Prague is one of the most adored cities in Europe, with a deep past stretching way back to the Middle Ages. The capital of the Czech Republic, it has exploded in popularity over recent years; voted as one of the top tourist destinations in the world. It’s also an Instagrammers dream, with an abundance of picturesque views and amazing sights to see & photograph.
I was lucky enough to spend 2 days in this gorgeous city late last year and although a couple of days isn’t sufficient to completely explore Prague, it is just enough time to see some of the main sights and get a true sense of what this charming place is all about. If you have limited time there or just want a short trip to the city to find out if it’s a place you would want to return to explore more of, then read on as this guide on how to explore Prague in 2 days is just for you!
The city of a hundred spires and so much more!
As with most medieval European cities, Prague has an Old Town and a New Town and they are separated by the beautiful Vltava River. The Czech capital’s nickname is the “City of a hundred spires” and whilst it actually has more than just a hundred spires, the range of architecture here is awe-inspiring. Containing a mix of Art Nouveau, Baroque, Cubism, Gothic and Romanesque architectural styles, there is a wide range of palaces, cathedrals, buildings and gardens that are a visual feast and will have you happily snapping away on your camera.
Walk along the medieval Charles Bridge
Undoubtedly one of the main tourist attractions of Prague, and possibly the heart & soul of the city, is the Charles Bridge, which crosses over the Vltaka River. The bridge, which was named after King Charles IV, connects the Prague Castle with the city’s Old Town. It’s bordered by Bridge Towers at each end and decorated with Baroque statues along the entire length.
Buskers, tourists & locals alike all flock here, notably at sunset however it is just as beautiful (and quieter) early in the morning. I was lucky enough to have a tour guide to educate our group on my first visit to this bridge as part of an afternoon half-day tour on my first day here. I’d recommend this as an option if you have a fascination with history and want to get some insider local knowledge.
Visit the Old Town Square
The Old Town square is where the Astronomical Clock, the Old Town Hall, the Gothic Church of Our Lady of Tyn and the Baroque St Nicholas Church are located. Surrounded by restaurants & cafes, it’s cobblestones feel a hive of activity as the sun comes out and especially comes alive during the evening for visitors & locals. It is abuzz especially during Christmas and Easter time, when markets fill up the square.
Watch the Astronomical Clock show
Another of the main attractions in Prague (and my personal favourite) is the Astronomical Clock or “Prague Orloj”, which dates back to 1410. Apparently this is the world’s oldest Astronomical clock still in operation and seeing as it was the first one I’d ever seen; it’s become my fondest memory of Prague. One of the first things I noticed about the clock was the multicoloured astronomical dials, with the inclusion of the changing Sun and Moon locations as they move through the twelve astrological signs of the Zodiac.
If you’re an astrology student like myself, then you can tell which sign the moon is in on that day by the black moon dial (which changes approximately every couple of days) and the gold dial with a Sun symbol depicts the current astrological sign for the month (this dial will move one degree each day). The top dial on the outer circle displays the days of the month and the time. Below the zodiacal ring is the Calendar plate depicting imagery of the months, zodiac signs and the names of the saints (365 names for each day of the year).
Every day on the hour a large group of tourists will gather to witness “The Walk of the Apostles” where sculptures on the clock move to the sound of chimes. If you keep your eye on the skeleton (which represents Death), you will see him lift up one of his hands, which triggers the chiming of the clock. The two blue window shutters across the clock dial will start to move, opening up the moving Apostles looking out toward the crown below. It’s quite an experience and the spectacle is always greeted with cheers from the audience.
If you want to take photos with not a lot of people around, try to get there around 7am. This was the time I visited on my first morning and there were only a couple of people (including a bride & groom) & professional photography sessions taking photos around the clock. As the day goes on and especially toward the evening when tourists & locals are converging in the square, it will be more difficult to get photos with no one around.
Explore Prague Castle
Built on the 9th century, Prague Castle is one of the most important historical & cultural sights in the Czech Republic. More of a complex of buildings incorporating a myriad of architectural influences, it contains the Old Royal Palace, St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George’s Basilica, the Golden Lane, Rosenberg Palace and much more. It has been the location of the seat of power for Czechoslovakian Presidents, Holy Roman Emperors and for Bohemian royalty.
To completely explore the complex you would need to set aside an entire day I visited the Prague Castle complex as part of my half day city tour and whilst it was great to sample some of the sights, it did leave me wanting to return to discover more! There are views for days of Prague at the Complex and if you’re feeling particularly brave, you can climb the 287 steps up the Great South Tower of St. Vitus Cathedral.
Marvel at the immense St Vitus Cathedral
Located within the Prague Castle complex, the Gothic Roman Catholic St Vitus Cathedral is the most revered church in the Czech Republic. With its construction spanning over 600 years, it is immense in size, with the eastern & western facades varying in terms of their design. It was here at St Vitus cathedral where Kings & Queens were coronated and is the resting place for a number of patron Saints, including St. Vitus, St. Wenceslas, St. Adalbert and St. John of Nepomuk.
