The sparkling Czech capital of Prague certainly has enough in the way of history, culture, and cuisine to entertain even the best-traveled wanderers for a week or more. However, none of us lives in a perfect world, and we rarely have all the time we want in any given city. What to do in Prague if you only have 24 hours to work with?
11 am: Get Your Bearings
Let's say you get to your hotel in the late morning. You'll want to get out immediately, since you have a lot to do. Start with a refreshing walk along the river, starting at the National Theatre and heading down towards Charles Bridge.
Even just at this point, you've already seen two monuments spanning about a thousand years of history. The National Theatre was built as a part of the Czech National Revival in the late 19th century. The Prague Castle complex, which you can see up on the hill across the river, contains elements whose construction started as far back as the 9th century.
At the Charles Bridge, turn right and head into Old Town, aiming for Old Town Square. As one of the city's main centers, this square has witnessed centuries of important events, from the hanging of several noblemen during the Thirty Years' War, to the minor bombing of the Old Town Hall at the tail end of World War II, to all of the best Christmas and Easter markets nowadays. If you're lucky, you might run across one of them yourself!
12 noon: The Ultimate Tourist Experience
Try to time your visit to the square to coincide with the top of the hour so that you can see the Prague Astronomical Clock put on its little show. While this has been voted one of the most disappointing tourist attractions in Europe, it's absolutely worth seeing once, if only for a laugh and to appreciate the fact that when it was built in 1410, the technology was far more impressive.
12.30 pm: Take a Break from Being a Tourist
After you've taken in the square, the best way to spend the afternoon is with the Eating Prague Food Tour. Over the next 4 hours or so, you'll make your way through both Old Town and New Town, with a seasoned guide to tell you everything you need to know about all that Prague has to offer. It starts at 12.30 pm every day except Sunday at Perníčkův sen, which is just about a 10-minute walk from Old Town Square.
The tour will condense all the essentials you need to make the most out of your short time in Prague into one highly entertaining, informative, and of course filling afternoon. You'll leave with your body and mind satisfied, your thirst quenched in every sense of the word. A food tour is all the more valuable when you have limited time to spend in a city, because it allows you to just relax and enjoy the historical tidbits and tasty morsels that the guides have specially picked as the absolute best.
5 pm: Check Out the View
Afterwards, you'll either need a power walk or a power nap. If your tastes run to the former, head out of the center towards Vítkov Hill, the top of which will grant you a stunning view over the city. The equestrian statue at the top memorializes Jan Žižka, a military hero from the Hussite Wars in the 15th century.
From Vítkov, it's easy to get into the hip and happening neighborhood of Žižkov, named after Žižka, or to go a little bit further towards the chic Vinohrady neighborhood. Both are full of excellent bars and pubs where you can enjoy an evening drink (as the tour most likely won't have left you hungry).
6 pm: Let the Evening Begin
If you can tell your lagers from your IPAs, head to Pivo a párek to try their excellent, ever-changing selection of Czech microbrews. If wine bars are more your thing, walk a little farther towards Jiřího z Poděbrad Square. There are several right around the square, like Pavillon du Vin, where you can find wines from Moravia, the Czech wine-producing region, and abroad.
If you'd like the most typical experience possible, take your pick of The PUB or Lokal locations. Both offer Pilsner Urquell and have several locations across the city. At The PUB, you and your friends can tap your own beer at the table. Lokal, on the other hand, gives you the highest quality Pilsner in a friendly, informal setting where you'll almost always be surround by, unsurprisingly, the locals.
8 am: Seize the Morning
The earlier you can get out the next morning, the better. The first thing you'll want to do is go to the Charles Bridge, a site best enjoyed in the morning before the bulk of its daily visitors have gotten up. From there, head up through Lesser Town to the Prague Castle, which you saw yesterday from afar.
While you could easily while away several hours up there, the one absolutely unmissable site is the St. Vitus Cathedral . You can walk into the front of the church without a ticket, and the stained glass windows and soaring gothic architecture will wow you even from there. If you have any time left, spend it exploring Lesser Town's twisting, cobblestoned streets.
Want more time? We thought you would! We'll be happy to welcome you back next time you're in town!