Prague itinerary in 5 days
If you come to Prague, you MUST stay at Hotel Residence Agnes. This hotel is in a perfect location in Old Town and we were able to walk everywhere. The rooms are spacious and clean. The breakfast is plentiful and delicious. They offer free wine, beer and snacks all day. But the best part is the customer service. The staff cannot do enough for you. It is truly one of my favourite hotels in Europe.
I was really looking forward to visiting Prague. I had heard such wonderful things about it and it did not disappoint. It is the capital city of the Czech Republic and has turned into a popular tourist destination.
The city is bisected by the Vltava River - with the Old Town on the south and the beautiful castle on the north. Its' Old Town Square, the heart of its historic core, is filled with colourful baroque buildings, Gothic churches and the medieval Astronomical Clock, which gives an animated hourly show. It has several bridges that cross the river, but most famous is the pedestrian Charles Bridge, completed in 1402, which is lined with beautiful statues.
Blue Duckling. This restaurant serves typical Czeck style food. It's specialty is duck dishes. It is located in a small, cozy and elegant dining room. They have a pianist playing classical music.
L'Osteria. There are locations of this delicious Italian restaurant in several cities in Europe. They serve fresh salads and extremely large, thin crust pizzas. This location near the National Theatre is located in a charming courtyard away from the bustling street.
Mail Room Bistro. This cozy bistro located in a quiet square of Lesser Town. The food is creative and delicious. We liked it so much we went there twice!
La Veranda. Located near the Jewish Quarter this restaurant serves Mediterranean cuisine, using fresh ingredients, in a bright and modern interior.
Restaurant Tiskarna. This restaurant is mainly for carnivores. It serves a modern Czech menu with delicious meat dishes.
Cafè Imperial. This grand and elegant cafè, with waiters in formal attire, has been open since 1914. We went there for our afternoon sugar fix. They have a large selection of delicious strudels and European cakes.
IF Cafè. Located on Kampa Island on the west side of the river, this sunny cafè offers classic Czeck desserts with a French touch. It was a perfect spot for tea and cake in the afternoon.
Municipal House Cafè. Located inside the spectacular Municipal House, this old-style cafè specializes in sweet treats, mostly home made cakes. They bring around a cart and with all the cakes to choose from.
The Lobcowicz Palace Museum. Located in the Prague Castle complex, this is the only privately owned building in the castle area. It houses the private collection of the Lobcowicz family. The collection includes art, ceramics, an anitque weapon collection, as well as musical instruments and original manuscripts by Mozart and Beethoven. The audio-guide is narrated by the descendants of the Lobcowicz family. Highly recommended.
Museum of Communism. This interesting museum is dedicated to presenting an account of the Communist regime in Prague and the Czech Republic. It offers an immersive look at life behind the Iron Curtain.
Museum Kampa. Located on Kampa Island, this modern art museum showcases artists from the Czech Republic and Eastern Europe. It is a lovely small, museum in a beautiful park setting.
The Jewish Museum of Prague. Located in the Jewish Quarter, it is comprised of five historical synagogues - Maisel Synagogue, Klausen Synagogue (which includes a memorial to the Holocaust), Pinkas Synagogue, Spanish Synagogue and the Old New Synagogue, as well as the Old Jewish Cemetery and Robert Guttmann Gallery. If you are interested in Jewish history, this is a worthwhile visit since Jews have been living in Prague since the 10th century.
We arrived in Prague and checked into the Hotel Residence Agnes. This hotel is in a perfect location in Old Town and we were able to walk everywhere. The rooms are spacious and clean. The breakfast is plentiful and delicious. They offer free wine, beer and snacks all day. But the best part is the customer service. The staff cannot do enough for you. It is truly one of my favourite hotels in Europe. I highly recommend this hotel.
After we checked in and had a quick bit to eat, we met our guide, Marek Kramer, booked through Personal Guide Prague. He spent the afternoon touring us through the Castle Complex, which is located on the other side of the river at the top of a hill. This complex has been ruled over the centuries by kings, emperors, Nazis, communists and presidents. Nobles built their palaces nearby making this an interesting "neighbourhood" to explore. The site includes many historic buildings, the Old Royal Palace, St. Vitus cathedral, with its beautiful stained glass windows designed by the famous Czech artist Mucha, and several museums. The President of the Czech Republic still has his offices here.
There are some beautiful views of Prague from the castle area.
After touring the complex and buildings we walked along Golden Lane, with its colourful buildings which used to house the castle servants. It now houses displays of the olden days as well as a couple of cafès and souvenir shops.
