72 Hours in Prague
Welcome to our 3 days in Prague itinerary! 72 hours is perfect to make the most of this city. Planning a trip is fun but time consuming, however with this Prague Travel Guide you won't have to spend much time thinking about what to see in Prague. Just follow our suggestions and we are sure you'll have an amazing time. Enjoy!
Prague, capital of the Czech Republic, is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. This fascinating city developed from the union of 5 ancient cities built on the banks of the Vltava River and it has become one of the most popular European destinations due to its stunning buildings and culture: from a medieval Astronomical Clock to a hilltop castle to the famous Charles Bridge, Prague never disappoints.
Whether you are looking for inspiration or already in the city, our 72 hours guide will help you plan the perfect trip and make the most of your stay. Enjoy!
Stride Across Charles Bridge
Reward your inner early bird, or summon the strength in a strong cup of tea, and start your day at Charles Bridge in the golden hours after sunrise. Stretching east to west across the Vltava river, and guarded on each end by 14th and 15th century gothic towers, Charles Bridge is one of the most recognised, beautiful, and myth-shrouded bridges in the world: legend has its construction began at exactly 05:31 on the ninth of July, 1357, an auspicious time chosen by Charles IV’s advisors, and was built with mortar fortified by eggs, wine and milk.
Stretch your legs while appreciating 30 statues along the north and south balustrades, pausing approximately halfway across at the St. John of Nepomuk statue, recognisable for its shiny, worn bronze relief. St. John was thrown from the bridge in 1383 for refusing to tell a jealous king the secrets from his wife’s confessions, and scenes of his life are featured on the relief, which assures you’ll return to Prague one day if rubbed.
Other landmarks that can be enjoyed from the bridge include Prague Castle, the teal dome of St. Nicholas Church framed by the Lesser Town Bridge Tower, and the National Theatre’s distinctive gold roof.
Visit Old Town Square & The Astronomical Clock
From Charles Bridge’s eastern end, weave your way through Old Town’s narrow lanes to Old Town Square and the Astronomical Clock. The oldest working astronomical clock in the world, time your visit for the top of the hour, when the clock performs a show dating back to the 15th century, in which figures of the Apostles and those representing vanity, greed, death and pleasure parade in front of the astronomical face and wheels (9am to 9pm).
When the show is over, enjoy Old Town Square from above by climbing to the top of the 14th century Old Town Hall tower, rising almost 70 metres above street level and offering views of the Sleeping Beauty-esque Our Lady Before Týn church and the city’s characteristic red roofs.
If you’re peckish, head to the western edge of the square, where stalls selling Czech beer, Prague ham, and other specialities operate day and night throughout the year.
Explore Prague’s Old Jewish Ghetto
From the western edge of Old Town Square, follow Kaprova Street to see the birthplace of Franz Kafka (Ul. Radnice 5, Náměstí Franze Kafky 3), Prague’s most famous literary son, at the corner of Kaprova and Maiselova.
Continue north along Maiselova to the Jewish Museum Prague Information and Reservation Centre (Maiselova 15), where you can buy tickets to the multi-site Jewish Museum. Don’t miss the Spanish Synagogue, inarguably the most beautiful in Prague; the Old New Synagogue, the legendary resting place of the Prague Golem; and the Old Jewish Cemetery, one of the largest of its kind and layered 20 graves high in some areas.
When you’re finished, walk back toward Old Town Square via the ritzy Pařížská Street, casting your eyes downward to catch glimpses of the many ‘stumbling stones’ inlaid along Pařížská’s sidewalks. While not unique to Prague, the bronze ‘stumbling stones’ are nonetheless a moving conclusion following a visit to Prague’s Jewish quarter, honouring victims of the Holocaust outside their former homes.
Embark Along The Royal Way
Trod the path of ancient kings, beginning at Republic Square (Náměstí Republiky), the starting point of the royal coronation route.
The impressive art nouveau Municipal House sits on the former site of a 14th and 15th century Royal Palace, and is the spot from which future kings began their coronation journey. Today, the art nouveau exterior, interior decor, and concert hall are the attraction, along with a number of cafés and restaurants.
Next to the Municipal House is the Powder Gate, a decorative tower through which the coronation procession passed. If your legs are up to it, climb 186 stairs for a different view of Prague’s Old Town before passing under the gate along Celetná street to the House of the Black Madonna (corner of Celetná street and Ovocný trh), Prague’s finest cubist architecture and home to the elegant Grand Café Orient. Follow Ovocný trh away from the Powder Gate, weaving through the narrow streets until you reach Wenceslas Square.
