Prague, one of central Europe’s most picturesque cities, may be known as a tourist hotspot, and certainly, during the summer months, it can get busy with visitors from all over the world looking to take those postcard-perfect pictures of the Charles Bridge.
However, it’s not all a tourist trap, with plenty of cool, off-the-beaten-path spots to explore, and indeed even the most famous spots in the city are full of people for a reason: it’s truly gorgeous! Here’s a quick guide on how to spend 24 hours in the City of a Hundred Spires.
After breakfast, head across the river Vltava to the tram stop Újezd. From here, take the city’s only funicular train up to the top of Petřín Hill for the spectacular views over the city.
It’s then an easy 20-minute walk to Prague Castle, dating back to the 9th century, which boasts the title of the largest ancient castle in the world. Take your time wandering around the grounds and admiring the views of the city, perhaps also making a quick round in the adjacent National Art Gallery.
If the weather and your mood permits, take a leisurely walk downhill, crossing the river at the famous Charles Bridge and towards the Old Town to make a lunch stop. Forky’s (Veleslavínova 93/10) and Country Life (Melantrichova 463/15) are both excellent, healthy, meat-free options that are more popular with locals than tourists, the latter offering a self-service buffet where you pay by weight.
You’re then just a stone’s throw from Prague’s iconic Astronomical Clock and Old Town Square. If it’s on the hour, you’ll get to see the mechanical gymnastics of this impressive feat of engineering in full effect, but either way, take a moment to admire the intricate design of this fully functional astronomical clock that’s been in continuous operation for over 6 centuries.
The Old Town Square is, of course, a perfect spot for some great shots of the city, and while it is very busy with tourists following the beaten path, it may still be worth paying the small entry fee to take the elevator up the Clock Tower for the views over the square and a bit of historical context for the buildings surrounding it. From here, head down towards Václavské náměstí for Prague’s main shopping strip for people watching and (window) shopping.
The teahouse, Dobrá čajovňa, has a quiet, cosy vibe, hidden away in a back courtyard with a variety of seating and over 100 teas to choose from, as well as snacks and small meals. Mama Coffee is a much more typical third wave coffee shop, with excellent coffee (of course!), hot chocolate and many vegan options.
Hop on the metro or tram to Jiřího z Poděbrad to explore the neighbourhood of Žižkov. Wander around this cute residential area, far away from the tourist hotspots of Prague and poke your head in some of the boutique shops and cafes, but make sure to see the famous Television Tower (with an ice rink and minigolf park at its base) which you can ascend to get spectacular panoramic views over the city from its observatory at 93 metres above ground.
If you’re still peckish, or just greedy, stop by The Donut Shop (nám. J. z Poděbrad 1658/11) for a cheeky donut in very hip surroundings and briefly pop in to the Vinohradský Pavilon (Vinohradská 1200/50), a former market hall, now sleek shopping centre to window shop for some of the coolest design pieces in the city.
Hungry again? Good! Since you’re already in the neighbourhood, head to Moment (Slezská 62) for a light meal in a contemporary surrounding. The food here is all vegetarian and cruelty-free, with a distinct Czech flavour. Dishes include bagels, burgers, soups, salads and wraps, and their cakes are to die for!
Head back into the centre of town with a leisurely walk, or taking the tram and head to Globe Bookstore & Cafe (Pštrossova 1925/6), Prague’s best English-language second-hand book shop and cafe that’s open late every night. It regularly hosts events in English such as quizzes, book clubs and even karaoke nights with happy hour, making it a great place to meet people and socialise.
If you’ve still got energy left to burn, you’re in the perfect spot to experience Prague’s nightlife: just around the corner is Nebe Cocktail and Music Bar (Křemencova 178/10), a trendy music venue located in a former wine cellar, and there are countless other bars and clubs nearby, such as Groove Bar (Voršilská 6), Propaganda (Pštrossova 29) and Vzorkovna (Národní 339/11).
This guest post was written by Sam Wood