Prague was the second European city that I traveled to solo. Traveling to Paris solo didn’t really count since every day I spent with friends that I hadn’t seen for so long, and while I spent some days alone in Split, Croatia, most days were spent with some marvelous girls I met in the hostel. But for Prague, I was alone the entire three days I was there. Prague is a historical and beautiful city, no doubt about that. But I picked it, to be honest, because it’s one of the cheapest destinations in Europe, especially from Munich, where I live, and especially in winter. It is only five hours away from Munich by Flixbus. So consider this as your Prague travel guide on how to spend three days in Prague on a budget. I squeezed most of the sightseeing in my full two days, so this is a 2-day itinerary in Prague.
Keep in mind that this is from a perspective of a solo Asian female traveler.
Prague in January is cold. There is no point of denying that. But it doesn’t mean it makes the city less appealing. As long as you are layered like a winter burrito, Prague is a great place to explore even in the dead of winter.
I’m in my late thirties, so don’t expect my Prague itinerary to be packed to the brim. Instead, there is a lot of walking involved with no specific destinations in mind. What I do though normally, is check Google Maps and design a walking route that includes some of the best sightseeing in Prague.
I don’t start my days early. The earliest I go out is between 9 or 10 in the morning, and I’m in bed, freshly showered, by 10pm to catch up on my series. Nightlife won’t be a part on most of my solo trips. The closest to nightlife I have is hunting down the best craft beer in the city as a very specific gift for my partner.
As an Asian solo female traveler, I can say that Prague is accommodating and safe. I can’t say how it is for other people of color in Prague, but as an Asian, I can vouch for the safety of the city. I walked alone in the middle of the night with no problem at all. I was surprised to know that Czech Republic has the biggest Vietnamese community outside of Vietnam. Since I lived in Vietnam for four years, I was thrilled with the abundance of authentic Vietnamese restaurants.
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The best area to stay in Prague for the first time, many would say, is the Old Town where the nightlife, restaurants, and historical sights are located. But that comes with a price. As a budget traveler, I decided to stay within the 5-min walk radius from the old town so I was near to all historical sights and restaurants while not paying premium for accommodation. I never used the public transportation during my stay except for my taxi ride (yep, taxi is affordable in Prague) to and from the Flixbus drop off/pick up point, which is near the city train terminal. I stayed in a private room with a shared toilet and shower.
Best Dormitories (beds have curtains, which is non-negotiable if you ask me)
For Day 1 in Prague, I mainly walked by the river bank and followed it down. Like many European cities, Prague is the liveliest by the river. There are so many things going on around. If you check Google Maps, you will see that the following destinations are close to one another and are within walking distance.
To kick the day off, how about some coffee in Dancing House. The Nationale-Nederlanden building located on Rašínovo nábřeží in Prague, Czech Republic, is popularly known as the Dancing House or Ginger and Fred. The building was designed by Croatian-Czech architect Vlado Milunić in collaboration with Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry and was constructed on a previously vacant riverfront plot.
The design of the building is unconventional and appears to be in the shape of a dancing couple. The Dancing House has become an iconic landmark in Prague, attracting tourists and architecture enthusiasts from all over the world.
The art gallery on the ground floor is an interesting place to explore, and there’s a cafe on the top where you can grab a quick snack.
But the highlight of this place is the breathtaking view from the top. You can take the elevator up to the coffee shop, order a drink, and enjoy the view without paying an additional fee. This is a perfect spot to appreciate the river and other sights from a different angle. The atmosphere is relaxing, and it’s a fantastic place to sit, unwind, and enjoy the view with a refreshing drink. The staff is also fluent in English, making it a convenient spot to visit. Overall, highly recommended.
Since its opening in 1930, the Manes Exhibition Hall has been a champion of all forms of visual arts. A true icon, it’s one of the most photographed landmarks in Prague. The combination of a 15th-century water tower with a white functionalist building floating atop the Vltava river creates a stunning architectural harmony that embodies the area’s beauty.
Although it may appear deceptively small outside, the interior comprises three spacious floors. Light floods in from the ceiling, offering visitors an exceptional visual experience, and the restaurant terraces boast a panoramic view of Prague that’s simply breathtaking. You won’t want to miss this breathtaking venue.
