Prague or Praha, the capital city of the Czech Republic, is rightly nicknamed as the ‘Mother of Cities’. A city that has two faces. The first face is of an ancient city attracting eight million tourists every year. The second face is of a modern pulsating city experienced by its one million residents every day. Whether you are seeking cultural immersion or unbridled fun, you will find yourself easily succumbing to its atmospheric life. Frankly, first time I found it too overwhelming. There were too many tourists wherever I went. But then I found a method to the madness and discovered many fun things to do in Prague, which were both popular as well as offbeat. And, in the end, I too succumbed to the magic of Prague.
One thing that I loved the most about the “City of a Hundred Spires” was its tolerance towards freedom of speech and action of its citizens. And, that explains why so many great men lived here – Franz Kafka (one of the major fiction writers of the 20th century), Tomás G. Masaryk (Philosopher, professor, and Czechoslovakia’s first president), Václav Havel (Author, dissident and first president after Velvet Revolution) and David Černý (sculptor renowned for his modern and provocative works set in contrasting traditional places).
During my several visits to the Golden Prague I realised the city has as many attractions you could wish of a European capital; avant-garde architecture from every era, countless lively pubs and restaurants serving world’s best beers and cuisines, and plenty of museums, cathedrals, theaters, opera houses, gardens, and other attractions to treat every visitor. If you are planning to visit Prague soon, make sure you bookmark this article.
Table of Contents
10 Fun things to do in Prague in 3 days:
1. Visit Prague Castle and Castle District
The world’s largest coherent castle complex is a UNESCO world heritage containing nearly every architectural style of the last millennium. From the gothic St. Vitus Cathedral to the Romanesque Basilica of St. George, Bohemian baroque buildings to early 20th century renovations, the complex brings alive the history of the city and its many layers. Visit early morning to avoid crowds or at sunset at getting a great panoramic view of the old town and bridges of Prague.
2. Get amazed by the Strahov Library
One of the world’s most beautiful libraries, the Strahov Library is the largest monastic library in the country, with two stunning baroque halls from the 17thand 18th centuries. Thanks to numerous renovations it remains strikingly well-preserved, perched atop a hill with magnificent views of the city.
3. Explore the Vyšehrad Citadel
The 10thcentury citadel atop Vyšehrad hill overlooking the River Vltava is a complex of building and structures full of history and legends. It has played a pivotal role for 1000-years in Czech history – as a royal residence, military fortress
4. Walk on the Charles Bridge
The 14th-century bridge is the oldest functional bridge on the Vltava river in Prague and is the second oldest stone bridge in the Czech Republic. Interestingly, King Charles IV, who had it built, had it finished on 9th July 1357, at 5:31. So, the exact time and date of it being finished
5. Stroll through the Old town square
Enclosed by buildings of different architectural styles ranging from Gothic to Baroque, the Old Town square or Staroměstské náměstí is a must visit historical central plaza of Prague. Listen to the oldest mechanical clock of its kind in the world – the astronomical clock that has chimed every day since1410. The clock has recently been refurbished and is surrounded by four statues representing four cardinal sins: vanity, greed, death
6. See the Jewish town of Josefov
Located just a stone’s throw from the Old Town Square, the Jewish quarters have magnificent old-new synagogues and old Jewish symmetry with 12,000 tombstones.
7. Climb the Petrin Hill
This 318m-high hill is the green heart of Prague. Perfect for someone looking for quiet, tree-shaded walks and fine views. Don’t forget to visit the lookout tower and mirror maze.
8. Marvel the beauty of the Dancing house
A modern architecture piece of the architects Frank Gehry and Vlado Milunić from the 1990s that faced a lot of flak initially but is now a famous landmark and even won an award by the TIMEmagazine. The two towers of the building are a reminiscence of the dancers Ginger Rogers (the glass tower) and Fred Astaire (the concrete one).
9. Appreciate art and culture at National theatre
With a tradition spanning over 130 years, the National Theatre is not only one of the symbols of national Czech identity but is also an important part of the European cultural space. Contrary to its name, the National Theater is made up of four artistic companies– the Opera, Drama, Ballet and Laterna
10. Get nostalgic and inspired at Lennon Wall
At first glance, the Lennon Wall is like any graffiti-covered wall you see around the world. But this wall is special, thanks to its unique history – Prague’s equivalent of the Berlin Wall. John Lennon Peace Wall helped inspire the non-violent Velvet Revolution that led to the fall of Communism in former Czechoslovakia in 1989. Even though JohnLennon never lived in Prague but after his
Where to eat and drink in Prague:
- Medieval Tavern: One of the oldest pubs in Prague situated under Prague Castle has opened daily since 1375. Many myths and legends are related to this pub. Everyone from kings, musicians
andeven criminals have drunk here. Every week from Tuesday to Saturday this underground labyrinth comes alive from 7 pm to 10 pm with a medieval feast, music, dancing and juggler show.
- Prague Foodie Tour
: Trythe authentic taste of Prague with locals in their style while listening to their childhood stories and getting acquainted with their customs and traditions.
- Jazz boat: Touristy but a romantic way of exploring the historical city. The 2.5-hour-dinner Jazz boat floats on the waves of Vltava river as you enjoy a live concert of professional Jazz musicians and relish the panoramic Prague views of illuminated city monuments.
