Whenever people hear the word “Prague”, you know that the words to follow will be beautiful; one of my favourite places in Europe; and wish I go back.
Prague is spectacularly beautiful. There is rarely a bad view. While you explore the central tourist areas (Prague’s Old Town, Jewish Quarter, Prague Castle and Little Quarter), you are literally immersed in history in every step you take. Most of the buildings are hundreds of years old and superbly maintained. In many areas, you walk on cobblestones and uneven paths, reminiscent of times gone by.
Prague is also a lot of fun. There are fantastic restaurants everywhere. Even better, you would be hard pressed not to stumble upon an amazing bar or pub almost everywhere you go. One of my favourite things that we did was a Prague beer spa which was as crazy and decadent as it sounds (more to follow, of course)!
However, there is a dark side to Prague. A short drive away is Terezin, a town that became an enormous concentration camp during World War II. Thousands and thousands of Jewish men, women and children were imprisoned there before they were shipped off to be murdered in gas chambers all over Europe.
We experienced it all – the beauty, the history, the fun and the darkness. Our three day Prague itinerary packed everything in and more.
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3 Day Prague Itinerary – Restaurants
While we were in Prague, we visited my daughter who was half way through a 3 month exchange program through her College. That gave us a huge advantage. We ate at some delicious restaurants that tourists do not normally frequent. They ranged from Thai to Mexican to Italian, all of which offered excellent food and yummy cocktails at reasonable prices. In addition, they were all reasonably close to Prague Old Town where we were staying. These restaurant choices are all described in the Prague itinerary below.
Day 1 – Prague Itinerary – Walking Tour of Prague
Afternoon of Prague itinerary
We arrived early afternoon in Prague and headed to our Airbnb in Old Town. Old Town was a fantastic location within easy walking distance to great restaurants, shopping and the historic sites.
On day one of our Prague itinerary, we went on a private walking tour of Old Town and the Jewish Quarter organized through Private Prague Guide. We loved this tour as it gave us a general overview of how the city is laid out and its history. We booked this tour and our tour to Terezin Concentration Camp (Day 3) through Private Prague Guide. The guides were excellent and I thought that the daily itineraries were well thought out and comprehensive. In addition, the tours were well priced.
Evening of Prague itinerary
In the evening of day one of our Prague itinerary, we went for cocktails and appetizers at Jewel Cafe Bar in Old Town. The cocktails were delicious. We tried the Grand Cosmopolitan, the Citrus Bay Lemonade and the Blackberry Gin, and would recommend them all! The appetizers had an Asian flair to them and were very tasty. The restaurant changes their food menu weekly so I can not recommend anything specific.
We took an Uber to Noi restaurant for dinner in the Little Quarter district of Prague. We were warned against taking taxis in Prague. Most taxi drivers refuse to turn on their meter and will overcharge you, so when we weren’t using public transportation, we used Uber. Thankfully, everything went smoothly.
Noi was a Thai restaurant with many other Asian influences. The Czech Republic has a large Vietnamese population as a result of their shared Communist past. Accordingly, Prague has many Asian inspired restaurants. Noi had excellent food, and it was filled with locals. I felt like we were part of a cool neighbourhood bistro versus an overpriced staged tourist attraction.
Day 2 of Prague Itinerary – Prague Beer Spa
Morning of Prague beer spa
I spent day 2 of our Prague itinerary with my daughter exploring different parts of Prague. First, I took a short ride on the subway to Krizikova train station to visit her apartment in the trendy area called Karlin. This is an up and coming part of town with hip restaurants and an edgy vibe, where you will find lots of young people. The area was severely damaged from flooding in 2002, but many new buildings and restaurants emerged from the damage. We had an amazing breakfast at Eska restaurant. It was very refreshing to be in an area largely devoid of tourists, enjoying a different side to Prague.
From there, we headed back to Old Town and went shopping at the Palladium shopping mall. Even though this was near the touristy part of town, we only saw locals shopping. There were a few international and well known stores in the mall. However, for the most part, the mall was filled with local retailers highlighting local fashion. We really enjoyed shopping here and were able to find many unique items for good prices.
Afternoon of Prague beer spa
In the afternoon of day 2 of our Prague itinerary, we walked over the Charles Bridge to Little Quarter and had lunch at Kampa Park restaurant. Charles Bridge is a major tourist attraction in Prague. It was literally crawling with tourists, street performers and vendors. However, we found the restaurant nestled below the Charles bridge on the banks of the river. It felt like an oasis of calm and relaxation as we ate on the patio, overlooking the bridge and the river. The food was upscale, delicious and expensive relative to other restaurants in Prague. However, for the view, serenity and the quality of the food, I was happy with our choice.
After lunch, we hopped on the tram and went up the hill to Strahov Monastery to see its exquisite library with its ornate wooden carpentry and painted frescos on the ceiling. Afterwards, within a few feet of the Monastery, we entered and explored Petrin Park. We meandered through the Park and down the hill back towards the Charles Bridge, catching glimpses of breathtaking views of Prague along the way. There was a mixture of locals enjoying the park and tourists exploring the area.
