Since 2016, we’ve made four trips to Prague, which is actually a little crazy when you consider that we live in the United States. We’ve been at three different times of the year, and each trip was magical in its own right. As such, I’ve put together some Prague itinerary ideas to help you plan your own trip. This post will cover where we’ve stayed, things we enjoyed on each trip, along with what to do, how to get around, and more! I’ll be honest – I’ve only found a few great restaurants so far. I’m still on the hunt for more great meals in Prague… which only means one thing – we have to go back!
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3 Days in Prague Itinerary Ideas
It’s tough to say how many days in Prague you need because I never feel like I have enough time to see everything. If you want to take day trips from Prague to Terezin or Cseky Krumlov, you need at least 4 days in Prague, if not more. Most of our trips have been 3 or 4 days, excluding the time it takes us to travel to Prague. It always leaves us wanting more time in Prague.
Day One in Prague:
- Assuming you arrive in Prague early, immediately head over to the Astronomical clock for a relatively private viewing. Check that off your list and don’t worry about it again. (Take time to appreciate the details on the clock. It’s absolutely beautiful since the cleaning.)
- Head over to the Jewish Quarter of Prague and visit the Synagogues (or grab a walking tour). I find it’s easier to visit Pinkas Synagogue first. Between the sheer number of names of people who perished in World War II and the Old Jewish Cemetery, you’ll need more time to decompress and digest what you see there. Your ticket is good all day, so you might want to take a break before heading to the New-Old Synagogue and the Spanish Synagogue.
- Grab lunch or a snack in the Old Town before heading back to your hotel for a midday break.
- Book an evening walking tour to get an overview of Prague and its history.
Day Two in Prague:
- Before grabbing a mid-morning tour, visit the Old Town Square before the city wakes up. Prague is beautiful when you have it all to yourself.
- Officially start your day with a tour of Prague’s Castle District or with a history of Prague walking tour. Either option will provide you the opportunity to further explore Mala Strana after your tour.
- Grab lunch or a chimney cake in malá strana and check out some of the Czech crystal shops for a souvenir. (Ship it home so you don’t make your husband a pack mule.)
- If you didn’t see the Cathedral of St. Vitus in the morning, head over there in the late afternoon so you can see the stained glass before it closes for the day. Wander the tiny lanes of the castle district before heading down Castle Hill. (You can grab the subway or tram back to Old Town.)
Day Three in Prague:
- The early bird catches the sunrise. Get up with enough time to get to the Charles Bridge before sunrise. Watch the mist rise from the Valtava against the brilliant colors of the Prague sky. Warm up with coffee and breakfast after the lamps on the bridge are turned off.
- Take one of the tours that you missed yesterday, head to Wenceslas Square for shopping, or head to a beer spa for a traditional Prague experience. If you want a DIY tour, check out the free walking tour of Prague from Rick Steves.
- Grab a midday nap to make up for your early morning. You’ll need your energy tonight!
- Head to the Old Town Hall tower at sunset for beautiful views of the sunset. You’ll get the best views by looking towards Prague castle. If you’re afraid of heights, head to the back of the Four Seasons for riverside views.
- See a performance, book another night walking tour, roam the city on your own, but make your last night in Prague worth it!
Best Things to Do in Prague
Evening Walking Tour of Prague
I recommend booking this evening walking tour of Prague as your first introduction to this beautiful city. We booked it the first night of our first trip. Our tour started at the Charles Bridge, wandered through the Old Town to the Jewish Quarter, and finished in the Old Town Square. Experiencing Prague at sunset is one of the best ways to fall in love with it. This walking tour is a great idea if you don’t have your Europe legs yet. (We walk so much in Europe. You have to work towards it.)
BOOK THIS: Prague evening walking tour
3- Hour Night Walking Tour of Prague
If you DO have your Europe legs and are up for a challenge, this extended night walking tour of Prague is one of my favorite memories of our second trip. My husband and my mom were both sick for this tour, so I might be the only one who truly appreciated it! We also went in the (very cold) winter so that might have swayed their appreciation for the tour as well. To be sure, it was cold. I loved every minute of it though. We met our guide at the Opera House, walked across the Valtava River to see John Lennon Wall, wandered through Mala Strana, and made the trek up to the castle. (That trek might be what killed everyone’s joy.) This tour is part of what convinced me that Prague is as magical as everyone says it is. Winding through the streets of Mala Strana and making the trek up to the castle along a lamplit path is an absolute fairy tale. I beg you to convince me otherwise.
