I had been to Prague other times, but this was a couple of ice ages ago and I didn't remember her being so blatantly beautiful. Yes, that's right, Prague slams its beauty in your face at every corner, it is a magical, romantic and esoteric city that manages to really charm everyone. The historic center is very large and is a harmonious mix of baroque, renaissance, neoclassical, art nouveau up to communist and contemporary architecture. I have thought about it and I really believe that, together with Lisbon, Paris and Budapest it is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. You can stay there for a weekend or a week without ever seeing the same things; there are amazing palaces and halls, beautiful museums, churches, gardens, shops, wonderful bars and restaurants. In this article I will tell you what to see in Prague in 3 days, if you are going there for the first time. I believe that 3 days are essential to see at least the "unmissable". I ran like crazy and couldn't see some places I promised myself to see, but that mostly means I'll be back soon.
The only note I can make is that it has become a truly touristic city (and you understand why) and, especially on weekends, you almost always find yourself queuing up to see the most popular attractions and jostling among the people (but some files can be avoided buying tickets first, as you can read below). Another note (then I'll stop): it has become quite expensive, especially for the entrances to museums, palaces, etc. They monetize everything and almost always at the entrance ticket require an extra payment to take pictures; here, this thing I found it quite painful.
How to get to Prague and how to get around
THEVaclav Havel airport is the main airport in the country and is easily accessible by direct flights (including low cost) from many cities. To reach the city center from the airport, you have two options, the cheapest and the most convenient. The most comfortable thing is to book a transfer from this site and have you taken directly to the hotel (the price ranges from 23 euros for a 4-seater car up to 60 euros for a 13-seater minivan). The cheapest thing to do is instead to take thebus N. 119 which stops outside arrivals and get off at the terminus (Dejvicka). From here, take the metro (line A) which will take you to the center. Depending on where you are staying you can get off at fermata Staromestska o Mustek. You can buy the ticket (which lasts 30 'and includes both the bus and the metro) with a credit card directly at the bus stop outside the airport (32 crowns).
To move around Prague it is best to walk wherever possible (Stare Mesto, Mala Strana, Nove Mesto and Holesovice), for the rest by metro, with Uber or with Bolt (the even cheaper version of Uber but it works exactly the same way).
Health insurance is recommended
Being in Europe, as Spanish citizens we have the right to health care, but there are specific conditions and ceilings. My advice is to still take a classic medical-luggage insurance that can cover you during the trip, even for Covid-19. I am very happy with many insurance companies, a site that compares the policies of different companies and proposes the most convenient policy for that particular trip. To do this you will have to enter the data relating to your trip and they will send you an email with the best proposal that you can then buy directly online (!!!). All travel insurances also cover medical assistance in the event of a coronavirus infection, including testing if necessary. There is also coverage for the extension of the stay in the hotel due to the quarantine. Likewise, the trip cancellation guarantee includes coverage for illness or death of the traveler or a family member due to COVID-19.
When to go to Prague
You can always go to Prague. In winter it's cold (in January I found temperatures around 0 / -2 °) but seeing it with the snow is a spectacle, not to mention that the prices are lower. With the warm season, in spring and summer, you can take many walks in the city parks, participate in various festivals and enjoy the clubs and beer gardens but you will certainly spend more both for flights and for sleeping.
Where to sleep in Prague
If you really only have 3 days to visit Prague, I recommend sleeping in the historic center, so you will have everything at your fingertips (and on foot). The best areas are those between the Stare Miasto and the Charles Bridge, or in Mala Strana, under the Castle.
- Pension U Lilie. Very nice, clean and super central family-run pension. It is located in a quiet street 290 meters from the Charles Bridge and the same number from the Piazza della Città Vecchio. The staff is very friendly and, despite being in the center, it is very quiet. Excellent value for money!
- Best place in Prague. If you have a slightly higher budget available, I recommend this structure which is always close to the Charles Bridge. The rooms are beautiful, large and clean, as are the common areas (which also include a kitchen).
