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Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and is equally one of the most visited. Its population is 1.3m but yet the city attracted 6.79m international tourists in 2019.
Thankfully, Prague’s compact size means a lot of sites can be seen in a short space of time. I did Prague in 2 days so here’s a potential itinerary for you to follow based on my own experience.
As Prague is full of cafes, restaurants and bars, stop wherever you wish on the journey.
The Vltava river divides central Prague into east and west banks. On the East Bank you will find the Old Town (Stare Mesto) and the New Town (Nove Mesto).
On the West Bank you will find the Castle area (Hradcany) and Lesser Town (Mala Strana).
The historic centre of Prague is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I stayed in the Zizkov area which is to the east of the New Town area.
I consider Charles Bridge the centre point of this guide but would strongly advise to arrive at the bridge before 9.30am if you want pictures of the bridge as opposed to throngs of people on the bridge. Yep, it’s that busy.
DAY 1 – EAST BANK
The first site of interest I encountered as I walked along Hybernská was the Powder Tower, often called the Powder Gate. Its function in past times was to store gunpowder.
Beside it lies Municipal House, a building with one of the most detailed facades you are likely to find. Inside Municipal House is a concert hall and gallery.
As I continued towards the Old Town Hall Square, I relished the walk along the meandering cobblestone streets, passing the Church of our Lady before Tyn, a church with dark spires.
The next main site of interest was the Old Town Hall Square which dates back to the 10th century. The most famous site on this square is the Astronomical Clock which, to my disappointment, was covered in scaffolding during my visit. I was to discover a much less crowded astronomical clock in the city of Olomouc.
The other architectural sites on the Old Town Hall Square are elaborate and more than made up for the clock. Dum U Minuty is a 15th century building where writer Franz Kafka lived for a number of years. St. Nicholas’ Church is also on the square.
Heading north from the square along Maiselova will bring you to an area called Josefov where one will find a number of synagogues. The Jewish Quarter Information Centre is on Maiselova.
West of Josefov is the Rudolfinum Concert Hall on Jan Palach Square.
The remaining number of sites on the East Bank are approximately 1.5 – 2km south of here. There are three options for transport down to the Jiraskuv Bridge area. If the weather is suitable, the walk parallel to the Vltava river will be a delight, passing Charles Bridge on the way. South of Charles Bridge is Prague Beer Museum which comes recommended by a number of beer-drinking friends and acquaintances.
The second transport option involves taking the metro from Staromestska to Karlovo Namesti. The third option involves taking Tram 17 from Staromestska to Kiraskovo namesti just before the Jiraskuv Bridge
Overlooking Jiraskuv Bridge is the Dancing House (Tancici dum) which is also known as the Fred and Ginger House. It was designed by acclaimed US architect, Frank Gehry.
Head east on Resslova for the Czech Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Cyril and Methodius. At the end of Resslova lies Karlovo namesti (Charles Square) which contains a nice park and residential area.
Approximately 500 metres North West of Charles Square lies Wenceslas Square, a busy shopping and commercial street. At the south of the square lies the Narodni Museum, the new National Museum and the State Opera.
Nearby is Prague Central Train Station with a variety of transport options available.
DAY 2 – WEST BANK
I started my West Bank journey on Charles Bridge. This is what it looks like before 9.30am.
Head in a north west direction uphill towards Prague Castle (Prazsky Hrad). Yes, it’s strenuous at that hour of the morning but it’s the only way to beat the crowds. It’s a large complex so your visit there will more than likely you bring you up to lunch time. There are plenty of eateries in the Prague Castle vicinity.
Meander around the streets that Prague Castle overlooks and spend some time at the Wallenstein Gardens. Head towards Mala Strana Square and from there walk along Karmelitsa. The point of interest here is the Carmelite Church of Our Lady Victorious. Inside this church lies the Child of Prague, a small statue of Jesus as an infant which is a pilgrimage site.
It is believed that if you make a wish here it will come true. I tested the theory and subsequently discovered that, not only did my wish not materialise, but the problem I wished to resolve became worse.
I walked along Karmelitska to the funicular station which brought me up to Petrin Hill. The views of the city from this area are excellent. The walk back down to Mala Strana is a pleasure.
Head for the river area to get some photographs of Charles Bridge and the East Bank. That ended my Prague in 2 days adventure.
IS PRAGUE WORTH VISITING?
Even using my less-than-perfect camera, the Czech capital looks exquisite. Its location in the centre of Europe means it’s a good transport hub. The reasonably low prices, compared to neighbouring countries, means it is ideal for budget travellers.
However, I discovered one large problem with Prague which was a complete turnoff, that being the drunkenness. It didn’t feel threatening, more annoying. The drinking started before 9am.
For a solo traveller, cities that attract stag and hen parties can be difficult places in which to travel. Prague is only one of two places that I have ever departed from earlier than planned.
PRAGUE IN 2 DAYS – TRAVEL ESSENTIALS
Prague has a plentiful supply of options for all budgets. Great choices and prices can be found on booking.com.
Getting to Prague
I travelled to Prague (Praha hlavni nadrazi) from Berlin Hauptbahnhof by train, a journey which was eventful.
I boarded the Czech Railways train in Berlin just before 9am only to discover groups of passengers who had already consumed a significant amount of alcohol. To make matters worse, the train was overcrowded. When the booze express pulled out of Dresden Central, I noticed that my large bag had disappeared. I followed a group of suspicious looking men who boarded in Dresden and discovered my bag with them. I managed to retrieve it.
While it’s possible to book tickets in advance on the German Deutsche Bahn website, the same tickets are much cheaper on the Czech Railways website.