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How to Spend One Amazing Day in Prague
Rich in culture, history, and stunning architecture, the City of a Thousand Spires is one of Europe’s most fascinating places.
Prague has been the seat of power for Bohemian kings, a medieval crossroads for east-to-west trade, and has a somber history of occupation during World War II and communism during the Cold War.
Today, the vibrant Czech capital thrives as a part of the EU and attracts tourists from around the globe. You could spend weeks exploring the city and still leave things undiscovered, but if you only have 24 hours, this one day Prague itinerary and guide will show you all the highlights.
Prague Trip Resources
Here are the services we use and recommend for traveling in Czechia;
When to Visit Prague
Because there are so many things to do in Prague in one day, there’s hardly a bad time of year to visit. It’s not a seasonal destination with beaches or ski slopes, but there are pros and cons for each season.
Spring in Prague offers a transitioning city to explore with Easter markets and a blossoming landscape. There are countless events and festivals that you may be lucky enough to catch in your one day trip to Prague.
Temperatures can fluctuate in the spring, so the weather is good but not optimal, however, the spring crowds are much easier to navigate compared to Prague in the summer months.
Overall, the shoulder season is ideal for planning your trip to Prague. Late March through May and September through early November will have the best weather and crowd sizes in Prague.
You won’t be lacking in things to do, and you get all the best attractions that Prague has to offer.
If you visit Prague in the summer months, be prepared for the city to swell with tourists. This is the time of year when you’ll have to get up early to walk across the Charles Bridge without it feeling overrun.
You can expect queues to enter Prague Castle and you may not be able to find a table for dinner without a reservation.
Still, this is a great time to visit Prague if you want to experience the famous nightlife with plenty of international visitors by your side.
It’s also the most comfortable weather with loads of sunlight, longer days to fill with activities, and comfortable temperatures to be outside and walk around the historic city.
Autumn in Prague is one of the best times to visit the city. During the fall months, you’ll have a noticeable difference in crowd size and you’ll feel freer to tour the city without long lines and strangers walking in front of your photos.
Because of the large student population, the city has a buzz about it during the fall – it’s like a “back to school feeling” all around town.
Prague in the falls feels more authentic than when you visit at the height of the tourist season. The autumn months may have cooler temperatures and shorter daylight hours, but that’s the trade-off for visiting the city with fewer crowds and queues.
During the wintertime, temperatures in Prague will be cold and the daylight becomes scarce.
Some activities like Vltava river cruises are limited or closed altogether. Instead, they’re replaced with other winter activities like the atmospheric Christmas market in Wenceslas Square, and holiday bazaars around Prague.
There are more tourists in the city for these holiday attractions, but it’s still not as crowded as the peak days of summer. You’ll feel a favorable difference in the crowd levels but have less daylight and colder temperatures in which to tour Prague in one day.
Get Your Prague Visitor Card Here
The Prague Official City Pass with Public Transport covers 2-5 days and has access to more than 70 experiences in Prague + unlimited use of public transport including the airport bus. Get your Prague Visitor Card now.
The Prague CoolPass covers 1-6 days and has access to 70+ attractions and includes a sightseeing bus tour and two river cruises. Get your Prague CoolPass now.
Getting to Prague
Václav Havel Airport Prague, formerly Prague Ruzyně International Airport, is the international airport of Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, and sits around 15km to the west of the city.
You have several options to get into downtown Prague from the airport;
Catch the Prague Public Transit company (DPP) bus No. 119 from the airport towards Nadrazi Veleslavin station, which leaves every 15 minutes. It will take around 20 minutes to get to the station, where you can connect to Metro Line A for Můstek, Muzeum, or Malostranská stations. Metro trains run at 3-5 minute intervals and the journey will take a further 25 minutes. Tickets cost 32 CZK (Czech Korunas).
The quickest and most convenient option, you can book in advance with Intui Travel, meaning you’ll be met at the terminal and the driver will help with your luggage. You’ll go directly to your hotel or accommodation in a comfortable car.
Grab a metered cab or an Uber which will cost around €35 and take about 35 minutes to arrive in the city center.
