You just arrived to Prague, Czech Republic for the first time and only have 24 hours to explore, what do you do? Below is an itinerary that will take you through Prague with the best sights, activities, foods, tips and recommendations for your best possible visit.
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6:00 AM – Charles Bridge
This bridge is incredible at all times of the day, however it quickly becomes the most crowded spot in Prague. Charles Bridge is always at the top of everyone’s to do list in Prague and for good reason. The bridge has been around since the late 1400’s and is full of history from one end to the other.
This Gothic bridge is the oldest connection of Malá Strana to the Old Town and is an alley way of some unique baroque style statues. The 30 or so statues represent saints and patron saints. It feels like an art gallery and they offer perfect photo-ops.
Sunrise is the absolute best time of the day to visit the bridge as you can enjoy it on your own. You will be without vendors trying to sell miscellaneous items and you have the ability to take some excellent pictures minus the crowds. The best views of the bridge are seen from both sides of the Vltava River with Malá Strana or the Old Town rising in the background. Sunrise presents cotton candy clouds in the sky and shimmering light reflecting off of the water and onto the historic bridge. Set your alarm, its worth it.
7:30 AM – Old Town Square
The center and heart of each European City lies in its square. Staroměstské náměstí, or much more easily pronounced, Old Town Square, is the heart beat of Prague and easily one of best in all of Europe. A walk through the square takes you back into history some 700 years. The scenery and architecture surrounding the square is dramatic and the morning is the best opportunity to enjoy it all to yourself.
Without people pushing one another over, it is easy to walk around and take a good look at each building and statue around the square. The most notable sights are Old Town Hall, Tyn Church, St. Nicholas Church, and of course, the famous Astronomical Clock.
The Astronomical Clock, the World’s oldest in use, was built in the 15th century and keeps on ticking today. Although it was hidden due to repairs when I explored Prague, the clock continues to chime every hour and put on a show for its visitors. The astronomical clock is gorgeous in design with its statues of the 12 apostles along with its range of colors. The clock face displays the time of day, a compass, sunrise, sunset, and even a zodiac dial that harmonizes with the stars above. The clock is crowded through out the day, especially at the top of the hour. A visit in the morning is a must to get a good look at its unique design.
The Church of Our Lady before Týn dominates the square and has since the 14th century. This beautiful and gothic church towers above the square for all to see. Your jaw is sure to drop the first time you come around the corner and see it standing above the colorful buildings next to it. The four spires on the top of the building give it a castle feel, rather than a church.
9:00 AM – Breakfast in a cafe or bakery
After a morning stroll through the Old Town, you are going to feel hungry. Prague is a great destination for bakeries and cafes. The bakeries through out the city have a ton to offer in terms of breakfast pastries. Anything and everything is worth trying, but keep it light. Trdelník is probably the thing to get, but let’s save that for later on. The best foods in Prague come around during lunch and dinner time, so it is not worth stuffing yourself in the morning.
10:00 AM – Jewish Quarter
Located a few blocks away from Old Town Square lies one of the prettiest areas in the City. Josefov, or “The Jewish Quarter”’ is full of some of the best architecture and has been around since the 13th century. On a walk through the Jewish quarter you will navigate through cobble stone streets filled with bars, cafes, restaurants, shops, and colorful buildings. The area is filled with gothic style synagogues, six to be exact, and is famous for its Old Jewish Cemetery. For those who enjoy learning more about the area’s history, “The Jewish Museum of Prague” takes a look into the area’s history and a walking tour of the Quarter will give you a better perspective. The area is worth exploring as it is the best preserved complex of historical Jewish monuments in all of Europe.
11:00 AM – Dancing House
Located about a mile away from the Jewish Quarter sits the Dancing House. This one of a kind building looks like it came directly out of a Picasso Painting. The design is very different from Prague’s typical gothic architecture which causes it to stand, or “dance” out among the rest. There is not much to do here other than enjoy the view for a couple of minutes and take some Instagram worthy photos.
