Topping the charts as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, the Czech capital is definitely a must-see: spend just 3 days in Prague, fall in love for a lifetime!
Prague is so full of great sights and medieval treasures that you will definitely want to stay longer than just a quick weekend trip. Walking along its cobblestone streets you will be immersed in a magical world of tradition, architecture, culture and so much more.
With a little advance reading and a good pair of walking shoes, you can definitely hit all major landmarks spending just 3 days in Prague – although locals recommend at least a week to properly explore the city!
We’ve gathered the essential info and planned out a great itinerary with all the best places to visit in Prague, so you can make the most of your 3 day sightseeing vacation.
Top Tips for your perfect 3 days in Prague:
- Walking routes are very scenic and often stunningly picturesque, so opt out of public transportation if you can! The entire city is very well connected by metro and tram lines, so they’re quite easy to use if you must.
- Visit the most popular sights early in the day or late in the evening. Famous Prague attractions such as the Charles Bridge, Old Town Square, and Prague Castle can get quite crowded during high season!
- Local Czech food is truly delicious… But watch out for tourist traps with sub-par cuisine. Rule of thumb, if the restaurant needs to advertise “original” or “traditional” meals, and their signs and menus are in English only, skip it and look elsewhere.
- Make sure to dress for the occasion: weather is notoriously fickle, and can change dramatically over your 3 days in Prague. Layer up, and remember to wear comfy walking shoes, as the medieval cobbled streets can be rough on feet.
Where to stay:
Prague offers accommodation for all budgets and traveling styles, from luxury boutique hotels to budget options. Choose the neighborhood with the vibe that best suits you, and pick the hotel that fits your needs.
- For the most central location and large hotels, choose the Old Town. Pros: popular choice, easy walking. Cons: often busy, sometimes pricy.
- If you are looking for a quieter neighborhood with more intimate settings, the Jewish Quarter is great for you. Pros: picturesque and central, small luxury hotels. Cons: less cheap than most areas.
- Partygoers and nighttime revelers will love the area around Wenceslas Square. Pros: great nightlife, party district. Cons: sometimes a bit noisy and rowdy.
DAY 1: Prague Castle and west side of the river
Start your visit off with an early start in the Prague Castle complex, the largest ancient castle in the world. Take at least a couple of hours exploring this world-famous attraction, immersing yourself in the rich history of its palaces, museums, churches and gardens.
The architecture reflects its varied occupants over the centuries, from the Dukes of Bohemia to Roman Emperors, to Franz Joseph of Austria to Adolf Hitler. Don’t miss Vladislav Hall and its numerous artifacts, the National Gallery and Picture Gallery for amazing Baroque art, and of course the changing of the guard at noon in the courtyard.
In the heart of the castle you will find the stunning Saint Vitus Cathedral, with its instantly recognizable spire and beautiful Gothic architecture. The stained glass windows give its interior a magical rainbow lighting, and be sure to catch some breathtaking views from the Bell Tower if you can manage the long climb up (287 steps!).
On your way out of the complex, stroll along the castle walls to get a feel for the city’s layout and enjoy the view over Prague’s red roofs. Take a walk down Golden Lane, historically the neighborhood which housed the city’s highly-skilled goldsmiths, as well as Franz Kafka’s home street.
For more amazing views over Prague, climb up Petrin Hill (or take a tram ride to the top). The walk takes about 30 minutes, but you will be rewarded by a great view from the Lookout Tower’s observation deck. On your way down towards the Vltava river, enjoy the stroll through the park as you head towards John Lennon Wall. This unique monument to peace and freedom is a heavily graffitied wall in constant flux: started in 1980 with an effigy of John Lennon and quotes of his ideas back during the Communist regime, it is open to anybody who chooses to add their colorful contribution to the pacifist ideals that inspired its creation.
Finish off your day with a visit to St. Nicolas Church, a stroll around the Mala Strana neighborhood, and a nice dinner at one of the many excellent restaurants in this exquisite setting. Our picks for great modern local cuisine are Czech Slovak Restaurant and Lounge Bar, a family-run “concept restaurant” proud of its local identity, and Tri Stoleti, a contemporary take on Czech and international flavors with a focus on local ingredients.
