January 12, 2019 / Leave a Comment
So, you've heard all the hype, and decided to travel to Prague for 3 or 4 days - is it worth it? Is it all its cracked up to be? Can a city really be as magical, amazing, and breath-taking as what Prague is said to be by the tourists who continue to visit in increasing number?
Prague is everything you've heard, and more. It's a stunning city, equal parts fairy-tale kingdom and modern majesty, Prague is a place that's not only necessary on your European bucket list, but should be a top 5 location for anyone who is interested in traveling anywhere, for any reason. But, now you've made you're decision to go - so what should you do over 4 days in Prague? How should you plan the limited time you have to peel back the layers on a city that is so rich in history, so beautiful, and offers so much to see?
We'll show you what must be seen and experienced over your 4 day Prague itinerary, and how to have the best time possible!
How to Get There
Prague is located in the Czech Republic, which is in the eastern-central segment of Europe. Nestled between Germany, Poland, Slovakia, and Austria, the rolling hills of the Czech Republic are among the most beautiful landscapes in Central Europe, and Prague is a befitting jewel in this gorgeous country.
Arriving in Prague by flight, you'll come into the Vaclav Havel Airport - located about 18 km to the northwest of the city center. Given that Prague is a very affordable city, it's easiest to simply hail a cab (something we normally try to avoid in Europe due to cost) and head to your destination in the center of the city. Overall it'll cost you a very nominal fee, somewhere around $10 to $15 USD.
To view the directions from the Vaclav Havel Airport to Wenceslas Square in the city center, view the map below!
Note: Make sure to exchange for the local currency - the Czech Koruna. The Koruna is very favorable to the USD, Euro, and especially Pound, with one Czech Koruna equaling only about three pence!
If you do happen to be arriving by train, the main station called Praha Hlavní Nádraží is located in the center of the city - just next to the famous Wenceslas Square. From here, you can access anywhere in the city by foot or tram, as Prague has an excellent underground system that is very easily laid out, and easy to navigate.
The directions from the station to Wenceslas are remarkably close and quick!
Where to Stay in Prague
One thing that is difficult to decide about Prague is where to stay. Why? Because there's something interesting to do throughout the city, and it's hard to say what is "better" about one area or another because - simply put - the entire city is awesome. It really just depends on who you are and what you want to do.
Prague is broken up into numbered segments, literally labeled "Prague 1, Prague 2", and so on. Most likely, you want to stay in Prague 1, as it stretched on both sides of the beautiful Vltava River, and include most of the famous historic sites that are must-see locations.
Alternatively, you can also stay in Prague 2. Located on the east side of the Vltava, it includes the popular Nove Mesto district, and should certainly be under consideration if you're interested in being in a slightly less busy, and more residential area. However, you're most likely going to want to stay somewhere in Prague 1.
Where you stay ultimately depends on what you want to do, and what price point you can afford. If you're wanting to be in the middle of the action, stay on either end of the Charles Bridge, which is the central hub around which the city turns. To the west you have the slightly calmer banks that include the foothills of Prague Castle, and on the East side of the Vltava you'll be quickly welcomed by famous landmarks such as the Dancing House, Klementinum Library, and the Astronomical Clock.
So, where did we stay? On the east side, a bit further back from the river, at the very nice Alton Hotel. The Alton Hotel is very affordably priced (under $75 USD per night), and is close enough to the action to stay busy, while not being so entrenched that you can't find some really nice, quiet evenings. This is how we love to travel, and if you like the same, I would definitely check out the Alton Hotel. See where it is, and check out its awesome ratings, on the map below!
Note: Another thing we love about the Alton Hotel was the awesome breakfast bar that was included in the price of the room. This was a legitimate feast that helped us start out our day by saving money and filling up! I mean - check out the pics!
If you do want to stay a little closer to the Vltava, there are a few hotels you should definitely consider that we researched based on recommendations. They are:
Smetana Hotel - Located on the east side of the Vltava, a half block south of the Charles Bridge. Great hotel in an amazing location!
Hotel U Zlateho Stromu - Budget hotel under $50 at the foot of the Charles - right next to Clementinum!
To search for your own hotel in Prague, search in the box below!
