Four days in Prague is the perfect amount of time to see the city’s highlights including the Old Town Square, Charles Bridge and try an ice cold Czech beer.
After spending four days in Prague, I’m going to start this post by saying the best way to see the city is to wander aimlessly! This is a city for strolling and for taking things slow. Yes it’s pretty, there’s lots to see, but it’s also BUSY. Between 10am and 6pm (give or take an hour on either side), expect to see plenty of other tourists. So take your time, soak in the atmosphere and enjoy one of Europe’s most beautiful cities.
I could list all of Prague’s highlights but you can read about them in a hundred of other blogs. Instead, I’ll tell you how we split up our 4 days in Prague to make the most of our time.
Highlights during four days in Prague
Here are the highlights, and how we grouped them for sightseeing days:
- Day 1 (arrival day) – Wandering around Old Town, including the Old Town Square, Old Town Hall and the Astronomical Clock
- Day 2 – Charles Bridge, the Dancing House, a river walk to the the Hilltop Fortress of Vyšehrad and shopping around Wenceslas Square
- Day 3 – Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral, Golden Lane and the Mala Strana neighbourhood
- Day 4 – Museum of Communism, more Old Town Square, Old Town Bridge Tower and Letna Beer Garden
As you’ve probably noticed, day 4 was a bit of a random sightseeing day. This is what happens when you try to fit in all the stuff you didn’t get to on the days before. I’m going to blame that on the multiple beer and pub stops we made throughout each of the days. Since Prague is known for its beer, I’ll classify it as a sight of its own!
With four days in Prague, I had been researching where to go on a day trip. Looking back on how we spent our time, we would have ended up being way too rushed. With only three and half days in the city, our slow-ish pace suited me just fine. And we still managed to clock up 20,000+ steps per day!
So where to start?
Old Town Square and the surrounding area
Do as the other tourists do and head to the Old Town area to get your bearings. If you haven’t looked at a map yet, now’s a good time to do so. You’ll see that this part of Prague does not resemble a grid. Don’t worry if you get lost! Fortunately, the Old Town Square is HUGE and you’ll find it somewhere in the middle of the crazy street plan. You cannot visit Prague and not stumble across it so don’t worry.
Here’s where you will find a few of the major sights in Prague, including:
- The Astronomical Clock
- The Old Town Hall
- St Nicholas’ Church
- A strip of food stalls next to the church (selling overpriced meat and beer!)
The square is also enclosed by a number of gorgeous gothic style buildings in a variety of colours. They are so pretty, that sometimes it seems that you’re looking at a painting. This was my favourite place to have a break and people watch while in Prague.
And if you’re anything like us, you’ll also find (and have a beer at) Caffrey’s Irish Bar. Yes it’s touristy, but the Guinness is cold and they have free wifi.
If you can visit here early in the morning, you’ll have it almost to yourself. But I find the square is better with more people in it to really take advantage of the people watching. Speaking of which, there is some seating around the Jan Hus Memorial in the middle of the square. Take a seat and watch the craziness around you.
Astronomical Clock and the Old Town Hall
Putting on a show on the hour, you can’t miss the medieval clock perched high on the Old Town Hall. You also can’t miss the crowds that gather to see it playing. Grab a strudel from one of the nearby vendors and take in the spectacle of the singing clock from the 1400s.
Týn Cathedral and the Jus Hun Memorial
On the opposite end of the square, you can’t miss the Gothic style church with its four spires dominating the skyline. To visit, you have to walk through the building in front of it.
We ended up crossing over Charles Bridge several times during our four days in Prague. This famous and very busy bridge connects the Old Town with the New Town or Mala Strana. This is also where you’ll find Prague Castle and hundreds of other tourists!
While the Charles Bridge is fun to walk across while dodging street vendors, the best view is from the Old Town Bridge Tower. Looking down at the Charles Bridge and the surrounding buildings from the top of the tower was one of the highlights of our four days in Prague.
Set up on top of a hill, Prague Castle dominates the skyline. While we didn’t venture inside the castle itself, the cathedral was breathtaking and the laneway alongside the church is worth exploring, including the Golden Lane. This short lane of historic houses and buildings were decorated as if they were still in the past.
When purchasing our entry tickets, we asked for a map which covers the whole area, highlighting the various buildings to explore.
It goes without saying, the St Vitus Cathedral is a must-see when visiting the Prague Castle area. Though you may have to dodge the tourists laying on the ground trying to take the perfect selfie to reach the entrance!
One of the unexpected benefits of visiting Prague Castle was the epic view looking down on the city. Yes that means there are a lot of stairs involved, but the pretty is definitely worth it.
Mala Strana Neighbourhood
We had fun exploring this neighbourhood, finding a cozy bar to hide in away from the cold May afternoon.
I’d put aside a few hours to wander around the Mala Strana neighbourhood. While obviously geared towards tourists, there were plenty of bars and shops to pop into. One of which was a candy store I could have stayed in all day. It smelled amazingly like the best combination of sugar and gingerbread.
Letna Beer Garden
For us, the Letna Beer Garden was strategically located between Mala Strana and where we were staying in the Letna neighbourhood. Even if you’re not staying in the area, I would definitely recommend it and the greater Letna Park for some calming greenery.
If you like views and you like beer, you’re in luck because the Beer Garden has both.