Where to Stay in Prague
What to See & Do in Prague
The perfect Prague 1 day itinerary is easy to plan out because the most visited and famous must-see Prague attractions are clustered together.
Each sightseeing area is easy to walk to and from, but to start we’ll leave Old Town and head towards Prague Castle. You’ll see plenty of opportunities to reach the castle by carriage, antique car, or other unique means, but we think the best way to spend a day in Prague is by foot.
If you like your city visits organized for you, then check out this highly-rated Prague Old Town and Jewish Quarter guided walking tour with a local guide.
One Day in Prague Interactive Map
How to use this map – Use your fingers (or computer mouse) to zoom in and out. Click or touch the icons to get more info about a place, and click the arrow in the box top left to open the index. To add to your own Google Maps account, click the star next to the title of the map.
Stroll the Charles Bridge
Start your day in Prague by strolling across Karluv Most, or Charles Bridge, one of Prague’s key landmarks and the most famous of the city’s seventeen bridges.
Charles Bridge is an iconic stone arch bridge that crosses the Vltava River and brings you to the oldest part of the city, Mala Strana, beneath Prague Castle.
Construction of the bridge began in 1357 and finished in the following century. It’s lined with religious statues and dotted with artisans selling local goods and is a must-see Prague attraction.
Top Tip: The Charles Bridge becomes packed by mid-afternoon, so the earlier you begin your walk to the castle the more you will enjoy yourself.
Admire Prague Castle
From the other side of the bridge, you’ll ascend Hradcany, or Castle Hill, towards the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Prague Castle and be rewarded with a more spectacular view with every step you climb.
Once you reach the castle grounds, you’ll find a queue to go through security, and if you’re lucky you can see the changing of the guards.
Visiting Prague Castle for the first time, you will be stunned by how much there is to do and see. One of the main attractions is the Golden Lane, a reconstructed row of dwellings that once housed castle laborers. It’s located along the castle wall opposite the entrance.
Make sure to visit the strikingly beautiful 14th century St. Vitus Cathedral, the final resting place of saints including Wenceslas, the former Duke of Bohemia. You can also book skip-the-line tours of the Old Royal Palace, the Archbishop’s Palace, and St. George’s Basilica, all contained within the Prague Castle walls.
Top Tip: The ceremonial Changing of the Guard at Prague Castle, which includes the fanfare and flag ceremony, takes place daily at noon in the first courtyard of the Castle. The sentries at the gates of the medieval castle also change on the hour from 7am to 8pm in summer and from 7am to 6pm in winter, but without as much fanfare as the noon spectacle.
The Castle Gardens & Towers
The gardens below Prague Castle are open daily between April and October, and are free to visit and offer respite from the crowds. They are a wonderful place to find a few peaceful moments.
The Royal Garden was founded in 1534 by Ferdinand I and is historically the most valuable of all the Castle Gardens. Originally inspired by formal Italian design, you’ll find statues, box hedging, and restrained flower displays. One of its greatest treasures is the Singing Fountain, one of the most beautiful Renaissance fountains in Europe.
The Southern Gardens, comprising the Paradise, Ramparts, and Hartig Gardens are spread along the southern facade of the Castle and provide striking views of the Lesser Town (Mala Strana), Old Town, and nearby Petřín.
The Castle Towers
At the eastern end of the Castle grounds, you’ll find three towers; Daliborka, a castle tower that was once a prison and contains medieval torture devices, the Black Tower which offers the best view of the city below the castle and is a great spot for a Prague cityscape photo, and the White Tower which is part of the Late Gothic fortifications and was a state prison from 1584.
Cross the Manes Bridge
After you leave the towers, descend the Old Castle Stairs and cross the river to Old Town over Manesuv Most, or Manes Bridge – a perfect stop to snap a few photos of the Charles Bridge upriver.
Named after Joseph Manes, the local artist who painted the images of the twelve months on the Prague Astrological Clock, Manes Bridge was built prior to World War I and is considered a fine example of Czech cubism.
Visit the Jewish Quarter
The Jewish Quarter or Josefov, is the smallest district in Prague and was formerly the city’s Jewish ghetto.
