Prague in 1 Day: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

If you only have one day to visit Prague, you may not have enough time to enjoy it. Although you'll have to cross a few places off your list, this itinerary will allow you to enjoy the main attractions.

Joaquín Montaño

Joaquín Montaño

12 min read

Prague in 1 Day: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

View of the streets of Prague | © Alice

There is no denying that having only 24 hours for all that Prague has to offer to see and do is not enough time. The city is one of the most interesting in all of Europe and it is always better to dedicate a few more days to get to know it better.

However, you should not be discouraged by only having one day. With a little organisation, waking up very early and hurrying, it is possible to see at least the main places that the Czech capital has to offer its visitors. This itinerary includes three must-see sights: the castle, the Jewish Quarter and the Charles Bridge and its surroundings.

Visit the Prague Castle to start your day in the city.

Prague Castle| ©Govisity
Prague Castle| ©Govisity

Given the short amount of time you have available, it's a good idea to find out how to get to Prague Castle beforehand. Once you know how to get there, bear in mind that you will have to arrive very early, both to make the most of the day and to avoid the most crowded hours. To do this, you should check the opening hours of Prague Castle beforehand.

Prague Castle is almost a small walled city in itself. Inside you will be able to see streets, a fantastic garden and buildings that you cannot miss. Among the latter are St. Vitus Cathedral, where you should pay attention to its famous St. Wenceslas Chapel and the Crown Jewels.

Depending on your time and the type of Prague Castle ticket you have purchased, it is also worth climbing the cathedral tower to enjoy the views. From the top you can see the Charles Bridge and the whole of the old town.

Another must-see building is the Royal Palace, where the Bohemian kings and some Holy Roman Emperors lived. In addition, the castle grounds also house other monuments such as the White Tower, the Daliborka Tower and the Convent of St. George.

Guided tour of the castle or on your own?

To see this monument more efficiently and with information about each of its corners, it may be a good idea to book a guided tour of Prague Castle.

Obviously, the visit can also be done by buying the tickets on your own (see here for Prague Castle prices), but then you should measure the time you spend in each area very well and have previously consulted the history of the castle to learn more about what you are seeing.

Buy your ticket for Prague Castle

Discover the Golden Lane, one of the most charming places in Prague.

Golden Alley| ©Jorge Valenzuela A
Golden Alley| ©Jorge Valenzuela A

Still inside the castle complex you will find a small street that is definitely one of the most charming in the whole city: the Golden Alley.

The street has several 16th century houses painted in different colours and which are nowadays occupied by shops where you can find various kinds of goods and souvenirs.

Although there are different legends about the origin of this alley, such as the one that states that it was occupied by alchemists trying to turn metals into gold, the truth is that the houses were built to house the 24 guards of the castle.

Later, the houses were occupied by several goldsmiths, which is why it received the name of Gold Alley. As a curiosity, the famous writer Franz Kafka lived for a year in number 22.

Book a Franz Kafka Tour in Prague

Walk through the Malá Strana and discover all its nooks and crannies

Malá Strana| ©Jorge Franganillo
Malá Strana| ©Jorge Franganillo

After leaving the castle complex, the itinerary continues through one of the most interesting districts of the city: Malá Strana or Lesser Town. This district is one of the most historic in the whole of Prague and strolling through its streets means discovering wonderful places almost at every step.

The most important street in the district is Nerudova, so called because it was the residence of the writer Jan Neruda. Walking down the steep slope from the castle in the direction of the Plague Column you will catch a glimpse of several historic buildings and old palaces, such as the Italian embassy or Morzin Palace.

One of the most beautiful spots in this district is the Malá Strana Square, where the church of St. Nicholas is located. From there you follow the path towards Kampa Island, one of the best views of the city. Along the way you will come across the famous John Lennon Wall, a mural painted by young Czechs in tribute to the singer after his murder.

Due to lack of time it is difficult to explore Kampa Park properly, but it is at least worth checking out the views before continuing along the riverbank towards the Manes Bridge.

Book a guided tour of Prague

Surprise yourself with the narrowest street in the city

Prague's narrowest street| ©Dimitrij Ovčinnikov
Prague's narrowest street| ©Dimitrij Ovčinnikov

During the tour, in addition to other buildings of interest, you will find a curiosity of the city: the narrowest street in Prague. In reality, it was not originally conceived as a street, but as a firebreak between the houses to prevent fires from devastating the neighbourhood, as had happened in 1541.

The street measures only 77 centimetres at its narrowest point and is 50 metres long. These characteristics meant that access to the street had to be regulated by traffic lights so that pedestrians in both directions would not coincide.

