1-Day Prague itinerary: Top Things To See

Prague in 1 day

While one day in Prague is not enough to explore everything the city has to offer, it is still possible to visit most of the top attractions. This 1-Day Prague itinerary will allow you to enjoy the main attractions.

Prague, the capital of Czechia (Czech Republic) is a hugely popular destination for short city breaks. As well as being packed with sights and attractions, there’s a lively food, drink and entertainment scene. 

But what if you have only one day in Prague? You can fit so much into a whistlestop tour if you plan carefully. Here is an achievable 1-day Prague itinerary.

The main attractions of Prague are in the historic centre which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

1-Day Prague Itinerary: Top Things To See

Begin this 1-Day Prague Itinerary in Wenceslas Square

The square (although technically more of a boulevard than a square) at the heart of the New Town is named after the patron saint of Bohemia and is one of the busiest pedestrian areas in the city. 

Its two main features are the statue of St. Wenceslas and the National Museum but it’s also a favourite shopping destination for locals and tourists. 

Powder Gate

From the square, walk along Na Příkopě to reach Powder Gate. This rather impressive gothic tower separates the Old Town from the New Town and stands at the beginning of Royal Way, the route that connects the town to Prague Castle. 

It was one of the original gates of entry into the city and gets its name after being used as a gunpowder store in the 17th century. 

Make time to visit the viewing gallery (at a height of 44m) and if you can, watch the short film about Charles Bridge that you will be visiting later on your tour.

Old Town Square

After taking photos at the Powder Gate, walk along Celetna Street to the cobblestoned Old Town Square. The beating heart of Prague, Staroměstské náměstí is one of the most beautiful squares in Europe. 

This is one of the lengthiest stops when touring Prague in 1 day because of its key attractions. 

As well as being a major community gathering place (if you’re here at Christmastime, it’s truly magical with its market and ice rink), important civic and ecclesiastical buildings line the square.

Old Town Hall

The Old Town Hall became the seat of Prague’s administration back in 1338. Another magnificent example of gothic architecture.

It was added to over the centuries so visitors can now explore historical halls, cellars, the council chambers and the chapel reflecting various periods of style including neo-gothic, Renaissance, Empire and Romanesque.

Daily tours are availableBookings can be made online, from the Tourist Information Centre, or the Town Hall. The full tour will take around 90 minutes.

Astronomical Clock

1-Day Prague itinerary: Astronomical Clock

The major feature that makes the Old Town Hall one of the most visited attractions in Europe is the Astronomical Clock. 

If there is one thing that you must see on your 1 day in Prague in the Old Town, it is this amazing timepiece installed in 1410. Time your visit to the square to be the hour so the clock puts  on its show.

When the clock strikes the hour, twelve apostles are revealed by two opening windows. They are flanked by a Turk shaking his head, a skeleton ringing a bell and a miser offering money to Death to pay his way out of dying. 

The tableau finishes with the crowing of a golden rooster and the ringing of the huge bell at the top of the tower.

Don’t allow this marvellous exhibition to derail your 1-day Prague itinerary because there’s still more to mark off in the square. 

Church of Our Lady Before Tyn

Among the sights are two churches. The first is Kostel Matky Boží před Týnem or The Church of Our Lady Before Týn.

This imposing gothic church took nearly two hundred years to build in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries. Its most dominant feature is the two towers.

They stand 80m high and each spire is topped by two layers of four smaller spires made even more distinctive as they are in a much darker stone than the main church. 

Much of the original medieval interior has been preserved.

Church of St. Nicholas

It may seem a bit much to put two churches in the same location on your sightseeing list when doing Prague in 1 day but it’s a short walk across the square to the Church of St. Nicholas

You’ll immediately notice the different style from the Church of Our Lady as St. Nicholas Church is a fine example of Baroque architecture, built in the 1730s. 

The main features to check out are the stucco décor, sculptural front entrance, the main marble altar and in the basement, the remains of the original Gothic church that burned down.

