| |

How to Spend a Weekend in Prague in 2024

If there’s one place I’ve dreamed of visiting for years, it’s Prague. The city’s old-world charm, maze of cobblestone alleyways, and skyline punctuated by gothic spires have captivated my history-obsessed, nerdy brain for as long as I can remember. Prague, nestled in the heart of Europe, feels as if it’s untouched by time. The city brims with activities, starting with the enchanting Old Town Square, where the sparkle of Moldavite jewellery shops ignites the imagination. You can lose yourself in the labyrinthine alleys, where you’ll delight in discovering cultural gems like trdelník shops, offering delectable local pastries that are an absolute must-try! The city also boasts thriving cafes, exquisite restaurants, luxurious spas, expansive public parks and vibrant festivals. If this sounds like your dream holiday, here is my ultimate guide to spending a magical weekend in Prague!

The History of Prague 

Before I begin detailing how to spend a weekend in Prague, it’s best to know the city’s history. Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic, has a history spanning centuries, with archaeological evidence suggesting human occupation dates back at least 500,000 years. In the Medieval period, Prague played a crucial role in Europe’s international politics. In the 9th century, it became the seat of the Přemyslid dynasty, which ruled the Czech territory for many centuries. Later, the city became an important centre for trade and culture, and in the 14th century, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV made Prague his imperial capital.

Since then, Prague has been a hub for intellectual and artistic pursuits, with artists and scholars flocking here to learn their craft. In the early 19th century, Prague saw significant change and upheaval with a wave of revolutions, and later, in 1918, Czechoslovakia was formed. During the Second World War, Prague was occupied by Nazi Germany, but its since come back strong as a popular tourist destination. 

How to get to Prague 

If you’re thinking of visiting Prague for the weekend, the best way to travel there is by flying. Many U.K. airports have flights to Prague. I took the plane from Bristol Airport to Václav Havel Airport Prague, flying with Jet2. The flight took around two hours and was fairly straightforward. From the airport, you can take a taxi into the city centre, which takes around 20 minutes. Skyscanner is fantastic for finding affordable prices, and you can search here. 

Where to Stay in Prague

There are many hotels in Prague, and we stayed in the NH Collection Prague Carlo IV. It is one of the best luxury hotels in Prague, offering a thoughtful and personalised service. As soon as you arrive, a smartly dressed doorman greets you with a warm smile, taking your bags and escorting you through the hotel’s towering and majestic doors. At reception, a receptionist will sort your rooms out and personally take you to them. If the rooms aren’t ready, they take you to the bar. This has a classy speakeasy vibe with pockets of long sofas, a piano with a pianist and singer, rows of glistening glass bottles lining the bar and a skilled mixologist whipping up a cocktail or two. There is also a room showcasing an old bank vault! 

The Rooms

The rooms are spacious and have comfortable beds, and the cosy pillows were a highlight! All rooms have city views, air conditioning, tea and coffee-making facilities, and a bathroom stocked with fragrant bath products and uber cosy robes and slippers. 

The Restaurant & Breakfast

This luxury hotel in prague has an on-site restaurant serving local and internationally inspired-cuisine. The menu is quite expensive and does not cater to allergies or vegans. In the same room, you’ll have breakfast – now this is an experience worth having! It’s an all-you-can-eat buffet with hot meals like eggs, sausages, bacon and tables full of pastries, cereals, fruit and vegetables, smoothies, and so much more. 

The Facilities

The final thing to say is that the hotel has one of the best spas in Prague. The masseurs are phenomenal; the treatments will send you into sweet oblivion. The swimming pool and sauna are great places to eliminate jet lag and achy legs! I recommend this property to anyone looking for an affordable luxury hotel in Prague. 

Places to Eat in Prague

One of the first things you need to do during your weekend in Prague is try the food. Prague’s culinary scene is a vibrant tapestry of flavours, blending traditional Czech ingredients with international influences. Savoury classics like goulash, schnitzel, and hearty dumplings are a must-try! You must also try Medovina, a hot honey wine with herbs and spices. this traditional delight can be sampled at street food vendors or the Christmas Market. 

