An aerial view of the Old Town Square in Prague

3 days in Prague: an itinerary for first-time visitors

Planning a trip to Prague? Here are our top picks...

Stay: Lazenska N°4 for beautiful apartments in the Lesser Town

Walking tour: City highlights with lunch

Experience: a beer bath

Day trip: Bohemian and Saxon Switzerland National Parks

Food tour: Traditional Czech cuisine in the Old Town

Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, has one of Europe's best-preserved historical centres with narrow cobblestone streets, the romantic Vltava River and the iconic Charles Bridge. Add fairy-tale architecture, art, good food and even better beer, and it's easy to see why Prague is so enchanting.

Prague is also known as "the beer capital of the world," thanks to its lively beer scene. Czechs love beer so much they even have an entire spa dedicated to beer.

The reasons to fall in love with Prague are countless. I visited Prague numerous times, and each time I fell for the city a little more. 

To make the most of your first trip, I've compiled a three-day Prague itinerary, which includes all the important landmarks, trendy spots to eat, fun tours and local tips.

An aerial view of Charles Bridge and Prague Old Town

How long should I spend in Prague?

Although it's possible to squeeze the main Prague highlights into a weekend trip, there is much more to uncover If you want to immerse yourself in this stunning city. To be fair, even after spending a week in Prague, you’d barely scratch the surface of its rich history. 

Allocating three days in Prague might be a sweet spot to get a good feel for the city. Any longer and you could perhaps leave some extra time for exploring a few other places in the Czech Republic, like Kutna Hora, Karlovy Vary or Cesky Krumlov

During a three-day stay in Prague, you can focus on the city centre and take it easy. Three days should be enough time to stroll through the Old Town, cruise the Vltava River, sip a local beer with a view and perhaps even soak in a beer spa.

If you only have a day or two, this comprehensive city walking tour might be a good choice. You’ll get to see Charles Bridge, Lesser Town, Jewish Quarter, Old Town and Prague Castle. 

On top of that, the tour includes an hour-long boat cruise on the Vltava River and a traditional Czech lunch at Staroměstská restaurant. It’s pretty much a full-day tour packed with action to make the most of your day trip.

A tourist carriage in the Old Town Square, Prague

Day 1: Jewish Quarter, Old Town and New Town

A good way to kick off your Prague trip is in the Old Town. Begin your day early in the Jewish Quarter. Here you will find Europe's oldest active synagogue, the Staronová synagóga (Old-New Synagogue), built in 1270, and the Jewish Museum.

Once you've explored the museum and the synagogue, head to Starý židovský hřbitov (Old Jewish Cemetery). Later, stop by for breakfast and coffee at Mistral Cafe.

After breakfast, walk down to the Municipal library with an interesting spiral book tunnel. Karlova Street is also worth seeing, with many pleasant art galleries. Hidden among the trdelník stands (traditional Czech treat - you should try one!) and souvenir shops on Karlova Street is an old baroque Clementinum library that has remained unchanged since the 1700s. 

To enter the library, you have to pay a small admission for a guided tour. Climb the narrow spiral staircase until you reach a striking library filled with old-world mechanical globes and ancient texts. Continue on tour to reach the top of the tower, and you'll be rewarded with one of the best views in Prague. 

After marvelling at the historical library, keep going to Staré Město (Old Town) and hang out around the buzzing Old Town Square. Ideally, time your arrival with a famous astronomical clock, also known as Prague Orloj. The clock was first assembled in 1410. It features a fascinating mechanical show that activates every hour.

The main square also has the Gothic Týn Cathedral, baroque St. Nicholas' Church and Old Town Hall Tower. From the top of the hall, you can enjoy the panoramic view of the city. A fun spot to check out at the square is the one-of-a-kind Sex Machines Museum.

An aerial view of rooftops and people in Prague's Old Town

Later you can retrace the steps of the "Royal Way", mimicking the path of Bohemian kings and queens during the coronation procession. Walk along Celetna Street and visit the House of Black Madonna, an intriguing cubist building with the Black Madonna Statue. The Royal Way leads to Prašná brána (Powder Tower). Obecní dům (Municipal House), an eye-catching 20th-century addition to New Town's medieval architecture, is right beside the tower. 

