Late morning: Jewish Quarter
Next to Old Town Square lies Prague’s Jewish Quarter, a former ghetto with a long history. Luckily this area has been relatively well preserved and even survived the Nazi occupation in the 20th century. It has six synagogues, five of which together form the city’s Jewish Museum, which is what you’ll spend your morning exploring.
All exhibits center on Jewish history and culture, but each site has its own unique feeling to it. Some have retained their structure as a space for religious services, while others more closely resemble a museum or a memorial monument. No matter where you choose to start, you’ll finish the day with a greater understanding of how Jews experienced Prague from the 13th century onward.
The museum covers a huge range, from daily life and customs to Holocaust anecdotes and remembrance. You’ll see photographs of notable Czech Jews, religious objects from past and present, gravestones, maps of Jewish migration and diaspora, names of Holocaust victims, children’s illustrations of WWII, and incredible synagogue architecture and decoration. Some images will be troubling, while others will be joyous, but it’ll all give great insight into an important population.
Adult tickets cost 330 CZK each (about $15 USD), which reduces to 220 CZK ($10 USD) for children and students. If you’re in Prague longer than 3 days or choose to mix up my itinerary, it’s helpful to know that tickets are valid for 7 days after purchase (you can only enter each building once) so you can spread the experience over more time if that works better for your schedule.
Afternoon: Charles Bridge
You may have already stumbled across the Charles Bridge while wandering through Prague, but this afternoon you’ll give it the quality time it deserves.
The bridge’s construction started in the 14th century under King Charles IV and was finished in the 15th century, although it didn’t get the name “Charles Bridge” until the 19th century. It crosses the Vltava River, connecting Old Town to the area surrounding Prague Castle, and is one of the most iconic spots in the city.
It doesn’t matter what time of day you cross the Charles Bridge, it’s always filled with people: hopeful street musicians, overpriced caricature artists, haggling souvenir vendors, exhausted tourists, kneeling beggars, meticulous photographers–you can truly find any type of person while strolling Charles Bridge. One afternoon I leaned on the stones and listened to a cheery brass band play for half an hour, and it’s one of my favorite memories of Prague. It’s a lovely place to get caught up in the crowd before escaping to a quieter part of the city.
Late afternoon: Letná Park
After a day of tourist crowds, you can escape the madness by going up to Letná Park. While not completely off the beaten path, the number of stairs tends to wean out tired travelers without fazing locals. And the trek up is worth it: Letná Park has one of the best views of Prague’s skyline.
Once at the top, stop by the enormous Prague Metronome, which was created in 1991 to replace the monument to Joseph Stalin that was destroyed in 1962. Locals still call the spot “Stalin,” despite the 55 years that have passed since the Soviet leader stood there, and it now serves as a fun hangout spot for young Czechs to meet, skateboard, drink, and watch the sunset. From there, walk with the river on your right for about 15 minutes to reach the Letná Beer Garden, where you can grab a drink and some fries to tide you over until dinner while you enjoy the shade, the views, and the relaxed atmosphere.
Evening: Dinner at Lokal
Here are the reasons Lokal is listed:
- It came with glowing reviews from two different people (one Czech and one not) at two different points of my trip.
- It has a local vibe to it (pretty much everyone around us was Czech) and the atmosphere is filled with energy.
- The side dishes are all-you-can-eat, which is rad.
- They had free postcards at the door!
Here are the reasons I’m hesitant to actually recommend Lokal:
- We didn’t love the food. In a group of four, none of us left truly satisfied. My meal (braised pork cheek) was okay but not wonderful, but Rosalie could hardly touch her dinner.
We absolutely could’ve ordered poorly, we may have been sick of Czech food by then, or the restaurant might have been having an off night. Regardless, just because my opinion of Lokal isn’t hugely positive doesn’t mean that you won’t enjoy it, so it’s on your itinerary in case you’re looking for a local food experience in the often-touristy Old Town of Prague.
Of course, the beauty of any city is that there’s always more to learn, do, and discover. This three-day itinerary through the highlights of Prague will get you started, but don’t hesitate to schedule in extra days to wander its cobbled streets, admire its charming architecture, meet local Czech people, and get lost in neighborhoods where most tourists don’t venture. It’ll surely be worth it.