Prague is a fantastic city to visit and there’s a lot to pack in if you only have 24 hours here. Explore medieval architecture, historic sights and tasty hearty food and drinks. A visit to Prague is one of the best city breaks you can choose. The old town being one of the most beautiful historic places in the world. You should choose your itinerary carefully though to make the most of your trip. A popular city for backpackers and river cruisers, its often that visitors will only have a short time to explore this city. Well here is how I suggest you spend 24 hours in Prague.
Begin at Sunrise
Start your day on Charles Bridge and witness a spectacular sunrise over the city and the Vltava river. The popular gothic footbridge is lined with 75 statues and early morning will be a relatively quiet time without the crowds and hawkers selling souvenirs. That means you can take your time to study the architecture, snap your photos and enjoy the atmosphere.
The most popular statue on the bridge is the one of St. John of Nepomuk who is a Czech martyr saint. You’ll see the plaque on the statue is polished to a shine where visitors have rubbed it for luck and to ensure their return to Prague. Make sure you take your turn to guarantee you will come back! Finish your time at the bridge and then head off to find something to eat.
Churches, a Castle and a Cathedral
For breakfast continue across the bridge to Bohemian Bagel on Lazenska Street and tuck into a full breakfast or a bagel to go before continuing your day. Nearby is the Church of St Nicholas which has a beautiful interior that you cannot miss. Amazing artwork, marble and gold statues and carvings await.
Next visit Prague castle, the largest castle complex in the world. Up high on the hill you can usually catch the changing of the guard at the gates mid-morning. Expect it to be busy though, as this is the most visited tourist attraction in Prague. The Romanesque Basilica of St. George, the monastery, four palaces, gardens and defence towers are all excellent parts of the castle you should try to explore.
Saint Vitus Cathedral is located inside the castle complex, is famous for its gothic architecture and contains the tombs of many Bohemian kings and Holy Roman Emperors. Peek at St Wenceslas Chapel through the open doors and get a closer look at the gargoyles and other gothic creatures protecting the church on the outside.
For lunch stop at U Laury, just off the main street of Nerudova, there are some tables in a secluded courtyard and will get you away from the busy bustle outside. You’ll find a reasonably priced traditional lunch and an excellent time to try a local beer too before getting back to the crowds.
Old Town Square and the Astronomical Clock
Jump on Tram number 22 to save time and your legs to get to the old town. One of the most watched and photographed sight in Prague is the wonderful Astronomical Clock which you will find at the old town hall. Crowds gather as the hour approaches to watch the small figures and you won’t be disappointed by the wait.
As the clock strikes on the hour and four figures are set in motion. Vanity, greed, death and lust are represented and when the skeleton death rings the bell the other figures shake their heads, side to side, signifying their uneasiness to go. Wooden figures of apostles appear in the windows every hour too and you’ll see other statues that don´t move too. An Astronomer, a Chronicler, a Philosopher and an Angel.
The lookout gallery at the town hall tower offers the most beautiful view of Prague old town and beyond. You can now buy mobile tickets which enable you to get fast track entrance for a cheaper price. A great choice if you are short on time and want to see the view from the top.
One of the most notable buildings in the Old Town is Tyn Church, or The Church of Our Lady Before Tyn. The huge gothic towers can be seen all over the city and are an iconic landmark you must see. If you look closely you will see that the towers are not symmetrical as one is larger than the other. Like many Gothic structures this represents the masculine and feminine sides of the world.
At the centre of the Old Town Square is the Jan Hus statue, one of the many statues you’ll find here. Depending on what time of year you visit will change what you can do in the square. Markets can be found during different seasons, including both the summer and Christmas markets which rival some of Europe’s best street food markets. Take your time to see the top sights and a little more to wander and explore the square.
Museums, Beer, Dinner and more.
After your visit to the square why not check out some local museums before dinner. Near to the old town square you’ll find the strange and interesting sex machines museum. Housing some historic contraptions and devices over three floors it is the only museum in the world dedicated to sex machines.
If you are looking for art and something a little more civilised then try the National Gallery and the fine art gallery nearby. Other museums include the Beer Museum, the Apple Museum and the Toy museum. As you can see there is probably a museum for any tastes in the Prague Old Town.
For dinner and to try exceptional beer, then stop at U Tri Ruzi, or The Three Roses microbrewery which is very near most of these museums. Yes, you can try many different types of beers that have been brewed on site, as well as tasty traditional Czech food. Local cuisine can be quite stodgy but as it happens will soak up the beer nicely.
After dinner if you want to stay out and enjoy the nightlife you’ll have plenty of choice. There are many establishments that stay open all night for those who want to party. But there’s nothing quite like the five floors of Karlovy Lazne near the Charles Bridge which is the biggest club in Central Europe.
How would you spend 24 hours in Prague?
If you are only spending 24 hours here then you should pack light to save time at the airport so you don’t have to wait around for checked baggage. You should also opt for accommodation that is central so you don’t waste time travelling to see the main sights. Top things to see are the castle, the old town square and you must try a local beer or two too. Although you will want to spend much more time here, you can see quite a lot of what the city has to offer in just 24 hours!
Is there anything you would add to or omit from this itinerary? What would be top of your list to visit with such a short time in Prague?