BOOK THIS: 3-Hour Walking Tour of Prague
St. Vitus Cathedral (and Prague Castle Tour)
There aren’t actually enough words to give the Cathedral of St. Vitus justice. The stained glass is awe-inspiring and the colors are absolutely brilliant. When you buy your ticket, the ticket includes the entire castle complex, so make sure that you give yourself enough time to see it all. Between the Old Royal Palace and Golden Lane, it truly feels like you are in a fairy tale. (I know I keep saying this, but there is no other way to describe the beauty of Prague.)
If you are pressed for time, make St. Vitus your priority. I do recommend exploring the entire Prague castle complex with a guided tour though. There is so much to see!
BOOK THIS: Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral ticket
Experience Prague Castle Hill at night
You can take a cab or an uber to the top, but what’s the fun in that? Seriously. The walk is part of the adventure. Prague at night from any angle shouldn’t be missed, but I think the walk up to the castle is the most romantic. The castle grounds are open late, too, so it won’t be as crowded as it is during the day.
Jewish Synagogues of Prague
There is a joint ticket to visit all the Jewish synagogues, but this is one place I want to book a guide. We have visited the Pinkas Synagogue and Old Jewish cemetery (haunting), the New-Old Synagogue (incredible), and the Spanish Synagogue (breathtaking), but I don’t know much of the area’s history. I suggest booking a guide to learn more about Prague’s Jewish history, but if you don’t have time for that, make sure to visit all of the synagogues. They are all vastly different experiences.
BOOK THIS: Prague synagogue ticket and walking tour
Learn more about Prague’s History
I think it’s important to understand more about Prague’s history as it relates to World War II and the rise of Communism. This Prague walking tour covers both sides of the river and skips through Prague’s ancient history and how we arrive at present-day Prague. Our guide was a scholar of history and stopped often for questions. I asked him a question about whether he believes that the Czech people allow the past to prevent them from repeating the same mistakes in today’s environment. He reminded me that we shouldn’t need to study history to be a good human.
BOOK THIS: World War II and Communist Prague
Watch the Sunrise over the Charles Bridge – at least once
There are a lot of places to do this. The Mala Strana riverbank isn’t as crowded as the Charles Bridge. Old Town Square is NEVER empty except for in the early morning. The castle district will have amazing views that you can’t see from the river. Sunset is far too crowded. The silence and beauty of the sunrise in Prague is something everyone should experience.
Experience the Astronomical Clock on the Hour – Once
If you go before 11:00am, you’ll miss the throngs of tourists with their iPhones. You’ll be able to see everything up close and check out the details on the clock. I don’t think there’s more that needs to be said.
Things to Do in Prague in Winter
Prague Christmas Markets
On our second Christmas market trip, we took a tour with a guide (Astrid) to see more of the local markets and learn about the Czech customs. Not only did we learn a lot about the local customs, we were able to try some delicious treats and visit the Christmas Museum. The Prague markets had some of the most beautiful Christmas ornaments of all the markets we visited. The tree in Old Town Square is incredible to see, but the view from the Old Town Hall Tower at night shouldn’t be missed either. I really feel like we’re missing out by not doing these kinds of things in the US. Nothing says Christmas like the best Christmas markets in Europe. Ahhh, I want to go back and celebrate Christmas in Prague again!
BOOK THIS: Prague Christmas Market Tour
Experience Prague Art and Culture
Go to a classical concert, hear an opera, experience a ballet, but whatever you do, experience the arts in some way. We saw excerpts from Swan Lake at the Hybernia Theater, which was its own experience, but the dancing was incredible. It was absolutely fun to try it. All of the performance venues are gorgeous so go see something!