For lunch, the best option is Paul’s Cafe, a charming French patisserie and café that has become a beloved destination for those seeking a taste of Parisian elegance. With its rustic décor, warm lighting, and inviting atmosphere, Paul Café offers a delightful array of freshly baked pastries, bread, and sandwiches, crafted with the finest ingredients. Their almond croissants and strawberry tarts are to die for, and their chicken, lettuce, tomato and mayo sandwich will have you begging for seconds.

For dinner, you must try Modry Zub, a superb Thai restaurant near Wenceslas Square. As soon as you walk into the restaurant, you’ll be greeted with the fragrant aroma of coriander, lemongrass and an array of colours. You’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve landed in Thailand, and because it’s an open kitchen, you can watch professional Thai chefs cook up a storm. The chicken satay and the Kaeng Kari Kai (yellow curry with chicken, coconut milk, potatoes, onion and spring onion) are must-tries!

The best time to visit Prague

Prague is arguably Europe’s prettiest city, which lends itself to almost every season. If you’re looking for a winter wonderland experience, you’ll want to visit Prague in November and December. The end of November and the beginning of December has plenty of snowfall, and its world-famous Christmas market starts then. However, prices are busier in wintertime, and many hotels get booked up quickly. 

Spring is another great time to visit Prague. The weather is balmy, and there are fewer tourists. Plus, you’ll see the city in full bloom and have several attractions all to yourself. Summer is more expensive and busy, but the weather is excellent! However, I’d argue the best time to visit Prague is autumn, as you get the best of both worlds: hot weather and fewer crowds. Plus, the city’s normal rhythm is back in full swing as kids are in school, so you’ll have a fantastic chance to observe its authentic culture and lifestyle. 

Top Things to do During your Weekend in Prague

Start by Visiting the old town

The first thing you’ll want to do during your weekend in Prague is visit the Old Town Square. It has been the city’s central marketplace since the medieval period, and surrounding the Jan Hus Memorial, a statue of a religious reformer burned at the stake, you’ll find a row of colourful buildings. Some of these have fascinating artworks on the building’s side, resembling Dutch paintings. 

Below these buildings are lively restaurants and quaint shops, and adjacent is the Gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn. This is one of the best things to see in Prague as the church is an impressive Gothic religious building dating to the 14th century. In the 17th century, the church’s interior was adapted to include the world-renowned Baroque style. Make sure to look out for the organ, which dates to 1673 and is the oldest of its kind in Prague. Also look for the Karle Škréta paintings and the tome of Tycho Brahe, an astronomer. If you look closely at the Church of Our Lady, you’ll notice one steeple is slightly bigger. This is because they represent Adam and Eve. It’s free to enter, but a donation of €1.50 is recommended. 

Another great thing to do in the Old Town Square is visit the Baroque St Nicholas Church and The Old Town Hall. Inside St Nicholas Church is a crystal crown chandelier donated by a Russian Tsar. If you climb the Town Hall’s tower, you’ll get amazing city vews. Moreover, in wintertime, Prague’s famous Christmas market is held here.

Marvel at the Astronomical Clock

The Prague Astronomical Clock in the Old Town Square showcases medieval engineering and artistic ingenuity. It dates to the 15th century and is adorned with intricate carvings and painted motifs, making it one of Prague’s best things to photograph. 

The clock displays the time and tracks the movements of the sun, moon, earth and zodiac constellations. The Twelve Apostles emerge to bless the city every hour between 9 am and 11 pm. During the Apostles’ parade, other figures move, too. You’ll notice a skeleton rings, rotating an hourglass to highlight that his life is ending. Figures representing the Miser and the Vain Man behave in the same way. 

