What is the quintessential of Prague – and which things should be covered with just 2 days to see the Czech capital? Below you will find a suggested itinerary that will take you to the most important cultural sites and highlights of Prague.
What to see in Prague? Your first day in Prague will be a visit to Prague Castle and the sights on the castle side of the Charles Bridge and the Vltava River.
The second day will be a walk past the historic landmarks and visitor sights in the Old Town, the Jewish Quarter, and the New Town on the right riverbank.
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The 650-year-old Charles Bridge with rustic cobbles is nearly impossible to miss in Prague if you stroll from the city centre towards the elevated castle complex on the left riverbank. Charles Bridge is a popular place to pass the Vltava River and the stretch of bridge that you are naturally led towards if you follow the crowd of people.
Once at the bridge you will notice the two bridge towers standing at each their side of it – and you will be able to admire rows of baroque statues, as well as talented artists occasionally performing on the pedestrian bridge.
Charles Bridge was constructed by the architect Peter Parler in 1357 and remained for many years (until 1841) the only access point from the city to the castle. Many of the 30 sculptures date from around 1700 and they each have an interesting history. You may for instance notice people touching the Statue of the Czech saint St John of Nepomuk since there is a saying that this brings good luck!
No need to say that the beautiful bridge is a favoured location for both photoshoots and amateur pictures with Prague’s fairy-tale castle forming a stylish backdrop.
On the castle hillside above crooked alleys and surprising vineyards, you will now walk up the path to the castle area which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Actually, the oldest vineyard in Bohemia can be found up here.
The castle complex consists of numerous buildings, palaces, and churches – and as a real gem the Golden Lane which used to be the part of the castle where the guards and servants lived and spent their free time. It saw the light of day in the 16th century where it was part of the city’s fortifications.
In the tiny street there were all the necessary shops and taverns, and many of them are still left quite untouched and appear today as real as they were in the past. Now, instead of being goldsmith’s workshops, home of fortune tellers, and herbalist’s houses, the tiny cottages have been converted into art exhibitions and visitor shops. You will also notice no. 22 where the renowned writer Kafka lived for a few years.
The name of the street, Golden Lane, refers to the numerous goldsmiths and other businesses up here who either sold golden products or attempted to create pure gold through questionable experiments.
Beyond the famous lane, Prague Castle consists of the Old Royal Palace with the outstanding Vladislav Hall, Basilica of Saint George, Lobkowicz Palace, St Vitus Cathedral – besides several other constructions and picturesque gardens. The buildings represent all kinds of architectural styles from Renaissance to Gothic and baroque.
As a historic coronation location, St Vitus Cathedral is spectacular and features outstanding stained glass windows, as well as tombs of Bohemian kings and former Roman emperors.
There are now several options for an enticing museum visit in this area.
Anyway, before the museum visit, you may consider finding a restaurant for lunch in the narrow streets of Malá Strana, also known as Lesser Town, a hillside part of the city with lots of eateries, cosy cafés and pubs.
Back on the castle grounds, you will on Hradcany Square, all flanked by beautiful palaces such as the Schwarzenberský palác, be able to access the National Gallery inside the Sternberg Palace (Šternberský palác). This is one option for a museum / gallery visit which will give you the opportunity to see the Collection of Old Masters, the Collection of 19th-century art and Classical Modernism, as well as the Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art.
Another option is to visit the Strahov Monastery (Strahovský klášter), a monastery with an absolutely unique library. Continue past the beautiful Loreto church and cloister (a historic pilgrimage destination) to arrive at the impressive monastery founded in 1140.
The magnificent Strahov Library features a rare collection of medieval manuscripts and maps, as well as impressive halls: the Baroque Theological Hall, the frescoed Classical Philosophy Hall, and the Strahov Gallery stunningly decorated with Gothic, baroque and rococo paintings, also including fine Rudolfian art.
Before reaching the river, you will in the midst of Malá Strana be able to visit the Lennon Wall, a wall that since the 1980s and the communist days in Prague has been covered in John Lennon–inspired graffiti, and lyrics originating from the Beatles’ songs. Moreover, people have used it to leave messages about other relevant topics as well, of both local and more international character.
Visitors and locals alike scribble messages on the famed wall – wherever there seems to be a microscopic spot for it.
After taking in all impressions at the Lennon Wall, you can stroll back to the river and the city on the other side to enjoy the rest of the day and see Prague by night – both the Charles Bridge and other cultural things around the Old Town. However, you may just consider taking a different way back across the Jiráskův Bridge to catch a glimpse of the famous Dancing House, nicknamed Fred and Ginger, located just off the river. It was designed by the architect Vlado Milunić in cooperation with the Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry in 1992.
Turn your second day in Prague into a nice stroll covering the attractions on the right riverbank of the Vltava River.
As one of the first things to do today, head for the Jewish Quarter (Josefov) located between the river and the Old Town Square. The Jewish neighbourhood was established in the 13th century when Jews were told to gather in one specific area in town. During the following centuries more Jews arrived and the neighbourhood therefore became quite significant in Prague. Today, this part of town has significant importance in the Jews’ history. More historical Jewish buildings have been preserved here than in any other city in Europe – despite massacres from as early as the 14th century until the horrors of the Second World War.
