Gothic spires and pointed roofs dot the skyline of Prague and a slow river winds through the heart of this beautiful old city. Historical and charming, Prague continues to draw visitors. 3 days in Prague is just enough to take in some of the city’s best highlights, including the Old Town, Charles Bridge and Prague Castle. There are also recommendations for places to stay and eat included in this travel itinerary for 3 days in Prague.
3 days in Prague | Day 1: The Old Town
Check into your hotel in the Prague 1 area, which is closest to all the action. The Old Town makes a wonderful base for 3 days in Prague, with a cosmopolitan city vibe, cocktail bars aplenty and the occasional party of revellers. The Grand Hotel Bohemia is a traditional and luxurious building with modern rooms.
Or, if you prefer a quieter, more sophisticated vibe, book into the Design Hotel Neruda, a boutique hotel on the Malá Strana side of Prague 1. The rooms here are light, airy and modern, with free wifi throughout, and the location is still within walking distance to all of Prague’s major sights – perfect for when you only have a long weekend here.
Start your 3 days in Prague with the picturesque square in Staromestke Namesti, the Old Town Square, which looks almost exactly the same as it did in the 10th century. There is plenty of gorgeous architecture to soak in, everything from Gothic Tyn Church, Baroque St Nicholas and the gloriously Roccoco Kinsky Palace. On any given day there is often an ever changing and colourful cast of buskers, musicians, dancers and vendors entertaining visitors to the square. There’s also the Astronomical Clock, with its hourly displays of the Twelve Apostles. If the day is fine and you’re up for it, take a climb up to the Old Town Hall tower – the views across Prague’s rooftops are spectacular.
Next stop is the Jewish Quarter, also known as Josefov, which is not far from Old Town Square. This is one of the few Central European Jewish towns to have survived the Holocaust. To make the most of your time here, it may be worth it to go on a Jewish Prague walking tour, which includes a fully narrated tour as well as entrance into the Jewish Museum. If you prefer to go independently you can – most good Prague guidebooks include a walking tour with a map and notes you can follow. The Jewish Museum is definitely worth a visit, as well as the 4 still working synagogues in the area, the Old Jewish Cemetery and the Ceremonial Hall.
All this walking and sight seeing should have worked up an appetite by now, so head to a local hospoda such as U Sádlů for traditional, cheap and tasty Czech cuisine like goulash, dumplings, pork and potatoes. The restaurant is only a 10 minute walk to the west from the Franz Kafka statue.
After dinner, take yourself to a symphony performance. The best is the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, which plays regularly at the Rudolfinum, but there are also other options for classical live music, from solo violinists to string quartets playing anywhere from street corners to churches. The most atmospheric performances take place at the 18th century Saint Nicholas Church, across the water near Prague Castle, which offer both jazz and classical concerts.
For the night owls amongst you, the revelry is just starting. There is a host of cocktail bars in Old Town offering all sorts of cocktail concoctions. Try Tretters, which is a short (stumble) walk away from the Old Town Square, or Hemingway’s Bar, which is a slight walk away near the river. If you’re after an experience with the green fairy, or absinthe, head over to Absintherie, which has an extensive absinthe cocktail list. For the brave, try it the traditional way – absinthe, water, and a sugar cube on a slotted spoon.
3 days in Prague | Day 2: Prague Castle and the River Vltava
Prague’s most iconic bridge is of course, Charles Bridge. Best visited in the early sunrise or late sunset hours and also the busiest during these times, the bridge is most atmospheric in the winter, when fog curls up from the river and shrouds the famous statues on the bridge with mystery. For an amazing view, you can climb the towers on both side of the bridge – the best one is on the Old Town side for better views.
Walk across the bridge and make your way to Prague Castle, which watches over the city from atop its fortified hill. The castle itself is a fascinating site and well worth a few hours exploration. You can hire a guide, or if you prefer to go at your own pace, a good guidebook will do. While you’re here, check out the Gothic spires of St Vitus Cathedral, dark and brooding and filled with history.
The area around Prague Castle itself is charmingly picturesque, with twisted, narrow, cobblestone streets filled with tiny shops, bars and restaurants. There are a number of bohemian antique stores, traditional toy shops and puppetry shops here as well if you fancy a rummage through. When you’re hungry, stop for lunch at U Mlynare, which serves traditional Czech cuisine in a casual setting.
The Vltava is calm and glowing in the rays of the setting sun. The castle is always there, and the seven bridges, fading into the distance. I like the water, and the sunlight. The city is quiet with the small hustle and bustle of a Sunday evening.
If you’d rather see Prague from the water, forego lunch on land and hop on a river cruise instead. Usually taking between 2-4 hours, a cruise on the Vltava on a fine day is a wonderful way of seeing the best of what this medieval city has to offer. Prague is known for its many bridges and the cruise will take you under many beautiful bridges and buildings, including the St. Agnes Monastery, the oldest gothic building built in the 13th century. There are also tours that include both Prague Castle and a river cruise, which will take care of all logistics for you.
In the evening, take a hike to Letna Park, an expanse of green space to the north east of Old Town. Popular with families in the summer months, with its many paths to explore, the views from here are well worth the climb. Start with a couple of beers at the Letna Beer Garden, then give yourself enough time for a walk over to Hanavasky Pavilion for dinner with a stunning view of Prague’s rooftops, spires and bridges.
At night, bunker down at Bunkr Parukarka, a quirky nightclub housed in (you guessed it!) a 1950s nuclear bunker. Through a graffiti covered door that sticks out from the side of a hill, DJs spin mostly avant-garde electro pop, sprinkled with some industrial house music. The club is located in Prague 3, so catch a cab there and back.
3 days in Prague | Day 3: Bohemian rhapsody
For the more artistically inclined, Prague has a host of sculpture, music and literary stops, including quirky works by the country’s most famous sculptor, David Cerny. Many of his pieces remain on public display throughout the city, including Babies, which is an installation of 10 giant sized babies crawling up towards a television tower, Brownnosers, where visitors can climb ladies and stick their heads into the backsides of two oversized statues outside Futura Gallery and Piss, a sculpture of two male figures urinating into a puddle, spelling out literary quotations.
If you are more interested in Prague’s communist history, visit the Museum of Communism, which details the history of the velvet revolution of the Czech Republic. Propaganda or real life? Visit and decide yourself. Finally, pay your respects to the thousands who were arrested under communist rule when they tried to flee the border, at the simple Memorial to the Victims of Communism, which shows six stages of man’s progressive decay.
End your 3 days in Prague with a celebratory meal at La Degustation Boheme Bourgeois, which offers Michelin starred cuisine, a departure from the more traditional Czech fare on the menu for the last few days.