Three days in Prague – castles and cobbles – day 1
One of the best things about Prague as a destination is how compact the city centre is. Not only is it extremely accessible by foot, but walking the narrow alleyways is the best way to get a feel for the true character of the city and to stumble across some hidden gems. For those not as interested in pounding the pavement for a good eight or nine hours, or just looking for a respite, the city’s public transportation system is luckily fairly comprehensive. It’s no problem to hop on and off a tram or metro to the next stop on your itinerary.
With so many must-see sights to see in Prague, it can be a bit overwhelming trying to fit everything in to a 3-day visit. Here are our suggestions on how to make the most of the Golden City within that time.
09:00 – first stop, Old Town Square
Old Town Square is the perfect place to start exploring. For many people, it’s iconic Prague – containing the statue of Jan Hus, the majestic Church of Our Lady Before Tyn, the fairy-tale Astronomical Clock and stunning views over the red roofs of Old Town from atop the Town Hall building. Get there just before 9am to watch the clock’s figurines chime the hour.
10:00 – get lost
Armed with a map but without looking at it too much, delve into the maze of cobbled streets just off Male Namesti, the small square next to Old Town Square. Make your way through the hordes of tourists toward less busy streets, peer into shop windows and art galleries and head towards Bethelem Square (Betlemske Namesti). From here, find your way up to bustling Narodni Street and the Café Louvre, which has been going strong for more than 100 years, and relax with one of their famed hot chocolates and a light lunch. Or forego its plates in favour of crossing the street to Jan Paukert, a much-loved delicatessen where you can pick up a variety of ‘chlebicky’, or open-faced sandwiches, which are a local favourite, to go.
12:30 – a bird’s eye view
Continue down Narodni Street toward the Vltava River and you’ll see the beautifully ornate National Theatre, built in the Renaissance Revival style. Cross the Legionnaire’s Bridge, and look right to catch some of the best views of Charles Bridge with the Lesser Town and Prague Castle in the background. Head over to the opposite bank, and follow the tram tracks till they turn right. Here, you can take the funicular up the hill through the leafy Petrin Hill, taking it to either the middle stop, if you fancy a bit of a climb, or to the final one at the top. Choose from one of the many benches with a view over the city, and tuck into your picnic lunch, before dizzily ascending Prague’s mini Eiffel Tower, which offers bird’s eye views over the entire cityscape.
14:30 – conquer the castle
Follow the path through Petrin Park that heads to Hradcany, the castle district. This stretch of paved walkway dips through the forest and then comes out to give spectacular views over the Lesser Town and beyond. From here, if you’ve worked up a thirst, you can either turn left into the Strahov Monastery complex, where the Klasterni Pivovar microbrewery pours some strong, refreshing suds, or head toward the castle with a stop at the centuries-old U Cerneho vola (At the Black Ox) pub for a step back in time.
Give yourself plenty of time to wander the vast castle complex, which is said to be the biggest in the world. Check out St. Vitus Cathedral and Golden Lane before strolling the many courtyards and making your way down the steep steps to Nerudova Street, filled with souvenir and knick-knack shops.
18:30 – time for dinner
After working up a hefty appetite, head to Lokal in Lesser Town to sample some true Czech cuisine, prepared by followers of the Slow Food movement and washed down with pints of Pilsner Urquell fresh from the tank. If you fancy a nightcap, head to nearby Vinograf for a glass of Moravian wine or to Blue Light for a cocktail, before (finally) strolling across Charles Bridge at sunset back to your apartment.