3 DAY TRAVEL GUIDE OF PRAGUE
Prague is one of the most aesthetically pleasing cities in Europe. One of the most beautiful aspects of Prague is its variation in architecture. I am someone who instantly falls in love with architecture, and you will see me stopping at almost every building trying to capture the intricate details. This is why I loved Prague, it is through it’s years of history that it has preserved different styles of architecture which create the beautiful city it is today. Amongst it’s architecture you will find Gothic, Romanesque, Renaissance, Baroque, Neo-Renaissance, Art Nouveau, Cubist, Modernist and post-1989 Revolution styles.
This three-day tour guide of Prague will hopefully facilitate your getaway and give you one of the best experiences of this incredible city.
The first day will always be a long day, full of walking so make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes and have your camera charged up to the max! There’s nothing worse than your camera running out of battery in the middle of an adventure.
Breakfast: Always start your day in style, have breakfast in the fabulous Café Savoy. Remember that this the most famous café in Prague, so if you happen to come on a weekend you must book a table in advance because it is always on high demand. Café Savoy reflects the first Czechoslovkian Republic cafés, with it’s elegant interior and an incredible Neo-Renaissance ceiling dating to 1893. They have amazing breakfast/brunch options including a healthy breakfast of fruit, yoghurt and muesli, English breakfasts, French breakfasts and American breakfasts. They also have a very tasty lunch menu and to top it off they have their very own bakery in which they bake daily products such as fresh bread, pastries and cakes.
After the amazing breakfast, it is time to walk off the calories and explore Prague. From Café Savoy, take bus number 18 from Národní Divadlo and stop in Ostrčilovo námēstí. It’s a three-minute walk to the Vysehrad Fortress it was built as defense around the tenth century. In the same fort you can also see the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul, and the Vysehrad cemetery.
From here you can take a walk back towards the center going along the Vltava river. On a Saturday morning you can make the most out of the Náplavka Farmers Market, where you can find local delicacies such as fresh fruits and vegetables, bread, mushrooms, cheeses, eggs and other homemade products; It really makes the walk a pleasure. From here you can carry your walk to the Emmaus Monastery just off Trojická street.
Further down the Vltava river, next to the Jiráskuv most, is the one and only Dancing House, the most architecturally interesting building in Prague
Lunch: For Lunch honestly I would re-recommend Café Savoy, simply because their lunch menu is varied and their food is of extremely high quality. You can chose something light such as salads or salmon, but also go for a more filling option such as their slow roasted duck leg or a Parisian steak tartar. Also it is in a strategic position so that after lunch you only have to walk five minutes to grab the funicular to the Petrin Hill.
For More lunch options: Sansho, Na Pekame, Kastrol, Nase Maso.
I would dedicate the afternoon to the Petrin Hill, as it is a wonderful walk giving you some of the best views over the lower part of Prague. If you take the funicular from Ujezd in the area of Malastrana up to Petrin Hill, you will arrive in the rose gardens. I suggest taking a walk around these gardens, which by spring and summer will be filled with beautiful flowers. It is probably one of the most romantic walks of Prague. Following from the gardens do not forget to have a look at the observatory, known as Observatorio de Štefánik.
From the observatory you should make your way to the Strahov Monastry by walking past the Cathedral of Saint Lawrence. It is one of the Old Catholic churches in the Czech Republic. It dates back to the beginning of the twelfth century with its Romanesque architecture later rebuilt in Baroque style.
Close to this cathedral you will see a mini version of the Eiffel Tower called Petrin tower, or in Czech Petřínská rozhledna. It was built in 1891 for the Jubilee Exhibition and today offers the best view over Prague. It is made up of around 300 steps to reach the top, however you can pay slightly more to use the lift. It is open until 22 PM therefore can also be quite a romantic spot in the evening. Tickets cost 120 CZK for adults and 65 CZK for students (just remember to bring student card).
From the Petrin Tower it is a 10-15 minute walk to the Strahov Monastery. The monastery underwent a long period of historical construction and reconstruction. It was first founded in 1120 as an independent part of the Catholic Church and was later built on by a Romanesque stone monastery. After the fire of 1258, it was reconstructed in a gothic style and finally around the eighteenth century Baroque style touches were added. This location is an active place of pilgrimage and also a beautiful museum.
From the Strahov Monastery, take the Keplerova road which will lead you to the Zahrada Černínského paláce. These are the Černín Palace gardens which are open to the public in the summer. This too is a walk to remember, to take around the architecturally beautiful gardens. The Černín Palace is one of the best and largest examples of baroque architecture in Prague. Since the 1930’s it houses the Czech foreign ministry.