Personally, if you want to get into the real mix from a touristic standpoint, stay as close as you can to the Prague Astronomical Clock. It's located just a bit further back of Klementinum, between the area we stayed in at the Alton Hotel and the Vltava River. It's a great location with a million things to do nearby, such as Wenceslas Square.
The Astronomical Clock rests just off the Old Town Square, so picking any hotel that is around the perimeter of the square is going to be prime real estate and a great place to stay in Prague!
Now that you have this sorted out, you can lay out your play of what to do over your 4 day Prague itinerary!
Day 1 - Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral
When arriving in Prague for a 3 or 4 day trip, your itinerary is going to want to start in an area where you can pack in a lot of bang for your buck. There are so many things to do and see in Prague, but your first target is something that sits high on the west side of the city, like a beacon for incoming travelers.
The famous Prague Castle complex is actually a hill-side area west of the Vltava that contains many buildings, cathedrals, and points of interest - including the legendary St. Vitus Cathedral. Start out early, and make sure to pick up Skip the Line passes to Prague Castle, as lines can get long - early. Prague Castle is one of the most famous locations in the city, and it's a complex that will take you a good portion of the day to see and enjoy properly.
If you're looking to pick up a Skip the Line Pass to Prague Castle, use our favorite vender - Viator. You can get a pass that includes entry to the complex along with minibus transfer to the top of the Prague Castle hilltop (trust us, you don't want to walk it!) for only about $30 USD per person!
Some of the stunning sights you'll see while at Prague Castle include:
- The Old Royal Palace and the Vladislav Hall
- St. Vitus Cathedral
- The Story of Prague Castle
- The Prague Castle Picture Gallery
- The Powder Tower
- The Basilica of St. George
- The Golden Lane
- The Royal Summer Palace
- The Royal Garden
Our favorite was the breath-taking St. Vitus Cathedral, although the Royal Garden, Basilica of St. George, and Old Royal Palace were all stunning examples of the vibrant and rich (literally) history of Prague's ruling class. We were lucky enough to be in Prague for the beginning of their Christmas Markets, which kicked off at St. Vitus, and gave visiting Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral an even dreamer, incredible feeling!
In fact, we even decided to call our good friend and local photographer Raifa Slota to come out and take some holiday pics!
While the outside of St. Vitus Cathedral is impressive, the inside just can't be described...
It's easy to get lost, spending all day in the Prague Castle complex. It's okay - you'll want to! Everywhere you turn, there is one breath-taking scene after another - a monument, a memorial, an unbelievable work of art or architecture, and of course, a beautiful panorama of the city of Prague, itself!
While at Prague Castle, there isn't a shortage of food options. For us, visiting in late November gave the hilltop a holiday feel, which the menu reflected. If you have a chance to visit Prague while the Christmas Markets are open, make sure to try the Hot Wine (also called Mulled Wine), which is delicious, keeps you warms, and yes, gives a nice, life-giving buzz to boot!
Pair that with a view of the city and a classic weisswurst to split, and there's really nothing more you could want!
As your morning turns to afternoon, you'll probably be looking to head back near the Vltava, and perhaps find something good to eat for a late lunch. You'll be in luck, as at the foot of the Prague Castle complex lies several great restaurants serving traditional Czech food and (most importantly) great Czech beer!
Some of the classics you'll find for your first big meal in Prague will include Gulyas (really not that similar to Hungarian Goulash as some would think, and certainly different than the Americanized versions I had growing up as a kid), delicious Pork Knuckle, hosts of delicious potato dishes, as well as breads and sweets that are simply incredible.
What's great about the gulyas in Prague is that, for as many places make it, it's made differently everywhere. Some are rich and thick, others are more of a stew consistency. You can make a "taste test" of the best gulyas in Prague over the span of your 4 day itinerary, and never find yourself hungry for anything else!
As you make your way back across the Vltava and toward the hotel, presuming you stayed on the east side, you'll be greeted with beautiful nighttime views of the city and some of its famous landmarks.
Make sure to get some rest, because you've still got 3 days left on your 4 day itinerary in Prague!
Day Two - Wenceslas Square, Strolling the Vltava, and The Best Meal You've Ever Had
Yes, we'll talk about Wenceslas Square. But first, understand that now you've had a full day in Prague, a good night of sleep, and you might be ready to do some serious eating. In fact, you may be looking for one of the best plates of food, a dish so delicious, that tourists dare not darken its door.