Other places of note in the Old Town Square that should be on the Instagram feed of your 1 day in Prague are:

  • the Kinsky Palace, a fine Rococo building with a sumptuous interior that plays host to some of the Czech National Gallery’s treasures, 
  • the House of the Stone Virgin Mary with its art nouveau mural depiction of King Wenceslas, a 14th-century building used by the Prague Gallery as exhibition space, 
  • and the Jan Hus Memorial, a bronze statue of the religious reformer who was burned at the stake in 1415.

Walk to Charles Bridge

When you have drunk in the splendour of the Old Town Square, the next phase of your 1-day Prague itinerary is the walk to Charles Bridge. 

The walk takes less than 10 minutes at a leisurely pace. 

You might want to see the David Černý sculpture of the man hanging off a building, the Clementinum – the home of the National Library, the Golden Well apothecary and the plague memorial or the Clam-Gallas Palace supported by two huge carved stone giants.

Don’t linger too long because one of the most arresting sights of Prague awaits. 

The Charles Bridge spans the Vltava River and forms part of the Royal Way between Prague Castle and the Old Town Square. 

Standing on 15 pillars, it is 516 metres in length, 9.5 metres high and 13 metres wide. Completed in 1402, it is anchored at both ends by gothic towers and there is a wealth of statuary.

Most of the statues are of saints and religious figures with contributions from major Czech artists throughout the centuries. There are single figures and groups and each tells a story. 

During the day, the bridge is dotted with artists, street entertainers and stalls and at night it is magnificently illuminated by its highly ornate lamps.

Malà Strana

1-Day Prague itinerary

When you reach the end of Charles Bridge, you’re about to embark on the part of your 1-Day Prague itinerary that will lead you to the castle and it begins in Malá Strana.

Malá Strana is the neighbourhood occupying the slopes just below Prague Castle. 

If you’re trying to see Prague in 1 day, this is an area where you might shave off some time if you want to give extra attention to specific attractions or build in time for browsing in the wonderful array of boutiques around all the key places.

Founded in 1257, the Little Quarter, as Malá Strana is known, is one of the most beautifully preserved areas of Prague

Among the hidden cobblestone streets and squares, there are ancient churches and other major points of interest.

Kampa Island

Do make time to make a short detour to Kampa Island. The island, most of which is a park, is separated from Malá Strana by the Devil’s Stream, a narrow, artificial channel originally built to power water mills. 

The main sight on Kampa Island is the huge chair sculpture by Magdalena Jetelova which stands outside the Museum Kampa, housed in Sova Mills and can be seen from across the river. 

The museum is an art gallery with a focus on Czech and central European artists. Kampa Park is also home to the famous sculptures of “Crawling Babies” by David Černý.

Lennon Wall

No other sight of Prague can claim to change face as many times as the Lennon Wall. Located on Velkopřevorské náměstí opposite the French Embassy, the wall became host to graffiti against the Czech communist regime in the 1960s. 

By the 1980s, following his assassination, the wall was covered in slogans, poems and lyrics inspired by John Lennon addressing numerous global causes and issues.

It has been painted over numerous times but each time, it attracts new daubings, pictures and sayings.

Eventually, the wall’s administrators (The Sovereign Military Order of Malta), exhausted by the constant “vandalism” designated specific spaces where people can leave messages to love and freedom and installed CCTV to monitor any infringements. 

You can learn all about the history of the wall at the Lennon Wall Museum which opened in 2021 on Prokopska Street.

Church of St. Nicholas

One of the main tourist magnets in Mala Strana is the baroque Church of St. Nicholas which stands in Malostranská Square

Identified by its green dome and bell tower, the church stands out on the Prague skyline and its bell tower offers wonderful panoramic views

A painting of St. Nicholas adorns the dome interior and the church has hosted concerts by composers Mozart and Bach during their lifetimes. 

You’ll also notice the lovely architecture of the square including the Malostranská Town Hall, the Jesuit college, a plague monument and a number of burgher’s houses.

