Prague in one day

How to Spend One Amazing Day in Prague

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Written for 24 Hour City Guides by Derek & Mike of

Overview

Rich in culture, history and stunning architecture, the City of a Thousand Spires is one of Europe’s most fascinating cities. Prague been the seat of power for Bohemian kings, a medieval crossroads for east-west trade, and has a somber history of occupation during World War II and the Cold War. Today, the vibrant Czech capital thrives as a part of the EU and attracts tourists from around the globe. You could spend weeks exploring the city and still leave things undiscovered, but if you only have 24 hours, this one day Prague itinerary and guide will show you the highlights.

When

Because there’s so many things to do in Prague in one day, there’s hardly a bad time of year to visit. It’s not a seasonal destination with beaches or ski slopes, but there are pros and cons for each season. 

If you visit Prague in the summer months, be prepared for the city to swell with tourists. This is the time of year where you’ll have to get up early to walk across the Charles Bridge without it feeling overrun. You can expect queues to enter Prague Castle and you may not be able to find a table for dinner without a reservation. Still, this is a great time to visit Prague if you want to experience the famous nightlife with plenty of international visitors by your side. It’s also the most comfortable weather with loads of sunlight, longer days to fill with activities and comfortable temperatures to be outside and walk around the historic city. 

Autumn in Prague is one of the best times to visit the city. During the fall months you’ll have a noticeable difference in crowd size. You’ll feel more free to tour the city without long lines and strangers walking in front of your photos. Because of the large student population, the city has a buzz about it during the fall – it’s like a “back to school feeling” all around town. Prague in the falls feels more authentic than when you visit in the height of the tourist season. The autumn months may have cooler temperatures and shorter hours of daylight, but that’s the trade-off for visiting the city with fewer crowds and queues. 

During the winter time, temperatures in Prague will be cold and the daylight becomes a scarcity. Some activities like Vltava river cruises are limited or closed altogether. Instead, they’re replaced with other winter activities like the atmospheric Christmas market in Wenceslas Square, and holiday bazaars around Prague. There are more tourists in the city for these holiday attractions, but it’s still not as crowded as the peak days of summer. You’ll feel a favourable difference in the crowd levels, but have less daylight and colder temperatures in which to tour Prague in one day.

Spring in Prague offers a transitioning city to explore with Easter markets and a blossoming landscape. There are countless events and festivals that you may be lucky enough to catch in your one day trip to Prague. Temperatures can fluctuate in the spring, so the weather is good but not optimal, however the spring crowds are much easier to navigate compared to Prague in the summer months. 

Overall, the shoulder season is ideal for planning your trip to Prague. Late March through May and September through early November will have the best weather and crowd sizes in Prague. You won’t be lacking for things to do, and you get all the best attractions that Prague has to offer.

Travel

Václav Havel Airport Prague, formerly Prague Ruzyně International Airport, is the international airport of Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic and sits around 15km to the west of the city.

You have several options to get into downtown Prague from the airport;
  • Transfer – the quickest and most convenient option, you can book in advance with Intui Travel.
  • Taxi – grab a metered cab which will cost around €30 and take about 35 minutes.
  • Bus –  catch the Prague Public Transit company (DPP) bus No. 119 from the airport towards Nadrazi Veleslavin station, which leaves every 15 minutes. It will take around 20 minutes to get to the station, where you can connect to Metro Line A for Můstek, Muzeum or Malostranská stations. Metro trains run at 3-5 minutes and the journey will take a further 25 minutes. Tickets cost 32 CZK (Czech Korunas).

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1 day in Prague
1 day Prague itinerary
Prague 1 day itinerary

Stay

Sitting in a prime location right at the foot of Prague Castle, in the charming Malá Strana district is Three Storks, a five star boutique hotel. A beautifully restored 14th century house, the hotels rooms are a blend of historic and contemporary, with cool bathroom pods. Go for a deluxe double and you may have a view of the castle, making this a perfect retreat after a busy day in Prague.

The Old Town Clarion Hotel is a four star gem in the heart of Prague’s medieval centre. The Clarion has an on-site restaurant and bar with well-appointed and comfortable rooms. Upgrades are available to rooms with balconies, as well as for suites with rooftop terraces, why not treat yourself for your Prague trip?

See & Do

The perfect Prague one day itinerary is easy to plan out because the most visited and famous must see Prague attractions are clustered together. Each sightseeing area is easy to walk to and from, but to start we’ll leave Old Town and head towards Prague Castle. You’ll see plenty of opportunities to reach the castle by carriage, antique car or other unique means, but we think the best way is by foot.