Things to see in Prague in 3 days: all the places not to be missed
1. The Charles Bridge
The first thing to see in Prague in the 3 days is definitely the Carlo bridge, the emblem of the city and one of the most romantic places in the world. This bridge built in 1390 is bordered at both ends by the City Bridge Tower and from Tower of the Mala Strana Bridge (you can climb both for superb views) and is littered with statues blackened by time. Try to go there early in the morning or after sunset to enjoy it without too much crowds. The view of the Castle and the entire Mala Strana district will remain in your heart. If you are going to Prague for the first time, I recommend that you do this free tour (in Spanish!) that will allow you to orient yourself immediately and get to know the first notions about the main attractions of the center (Old Town Square, Charles Bridge, Jewish Quarter, etc.). It lasts 3h and you can book online up to 1h before the start if there is room (usually they do it in the morning at 10 and 11). There is also the evening tour, perhaps even more suggestive (this is not free, but it costs quite little).
2. The neighborhood of Mala Strana
Once you cross the Charles Bridge you will find yourself in the district (which was originally a city unto itself) of Mala Strana (literally 'small town'). Here too there is a tour that I recommend (always in Spanish), which is that of the whole district and of the Castle; lasts 3h and 30 'and they will explain all the secrets of this fantastic neighborhood. As soon as you cross the Charles Bridge you will find yourself on knows Neruda and Most that connect the Charles Bridge to the Castle. Halfway between the two, don't miss the beautiful one Church of St. Nicholas which, with its green dome, represents one of the most valuable Baroque buildings in Central Europe. The fresco on the ceiling represents the Apotheosis of San Nicola and is the largest fresco in Europe; Mozart himself also played the 2500 pipe organ in 1787. If you are not afraid of the steps you can climb the bell tower and have a beautiful view of Mala Strana. By deviating slightly from the main road, take a trip to see the John Lennon Wall, a wall entirely covered with graffiti that was the meeting place for young local dissidents to commemorate the repression of communist Prague. Lose yourself in the alleys of Mala Strana and look up at its beautiful buildings; it is really difficult to choose the most beautiful ones to report to you. If you have time, in Mala Strana there is also the Kafka Museum, Futura (a nice gallery of contemporary art) and above all the Wallenstein Palace and Gardens (which are only open for a few days a month).
3. The Prague Castle
Among the things to see in Prague in 3 days you cannot miss him, the Prague Castle, the main attraction of the city, which attracts an impressive number of tourists. This citadel dominates Prague like a fairytale fortress and according to the Guinness Book of Records is the largest ancient castle in the world. Built around the year 1000, it was once the seat of Czech rulers and is now the official residence of the head of state. There are many things to see inside, so plan to dedicate a minimum of half a day to it, preferably in the morning when there is a little less queue. If you want to decide freely when to go by skipping the queue, you can buy theskip-the-line priority entrance with Get Your Guide (see box below). The main entrance is on Hradcany Square, but you can also enter on the opposite side; in both entrances there is a metal detector and further on you will find the ticket offices. There are 2 different tickets, the one for the Short visit which includes the Vitus Cathedral,Ancient Royal Palace Basilica of San Giorgio, vicolo d'Oro and Daliborka (250 crowns) and that for the Long visit which also includes the History of Prague Castle, the Prague Castle Picture Gallery and Rosenberg Palace (350 crowns). In both cases you will have to pay separately to see the Cathedral Treasury of San Vito and Tower of the Cathedral. I bought the ticket for the Long Visit but the most beautiful things are also those included in the Short Visit so I would advise you to buy the latter and maybe pay separately to see the Treasure of the Cathedral of San Vito.
Do not miss:
- Vitus Cathedral: Gothic masterpiece and heart of Czech Catholicism. Stunning stained glass windows.
- Treasure of San Vito: Incredible collection of ecclesiastical jewels of immense value
- Ancient Royal Palace: in particular the Vladislaus room and the Scala dei Cavalieri
- Basilica of San Giorgio: small Romanesque jewel
- Vicolo d'Oro: picturesque alley with tiny XNUMXth century colorful houses (Kafka also lived there)
4. The Strahov Monastery
Continuing to climb from Mala Strana towards the Petrin Hill we arrive at the Strahov Monastery. Founded in 1140, it remained in operation until the communist government closed it down and imprisoned most of the monks who returned to live here only in 1990. The monastery is famous for hosting the largest monastic library in the country with two baroque rooms of the seventeenth and eighteenth that literally make you lose your mind. Unfortunately (or fortunately) it is not allowed to enter but can be observed from the doors. The most spectacular is the Hall of Theology with a richly decorated vault and several ancient globes.