Other sights to catch while you’re in Malá Strana are the Wallenstein Palace (its gardens are a pleasant place for a refreshment pitstop), the KGB Museum, and the Franz Kafka  Museum..

Nerudova Street

When you’re ready to head to the castle, walk along Nerudova Street. This thoroughfare, named after Jan Neruda, the Czech journalist and writer, connects Malá Strana to the castle complex via Malostranska Square. 

Nerudova is cited as being one of the most picturesque streets in Prague and the reason it needs to be visited on your 1 day in Prague is not just because of the access to the castle.

Nerudova Street has some of the best examples of house signs in Europe

Before houses were numbered, they were identified by specific features, most particularly, richly decorated shields and portals often depicting the occupation of the people who lived and worked within. 

Examples are No. 233, Jan Neruda’s former home, which is identified by a plaque bearing two suns, at No. 210, the three violins and at No. 213, the house of St. John of Nepomuk.

By now, you should be ready to visit what is many people’s number one attraction when spending just 1 day in Prague. 

Prague Castle

Prague in 1 Day: Prague Castle

Dominating the skyline over the River Vltava from the New Town and rising above Malá Strana, Prague Castle is one of the most photographed and indeed, photogenic, sights in Europe.

The castle is the official residence of the President of the Czech Republic and having been built in the 9th century, you can imagine it has more than a few amazing stories to tell. 

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it has a footprint of almost 70,000 square metres that is 570 metres long and 130 metres wide which according to the Guinness Book of Records, makes Prague Castle the world’s largest ancient castle.

The term castle doesn’t just cover one building but a whole complex of palaces and ecclesiastical and civic buildings in a wide range of architectural styles. With major changes having been made over many hundreds of years.

When restricted to 1 day in Prague, which could easily be wholly spent on the castle, you’ll have to cherry-pick your highlights. Most of the complex is open to tourists and here’s what we recommend.

The entrance to the Prague Castle grounds is free. You can enjoy its buildings from outside, but it is unquestionably worth having a look inside. For that you need to buy a ticket (250 CZK, approx. 10 EUR). 

If you prefer to visit the Castle complex with a guide, guided tours are available.

Old Royal Palace

The Old Royal Palace is the original residential part of the castle and the wooden structure dated to the turn of the 9th/10th century. 

It was replaced by a Romanesque stone structure in the 12th century adjoining the All Saints’ Chapel on the eastern side along with a new fortification wall.

King Charles IV enlarged the building on the northern side, adding a gothic place that featured a vaulted interior and a band of arcades. 

His son, Wenceslas IV, added two perpendicular wings and also ordered the reconstruction of All Saints Chapel.

For the first 80 years of the 15th century, the castle was deserted until in 1483 it was occupied by King Vladislav Jagiello who began large-scale reconstruction. 

During this phase, the splendid Vladislav Hall was added as was a new perpendicular palace wing named after Ludwig, Vladislav’s son.

It’s held many different functions in its lifetime, even jousting competitions and the main exit is known as the Riders’ Staircase that was originally built to accommodate the entry and exit of mounted knights.

The hall is still used for similar state functions it was designed for and there are beautiful views of the gardens and the city from the observation gallery on the south side.

The interior of the palace received further regal upgrades after the Hapsburgs succeeded to the Bohemian throne and new residential quarters were added to the western part.

A number of important buildings lead off from the hall. These include the Diet (parliament chamber), All Saints’ Chapel and the Cech Chancellery (in the Ludwig Wing). The diet and the chapel were rebuilt after a disastrous fire in 1541. 

Vladislav Hall is a must-visit for lovers of European history because the 1618 defenestration that happened was the catalyst for the Thirty Year’s War.

St Vitus Cathedral

Prague in 1 Day: St. Vitus Cathedral

Although there are magnificent churches that we’ve already added to this 1-day Prague itinerary, the daddy of them all is St. Vitus Cathedral.

St. Vitus Cathedral is part of the castle complex and is the city’s largest and most important religious building

It functions as a regular church but it was once the site of the coronation of Czech kings and queens and is the burial site of many significant Czech people including sovereigns, saints, archbishops and noblemen.