In the 13th century, all the Jews in Prague were forced to leave their homes and live in this one small area. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to some of the oldest buildings and most beautiful streets in the city.
The Jewish Quarter is full of historic buildings like the Old-New Synagogue, the oldest active synagogue in Europe, which was completed in 1270 and is the home of the legendary Golem of Prague.
In Jewish folklore, a golem is an animated anthropomorphic being that is created entirely from inanimate matter such as clay or mud. The most famous golem tale involves the 16th century rabbi of Prague, Judah Loew ben Bezalel, also known as the Maharal, who reportedly created a golem out of clay from the banks of the Vltava River and brought it to life through rituals and Hebrew incantations, to defend the Prague ghetto from anti-Semitic attacks and pogroms.
Adjacent to the synagogue is the Jewish Town Hall, a picturesque building with two distinctive clock faces. Nearby is the Old Jewish Cemetery, a remarkable 15th century graveyard with over 12,000 tombstones, and unlike anywhere else in Europe.
Before you leave the Jewish Quarter, make a stop at the Spanish Synagogue, an ornate house of worship on the edge of the neighborhood. It’s the most modern synagogue in the Jewish Quarter and next to the Franz Kafka Monument, which honors the Czech writer who once lived in the Jewish Quarter.
Alternatively visit the Jewish Museum in Prague, one of the oldest Jewish museums in Europe, which oversees four historical synagogues and various other important Jewish buildings and places. You’ll also find galleries of over 40,000 artifacts and a library of over 100,000 books.
Wander Staré Mesto
In Old Town Square or Staré Mesto, you’ll find the final cluster of Prague attractions surrounded by stunning buildings with colorful art nouveau facades, such as Old Town City Hall, Týn Cathedral, and St Nicholas Church.
In the center of the square is the historic Old Town Hall with its famous Astronomical Clock, or Prague Orloj, which was installed in 1410, making it the third oldest astronomical clock in the world, and the oldest clock still operating.
Wander the area as long as you need, but be sure to gather in front of the clock for the hourly show. The masterpiece of Prague’s Astronomical Clock really is a thing of beauty.
Wander the web of passages around Old Town Square and enjoy the exquisite architecture and secret corners. Further east, you’ll find the Gothic Powder Tower, the 65m high historic town gate, which was once a gunpowder store!
Take a Vltava River Cruise
See Prague from a different perspective when you take a cruise along the River Vltava. Beautifully lit, the city is gorgeous at night, and cruising under the Charles Bridge, with Prague Castle above, is a perfect way to end your 24 hours in Prague.
Go Ghost Hunting
Prague has had a long and well-documented history of ghosts, legends, and mysteries. Join a local guide on a ghosts and legends tour to hear all the ancient stories in Old Town, and visit the underground dungeons and back alleys while admiring some of Prague’s landmarks at night.
Experience the Famous Prague Nightlife
Home to some of the best bars and clubs in Europe, Prague has something for everyone. Go dancing in Karlovy Lazne, the largest club in Central Europe, or join a pub crawl to meet others and let a guide take you to the best places.
If you prefer your nightlife a bit quieter, wander the city at your own pace, enjoying local beers and wines in whichever spots take your fancy. Beer aficionados should go to U Kunštátü in the Old Town, where over 100 beers are on offer from independent local breweries.
Wine lovers should head for Vinograf in Mala Strana, where the focus is firmly on wines from Czech and Bohemia. Ask for a tasting of Czech wines and they’ll be happy to show you the whole spectrum of what Czech winemakers can offer.
Where to Eat in Prague
Prague was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire for over 400 years and inevitably, the Viennese café culture extended beyond the borders of the imperial city and gained a foothold in Prague.
Cafés were not just places to have coffee and cake, they were meeting points for cultural societies, actors, poets and writers, and in the communist era, dissenters and plotters met there too.
There are three types of cafés in Prague: the gorgeously ornate and decadent early 20th century coffee houses which were mostly shut during the communist era and have since been restored, like Café Imperial; the utilitarian cafés which sprung up post-1948 like Café Slavia; and the more modern iterations which you see in every city across the globe.