The National Theatre is a beloved Czech cultural institution that has played a vital role in preserving and nurturing the Czech language and artistic heritage. It’s been around for a long time and has established a rich artistic tradition that showcases the best of Czech musical and dramatic storytelling.
The theatre has three main ensembles – opera, ballet, and drama – each with their own unique style and repertoire. They take turns performing in the historic National Theatre building, the Theatre of the Estates, and the Kolowrat Theatre. They bring a mix of classic masterpieces and contemporary works to the stage, so there’s something for everyone.
You can also leave the National Theatre as an evening destination if you want to watch a performance. In my case, I mainly adored its architecture from the outside.
Just across the bridge in front of the National Theatre is a little river island called Vyhlídka. From the bridge, I saw some people feeding a beaver-looking animal on the island. From the bridge, there is a lift going down to the island. I joined tourists and local kids in playing with the nutrias. Nutria are smaller than a beaver but larger than a muskrat; unlike beavers or muskrats, however, it has a round, slightly haired tail. They kinda remind me of oversized rats. They are gentle although expect your pants to get dirty. They got no shame when it comes to asking for food.
In spring and summer, not only is it a beautiful and peaceful park, but it also offers plenty of activities for kids, including a playground. The park provides amazing views of iconic landmarks like the Charles Bridge, Castle, and the National Theatre. In the summer, the area comes alive with vibrant colors and creates a mesmerizing atmosphere. Trust me, you won’t regret spending time in this stunning park.
After that, I continued walking up. I passed the Statue of Harmony, which I later found out was created by the British sculptor Kaivalya Torpy and dedicated in October 2009 as a dedication to Sri Chinmoy, a man who was dedicated to promoting peace. He was the founder of the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run and offered over 700 Peace Concerts worldwide. The statue is a lovely tribute to his work and a peaceful place to visit, offering a moment of tranquility and reflection by the river.
There are several art installations in Kampa Park. Not too far from it is a row of yellow penguins. A hidden gem found while exploring the area. It’s worth checking out during the day, but if you are nearby at night, don’t miss it! There’s also a lovely restaurant nearby. It’s a great spot to capture beautiful photos of the water, bridge, boats, and more. The scenery becomes even more stunning after the sun sets. You won’t regret taking a picture of Karlov Most in the evening from this spot.
Although the yellow penguins may appear cute and endearing with their small, plump bellies and charming color, they carry a poignant message about the harmful effects of climate change and plastic waste. Crafted by the Cracking Art Group, an Italian art collective, these whimsical sculptures are constructed entirely from recycled plastic bottles. Their playful and eye-catching design draws attention to the urgent need for environmental awareness and responsible consumption. Despite their cheerful appearance, the yellow penguins serve as a stark reminder of the devastating impact of human activity on our planet.
Note: as of January 2023, there was a construction going on in front of the art installation. The yellow row is still viewable from Charles Bridge.
Just a minute or two from the Yellow Penguins are the Crawling Babies, must be one of the interesting art installations at Kampa Park. For some reason, I found them creepy at first, and Squid Games came to mind. And I knew nothing about the artist either. Of course, it led me to search about crawling babies and the man behind such art. Here is what I found: The TV Tower in Zizkov was once adorned with giant crawling babies sculpted by the controversial artist David Cerny.
Although they were considered remarkable works of art, they were later removed due to their instability and replaced by more stable replicas. Visitors to Prague can still view the original statues along the River Vltava in Kampa Park, where they serve as a popular tourist attraction.
David Cerny, the creator of the “Palm Springs Babies,” is widely considered one of the most famous and provocative artists in the Czech Republic. His works spark controversy due to their shocking and rebellious nature.
Much like Prague’s old town square, Charles Bridge is an essential destination when visiting Prague. It is rarely not crowded with tourists, but still worth a visit. It’s fascinating to see the artists and local vendors selling their goods along the way. Be sure to pause and appreciate the views of the gates and the river, as it’s easy to get swept away in the wandering crowds.