What is this amazing dish I speak of?
Gulyas at Na Brezance!
We stumbled upon this restaurant, which was right behind the Alton Hotel, where we were staying. Actually, in looking for authentic restaurants in the area, it had the look of a place tourists don't go, and had all the trappings of a real, authentic place - menus not in English, no obvious welcome signs to tourists, and the obvious feeling when you walk in that you found something you weren't suppose to as locals stare at you like a unicorn.
If you ever run across this combination while traveling, just grab the menu, close your eyes and point. It won't matter what you pick. It'll be life changing.
While I would love to reconstruct the gulyas, and the accompanying dish that Tracy had which was, and I kid you not, the best thing I've ever eaten, I really don't know what was in there. We have a habit of asking our waiters in foreign countries what they want us to have, and just go with it. "What are your best two dishes? We trust you, let's do it!"
Take that approach when you travel, and you really can't go wrong! If you're looking for Na Brezance while in Prague, just navigate using the map below.
With that said, Day 2 of your 4 days in Prague is a great day to hang out in the center of Prague - near famous Wenceslas Square. Named after the "Good King Wenceslas" from Christmas carol lore, this is likely the primary hub of the city, from which you can quickly and easily access many of the things you really want to see while you're in Prague.
In general, Day 2 should be a little less scripted than Day 1 - when you work up early to beat the crowds and take advantage of your Skip the Line Access to Prague Castle. We advise not scheduling early days back-to-back when you travel, as having the ability to get a little sleep and not wake up at the crack of dawn to beat the crowds will really help rejuvenate you for the rest of the trip. Plus, Day 3 is going to start early at the Prague Astronomical Clock!
In fact, Day 2 is about strolling. Prague is a popular city, and a famous city that's visited by a lot of people, but it doesn't feel like a fast city. You want to have time between excursions just to walk around. Enjoy the food, get lost a little, and find your way back. You may even want to spend a little time using an inexpensive day tour of Prague, led by a professional and local tour guide! We booked the one in the link, which only lasts a few hours, and gives you a wonderful and educated view of the city, without having to do all the planning yourself!
Prague is easily walkable, and working your way toward the Vltava gives you the chance to stroll, feed the (giant) geese, and just watch the day go by. Which is especially perfect if you happen to be in Prague celebrating your anniversary - like we were!
This is why we recommend starting at Wenceslas Square, due to its central proximity to, well, pretty much everything on Prague's East Bank! You'll know you've found Wenceslas Square when you see the proud statue of St. Wenceslas in the center of the the square, which is really more of a very long rectangle.
Wenceslas is touristy, so if you're looking to shop at some higher end retailers, this is the place to do so. It's a beautiful square, but really served as more of a meeting point for us. From here, however, you can start to wind your way west, through the narrow, curvy streets that point you toward the Old Town Square.
While we'll be going back on Day 3, Day 2 is your day to simply meander, take photos, perhaps have a nice lunch in the Old Town Square, feed the birds, and watch tourists, locals, families, and solo travelers mingle in the beauty of one of Prague's most charming quarters.
Getting to the Old Town Square from Wenceslas Square is easy!
Getting to the Old Town Square gives you a chance to meander through Old Town Prague itself, to see the winding cobblestone streets, the shops, restaurants, and the amazing architecture that makes Prague so unique.
Day 3 - Astronomical Clock Tour and Josefov
Day 3 of your 4 day itinerary in Prague starts early, with one of the most iconic things you can see in the city - the Astronomical Clock.
You can pick up your ticket on Viator for Skip-the-Line access, which also gives you access to the old Prague City Hall - a true marker of Prague history over the last 300 years. With the tour starting at 9:35am, you get to climb the Astronomical Clock Tower for a stunning 360 degree panorama of the city, which is a truly stunning view!
The city hall is equally as amazing, located at the base of the Astronomical Clock Tower itself. It includes judicial halls, council rooms, and is a must-see stop at the heart of the city!
This is an amazing way to start a morning full of great experiences in the Old Town Square, including the view from the base of the Astronomical Clock, and actually viewing the Astronomical Clock itself!
