If you only have limited time in Prague don´t be stressed. Prague is definitely doable in 24 hours, although I would suggest everyone to come here for at least three full days. My name is Dana and I am local guide.
In this article you will find my tips and full photo itinerary for how to spend one day in Prague. And see a lot.
Where to stay when you only come for one day?
This is very importat thing while planning only one day in Prague. For such a short stay you should definitely book your hotel downtown. Prague city center is perfectly walkable and you don´t need a car or taxi to get around.
I suggest staying in Old Town or close to the Old Town. It´s not only conveniently located close to all the major sights but it´s also close to Main Train station (Hlavní nádraží) or Main Bus terminal (Florenc). This is especially important for all travelling from Prague to Vienna, Budapest or Berlin.
Prague Airport is aprox. 30 – 40 minutes away from the Old Town, depends on a traffic. Speaking of taxi, never take a regular taxi in the street, it´s one of the most expensive tourist traps in Prague.
Prague in one day? Definitely stay downtown. Prague city center is perfectly walkable.
When to start exploring the city?
Early in the morning!!! No matter how long you are staying in Prague, it´s always fascinating (even for us locals) to explore Prague in the morning. I know it´s difficult to leave your warm bed and skip the hearty hotel breakfast but believe me it´s worth it.
Between 6 – 8am the city is most beautiful. During the day time many places in the city center are really really really crowded, noisy and exhausting, especially Old Town Square, Jewish Quarter and Charles Bridge.
Prague in one day, major sight and off the beaten path places. Prague Behind The Scenes is a great introduction tour for all with limited time in Prague.
Where to start?
There are two ways how to explore Prague: you can either start from Old Town and walk towards Lesser Town and from there continue up to Prague Castle or vice versa. Depends where you are staying.
Prague Castle is open from 6am (until 10pm) and by this time you will be there alone. If Prague Castle is #1 sight for you, then you should start from there. As soon as possible.
There is no entry fee to Prague Castle grounds. Since you only have limited time in Prague, don´t go to the interiours (you would spend there at least 2,5h, the ticket costs 250 CZK). Just walk around the countryards, see St. Vitus Cathedral, gardens and St. Wenceslas vineyard. Before you enter Prague Castle grounds make sure you don´t have any guns, knifes or drone with you, read more about security controls by the entrance.
Prague Castle is located on a hilly part of Prague. You can either walk up the stairs or take a tram number 22 or 23.
Where to finish?
If you are not too tired I suggest to finish your day at Letná beer garden.
Letná beer garden is a great place where to finish your downtown city tour and treat yourself with a cold beer or cider. Photo: Praguebeergarden.com
What to avoid?
With such a limited time I suggest to skip museums and interiours of historical buildings. The only place worth stopping is: Charles Bridge Old Town Tower (open from 10am, entrance fee 100 CZK / person). There are fantastic views. Another thing you should definitely skip is Trdelník (chimney cake). So called typical Czech pastry. Trdelník is another famous tourist trap.
Views from Old Town Bridge tower are stunning. Entrance fee 100 CZK / person.
Where to stop to drink and eat along the way?
There are many nice and non-touristy places where you can stop for a beer, coffee or lunch.
- Simple – to go – breakfast. On the very ground floor of Palladium shopping mall there is a small bakery stand called Artisan Bakehouse (in front of Albert supermarket). It´s nothing hipsta photogenic but they sell really good stuff. Try their koláčky, šátečky or koláče. Very reasonably priced and close to the starting point of my suggested itinerary.
- Mincovna restaurant Right on Old Town Square, great place if you want to taste Czech cousine. They offer very good selection of Czech wines and the Pilsner Urquell beer goes right from a tank. Their prices are really fair for the location. They also use ingredients from local producers. Mincovna in Czech language means „mint“ because during the 18th and 19th century they were making coins there.
- Roesel beer and cake– Roesel is well hidden in Prague´s most bizarre street leading from the Charles bridge. You need to know the address otherwise you can easily pass it by. Young locals recently opened this relaxed non-touristy hideaway pub and serve Czech craft beers and small meals. The staff is smiling and fantastic.