Get lost in Josefov, Prague's Jewish Quarter

Through the Jewish Quarter| ©Luis Villa del Campo
Through the Jewish Quarter| ©Luis Villa del Campo

If you follow the river along the Malá Strana bank, you will come to the Mánes Bridge, where you cross over to begin your visit to Prague's Jewish quarter, known as Josefov.

This quarter was formed in the Middle Ages, after the arrival of the Jewish community in Prague in the 10th century. The oldest synagogue dates back to 1270 and is one of the synagogues that can still be visited. For several centuries this neighbourhood was, in reality, a ghetto from which they could hardly leave, as it was not until the 19th century that Jews' rights were recognised and they were allowed to live in any other area.

Although you can hire a guided tour of the Jewish quarter, on this occasion the time pressure makes it difficult to see it all, so you will have to settle for visiting just some of the six synagogues that exist in the area.

  • Spanish Synagogue: it was built in 1868 and its name comes from its Moorish decoration reminiscent of that of the Alhambra in Granada. Today it houses an exhibition on the life of the Jewish community.
  • Pinkas Synagogue: located at the entrance to the Jewish Cemetery, this synagogue contains the names of the 77,297 Jews from what was then Czechoslovakia who died at the hands of the Nazis. You will also be able to see several drawings made by children who were in the nearby Terezin concentration camp. I recommend that you make the excursion to Terezin a must on your next visit to the city.
  • Old-New Synagogue: this is the oldestsynagogue in Europe that still has a religious function. It is also one of the first Gothic buildings in Prague.

Entrance to the synagogues

There is a single entrance ticket which entitles you to visit all the synagogues (with the exception of the Old-New Synagogue, which must be purchased separately) and the Jewish Cemetery.

With the entrance ticket you will be given a small map of the quarter which is very useful for finding all the sites of interest.

Book a tour of the Jewish Quarter

Enter the Old Jewish Cemetery

Prague Jewish Cemetery| ©Midnight Believer
Prague Jewish Cemetery| ©Midnight Believer

Everything there is to see in the Jewish Cemetery makes it one of the most interesting places in Prague. Built in the 15th century, for 300 years it was the obligatory burial place for all the city's Jews.

The small size of the cemetery, where it is estimated that more than 100,000 people are buried, meant that the bodies had to be stacked one on top of the other.

Today some 12,000 gravestones remain, including those of Rabbi Judah Loew, creator of the Prague golem, Rabbi David Oppenheim and the mathematician, astronomer and historian David Gans.

Entrance to the Jewish Cemetery

If you have purchased the combined ticket with the synagogues, you will not have to pay anything extra to visit the cemetery. If you haven't, you can always buy an individual ticket for a tour of the tombs.

Grab a bite to eat in the Jewish Quarter

Eating in Naše Maso.| ©PaddyOL
Eating in Naše Maso.| ©PaddyOL

To recharge your batteries without wasting too much time, I recommend eating in a curious place located in the Jewish quarter, the Naše Maso.

As I explained in my article on Prague restaurants, this place is actually a butcher's shop that prepares various meat dishes on the spot so that you can eat them right then and there.

The meat they sell, whether as burgers, sausages, steak tartar and other preparations, is of high quality. The only problem is its small size and the difficulty of finding a free place.

Book a food tour

Climb the Gunpowder Tower

Gunpowder Tower| ©maggiejp
Gunpowder Tower| ©maggiejp

Leaving the Jewish quarter behind, you enter Staré Mesto, the old town. One of the first sights you can see is the Powder Tower, one of the old gates of the Prague city wall.

This gate was the entrance used by the Bohemian kings when they went to their coronation ceremony, so it is considered to be the beginning of the Royal Road that ended at the castle.

If you wish, you can climb to a viewing platform located 44 metres above sea level, but if you plan to climb the tower on the Old Town Square afterwards, you do not need to do so.

Book a private tour

Immerse yourself in the beauty of the Old Town Square without rushing.

Old Town Square.| ©Jorge Franganillo
Old Town Square.| ©Jorge Franganillo

The Old Town Square is undoubtedly the most impressive space in Prague, with the exception of the castle and Charles Bridge. It can be said that all the buildings surrounding the square are truly impressive and it is well worth taking a leisurely stroll around the perimeter to enjoy them.

At the entrance to the square is the famous Tyn Church, built in the 14th century on the site of a small chapel on the same spot. Gothic in style, it was a project conceived by the bourgeoisie of this area of Prague to compete with St. Vitus Cathedral, located on the other side of the river.

Note that the façade is not visible from the square, although its two impressive towers are. One of the most famous astronomers in history is buried inside: Tycho Brahe.

In the same square you can't miss the old town hall, where you will find the city's Astronomical Clock, for which I recommend you buy tickets in advance. The same tower that houses this clock has at its highest point, at about 70 metres, a viewpoint from which you can see the whole of the old city.

