Planning a Trip to Prague
I am super excited that I was able to sneak a short trip to Prague in in-between two other work trips to Barcelona and San Francisco. I only have 2.5 days, and need to do some aweseomsauce planning to really take advantage of my time in the Czech Republic. This method of planning trip activities can be used for any place you visit.
Check back in a few weeks to see what my actual trip was like compared to the plan!
I’m getting to Prague on a free business class flight at 12:40pm on a Friday, and leaving at 6am on Monday. When planning a short trip, I like to start with an empty list of my available time slots.
The goal is to fill this up in the most optimal way while also leaving a little bit of open time for whatever might come up.
What Do You Want to Do?
For this trip, I hit up my usual activity planning internet haunts: TripAdvisor, WikiTravel, Viator, Vayable, and Google, and start to make a list of things I want to do and any restrictions around them, such as only being available on certain days or times. This is really important to do ahead of time if you have any must-do activities.
I also think about my goals while traveling:
- Experience the food and drinks of Prague
- Get outside of the city into the countryside & “real world”
- See any awesome tourist attractions and important historical locations
- Interact with locals
Here’s what my list looks like:
|Activity||Restrictions||How I Found It|
|Walking Tour (Free, my favorite kind!)||Daily at 10am and 2pm||Google search for “Prague Walking Tours”|
|Old Town Square||None, but covered on Walking Tour||Tripadvisor Activities list|
|Prague Castle||None||Someone mentioned it on Facebook & Tripadvisor List|
|Charles Bridge||None||Someone mentioned it on Facebook & Tripadvisor List|
|Cesky Krumlov Day Trip||Only Friday & Sunday – full day back in time for dinner||Viator|
|Dresden Day Trip from Prague||Runs Fri, Sat, and Sun – full day back in time for dinner||Viator|
|Prague Bike Tour||Every day, 11:30, 2:30, 5:30 (2 hours)||Viator|
|Prague Beer & Czech Tapas Evening Walking Tour||Every day, 6pm, 4 hours||Viator|
|Prague Food and Culture Tour||Very small, 4 people max – 12pm and 5pm on unspecified days of the week, appears to book up in advance||Google search for “Prague Food Tours”|
Just so you know, this is a very prettied-up blog version of the list. Generally I just jot down notes in an Evernote file and maybe it’s not quite this organized.
Making a Schedule
After I know what I have available in terms of time and the major things I want to do, I start arranging them like Tetris pieces until I’m happy and feel like my goals are satisfied.
This is what the final schedule looks like:
Friday Afternoon: 2pm Walking Tour
Friday Evening: 6pm Beer & Tapas Walking Tour
Saturday Morning: Prague Castle
Saturday Afternoon: 12pm Taste of Prauge Tour
Saturday Evening: Open. Possibly Charles Bridge or walking around taking pictures. Use previous tours for dinner recommendation.
Sunday Morning: 9am Cesky Krumlov Day tour
Sunday Evening: Dinner somewhere (use guide rec again)
Some of these things overlap, so I don’t actually need to include them specifically; for example Old Town Square is where the walking tour starts.
Friday is a little adventurous, considering that I’ll be getting up early that day, taking 2 flights, and scheduled myself on two walking tours. On the other hand, maybe I’ll be drunk!
I had two options for day trips and did a google search to decide between Dresden (modern city) and Cesky Krumlov (picturesque historic city). I went with the historic city.
There are some things I just couldn’t fit in, but that’s okay, you can’t do everything.
This schedule is pretty heavy on tours, but they are an efficient way to take in information (and alcohol) while giving you the chance to chat with a local. The food tour on Saturday has a maximum of 4 people, which means I will have plenty of time to really talk to the tour guide and ask questions about living in Prague.
Making reservations is a bit tricky. You want to reserve your own space in case something sells out, while at the same time not forcing yourself into things you might not want to do later.
I saw that the small group food & culture tour was booked a month out at the time I first saw it, so I got on that one right away by sending an inquiry email and then paying a deposit. The walking tour is free and you just show up, and the other 2 tours I will probably book closer to my travel date just in case anything changes.
Airport to Hotel
Because my time is so short – 1:20 to get from the airport to the hotel to the walking tour – I have to take a taxi. Wikitravel has very specific instructions for how to take a taxi from the airport. Don’t bother reading the details if you aren’t going to Prague soon, just see that they are there.
The most comfortable method to reach the city centre will cost around 650 to 850 CZK with AAA Taxi . They and FIX cars have an exclusive contract with Prague airport and they provide a desk near the arrivals gate. If you visit the taxi desk, they will inform you about the price to your destination, call a taxi and give you a voucher with the return price reduced by 20%, which you can use if you arrange your return with the same company earlier by phone.
This is why I love WikiTravel. This is important to know, but it was so easy to find the information.
Another thing I do is look up the locations for everything on Google Maps. It really helps to have a mental map of how the city is laid out, how far apart things are, and where you are going to be in relation to everything else.
I do a rough outline of the transit I will use between various events and to and from my hotel. See my post on taking public transit in any city for ways to do this.
In the case of Prague, it was very easy to use Google Maps and then click on the “public transit” button to get the various routes between my stops.
I know I can add an international roaming data/text plan from the AT&T website, so I will do that right before I leave for Barcelona.
It’s very helpful to research in advance your cell provider, specific phone, and your options for getting data internationally. It’s easy and reasonable with AT&T, and if anyone with AT&T wants a tutorial, let me know.
Even though time is short, I feel like I’m going to do and see a lot, and really get a feel for Prague. I am really excited after doing all of this planning work and can’t wait to see how the trip turns out!