Venturing inside this Cathedral is an absolute must, if only to admire the awe-inspiring stained glass windows. There are a number of side chapels with the most popular one being the Chapel of St. Wenceslas, in which a locked staircase leads to the Coronation Chamber which house the Bohemian crown jewels. The 14th century mosaic of the Last Judgement is one of the many treasures located within this breathtaking Cathedral.
Wander around Wenceslas Square
This is another bustling hub of the city and was one area I wished I could actually see more of, during the half day city tour. Although I could only view Wenceslas Square form my seat on the tour bus, it’s an area I’d love to see more of my second time around. This is also where the National Museum is located; one of the most magnificent examples of architecture I saw in Prague, as well as a statue of the square’s namesake, King Wenceslas.
Sample the local cuisine & beer
My first meal in Prague was notably my favourite – rich beef goulash with dumplings, a decadent meal helped along by sharing a bottle of red wine on the evening I arrived in the city. One of my favourite restaurants I dined in was at the elegant Kings Court hotel, enjoying a fresh tuna & egg salad with red wine for lunch. Prague is well-known for having the finest beer and you may see some of the mobile beer carts cycling around the city, powered by tourists – I captured this very sight in a video whilst sitting down at a restaurant one afternoon!
Check out the Dancing House
Named after the beloved Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers, the “Dancing House” is one of the most unusual architectural structures you might ever see! It is classified as a “Deconstructivism” architectural style and looks different depending upon which angle it is viewed from. Currently an office block, there is also a restaurant on the top floor with views of Prague city. I was able to take a couple of quick photos from my seat on the bus during my tour of the city and am really glad I got to view this unique design.
Satisfy your shopping cravings
There’s an abundance of shopping to be done in the capital, with options for high street in the shopping malls & strips to designer labels in the high end streets near the Old Town Square. Whilst I didn’t plan to do much shopping during the short stay, I ended up having to purchase a new pair of sneakers, so promptly visited one of the Adidas stores to buy my very first pair of Stan Smith’s! With a variety of bookstores, local markets, specialty food & drink, urban-wear, designers, boutiques and one-off stores available, you’re sure to find something you need or want.
Exploring the Old Town
If you are visiting Prague then I’d recommend you stay in the Old Town to be as close as possible to the sights of the Charles Bridge, Astronomical Clock and shopping areas. The Old Town has an abundance of pastel coloured buildings, which reminded me of St Petersburg, Russia. You can literally explore the city on foot for hours – it has a charming and safe feeling here with almost fairytale-esque vibes.
Some of the notable sights I witnessed whilst walking around the Old Town include the Powder Tower or Prašná brána. This is a 15th century city gate which separates Prague’s Old & New Town areas and it is here where you can climb the stairs up into the tower for views of the city. I also adored walking past the Municipal House, which is actually a concert hall, with it’s art nouvea green dome.
One of the buildings I was really looking forward to seeing was the beautiful Jerusalem Synagogue, also known as the Jubilee Synagogue. It’s art nouveau façade is brightly coloured and ever since I had first spotted this Synagogue on Instagram a few years ago, I knew it was a sight I wanted to visit. Unfortunately the synagogue was closed that particular morning and it’s façade was partially covered, most likely for restorative or protective purposes. Nevertheless, it was exciting to finally see this eye-catching place of worship after admiring it electronically from halfway across the world!
Visiting Prague during Autumn
I visited Prague in late September last year, during Autumn. The weather was crisp & cool, with a slight chill early in the mornings & afternoons, warming up during the day. You will need a jacket in the mornings & evenings; I wore knitwear, jeans and a leather jacket to keep warm. I’d advise against wearing any shoes other than flats, particularly around the Old Town and the main Square – being a medieval city, the streets and laneways of Prague are cobblestoned and considering it’s so easy to explore on foot, you will want to be comfortable! I wore my sneakers the entire two days there, only popping on a pair of heels to dress up my outfit for some photos in the morning under the Astronomical Clock.
Travel tips for your Prague visit
If you love taking photography then I’d recommend early starts to your day and to plan in advance which sights you want to see – I discovered a few sights thanks to research via Instagram.
One of the best choices I made was booking a half-day city tour during my first afternoon – the bus & walking tour allowed us to explore all across the old & new town areas, including sights such as Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral, Dancing House and driving past St. Wenceslas Square, the National Library, National Theatre and State Opera buildings.
Set aside an hour to walk from the Prague Castle complex and over the Charles Bridge – you’ll want to really take in the stunning city views over the Vltava River.
I hope you have enjoyed this travel guide on How to Explore Prague in Two Days and found it useful! Two days here will allow you enough time to see the main sights and will probably leave you wanting to return. Here, in this medieval city of Prague, there is an abundance of history & beauty to savour; it has been one of the most surprisingly enjoyable experiences I’ve had in Europe and I’m sure it would be the same for you as well.
Don’t forget to connect with me on my Instagram where I post a lot of my travel related photos and experiences, mainly from my travels around Europe. Have you visited Prague as yet and if so, what did you love about the city? Are there any sights you have visited that you’d like to share with other readers here? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!