Consider Modern Czech History on Wenceslas Square
If Old Town Square is the heart of ancient Prague, Wenceslas Square is the centre of Prague’s recent history: the reading of the Czechoslovak proclamation of independence in 1918, Jan Palach’s 1969 self-immolation to protest the Soviet invasion, and the mass protests that brought an end to 41 years of communism all took place here.
The bottom of the square — which is really a long, wide boulevard — is filled with Czech sausage stands and fast-fashion shops, while the top is crowned by the Czech National Museum (currently closed for renovation; scheduled to reopen June 2016) and a statue of Saint Wenceslas on his horse. As you explore, take note of the Grand Evropa Hotel, where Kafka held his first public reading of The Judgment, the Lucerna Palace shopping arcade, home to a modern re-interpretation of the Saint Wenceslas statue by Czech sculptor David Černý, and the National Museum New Building, which remains open throughout its sister’s renovation, tucked away just beyond the south-eastern edge.
Enjoy Traditional Czech Food and Beer
Re-fuel with dinner at Lokal (Dlouhá 33), a favourite of both locals and visitors for its homemade and affordable Czech classics, before capping off the day at the Beer Museum, where you’ll quickly come to understand why Czechs drink more beer per capita than almost any nation in the world. It fills up quickly on weekends, so call ahead to make a reservation.
Explore the Lesser Quarter
Cross Charles Bridge to Prague’s Lesser Quarter (Malá Strana), one of the oldest and most historic parts of the city, following Mostecká toward Lesser Town Square (Malostranské Náměstí). While the areas around Prague’s main tourist attractions are typically filled with overpriced, unoriginal, and oftentimes completely unrelated souvenirs (see: Russian and Ukrainian nesting dolls), the shop Manufactura (Mostecká 276/17) offers a nice selection of Czech toys and unique products, such as beer shampoo.
At Lesser Town Square (Malostranské Náměstí), visit the impossible-to-miss St. Nicholas Church, an imposing Baroque building with an aged copper cupola that helps define Prague’s skyline. Built over the course of 100 years by three generations of one architectural family, the 4,000-pipe organ was played by Mozart himself. The adjacent belfry was completed after the church, and is open to climb if you’re so inclined (Malostranské Náměstí 29/556).
From St. Nicholas Church, walk up Nerudova Street, a historically significant conduit linking Charles Bridge to Prague Castle. Look beyond the tourist shops to the building facades where, just above the doorways, many feature intricate sculptural details of animals, musical instruments, or daily objects. Beginning in the middle ages, Praguers distinguished buildings not with house numbers, but with unique architectural features. Check out numbers 12 (Three Fiddles), 16 (Golden Cup), 32 (Golden Lion), 44 (Three Black Eagles), and 47 (Two Suns).
About one-third of the way up, stop in at Creperie U Kajetána (Nerudova 248/17), which is consistently ranked as making the best trdelník in Prague. A cross between an American-style doughnut and a croissant, trdelník is a sweet doughy treat cooked over coals and topped with nuts, cinnamon, and sugar, as well as more modern combinations such as Nutella.
Walk off the calories, continuing up Nerudova (it turns into Úvoz) toward the Strahov Monastery and ridge overlooking the former royal orchards. Follow the concrete barrier until a footpath appears on your left, giving way to a ridge with stunning views of the garden and city. At Restaurant Bellavista (Strahovské nádvoří 132/1), take the short set of steps to Strahov Monastery (Strahovský Klášter).
Explore An Ancient Monastery and Try Some Monastic Beer
One of the oldest monasteries of its kind, Strahov has more or less been a working monastery since it was founded in the mid-12th century. Today, the sure highlights are Theological Hall and Philosophical Hall, both of which feature ornately frescoed ceilings. If either looks familiar, that’s because Strahov was featured in the 2006 version of Casino Royale, with the Library standing in for a room within the London Parliament.
A trip to the Monastery isn’t complete without a trip to the Strahov Monastic Brewery (Klášterní Pivovar Strahov), a turn-of-the-14th-century brewery. Try a glass of their award-winning beer and fill up on something hearty before walking back in the direction you came, down Úvoz toward Prague Castle.
Roam Through One Of The Largest Castle Complexes In The World
Backtrack down Úvoz, taking a left at Ke Hradu and walking up the stairs on your right-hand side to Castle Square (Hradčanské Náměstí) for a view that stretches across almost the entire city.
A common joke heard at Prague castle is, “Where’s the castle?” The imposing figure visitors and locals ogle from below is actually St. Vitus Cathedral, the beating heart and main attraction within a broader complex made up of palaces, gardens and administrative buildings. While you could easily spend an entire day exploring the castle complex, for most visitors, a trip to St. Vitus Cathedral, Golden Lane and, in summer, the Castle Gardens will suffice.