Also look out for the numbers. The Gothic numerals are from the Old Czech times, while the Golden Roman numerals showcase the current time. There are also Arabic numerals showing you Babylonian time. The clock’s colours are also important. Blue represents daylight, when the sun is above the horizon, while orange represents the local horizon for dawn and dusk. Black represents the astronomical night. The middle of the clock, where all the hands cross, represents Prague’s position in the Northern Hemisphere. 

You’ll discover the calendar in the circle below the clock, with the grey outer circle full of names celebrating saints. In the middle of this circle is Prague’s original coat of arms (towers with a gate) and 12 smaller circles representing each month. 

Every weekend in Prague needs a visit to a Moldavite jewellery shop

During your holiday to Prague, you might want to buy gifts for loved ones. You’ll want to visit a Moldavite shop. This gemstone is a popular jewel in the Czech Republic, formed by the impact of a meteorite on the Earth millions of years ago. It’s believed the meteorite landed in modern-day Czech. Others believe these gemstones are tears shed by comets of fragments of the Moon that fell to the Earth. Whatever the truth may be, there are a LOT of Moldavite jewellery in Prague. 

Many streets in Prague have jewellery shops with windows offering a mesmerising display of green. This deep green stone is used in a variety of designs, from delicate earrings to statement pendants. If you’re looking for a unique engagement ring, this is the place to come! 

Devour Several Chimney Cakes

At some point during your weekend in Prague, you must try the iconic chimney cakes, known locally as trdelník. You won’t miss them as every street has a trdelník shop, where the irresistible blend of sweetness and spice permeates the air. You’ll smell these traditional desserts from a mile away!

The scent begins with a tantalising hint of caramelised sugar and cinnamon, mingling with the comforting aroma of freshly baked dough roasted over an open flame. This dough is rolled into a cylinder shape, coated with chocolate and filled with ice cream, fruit, nuts and more. They’re perfect for cold evenings and a pick-me-up as you explore the city. You’ll also find these chimney cakes in the Prague Christmas Market. 

Chimney Cake in Prague's Xmas Market.

Wander around The National Museum

Prague’s National Museum is a majestic Neo-Renaissance building towering over Wenceslas Square. It is the largest and oldest museum complex in the Czech Republic. For this reason, any history lovers reading this need to visit during your weekend in Prague. The museum focuses on the country’s history and nature, with temporary exhibitions explaining Ancient Egypt, space, and more. Its grand façade is a must-see for architectural photographers. Plus, there are dome ceilings with intricate frescoes and ornate decorations to marvel at. It costs €11.25 to enter.

The museum’s extensive collections span various disciplines, from archaeology and anthropology to geology. You’ll find the skeleton of a huge fin whale and life-size birds and animals, like the woolly mammoth that has been extinct for centuries. The medieval collection has some exquisite manuscripts and fascinating weapons. But the best bit is the Halls of Minerals, a room with over 600 gemstones and rocks. Neighbouring this is the Hall of Meteorites and the Hall of Luminescence. In the latter, you’ll find a display of minerals in a dark room where regular lighting alternates with short- and long-wave UV radiation. When the ultraviolet light illuminates them, these rocks glow in the dark (see the image below). 

Walk along The Charles Bridge

Another fantastic thing to do in Prague is to visit The Charles Bridge, which was built under the patronage of King Charles IV in the 14th century. This Gothic structure is one of the most famous bridges in the world and the oldest bridge spanning the Vltava River. The bridge is 516 meters long, and according to legend, the builders added raw eggs into the mortar to strengthen the foundations. But some historians like to point out that this is probably not true as there aren’t enough eggs in Prague to do that.

On the bridge are 30 Baroque statues representing figures in Prague’s history, including the Statue of St John of Nepomuk. He is one of the most important Czech saints. According to legend, John was tortured to death after refusing to divulge the confessional secret of the queen at the time. His tongue remained intact and was preserved for hundreds of years after his death. Today, many believe touching the statues will bring you good luck. You can marvel at these statues and the street performers on your way to the castle. 