12:00 PM – Cafe Louvre
This place is so good, I went three times in two days. One of the more popular restaurants in Prague, I am requiring you to visit. Around since 1902, Cafe Louvre has become a common meeting place for many people including Albert Einstein.
The unique atmosphere of the cafe is traditional and classic. The ambience and decor is old fashioned and the servers are classy. They offer daily newspapers and don’t worry about having wifi for their guests. The setting is great, but the food here steals the show.
Cafe Louvre focuses on the classics and traditional Czech dishes. Once they have perfected something, they never take it off the menu or switch it around, rather keep going back with the same dishes, and why not?
A cup of Cappuccino is some of the best you will ever have. The cacao and cinnamon dusting they add on the top of all the frothy goodness will have you ordering a couple of cups.
Beef Goulash is a very popular dish through out the Czech Republic and Cafe Louvre provides some of the best. The beef is tender and melts in your mouth while the sauce has a little bit of sweet and spice. The addition of the onions and Carlsbad dumplings only add to this mouth watering dish.
The best entree on the menu, and one of the best dishes in Eastern Europe, is the Svíčková. Pronounced, Svitch-kah-vah, these extraordinary dish is made using braised beef drowned in a delicious sauce made of carrots, turnips, and other root vegetables. Some sweet cream is added to the sauce to help it become thick and it is often accompanied with cranberries and bread dumplings. This plate is to die for.
1:30 PM – Charles Bridge (Take 2)
Compared to your early morning visit, you can barely move now. As the day grows, so do the crowds on Charles Bridge. You will immediately feel happy that you visited in the morning as it has become nearly impossible to enjoy the views. The crowds may be pushy, but the atmosphere is fun and a big part of the culture. The bridge is loaded with people trying to take the best selfie, and it becomes a very enjoyable spot for people watching.
The walkway is packed with vendors trying to sell artwork and jewelry, but don’t fall for it. Everything here is overpriced as it is a tourist hotspot. Another walk across Charles Bridge is not only enjoyable, but it is the best way to venture across the Vltava River and into the Malá Strana neighborhood.
2:00 PM Malá Strana
The oldest neighborhood in Prague, Malá Strana, is also one of the city’s most attractive. This quaint neighborhood is full of cobblestone streets and surrounded with colorful buildings as well as nearly ancient churches. The area is bursting with culture as it is full of shopping, restaurants and outdoor cafes.
On weekends, it is not uncommon to find live music in the cobblestone squares. If you find yourself with enough time, the Petrin Tower is a good option to enjoy panoramic views of Prague. A walk through Malá Strana early in the morning is a nice alternative to Old Town Square.
3:00 PM – Lennon Wall
John Lennon Fans rejoice. Only a 5 minute walk away from the Malá Strana entrance of The Charles Bridge is the Lennon Wall. Once a plain wall, thousands of Beatles fans and tourists have been visiting since the 1980’s and adding graffiti to a now gigantic piece of art.
The wall is full of quotes from “The Beatles” and famous lead man, John Lennon. It is good to spend some time back and forth along the wall, reading the various messages people have left in the past.
3:30 PM – Prague Castle
Easily recognizable, and one of Prague’s most visited spots, is Prague Castle. It has been in the same spot for over a thousand years and holds the record for the largest coherent Castle complex in the world. To be honest, this massive Castle complex cannot be truly enjoyed in one, 24 hour visit, but on a much longer stay in Prague. The complex is home to some of Prague’s most visited spots such as St. Vitus Cathedral, St. Georges Basilica, the Royal Gardens, and the beautiful walk down Golden Lane.
Although, even if you only have 24 hours, it is worth spending a 2-3 hour time period walking around as much of the complex as you can. The majority of Prague Castle is free to walk through, but some of it has a cost to enter. Go see the gigantic and Gothic Castle with the time you have and begin planning a trip back to explore the entirety of the Castle walls.