- Kavárna Nový svět – just 10 minutes from Prague Castle is located this cozy family run coffee place serving delicious coffee and home baked cakes. They don´t have a printed menu, everything is written by the counter on a black board.
- Kuchyň – right by the entrance to Prague Castle. Perfect spot for beer because views from their garden are absolutely stunning. Just grab your drinks and go to sit outside – you will love it. Fair prices.
Itinerary “Prague in one day”
Make sure your first stop is Náměstí Republiky to see Powder Tower and beautiful Art Nouveau building called Municipal house. Powder tower is open to public (from 10am). From the top balcony there is a perfect view over the Old Town and in the distance you will see Prague Castle. Photo: Prague.eu
Just a stone throw from Powder tower you will find this relatively modern building. Believe it or not, it was built around the same time as Municipal House (1912) but in completely different style called cubism. Cubism was a progressive art movement at the beginning of the 20th century but only in Czech lands it evolved in something world unique – in architecture style. This bulding is called house at the Black Madona (you can see Black Madona at the corner of the building). My tip: go inside and look up through the stairs – what you gonna see is one of the most instagrammed spots in Prague.
Standing in front of House at the Black Madona? Walk left, after 3 minutes you will reach this lovely theatre building called Estate Theatre (Stavovské divadlo). It´s definitely much better to go inside for a performance but since you only have limited time in Prague just remember that the wold premiere of Mozart´s Don Giovanni was performed here and conducted by Mozart himself (1787). Photo: Wikipedie
Old Town Square is the heart of Old Town and therefore always super busy. Only in the morning it´s nice and empty. Here you will find the famous Astronomical clock, Old Town City Hall, Týn Church, St. Nicolas Church and Jan Hus memorial. Photo: Prague.eu
Jewish quarter is a tiny and beautiful part Old Town. You will easily reach it right from Old Town Square for example through Pařížská street. In this picture you can see the oldest and most visited synagogue called Old New Synagogue. Early Gothic building from the end of the 13th century. Synagogues (and cemetery) in the Jewish quarter are open to public.
Via Jewish quarter you will slowly reach Vltava river bank where you can enjoy the best views over the city.
Charles bridge is open for free 24/7 and it´s connecting Old Town with Lesser Town. The bridge tower in this picture is open to public and I highly recommend going there. You will have a chance to take the best photos and avoid all the crowds (at least for a few minutes before you step on the bridge again).
Kampa Island is a lovely green area close to Charles bridge. You can take a break here and enjoy a cold one for example in Mlýnská kavárna which is located only 5 minutes from this water wheel.
John Lennon Wall is a little bit wild place which looks more like a grafitti place for youngsters but it´s actualy very important Prague sight. My tip: don´t lean against the wall while taking pictures as you never know how fresh the paint is….Second tip: right behind the wall you can visit nice design shop called Artiseme.
Only few month back Malostranské Square was one huge parking lot, now it´s a lovely apot where you can sit for a while before going to Prague Castle. You can either walk (uphill!!!) or take the cult tram number 22.
Tram number 22 is the best option how to get to the Castle district (Hradčany). Ticket machine is right inside the tram, you will pay with your contactless (scanning) card. From Malostranské náměstí (Malostranské Square) you will take this tram to Pohořelec stop (aprox. 10 minutes ride). The ticket costs 24 CZK / person. Foto: Sabrina Mazzeo | Zdroj: Fotobanka Unsplash
Once you get off the tram you can easily reach Loreta. Stunning Baroque complex and very important pilgrimage destination. If you happen to come here during the whole hour, you can listen to historical carilion located inside the bell tower, currently the biggest historical ecclesiastical carilion in Europe (27 bells). Just stand in front of the building and listen…Photo: www.farnoststrahov.cz
From Loreta walk left and downhill to explore the most picturesque part of the city called Nový svět (New World).
From Nový Svět walk 10 minutes towards the main entrance to Prague Castle and enter it. St. Vitus Cathedral is part of Prague Castle, it´s standing on the 3rd court.
While exploring Prague Castle grounds don´t forget to visit Castle gardens. There is a tiny hidden entrance on the 3rd courtyard. Castle gardens are open for free and only during the high season (April – October). This is also the end of my suggested route. From here just turn left and walk downhill back to the city center. Have a lovely stay.