At the bottom of Petrin Park is an art installation that I would highly recommend making time to see while in Prague. It is a memorial to the victims of Communism, the dictatorial type of rule that the people of the Czech Republic (and others) suffered under from 1945 – 1989. The first man is whole, but as each new man is added behind him, pieces of him are slowly cut away. I took that to symbolize how Communist rule slowly demoralized and diminished the people, if not in fact imprisoned or killed them. What do you think?
Evening of Prague beer spa
In the evening of day 2 of our Prague itinerary, we started our evening at Bernard Beer Spa, a short drive from Old Town. Our Prague beer spa was highly entertaining and worth the cost! The five of us shared two gigantic wooden bathtubs filled to the brim with hot, bubbly water ladened with beer hops, with unlimited, free and easy access to delicious cold beer! After our beer spa, a couple of us had massages, while others sat in massage chairs sampling more beer. Finally, at the end of our Prague beer spa, we were sent on our way with, you guessed it, more beer! All of this was one flat cost, so the more beer you can drink, the better! It was a wonderful way to start our evening.
For dinner, we went to a Mexican restaurant called Cantina. Believe it or not, it was probably the best Mexican food that I have ever eaten. Wow! The servings were enormous and the prices were very reasonable. The frozen margaritas were the drink of choice and came in multiple flavours. Of course, we had to taste all of them. I think we would all agree that mango was the best. The restaurant was found in the Little Quarter district, across from Noi. I would return again without hesitation, especially if we could start our night with another Prague beer spa.
Accommodation in Prague
For accommodation in Prague Old Town or other spots in Prague, I would recommend using booking.com and the interactive map below to find the best location at the best prices.
Day 3 of Prague Itinerary- Day Trip from Prague to Terezin
Terezin Concentration Camp
On day 3 of our Prague itinerary, we took a private tour of Terezin, a town about 45 minutes outside Prague, offered by Private Prague Guide. During World War II, the Nazis expelled all the non-Jewish residents of Terezin and transformed the town and its buildings into a concentration camp. Here, thousands upon thousands of Jews were imprisoned while they waited to be transported to other extermination camps all over Europe.
Just outside Terezin, the Nazis also converted an existing fortress into a prison. In Terezin prison, socialists, communists, war resistors, and common criminals, to name a few, were housed and brutalized. The conditions in Terezin prison were horrific.
I have been to Dachau and Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps on past European trips, and have stood numb and disgusted at what I’ve seen and learned. Within that context, I came to Terezin bracing myself for horror. At Terezin, over 155,000 Jews were housed during the war, and approximately 34,000 died from malnutrition, disease, and abuse before they were even deported to extermination camps in other parts of Europe.
I found it very difficult walking the streets of Terezin knowing all this. Everything seems so normal today. It could be any small town in Europe with lots of old buildings and locals going about their lives. However, I knew that everywhere we walked, people just like me had also walked not too long ago, and they were imprisoned and eventually killed for nothing more than their religion.
Children at Terezin
A very difficult exhibition at Terezin to see and walk through is the art. Jews of all ages lived in Terezin, sometimes for months at a time. The Jewish children were not allowed to have a traditional education, but were allowed to participate in the arts. The Ghetto Museum at Terezin displays their original drawings and they were absolutely haunting. Some of the children’s art were filled with wistful memories of happier times laughing, playing and eating with their families. While others showed the dark, sombre, and relentless moments of their current life.
The camp also allowed music, band, drama and other forms of art, for all Jews, regardless of age, and many of these works were also presented. It was chilling to see these knowing that most everyone who produced them died soon thereafter.
Ghetto Museum at Terezin
I found the Ghetto Museum at Terezin to be extremely unsettling – so much colour and talent from people who, unbeknownst to them, were just waiting for their death.
Terezin was an emotional exhausting day, but I would highly recommend a trip there.
For our last night of our Prague itinerary, we walked to La Bottega Bistroteka in Prague for a fantastic Italian meal. This restaurant was filled with locals enjoying antipasto, pasta, and Italian pastries. The atmosphere was very relaxed and service was excellent. Again, the prices were very reasonable and we loved our meal.
Prague is a spectacularly beautiful city where you can easily walk, and enjoy all of its history and culture. Prague also offers a lot of fun activities, like the Prague beer spa, and excellent restaurants and bars at reasonable prices, if you know where to look (and now you do)!
For an unforgettable experience, take a day trip to Terezin. It’s not an easy day, but there is so much to learn about the past, whether we are comfortable with it or not.
Finally, for a bit of a laugh, start your night soaking with all your friends in a large bubble bath with a cold beer in hand. You won’t solve any of the world’s problems or learn anything about the past, but you will feel like one of the luckiest people alive!
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