The Essential Itinerary: Prague, Czech Republic

A three-day guide for where to stay, what to see and things to do in and around the Czech capital city of Prague, including day trips to the Giant Mountains and Bohemian Paradise

  • Published Aug 22, 2022
  • Updated Apr 02, 2024
  • 1,140 words
  • 5 minutes
As the capital city of the Czech Republic, Prague is a beautiful place to visit, replete with Gothic churches and a medieval astronomical clock. (Photo: Anthony DELANOIX/Unsplash)
Expand Image

Glittering gold-tipped towers, Gothic church spires, and castles galore. Living up to its reputation, Prague is a fairytale city that will transport you back in time as you lose yourself amongst the cathedrals and castles of Czech Republic’s capital. Where else but Prague are visitors chauffeured in elegant vintage model cars along cobblestone streets and over historic stone bridges arching the Vitava River? Praha moments give way to a rural escape with hiking and rock climbing in Bohemian Paradise, and cycling and skiing in the Giant Mountains. With so much to see, it can be daunting to decide where to go in the Czech Republic. Here’s how to make the most of three active days in this beautiful country.

Day 1

10 a.m. | Praha, puppets and Pilsner

Begin your adventure in Prague with a hearty breakfast at the Viennese restaurant and pâtisserie, Café Savoy, located in Lesser Town. Once fueled and ready to go, take a stroll over Praha’s oldest bridge, the Charles Bridge. This baroque-style pedestrian stone bridge connects the Old Town with Lesser Town and is a haven for souvenir stalls, marionette kiosks and artists’ easels. While you’re in the neighbourhood, be sure to drop into Lokál U Bílé kuželky to try a classic Czech Pilsner lager with lunch. You can even learn how to draw beer at their draughting school.

Founded in AD 880 as a seat of power for Bohemian Kings, Prague Castle now acts as the official office of the President of the Czech Republic. (Photo: kwan fung/Unsplash)
Expand Image
12 p.m. | Old Town Square

It can be easy to lose track of time while souvenir shopping, so make sure to keep an eye on the clock! Head to Old Town Square to see the whimsical Prague Astronomical Clock. Constructed in 1410, this is the oldest operating clock in the world. Once an hour, you’re in for a treat when the colourful medieval clock comes alive with chimes and ornate moving parts and symbols, like the parade of the Twelve Apostles.

2 p.m. | Prague Castle

Home to the president of the Czech Republic and permanent keeper of the Bohemian Crown Jewels, Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world, so prepare to be overwhelmed.  You’d need a full day to see everything, but if pressed for time, look for St. Vitus Cathedral, where the crown jewels are stored under lock and key. Be sure to also check out St. George’s Basilica, Lobkowicz Palace, the 1.6-hectare horticultural gardens, and Golden Lane, where the servants and goldsmiths lived. 

5:00 p.m |  Dinner and a puppet show

Explore Prague Castle’s St. Wenceslas Vineyard on the hill and its panoramic views of the city before enjoying a glass of wine with dinner at Prague Castle’s Restaurant, Kuchyn. After dinner, go see a beloved puppet theatre performance at the Spejbl and Hurvinek Theatre. The first professional puppet theatre established in Czechoslovakia, it’s been entertaining families since 1945. Czech and Slovakia puppetry is recognized by UNESCO as an “Intangible Cultural Heritage,” so it’s the Czech thing to do.

Day 2

9 a.m. | Spindler’s Mill — Giant Mountains

Nature beckons a two-hour drive northeast of Prague at the premium ski resort town, Spindleruv Mlyn. Located in Krkonose National Park, it’s also known as the Giant Mountains, the Czech Republic’s tallest mountain range. During the summer, when the skis are in storage, it’s all about taking on Black Mountain’s hiking and cycling trails. To get to the top of the mountain, take a ride on the cable car, which easily fits two passengers and two bikes. It’s a moderately steep, 10-kilometre hike or bicycle ride to the bottom. One of the main attractions is the bobsleigh run which is open all year round. If you are looking for some adrenaline-inducing fun, this could be a perfect bucket list activity.

