Now that we’ve been living in Prague for over four months, and have hosted our first visitors, I thought it was about time I wrote up an itinerary for how to spend 3 days in Prague. The nice thing about this itinerary is that it’s the perfect balance between always-here local and visiting tourist – because that’s what we are as expats! We’re not quite locals and we’re not quite tourists.
So this itinerary will have the best of both worlds. During your 3 days in Prague you’ll get to see the tourist classics that you really can’t miss but you’ll also visit some hidden gems that only the locals (and us expats) know about.
Ready? Let’s spend 3 days in Prague!
Day 1: Easing into Prague, A Local’s Route
On your first day in Prague, we’re going to focus on a few places that are slightly more off of the beaten path so you can fall in love with the charming part of Prague (and not be immediately turned off by the crowds on the Charles Bridge). These places should be less crowded, more authentic and give you a taste of Czech life.
Since today is your local day in Prague, you don’t need to run off to a big tourist sight first thing in the morning. Instead, ease into your time in Prague and spend your morning at a great local cafe or having a breakfast picnic in the park. Cafe Louvre is a great spot for breakfast, and was once frequented by Einstein and Kafka. It can get busy, so be sure to go early. Or if you’d rather take your breakfast outdoors, head out to Grebovka. This beautiful park is home to a man-made cave, fountains, and a vineyard!
Or, take an even more local approach to your morning, and discover a new cafe and park in your own neighbourhood. The best way to appreciate a city like Prague is just to walk around it and find something new. I can highly recommend our neighbourhood, Vinohrady, as a great spot to walk amongst beautiful buildings and discover some great cafes and parks. If you want to know my favourites in the area, just ask!
Following your leisurely morning, it’s time to do a little sightseeing. Your first stop is Vysehrad, Prague’s other castle. Vysehrad is Prague Castle’s little sister and (spoiler alert!) most people like it way better than Prague Castle (though after your 3 days in Prague, you’ll be able to judge that for yourself). Vysehrad is a lot quieter and less crowded than Prague castle. We went on a Monday afternoon and pretty much had the whole place to ourselves.
There’s tons to discover at Vysehrad. Unlike other castles you may be familiar with, this one isn’t really about ornate bedrooms and ballrooms. It’s more about discovering the grounds. Play on the jungle gym, check out the views over the river, marvel at the giant statues and even enjoy a pint at the castle’s beer garden. You won’t want to miss the beautiful church and super cool cemetery. Seriously, some of the tombstones are unreal!
My last tip for Vysehrad? Check out the casemates! The casemates are an area of Vysehrad where the army used to stay to be able to shoot at attackers while staying protected (can you tell I know a lot about medieval warfare? Not!). But the cool part about the casemates these days is that they house a few of the original statues from the Charles Bridge. That’s right; those statues you see today on the Charles Bridge are not the originals. The originals have all been moved as they were getting damaged by the elements (and also bird poop). So if you want some face time with giant statues from the 1300s, you need to head to Vysehrad.
We did a guided tour of the casemates and there were less than 10 of us in the group! It was also pretty cheap (a few dollars each I believe) and included a video explaining the history of Prague (that I slept through).
Once you’ve finished exploring all of Vysehrad, you should have time for one more stop before dinner. Make a pit stop at the Dancing House. This building on the river is one of the most famous in Prague because they say it looks like a pair of dancers, Ginger and Fred to be precise. To be honest, I don’t really see the dancers, but I do think the building looks cool. And it’s an easy stop from Vysehrad back into the city centre.
Bonus tip: I haven’t done it myself but apparently the view from the top of Dancing House is awesome. Head up to the sky bar (if you buy a drink, you can go onto the terrace for free) and take it in! I’m hoping we get to do that one of these days.
Finally, end your first day in Prague like the locals do, with some good old Czech food! Full disclosure: I don’t really enjoy Czech food. I’m not a fan of gravy, bread potatoes and meals that don’t have any vegetables. But even I would recommend at least giving the local fare a try.
Lokal is a local (get it?) favourite for cheap and delicious Czech food and beer. There are a few locations around and you can’t go wrong. Another favourite of ours is Hajnovka in Vinohrady. I’m a big fan of the beef medallions and the steak tartare. And, of course, it’s not a Czech meal without a Czech beer!
Day 2: Old Town Highlights, The Tourist Trail
On your second of 3 days in Prague, it’s time to hit the tourist trail. Yes, these places are going to be crowded. And yes, they’re written about in all of the guide books. But you also can’t leave Prague without seeing them. That would be like leaving London without checking out Big Ben or Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower. So pack your patience, and get ready to see why these sights are so popular.
One of my favourite things to do in a new city is a walking tour. It’s a great way to get an introduction to a place and learn a little bit more about the culture and history than you would walking it alone. Plus, most of these tours are free (you tip at the end) and cover the main area of the city. I would highly recommend starting your second day in Prague with a walking tour of the Old Town.