DAY 2: The Old Town
Beat the crowds and head early to the Charles Bridge for the best view of this iconic landmark. Walk between the rows of statues, and make sure to stop at the one of Saint John of Nepomuk, confessor to the Queen of Bohemia and martyred in this very river; rubbing his effigy is said to bring good luck and a promise to return to Prague!
The Old Town Square is the heart of the city’s historical center, surrounded by impressive buildings such as Tyn Church and the Old Town Bell Tower. Take some time to explore the area around the Square, including the many specialty museums — with more than 280 museums in Prague, you are sure to find a few that tickle your curiosity! Two of the most popular ones are the Czech Museum of Fine Arts, which houses old European art as well as temporary exhibitions, and the Museum of Communism, a collection of artifacts, photos and experiences that capture Czechoslovakia’s years behind the Iron Curtain.
As touristy as it may sound, visitors recommend trying out one of the many rooftop restaurants surrounding the Square for a memorable lunch experience. The lovely views above the city’s rooftops will definitely offer you a relaxing break away from the crowds.
Every hour on the hour, all day long, the famous Astronomical Clock puts on a unique and magical show. At first glance, the mechanical movement of the little dancing figures may seem a bit bizarre and even clumsy, but once you keep in mind that this clock was built in 1410 and is the oldest functioning mechanism of its kind in the world, it will definitely feel much more impressive!
Czech beer is famous worldwide, and you will see many ads for the renowned Pilsner Urquell all around town: take a well-earned break at the U Pinkasu beer garden, home of the very first tasting room of the now-famous local brew. This small restaurant and pub is a hidden gem for both its welcoming atmosphere and great hearty food (the dumplings and pork knuckle are highly recommended!).
DAY 3: Jewish Quarter, the Riverside, and Wenceslas Square
Throughout the history of this ancient city, Prague has always been home to a vibrant Jewish community, which was however confined to a small part of town. Most of its buildings are therefore tightly squeezed together and stacked high, for a unique and distinctive look. Much of the area actually survived both World Wars, and even through Nazi occupation the neighborhood was declared a “Museum of an extinct race” by Hitler himself, and was preserved along with all its artifacts.
The whole area is packed with historical attractions and culturally significant landmarks; don’t miss the Old Jewish Cemetery and the multiple Synagogues.
The Cemetery is quite remarkable, as Jewish burial customs prohibit relocation of buried remains, therefore soil was added in layers through the centuries and all headstones moved to the top, giving a distinctive “crowded” look to the grounds.
The Spanish Synagogue is absolutely breathtaking, with its gilded interior and Moorish decorative style typical of the Sephardic tradition of Spain and Portugal. A visit to the Pinkas Synagogue will be more sombre and meditative, as it is home to a memorial to Holocaust victims. Finally, immerse yourself in the legend and folklore of the Golem of Prague by visiting the Old New Synagogue, where its remains are supposedly preserved.
For a new and relaxing perspective, take a long walk along the Vltava river, or choose one of the many river cruises that depart near the Old Town. Many of them also offer meal services, so this may also be a good lunch experience with a different view on the city!
Whether you walk or sail along, keep your eyes open and admire the many smaller but unique landmarks throughout the city, from whimsical sculptures to contemporary art displays to architectural gems. Don’t miss a local favorite, the Dancing House, a fantastically photogenic curvy pair of buildings that also house a restaurant with a 360 degree view on the city.
Finish off your memorable 3-day stay in Prague by hanging out around Wenceslas Square, at the heart of the party district. With a selection of bars, clubs and pubs for every taste and party style, you are sure to find the venue with the right vibe for you, whether you are looking for chest-pounding beats and dancing or a lively evening with friends over a pint of excellent beer.
Historical, quirky, and full of character: 3 days in Prague will give you a taste of Czech culture… and give you an appetite for more!