Once you reach Wenceslas Square, grab a bite to eat at Kantyna and sample some local specialities. It’s a canteen-style restaurant with reasonable prices and especially delicious meat cuts. I recommend sampling potato pancakes and a soup or meat of your choice with mashed potatoes. 

For dessert, you can buy ice cream at Světozor and enjoy it while strolling the Franciscan Garden. You can spend the afternoon in the Museum of Fantastic Illusions or a compact Mucha Museum, dedicated to paintings of this famous Czech artist. Franz Kafka's rotating head statue is also in this area.

While here, get some fantastic pastry from Oh deer bakery. The rotating statue is a meeting point for Hidden Beer Spots Prague Tour. You can spend your evening hanging out with locals drinking as much beer as you can handle.

Looking down at Prague Castle with St. Vitus Cathedral

Day 2: Prague Castle & Lesser Town

Prague Castle complex is a perfect place to hit on your second day in the city. The castle's district contains several palaces, churches, and stunning gardens, as well as the gothic Katedrála sv. Víta (Saint Vitus Cathedral). The cathedral has an impressive high ceiling and colourful vitrage windows. It’s also a burial place for famous Czechs like Charles IV and St. Wenceslas.

Don’t forget to check out the Starý Královský palác (Old Royal Palace) and Lobkovický palác (Lobkowicz Palace), and marvel at the Royal gardens too. After that, take a stroll in Zlatá ulička (Golden Lane), a row of crooked houses, one of which was once home to Kafka. There is also an option to go on Prague Castle Walking Tour that includes admission tickets and a guide.

'If Cafe' is a popular spot for coffee with delicious desserts or a simple breakfast/brunch. If you want to try something traditional, order větrník. The combination of cream and caramel will blow your socks off. The cafe is located in Prague's Lesser Town (Malá Strana) near leafy Kampa Island Park, an excellent place for a pleasant walk by the river. Don't be surprised if this neighbourhood looks somewhat familiar. After all, it has been featured in many movies, from Amadeus to Spider-Man: Far From Home.

Historic houses along the Vltava creek called Certovka in the Lesser Town in Prague

The Lesser Town has beautiful buildings with well-preserved baroque architecture and surprises at every corner. There are a few sites that you shouldn't miss here, such as John Lennon Wall and Kostel sv. Mikuláše (Church of St. Nicholas). If you choose to climb the 215 steep steps of the church bell tower, you can recharge and rest at Vrtbovská Zahrada (Vrtba Garden). 

For an incredible scenic view of Prague, you can continue to walk up Petrin Hill towards the gardens and Petrin Tower. To make your life easier, take a Petrin funicular or hop on an e-bike tour. Petrin Tower, with its steel construction, looks similar to the Eiffel Tower.

After a few hours of sightseeing, take a lunch break and indulge yourself at Restaurant Pod Věží or for something more low-key,  Café Creperie Pod Věží is great too before returning to Prague's Old Town via the Charles Bridge. This medieval bridge from the 15th century is lined with 30 baroque statues and overlooks the Vltava River and Prague Castle. It's full of local artists and musicians showcasing their artworks. 

You can end your day on a relaxing note by pampering yourself in one of the Prague beer spas. It's as good as it sounds. You'll be soaking in a hot bath full of medicinal beer herbs while you drink cold Czech beer.

View from Petrin hill to Vyshehrad in Prague

Day 3: Off-the-Beaten-Path Prague

After you've ticked off all the must-see attractions in Prague, it's time to stray off the beaten path.

Start withbreakfast at Marthy's Kitchen (U Manesa) and enjoy the walk along the river to Vysehrad (Higher Castle).Keep an eye out for the Dancing House, a modern building with unique architecture.

The castle is off the radar for most people and much less crowded, which may be a bit of a relief from the fast pace of the city centre. The Vysehrad castle complex dates back over a thousand years.

Legend claims that a stone column behind the church was placed there by a devil. The graves in the castle complex hide several notable people, including famous Czech composer Antonín Dvořák.