We made our way down the hill and wandered through the beautiful 17th-century gardens at the Senate palace, with its ornamental pools & baroque statues.
Tonight for dinner we went to Blue Duckling. This restaurant serves typical Czech style food. It's specialty is duck dishes. It is located in a small, cozy and elegant dining room. They have a pianist playing classical music.
The Signal Festival took place during our stay. This light festival, which takes place in the evenings, has several art installations around the city. After dinner we walked around to see a couple of them.
Guides and Tours
Personal Prague Guide. We booked two half-day walking tours with our guide Marek Kramer. He spent an afternoon touring us through the Castle Complex, including the cathedral and other buildings on the site. The following morning he walked us through the Jewish Quarter, Old Town, Charles Bridge, and part of Lesser Town. Marek was very knowledgeable in history and was able to give us personal insight into living in Prague during the communist regime.
Municipal House. This is a civic building that houses Smetana Hall, a celebrated concert venue. They offer tours of the building which is worthwhile to learn about its history, Art Nouveau architecture and design elements.
After breakfast we met Marek, our tour guide, for a morning tour. We started by exploring the Jewish Quarter. The neighbourhood, located in Old Town, has been home to a Jewish community for over one thousand years.
We purchased tickets to the Jewish Museum which is comprised of five historical synagogues - the Maisel Synagogue, Klausen Synagogue (which includes a memorial to the Holocaust), Pinkas Synagogue, Spanish Synagogue and the Old New Synagogue. The ticket also includes entrance to the Old Jewish Cemetery and Robert Guttmann Gallery. If you are interested in Jewish history, this is worthwhile as it is one of the most interesting Jewish Quarters in all of Europe.
From there we walked along the beautiful "Paris Street", which is lined with trees and Art Nouveau houses, over to the Old Town Square. This gorgeous and lively square is surrounded by buildings which are varied architecturally - from Gothic and Renaissance to Art Nouveau.
The National Gallery is located in the Square as are several churches. But the most notable is the Tyn Church with its twin spires reminiscent of Dracula's castle and Disney fairy tales.
On the south side of the Square is the Old Town Hall and its famous Astronomical Clock, with its revolving dials and detailed ornaments. Tourists line up every hour to watch the dramatic clock striking the hour.
We then headed through the winding streets of Old Town to the Charles Bridge that crosses the Vltava river. Construction of this bridge started in 1357 and was completed in the beginning of the 15th century. The bridge is lined with statues of saints. This pedestrian bridge is filled with tourists and buskers so is very entertaining (although crowded) to stroll along. There are wonderful views of the castle complex from the bridge.
Once on the other side of the river, Marek took us to Kampa Island. This nice green space along the river is much more peaceful than crowded Old Town. It has some restaurants, cafès and a modern art museum. We walked along the river to the Most Legil Bridge, which we crossed back to Old Town and the National Theatre nearby. This original theatre was built in 1883 in a Neo Renaissance style. An interesting looking modern annex was added in 1983 during the communist era. We went into the annex for a cup of tea to complete our tour with Marek.
From the theatre building we continued along that street and went into a courtyard that houses an interesting sculpture in honour of Franz Kafka, the famous Czech writer. This unique statue of Kafka's face is made of 42 tiers that rotate in various directions. It complements his famous work, Metamorphosis.
We grabbed lunch in a small cafè and then headed to Wenceslas Square, a pedestrian shopping street where many protests took place against the communist regime during the late 1900's.
We then headed to the Museum of Communism which is dedicated to presenting an account of the Communist regime in Prague and the Czech Republic. It offers an interesting and immersive look at life behind the Iron Curtain.
After a rest in our hotel we went for dinner at La Veranda. Located near the Jewish Quarter this restaurant serves Mediterranean cuisine, using fresh ingredients, in a bright and modern interior.
After dinner we walked along the river to view another light installation which was part of the Signal Festival.
After breakfast today we decided to walk to what is known as "the second castle" of Prague - the Vysehrad Castle. This hilltop fortress, located in the south part of the city is worth a visit. It is about a 45-minute walk from Old Town but the walk is lovely.
We strolled by beautiful residential neighbourhoods and through a delightful park. Once we reached the castle we climbed along the path to the top, where you are surrounded by beautiful grounds with lots of greenery. There is a church, interesting statues, the Czech National Cemetery and some beautiful views all around.