On your way back to Loretánská road, which will lead you straight to Prague Castle, you will pass by Loreta Praha. This majestic building is another prime example of Baroque architecture in Prague. It is a place of pilgramige containing beautiful Churches such as the Church of the Nativity of Our Lord, and the treasury, where the famous Loreto treasure is kept. The visiting price is 150 CZK for adults and 110 CZK for students; the only downside is that in order to take photos you need to buy a photo permission for 100 CZK.
Returning back to the Loretánská road, in five minutes you will arrive to the Prague Castle. It has been said that this area is the largest castle area in the world. It is composed of three courtyards and many buildings covering 18 acres of land. In the tenth century, this area served as a seat of Czech princes and kings, and later became the seat of the bishop of Prague. My favorite part of this whole area though is by far Katedrála Sv. Víta.
Also in the castle complex is St. Georges Basilica, a more modest building around the back of St. Vitus. Although it is not considered one of the most incredible buildings it is of high importance.
After this insanely long walk it will be probably time to have some food. For Dinner I recommend an Italian restaurant located in Prague 1 in Havelská 499/27 called Kogo. This was advised to us by a friend who lives in Prague so I can assure you it is top. Their specialties in my opinion are their risotto – Their saffron and scallop risotto is gorgeous, and so is their black squid ink risotto. They also have a range of sides, which are absolutely delicious such as grilled vegetables, aubergines, mushrooms and spinach.
In the evening there is a wide range of bars to go to, however the Hemingway Bar was probably my favorite. Located right in the center of town, in Karolíny Svetlé 26, as you can guess from the name it is a Hemingway inspired bar. Famous for it’s Rum and Absinthe this is a popular destination amongst the people of Prague. The skilled barmen can make pretty much any drink and they use some very interesting ingredients for their cocktails. They don’t take reservations for tables after 9PM but wonder in and enjoy the experience.
Breakfast: Café Lounge.
Café Lounge is situated near café Savoy, just around the other side. Café Lounge is an elegant little café situated in Prague 5 (Plaská 615/8). Its menu includes a wide range of delicious options including Spelt pancakes with plums, cinnamon, cream cheese and roasted walnuts, omelets, eggs Florentine with pecorino cheese, spinach and cheese and chickpeas with crushed tomatoes and Bavarian sausages. Every option on their menu sounds absolutely delicious and unfortunately there weren’t enough days to be able to try them all. They also have a varied drinks menu with matcha latte, hot chocolate, coffee and many different types of tea. In the summer, if you book in advance you can sit in their little outdoor courtyard.
After breakfast I finally suggest going to see the famous Charles Bridge. If you are early enough there shouldn’t be too many people. To get to Charles Bridge from Café Lounge you just need to follow Janáčkovo Nábr Street to the left towards a little park. You cross the park and reach Na Kampe, which will take you straight to the bridge (Karluv Most).
At the other end of the bridge you will reach the Old Town Bridge Tower, which you can pay 90 CZK for a basic price and 65 CZK for a reduced fee to climb to the top of 138 steps and take some beautiful photos of the western part of Prague.
Once you cross the bridge, you turn left and follow Krizovnická Street into the Jewish quarter. The Jewish quarter, known as Josefov, is the area where Jews were forced to live in. When you reach Brehová you turn right and follow the road around. Josefov houses six important Jewish synagogues including the Spanish synagogue, the Klaus synagogue, Old-New Synagogue, the Jewish Ceremonial hall and the Old Jewish Cemetery. The Old-New Synagogue today is the Jewish Museum in Prague. Being the oldest preserved synagogue in Central Europe it is the main house of prayer for the Jewish community. It is possible to take a tour around this area called the Jewish Quarter Walking Tour.
Lunch: For lunch I would suggest taking the metro to Krizikova in the Karlín district, and have lunch in Krystal Bistro. Krystal Bistro is located in Sokoloská 101/99. This is probably my second favorite place to eat in Prague. The food is a traditional cuisine with a French twist. Their menu is not necessarily very varied however the lunch options they do offer are always very enticing. When I went I chose a salmon in a butter sauce and dauphinoise potatoes but also available are duck confit, beef burgers, fresh cod and veal schnitzel. I would also highly recommend taking the Plum Dumplings for desert as they are a traditional Czech dish and are divine.
After Lunch take a little walk through the Karlin district, as it is considered the Shoreditch of Prague. Very recently, after almost being destroyed by the floods in 2002, it has become the cool “hippy” area of Prague. You will find lots of pleasant little cafés such as Kafee Karlin and Muj Salek Kavy.
In the Karlin district you will also see the Vitkov Hill, which holds the National Memorial.