Like so many massive churches, the construction of the cathedral happened over the course of many years. After an initial wooden construction, the first iteration was a Romanesque rotunda built in 925 which became a basilica in the mid-1060s. 

The basis of the gothic cathedral you’ll see today was begun in 1344 and the construction included St. Wenceslas Chapel, the Golden Gate and the lower portion of the Great South Tower.

The Hussite Wars halted work for many years and the tower was completed in the 16th century with the addition of a Renaissance viewing gallery and helmet, the latter being replaced by a new dome in the 18th century. 

Work was completed in Neo-gothic style in the latter half of the 19th century and St. Vitus Cathedral was officially consecrated in 1929!

Features to notice as you wander around the cathedral are the reliefs of cathedral history and the legends of St. Wenceslas and St. Adalbert on the bronze door, the rich gilded mosaic from the 14th century on the Golden Gate, the Royal Mausoleum below which is the royal crypt and the Crown Chamber, home of the Bohemian Coronation Jewels.

The focal point of the cathedral is St. Wenceslas chapel in which the most important Czech patron saint is entombed. 

Some of the original 14th-century wall paintings decoration of the chapel depicting the Passion Cycle survive.

If you’re feeling fit enough, you can climb the 287 steps of the 100m tall Great South Tower for a unique view of the city and also see the cathedral’s bells. 

The prize bell is Zikmund and with a weight of 15 tons, it is the biggest bell in the Czech Republic. It features beautiful relief decorations and takes four people to set it in motion to ring it. 

While there, you can wonder at the legend of the bell which is that if the clapper cracks it is a portent of disaster. In June 2002, the clapper cracked and in August the city suffered a devastating flood.

Climbing the bell tower is a nice way to conclude your visit to the cathedral and if you don’t yet feel saturated by magnificent religious buildings there’s one last one to add to your 1-day Prague Itinerary.

Basilica of St. George

The Basilica of St. George was the first church to be established in the castle complex and only minor parts of the original construction from 920 remain. 

What you see today is mostly a Romanesque structure with two steeples dating from 1142. Over the centuries it has been extended and remodelled. 

The chapel of St. Ludmila and a portico were added in the 13th century, the facade was given an early-Baroque makeover and the whole convent was reconstructed. 

The Baroque Chapel of St. John Nepomuk was an early 18th-century addition and after a destructive military occupation in the late 18th century, the church was renovated between 1887 and 1908 with an aim to restore its original Romanesque appearance.

The convent was again reconstructed between 1969 and 1975 when it was adapted to become part of the National Gallery, exhibiting old Bohemian art.

Having seen quite a few churches during your 1 day in Prague, you’ll notice how stark and plain the limestone blocks of the Basilica’s interior are compared to the ornate and decorative baroque and rococo churches. 

Despite the austere appearance, important people in Czech history are entombed in the church including Prince Vratislav, the father of St. Wenceslas.

Golden Lane

Leaving St. George’s Basilica behind as the last church to visit when you tour Prague in 1 day, your next stop is Golden Lane.

In Golden Lane, you are still within the Prague Castle complex. The last remaining small-scale architecture of the castle, the very well preserved Golden Lane is a cobbled street that forms part of the Northern Bailey (outer wall) and is lined with modest dwellings.

The houses were inhabited by workers and tradesmen of the castle including servants, marksmen and goldsmiths. 

The latter gave the street its name, originally Goldsmith Lane in the 16th century, later changed to Golden Lane. It is known that a goldsmith dwelt at No. 15.

Three other houses of specific historical interest are No. 13, the former home of a member of the castle guard known as “Red Musket” and No. 14 where “Madame de Thebes” lived. 

She was a famous fortune teller and during World War II foretold the near downfall of the Third Reich. She died under interrogation after her arrest by the Nazi secret police. 

The third is No. 12. The staircase in this house leads to a terrace that overlooks the round cannon tower, Daliborka. Part of the Jagiello fortifications, it was formerly used as a prison.

