clean bathrooms, free breakfast, helpful staff, computers with internet, and the most comfortable hostel dorm bed I’ve ever slept in. The only downside was that it was really difficult to find, tucked away in winding alleys.
On this trip, I stayed at Art Hole Hostel, which I also really liked. It had a good location that was very close walking distance to both Old Town and the train station, spacious dorms, free towels, free breakfast, super friendly and helpful staff, multiple kitchens, and computers with internet. The downsides I found were the tiny bathrooms, lockers that were too small/not wide enough for my backpack, and wifi that worked only sporadically in the upstairs room. It is also spread over several different floors and there isn’t an elevator. I would definitely recommend both Art Hole Hostel and Tyn Hostel if you’re looking for accommodation in Prague!
Prague in three days is an absolute whirlwind—there’s so much to see and do, you can only really scratch the surface of such a remarkable place. If you have the time, try to spend a day outside the city on a daytrip to experience more of the Czech countryside after exploring some of the city’s main attractions. Prague is a beautiful city and I know it’s a place I’ll return to again!
Have you ever been to Prague? Let me know what you thought in the comments below!