A Weekend in Prague, Czech Republic
If you want to see castles, drink beer cheaper than water, explore historical old towns and get lost in a new place filled with wonder, head to Prague for a weekend getaway. This city has been the capital of the Czech Republic since its founding 30 years ago. However, Prague has a long history with the Castle built in the 9th century. Today, Prague is one of the most visited European cities. While the Czech Republic is in the Schengen Zone, they use the koruna, or crown. They will eventually adopt the Euro, but in the meantime, make sure you take note and be prepared to get out and use CZK when in the city.
You can download the pid litacka app for Prague and purchase tickets directly on the app. You can buy the tickets in advance and then activate them as you wait for the tram, bus or metro as it takes 2 minutes for the activation to go live. If you plan to use public transit a lot and take the funicular up Petrin park, then a travel pass may be for you. Prague also offers a 2,3 or 5 day Visitor Pass that allows you to see just about everything! Usually, I find I’m not interested in EVERYTHING and can usually save some money just doing things ad hoc, but if you are planning to hit the ground running and pack it all in, it may be worth looking at! Overall, the Old Town and surrounding sites are very walkable. I found myself using public transportation less than I expected, so a travel pass wasn’t needed for me… though I love to get my steps in on vacation!
I stayed in a hostel just off Old Town, about 10 mins from the train station. I would suggest staying near Old Town as it makes most of the top attractions easily walkable. However, the city has great transportation, with trams, buses and a metro system for easy use.
Things to Do
Take a Walking Tour
I always join a free walking tour when I first arrive in a city. It helps orient me in a new place and usually the guides provide great spots to check out later in my stay. I book my tours through GuruWalk. There are many different options in Prague, including tours of the Old Town or Prague Castle.
Explore the Old Town
In the heart of the Old Town sits (arguably) the largest tourist’s letdown – the Prague Astronomical Clock Tower. First installed in 1410, the medieval clock is the third oldest in the world and the oldest astronomical clock still in operation. From 9 am to 11 pm, on the hour, the two blue doors open to reveal the “walk of the 12 apostles.” The dials show the relative positions of the sun, moon and Earth. Have a stop while you wander the Old Town.
Around the Old Town Square are many restaurants and street vendors too!
Visit Petrin Park
On a sunny afternoon, the park is wonderful place to relax enjoy a picnic. You can take the funicular (60 CZK each way) up to the top to see Lookout Tower – an Eiffel Tower replica built in 1891. There is also the House of Mirrors and Stefanik Observatory. You can combine tickets for a discount. I didn’t enter any of them, just enjoyed the city views from above.
Hike to Prague Castle
Probably the most well-known site in the city, the Prague Castle is actually more like a compound, with several courtyards, churches and monuments. You can purchase tickets for the basic circuit, which includes the Old Royal Palace, St. George’s Basilica, the Golden Lane and St. Vitus Cathedral (my favorite) for 250 CZK for adults and 125 CZK for children (as of October 2023). You can add on audio guides, tours, the Cathedral tower and additional permanent exhibits for additional fees. If you don’t want to wait in the long ticket lines, I suggest purchasing skip-the-line tickets in advance. Pro Tip: You can save energy by taking the 22 or 23 tram from the river at Malostranská up to the Royal Garden (Pražský hrad stop).
The Royal Garden (Královská zahrada)
If you take the tram and alight at Pražský hrad, you are steps away from the beautiful Royal Gardens. Stop on your way to the Castle and enjoy the diverse park with fountains and a small café. Entry is free and it’s a nice walk through the gardens up to the first courtyards.
Visit the Lennon Wall
I’m beginning to question if the younger generation even knows who John Lennon is, but the Instagramable wall will lure them anyway with its colorful Communist-era political slogans, peace messages and a large portrait of John Lennon. If you are intrigued by the wall and the city, there is an app-based scavenger hunt in the city to learn more interesting bits. Regardless, there are some great pubs around the wall to grab a pint. Walk back to the Old Town via the Charles Bridge. It’s filled with street artists and entertainers.
Walk along the waterfront
Off the Charles Bridge back toward the Old Town, you can wander south along the water front. You can rent little paddle boats from the islands along the river. There are also so bars or coffee shops if you want to stop for a little break. Heading south along Masarykovo, you will come across the Dancing House (Tančící dům). The curvy, modern office space was designed by architect Frank Gehry and is a unique photo op. There is a top-floor bar with city views.
Local Dishes in Prague
No time in Prague is complete without trying some local dishes. I met several Czech guys that also raved about the local beer – Pilsner Urquell, arguing it was the best beer in the world. While I don’t agree (lol), I do think trying local dishes and watering holes brings the culture to life. While I sadly missed fresh vegetables, if you are a meat and potatoes sort of traveler, then Prague food is for you! While in Prague, be sure to try these local dishes:
Roasted Duck with Cabbage & Potato Dumplings (Kachna Se Zelím A Knedlíkem) – If you only try one local dish, this is probably the most classic Czech dish you can’t miss. The purple cabbage is sweet, but pairs nicely with the thick cut dumplings. The duck is perfectly roasted and should just fall off the bone. I enjoyed this dish at Restaurace Husinec with a cold beer on the back deck. Goulash – Goulash is typically Hungarian, but the Czechs have put their own spin on the dish, making it thicker and heartier. It’s also usually seasoned more with paprika and onions. It’s usually served with more potato dumplings and can be found in almost any local restaurant. Halusky – This Czech gnocchi has a base of potato dumplings, but you can find it supplemented with cabbage and bacon bits. My favorite version came from street food vendors in the Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí). If you need a protein boost, you can add some ham hock on top! Yum! Chimney Cakes – A trdelnik, or chimney cake as we call them, are found everywhere in Prague, especially around the old city. These slightly sweet bread-like pastries are wrapped around an iron tube and baked. You can add sugar, Nutella, nuts, creams, etc. There are arguments for the label of “best chimney cakes” but Good Food or Sweet Dreams are two tried and true options. Langos – Again this is another Hungarian food, but oh so delicious in Prague! It’s the perfect street food when you just need a snack or after a few beers with friends. The lightly fried dough is almost pizza-like, but the toppings are different. The traditional one has a little cheese and ketchup on top. I opted for a “bougie” version with sliced beets, arugula and soft cheese spread on the hot dough. Grab one at the street stalls in the Old Town Square. A cheap, but filling option! Kolach – Makový koláček, or simply kolach, are a popular Czech pastry for breakfast or afternoon snack. I have already had several of these in the States, but if you have yet to come across them (or you already know you love them), be sure to stop for one in Prague. They are usually filled with berries, chocolate or poppy seeds. As you can tell, there are so many things to do and so many foods to try while in Prague. This city captured my heart.
Some content may contain affiliate or referral links. When you click on and/or make a purchase through an affiliate link placed on Lifetime Tidbits, I may receive a small commission or other form of compensation at no additional cost to you. Please see my Disclaimers Page for more information. Thank you for reading!