From the main gate, follow the crowds to St. Vitus Cathedral, the most important church in the Czech Republic. You can enter the first section of the cathedral for free, or purchase a Prague Castle Circuit A or B ticket (250 to 350 CKZ) for more complete access, including the chance to see the gold and gem-encrusted St. Wenceslas Chapel and an up-close view of a stained glass window by art nouveau artist Alphonse Mucha. The Southern Tower and viewing gallery is accessible separately for 150 CZK, and 287 steps worth of effort.
From St. Vitus, continue deeper into the castle complex to the cute and colourful Golden Lane, named after either the alchemists who searched in that location for the magical chemical reaction that would finally produce gold or the goldsmiths that lived there. Entrance to Golden Lane and it houses is included with a Prague Castle A or B circuit ticket, or free in the evenings after the castle (and houses) are closed.
If you visit between Spring and Autumn, spend some time wandering through the Southern and terraced gardens, which will take you all the way down to Malá Strana. If the gardens are closed, or you’re ready for a break, catch Tram 22 from Prague Castle back to Old Town.
Take A Break From Czech Food And Beer (Or Not)
Head to Café Colore for dinner (Palackého 740/1), a find for its location just beyond the tourist hub, reasonable prices and high quality food. After your meal, walk the 10 minutes to Anonymous Bar for a night cap (Michalská 12). If you’re feeling adventurous, order the ‘password’ to start, giving you access to their truly creative secret menu. Both fill up quickly, and reservations are recommended.
Get Into The Fin De Siècle Spirit
Start your day at the elegant Café Savoy (Vítězná 5, Prague 5 Malá Strana), where the baked-daily pastries and fresh-brewed coffee take a back seat to the setting itself. Built in the late 19th century during the height of La Belle Époque and Bohemian café culture, breakfast at today’s Savoy is a dignified affair, with impeccably-suited waiters serving a mix of locals and tourists under a beautifully restored art nouveau ceiling. Order the Savoy Breakfast, but be sure to book ahead online, especially at the weekends.
Visit Prague’s Version Of The Eiffel Tower
From Savoy, it’s a short walk to The Memorial to the Victims of Communism at the base of Petřín Hill, which rises 130 metres above Malá Strana and houses Prague’s answer to the Eiffel Tower.
Pause at the series of 7 emaciated and decaying bronze sculptures for a poignant reminder of the city’s not-too-distant past, before strolling up the footpath to the Petřín Hill funicular, which is a part of the public transport system. Try to get a seat near the bottom of the car to enjoy great views of the Vltava River, Malá Strana and Old Town as the funicular takes you 2 stops to the top, where you can climb close to 300 steps up the Petřín Lookout Tower (CZK 120).
If you’re feeling adventurous, walk back down through Petřín Park, one of the city’s nicest. Alternatively, take the funicular down to Újezd Tram stop, walking north along its namesake road for one block before turning right on Říční to Kampa Park and Island.
Relax On Kampa
Walk north through the Park to colourful Kampa Island, separated from Malá Strana by an artificial stream. Relaxed and quaint, Kampa is built for wandering and is lined with cafés and restaurants along the main drag.
Take a left on Hroznová, following the bend and crossing the narrow bridge with lovelocks to the John Lennon wall at Velkopřevorské Náměstí. The Lennon Wall sprung spontaneously into being in the 1980s, when young Czechs painted his face and lyrics onto an until-then obscure wall following Lennon’s assassination. Meant to mark his passing and their longing for the freedom he espoused, the wall quickly became a thorn in the side of the secret police, which regularly whitewashed the messages of politics and hope. Today, the wall is a popular tourist attraction; if you’d like to leave a message on the wall, be sure to bring your own marker.
Piss & Kafka
Double back to Kampa’s main drag and walk north to the Kafka Museum, which offers an excellent window into his life and the influence of Prague (Cihelná, Prague 1). Before entering the museum, be sure to spend a minute appreciating the unusual sculpture in the courtyard, titled simply, ‘Piss.’
Get Ready For A Dance
Finish your visit by strolling south along the east bank of the Vltava, passing the ‘Dancing House’ or ‘Fred and Ginger’ building (Tančící dům) by architects Vlado Milunić and Frank Gehry. The building itself has a nice French and international restaurant, Ginger & Fred, although a more unique option in nice weather is to find a staircase down to river level, and dine on one of the several boat and barge restaurants available, such as the year-round Botel Matylda restaurant.