Explore Prague on Foot in 4 Days


I crossed all of these bridges on foot.
It's not hard to fall in love with Prague. "The City of a Hundred Spires" Its  architecture is amazingly preserved with different historical styles harmoniously entwined like a lover's embrace. Both old and new fit together perfectly, as are the tourists that are more diverse than you can ever imagine. You will instantly feel the young vibe that emanates throughout the city and the old souls who are hungry for art and culture and are eager to grasp the city's rich history.

I packed my hand luggage and flew to the Czech capital for a solo travel. If you've been reading this blog several posts back, I was craving to get away and have some un-interrupted time on my own and Prague ended up to be the best decision I have ever made.

The magnificent skyline of Prague will lure you to explore its winding cobblestone streets, waterfront parks and lovely bridges. This was exactly how I felt as soon as I emerged from the metro dragging my luggage to find my hotel that evening.  I didn't want to miss any street.  I wanted to walk and that's how I spent 4 days romancin' the city and taking the time to do it in a relaxed pace. 

It is much easier if you book a hotel somewhere around Old Town or Wenceslas Square. I stayed in the area of IP Pavlova. 


Night 1
Wander the streets at night and join a Pub Crawl that usually starts at 8pm

Since I'm traveling alone, I felt it was not wise for me to get drunk on unfamiliar ground so I did wander around Wenceslas Square all the way to Powder Tower at night and reserved that pint for another time.  

Compared to other Shengen cities, Prague is by far cheaper when it comes to shopping, dining out, and beer drinking!  I ordered a pint of draft beer the following day which costs half the price of a bottled mineral water. Don't worry, the tap is safe to drink. Prices however are continuously creeping up and so are the number of tourists, so it's definitely a place you would want to see as soon as you may.

View of Prague Castle from Old Town

Day 1
Take a free walking tour.  
It's the best way to get an overview of its art and history and instantly feel comfortable finding your way around. It'll help  narrow down and figure out which main attractions you want to spend more time in. I found SANDEMAN's NEW Europe Free Walking Tour recommended by Nomadic Matt  and I went for it. I'm glad I did. Pavel was our guide and his passion and enthusiasm for his country's history and rich architecture were infectious.

They all meet up at the Old Town Square where the Astronomical Clock is. The tour is free indeed and it's just appropriate to tip the tour guide because that's his bread and butter. How much to tip? It depends on how much you enjoyed the tour but it should definitely be in the local currency, roughly around CZK 200 and above. Some tip between Eur 7-10. I was happy with the tour so I gave him a 10. Go ahead and tip even more if you like. The walking tour ends around 2pm. 

Watch the Astronomical Clock and Explore the Old Town Square. The Clock is a medieval world wonder and tourists gather here to catch the mechanical performance every hour.

Astronomical Clock at the Old Town Square

Day 2
Watch the sunrise on one of the bridges. Even at 7am when almost everyone else is still sleeping or having breakfast, the peace and quiet exploring the water front is priceless.

Charles Bridge view from Kampa
Cross the Charles Bridge. Charles Bridge is a popular and historic bridge crossing Vltava River that connects Old Town to Prague Castle reserved for pedestrians. Perfect time to take photographs without much tourists, I took this photo before 8 am around Kampa along the waterfront and the peaceful promenade with occasional joggers is a great place to spend the morning. In the afternoon it's lovely to relax here with a fresh pint while boat and people watching.

Crossing Charles Bridge at 8AM
Enjoy the walk from Charles Bridge all the way to Prague Castle.

You can drop by St. Nicholas Church, an old Baroque church in Lesser Town with its green dome that is visible from Old Town. Delight in its very intricate interior and then climb your way up the main street headed towards Hradcanske Square.


Visit Prague Castle before tour buses arrive.

Prague Castle is a complex. According to Guinness Book of Records, it is the largest coherent castle complex in the world and is in the UNESCO World Heritage list. There's a Prague Castle Ticket available at the information office at the entrance in front of St. Vitus Cathedral to gain access to see; Old Royal Palace ( Vladislav Hall), St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George's Basilica, Golden Lane, Prague Castle Picture Gallery, Powder Tower, Story of Prague Castle and Rosenberg Castle. To book in advance and to find out more information on ticket prices and opening hours, click here

A visit here can last 2 to 4 hours.

Explore the Royal Gardens. It's free.  It's separated from the castle by a moat and you will be crossing a bridge to get there.  This is usually the first stop from tourists taking the Tram 22. Here, you will get to see the Ball Game Hall, Orangery Greenhouse, Royal Summer Place and the views of the Prague Castle Complex such as the one below.


St. Vitus Cathedral View from the Royal Gardens across the moat

Don't forget to pass by Golden Lane. It is within the castle grounds.