- Manifesto market: Thanks to my local friend Veronika, I experienced a completely cashless place – a container village – the first of its kind in the Czech Republic and one of the firsts in Europe. What was once a derelict wasteland full of garbage is now a hip gastronomic paradise full of life and new ideas. Manifesto Market is a place where youngsters, office goers
andlocals convene to enjoy art, design, music, workshops, films and a variety of global cuisines and flavors.
- Café Louvre: The vintage café has welcomed esteemed guests from Franz Kafka to Albert Einstein since 1902. Perfect place to staple the Czech foods like beef goulash with Carlsbad dumplings or confit duck leg with red cabbage and potato dumplings.
- Café Slavia: Over the years the historic café has been a favourite hangout spot for actors, playwrights, writers, and anti-communist dissidents.
- Letná Beer Garden: A place to relax and drink Czech beer under leafy chestnut trees with sweeping views of the Old Town across the Vltava river.
- Pivovar Boršov: A 12th century hidden brewery in the old town but tucked away from the hullaballoo of the crowds is a must-visit place for any beer guzzler.
Where to shop in Prague:
- Manufaktura: For traditional Czech handicrafts and souvenirs like trays, candles, ceramics, herbal soaps
- Palladium: A downtown shopping centre with 170 shops and 30 restaurants across five floors.
Where to stay in Prague:
Prague is divided into areas 1 to 10 with two clear demarcations- “upriver” and “downriver”. If you stay in Prague 1 or 2, you stay close to many attractions and public transport is always easy to find. Here are the suggested accommodations for every budget:
- Luxury: Four seasons, Savoy, Aria, Augustine
- Mid-range: Boutique Hotel Seven Days, Alchymist
- Budget: Savic, Sophie’s, Corinthia
Suggested itinerary for fun things to do in Prague in 72 hours:
- Day 1: Old Town, Jewish Quarter, Charles Bridge, Medieval Tavern
- Day 2: Prague Castle area, lesser town, Kafka Museum, Jazz Boat
- Day 3: Museums, theatre, off the beaten, shopping, beer garden and cafés
What to pack for Prague:
- Clothing: Prague’s weather is
veryunpredictablefrom in summers to sub-zero in winters with unannounced showers any time of the year. Therefore, pack layers of clothing and comfortable walking shoes. In spring and autumn, a light trench jacket and a small umbrella will protect you from odd showers. In winter, bring a warm coat, hat mid40s andgloves to ward off the sub-zero temperatures, and waterproof warm boots to cope with snow and ice.
- Gadgets: European 2-pin electrical adaptor, camera, extra batteries, memory cards, and power banks.
Prague nuts and bolts
- Visa: Schengen visa for the residents of countries like India. The Czech Consular in India is infamous for not providing visas on time. I almost missed my trip despite submitting all documents in time for an official trip where I was invited by the Czech Tourism itself. Therefore, apply at least 3-4 weeks in advance and pay special attention to your documents.
- Currency: Czech Koruna, roughly 23 CZK to one USD
- Language: Mostly Czech and basic English
- Etiquettes: Generally, people don’t smile at strangers and might come across rude, including the hospitality staff. The accepted tip is approximately 10-15% of the total bill.
- Best time to visit: Late spring(May-June) and early fall (September)when the weather is mild and there are lesser crowds. December is a great time to experience the Christmas markets.
- Getting in: You can fly in or take a Eurail/bus from any of the big European cities like Paris, London, Berlin, Vienna, Budapest, Bratislava etc. I used the Eurail global Pass that let me board any train at any time across 28 countries in Europe. In summers, a lot of repair work happens on rail tracks and roads, therefore, frequent delays and changeovers are a common phenomenon. Factor in that in your travel plans.
- Public transport: Tram and metro are cheap, efficient and highly integrated modes of local transport in Prague. You can buy metro/tram cards at any nearby grocery stores next to the stations.
- Walking tours: The cobblestoned streets of the historic city are best explored on foot in the company of a local expert. I highly recommend walking tours of Context tours in Prague, which are led by historians, teachers, journalists, and other knowledgeable local experts. I took two extremely immersive and enriching private tours with them – PragueCastle District and Strahov Monastery and GreatMinds, Grand Spaces: Prague’s Cafe Culture
- Best view: Climb 138 steps to the top of the Old Town Bridge Tower for unforgettable views of the Charles Bridge, the Vltava River, and Prague Castle.
- Day tours: You can take day tours to Pilsen, Kutna Hora, Cesky
Krumluvand České Budějoviceand Bohemia Switzerland. However, it’s much better to spend a few days in these places.
- Where to go next: Explore the Bohemia and Moravia regions
Hope these Fun things to do in Prague in 3 days inspire you to visit the heart of Europe soon. While I recommend visiting Prague, I would urge you to also Czech out other chapters of the land of stories – Czech Republic.
For more info, don’t forget to read:
- Things to do in
CzechRepublic: take a road trip to 5 fantastic offbeat destinations
- Beyond Prague: 10 places to visit in Czech Republic
- 4 months solo budget travel in Europe
Have you ever visited Prague or Czech Republic? If yes, I would love to hear from you.
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I was invited by the Czech Tourism as a featured speaker at the TBEX Europe Conference. However, everything expressed above is based on my personal experiences in the country during my several visits. Images used are shot by me. Please do not copy anything without written permission.