The Jewish Quarter consists of six synagogues and other Jewish significant sites, including the Spanish Synagogue, the Maisel Synagogue, the Pinkas Synagogue, the Old-New Synagogue ( the oldest synagogue in Europe still being used), the art nouveau-inspired Jerusalem (Jubilee) Synagogue, the Jewish Ceremonial Hall, as well as the Old Jewish Cemetery. Most of these are now part of the Jewish Museum in Prague.
The Jewish heritage even survived the Nazi occupation and the horrors of the Second World War. Adolf Hitler wanted to keep the Jewish Quarter in the city as a ‘Museum of an Extinct Race’.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that one of Prague’s famous residents, the writer Franz Kafka, was born in the Jewish Quarter!
From the Jewish Quarter you can continue on foot to the remaining part of Prague’s Old Town. A lot of the historic sights and popular things to see and do in Prague are situated in the Old Town around the Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí).
The unique Astronomical Clock in the clock tower at the Old Town Hall, also known as The Orloj, dates to 1410. It contains a lot of elaborate information including a calendar, astronomical details, as well as an intricate mechanism of the twelve Apostles inside the Old Town Hall Tower. Every hour people line up to watch an automated parade of the Apostle figures. The Astronomical Clock is among the oldest operating astronomical clocks in the whole world! It is said that if it ever falls into disrepair, the city will suffer. Luckily, so far all mechanical issues have been solved!
The historic 12th-century square features buildings designed in various architectural styles including the baroque St Nicholas Church, the rococo Kinský Palace (National Gallery), and the Gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn which has been Prague’s most important church since the 14th century. In the middle of the square, Prague Meridian is located among other monuments. On the other side of the square, you will notice the House of the Minute, a historic 15th-century house where Kafka lived from 1889 to 1896.
In the vicinity, a few streets further away from the Old Town Square, you will arrive at the old Havelská street market which dates back to the 13th century. In the beginning it used to be a town of its own named St Gall’s Town – and there were houses with arcades along the street. Various craftsmen had their little shops here, and at the end of the street they could go to the Church of St Gall (Church of St Havel). Later, it became the street of second-hand wares, and in the 18th century, the street was divided between the Coal Market and the Green Market with vegetables, fruits, and flowers. In the late 1800s the name Havelská appeared.
Today it is a lively place with market stalls where all kinds of souvenirs, delicious fruits, flowers, arts, toys and a variety of Czech produce in gift boxes such as sweets or honey are sold.
You can continue your city walk past another must-see cultural sight, the Powder Tower. The remarkable tower is one of the original 13 city gates in Prague. It is not constructed as a defense tower, but as a glamorous entrance to the city, given to Vladislav II on the occasion of his coronation. Its name, the Powder Tower, is due to the fact that it was used as a gunpowder store in the 17th century.
In the Old Town there are plentiful eateries to choose from for a nice lunch!
You will spend the afternoon in the New Town where you may also want to visit either the Mucha Museum or the National Museum.
On the way to the New Town and Franz Kafka’s Rotating Head, you might pass the Mucha Museum, as well as the green Franciscan Gardens, a public garden established in the 14th century, from where you have great views to the soaring Renaissance Church of Our Lady of the Snows.
In case you want to visit the Mucha Museum, you will have the chance to gain insight into the life and masterpieces of the Czech art nouveau artist Alphonse Mucha (1860 – 1939) who represented the art nouveau style of the time in Europe in his own characteristic way.
Kafka’s gigantic 11-metre tall Rotating Head is situated outside the Quadrio shopping centre quite near the Franciscan Gardens. It is an outdoor metallic sculpture of Franz Kafka, designed in individual layers by the controversial artist David Černý. The giant statue was erected in 2014 and consists of 42 rotating panels in polished stainless steel that periodically move independently of each other. With its weight of 45 tons, it has become a major tourist attraction in the city, honouring Prague’s renowned Bohemian novelist and short-story writer.
After watching the impressive sculpture, you can continue down to the long rectangular Wenceslas Square that is flanked by international stores, and being the centre of business in Prague – named after Saint Wenceslas who is the patron saint of Bohemia. It is also often the setting for public events, demonstrations, as well as celebrations in Prague.
At the upper end of Wenceslas Square, you easily catch sight of the beautiful, neoclassical National Museum that has been declared a national cultural monument. The historical building contrasts with the more modern New National Museum adjacent to it and reachable by an underground corridor. In case you are interested in natural history, you may consider visiting the museums that have permanent exhibitions on animal species & life, minerals, Czech history, and prehistory from fossilised trilobites to fascinating ammonites and life-size creations of prehistoric animals.
If you are gifted with a shopping gene, then the avenue-looking Wenceslas Square is the perfect place – and you can easily spend the rest of the day here! You will find all kinds of stores along the busy pedestrian street. Today, it is impossible to tell that this site used to be a popular horse market in the Middle Ages!
Top Things to Do in Prague in 2 Days – What to See
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Top Things to Do in Prague in 2 Days – What to See:
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What to see in Prague – Things to do