Learn about Prague Castle’s History & Climb The Zámecké Schody

After you’ve walked across Charles Bridge, you’ll come to Zámecké Schody. This 13th-century staircase leads to the castle. Every step offers exquisite city views, but there are 220 steps, and they get slippery when it snows, so be careful. If you have mobility issues, then I’d highly recommend taking a taxi to the castle’s entrance gates. 

At the top of the stairs, you’ll be confronted with the magnificent architecture of Prague Castle. It is free to visit and is recognised as the world’s largest ancient castle. It encompasses various architectural styles, from the Romanesque Basilica of St George to the Gothic St Vitus Cathedral. It’s also a sprawling UNESCO World Heritage site dating to the 9th century. During its long history, the castle has acted as the seat of power for Czechoslovakian presidents, kings of Bohemia and Roman emperors.

You must not miss visiting the Golden Lane. This is the castle’s most charming spot, with a cobblestone alleyway of quaint, colourful homes. These housed the castle’s craftsmen, merchants, goldsmiths, the writer Franz Kafka, and more. The St George Basilica, founded around 920 by Prince Wroclaw, is another must-see! It has a beautiful Baroque facade and tombs for the first dynasty Premyslids. Another must-see is St. Vitus Cathedral, where you’ll discover the Czech coronation jewels, the mausoleum of Czech kings, sculptures, and religious relics.

Lastly, the Old Royal Palace is the original residence dating to the 9th century. Inside, you’ll find the Defenestration Window, where two regents of the Holy Roman Emperor, King Ferdinand II, were thrown out. This sparked the beginning of the Thirty Years’ War. It sounds a bit like Game of Thrones, right?

Read some books at The Strahov Library

If you like reading, then the Premonstratensian monastery of Strahov is a must-visit! You’ll see its library, which is one of the best-preserved historic libraries in the world. Within its walls are over 200,000 volumes, globes, and maps. Make sure to visit the Baroque Theological Hall and the Classicist Philosophical Hall, which boasts frescoed ceilings, ornate furnishings, and exquisite detailing that will transport you to a bygone era.

Include a Spa Visit during your Weekend in Prague

If you’re looking for rest and rejuvenation, then pick one of the spas in Prague for a day of pampering. Many are housed in historic buildings, grand hotels and modern wellness centres. As I’ve already said, the spa in the NH Collection Prague Carlo IV Hotel is amazing but expensive. So, if you’re looking for a cheaper spa experience, head to one of Prague’s beer spas. Here, you soak in wooden tubs filled with hops, malt, yeast and herbs, known for their purported health benefits and skin-nourishing properties. As you rest, sip on delicious Czech beer.

Buy gifts at the Christmas Market 

If you’re planning a weekend in Prague at wintertime, then you must head to the Prague Christmas Market. This year it will take place between the 30th November 2024 and the 6th January 2025. The Prague Christmas Market is a magical and festive event transforming the city’s historic squares. The central squares to visit are the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. If you do attend the Prague Christmas Market, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a cheesy Christmas movie. The squares are adorned with twinkling lights and a grand Christmas tree towering as high as the ancient church spires. There are also charming wooden huts offering an array of traditional Czech crafts, holiday decorations, delicious treats and mulled wine.

The air is filled with the sounds of carolers, laughter, and the scents of festive foods. There’s nowhere better to enjoy the festive season, especially if it snows. A quick note of caution: If you visit these squares on the first day of the market, and it’s time to turn on the Christmas lights, then the squares will be packed. There’s no room to move around, and people will be shoving you all over the place. 

Final Thoughts on my Guide to the Perfect Weekend in Prague

Prague is a magical city where every corner offers a new delight. History lovers will have plenty of things to see. Nature enthusiasts will adore its many sweeping view, while those seeking culture will love its many museums, markets and events. Will you spend a weekend in Prague? If so, what are you looking forward to the most?

For more European travel inspiration, check out my guide to spending one day in Mdina, a guide to Valletta, and my recommendations of the top six affordable things to do in Geneva.

If you liked my guide to spending a weekend in Prague, pin it!

Similar Posts