To get there, you need to work up a bit of a sweat, hiking up to the top of the hill. But the stairs are definitely worth it. The end of the park closest to the Castle has a few viewing areas perfect for pictures of the Old Town and its bridges.
River Walk from Charles Bridge to Vyšehrad
I’m not going to lie, this is a big walk and it took longer than expected. There is also a long stretch where there’s not a lot to see, so you may want to do this part by public transport.
We started at the Charles Bridge, and because there are several bridges criss crossing over the river, you can easily see both banks of the river.
While the goal was to see Vysehrad, there are a few sights along the way. The Dancing House is along the river and the National Theatre is one block back. Between there and Vysehrad, expect lovely river views but not much else.
Getting to Vysehrad from river level
To reach Vysehrad, which is up on top of the cliff, you need to head up a bit before it on the map. We found a set up stairs off of Na Libušince, which takes you close to the Saint Peter and Paul Basilica. We spent a good 30 minutes looking for a castle that I assumed was here (this is what happens when you have no data and only a brief idea you want to see a ‘castle’ 3km south of the Old Town!). Instead, there’s a pretty spectacular church and a lot of park land, including a very impressive old wall to walk along, with beautiful views of Prague’s Old Town from afar.
Saint Peter and Paul Basilica
The Basilica dominates the area and is worth a quick look.
Despite not finding a castle, a visit to this area is a nice (green) change from all the buildings in the Old Town Centre.
The area surrounding the church was worth a wander, and was some respite from the crazy crowds in Old Town.
Other Sights Worth Mentioning
A very important part of the city’s history, Wenceslas Square is the meeting place for demonstrations and celebrations. Nowadays you’re more likely to see shoppers along the 750m shop lined promenade. Needless to say, the heart of New Prague is a good area for high street shopping.
While my time in Prague was more about eating and drinking beer than museums, the Communist Museum was my one exception. Visiting the museum involves a lot of reading but I found the exhibits interesting and it was very eye opening learning about the Czech Republic’s history. If you’re going during the week, aim for the early morning before the school kids arrive for their school excursion.
Roaming Prague Side Streets
To sum up Prague in one word, I would use “stroll-able”. The highlight of the city for me was roaming around the city, taking in the architecture, stumbling across its many pubs and trying the local food.
Where we ate
Hands down, the best burger I have eaten in my entire life was had at Kantyna. This is not an exaggeration. The restaurant has a meat counter at the front and a bar / restaurant at the back. Seating room is pretty much non-existent and we ended up ordering a burger and then eating it standing it up at a huge communal table. Besides the meat counter at the front where you order burgers (this is not obvious to first timers), there are a couple other areas to order other types of food. Take a number and your food is delivered to you. Beers are ordered at a different kiosk.
Next Door By Imperial
This was a real treat meal, especially since it was lunch. Like its sister restaurant, Cafe Imperial, the restaurant is owned by Zdeněk Pohlreich, a famous Czech television star known for his cooking shows and cookbooks. When I heard we could have a celebrity chef meal at non-astronomical prices, I knew it was worth a try. I definitely wasn’t disappointed!
We had a three course meal of a modern take on traditional Czech food that was absolutely divine. Service was impeccable, food was so good and the restaurant fit out was amazing. I loved sitting near the open kitchen watching the food as it was being prepared. The dessert options are displayed in one of the most beautiful dessert cabinets I’ve ever seen.
I was researching brew pubs when I came across this traditional Czech brew pub located in Prague 2. They brew their own beer and are known as a popular spot for locals. It was a bit of a journey to get there, but adding in a few nearby bars, and our evening outing to a different area was a nice change. The clientele in all the places we went to in this area appeared to be locals. I don’t recall hearing any English other than us speaking to the waiters!
Also in Prague 2, Beer Geek is a small bar selling a variety of craft beers.
Located on the main street in Letna, this is a bar and tapas style restaurant that also serves an amazing breakfast in the morning. I would stay in Letna next time I visit Prague just to be able to eat and drink here again.
I had to include this bar because it was where I had my first Czech beer. It’s smack in the middle of Old Town and the beer is cold and the service is friendly.
Chaffery’s Irish Bar
The Irish Bar on the Old Town Square with free wifi and cold Guinness.
Where we stayed
One of obvious decisions you’ll need to make is where to stay. There will be advantages and disadvantages to each and a lot will depend on your budget.
We spent our four days in Prague staying in Louren Apartments in the Letna area, north across the river. By staying just outside of the centre, we were able to spend considerably less for a large apartment and we felt like we were living more ‘like a local’. For this, we had a 10 – 15 minute walk into Old Town and all the action. But we were also able to enjoy the beautiful views from Letna Park every morning. Once you experience how easy the public transportation system is, you’ll see that your location is pretty much irrelevant since it’s a super easy city to navigate. While we mostly walked, a few times the metro made sense and there was a stop 5 minutes away from our apartment.
The apartment was actually bigger than I thought it would be. The lounge / kitchen area had lots of space and the bedroom is off the entryway, so lots of space for two people. Wifi was excellent and check in was seemless. The whole place was very clean and bright with big windows facing the street.
Not that I didn’t like it, but keep in mind that there is no one there on the premises for check in/ check out and if you have any issues during your stay. For us, this wasn’t a negative, since the response time to any questions I had was less than 5 minutes and they were really friendly and helpful despite some of my more ‘dumb’ questions!
Have you visited Prague? Have I missed any of your favourite spots? Leave me a comment below!