Morning

Stroll the Charles Bridge

Start your day in Prague by strolling across Karluv Most, or Charles Bridge, one of Prague’s key landmarks and the most famous of the cities seventeen bridges. It’s an iconic stone arch bridge that crosses the Vltava River and brings you the oldest part of the city, Mala Strana, beneath Prague Castle. Construction of the bridge began in 1357 and finished in the following century. It’s lined with religious statues and dotted with artisans selling local goods, and is a must see Prague attraction.

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The Charles Bridge becomes packed by mid-afternoon, so the earlier you begin your walk to the castle the more you will enjoy yourself.

Admire Prague Castle

From the other side of the bridge you’ll ascend Hradcany, or Castle Hill, towards Prague Castle and be rewarded with a more spectacular view with every step you climb. Once you reach the castle grounds, you’ll find a queue to go through security and if you’re lucky you can see the changing of the guards. 

Once inside the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Prague Castle complex you will be stunned by how much there is to do and see. One of the main attractions is the Golden Lane, a reconstructed row of the dwellings that once housed astle labourers. It’s located along the castle wall opposite the entrance. 

Make sure to visit the strikingly beautiful 14th century St. Vitus Cathedral, the final resting place of saints including Wenceslaus, the former Duke of Bohemia. You can also take tours of the Old Royal Palace, the Archbishop’s Palace and St. George’s Basilica, all contained within the Prague Castle walls. 

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The ceremonial Changing of the Guard at Prague Castle which includes the fanfare and flag ceremony, takes place daily at noon in the first courtyard of the Castle. The sentries at the gates of the medieval castle also change on the hour from 7am to 8pm in summer and from 7am to 6pm in winter, but without as much fanfare as the noon spectacle.

The Castle Gardens & Towers

The Prague Castle gardens are open daily between April and October, are free to visit and offer respite from the crowds. They are a wonderful place to find a few peaceful moments. The Royal Garden was founded in 1534 by Ferdinand I and is historically the most valuable of all the Castle gardens. Originally inspired by formal Italian design, you’ll find statues, box hedging and restrained flower displays. One of its greatest treasures is the Singing Fountain, one of the most beautiful Renaissance fountains in Europe. 

The Southern Gardens, comprising the Paradise, Ramparts and Hartig Gardens is spread along the southern facade of the Castle and provides striking views of the Lesser Town (Mala Strana), Old Town and nearby Petřín.

The Castle Towers

At the eastern end of the Castle grounds, you’ll find three towers; Daliborka, a castle tower that was once a prison and contains medieval torture devices, the Black Tower which offers the best view of the city below the castle and is a great spot for a Prague cityscape photo, and the White Tower which is part of the Late Gothic fortifications and was a state prison from 1584.

Cross the Manes Bridge

After you leave the towers, descend the Old Castle Stairs and cross the river to Old Town over Manesuv Most, or Manes Bridge – a perfect stop to snap a few photos of the Charles Bridge upriver.

Named after Joseph Manes, the local artist who painted the images of the twelve months on the Prague Astrological Clock, Manes Bridge was built prior to World War I and is considered a fine example of Czech cubism.

Afternoon

Visit the Jewish Quarter

The Jewish Quarter or Josefov, is the smallest district in Prague and was formerly the city’s Jewish ghetto. In the 13th century, all the Jews in Prague were forced to leave their homes and live in this one small area. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to some of the oldest buildings and most beautiful streets in the city. It’s full of historic buildings like the Old-New Synagogue, the oldest active synagogue in Europe, which was completed in 1270 and is the home of the legendary Golem of Prague. 

In Jewish folklore, a golem is an animated anthropomorphic being that is created entirely from inanimate matter such as clay or mud. The most famous golem tale involves the 16th century rabbi of Prague, Judah Loew ben Bezalel, also known as the Maharal, who reportedly created a golem out of clay from the banks of the Vltava River and brought it to life through rituals and Hebrew incantations, to defend the Prague ghetto from anti-Semitic attacks and pogroms.

Adjacent to the synagogue is the Jewish Town Hall, a picturesque building with two distinctive clock faces. Nearby is the Old Jewish Cemetery, a remarkable 15th century graveyard with over 12,000 tombstones, and unlike anywhere else in Europe.

Before you leave the Jewish Quarter, make a stop at the Spanish Synagogue, an ornate house of worship on the edge of the neighbourhood. It’s the most modern synagogue in the Jewish Quarter and next to the Franz Kafka Monument, which honours the Czech writer who once lived in the Jewish Quarter.

Visit the Prague Jewish Museum

The Jewish museum in Prague is one of the oldest Jewish museums in Europe and oversees four historical synagogues and various other important Jewish buildings and places. You’ll also find galleries of over 40,000 artefacts and a library of over 100,000 books. 