From the Easter Gate of Prague Castle, descend down the Old Castle Steps or sometimes called Old Castle Stairs. Unless you're feeling extremely physical, I opted to enjoy this path going down while watching other tourists puffing and groaning, "Are we there yet?". 

Other places to see there are:  Strahov Monastery especially its majestic murals in the library and The Loreta, a quiet Baroque monument and church. Oh, don't forget to check out the Deer Moat Pathway.

Lennon Wall
An ever changing graffiti wall with layers of paint and history inspired by the songs of John Lennon where students wrote their grievances in the 80s much to the irritation of the communist government at that time. A random street performer sang songs with his guitar and I couldn't help being teary eyed here while staring at the wall. I felt strong emotions pouring out from this wall, or maybe I just drank too much beer?


Explore Kampa.
Kampa, the Venice of Prague is lovely to explore.

Visit the Kafka Museum
Fan of the great writer, Franz Kafka or not, it's still good to see. It's an excellent way to get to know him and understand Prague in yet another level.

View of Kafka Museum under Charles Bridge
Walk along the waterfront all the way up to Petrin Hill. Enjoy a scenic walk up the hill. Get lost in the trees and admire both the garden and the view from the observation tower referred to as "little Eiffel Tower". There's a lift/ elevator with wheel chair access up the tower for 60czk adults and 30 czk for children and senior/citizens. There's a funiculaire that can take you up and/or down Petrin Hill by the way, valid with a train/bus ticket that should not cost less than CZK 32 just in case it gets too tiring.  There's a very long queue, so rather let's collect blisters and enjoy the shade of trees going up. It is  not an easy-peasy hike however but worth it.

Petrin Hill
Day 3
A Walk to Vyšehrad 
Vyšehrad is a historical fortress on top of cliff along Vltava River at the southern part of Prague. Most tourists have crossed this off their itinerary so you'll enjoy the tranquility during your visit here. It was the residence of the First King Vratislav II. Explore the Baroque Gates, ancient rotunda, Gothic Church of Saint Peter and Paul, and  a picturesque cemetery ground called Slavin where most of Czech heros and heroines in the past two centuries are buried. Lastly, enjoy the beautiful park that surrounds the fortress and the amazing river views from there.

I did walk the distance from IP Pavlova since I was staying there which was just one train station away. You'll reach Vyšehrad via Metro C Red line. It looked closer on the map, why not walk it?  I did, under a drizzle.  It's very do-able and the trip is worth it.

I spent the full morning in Vysehrad and even had lunch there.

Vyšehrad 
Cross the Vyšehrad  Railway Bridge and back. Feel the bridge vibrate when the train passes.

Walk along the Waterfront back to Old Town

Visit the Jewish Old Quarters
Visit synagogues, Jewish Museum and the stacked 12 storey underground  Old Jewish Cemetery. Get acquainted with Jewish traditions and understand the life they had here. I spent about 2 hours here.

Ticket B to access buildings : Maisel Synagogue / Pinkas Synagogue / Old Jewish Cemetery / Klausen Synagogue / Ceremonial  Hall / Spanish Synagogue / Robert Guttmann Gallery at the quarters roughly CZK 300  for adults excluding the Old New Synagogue. CZK 200 reduced entry for children 6-15 and students under 26, extra CZK 70 for permission to take photos. Free entry for children under 6.   Click here  for more information on ticket booking and opening hours.

Josefov
At the time of my visit, there was an art exhibition in Pinkas Synagogue of incarcerated Jewish children's drawings from Terezin Ghetto, created between 1942 - 1944 during World War II.  This art class was secretly initiated by artist teacher,  Friedl Dicker Brandeis to help children deal with their grief and depression during the time they were at the ghetto illustrating their daily life there, how they were transported as well as their dreams of a better future returning to their homeland. It was emotionally powerful and thinking about these again makes me cry. These drawings were all stored in an old suitcase that was found in an attic after the war. Their art lived, sadly the teacher and children were sent to the gas chambers in Auschwitz- Birkeneau.

Watch a Classical Concert or Opera in the evening. Things to Do Prague: Watch Don Giovanni at The Estates Theatre Check out various shows available in different venues throughout the city. The prices are relatively cheaper than their neighbouring Shengen countries. Thanks to their love for culture. 

Day 4
Visit the Powder Tower
The gothic Powder Tower is the gateway to medieval royal route and was used as a gunpowder storage.
Powder Tower

Gastronomic exploits of street carts selling traditional Czech food or indulge in a local restaurant
Enjoy the street carts. I did enjoy a few sausages here and there and it's a good way to explore the local food on the cheap.

Old Prague Ham
Beware of the scams at the old square carts though. They were advertising prices for choucroute and potatoes weighing 100g for less than 3 euros and they eventually won't sell them less than the quantity that would fill up their disposable bowls and they will demand CZK 300 or 11 euros for it. I mean why advertise the quantity and price and mislead hungry tourists? I noticed some were given the fattiest part of ham after arguing about the weight and price as well. So, I was happy with my sausage.