Eat a Tredlnik (Chimney Cake) – at least once
Let’s be honest, I love tredlnik at any time, but you get bonus points for grabbing a fresh one when it’s cold outside. When we were in Budapest and Prague in 2016, we found out that there is a great debate raging about whether or not tredlnik is a culturally appropriate Czech or Hungarian food. That is, no one knows the exact origin. I don’t have an answer on that, but I’ve never met a tredlnik I didn’t like. I really love the one that has toasted almonds on it, but I’m also a purist. I’ll eat one with just cinnamon and sugar. Tredlnik is cheap and delicious whether you eat it in Prague or Budapest.
Take a Chocolate Making Class
So chocolate isn’t exactly Czech, but sometimes you need to warm up on a cold day. This mid-afternoon chocolate class is the best way to warm up on a chilly afternoon. You’ll be able to choose from dark chocolate or milk chocolate as your candy base. The instructor will lead you through the history of chocolate, how to appropriately temper it, and different decorating techniques. You’ll bring home two large chocolate bars and two chocolate lollipops as souvenirs. It might be a little cheesy, but it’s a great thing to do with kids in Prague, too.
BOOK THIS: Prague Chocolate-Making Class
Where to Eat in Prague
Meat and Greet – New Town
Is Meat and Greet my favorite part of staying at the Carlo? Maybe so. It’s a block away from the hotel, has outdoor seating, the beer is cheap and the burgers are amazing. The waitstaff ranges from amazingly friendly to downright comfortable with public shaming if you ask for modifications or substitutions, but I love the food. I enjoy the Crispy burger and my husband enjoys the Urquel. All the fries are good. If you’re looking for another burger place in Prague, my friend recommends Nase Meso.
Pizzeria Donna – Old Town
You know those nights when it is raining and cold but you don’t want room service? Yeah, that was us at the Four Seasons in December 2018. We had called numerous restaurants for reservations and couldn’t get one. Tom found Pizzeria Donna and we impulsively decided to walk there, not knowing what we could do if they couldn’t accommodate us. (It might have been a mutiny.) Fortunately, they took pity on us and squeezed us into a table for 3 in the back room. The food and drinks hit the spot and it was another reasonably priced meal in the heart of Old Town. It’s definitely worth a visit when you want a cheap, casual meal with friendly service.
Street Food at the Prague Christmas Markets
Please don’t judge me, but I can make a meal out of the Christmas market treats. No winter Prague itinerary is complete without a meal at the Christmas markets. I recommend the kielbasa. Tom recommends the Urquel with the kielbasa. Add a spiral potato for delicious fun. Whether the trdelnik is Hungarian or Czech, don’t miss the delicious chimney cakes. I recommend the traditional one with cinnamon and sugar or the almond variation.
Pasta Fresca – Old Town
Y’all. Pasta Fresca is a stone’s throw from Old Town Square (hence our skepticism) but it’s not a tourist trap at all. Why did it take FOUR TRIPS to Prague to try Pasta Fresca?? On December 2018 trip, we ate there twice in four days. (Tom and I could have gone back for every meal, but my mom likes to mix it up a little.) There is nothing on the menu at Pasta Fresca that we didn’t enjoy. It’s the best place to warm up on a cold day. There is a nice bar upstairs but the real magic happens down in the underground dining room. Service is friendly, food is delicious, and the ambiance is completely unexpected and warm. Specials change daily. My favorite (regular menu) dish is the rigatoni all’arrabbiata and Tom’s favorite is the spaghetti aglio olio with pancetta and chilli peppers. You will not be disappointed.
EAT & DRINK: Pasta Fresca Prague
Ferdinanda – Mala Strana
We’ve had some of the worst experiences with food in Mala Strana. (The one restaurant we loved closed.) That being said, Ferdinanda is a solid option not too far from the Mandarin. Like Pasta Fresca, it has an underground dining room and offers hearty portions of protein-heavy dishes. Ask your waitress for menu recommendations. My green peppercorn steak was perfectly fine but there are better options available.
EAT & DRINK: Ferdinanda Mala Strana
Mlejnice – Old Town
If you’re looking for traditional Czech Republic food, Mlejnice fits the bill. Tom and my mom really enjoyed their chicken schnitzel while I should have chosen a more traditional dish. (Skip the steak and potatoes.) Tom and my mom opted for the Pilsner Urquel while I sipped an Aperol Spritz. Prices are extremely reasonable.