6:00 PM – Vltava River Walk
A nice evening stroll along the banks of the Vltava River is a good way to take in some gorgeous views as the sun begins to set. Both sides of the river offer incredible views of the latter side. From the Malá Strana side you will enjoy views of the Old Town Bridge Tower with the colorful buildings of the Old Town shining in the light. Next to the bridge, sits Staroměstská vodárna, or in much easier terms, Old Town Water Tower. This clock tower commands the skyline with its counterpart Old Town Bridge Tower as an excellent subject to a photo.
From the Old Town side of the water, you can look onto the Malá Strana side with Prague Castle sitting on top of the hillside reigning over the city in all it’s glory. The sunset offers some unique lighting onto the famous castle and is full of park benches to enjoy the views. Walks along both sides of the Vltava River provide plenty of views into Prague’s gothic architecture and history.
7:00 PM – Old Town Square (Take 2)
It is quiet in the morning, and crazy in the evening. The once barren and calm Old Town Square is now a circus. There are street performers in every direction and massive groups of tourists are surrounding the Astronomical Clock prepared for its short show at the strike of 7:00. Just like Charles Bridge, a quick walk back through the Old Town Square on your way to dinner will have you thanking your alarm clock for the early morning wake up call.
Although it is crowded, the atmosphere is fun and there is a lot to see. You are sure to see some of the most interesting and weirdest street performers around.
7:30 PM – Dinner and Beer
Apparently, Prague locals consume the most beer per capita in the world, and for good reason. The rumors that the Czech Republic has some of the best beer in the world are no lie. The beers are easy to drink, about $2 a pint, and go down like water. Not surprisingly, Czech beers pair perfectly with all traditional Czech foods. Finding a good spot for dinner is easy in Prague as all of the restaurants have plenty of delicious selections of beer and Czech specialties. The best places to go are smaller restaurants down the side streets away from the tourist hot spots. There, you will find very cheap and delicious Czech food. Czechs are big on anything and everything meat, therefore a pork knuckle is a great choice. This massive hunk of meat might look kind of gross, but it is some of the most tender meat you will have. It goes perfectly with any beer and unless you are eating it with 2-3 people, you will gain an audience to watch you tear it apart.
9:00 PM – Trdelník
What is dinner in Europe without dessert? Street foods in Prague are very popular as the Czechs are well known for their sausages, kielbasas and beers, but have you heard of Trdelník? These glorious “Chimney Cakes” are made by wrapping some dough around a stick, sprinkling it with sugar and spinning it over top of an open fire. They are all over Prague on just about every street, and will only cost you a dollar or two. Trdelník can be ordered in many ways including nutella or ice cream filled, but they are just fine plain. As a matter of fact, plain is the way to go.
Make sure to buy them fresh off of the stick and fire, you don’t want to be eating 5 hour old Trdelník. They can be enjoyed through out the day, but early morning or later in the night is best when the sun is down and the air is chilly.
9:05 PM – Old Town Square (Take 3)
There is no better place to end a long day in Prague while enjoying your Trdelník and taking in the city sights one last time. Night time always offers a different atmosphere in any city and Prague has a very lively night scene. The lights sparkle off of the historic buildings and create an ambience that is not seen anywhere else. This is the perfect spot to end the day or to start the night. The square is alive and well as Prague is preparing to party until the sun comes up. Prague is of course one of the most popular spots for night life in Europe as it plays host to Europe’s largest night club, Karlovy Lazne.
Enjoy the $1 beers all night or head to bed, it is in your choosing. Regardless of the decision, a great day spent is sadly over. 24 hours in Prague can be done, but more time is better. There is a good reason a lot of people say that Prague is one of the best places in all of Europe. This city is the kind of place you visit and immediately know that you will be back for more.
If you agree or have something to change on my “24 Hours In” Prague Itinerary, please comment and reply below! And don’t forget to subscribe! If you have any other questions or want more recommendations, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on Instagram @travelingle and @egtrotters . Thank you! Enjoy your trip in Prague! =D