Have Coffee at the Cubism Cafe. Check out the Museum of Cubism at the House of Black Madonna. Designed by Czech Cubist Architect, Josef Gočár.  Here you will enjoy the first Cubist interior and marvel at the the cubism inspired furniture and accessories at the ground floor gallery while you are at it.


House of Black Madonna / Grand Cafe at First Floor

Wander the streets and get lost in them.


Outside Museum of Communism (access to it is just right next to McDonald's)
Shopping
There are lots of souvenir shops around Old Town. I wanted to get some locally made handicrafts from Czech Republic that can be useful as a gift for family so I went to Manufaktura which has lots of nice stuff. Prague is a shopping destination. There are lots of international brands along Wenceslas Square and Prague New Town

Other activities in Prague:

Catacombs and Prague Underground Tours

Kutná Hora
Day trips to Kutná Hora, the city of silver. A collection of historical monuments with the Gothic St. Barbara's Church, Italian Court, Czech Silver Museum, and eerie human bone chapel of Sedlec Ossuary.  A day trip is usually 6-7 hours. 

Terezin
One hour away from Prague  which was formerly an 18th Century fortress converted into a garrison and refugee center fleeing the Nazi clutches which was then eventually converted into a concentration camp. 

I cancelled Kutna Hora and Terezin Tours from my itinerary. After the emotional visit to the Jewish Old Quarters, the last thing I needed from this trip was to visit a concentration camp. I was already feeling depressed prior to this trip so I wanted to focus more on Prague and walking.

Other tips:

Avoid taxis whenever you can. The public transport is very efficient and it's easy to navigate the city.

Be very careful when exchanging Euros/ Dollars to CZK. There are exchange counters that take commission or hidden charges and will make you sign a paper. Also be careful when paying Euros in fast food or restaurants. I came across one fast food with a weird exchange rate that I'm still trying to wrap my head around and this is one way tourists can get ripped off.

Over all, it's a safe city, so enjoy.

Budget
I spent about 200 Euros for 4 Days -Food, Drinks, Public Transport, Entrance Tickets, Tours, Classical Opera.  I mostly walked so I saved on transport. Minus the dent of 52 Euros for the Opera Ticket, I spent about 37 Euros per day. I ate mostly in fast food and street carts.This is a tight budget per day with occasional pints of beer included but there is still room to save and bring this budget down. Check out Savvy Backpacker's link below that would help you plan your budget.

Air Fare, Hotel and Breakfasts are excluded from this budget.  I found some good deals online for budget airline, Volotea and I stayed in Hotel Ibis in IP Pavlova which I booked through booking.com. Then I spent extra 20 Euros for shopping gifts for family.

You may also be interested in the following articles:

How to Get to Old Town/ Wenceslas Square from the Airport


Is Prague a part of your bucket list of must-see cities?
What was your favorite place in Prague?
Any tips you can share to travellers who want to go there?
Would you ever consider exploring this city on foot?
Which place have you traveled by walking alone?

Love and light,
Arni

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8 comments

  1. it really is a beautiful city, Golden Praha.... And they have so many lovely castles saved from previous centuries.... it's a popular destination for people in my country as well... celebrating New Year's Eve there too.

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    1. New Year's Eve must be amazing there. The party vibe is always present even during mid week nights so NYE will definitely make that vibe several notches higher. I have met tourists who are vastly exploring countries in Eastern Europe and it makes me want to explore this part of the world.

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  2. Nice, seems like you had a great solo trip! Prague has never been top on my bucketlist, but I've recently become more and more interested in eastern Europe. Why did you choose to go to Prague?

    WONDERMENTARY

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    1. Prague has always been intriguing to me as well as neighboring cities in Eastern Europe especially when I had the chance to work with my former Czech boss and working with crystals and chandeliers exposed me to its roots, Bohemia. I wish I could have gone beyond the city and explored the countryside. Prague allowed me to immerse myself in all kinds of architectural styles, opera and beer much cheaper than Shengen countries in the west, it was safe, and the good air and hotel deals I found just made it all possible.

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  3. I think you may have seen and done it all in your 4 days! What a whirlwind. I haven't been to Prague but hubby and I have plans to see Eastern Europe in the next 5 years. So much beauty and history here. I can see why it was high on your destination list!

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    1. A trip around Eastern Europe, that's exciting! It's one of those places I would love to return to again one day and maybe see it in different light.

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  4. The food and beer is SOOO cheap there, love it. I still haven't found a beer to match the one I had in Prague's old city

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    1. I very much agree, I think I drank more beer than water during my stay there. Haha, not good. I now understand why my Czech boss's car was filled up with cases of Pilsner when we were still in Dubai.

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