Charles Bridge is a remarkable medieval stone arch bridge spanning the Vltava river in Prague, Czech Republic. King Charles IV began its construction in 1357. It was completed in the early 15th century to replace the old Judith Bridge that had been severely damaged by a flood in 1342. Initially known as Stone Bridge (Kamenný most) or Prague Bridge (Pražský most), it has been called “Charles Bridge” since 1870.
The balustrade features an avenue of 30 statues and statuaries, mainly in the Baroque style, creating a distinctive connection between different artistic styles and the underlying Gothic bridge. Most sculptures were erected between 1683 and 1714, portraying various saints and patron saints who were venerated then. Prominent Bohemian sculptors, such as Matthias Braun, Jan Brokoff, and his sons Michael Joseph and Ferdinand Maxmilian, contributed to decorating the bridge.
Some notable sculptures include St. Luthgard, the Holy Crucifix and Calvary, and John of Nepomuk. Additionally, a statue of the knight Bruncvík was erected some 200 years later and did not belong to the main avenue.
On July 9, 2017, Google commemorated the 660th anniversary of Charles Bridge with a Google Doodle.
Tucked away inside, this little gem can easily be missed among the bustling surroundings near the entrance of Charles Bridge from the Old Town Square. But don’t be fooled by its unassuming exterior – stepping inside offers a peaceful respite from the chaos of the city. And the best part? It won’t cost you a penny.
There are occasional Vivaldi concerts, and the church has great acoustics. If it is your thing, definitely give it a go. I would love to hear his compositions live as someone who has Vivaldi as a work soundtrack. Too bad, I only learned about it while researching further about my route. But if you happen to come here for the concert in winter, take your coat, and you will be fine.
I had an absolute blast visiting and watching the Orloj in action! Every hour, the little glass windows at the top swing open to reveal rotating apostles and saints behind the clock face. Situated right in the middle of Old Town Square, this attraction can get pretty crowded, especially on the hour when everyone gathers to watch and listen to the chimes. But trust me, it’s well worth the effort! If you’re in Prague, this quirky clock is an absolute must-see.
Mounted on the southern wall of Old Town Hall in the Old Town Square, the Orloj is composed of several fascinating components. There’s the astronomical dial, which tracks the position of the Sun and Moon in the sky and displays various astronomical details; statues of Catholic saints on either side of the clock; “The Walk of the Apostles,” an hourly show of moving apostle figures and other sculptures (including a skeleton representing Death, striking the time); and a calendar dial with medallions representing the months.
Local legend has it that neglecting the clock will bring harm to the city, and a ghost mounted on the clock nods in confirmation. But there’s hope yet – according to legend, a boy born on New Year’s night represents the city’s salvation.
The oldest part of the Orloj, the mechanical clock and astronomical dial, dates back to 1410, created by clockmaker Mikuláš of Kadaň and Charles University professor of mathematics and astronomy Jan Šindel. The clock was first recorded on 9 October 1410. Later, around 1490, the calendar dial was added, and the clock facade was adorned with gothic sculptures.
Prague Ham is a boneless ham that’s cured in brine, stewed, and then smoked with beechwood. It’s said to be a delicacy and comes from Prague. And if you’re feeling fancy, you can even get it cooked on the bone, which is locally called šunka od kosti.
You can find at least two food stalls in Old Town Square that serve Prague Ham. Speaking of which, Old Town Square is stunning! You can check out the statue of John Huss, the town hall, and tons of restaurants and little shops scattered all around. At night, the place comes alive with carriage rides, live music, and the most breathtaking buildings all lit up. If I ever find myself in Prague again, you can bet I’ll be staying in the same area!
For day 2, I designed my walking route towards Prague Castle and back to Charles Bridge, and on to Prague’s Old Town and then to Wenceslas Square where my accommodation was.
Hradcany Square, nestled in the heart of Prague, is a magnificent historic plaza that exudes timeless charm and grandeur. Surrounded by architectural wonders, this square serves as the gateway to the iconic Prague Castle, the largest ancient castle complex in the world. At its center stands the imposing statue of Czech King Charles IV, adding a regal aura to the surroundings. The square’s cobblestone pathways and meticulously preserved buildings showcase a blend of Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance styles. As visitors explore this enchanting square, they are transported back in time, captivated by the rich history and architectural splendor of Hradcany Square.