Spend your time and get lost in the Old Town Square. Get lost, enjoy the history, enjoy the beautiful architecture and, of course, the amazing views in the oldest part of Prague!
Next up, you'll be heading to Josefov - the Prague Jewish Ghetto.
JosefovJosefov is a town quarter and the smallest cadastral area of Prague, formerly the Jewish ghetto of the town. It's actually found within, and completely surrounded by, Old Town Prague. There are myriad attractions and things to see that remind of the city's Jewish history, including:
- Franz Kafka's birthplace
- The 18th-century Jewish Town Hall
- Old Jewish Cemetery
- Pinkas Synagogue
- Jewish Ceremonial Hall
Regardless of your faith, Josefov is an impressive quarter that is rich in history. It's a beautiful area to stroll, to photograph, and to learn about Prague's Jewish history!
Day 4 - Lennon Wall, Klementinum Library, and Charles Bridge
Day 4 of your itinerary is going to be more free - making sure to see all the things you really want to make sure you see before your trip to Prague ends!
The first thing we want to discuss is Klementinum Library, one of the most incredibly gorgeous complexes in Europe, as well as the home of the Klementinum Mirror Chapel, which we'll discuss in a moment.
First off - what could we possibly say about the beauty of the Klementinum Library - often called the "most beautiful library in the world". I mean - just look.
This beautiful building traces back to the 11th century, and an original chapel that stood in the location. As time went on, the construct expanded, and is today a significant building along the eastern end of Prague's Charles Bridge.
You can pick up Skip-the-Line access, as well as read more about the history of the library complex at their official website located here.
For music lovers (especially classic music), Klementinum offers another delight - the Klementinum Mirror Chapel! We made a point to purchase tickets to the Chamber Orchestra performance, done nearly nightly at Klementinum - specifically of the famous symphony Four Seasons, by Vivaldi. It was one of the most amazing experiences in our trip, held in close quarters with fantastic musicians.
It's an absolute cultural gem, and something any lover of music and history should experience while in Prague!
Perhaps the one structure that Prague is most well-known for is the Charles Bridge. This structure connects Prague's east to west bank, across the Vltava River, and offers some of the most beautiful perspective of Prague - especially if you get there early before the crowds come!
Take your time meandering across the bridge, taking photos, and enjoying the views. The Vltava is a lovely river, and the architectural presence of the Charles Bridge immediately gives you the feeling that there simply isn't anywhere in the world quite like Prague - because there isn't!
Once you cross the Charles Bridge and have had a chance to take in some scenery - you absolutely want to see one last historic item - the John Lennon Wall on Prague's lower West Bank!
Once a normal wall on Prague's lowest West Bank, the John Lennon Wall is a graffiti wall that began gathering peculiar design in the early 1980s - in the aftermath of Lennon's death.
There's deep significance of the Lennon Wall in Prague, as this former Soviet bloc city took on a spirit for wanted change and revolution in the 1980s, eventually leading to the cessation of Soviet control in the early 90s. The Lennon Wall stands as a reminder not only of a British legend, but a fighter for peace and positive change, and Prague's yearning to be free of Soviet control.
Today it's frequently visited by tourists from virtually everywhere, and celebrates the freedom and strength of Prague and her people!
During your 4 day stay in Prague, wander as much as you can. Between the areas we've discussed, between the major attractions - just get lost. There are so many great places to stroll in this beautiful city, and with it being an incredibly safe city with very kind people, you can't help but feel at home.
It seems as though every corner, behind every street, there's more and more that draws you further back into the Prague streets.
It's an amazing city, that will provide plenty to do over 3 or 4 days. We have no doubt that, in visiting Prague, you'll find it every bit as majestic and charming as we did, and Prague will surely become one of your favorite places in Europe!
Useful Travel Resources for Prague
Prague Map – Plan your trip around Prague with this handy map
RentalCars.com – Great site for comparing rental car prices
Skyscanner.net – Our favorite place to book cheap airline flights
Expedia.com – Book affordable accommodation or bundle flights and hotels in Prague.
Recommended Guidebook: Lonely Planet Pocket Prague
Suggested Reading: Prague Winter: Personal Story of Remembrance and War