Prague is arguably one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and during my first visit in 2015, I had a horrible case of tonsillitis, so I only got to revel in the beauty of the city for a few hours in between a lot of feeling sorry for myself back at my hotel. So, when Czech Tourism invited me to take advantage of the seasonal direct routes between my home city of New York and Prague – I knew I had to go back!
On top of spending three beautiful days in Prague we also got to explore Central Bohemia for three days,which was a great add-on to the trip and something I’d definitely suggest. But, before departing for the Czech countryside, this is the perfect three-day itinerary for those heading to Prague, hoping to get off the beaten path, but still catch the main attractions.
In Prague, and in the rest of the Czechia, the language is Czech. In Prague, you’ll find that most people will speak at least a little English but when traveling to a different country you always want to know at least a little of the local language. The following words and phrases will take you far in Prague and Czechia.
Czech Koruna, as this article goes to publish $1 US is equal to 22.60 Czech Koruna (€1=25.63 Koruna).
Prague is mainly a walking city but to get from one neighborhood to another utilizing Prague’s public transport system is your best bet. Prague’s public transport system is made up of trams, buses, subways (metros), ferries and even cable cars! All extremely efficient, convenient and affordable. A basic fare is 32 CZK ($1.35), a one-day ticket is 110 CZK ($4.50) and the three-day ticket I took advantage of was 310 CZK or $13 US. Don’t forget to validate your ticket on your first ride!
Both easily accessible and affordable. Taxis can be arranged for you by almost any restaurant or hotel concierge and Uber’s are readily available. I took an Uber from Old Town to Prague Castle, about a 10-minute drive, for 93.20 CZK or about $4.12.
In my opinion, shoulder season is the best time to visit any major city. It’s, typically, outside of the extreme heat or extreme cold and always sees less crowds. In my case, I visited Prague my first visit in October and, minus my illness, it was nearly perfect weather for walking around and seeing the city. A light hat and a warm jacket were just enough insulation for the cold, but it wasn’t super unbearable, and gloves weren’t necessary yet. My most recent visit was in May and with the exception of one rainy day out of seven in Czechia – I’d say the weather was perfect. We averaged temps of mid 70’s (21-23 Celsius) during the day and low 60’s (15 Celsius) at night. Talk. About. Perfect.
I’d highly suggest staying in Old Town. While transport in Prague is easy, being in the center of it all is easier. Chances are you’ll be having dinner in Old Town and it makes for a nice walk back to your hotel at night. I stayed at two hotels just outside of the Old Town Square – right across from each other, and they were both in the perfect location for exploring!
Art Deco Imperial Hotel is a five-star hotel in the Old Town with a gorgeous restaurant, spacious, updated rooms (with giant bathtubs!) and all the amenities you could hope to want. Upon check-in around 3pm, we sat at the hotel bar and had a quick espresso for a pick-me-up. The service was attentive, the beds were comfy and the amenities in the room (a coffee station with tea and water, plush robes and slippers, premium bath amenities) were all welcome additions!
Our room at Art Deco Imperial Hotel
Cosmopolitan Hotel is also a five-star hotel in Old Town, that also boasts a gorgeous restaurant! Being that the properties are sister-properties (and across the street from each other) you’ll get similar vibes from both properties and can’t go wrong with either of them. I loved the marble and luxe décor in Cosmopolitan Hotel and also took great advantage of the huge bathtub in our bathroom! With no shortage of the amenities you’d expect in a five-star hotel (thick robes, cozy slippers, a coffee station as well as premium bath products).
Room service breakfast at Hotel Cosmopolitan.
After checking in to your hotel, I suggest taking a short break for a coffee. You can check out EMA Espresso Bar (Na Florenci 1420/3, 110 00 Nové Město, Czechia) for a quick coffee and a snack. The space is super cute, and the coffee is delicious, there’s nothing much more you can ask for!
After getting your caffeine fix and fighting the inevitable jet-lag, head to the center of Old Town and walk (or take the lift) up to the top of Old Town Hall and Tower. Here is where you can find the infamous Astrological Clock and from the top you can really get a feel for the city of Prague. And it doesn’t hurt that the views from here are TO. DIE. FOR. There was a bit of an overcast laying over the city when we went to the top of the tower and it was still absolutely stunning.
Taking in the views from the Old Town Hall and Tower
If you go to Prague and don’t go to Charles Bridge, did you even really go to Prague? Visiting Charles Bridge is a “must” in Prague but do it in style and take a private boat under Charles Bridge. We had about an hour on our tour with Prague Boats and absolutely loved it. Our guide and captain, Milosh, was super informative but also not an overkill and even had some fun stories to tell us! He took us to Prague’s “little Venice” and pointed out where the water raised to when the floods came in (it was insane to see!) and overall, I think this is a great way to spend the evening. If you can, coordinate your trip to work around the sunset and catch the sun go down over Prague Castle!
Views and hues from the boat ride with Prague Boats.
You’ll definitely want to keep it lowkey on your first night in Prague and what better way than a restaurant associated with (and thus, very close to) your hotel? Next Door Restaurant was not only a beautiful space but the food was delicious! Serving traditional Czech cuisine with modern spins and twists, as well as some ‘out of the box’ menu items, Next Door Restaurant was everything you’d hope for in your first meal in Czech Republic.