Prague Castle, perched majestically on a hill overlooking the picturesque city of Prague, is a timeless symbol of Czech history and architectural grandeur. This sprawling castle complex, the largest of its kind globally, boasts a rich history dating back over a millennium. Its diverse architectural styles, including Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance, create a breathtaking panorama. The centerpiece, St. Vitus Cathedral, is a Gothic masterpiece that dominates the skyline. Within the castle walls, visitors can explore historic palaces, charming courtyards, and the tranquil Royal Gardens. As an enduring symbol of Czech heritage, Prague Castle remains a must-visit destination, offering a captivating journey through time and culture.
Nestled atop the verdant slopes of Petřín Hill in Prague, Strahov Monastery is a cultural and architectural gem. Founded in the 12th century, it exudes a timeless aura of spirituality and historical significance. Its two stunning libraries, the Philosophical Hall and Theological Hall, house an impressive collection of rare manuscripts and books.
The Baroque-era Strahov Library is a visual marvel with its frescoed ceilings and intricately adorned shelves. The monastery’s tranquil courtyards and breathtaking views of Prague offer a serene escape from the bustling city. Strahov Monastery is not just a repository of knowledge but a testament to the city’s rich heritage and spiritual legacy.
The scenic viewpoint near Prague Castle and Hradcany Square, nestled between the restaurant Kuchyn and Starbucks, offers an enchanting perspective of the city’s historic beauty. This vantage point provides an unrivaled panoramic view of Prague’s iconic skyline, featuring the majestic Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral, and the charming rooftops of Mala Strana (Lesser Town).
I imagine, as the sun sets or the city lights up at night this spot becomes a captivating stage for capturing timeless moments and savoring the city’s romantic ambiance. It’s a must-visit location for those seeking to embrace Prague’s magical charm and capture its beauty in one breathtaking glance.
Unfortunately it was gloomy and fucking cold during my visit, so the photo I had was a gloomy Prague skyline. But to have that sort of an aerial view of Prague remained stunning despite the biting cold and glum.
The Prague Castle Stairs, known locally as “Zámecké schody,” are an iconic ascent within the historic Prague Castle complex. These grand, stone steps are a testament to centuries of history and the regal aura that surrounds this magnificent site. As visitors descend, they are treated to captivating views of the castle’s intricate architecture and the charming cityscape below.
Lined with statues and adorned with intricate details, the stairs exude a sense of timeless elegance. The climb leads to the majestic Prague Castle, a symbol of Czech heritage and power. Each step on the Prague Castle Stairs is a journey through time and a testament to the city’s rich cultural legacy.
Certainly I saw some people using this as their entry leading to Prague Castle, while I used it as an exit towards Charles Bridge, so I had an unabridged (pun intended) uninterrupted view of the cityscape.
Wenceslas Square, the bustling heart of Prague, effortlessly blends history, commerce, and gastronomy. This lively boulevard, flanked by historic buildings and lined with boutique stores, offers fantastic opportunities for shopping affordable clothing. Trendy shops, both local and international, dot the avenue, making it a fashion enthusiast’s paradise.
But the square is not just about shopping; there is Beer Point, where I got some Prague craft beer specialties for my beer aficionado husband—a sort of personal tradition. Wenceslas Square, with its dynamic mix of culture, commerce, and refreshments, epitomizes the vivacious spirit of Prague.
One thing I totally enjoyed in Prague and I spent so much money on was the bookstores. Czech Republic, home by some literary canons like Milan Kundera and Franz Kafka, has a lot of bookstores. Prague certainly made me cap my book budget. But I didn’t regret it in any bit. So if you are a reader and a book buyer (these are two separate hobbies), check out my English Bookstores in Prague guide.
Another surprising fact I learned in my visit, as I mentioned earlier, was the amount of Vietnamese restaurants scattering everywhere. It was a very pleasant surprise. So the entire four days I was there, I mainly consumed Vietnamese food. Except for the Prague ham and the vegan cafe (which I regretted), I was happy with my bun cha, bun bo nam bo, and their kin. So feel free to check out my Vietnamese restaurant in Prague guide because certainly, and I say this with conviction, the best places in Europe to have authentic Vietnamese food is Berlin and Prague.
Amping (Take care!),