Caitlin, of Country Jumper blog, lived in Prague, the City of 100 Spires, for a year teaching English as a second language, so she kind of knows her stuff when it comes to what to see, do, eat, where to stay and everything else that comes along with exploring this beautiful city!
As with all of our mini city travel guides, our Prague Guide is designed to help you see as much as possible with limited time, because not all of us can spend 10 or more days exploring all of the cities around the world! Some of us like to get a taste of the city we're traveling to, some of us only have a few days because we're hopping on a plane to somewhere else. There are so many reasons why we'd take a quick trip anywhere. Regardless if you have more or less time to spend in Prague, this guide will help you get a really incredible jump start, if you plan to stay longer you can take your time doing the suggestions in this guide. If you're staying for less time, you can decide on what sounds most interesting to you and get adventuring!
Prague in 3 Days
What to see
The Astronomical clock in Old Town Square, Old Town Square itself, Charles Bridge and the castle are all givens. If you didn’t know about them yet, you do now.
But go beyond that, there’s a whole more to see in Prague and a whole lot of it’s a whole lot more interesting.
One of my favorite places in the whole city is atop Letna Park at the metronome that doesn’t work, in the spot where a 51-foot-tall statue of Stalin once stood. Today the spot is often buzzing with skateboarders bouncing off the walls and down the railings but what you’re here for is the view. By far the best one in the whole city. You can see up and down the river, bridges as far as the eye can see. You can see the old town hall spires sticking up into the sky, you can see the TV tower over in Zizkov, you can see just about everything in the city. If you’re looking at the river turn to your left, follow the path a little way and you’ll stumble upon a big, open beer garden, also with a view. You’re welcome.
You can get to Letna from the back side by taking a tram to Chotkovy Sady or you can climb up the steps down by the river leading directly to the metronome, they start at tram stop Čechûv Most As well as the view and the beer garden the park is extensive and great far a nap in the sun or a picnic in the shade. Letna isn’t far from the castle and the two are within easy walking distance of one another. The neighborhood between the two is beautiful and full of terraced homes where wealthy locals and expat families often reside. Its streets are quiet and shaded by trees, an excellent area for a stroll.
Another great area of the city is Vinohrady. Vinohrady is also home to many an expat, though not with the same upscale vibe as what you’ll find in Letna. Vinohrady still shows off quiet, wide streets and plenty of cafes, bars and restaurants. The crowning jewel of the neighborhood is Namesti Miru, meaning peace square Namesti Miru is the small square surrounding the beautiful, impressive St. Ludmila’s neo-Gothic church. Personally, I love looking at the church from outside but when I finally entered I was equally impressed. You won’t find much ornate decorations here but the church is very simply grand. It’s big, vast and strong.
What to eat and drink
Before talking about where to eat it’s important to know what to eat. Czech food is delicious but heavy. If you’re only in town for three days then it’s a great amount of time to indulge, any longer than that and you’ll be walking away with one heck of a tummy!
In general, Czech food is very meat heavy, vegetarians will struggle with the menus at traditional Czech restaurants and will most likely end up ordering fried cheese. If meat is in your diet than you’re in for some delicious treats.
Goulash is typically Czech and can be found on many daily lunch menus. For something a bit more filling try a roasted duck, it will usually be on the menu as a ½ though sometimes you may be lucky and able to order a 1/4 . A ½ duck is definitely enough for two and is oh so delicious.
Do be aware that in some Czech restaurants you’ll have to order each side separately. If the menu says ‘chicken cutlet’ you’ll get a chicken cutlet and maybe a sprig of lettuce, anything else you’ll have to order, and pay for, separately.
As for beverages you’ll be drinking beer (pivo in Czech). And when you’re sick of beer you can move to beer. And after that there’s beer.
Staropramen is brewed in Prague and Pilsner Urquell is brewed about an hour away in the town of Pilsen. Beers generally come in a small or large, large being a half liter and small 0.3 liters.
Where to Eat and Drink
When it comes to eating in Prague I can’t stress enough how important it is to get out of Old Town Square. Even if you only take a handful of steps in most directions you’ll find quality that is infinitely better and prices that are so much lower. Old Town Square is beautiful for what it is but, please, don’t stick around to eat there.
Stuparska: For traditional Czech food in a pub like atmosphere Stuparska is an excellent choice and it’s less than five minutes from Old Town Square. Only months ago downstairs was the non-smoking section but, since June 2017 the laws have changed and you can now enjoy an entirely smoke free atmosphere. A meat heavy menu everything comes out with fall off the bone ease.
