“Dobry den” or “Hello”, fellow travelers! If you’re looking for a European city that literally has it all, Prague is your main squeeze! This charming city has something for everyone, and with its convenient location in the heart of Europe, it is the perfect destination for a weekend getaway – especially partnered with a mini Euro-Trip for the Easter or Christmas Markets!
Nicknamed the “City of a Thousand Spires”, Prague Czech Republic is famous for the medieval Astronomical Clock, the Charles Bridge, medieval churches, pork knuckle lunches and dinners, cheap beer, and for those who enjoy fine reading material, is the home of Franz Kafka. There really are so many things to do in Prague for a weekend or week-long trip.
How to Spend 3 Days in Prague
Now, I’ve lived in Prague a couple of times in the past years and wanted to put together a Weekend Checklist of sorts on what to see, what to do, and what to avoid. So before you board the plane, make sure you sort out your Travel & Medical insurance, pack appropriately, and emotionally prepare yourself for what I think is the most magical city in Europe!
Things to Do in Prague Czech Republic – 10 Sites to See
1. The Old Town Square
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is where Easter and Christmas Markets happen, and where you can find the Astronomical Clock, the hustle and bustle of overpriced cafes, and tourists galore. That said, it’s absolutely stunning – in a dark fairy story kind of way!
2. Prague Castle
I cannot stress this enough, this thing is magnificent! Sitting atop a hill overlooking the Vltava River, the castle complex is home to a number of historic buildings, including St. Vitus Cathedral and the Old Royal Palace. Built in the 9th century, the castle has been a seat of power for Czech kings and presidents alike.
You’ll want to budget about half a day exploring the grounds, as there is a lot to see. This is one of those things where a walking tour might be best, so you can learn about the history of Charles IV, his drunk successor of a son, the takeover of the Roman Catholic Church, and so much more dramatic and weird Czech history!
3. St. Vitus Cathedral
Save this one for a Sunday! This beautiful cathedral is the largest and most important church in the Czech Republic, and it’s located right in the heart of Prague Castle. Construction on the cathedral began in 1344, but it wasn’t completed until 1929! The interior is absolutely stunning, with intricate stained glass windows and detailed mosaics.
And if you happen to be there during Sunday Mass, you’ll be able to hear the incredible choir singing. Trust me, it’s an experience you won’t forget and one that directly competes with some of the experiences on my trip through Italy!
4. The Golden Lane
Before leaving the Castle grounds, don’t forget to check out The Golden Lane, where Franz Kafka used to live. The attraction here is a quaint street lined with colorful houses, each of which was once home to a different craftsman or artist.
Today, the houses are filled with shops and cafés, making it the perfect place to spend an afternoon exploring. The Golden Lane is also a great place to pick up souvenirs, as there are plenty of unique little boutiques and shops selling everything from Czech glassware to hand-painted puppets.
PRO TIP: If you wait until 5 pm, you won’t have to pay $5 to get into the little street.
5. Charles Bridge
Built by Charles IV, the Charles Bridge is one of the most iconic landmarks in Prague. Spanning the Vltava River, the bridge is lined with statues of saints and provides stunning views of the city. On a clear day, you can even see the Prague Castle perched on the hill in the distance. In the daytime, it’s a great place to people watch and snap a few iconic photos for your Instagram. And at night, the bridge is illuminated by thousands of lights, creating the most magical scene.
PRO TIP: Take a lock with you and fasten it to the bridge for good luck! I fell in love on Charles Bridge, and have a “love lock” on the bridge to prove it!
6. The Astronomical Clock
Located in Old Town Square, the clock is a beautifully intricate piece of engineering that has been keeping time since 1410 – and it’s located surprisingly low so that even my short self could take a picture with it!
The coolest part is this – not only does it tell time, but it also measures the exact location of the sun and moon (no joke!) and shows you where we are in the zodiac depending on the time of year. Every hour, on the hour, a parade of figures representing the 12 apostles comes out to circle the clock face.
TOURIST TRAP ALERT: While the Clock itself is stunning, the “on the hour little parade of figures” was the 2nd most anti-climactic “thing to see” outside of the Mona Lisa in Paris – those who know, know why.
7. Narodni Museum
This large, incredibly well-done museum houses a collection of art, natural history, and archaeology exhibits, making it a great place to learn about Czech history and culture. In fact, one of the only other museums in Europe that counters it is the Guggenheim in Northern Spain.
That said, I particularly loved the curated exhibits that highlight different aspects of Czech culture, from traditional folk art to modern-day architecture and press photography. So whether you’re a history buff or just looking for something to do on a rainy day, the Narodni Museum comes highly recommended by yours truly!