If for nothing else, it's worth visiting the castle for a stunning view of the Vltava River and Prague Castle.

After a visit to Vysehrad, enjoy the traditional Czech dish - goulash, at restaurant U Kroka to get some fuel before you continue your exploration. Alternatively, you can grab a bite to eat at Manifesto Market Anděl for something a little different. It’s an outdoor market with street food stands offering many different cuisines - from Brazilian empanadas and American burgers to Greek gyros and Italian pasta.

Another Prague attraction worth seeing is Grébovka (Havlíčkovy Sady), a beautiful historic park inspired by the Italian Renaissance with grape vines, a fountain and breathtaking views. There is also a wonderful wine bar - Altán Grébovka, and a garden cafe - Pavilon Grébovka.

Depending on your preferences, spend the evening at one of Prague's many bars, National Theater, Letna Lookout beer garden with fantastic views or enjoy lively Czech folklore music with unlimited drinks.

The famous Dancing House building in Prague

If you have more time in Prague

If you have more time, you can consider some interesting tours with a local guide:

  • An alternative Prague walking tour is a fun way to spend the afternoon and see the city from a different perspective. The tour takes you away from the typical tourist traps. You’ll discover contemporary Prague culture and street art and get a glimpse into the stories of locals' everyday life. The tour ends at the unique music venue Cross Club.

  • Indulge in Prague's food scene and visit a local’s favourite restaurants and food hot spots on this Prague foodie tour. The tour also includes alcoholic beverages and lasts about four hours. There is no better way to meet new people than over a delicious meal. 

  • Svět Medúz (World of Jellyfish) includes 38 smaller aquariums with more than 10,000 jellyfish of all sizes. The aquariums are inside a shopping mall. You’ll need to pay an entrance fee, but the luminescent jellyfish and visual effects are super dreamy and worth every penny (or perhaps I should say worth every Czech crown). Ideally, avoid visiting on weekends because the place can get pretty packed.

Looking down at Karlovy Vary, a spa town in the Czech Republic

If you fancy exploring more of the Czech Republic, you have many beautiful places to choose from. Here are a few options close enough to visit as a day trip from Prague.

  • Kutná Hora is famous for its one-of-a-kind Sedlec Ossuary, a church decorated with over whopping 40,000 human bones. This authentic charming town is easy to reach from Prague. Going there by train or car is your best bet, and it only takes one hour. From its panoramic promenade to a stunning cathedral and a silver mining museum, the town is gorgeous and rich in history, thanks to the silver trade that once flourished here. 

  • Terezin is home to a former concentration camp, a sad chapter of Czech history. During WWII, Nazis presented this camp as a tidied-up “Jewish town” to mislead Red Cross inspectors and the outside world. Today it’s a memorial with various exhibits of people who were imprisoned here.

  • If you prefer something outdoorsy, Bohemian Switzerland, also known as Czech Switzerland, makes for a stunning day trip from Prague. This national park in the Czech Republic features kilometres of hiking trails to admire the beautiful scenery. Pravčická brána is one of the park’s main attractions. It’s the largest natural arch in Europe. It’s an awe-inspiring sight to behold! 

  • Karlovy Vary is a picturesque Czech spa town with many historic buildings, only an hour and a half from Prague. The town’s spring water is rich in minerals and renowned for its healing properties. People come here to take a sip straight from the spa geyser. While strolling the historic city centre and town’s colonnades, you should try one of the most beloved treats of Karlovy Vary, spa wafers. These thin, crispy wafers are made with a unique recipe that dates back to the 18th century.

Share this article

Kamila Jakubjakova

Author - Kamila Jakubjakova

Kamila is a freelance writer and blogger originally from Slovakia and now based in Canada. On her blog, she and her partner share useful tips for expat life in Canada. When she isn't writing, you can find her on a yoga mat or enjoying a cup of tea.

Last Updated 26 January 2024

Prague - old town and bridge .jpg

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic, also known as Czechia, is best known for its enchanting capital, Prague. It's also home to some beautiful natural parks, interesting, artistic cities, and several charming towns.