Marinated duck breast (left) and goat cheese parfait (right) appetizers from Next Door Restaurant.
Take advantage of the breakfast that’s included with your stay – and don’t forget to grab an extra coffee, perhaps even get one for takeaway, because today you’re going to get those steps in exploring the city.
Just some of the offerings for breakfast at Art Deco Imperial.
Start the day off Prague’s beaten path and get out of Old Town to explore Vinohrady, a stylish and residential neighborhood that boasts beautiful and elegant buildings, tree-lined streets, hip cafes and more. I noticed a lot of young families in the Vinohrady neighborhood and some of the cutest shops! This is definitely the place to find yourself if you’re looking for unique boutiques and fun cafes that might not necessarily be on the beaten path in Prague.
Cute shops and cafes in Vinohrady.
Spižírna 1902 (address: Korunní 86, Vinohrady) was described to me as, “possibly Prague’s most instagrammable café” and it did not disappoint. Everything about Spižírna 1902 was right up my alley! From the palms and palm prints to the color scheme and especially the food – I can’t recommend a visit to Spižírna 1902 enough!
Just north of the Vinohrady neighborhood is the up and coming Karlín neighborhood. I loved the way that the historical buildings in Karlín blend almost perfectly with the industrial architecture and the new modern buildings. After stopping by a local market for some Czech treats and checking in on some of the shops in Karlín, make your way to Vítkov Hill to take in the views and hues of Prague from this beautiful lookout!
Some of the views at Vítkov Hill.
All the walking from today will definitely have your appetite up and since you’re in Prague you’ll also want an experience so get ready to stall-hop at Manifesto Market (address: Na Florenci street, Prague 1) , a unique space with a mission to create unique and memorable experiences from blending food, culture, design and technology. I have to say, MISSION. ACCOMPLISHED. With 24 stalls from restaurants, to bars, to street-food and stores (all built, super sustainably, in recycled shipping containers) and different DJ’s, exhibitions, workshops and cooking shows; daily – there’s something for everyone at Manifesto market!
When I was visiting Prague towards the end of May, the sunset was around 8:45-9p which was the perfect time to take a walk to catch a sunset over Prague after dinner. Watching the sunset over the city from Charles Bridge is a perfect way to end your first full day in Prague.
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel and get ready to explore some of the art scene in Prague today. Your third day in Prague will be spent hopping around Holesovice, which said to be Prague’s “coolest” district and is known as its art district.
A coffee at Café Imperial in the morning felt *regal*!
Exploring Holesvice without paying a visit to the National Gallery’s modern art collection would just be wrong! The National Gallery has a history that dates back to February 5, 1796 and with a history over 200 years old – you can only imagine the stories that can be told in the National Gallery. Some of the most famous works housed in the National Gallery are by Van Goh, Picasso and Kandinsky and outside of ‘traditional installations and artwork’ there are also interactive installations meant for the observer to open, explore and play with.
Some of the art works at the National Gallery.
The Eatery is a trendy, industrial-design inspired, open-kitchen restaurant with a simple, and delicious, menu. The open kitchen even has a bar where you can sit and watch your meal being prepared – or even discuss with the chef as they prepare for you! With a ‘farm to table’ concept, the menu changes seasonally – depending on what’s available from local farms.
Also in the art district of Holesvice is DOX Center For Contemporary Art. DOX is multi-functional space built in a former factory and has a mission to make a space not only for art (visual, literature, performing art, etc.) to be viewed but also encourages visitors to research and debate on social issues and encourages a “critical view so the so-called reality of today’s world”. What I loved most about DOX is that you’re encouraged to get lost through the various installations and presentations. The name “DOX” is derived from the Greek word doxa which is a way of perceiving things, or an opinion – and after just a few moments in DOX you’ll definitely start thinking out of the box! The building itself is a piece of artwork and nestled a top the building is Gulliver a zeppelin that is 42 meters long and is a permanent space for readings and exhibitions.
The café at DOX with some of the original plans for Gulliver on the wall.
After absorbing all of the art in the National Gallery and DOX, take a break for a coffee at VNITROBLOCK. Not only do they have a great café for a coffee or drink but they’re also a space for local designers and have small shops with art, sneakers, fashion, dance, food and more. You can check out their upcoming events on their Facebook page here.
The outside (and inside) of NVITROBLOCK.
For your last night in Prague, you’ll definitely want to enjoy some traditional Czech cuisine. Dinner at Restaurace Speciál will definitely not disappoint. A super cute space, that even has an outdoor back patio, with traditional Czech dining options and a large option of drinks and beers to choose from!
The space at Restaurace Speciál (top) and some of the dishes (bottom).
If you’re traveling to Prague from the States, as I was, I’d suggest adding a few days in Central Bohemia, just outside of Prague, to your itinerary. You can check out my article, How to Spend Three Days in Central Bohemia, Czechia to learn how to spend a few more days in the Czech Republic!
*Disclaimer: I was hosted in Prague as a guest and this article is written in partnership with Visit Czech Republic. My opinions, as always, remain my own.