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If You Only Have One Day In Prague

If You Only Have One Day in Prague

The beautiful city of Prague, ranks as one of the prettiest I’ve visited in Europe, with its perfect location on the Vltava River. The city was the last stop on a week-long walking holiday in the Czech Republic and I had less than one day in Prague to explore. But it’s amazing what you can cover when you’re motivated. Prague is a compact city that’s perfect for walking with the major sights in close proximity.

Head for the flower filled parks above the Prague Castle to get away from the crowds

Head for the flower filled parks above the Prague Castle to get away from the crowds

Here’s what you can pull off if you have only one day in Prague

Check out the Prague Castle Complex

Our group didn’t arrive in the city till about noon. Immediately we marched off to the Prague Castle Complex – considered to be the largest coherent complex in the world and home to the President of the Czech Republic.

Next up was a line-up to get inside the St. Vitus Cathedral. We seemed to get lucky, perhaps because the weather was a little dreary, because despite first appearances it moved quickly. Seeing the soaring Gothic architecture dating to 1344 was worth every minute of the wait. It’s one of those experiences where words can never capture what you feel inside.

Beware the lineups in Prague

Beware the lineups in Prague

St. Vitus Cathedral

St. Vitus Cathedral

Even if you're not religious the inside of the St. Vitus Cathedral will wow you

Even if you’re not religious the inside of the St. Vitus Cathedral will wow you

After the cathedral be sure to take some time to explore the winding cobblestone streets of what is called Lesser Town.

If You Only Have One Day in Prague

These guards look good but according to our guide they aren’t very well trained

Wander the city of a 1000 spires

Wander the city of a 1000 spires

Go for a walk in the parks and gardens near the castle

From there our group moved away from the crowds and made our way to the beautiful parks and gardens south of the castle and west of the river. There’s quite a network of trails with some offering spectacular views of the city and its red tiled roofs.

After exploring the park we made our way through a maze of narrow streets to arrive at Kampa Park beside the Vltava River.

Take a boat tour – an enjoyable way to spend one day in Prague

Rent a boat or take one of the boat cruises on the Vltava River, the longest river at 400 kilometres in the Czech Republic. You get great views from the boat of both the Charles Bridge and the Prague Castle Complex.

One cruise that sounds a little different takes you up the Devil’s Channel, called a blind arm of the Vltava River. The boat – either a small mahogany boat or a solar boat, glides past medieval homes and the Grand Priory Mill – considered to be the most famous of the preserved mills.

If You Only Have One Day in Prague

The crowds on the Charles Street Bridge

If You Only Have One Day in Prague

Rent a paddle boat on the Vltava River

Explore neighbourhoods on foot if time permits

En route to Hotel Leonardo, our home for the night, we passed the National Theatre and off in the distance I spied colourful houses, perhaps part of an old neighbourhood that begged to be explored but time didn’t permit.

If You Only Have One Day in Prague

Take to the streets on a bike

Visit Petrin Hill

By early evening we were back on foot, this time to get to the funicular that takes you up Petrin Hill. I highly recommend including this in your exploration of Prague. (Your ticket for bus and tram travel is also valid for the funicular.) 

The funicular has been around since 1851 – but with an on again, off again history. It was electrified in 1932 but then problems arose in 1965. Part of Petrin Hill became destabilized so for a solid 20 years the funicular didn’t run. In 1985 it reopened to tourists.

The funicular is open from 9 AM to 11:30 PM everyday, running every 10 or 15 minutes depending on the season. It’s got two cars and stops at three places on Petrin Hill.

At the top of the hill there’s an observation tower, a mirror maze and an old church. In the evening we got off at the halfway point so we could dine at Nebozizek Restaurant – which I’d suggest for the view alone. Aim to be there for sunset.

If You Only Have One Day in Prague

View from the Nebozizek Restaurant accessed via funicular

The Charles Bridge – a must see sight if you only have one day in Prague

Following dinner we strolled over to the Charles Bridge, stopping to gawk at the shop windows along the way. Many stores were open in the vicinity of the bridge well after 10 PM.

The Charles Bridge, a pedestrian only bridge, has been in use since 1402. During peak periods, it’s a mass of moving flesh. Aim to visit either first thing in the morning or late at night when the crowds have subsided.

The views and the lights from the bridge are fantastic – even romantic. My exploration of Prague ended at the hotel after a walk alongside the river where I enjoyed fabulous views of the Prague Castle complex all lit up. Truly, Prague is one of Europe’s great cities.

If You Only Have One Day in Prague

Window shopping at night is a lot of fun

If You Only Have One Day in Prague

Walking the Charles Bridge at about 11 PM

If You Only Have One Day in Prague

Prague is equally beautiful in the evening

What I missed in Prague

I had an early flight so by 11 PM I figured I’d call it a night. Some of our group headed off to see the Prague Astronomical Clock built in 1410. But after reading a Huffington Post article that called the clock one of the most disappointing tourist attractions in Europe, I was happy I’d gone to bed.

Another place for a superb city view is Vítkov Hil – close to two happening neighbourhoods – Žižkov and Vinohrady, both full of bars and pubs.

More reading related to my trip to the Czech Republic

What to do if you have only one day in Prague

 

 

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 57,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

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