However, the most emblematic feature of the building is the Astronomical Clock, the third oldest in Europe. This mechanism was added to the tower at the beginning of the 15th century and today it attracts hundreds of tourists every hour who try to see "The Walk of the Apostles", figures that emerge from inside it as if they were parading.

Book tickets for the Astronomical Clock in Prague

Stroll along Karlova Street

Karlova Street, Prague.| ©Livian Navarro
Karlova Street, Prague.| ©Livian Navarro

After spending enough time to get a good view of the Old Town Square, it is worth taking a stroll down one of Prague's most important streets, Karlova Street.

This winding, pedestrianised street links the city's two historic districts, Stare Mesto and Malá Strana. If you have taken a tour of Prague, you are sure to have passed along it on a walk that is sometimes not at all easy due to the large number of tourists.

Despite the crowds, Karlova Street is well worth a stroll to see its Gothic and Renaissance houses and to stop in front of some of the shop windows.

The whole street is lined with shops and cafés, so it can be a good place if you fancy a coffee break.

During the walk there are some buildings that are worth stopping to take a closer look at. Here you will find the city's first café, called the Golden Serpent, which opened its doors in 1713 and has now been converted into a restaurant.

Also, at number 44 you will find Karlova Crystal, an impressive shop specialising in Bohemian crystal items. Finally, at number 3/175, you will be able to admire the façade of the House of Golden Wells, adorned with fabulous baroque stucco.

Book a tour of the Old Town and dungeons

Cross the Charles Bridge

Charles Bridge| ©A.Savin
Charles Bridge| ©A.Savin

No one can leave Prague without crossing Charles Bridge, the most beautiful of all the bridges connecting the two banks of the Vltava River, at least once.

Among the things to see on Charles Bridge are the baroque statues on the sides of the bridge, which compete for attention with all the street performers that line the area.

One of the advantages of crossing the bridge later in the day is that the crowds are usually smaller, although in high season the difference is minimal. If you are lucky, this will allow you to stop and enjoy the fantastic views of Prague Castle. Depending on the time of day, you may even be able to see its silhouette illuminated, creating a magical sensation.

Book a night tour of Prague

Vltava River Cruise with dinner included or ghost tour

Vltava River Cruise| ©Ouael Ben
Vltava River Cruise| ©Ouael Ben

To end this intense day of sightseeing I am going to propose you several alternatives. It all depends on how tired you are and, obviously, on your tastes.

  • A leisurely stroll along the banks of the river: the first option is simply to stroll along the banks of the Vltava River. No matter which bank you walk along, you will always find a great atmosphere, as a large number of people tend to gather around it. Depending on how dark it is, you can also take a stroll around Střelecký ostrov, a park located on one of the small islands along the river.
  • Rivercruise with dinner: one of the most romantic plans to end the day is to take a small cruise on the Vltava River that includes dinner. As well as enjoying the food and fantastic views, there is often live music and dancing along the way.
  • Ghost tour: Prague, with its urbanism and history, hides several legends and truly gruesome events. If you are a thrill-seeker you can take one of the tours that will take you to the darkest part of the city.

Book a dinner cruise

Getting around Prague

Prague Tram| ©Jorge Franganillo
Prague Tram| ©Jorge Franganillo

Actually, for a one-day tour, the best way to get around Prague is on foot, which shouldn't be a problem. However, if you want to get to Prague Castle by public transport or have to use public transport to get back to your hotel, here are the options:

  • Tram: this is probably the best way to get around Prague, as it is the only means of transport that reaches some parts of the Old Town. You will find trams running 24 hours a day, although the frequency of the night lines is somewhat lower.
  • Metro: although it also works very well, it has the disadvantage that it does not reach some of the most visited areas of the Czech capital, as well as having no service at night.
  • Buses: Like trams, city buses run 24 hours a day. They are the best option if you have to travel to areas quite far from the centre.

But if you want to make the most of your stay in the Czech capital, I recommend you buy the Prague CoolPass tourist card, which includes a tour on the tourist bus, a river cruise, tickets to 60 tourist attractions and interesting discounts.

Buy the Prague CoolPass

Change money in Prague

Czech Koruna| ©Francisco Gonzalez
Czech Koruna| ©Francisco Gonzalez

Although the Czech Republic is a member of the European Union, the country has decided to maintain its own currency, the koruna. This means that you will need to change some money to be able to pay for some payments.

My first piece of advice is not to change money at the airport, as the rate is worse than in the exchange offices in the city centre and especially in the Jewish quarter.

A good option for a shorter stay is to pay almost everything by card and only change a small amount to pay for your transport ticket (the machines only accept coins), occasional small expenses or even if you have to go into a public toilet (where you usually have to pay a small fee).