Wander Staré Mesto

 In Old Town Square you’ll find the final cluster of Prague attractions surrounded by stunning buildings with colourful art nouveau facades, such as Old Town City Hall, Týn Cathedral and St Nicholas Church.

In the centre of the square is the historic Old Town Hall with its famous Astronomical Clock, or Prague Orloj, which was installed in 1410, making it the third oldest astronomical clock in the world, and the oldest clock still operating. Wander the area as long as you need, but be sure to gather in front of the clock for the hourly show. The masterpiece of Prague’s Astronomical Clock really is a thing of beauty.

Wander the web of passages around Old Town Square and enjoy the exquisite architecture and secret corners. Further east, you’ll find the Gothic Powder Tower, the 65m high historic town gate, which was once a gunpowder store!

Evening

Take a Vltava River Cruise

See Prague from a different perspective when you take a cruise along the River Vltava. Beautifully lit, the city is gorgeous at night and cruising under the Charles Bridge, with Prague Castle above, is a perfect way to end your 24 hours in Prague.

Go Ghost Hunting

Prague has had a long and well-documented history of ghosts, legends and mysteries. Join a local guide on a ghosts and legends tour to hear all the ancient stories in Old Town, visit the underground dungeons and back alleys while admiring some of Prague landmarks at night.

Experience the Famous Prague Night Life

Home to some of the best bars and clubs in Europe, Prague has something for everyone. Go dancing in Karlovy Lazne, the largest club in Central Europe, or join a pub crawl to meet others and let a guide take you to the best places.

If you prefer your nightlife a bit quieter, wander the city at your own pace, enjoying local beers and wines in whichever spots take your fancy. Beer afficionados should go to U Kunštátü in the Old Town, where over 100 beers are on offer from independent local breweries.

Wine lovers should head for Vinograf in Mala Strana, where the focus is firmly on wines from Czech and Bohemia. Ask for a tasting of Czech wines and they’ll be happy to show you the whole spectrum of what Czech winemakers can offer.

Eat

Krcma

The best place to have lunch in Prague’s Old Town is Krcma, a traditional Czech eaterie in a vaulted basement. It has a casual tavern vibe with authentic cuisine and a laid back atmosphere. If you’ve never had Czech food before, you’ll find a lot of potatoes, gravy, pork, and dumpling items on the menu. In the Czech Republic, lunch is traditionally a bigger meal than dinner. Don’t be shocked if the meal seems larger than you’re used to in the afternoon, since you’re in Prague you can have a lighter dinner.

Lokal

A perfect authentic dinner destination in Prague is Lokal, a local favourite for light fare with a beer hall atmosphere. As mentioned, a Czech dinner is usually a smaller portion than you’d expect at lunch. A simple basket of schnitzel and fries with a mug of cold beer is a typical evening meal. You’ll find that locals will linger at tables for an after-dinner beer as well, so make the most of your night in Prague and stick around.

Top Five Prague Travel Tips

  1. Make sure to pack sturdy and comfortable shoes. While there’s great public transportation, you’ll walk a lot when you visit Prague in a day, and the mosaic and cobbled stone pavements are uneven underfoot.
  2. Avoid using Prague’s currency exchange shops, many of them use drastically incorrect exchange rates and it’s much to your advantage to simply withdraw Czech Krona and use it in the city. 
  3. Euros are accepted in many locations, but even the vendors who accept Euro will overcharge you to pay in any foreign currency. At best they will give you a poor exchange rate and at worse, they will claim that they cannot give you change.
  4. Book skip the line tickets online in advance for Prague attractions to avoid queues during your one day in Prague itinerary.
  5. Dress in layers when you visit Prague as the temperature can fluctuate quickly from morning to afternoon and again when the sun sets in the evening.

Do you have just a little longer to spend in Prague?

If you have extra time in Prague there are a number of fantastic museums that you can easily spend a few hours enjoying.
  • From the KGB Museum to the Medieval Science and Alchemy Museum, Prague is full of interesting exhibits to tour.
  • Make a point to visit the John Lennon Wall. It’s a graffiti-covered spot that’s popular on Instagram and served as a beacon of resistance during the Soviet occupation of Prague.
  • Plan a one day trip from Prague to other Czech cities like Cesky Krumlov, Cesky Budejovice, and Kutna Hora. You can tour more Bohemian cities with medieval centres and historic buildings and architecture.
  • Lastly, consider booking a day trip in Prague. There are numerous popular and offbeat guided walking tours and almost all of them are conducted in English.

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