EAT & DRINK: Restaurace Mlejnice Prague
Where to Stay in Prague
Mandarin Oriental Prague – Malá Strana
I think Mala Strana is one of the most magical places to stay in Prague. I LOVE the Mandarin Oriental. We stayed here on our first Christmas Market adventure with my mom. She loved it, too. (She basically refused to leave the Mandarin Oriental spa and got daily treatments.) I, however, might have been swayed by the Christmas cookies that were in our room. This is a judgement free zone. It takes all kinds to make the world go ’round.
Unfortunately, my pictures of our room were lost in the external hard drive debacle of 2017. You’ll have to go off their website, but here’s a summary of what I love about the Mandarin Oriental in Prague.
- The location. Mala Strana is gorgeous. It’s magical. Mala Strana looks like something out of a fairytale. I love the cobblestone streets, the small passageways, and the nearby parks.
- The bathtub was glorious. Heated towel racks in December are an absolute luxury. The bathroom was huge by European and American standards.
- The room itself. I wanted to redecorate our master bedroom with the same navy tones, the elegant furniture, and the textured materials. Everything about this room felt so luxurious every time we walked in the door.
- The location is quiet. Our room opened up to the courtyard, so it was especially quiet. In the evenings, the bar is quiet. Everything about this hotel oozes luxury and relaxation. It is an absolute reprieve and a sanctuary from crowded, bustling Prague.
STAY HERE: Mandarin Oriental Prague
Four Seasons Prague – Old Town
We stayed at the Four Seasons Prague in December 2018 for our second trip to the Prague Christmas markets. The rates between the Mandarin and the Four Seasons were comparable. I wanted to see what it felt like to stay in the heart of the old town though. (This blog review helped convince me.) It’s a fabulous property, though I still love the streets of Mala Strana. Here’s a short list of what I love about the Four Seasons Prague though:
- The location, especially when it’s cold. (Prague is cold in the winter.) It was much easier to convince myself to go to the Old Town Square Christmas Market in the evenings when I knew I could be back at the hotel in less than 10 minutes.
- The rooms are gorgeous. If they want to come decorate my master bedroom, I am more than okay with that. The rooms and bathrooms are comparable in size to the Mandarin and much larger than the most of the rooms at the Carlo. Like the Manadrin, the bathrooms offer a separate shower and bathtub.
- The Ava Spa is fabulous. I enjoyed my custom massage. My mom booked a leg massage (we walk so much on our trips!) and loved it so much that she booked another massage. Tom and I also used the vitality pool in the evenings, which was very similar to what we experienced at the Nun Assisi.
- The service is incredible. When I asked for a different room, the entire front desk staff jumped to oblige. They left a note in our room during turndown service apologizing for the inconvenience. The doormen were so friendly and helpful. The concierge was happy to make dinner reservations for us (without judgement – but that’s another story for another city). I feel like people expect 5-star service at 5-star hotels, but I don’t think that is always what happens. The Four Seasons staff is fabulous.
STAY HERE: Four Seasons Prague
Carlo IV – The New Town
For my husband, this hotel is a no-brainer if the price is right. He likes the Carlo. We’ve stayed here twice, and it’s a perfectly good hotel, particularly if you get a good rate. It’s also a Marriott property (you’ll have to remind them of your status though), so you can earn (or use) points, but I don’t know that I would tell you to use points for it. It’s considered a luxury hotel as well, but it’s definitely not in the same class as the Mandarin or the Four Seasons. Here’s what you can expect to love about the Carlo:
- Free breakfast with Marriott status (you will have to remind them) or with certain room rates. I think it’s worth it to book with breakfast if you’re a breakfast person. The Inn Ox Lounge has an extensive buffet with hot and cold breakfast options for everyone.
- Convenience of location. It’s a block away from the main train station, a subway station, and about a 10 minute walk to Old Town Square. It’s also close to a Billa, which makes my husband happy.
- No two rooms feel the same. This can be good and bad. We did ask to be moved out of a particularly tiny room on our anniversary. They were not as accommodating as the Four Seasons, but we did finally get moved to a better room.
