4 Days in Prague- How to spend them?

My fiance and I will be honeymooning in Europe, including 4 days, 5 nights in Prague (staying at the Hotel Icon- anyone familiar with it?)

I am in charge of our Prague itenerary, and would love recommendations of how to spend our 4 days! I'd like to do at least 1 day trip- and we are both very interested in visiting Terrazin. I also very much want a full day in Old Town, and some time in the Jewish Quarter.

We are heading there in mid-July- I've heard Prague is VERY crowded these days with tourists- I'd LOVE, in addition to sites we MUST see, any recommendations for food/drinks/activities off the beaten tourist path- I want to really get a feel for the city.

Thanks so much!

Posted by Jon
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
368 posts

We have not gone yet, but are planning to stay about the same amount of days. We are planning to go to Kutna Hora one day (whole reason for the trip, hope it's not a dissapointment!). As well we are going to do the bobsled luge thing they have in town one evening.

Posted by Tom
Hüttenfeld, Hessen, Germany
9091 posts

I've traveled to Prague around Easter. I could not imagine the city could pack in any more tourists, and I asked the hotel clerk if Easter was the busiest time of year. He replied- "You should see it when the Americans come in summer". The lesson here is that to avoid long waits for seating in restaurants, consider making dinner reservations.

Prague is one of those cities where a tightly-planned itinerary quickly evaporates. The best approach is just to wonder around the winding streets and let your curiosity guide you. Prague actually has few museums of any note, but the entire city (excluding the ugly communist-era sections that most tourists only see from the train) is itself a museum... complete with, in my opinion, a bit too many tacky "museum shops".

A couple of tips. If you want to take some good, unobstructed photos of Charles Bridge, go first thing in the morning when most visitors are nursing their hangovers. Otherwise, the bridge is clogged with tourists throughout the day. If you are interested in attending a classical concert (of which there are no shortage daily in Prague), you can see a complete listings of performances and purchase tickets, there are two ticket offices that serve this purpose: one right by the entrance of Tyn Cathedral, and another across the street from St. Nicholas church.

Enjoy your trip!

Posted by Martin
Shoreline, WA
213 posts

Jon
The whole reason for the trip was Kutna Hora? You must be a miner, then. This town is justly famous for the St. Barbara church, an edifice similar to the gothic cathedrals in France. Other than that, it's just another nice town in Bohemia. If you are driving, I'd suggest adding a visit to Jihlava and ending in Telc (already in Moravia). The former is a pretty city surrounded by fortifications. The latter - well, Google it and learn why it's considered one of Central Europe's treasures.

You also could visit Karlstejn Castle just west of Prague, or the Hussite capital of Tabor on the way down to Ceske Budejovice/Budweis and Cesky Krumlov/Krumau.

Posted by Charlie
Honolulu/Seattle, HI/WA, USA
1835 posts

I am going to Prague on Aug 15 and found Rick Steves' guide book very helpful - "Eastern Europe - Prague - page 42. Hope you have it or can get access to it. Happy travels

Posted by Karis
Wisconsin/England, USA/UK
53 posts

I was recently in Prague but didn't have time for day trips. My brother stayed longer though and absolutely loved the tour he went on to Terezin. The guide was a concentration camp survivor. He went with Wittmann Tours.

http://www.wittmann-tours.com/

Posted by ron
richmond
77 posts

Make sure that you take in a puppet show (Don Giovanni is one you need to see), there are concerts every night in many churches in old town, Terrazin is a must. You can easily fill up 4 days.

Posted by Randall
Champaign, IL, USA
72 posts

I wholeheartedly agree with the comment by Tom about wandering the streets of Prague. The wonderful thing about historical Prague is that it is so intact.

If you visit London, and see the Tower of London, you quickly realize how little of "old" London still exists. In Prague, on the other hand, the historic center is virtually intact.

I spend two days just wandering the streets doing random exploring, and taking some of my favorite pictures ever.

Posted by Patton
Prague
65 posts

Well, I think that the economy is keeping most Americans away this summer (so far at least). The city was indeed busier this past spring than it is now.

Some tips for spending your time:
1.) Jewish Quarter is the best; you could spend a day if you are very interested in Judaica & the Holocaust.
2.) Ditto on Tom's advice, Charles Bridge in the early morning or later at night.
3.) BTW, Prague is most beautiful at night, with lots less tourist hordes. Walk the Royal Way from Old Town Powder Gate to the Charles Bridge.
4.) "Don Giovanni" at the Estates Theatre. Prague is where Mozart composed this jewel, then a few days later premiered it at the E.T.
5.) Classical concert in a baroque church (everywhere).
6.) If you like medieval Christian art, the Convent of St Agnes gallery is stunning.
7.) Get lost & explore the cobblestone labyrinths of Mala Strana.
8.) Coffeehouses (kavarnas): Café Louvre, Kavarna Slavia, Karvarna Obecni Dum...
9.) If you like gardens, there are dozens of castle & palace gardens in Mala Strana & the Castle District.

Posted by Patton
Prague
65 posts

Food:

Smažený sýr: Fried hermelin (camembert-esque cheese) usually served with cranberry sauce or tartar sauce

Cesneková polévka: Garlic soup with melted cheese & crouton (akin to a French onion soup)

Svícková: Roast beef served with sweet cream sauce, a dollop of whipped cream, cranberries & dumplings

Bramborák: Potato pancakes & garlic fried in fat

Chlebicky: Little open-faced sandwiches with ham, potato salad, boiled eggs, Brie, et cetera

Beer (pivo): Some Czech favourites include Pilsner Urquell, Gambrinus, & Staropramen.

If you are a big fan of wine, Czech wine might be disappointing. However, getting your hands on good inexpensive French, Italian or Spanish wine is easy here. (Go to a grocery, buy a few bottles for a picnic.)

Posted by Andrew & Amy
Schweinfurt, Germany
56 posts

Julene,
If you are going for a honeymoon, I'd recommend the RS Prague book over the Eastern Europe Book, as it is a lot more detailed. We went to Prague in Apr 08 and had a blast. Good advise given on the early morning and evening picture-taking opportunities. We stayed in an apartment, which for us was cheaper than a hotel (but I have 2 kids and had my sister-in-law and husband with us). We enjoyed (1) The Castle-you could easily spend a full day there (St Vitus Cathedral has an amazing view of the city, if you are willing to climb all 287 stairs to see it, (2) Old Town Square (incl Tyn & St Nicolos Churches). Wencesles Square was a disappointment and IMHO not worth rushing over to see, nless you've never been to Time Square or any other modern day city packed with neon lights and advertisement billboards... Favorite eating places were the Klasterni Pivovar (good & cheap in the Castle Qtr) and Plenska Restaurace u Dvou Kocek (in Old Town Square). Suggest reservations for the Klasterni Pivovar. Both serve traditional Czech food and locals eat there too. Beer is good and still reasonably cheap. St Charles Bridge is packed with vendors during the day, and was under renovation when we went, but still fun to walk across and breath-takingly beautiful at night when it is illuminated. We did not think the city was very crowded, but it looks like Patton actually lives there, so there is your best source--have fun!

Posted by JER
Seattle, USA
981 posts

Kutna Hora is a very good day trip. St.Barbara's Church is worth a visit, and the ossuary is a unique, if kind of creepy, thing to see. And, assuming that you aren't planning to see other places in the Czech countryside, it's a nice example of what smaller Czech towns are like. (We especially enjoyed wandering into a local food shop...)