The most famous resident of Golden Lane, however, is Franz Kafka who lived at No. 22 between 1916 and 1917.

Rosenberg Palace

One of the buildings with a less common use in the castle complex is the Rosenberg Palace. 

Built by the eponymous family between 1545 and 1574, the Renaissance palace became the property of Emperor Rudolf II in 1600. 

Its original form was retained until the mid-1750s when it was converted and given over to the Imperial and Royal Theresian Stift for Noble Ladies in the Castle of Prague.

The Institute of Noblewomen (for short) was founded and opened by Empress Maria Theresa in 1755. 

It was structured as a religious order and provided a home for impoverished noblewomen over the age of 24 from the aristocratic families of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

The initial intake was 30 women with Maria Theresa’s daughter Maria Anna as the first Princess-abbess. 

They lived as secular canonesses and unlike nuns, they did not take vows of celibacy and could marry and leave the order.

The Princess-abbess of the Theresian Stift adopted the responsibility for crowning the Queens of Bohemia until the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the formation of Czechoslovakia in 1919 caused the institution to close.

Walk through the castle gardens and grounds for your last stop in the Prague Castle complex.

Lobkowicz Palace

Lobkowicz Palace is the only privately owned building in the complex. It was constructed in the second half of the 16th century and passed to the Lobkowicz family by marriage in 1618. 

The palace was in the ownership of the family until 1939 when it was confiscated first by the Nazis and then the ruling communist regime. The palace was returned to the family in 2002.

Similar to all great buildings of a significant age, the palace has seen a number of architectural changes. Post the Thirty Years War, alterations gave the palace a baroque, Italianate look

Václav Eusebius, 2nd Prince Lobkowicz introduced lavishly decorated salons, changes to the Concert Hall, adorned the ceilings of the Balcony Room with frescoes and elaborate stuccowork and updated the Imperial Hall with frescos featuring trompe l’oeil statues of emperors surrounded by decorative motifs.

Panoramic balconies were added to the palace in 1791 when the exterior was remodelled in readiness for Emperor Leopold II’s coronation as King of Bohemia.

Since April 2007, the palace has been a museum, home to the Lobkowicz Collections. Its 22 galleries hold works by artists of global significance including Canaletto, Velasquez, Peter Paul Reubens and Pieter Brueghel the Elder. 

There are also collections of hunting and military paraphernalia, musical instruments and original musical manuscripts by Mozart and Beethoven.

After viewing the magnificence of the art at the palace you will have absorbed a great deal of the historical, cultural and social heritage of the city so to round off your tour of Prague in 1 day, sit back and relax on a boat.

Vltava River Cruise

Prague in 1 day: River Cruise

A Vltava River Cruise is just what you need to wind down from busy sightseeing. You will glide along the river past all the sights you have visited and more that you just can’t fit in on a one-day Prague visit.

The best attractions are in the main visible from the river and some of those we haven’t put on our 1-day Prague itinerary are:

  • the Staropro Men Brewery, 
  • Strahov Monastery, 
  • National Theatre, 
  • Enmaus Monastery, 
  • Rudolfinum, 
  • Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia, 
  • Straka Academy, 
  • Herget Brickyard, 
  • the Prague Metronome
  •  and numerous bridges that you’ll pass under.

The Skyline reveals why Prague is nicknamed the City of a Thousand Spires so have your camera ready. 

For a romantic touch, an evening cruise shows the city from a different perspective as the major sights are illuminated in the darkness.

There are many companies that offer river cruises so do a bit of research before booking. Some of the cruises you can choose from:

This 1 day Prague itinerary is based on walking from sight to sight because the city centre is nicely compact but if you want to take shortcuts, public transport is pretty good. 

You can buy tickets for individual journeys or purchase a day pass which enables you to interchange between trams, the metro and buses.

I hope this 1-day Prague itinerary arms you well enough to serve as a guide to enable you to tour the city, making the most of your time, understanding the significance of the major sights and attractions and maximising your satisfaction with its treasure, beauty and atmosphere.

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