This baroque complex founded in 1626 is located a few hundred meters from the Strahov Monastery and is a bit of a strange place. It's a place of pilgrimage which reproduces the alleged Holy House, or the house of the Virgin Mary in the Holy Land. The reproduction of the house is located in the courtyard of the complex and, in addition to the frescoes, features an elaborate altar in very beautiful silver. Do not miss the Church of the Nativity of Our Lord in perfect Baroque style and the church treasury with the famous "Prague sun”In silver and solid gold, 90 cm high and studded with 6222 diamonds (eye-catching!).
6. The Old Town Square
The large and irregular Old Town Square represents the heart of Stare Mesto, it was the main square of Prague as early as the 3th century and it is a must-see in Prague in the XNUMX days of visit. The most important buildings facing it are the Town Hall with its tower and the Astronomical Clock Church of the Virgin Mary In front of Tyn, Kinsky Palace and the big one statue of Jan Hus. The town hall it was founded in 1338 and is a complex of medieval buildings dominated by the gothic tower with the splendid Astronomic watch (currently packed for restoration). The Town Hall can be visited by participating in guided tours that also include the entrance to the tower, from which you can enjoy a wonderful view of the square (160 crowns). The Gothic spiers of the Church of the Virgin Mary In front of Tyn they represent a landmark of the city and seem to come out of a fairy tale. The interior of the church is Baroque and is located there tomba di Tyco Brahe (the Danish astronomer). Kinsky Palace it has a beautiful Rococo facade and houses a detachment of the National Gallery.
7. The Klementinum and the Astronomical Tower
Il Klementinum is a vast complex of Baroque and Rococo halls which represented the seat of the Jesuit college and the university and which today is occupied by the Czech National Library. Many buildings are closed to the public, but you can join a 50-minute guided tour (depart every half hour from 10am onwards, 250 crowns) which includes Library Hall (the highlight! A room that takes your breath away for its beauty), the Chapel of Mirrors and Astronomical Tower from which you can enjoy a 360 ° view over the whole city. Here worked the likes of Kepler e Tyco Brahe and you can see some original astronomical instruments used by them. In my nerditude I was very excited!
8. The Jewish Museum
Another must to see in Prague in 3 days is the Jewish quarter. North of Old Town Square, 6 historic synagogues, a town hall and the old Jewish cemetery are all that remains of what was once the thriving Jewish quarter of Josefov. Almost all the buildings in the neighborhood were demolished in the early 1900s to build new elegant condominiums (this is in fact the area where the shops of the big names are today). The remaining Jewish monuments constitute the Jewish Museum and can be visited by purchasing a single ticket (500 crowns); the ticket offices are in different points and I recommend you to go, for example, to the Maisel synagogue because you will find little queue (most people use the ticket office in front of the Pinkas synagogue) or, even better, take a tour with guide with ticket included (see box below). The most beautiful places in my opinion are the V.ecchio Jewish Cemetery and the SSpanish inagogue. A particular way to visit the Spanish Synagogue can also be to participate in a classical music concert inside it (all the info at this link).
This might interest you Prague Jewish Quarter Tour in Spanish (with Entrance Tickets)
9. The Civic House
La Civic House is a masterpiece of Art Nouveau and it is absolutely not to be missed, especially if you love Wes Anderson-style architecture. Restored in the 90s, it is a multipurpose space built in the early 900s and decorated and set up by the best artists of the time. The halls not to be missed are there Smetana Hall, the largest concert hall in Prague, the Hall of the Mayor, designed and decorated by Alfons Mucha, la Pastries, and the Restaurant and the café on the ground floor. The Civic House can only be visited by taking part in a guided tour that lasts about 1h (290 crowns entrance + 55 crowns to take photos) and there are 3/4 times a day. Don't miss it !!
