Home TripsAll Over the World Exploring Prague in Two Days

Exploring Prague in Two Days

by Grant
Exploring Prague

Coming into Prague on the bus from the airport was an interesting contrast in Soviet-era construction versus elaborate pre-Soviet buildings. We found the mix of styles intriguing and immediately knew this trip through Eastern Europe would be a great experience.  Once we got into the heart of the city, the beauty of the buildings kept our eyes up even though we were exhausted from the flight.

Two years ago when we flew to Italy, we had business class seats. This time around, we had to settle for economy comfort. Economy comfort got us a little extra legroom but ultimately was still economy. Thus, we did not get any sleep to speak of on the flight.

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Where We Stayed

We quickly found our hotel, Hotel Pav, which was comfortable, priced right and reasonably close to the Charles Bridge (about a 10-minute walk). After settling into our room, all we had the energy for was dinner near the hotel. 

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Just a couple blocks down the street was a great little restaurant. We ordered typical Czech cuisine including a hearty meat plate, some dumplings and a couple of drinks each. Cost? Less than $30. That is one of the main reasons why we came to Eastern Europe: it’s cheaper.

Dinner in Prague
Dinner in Prague was hearty and less than $30 for two!

After dinner, we headed back to the hotel and crashed. Seriously, we were asleep by about 6 p.m. I know we broke all kinds of “avoiding jet lag rules,” but we just couldn’t hold out any longer. Knowing that the sunrise would be before 5 a.m., we figured we would be up and moving early regardless of what time we went to sleep.

New Town and Old Town Prague

After crashing on arrival day, we knew we had to make our first full day count, and boy did we! Our FitBits tracked 30,000 steps on our first full day in Prague, which is about 15 miles! 

On the streets of Prague
On the streets of Prague

We started out with a brief jaunt up to the train station to secure sleeper car tickets for the trip to Krakow. The official sight-seeing started with a walk through New Town, starting in Wenceslas Square and down one of the main drags through town. There were lots of shops and restaurants and was the site of the 1969 Soviet crackdown. The National Museum is there and still has discoloration from the repairs done by the local workers, who defied the Soviets by using the wrong color in patching the wall.

Next, we walked along the main drag to the Old Town. The main square was large and open with tons of cool stuff to see. The City Hall Tower has an astronomical clock and some neat examples of a variety of architecture including Gothic and Baroque.

Charles Bridge
The Charles Bridge is beautiful but is crowded on a weekend afternoon with merchants and pedestrians.

Our tour continued through Old Town, which reminded me a bit of Rome: narrow streets filled to the gills with tour groups. We crossed the Charles Bridge, which was great in terms of view and cool statues, but crowded. It was Sunday and the locals obviously enjoy the bridge just as much as the tourists. Once across the bridge, Bonnie spotted an outdoor food festival, which had some good chow.

A food festival in Prague for lunch
We found a great food festival for lunch. Plenty of local treats, including our favorite: trdelník.

After lunch, we headed back across the river and walked along the bank until we came to the “Astaire and Rogers” building, which was built to look like a couple dancing. At this point, we decided to take a break for a couple of hours, so headed back to the hotel.

Dancing House
This building is known as the “Dancing House” and was originally built to resemble Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

Petrin Hill

After a quick recharge at the hotel, we walked back across the river to go up Petrin Hill, which is a very nice park. It was gorgeous, lots of trees and not many tourists, just a bunch of Czechs enjoying a Sunday afternoon. The view from the hill is spectacular and was a relaxing break from the city.

A panorama of the Prague Castle from Petrin Hill
A panorama of the Prague Castle from Petrin Hill

Next, we stopped at a wine bar to sample some Czech wines, which were pretty good! From there, we headed back toward Old Town and the main square to see the clock go off (we missed it earlier) and enjoy the nice afternoon light.

At this point, it was time for dinner, so we found a traditional Czech restaurant to eat at. The food was hearty and the beer was good! My only complaint…most bars only have one label of beer, so trying a bunch involves moving around a lot.

Astronomical Clock
Prague’s famous Astronomical Clock is more than 600 years old. It is worth it to catch its hourly show.

Jewish Quarter and Prague Castle

For our second day, we visited the Jewish Quarter and the Castle section of Prague.

Prague Synagogue
Prague’s Jewish Quarter tells a sordid history all the way until the Nazi occupation. There are still several synagogues throughout the area, as well a Jewish cemetery.

The Jewish Quarter is one of the largest left in Europe. There are several synagogues and a cemetery where thousands of Jews have been buried on top of each other for generations.

The castle and associated palace, cathedral, chapel and museums dominate the skyline of the city. The complex is interesting, but spartan compared to the palaces in Italy… An entirely different culture. Still, we enjoyed the sweeping rooflines and the exhibits were fascinating. We spent a few hours exploring the complex.

Prague Castle
Prague Castle

One of the more fascinating exhibits is the torture chamber. The exhibit included plenty of the implements of pain and suffering used in the past.

After the nearly 15 miles we walked the first day and 10 miles the second day, we decided to spend some time resting that afternoon and planning our trip to Kutna Hora for the following day.

Final Thoughts

Prague is a beautiful city and is easily worthy of a couple of days. The architecture, the beauty of the city along the Vltava River, the food and the people combine to make for an outstanding stay.

The city is pedestrian-friendly. We never felt the need to get a cab or do anything but walk. While we did walk a lot, we could have spread our visit out over another day to spend less time on our feet.

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Prague was the jumping off point for our exploration of Eastern Europe and what a great first stop. This vibrant city is full of beautiful architecture, delicious food, good beer and great people.
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