We did a tour while we were hosting our moms here and it was awesome! Even though Colin and I had walked many of the streets before, it was really interesting to learn more about their significance. An Old Town tour should cover some of the Prague basics like the Astronomical Clock (get ready to be underwhelmed by the hourly show), the Jewish Quarter and Wenceslas Square.
PS: While you’re by the clock, duck into the New Prague City Hall and ride the Paternoster – an elevator that doesn’t stop!
If you end up on the same tour that we did, your tour will end right in front of Prague’s most photographed, sought after, and crowded spot: Charles Bridge. And yes, you do have to walk across it. You’re in Prague after all! It’s going to be crowded but you can do it. Just stick with your group, push past the first wave of tourists and try not to stop mid-way for a selfie stick photo.
They say if you go first thing in the morning or very late at night, the bridge is deserted. But I’m starting to think that so many people are saying that these days that it’s no longer true. But it would at least be less crowded. So if crowd-free photos of the Charles Bridge are important to you, try hitting it at 3:00AM.
Once you’ve made it across the bridge, it’s time to experience Prague from the water! That’s right – a boat cruise. Yes, these are touristy (I told you today was the tourist trail day) but they’re also really fun. The Vltava River runs through Prague and you can see a lot of the city from it. There are lots of different cruise options from short sailings with a tour guide to longer sailings that include meals.
After a full day of learning about Prague’s history and fighting crowds in the Old Town, it’s time to head out of the centre and refuel. And there’s no place better to refuel than Kantyna, an old bank that has been converted into a restaurant. The interior of this place is super cool and the food is great (unless you’re a vegetarian, since they mostly serve butcher-style meat). But it does get crowded, so try to come early!
Day 3: All About Those Views
On the last of your 3 days in Prague, it’s time to appreciate the city from above. Today is all about taking in the gorgeous views of Prague and learning why they call it the city of one hundred spires. Today is a fun mix of tourist hotspots and local favourites (including a beer garden or two!). If you only had one day in Prague, this is the one itinerary I would recommend!
Your first stop on your last day in Prague is Kampa Park. Kampa Park is on the other side of the Vltava River and has great views of the Charles Bridge, river, cute yellow penguins and the crawling babies that usually live on Zizkov Tower (you have to see them to believe them!).
From Kampa Park, you’re just a block or so away from the John Lennon Wall. The wall started out as a tribute to John Lennon when the Beatle died in 1980 and went on to become an expression of political protest during the communist regime. Today, it’s supposed to represent global ideas of peace and love. However, it’s not always respected. Due to some recent controversial art, and the fact that some tourists think it’s okay to paint all over the wall and nearby trees (it’s not!), the wall was closed in mid-October. Hopefully it’s open again, and more respected, by the time you read this.
Okay, it’s time for the big one: Prague Castle! This is one of the highlights of any Prague itinerary and it is bound to be busy, so be prepared. But it’s also pretty incredible. The standout is definitely St. Vitus Cathedral with the crazy-cool stained glass windows (a friend tells me the windows are actually sponsored by insurance companies!).
After the cathedral, your ticket should get you into a few other buildings and areas of the castle complex. Golden Lane was cool, but very crowded. I would definitely recommend Rosenberg Palace. I love walking through rooms dressed up in period furnishings, windows with beautiful views and areas with no crowds – and that’s Rosenberg Palace for you! Following Rosenberg, you’ll want to spend some time enjoying the views on the wall overlooking the river.
Once you’re done with the castle, you can take a quick ride (or slightly longer walk) over to Letna Beer Garden. This is one of my favourite views over Prague and never seems to be too terribly busy. We went in the late afternoon on a Wednesday and it was pretty empty. But Colin and I have also been on a weekend afternoon in the summer and even then it was busy, but not totally packed. Grab a beer, sit back and enjoy the view!
Thought we were done with the views? Not quite yet! I have one final view for you to end your 3 days in Prague. Pack a picnic dinner (or just get UberEats like we do) and head up the hill in Riegrovy Sady for the most beautiful sunset view over Old Town and Prague Castle.
This grassy hill can get busy on a nice summer evening but there’s always space for one more picnic blanket. No one will bother you if you want to bring your own food and drink, but there’s also a beer garden (this is Prague, after all!). Get in place before the sun starts to set and hang out until it’s dark and the Prague Castle is all lit up. Fun fact: the Rolling Stones actually paid for the Prague Castle to be lit! They held a concert in Prague after the fall of communism (the tag line was “Stones roll in, communism rolls out”) and sat down with the president after their concert. They suggested adding lights to the Prague Castle and even paid to keep it lit!
Riegrovy Sady is my favourite view and I’m so lucky that it’s our local park. I love walking Ellie there in the mornings and having the view all to myself – but it’s also pretty awesome with a group of people at sunset.
Where to stay in Prague?
