View of Prague from the top of the Astronomical Clock Tower

Introduction

While the Prague International Airport isn’t exactly a large airport hub for connecting flights, if you find yourself there on a long layover, it is well worth it to visit the city.  Accessing the city center is not all the difficult from the airport and many of the attractions are within walking distance of one another.

Additionally, food and lodging are relatively cheap compared to other locations in Europe.  Aside from a great stopover, Prague in general is a great city to visit in Europe with its impressive array architecture, delicious food, cobblestone streets, and extensive historical and cultural attractions.

The Powder Tower


Places to Stay

Prague has many hotel options to choose from for using points for free stays.  These include Marriott, SPG, Hilton, Wyndham, Club Carlson, IHG, Choice, and Best Western.  Pretty much all hotel chains except Hyatt.  I recommend the Hilton Prague Old Town in you are a gold member since the lounge has good breakfast and dinner snacks that come with free drinks.

Beautiful cobble stone streets at night.

Things to Do

There are plenty of things to do while in Prague and I’d say staying 4 nights will allow enough time to see all the main sights.  If you would like to venture outside of the city to see sights near Prague, such as the “bone chapel” in the suburb of Sedlec then, I’d recommend adding a couple of nights.

During my last trip on an overnight layover, I was able to stroll around old town, visit the Gallery of Art, climb up the astronomical clock tower, and see a concert at the Municipal House Hall.  Prague seems to have every type of museum and art gallery imaginable so there is no shortage of things to do.

Old Town Square

Like just about every European city, there is an old town square.  However, this square in my opinion is the most beautiful with its colorful architecture and iconic buildings such as the astronomical clock tower and the Church of Our Lady before Týn.   Dining the square is more pricey than most other locations, so I suggest grabbing a cappuccino and people watch before dining elsewhere.

Traditional Musicians in Old Town Square

Enjoying a Cappuccino in Old Town Square

Charles Bridge

No trip to Prague is complete without walking across the Charles Bridge.  Completed in the 15th century and adorned by 30 baroque-style statues, it is arguably one of the most beautiful bridges ever constructed.

Baroque-style Statue on Charles Bridge

Prague Castle Complex

The Prague Castle Complex is set atop of a hill overlooking much of the city and includes many attractions such as St. Vitus Cathedral, the Old Royal Palace, Lobkowicz Palace, Basilica of St. George, the Golden Lane, and the St. Vitus treasury.  I recommend setting aside an entire day to tour this area and to wear comfortable walking shoes since walking around all day on the cobble stone streets can be quite painful if you’re not wearing appropriate footwear.

View from atop of St. Vitus Cathedral

St. Vitus Cathedral

The St. Vitus Cathedral is one of my favorites in Europe because of the view from the tower and all the various artifacts contained within.  The hike up the tower is a pain and the stairs seem to never end, however it is totally worth it to see the view of Prague below.

St. Vitus Cathedral

Municipal House Hall

The Municipal House Hall often conducts symphonies by Mozart, Beethoven, and Vivaldi in a beautiful baroque decorated concert hall.   Tickets are cheap but be sure to attend the concerts in the main hall and not in one of the smaller venues.

Municipal House Hall

River Cruise

Prague has short cruises along the Vltava river which provides awesome views of the city.  You can get tickets at the end of the Charles Bridge or talk to one of the various people dress up in sailor uniforms.

View of Charles Bridge from a river cruise

Walking Tours

A quick search on TripAdvisor and you’ll find many types of walking tours ranging from food, WWII, architecture, communist, or even free tours.   Prague is one of the best cities to see on foot.  Taking a walking tour gives you additional insight and perspective to the city.

View from atop of Astronomical Clock Tower

Museums

Prague has too many museums to list and has just about something for everyone.  I recommend researching the various options and pick a few you find interesting.

Apple Museum in Prague

Day Trips Outside Prague

Some interesting sights to see outside of Prague are:

  • Bone Chapel in the suburb of Sedlec
  • Karlštejn Castle
  • Moravian Karst wilderness containing 1,100 caves and gorges
  • Karlovy Vary hot springs
  • Cesky Krumlov town containing famous Bohemium castles, monasteries, and buildings

Where to Eat

Like most places in Europe, it is best to find a small restaurant on a side street away from the bulk of where the tourists congregate.    While its nice to dine in the city squares, the food there usually is not all that great.  There are plenty of small restaurants on the side streets that have around 5 tables where you could get a great meal for cheap with 50 cent beers.

Goulash with “dumplings”

Of course, if you have not had it before, try the goulash and Pilsner beer.

Conclusion

For those on a tight budget and enjoy historical architecture, this is the place for you.  Due to largely being spared from the bombings of WWII, Prague is like an open aired architecture museum filled with gothic, renaissance, and baroque buildings.  With no shortage of museums and cheap places to eat, this city should be at the top of everyone’s bucket list.