10. The Nove Mesto district
In Nove Mesto district ('new city' ... but it was in 1300 when it was founded) there are the best examples of Art Nouveau and Neo-Renaissance buildings, especially around Wenceslas Square. This square has been the scene of many important events in the history of Prague and the Czech Republic, the establishment of the new Czechoslovak Republic was celebrated here in 1918 and here, in 1989, the fall of the Berlin Wall was announced. Other things to see are Lucerna Palace with the beautiful 'passage', the colorful Sinagogue of the Jubilee Dancing House built in 1996 by Gehry and Milunic and the beautiful rotating sculpture of Franz Kafka's head (2014, the latest kinetic artwork by controversial Czech artist David Cerny). It is actually nice to stroll around the neighborhood aimlessly and stop for a drink or eat in one of the many clubs.
11.The neighborhood of Holesovice
The Holesovice district was born as an industrial district and in recent years, as often happens, it is undergoing a process of urban redevelopment, especially in the area located along the bend of the river. Here you will find some beautiful works by street art made by international artists such as MODE 2 and others (especially around the Vitaska metro stop), the DOX Contemporary Art Center (famous for having a wooden airship on the roof) and the Vnitroblock perfect to take a break (a multifunctional space that has art galleries, shops, coworking and a bar / restaurant inside. The Letna Gardens are also located in this district, from which you can enjoy a magnificent view of the Old Town and the Charles Bridge, and the most interesting clubs in the city.
NOTE: having more time, other things that are worth a visit are the Museum of Art of the XNUMXth, XNUMXth and XNUMXst centuries, Mucha Museum Zizkov hill Vysehrad fortress and cemetery, bunker dell’Hotel Jalta.
What to see outside of Prague: 1 day trips
If you stop me in Prague for more than 3 days you can make some beautiful and interesting trips outside the city. The first one that I recommend is definitely the one a la town of Cesky Krumlov well known for the particular architecture of the historic center and for the castle. It is no coincidence that its historic center has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO! It is located 170 km from Prague and you can reach it independently by bus or by taking part in a organized tour (see box below) thanks to which you will save some of yourself and you will have a guide in Spanish at your disposal. I wanted too much to go there but in the end I didn't make it and I was very sorry!
Another excursion to do in 1 day, of a completely different type, is that to Terezin concentration camp, which is located closest, 70 km north of Prague. Also in this case you can participate in a 7 hour tour where, crossing the National Cemetery of the town, you will then enter the field to follow an itinerary of reflection, following the route of the prisoners after their arrival. During the visit they are seen the registration office, the warehouse, the prisons, the firing squad, the cemeteries and the morgue.
Where to Eat in Prague
- Mint. Despite being in the old town square, this large modern brewery is particularly nice and above all good! The cuisine is the typical revisited one but there are also gourmet dishes. The service is fast and costs around € 20-25 per person
- Fields. This restaurant is located behind the Jewish quarter and has been starred for several years. The cuisine is gourmet and is also very particular in the presentation of the dishes. The combinations are quite risky but the result on the palate is excellent. You spend around € 50-60 each (well deserved).
- U-Balinu. This is a classic Czech brewery in the hipster district of Vinohrady where you will find all the traditional dishes well cooked, very abundant and cheap. You spend about 20 euros each and you come out very full.
- Grand Café Orient. Here we are talking about an institution, as well as the only Cubist café in the world. This cafe is located on the first floor of the building called Casa della Madonna Nera (also in cubist style) near the Powder Tower and is absolutely worth it. Stop and have at least one coffee (you pay only in cash).
- Wine O’Clock. This tiny bistro (seats less than 15) is located right in front of the Pension U Lilie. It is a wine shop with a kitchen where you can find excellent meats and cheeses (but also hot dishes) paired with good Czech wines. Between the fact that it is the # 1 restaurant on Tripadvisor in Prague and the 15 seats .. booking is essential. It is only open for dinner and is closed on both Sundays and Mondays. From the series .. voja de lavoro jump on him!