Here is my very biased opinion on where to stay: In terms of neighbourhood, I really think our neighbourhood of Vinohrady is perfect. It’s a really beautiful place to stay with stunning buildings and parks. There’s everything you need nearby like restaurants, shops, cafes, grocery stores and really great transit connections. It’s a quick walk into the Old Town and yet it’s quiet at night. Plus, it’s very close to the train station!
My other (extremely biased) recommendation for where to stay would be Maximilian Hotel. It’s situated in between the Old Town and the Jewish Quarter, so in another very cool neighbourhood close to all of the sights. The hotel is brand new (renovations were just completed this summer), the rooms are beautiful, the restaurant serves some delicious food and the staff are super friendly! But I might just be a little biased since Colin used to work there 😉
More than 3 days in Prague?
Have more than 3 days in Prague? Awesome! There’s so much more to see. Honestly, I would say three days is the minimum you should have in Prague but you could easily fill five days or even an entire week. Here are some of my recommendations:
- There is so much more to see in Prague beyond this itinerary. Some suggestions include the cubist cafe in Old Town, Petrin Hill, Zizkov Tower, the island of Strelecky Ostrov, Parukarka and Colloredo Mansfeld Palace.
- Prague is home to lots of cool neighbourhoods. I’m a fan of ours, Vinohrady, but there’s also cool spots like Letna, Holesovice, Mala Strana, and many more! Get out of the Old Town and start discovering.
- Prague is lousy with festivals and events, especially in the summer. Check out what’s on during your visit and you might be able to stop by a wine festival, coffee festival, interactive lights display show, cider festival or writers festival (and that’s just what’s on this week!).
- If you have enough time for a day trip, there are lots of places nearby that are worth visiting. The Sedlec Ossuary (bone church) in Kutna Hora is definitely a great add-on to your Prague itinerary and it’s only 30 minutes away. Karlstejn Castle is also only 30 minutes away. And Pilsen (or Plzen), home of Pilsner beer, is less than two hours away. Other great Czech towns you could visit on a day or weekend trip include Karlovy Vary (2.5 hr train), Pardubice (1 hr train), Liberec Mountain (2 hr train), Pisek (2 hr train), Brno (3 hr train), Bohemia Switzerland (you might need a car for this one), Cesky Krumlov (2.5-3.5 hr train), and South Moravia (the Czech wine region!). Or if you want to cross a border, you can reach Dresden, Germany in two hours!
- From Prague, you can easily keep travelling to many countries in Europe. That’s the beauty of being in the centre of the continent! In six hours or less on the train you can be in Berlin, Nuremberg, Munich, Vienna, Salzburg, Bratislava or Budapest.
- Need more suggestions for your time in Prague? Check out Honest Guide.
Tips for spending 3 days in Prague
- I’ve learned quite a lot since moving to Prague in June. Here are some of the things I didn’t know before living in Prague. Give it a read to help prepare before your trip.
- The Czech language is extremely difficult. They say it’s one of the hardest languages in the world and takes years to master. So you probably won’t become fluent during your 3 days in Prague. But it’s always nice to learn a few words and use them with locals. Some handy ones are dobrý den (hello), děkuji (thank you), and nemluvím česky (I don’t speak Czech).
- Public transportation in Prague is excellent! It’s very efficient, well-connected, clean and affordable. Don’t be afraid to jump on a tram, metro or bus instead of into a taxi or Uber (though Uber and Bolt are quite cheap too). Just be sure to buy a ticket and validate it because it’s a $50 fine if you’re caught without one! This is especially important at the airport where transit police seem to target tourists who aren’t familiar with how to buy and validate a ticket.
- The Czech currency is the koruna (or crown). Despite being a member of the EU, the Czech Republic doesn’t use the euro. A lot of vendors will accept euros, but you won’t be getting as good a rate as if you had used crowns. But if you only have 3 days in Prague it probably doesn’t make sense to take out a bunch of crowns. Luckily, Prague is very credit card friendly. You should be able to pay for almost everything on your card and not need to take out crowns at all.
- Just like New York has the bodega and Tokyo has its 7/11 or Family Mart, Prague has the potraviny. A potraviny is a small convenience store/grocery store that has everything you could possibly need in a very small space. They’re located on practically every corner and usually run by a Vietnamese family. We visit our local potraviny (right next door) far too often for everything from chocolate and beer to milk, cheese and cereal.
- If you get sick of Czech food (no judgment, I was sick of it after one meal), there’s lots of other great options in Prague. The best option? Vietnamese food! There’s a huge population of Vietnamese people in the Czech Republic so the Vietnamese food here is excellent. I’m a big fan of Chilli & Lime.
- Prague is very dog-friendly! If you’re travelling with a dog, you’ll be welcomed in Prague. There are lots of parks, many with off-leash areas, and public boxes that supply poop bags. Many restaurants, shops and hotels are also pet-friendly.
And there you have it – an expat’s itinerary for 3 days in Prague!
So, are you sold? When should I be expecting you to visit Prague?
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