You want to see Prague in one day? You’re crazy. Prague has so much to offer… Its exquisite aesthetic, its cultural monuments and exhibits, its gorgeous architecture, and its amazing food, coffee and beer will leave you in tears on the Charles Bridge wondering just how you’re going to see and do it all. However, it can be done. It will be done. And here’s how.
Start your morning at the top of the Vysehrad Fortress. It’s a bit of a hike, but offers stunning views back onto the city and you won’t be competing with hundreds of tourists. Take your photos and descend back down to the riverbank. If you happen to be there on a Saturday (go there on a Saturday) you can stroll through Naplavka farmers’ market and pick up some amazing local delicacies for the walk ahead.
Continue along the riverfront (pulling faces such as the one above, of course) and cross when you arrive at the Legion Bridge. It’s now time for breakfast (hooray!) and one of the best coffees in the city at Cafe Lounge. Once you’re sufficiently caffeinated and topped up with delicious Czech edibles, it’s time to push on!
Stroll along the river to the Ujezd area and begin the treck up Úvoz street. When you get to the top, pick up a trdelník for 60 CZK because, well, you deserve it.
You’re finally at the top and high on sugar – well done. Now, walk to the Strahov Monastery for two reasons: the first, to gaze down on the city below and get that perfect snap and, the second, to head inside and get a look at two of the most beautiful, mind-blowing, untouched libraries in the world. If you’re at the Monastery when it’s an acceptable time for a beer (or even if you’re not) take a seat and enjoy one of the best beers in Prague. The monks brew it best.
The next thing you’re going to do is walk down towards the castle, but take a slight detour to see Nový Svět, one of the most idyllic streets in the city. Stop in at Kavarna Nový Svět for a quick break in an adorable space and your next caffeine hit (what may be the best caffeine hit of your life, really).
Continue along to Prague Castle. Peek inside the castle complex to see the front part of the St. Wenceslas Cathedral and then wander the gardens below. Want to take the guided tour? Too bad, you don’t have time.
Leave the castle past Deer Moat and head back down the hill and across the Charles Bridge. You’ll be fighting the flow of the crowds, but try to stop, take a breath and absorb the beauty of this ancient bridge and the impressive statues who gaze down upon it.
Walk through Old Town to the Old Town Square. There, you’ve seen it. Now, continue on and walk down Dlouha Street to Sister Bistro for some traditional (but not quite) Czech open-faced sandwiches. Alternatively, if you’re looking for something a little larger, stop at Lokal for some Pilsner Urquell and classic pub dishes.
Moving on, head towards the Karlin district, otherwise known as ‘Prague’s Brooklyn’. On the way, stop at the YMCA building to take a ride in the paternoster elevator, one of the last in the city and what’s also commonly known as Europe’s ‘Elevator of Death’ (it’s not that bad [or is it?]). It’s now time for coffee and a sweet treat at Muj salek kavy!
Next, enter the pedestrian tunnel at the end of Thamova street and walk up to the other side. Then, climb up the steep Vítkov Hill and enjoy – yet another – exquisite view of Prague. I bet you’re thankful for all these hills, right? Now, leave the Zizkov district behind and walk to Vinohrady, a prosperous Prague district with beautiful Art Nuveau facades and excellent cafes, bars and restaurants. Our favourite spots in this area are La Boheme, AnonymouS Coffee and Mr. Bahn Mi.
Walk along the VInohradska street and sneak a look inside the Vinohradsky Pavilon. A former market, it now serves as one big showroom for high-end designer furniture. In the Vinohrady district, you can either head to the famed Dish Fine Burger Bistro for dinner, or (and this is what we would do) catch the tram back to Maso a kobliha – probably the best ‘bistro’ in Prague at the moment, which combines an amazing local butcher, baker and brewery. Plus, the doughnuts here are the best in the city. Afterwards, walk to AnonymouS Bar for some over the top and well-deserved cocktails.
You did it. You saw (almost) all. Now, you can stop, breathe, appreciate and indulge. By this point it will be obvious that you’ll be returning to Prague, so just relax, enjoy the cocktails and start compiling a mental list of everything you missed for next time.
For a more detailed account of the above fantastic food, coffee and beverage haunts mentioned above, read my post on, well, food, coffee and beverages in Prague, here.