8. The Museum of Communism
As a child of parents who lived through communism until they immigrated to the United States, the Museum of Communism was a fascinating visit. Located in the former headquarters of the Communism Party building, it covers the history of communism in Czechoslovakia, from the 1948 coup d’etat to the relatively peaceful Velvet Revolution in 1989.
The exhibits are really well-done and give you a good sense of what life was like under communism. There’s also a section on the post-communist period, which I found really interesting. I couldn’t help but reflect on where we are today in our geopolitical situation, and how far and not so far we’ve come.
9. The Jewish Quarter
Located in the Old Town, the quarter is home to a number of historical sites and is now one of the most expensive places to live in Prague. Once there, you can explore the Old Jewish Cemetery, visit the Old Synagogue, or take a walking tour of the ghetto.
I found the walking tour to be the most informative, almost bringing me to tears for some of the hardships history has handed the Jewish people. That said, the Jewish Quarter is also a great place to sample traditional Czech food, such as venecek (Czech cream puff) and kolac (round pastry with fruit toppings).
10. Letna Park
And because you haven’t done enough walking through the city, I’m sending you to a park overlooking the city – and it has the bonus of having a wonderful beer garden!
10 Things to Do in Prague Czech Republic: Must-do Experiences
1. Drink a Pint (or 3) of Czech Beer
I’m pretty sure the Czech Republic brews most of the beer for Europe, so might as well get it from the source. The most famous beers are Pilsner Urquell, Kozel, and Staropramen. “U Fleku” is a beautiful brewery in the old town with some great food and brews, and an accordion player serenading guests as they drink – it really does not get more Czeck than that!
PRO TIP: If you are a beer snob, and I mean that in the best possible way, look into a few days off the beaten path in Estonia for its craft brew scene.
2. Drink a Beer in the Streets
Because drinking in the streets is absolutely legal! I damn nearly dropped my earbuds when I saw multiple people get in the metro with open beers like it was Sunday Funday at a football tailgate. But who am I to argue with the norms of a country – bottoms up!
3. Check Out Prague’s Famous Nightlife
Ok, so here are my favorite bars, cocktail lounges, and clubs for those brave enough:
- U Sudu – a legendary underground bar and a great place to start the night
- Groove Bar – A classier spot, also a great place to start the night
- Tiki Taky and Anonymous – Best for cocktails.
- Lucerna – 80s/90s dance party every Friday and Saturday night
- M1 – great hip hop music club
4. See Prague At Night
Specifically Prague Castle & Charles Bridge, so get yourself a bottle of wine (which yes, you can drink in the streets) and just stroll semi-aimlessly around the city!
5. Eat a Pork Knuckle
Pork or “pecene koleno”, the food of the Czech people. You’ll also want to try “gulas” which is a beef stew, and the roasted duck or “pecena kachna” on the menu.
6. Spend some $$$ at the Farmer’s Market
My favorite thing about farmers’ markets in Europe, and Prague is no exception, is the taste of fruits and veggies in the markets, and I want you to have this experience without me describing it – it’s basically a party in your mouth!
7. Learn about Communism
Nothing better for this than The Communism Museum in Prague.
8. Watch the Hourly Show at the Astronomical Clock
I know I said it was anticlimactic, but just like watching the ball drop on New Years’ Eve in Times Square should be something you do once in your life… so is this!
9. Take a Walking Tour of Prague
There are a few free walking tours (~3 hours each) that are actually excellent! My favorite was from “Free Walking Tour Prague”.
10. Attend an Opera in a Palace
When you go to the National Theater of Prague website, there are operas, ballet, and dramas available to watch, including Mozart’s “Figaro”, which was debuted right here at the Estate Theater!
PRO TIP: The best part is that you can see these operas for $20-50, so book ahead because these are unheard-of prices vs vacation spots in the United States.
Here are 5 Things NOT to do in Prague
- Being paid in fake Belarussian money – which looks similar to the Czech Koruna, but is worth absolutely nothing.
- Tours from people dressed in historic costumes – Because this is not Disney!
- Eating at restaurants with translated menus (in multiple languages) – Instead, take the small roads a little outside of the old town, order the recommendations I have above, and get ready for a wonderfully hearty meal for $10-15!
- Paying more than 50 Koruna (~$3) for a beer – Again, beer is literally made here, so no need to pay more than $3 for a pint!
- Money Exchange Centers – These will have a lot of fees and crappy exchange rates. While card is accepted almost everywhere, some of the Farmers Markets still deal in cash, so you may have to check different ATMs where to best extract some cash!