- There’s an indoor pool, which we welcomed after long days of walking on our first trip to Prague. (It was closed for cleaning on our second trip, so watch the property warnings carefully if the pool is a large reason you are booking this hotel.)
STAY HERE: Carlo IV: Autograph Collection Hotel in Prague
Traveling to Prague & Prague Transportation
Depending on where you are staying (and how much luggage you have), you can easily walk from the train station to the Old Town Square or Wenceslas Square. Getting to the Mala Strana or the Castle district may be more difficult, so I would grab an uber or arrange car service in advance. (We’ve had a lot of adventures with cabs, none of which have been good.) You will want to get some CZ korunas from an ATM as soon as you can. Though they accept euros, meters run in CZK.
The subway is also clean, easy to use, and there’s a station very near the train station. You can buy 24-hour tourist passes for 110 cz (approximately $5.00 in 2017). It’s a great way to save your feet and cover a lot of ground. Nothing compares to walking through Prague so walk as much as you can.
The Prague airport is very modern and easy to get around. There’s also a Billa (grocery store) in it! (Don’t judge – we love grocery stores when we travel.) Once you grab your bags and clear customs, you can grab an uber (they have their own waiting area) and be in central Prague in 20-30 minutes depending on traffic. We arrived on a Friday night, and it took a little longer than expected, but it was easy. There was no issue with haggling over the fare either.
We’ve had challenges with airport cab drivers not having change and charging higher fares, so uber works well for us. One thing to note, if you have an early morning flight, you may want to get your hotel to arrange a car for you in advance. We did not find an abundance of transportation at 4:30am and it took awhile for one to arrive. We were very worried about missing our flight. Better safe than sorry.
Listen, Learn & Read More
If group tours aren’t your thing, Rick Steves offers a free audio tour through his app. You can download this free walking tour of Prague, pop in your earphones, and do it yourself. (This is one of Tom’s favorite things to do when we travel.)
When we were in Prague for our anniversary, we purchased a DK Prague guidebook at an English bookstore because we forgot to bring one. It’s larger than our typical guidebooks but offered a lot of ideas and historical information. I typically use the Prague Day-by-Day and Top 10 Prague books to plan our trips and get ideas for things to see and do. The day-by-day books aren’t updated as frequently as I would like, but they have great special interest walking tours in them. The Top 10 books has more ideas for shopping, eating and things to see, all broken down by neighborhood.
I am still producing a lot of Prague content for my blog. Much of it was lost when I lost all my photos from our 2016 trip. That being said, if you want more ideas about visiting Prague in the winter, there is plenty content about the Prague Christmas markets, including a post specifically about the Old Town Square Christmas market. As always, reach out if I can answer any questions or help you plan your own trip to this magical fairytale city.
Ashley @ The Wandering Weekenders says
Oh Prague, I don’t think that I’ll ever get enough of that beautiful city! I swear we could have spent all day at St. Vitus and would still be in awe of how beautiful it is! I’d love to go back to Europe during Christmas and see some of those beautiful Christmas markets! And you’re totally right you have to see the Astronomical Clock at least once!
Three times in 1.5 years?? All the way from the USA? That means you must rreeeeeallllly love Prague, haha. It’s a great city – we loved our time there this past winter. I actually loved the food in Prague though, I probably have different standards being gluten free, but I would go back just for the food!
Your photography is simply stunning! And can we talk about how insanely jealous I am that you’ve been to Prague 3 times in the past year and a half <3
I’ve been dying to make another trip to Prague during a less frigid time of year (I went in the dead of winter), so this guide is absolutely perfect for me. I love your suggestion of watching the sunrise. That would be truly spectacular!
Vanessa Brune says
I really need to revisit Prague one day! I’ve been there on a school trip and it was nothing as magical as it could have been I reckon 😉 Bookmarking your guide right now!
Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid says
We went to Prague to celebrate our engagement (11 years ago now!) and we both fell in love with the city hard. Reading through your guide reminds me how much I want to go back and how many things we still have to see and do! Take me back!
Beautiful photos, great thoughts on Experiencing Prague. I loved the part you look for Grocery stores, funnily enough my husband too looks for a supermarket or a grocery store, I am so looking forward to my Prague trip, next week. Thank you so much for this post.