Naše Maso: An almost hidden gem with very limited seating this place is only for meat eaters. Located in old town near the river and the Dlouha Trida tram stop Naše Maso is essentially a butchery that will cook your meat on the spot for you. Pretty much everything here is good. Beef tartar and sausages are great and the little burgers are perfectly cooked and wonderfully delicious.
Wine Food Market
Across the river from old town in the industrial looking Smichov neighborhood is a renovated auto repair shop turned food market and restaurant. Be sure you get the address marked down correctly or you might miss the entirely unassuming exterior. Inside is a beautiful market full of imported (and expensive) Italian goods, meats, cheese, oils and wines as well as fresh fish, pasta, meat and pastries. Attached to the market is a large hall with sprawling tables and bench seating. It’s wise to make a reservation especially at peak lunch hours (around 12-1:00). The menu is Italian rather than your typical Czech so vegetarians have plenty of options here. From pizzas and pastas to salads and fish and chips you’ve got a great selection of fresh meals.
Where to Stay
If you’re super keen to stay where all the tourists are Hotel Agnes is a wonderful choice where the staff will treat you like family you’ll have access to a great buffet breakfast each morning and all the wine you could want throughout your entire stay.
However, if you’re ready to switch it up and stay outside of Old Town consider these neighborhoods.
Zizkov, recognized for the TV tower sticking out of it, is a bit edgy, trendy and different. It has lots of little hills so you’ll want to be fairly physically capable to get around. Zizkov is a favorite amongst the younger crowd for its small bars and plentiful graffiti opportunities. Don’t let the rough and ready vibe turn you off it’s simply the character of the area, as with all of Prague it’s a very safe district.
Letna, as mentioned earlier, is a bright, clean neighborhood, very much the antithesis of Zizkov, Letna is better suited to older folks and families.
Holešovice, that bit of Prague that sticks out into the otherwise straight line of the river, is a nice middle ground, it retains edginess and you’ll find plenty of boutique stores and a huge complex of old market building converted into Chinese markets. But you’ll also see clean kid’s parks and lots of families out and about. Holešovice is an up and coming part of the city with a beautiful position right on the river bank.
How to get Around
Prague has a great and well connected system of Metro, Tram and Buses. The metro consists of three lines: red, yellow and green. The trams and buses are numerous. Google maps is a great way to trip plan.
The same tickets cover all three modes of transportation. You can buy them in most metro stops or at tabacs, though it’s not immediately obvious which ones. Tickets are sold by time used rather than zones (some machines still list zones-ignore it!) Adults will pay 24ck (about $1) for a 30 minute ride or 32kc (about $1.50) for a 90 minute ride. You can get just about anywhere in the city in 30 minutes.
Do remember to validate your ticket when you get on, stick it into any of the little yellow boxes and it’ll come out with a time stop-it’s valid for however long you purchased it for, from that time. For example if you buy a 30 minute ticket at any time but you stamp it at 1:31 pm that ticket is good until 2:01 pm.
If you don’t validate you’re not legal to ride. Ticket checkers, most often in plain clothes, will come around quite often to check and the fine is steep – 800 ck (about $40).
The currency in Prague is called Czech Koruna. 1USD is equal to 22ck as of October 2017.
A large beer should cost about 40ck.
Dobry den – Hello
Na zdraví (nas dravi) – Cheers
Děkuji (deekwee) – Thank you
Na shledanou (nasklaydano or nasklay for short) – Good bye
Tipping is not standard practice and if it’s written on the bottom of your bill you have every right to ignore it, this is done ONLY to tourists. Locals round up (i.e. if the bill is 143kc they leave 150kc) or if the service is really great they leave 10%. More than 10% is unnecessary and frankly messes up the system for locals.
If you've found this guide helpful please let us know!
About Caitlin of Country Jumper
Caitlin is a traveler, writer, photographer and lover of all things animal. Originally from Vermont in the U.S.A. she has been living and working on the road since 2011. She has been lucky enough to call Ireland, Vietnam, Australia and The Czech Republic home at some point in time. She not only writes helpful guides but also writes thoughtful musings about her adventures on www.countryjumperblog.com or follow her travels on instagram: www.instagram.com/country.jumper
Guide Note: From the time I wake up to when my head hits the pillow I'm on the GO when traveling to a new place! I hope my guides help you navigate cities in an easy, thoughtful and hectic-free way while being able to take in as much as possible in the time you have! Please let me know if you've used this guide or plan to use this guide in the comments! I'd love your feedback! Also, if you haven't checked out my City + Metro Map cuff bracelets you can follow this link to them! Lastly, check out our Portland and Nashville Travel Guides if you're headed to those cities. Many more coming soon!