After wandering the area we descended to the river area to walk back toward Old Town. It was a sunny day and the river was lovely to walk along. As it was Saturday, there was a lively market along the river with food vendors, trinkets and musicians playing all along.
We stopped for lunch at L'Osteria - a nice Italian restaurant located in a quiet courtyard.
Following lunch we walked to the Municipal House in Old Town where we took a tour of the interior of this stunning Art Nouveau building. This civic theatre houses Smetana Hall, a celebrated concert venue and it also houses a couple of paintings by famous Czech artist Alfons Mucha.
The Municipal House is also home to one of the oldest coffee houses in Prague. After our tour we stopped in this old-style cafè which specializes in sweet treats, mostly home made cakes. They bring a cart around and you can choose your slice with a nice cup of tea or coffee. Perfect afternoon treat!
We then made our way back to the hotel for a rest.
We had reservations this evening at the Mail Room Bistro in a small square across the river in Lesser Town. This cozy and casual bistro offers a creative and delicious menu.
After dinner we booked tickets for a classical concert in St. Nicholas Church in Old Town. This intimate venue was perfect and the music was beautiful.
This morning we decided to head back to the Prague Castle complex. We walked over to the other side of the river and climbed up along the path.
Our destination was the Lobkowicz Palace museum. Located in the Prague Castle complex, this is the only privately owned building in the castle area. It houses the private collection of the Lobcowicz family. The collection includes art, ceramics, an anitque weapon collection, as well as musical instruments and original scores by Mozart and Beethoven. The audio-guide is narrated by the descendants of the Lobcowicz family. This museum is highly worthwhile.
After we descended the castle complex we entered a private garden area. It turns out that there are a number of gorgeous terraced gardens below the castle complex which used to belong to individual families. They now belong to the city and if you purchase an entry ticket you can explore these colourful and hilly gardens. This was an unexpected gem.
We strolled around Lesser Town and went back to the Mail Room Bistro for a delicious lunch in their quiet courtyard.
After lunch we walked to Kampa Island. We stopped for afternoon tea and cake at
IF Cafè which offers classic Czech desserts with a French touch.
From there we went to the modern art museum, Museum Kampa, located on the island. This small museum showcases modern and contemporary artists from the Czech Republic and Eastern Europe. We then walked along the river to the bridge and crossed back to Old Town, heading back to our hotel via the lovely Bethlehem Square.
We had a quick dinner near our hotel and then went to another concert at St. Nicholas Church. This evenings classical concert including some lovely organ music.
Today was what I considered a "bonus" day. If you are planning to stay in Prague for five days, there are several options for this day. There are a number of day trips to towns close by that can be easily done from Prague including:
Kutna Hora - for it's Gothic architecture and famous bone church
Karlovy Vary - a beautiful spa town with Moser Glass Museum and quaint streets
Brno - the second largest city in the Czech Republic
Czesky Krumlov - in South Bohemia with its famous castle and gardens
We chose to stay in the city and explore some of the quieter residential areas and parks.
We started our day walking through Old Town and through the Havelska open-air street market. This market has been around since the 13th century. While you can still purchase fresh produce, nowadays many of its stalls are filled with local crafts and souvenirs. We purchased some gifts there and then continued on.
We walked along Wenceslas Square to the end of the street, where there is a grand statue of Saint Wenceslas, the Patron Saint of Bohemia. The natural science museum is located here as well.
We continued walking east into New Town toward the residential area and Rieger Gardens. This beautiful park is the perfect place to get away from the tourists and busy Old Town. Its green space features old landmarks, restaurants & sweeping vistas. You see locals jogging and families out for strolls. There were flowers blooming and many benches to sit on and relax.
From there we headed to the square in the Vinohrady district, with the Sacred Heart Church. This church resembles a boat from the exterior and has a clock tower.
We then headed to Zizkov Television Tower. This famous landmark can be seen from most places in the city. It was built between 1985 and 1992 as a transmission tower. While it definitely stands out architecturally from the rest of the buildings in the city, many have come to appreciate the modern design. It has an observation deck for great views and in year 2,000 it was adorned with ten sculptures of babies climbing the tower as part of an arts festival. The sculptures, designed by Czech artist, David Cerny, became so popular that they have become a permanent fixture.
We stopped for lunch at a local restaurant and then headed back to Old Town where we stopped for our afternoon cake and coffee at the Municipal House.
We then made our way back to the hotel for a rest.
On our final evening in Prague we went to Restaurant Tiskarna. This restaurant is mainly for carnivores. It serves a modern Czech menu with delicious meat dishes.