Following from here I would recommend taking a walk back towards Namesty Republiky Square, home to the Municipal House and the Powder Tower. The Municipal House is a spectacular building ornamented with art, stucco and mosaic. It was the location of the Czech. Declaration of Independence and today it is home to concerts and balls.
The gothic Powder Tower originally stored gunpowder and was then used as an entrance by which the Czech Kings would enter the city for the coronation process.
There is a gorgeous café near here called EMA espresso bar located on Na Florenci 1420/3. They have a minimal interior in the café, which creates a tranquil atmosphere for you to sit and sip on their high quality coffees and taste one of their specialty cakes (gluten free options available).
I read about this place before going to Prague, and the fact that it is Prague’s most famous steakhouse really attracted me. Cestr serves high quality beef from dry-aged Czech spotted Cows. Freshness and quality is what they stand by therefore their menu alters daily depending on what fresh meat they have on the day. I would highly recommend trying the Beef Carpaccio and a rump steak if you come here. Also they have a wide selection of delicious sides including spinach, creamy mashed potatoes and garlic potato pancakes.
Breakfast: If you’re someone who wouldn’t mid venturing around for breakfast then Misto is a café that has very high ratings for their breakfasts. Located in Bubenečská 12, Prague 6 Misto serve a variety of breakfasts such as a typical English fry-up, Poached eggs, Buckwheat Pancakes, Homemade Granola and Rice Porridge. It is a typical place in Prague where you spend little and eat high quality food. – You can then take the metro A from Hradčanská to Staroměstská and in five minutes you will be in the center.
Walk down Kaprova and you will see St. Nicolas’ Church ( Chrám svatého Mikulaše). To say that this church is beautiful is an understatement – It is a prime example of Baroque architecture in Prague and it is absolutely breathtaking. The interior thrives with frescos and sculptures and an incredible baroque organ, which was played by Mozart in 1787. The exterior of the church is composed of a façade of waves alternating in concave and convex forms decorated with the crest of the churches greatest patron. Take a few moments to go inside and really appreciate the beauty of this church.
A few meters ahead you will be in the Old Town Square. This majestic square houses one of the most famous sites in Prague: Prague Astronomical Clock. This site is considered to be one of Prague’s greatest treasures for the past hundreds of years. When the clock strikes the hour, 12 apostles pass by the window above the astronomical dial and symbolic little statues move alongside, create a mesmerizing spectacle. You can climb the statue for another spectacular view over Prague – Tickets cost 100 CZK for adults and 70 CZK for reduced tickets (including student prices).
In the square you will also see the Church of Mother of God before Týn, the dominating church of the Old Town Square. It is a prime example of gothic architecture in Prague built in the mid thirteenth century. It is possible to have a look inside but make sure you check the sightseeing times as they vary (http://www.prague.eu/en/object/places/76/church-of-our-lady-before-tyn-chram-matky-bozi-pred-tynem).
Lunch: A Fifteen minutes walk from the old town square you can reach Lokal, one of Prague’s top food venues. Located in Dlouhá 33 Lokal offers a wide range of foods; whether your looking for a light lunch composed of cured meats, sausages, soups or salads or a slightly more filling lunch made of Prague’s specialty dishes such as goulash, Boiled neck of beef or their Roast pork leg with creamy sauce. Their desert menu is definitely worth checking out, as the Caramel glazed profiterole with caramel and vanilla cream is one of the best deserts I have had in a long time.
In the afternoon I would suggest visiting a couple of museums starting with the Communist Museum. Situated in Kaunicky Palác on Panská 7, this museum will illustrate the meaning of communism in Prague in the twentieth century. It focuses on many aspects including politics, history, sport, daily life, education, women’s role, propaganda etc. It is a real eye-opener to the experiences of the former Soviet Union. Tickets cost 190 CZK for adults and 150 CZK for students.
From the Communist museum to the beer museum is a fifteen-minute to a twenty-minute walk. The beer museum was actually one of my favorite museums in Prague simply because not only you learn quite a lot about beer but also because at the end you get four half pints of different types of Czech beers included in the ticket price. It is a really fun thing to experience.
They always say leave the best until last no? Well for Dinner I would highly recommend Sasazu. This award-winning restaurant is a gourmet, high quality fusion of five techniques of Asian cooking: Sambal, Otak Otak, Flame, Roti, and Tai Tai Grill. Now of course, this is slightly pricier than the other restaurants I have recommended, and of course the portions are not going to be enormous, but it was the best tasting and best experience I had in the whole holiday. You do not have to be a sushi lover to come here as they have plenty of available options varying from fish, lobster, beef, duck and chicken; although their sushi is delicious. Not to mention their desert, chocolate fondant with ice-cream – words cannot even describe.