Our favorites are Kavarna Obecni Dum or the Café of the Municipal House for its sparkling Art Nouveau decor and Café Savoy, just over the Most Legii or Legion Bridge because we enjoyed a very gloopy and delicious hot chocolate there in March many years ago, just after we got engaged in Petřín Gardens!
The best place to have lunch in Prague’s Old Town is Krcma, a traditional Czech eaterie in a vaulted basement. It has a casual tavern vibe with authentic cuisine and a laid-back atmosphere.
If you’ve never had Czech food before, you’ll find a lot of potatoes, gravy, pork, and dumpling items on the menu. In the Czech Republic, lunch is traditionally a bigger meal than dinner. Don’t be shocked if the meal seems larger than you’re used to in the afternoon, since you’re in Prague you can have a lighter dinner.
A perfect authentic dinner destination in Prague is Lokal, a local favorite for light fare with a beer hall atmosphere. As mentioned, a Czech dinner is usually a smaller portion than you’d expect at lunch.
A simple basket of schnitzel and fries with a mug of cold beer is a typical evening meal. You’ll find that locals will linger at tables for an after-dinner beer as well, so make the most of your night in Prague and stick around.
Top Five Prague Travel Tips
- Make sure to pack sturdy and comfortable shoes. While there’s great public transportation, you’ll walk a lot when you visit Prague in a day, and the mosaic and cobbled stone pavements are uneven underfoot.
- Avoid using Prague’s currency exchange shops, many of them use drastically incorrect exchange rates and it’s much to your advantage to simply withdraw Czech Krona and use it in the city.
- Euros are accepted in many locations, but even the vendors who accept Euro will overcharge you to pay in any foreign currency. At best they will give you a poor exchange rate and at worst, they will claim that they cannot give you change.
- Book skip-the-line tickets online in advance for Prague attractions to avoid queues during your one day in Prague itinerary.
- Dress in layers when you visit Prague as the temperature can fluctuate quickly from morning to afternoon and again when the sun sets in the evening.
More Than One Day in Prague?
If you have extra time in Prague there are a number of fantastic museums that you can easily spend a few hours enjoying.
Hit the City’s Lesser Visited Museums
From the KGB Museum and National Technical Museum on the edge of beautiful Letna Park, to the Museum of Alchemists and Magicians of Old Prague, there are plenty of educational places in Prague to visit.
Explore Petrin Gardens
The Petrin Gardens, situated on the slope of Petrin Hill, are the largest green space in the center of Prague and enjoy hidden corners that provide stunning views of Prague Castle, the Old and New Town, and the Nusle Bridge.
The 510-meter-long Petrin funicular connects the lower station Ujezd with the upper station Petrin via the Nebozizek stop over 130 meters of elevation gain. The original cableway was commissioned for the Jubilee Czech Exhibition in 1891, along with the Industrial Palace at the Prague Exhibition Grounds and the Petrin Observation Tower. Standard public transport tickets can be used and bicycles can also be carried.
The funicular railway passes through the Hunger Wall, built by Charles IV in the 14th century as part of the city’s fortifications. According to legend, he decided to build the wall to provide a livelihood for Prague’s poor citizens during a famine.
Discover the John Lennon Wall
Make a point to visit the John Lennon Wall. It’s a graffiti-covered spot that’s popular on Instagram and served as a beacon of resistance during the Soviet occupation of Prague.
Terezin Concentration Camp Guided Tour
If you take one day trip from Prague, make it this highly recommended and well-organised guided tour.
Explore the famous Terezin Concentration Camp on a guided tour. You will see the Terezin Small Fortress, the museum, and more on a half-day tour from Prague.
Take a tour of the site of the concentration camp and the barracks while hearing about how the former garrison town transformed into a camp. Learn about how Terezin changed dramatically when the Nazis renamed it Theresienstadt and sent the first Jewish transports there in November 1941.
With a professional guide to offer insights, this emotive tour is the perfect opportunity to see more of the Czech Republic in less time!