12:00 p.m. | Lunch at Hotel Omnia

Once you’ve reached the bottom of Black Mountain, lunch is steps away at Hotel Omnia’s retro dining room. Try the traditional Czech bread dumplings and gravy or choose from a selection of meat and fish mains that would all pair nicely with a Czech Pilsner lager.

Puppet theatres are a popular form of entertainment in Prague and you will find many puppets for sale in tourist shops and stores. (Photo: Pablo Hermoso/Unsplash)
Expand Image
3 p.m. | Museum of the Bohemian Paradise, Central Bohemian Mountains 

An hour’s drive west of Black Mountain, in the town of Turnov, is the Museum of the Bohemian Paradise where you can witness stone cutting and polishing demonstrations. The Bohemian Central Mountains is known for its mining of Bohemian garnet, Czech’s natural precious stone, which is believed to magically bestow happiness and kindness on its owner.

5:00 p.m. | Nordic Spa in Liberec

After learning all about the geology and mineralogy of the region, take a scenic road trip 20 minutes north to the charming town of Liberec. Located at the foot of Jested Mountain, Liberec is the centre of the picturesque Bohemia region. Here, you can dine and relax in the Nordic Spa wellness centre, located inside the Fénix Hotel

Day 3

10 a.m. | Rock City and Hrubá Skála Bukovina Arboretum Forest Park

After breakfast at the hotel, lace up your hiking boots and explore the Bohemian Paradise linden forests and trails in the foothills of the Giant Mountains, the oldest nature reserve in the Czech Republic. Prepare to be awed by giant sandstone rock formations and castle ruins.

Turnov is a small town in the Czech Republic with about 14,000 inhabitants. It is also a traditional centre for gemstone polishing, glass craftsmanship and arts. (Photo: Jan Baborák/Unsplash)
Expand Image
1:00 p.m. |  Hrubá Skála Château, Turnov

Take in the best views to be had of Rock City and Bohemian Paradise over lunch on the patio at Hotel Hrubá Skála Château. This three-wing Neo-Gothic château was once a gothic castle dating back as far as 1353. Explore the lookout tower and courtyards, hiking and cycling trails, and even a rope-climbing park above the château moat. One of the oldest natural springs spas in the region is Sedmihorky Spa and it’s accessible along the trails.

5 p.m. | Cable car to Hotel Jested

Enjoy a magical dinner with exceptional views in “the hotel and restaurant above the clouds,” Hotel Jested. This television transmission tower, hotel and restaurant in one is a Czech national landmark and not to be missed. Located at the peak of Jested Mountain in Liberec, Hotel Jested has won prizes for its unique sci-fi architecture, which feels like you’ve stepped into the futuristic world of The Jetsons.

Where to stay in Prague: Design Hotel Neruda

This elegant boutique hotel, named after the 19th-century Chilean poet and philosopher Pablo Neruda, blends old-world charm (the building was constructed circa 1348) with 21st-century comforts. The hotel is situated on a quiet, pretty street that puts you square in the middle of Old Town, steps from Prague Castle and with a photo opportunity from every window. Bonus: Enjoy breakfasts and desserts in the hotel’s Prague Chocolate Cafe & Bistro.


Are you passionate about Canadian geography?

You can support Canadian Geographic in 3 ways:

Related Content

roberta bondar attwater prairie chicken wildlife refuge


Vulnerable Sprague’s pipit spotted on Roberta Bondar avian migration expedition

Since 1966, the number of Sprague’s pipits in the wild has declined by almost 80 per cent

  • 397 words
  • 2 minutes


The Essential Itinerary: Southern California

From sea caves to deserts, this three-day guide offers the perfect itinerary to make the most of this corner of California

  • 654 words
  • 3 minutes


The Essential Itinerary: Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

Experiencing “pura vida” in one of the world’s five Blue Zones — plus surfing, yoga and the ultimate fairytale ending

  • 2311 words
  • 10 minutes


The Essential Itinerary: Western Quebec

A six-day tour designed to hit some of the highlights of western Quebec during the most colourful time of the year 

  • 1459 words
  • 6 minutes