I spent a day taking myself on a one-day tour of Prague while behind the wheel of the official Czech tourism Instagram account: Visit Czech Republic. I like to go on these adventures in my “home city” every once in a while to remind myself how truly incredible Prague is- and this was a great excuse to do it! I decided that I wanted to give the followers of the Visit Czech Republic account a 1-day tour of Prague. Specifically, I wanted to show what I would suggest someone do if they had only one day in this beautiful city, and then show what that day would look like in real time! So, as a summary of my day exploring Prague, here is my 1-day guide:
I started my day at Narodni divadlo (the National Theater) so that I could take my favorite walk across the Vltava River on my way to breakfast (more on that later!). I love this area of Prague because the architecture there is incredible in every direction, if not a little obscure with the Nova Scena theatre sitting next to the regal National Theatre. I also think this bridge gives you one of the most beautiful views of Charles Bridge and Prague Castle, and with a relatively tourist-free experience. Walking from the theatre side to the castle side of the river will point you in the direction of Petrin Hill and a beautiful walk in one of Prague’s natural getaways.
After this nice little river walk, I stopped for breakfast at the famous Café Savoy.
Café Savoy is just one of Prague’s many lavish cafés that have historically been meeting places for Prague’s great artists and thinkers. Today, this café is known for its incredible breakfast selection, and more importantly, for its pastry selection. While it isn’t the cheapest option in Prague (of which there are quite a few), I certainly think that a breakfast stop here is worth it for anyone looking to experience a little of Prague’s high culture and beautiful architecture to start their day in the city.
Once finished with breakfast, I took a walk along the river through the neighborhood of Kampa. Famously the home of the Kampa Museum and the David Černý crawling babies statues, I absolutely love strolling through the beautiful park and waterfront nooks in this part of the city. I never fail to get lost here when I stray from the river’s edge, and that’s one of the things that I love most- no matter how many times you visit, you will always find something new and beautiful. On that note, sorry to my cousin Ryan, who never actually got to see the John Lennon Wall when he visited Prague because of how miserably lost I get in these windy streets! In any case, my journey took me to the foot of Charles Bridge, one of the most iconic pieces of architecture in Prague.
I love this view of Charles Bridge and Old Town behind it because along the edge of the water, the city is so peaceful despite the chaos blooming on top of the bridge. I love sitting on the edge of the river in Kampa and watching the swans and boats float by with Prague’s beautiful skyline behind; it is a serene experience not to be missed!
But of course, a stroll atop Charles Bridge should also be on the agenda for any 1-day tour of Prague.
This bridge connects Old Town (Staromestka) with Mala Strana (Lesser Town), and is a beautiful place to walk- especially in the early morning before the tourists descend upon in such force that you can no longer see the bridge. Walking from Old Town to Mala Strana will bring you to Malastranské namesti, now a pedestrian square that’s home to some of Prague’s most beautiful rooftops. I took my walk from Kampa to the top of the bridge, and then through to Mala Strana where I took the 22 tram up to Prazky Hrad (Prague Castle). For the more enthusiastic among you, you might also walk to Prague Castle- but just be aware that it is quite a hill. I usually opt for the tram up, walk down route.
My next stop is one of my favorite places in Prague: the South Garden at Prague Castle. This incredibly beautiful garden sits just below the St. Vitus Cathedral, Golden Lane, and the castle rooms, but is far less crowded than those areas tend to be. Plus, the views from these gardens are spectacular, and they’re free to enter!
I like to pop up here with a book, find a quiet spot, and admire the Bohemian orange rooftops while relaxing in the sun or shade. Keep in mind that these gardens are open only in the summer, so you’ll have to save you visit for these beautiful, sunny months to enjoy these views.
*Pro tip: If you do visit Prague when these gardens are closed, there is a Starbucks just outside the gates of the castle that has similar views and an outdoor terrace. While I typically do not encourage visits to Starbucks outside of the USA (especially when there are such great local coffee shops in Prague), I do recommend a visit here just to enjoy the view- and it will only cost you the price of a coffee!
After sunbathing in the castle gardens, I made my way down the hill towards the Vltava River for one of the most “local” things that you might do in Prague: have a beer at Naplavka! Naplavka, roughly translated to “along the river” is an area below the Vyton tram stop on the Old Town side of the river where you’ll find a farmer’s market, floating bars, swans, bikes, and locals enjoying the local refreshment with their feet dangling above the water. Naplavka actually runs a bit bigger than this- there’s a Naplavka area on the Prague Castle side of the river, too- but this area below Vyton is usually the most active day & night. During the day, this is the place to go with some friends and a camera to capture some of the local beauty. By night, this is a great place to start your night with a group of friends on one of the many boat bars. The prices are local, the beer is delicious, and the scenery is incredible- who could ask for more?
After an afternoon spent enjoying Naplavka, I began making my way back to my own neighborhood- Zizkov. Zizkov is known as one of the many up-and-coming neighborhoods in Prague, and as a New Yorker, I like to think of it as the Brooklyn of Prague. In Zizkov, you’ll find amazing cafés, bars, restaurants, and very unique architecture. Although many consider it an eyesore, one of my favorite examples of Zizkov architecture is the Zizkov Television Tower located near namesti Jiriho z Podebrad.
I’ve grown fond of this somewhat strange tower that dominates the Prague skyline, as its strange qualities really demonstrate exactly what Zizkov is about. The great thing about the TV Tower is that it’s now the home of a mini-golf course in the summer and ice skating rink in the winter, both located just below the tower’s entrance. You might also choose to ride the elevator to the top of the tower for some incredible views of the city beyond.
And finally, a visit to Prague would not be complete without watching the sun set behind the castle from Riegrovy sady. This park, located between Zizkov and Vinohrady (about 10-minutes’ walk from the TV Tower), is home to two beer gardens and beautiful green space in the middle of the city. From the hill in Riegrovy sady, you have views over Old Town, Mala Strana, and Prague Castle that not many tourists get the chance to see. At sunset, these views are even more incredible as the sky changes color and the silhouette of the Prague Castle emerges.
In the summer, you’ll see young people drinking beers, playing guitar, and enjoying the ambiance of this young and vibrant neighborhood. After the sun sets, you’ll see everyone move to the nearby beer gardens to watch the evening football match, or to simply enjoy some more of Prague’s famous brews.
So, I hope that you enjoyed my one-day visit of Prague, and thank you for following along! If you’re planning to visit Prague, and would like a longer guide, check out my 3-day Guide to Prague, available for download here. If you’d like me to plan your perfect Prague or Czech vacation, check out my travel consultation packages– I’d be happy to work with you!
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