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Prague has become a hot-spot destination in Eastern Europe. It’s Gothic-Medieval charm and fascinating history have made it a hit for family vacations, romantic getaways, and backpacking journeys. There’s a lot to take in here, but with 48 hours in Prague, you can see the top sights and absorb the energetic culture of this proud city.
48 Hours in Prague – Day 1
Start off your time in Prague in the centre of it all. The Old Town Square is the oldest and most beautiful square in the city, and it’s home to several top sites. Because of that, the crowds can get a bit oppressive in the afternoon, so it’s best to get here early. Aim to get here for 9am to see the Astronomical Clock. On the hour, the extravagant clock chimes with a parade of the twelve Apostles.
Then, make your way into the Old Town Hall. The historic rooms give an insight into Czech history, and the views from the tower are exquisite. Before leaving the square, be sure to stop at its two churches: the Church of our Lady before Týn, with its intimidating spires, is a Gothic masterpiece, and Baroque-style St. Nicholas Cathedral is dominated by a gorgeous chandelier. If you’re lucky enough to visit at Christmas, wander through the Medieval Christmas Market; it’s one of the best in Europe.
Take the afternoon to explore the historic Jewish Quarter. This neighborhood has seen some of the horrors of Czech history, but was left relatively unscathed following World War II. Hitler wished to create a “Museum of an Extinct Race” after the war, which consequently left Prague with one of the best collections of Jewish artifacts in the world. The neighborhood is now home to the Jewish Museum, spread across 7 sites.
The Spanish Synagogue is the most popular, with its striking architecture and lavish interior. This location focuses on Jewish history in the Czech Republic, along with a large collection of silver. Other locations include the Pinkas Synagogue, with its Holocaust memorial, the Klausen Synagogue, and the Old Jewish Cemetery. You can also visit the Old New Synagogue, which has been serving Prague’s Jewish community for over 700 years, and is the largest extant synagogue in all of Europe.
Close off the day with a visit to the Museum of Communism, for a look at another part of Czech history. This quirky museum offers a comprehensive and unflinching look at life under the Communist regime, from its rise and implementation, to the Prague Spring and eventual liberation of the Czech and Slovak peoples. You’ll see items and exhibits on the working and leisure life under Communism, Czechoslovak propaganda, and a sobering exhibit on the regime’s repressive tactics and labor camps. There’s even model replicas of a Communist classroom, general store, and interrogation room. The museum gives travelers a new perspective as they wander Prague’s historic streets.
Finish the evening with a show in Prague’s thriving theatre scene. The main venue is the National Theatre, with opera, ballet and drama performances. There are also a number of English theatres, including the Prague Shakespeare Company. Many visitors are intrigued by Prague’s experimental theatre scene, which thrived underground during the Communist era. The “black light theatre” is a unique experience, with actors dressed all in black, using lights and illusions to create stunning visual works.
48 Hours in Prague – Day 2
Wake up as early as you can to head to the Charles Bridge. This is another spot in Prague that gets mobbed by crowds as the day goes on, but before 8am, it’s largely empty. After admiring the statues along the bridge, continue up to Prague Castle.
The castle has had a presence in Prague since the 880s, almost 1,150 years ago. Since then, it has been built up into the massive complex visitors see today. Try to book tickets ahead so you can go straight in at opening time. Start with the monolithic St. Vitus Cathedral. The exquisite Gothic cathedral is the largest in Prague, and has been an important site for Czech coronations and burials; King Wenceslas, of Christmas carol fame, is buried here.
Continue to the Old Royal Palace, to see the unique architecture and interiors that framed some of the most important parts of Czech history. There’s also the Golden Lane, a row of houses that belonged to the castle’s workers. They are now outfitted with replicas, so visitors can see what castle life was like, from the alchemist to the stewardess. The charming street also leads to the Daliborka, the castle’s former dungeon.
You could spend the better part of the afternoon at Prague Castle, but if you want to keep exploring, head back across town to the National Museum. This huge instutition sits on Wenceslas Square, the site of the 1968 Soviet invasion. The museum has exhibits on natural history, as well as extensive exhibits on Czech history and culture. There are also several other museums nearby to explore.
Music lovers should visit the Czech Museum of Music, or museums dedicated to Prague’s two hometown composers, Dvořák and Smetana. Art lovers can head to the National Gallery, back in the Old Town Square. Also worthwhile is a tour of the Municipal House, an art-nouveau concert hall featuring interiors designed by leading Czech artists, like Mucha.
Spend your last night in Prague soaking up the town’s famous nightlife. There’s plenty of options for every style, from club-hopping to rock-and-roll concerts, as well as a wide variety of pubs and bars. Don’t forget to try some of Prague’s famous Czech beer before you leave.
There are dozens of craft beer spots in Prague, including the traditional “Pilsner bars”, which can sometimes be intimidating for foreigners. To get the best experience, take a “Beer Tour”. There are several companies throughout the city offering bar-hopping and food tours. Or, just find a local bar and park yourself at a table for the evening. What better way to close off your time in Prague than mingling with the locals!
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Sarah is a college student and avid traveller, who’s cracked the budget travel formula and backpacked solo across 15 European countries