Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, is a city that exudes fairytale-like charm. Known for its cheap beer and magical architecture, it’s a budget-friendly destination that should be on any backpacker’s must-visit list. While Prague is ideal for the younger crowd looking for a fun and affordable weekend away, it’s also suitable for history enthusiasts seeking to learn about the city’s medieval past.
Thinking of travelling to Prague soon? This Prague travel guide will show you how to see and experience the city on a budget, without missing out on a thing.
This guide is perfect for those who are travelling to Prague on a budget. We will show you what to do in Prague, where to stay, what to eat and how to get around, whether it’s a weekend in Prague or a long term stay.
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The best time to visit Prague
The best time to visit Prague is in either spring or autumn. April, May, September and October are the perfect months to explore the city, with average daily temperatures between 14 and 20 degrees. You’ll be able to see the flowers blooming or the leaves falling, making the city even more beautiful than it already is.
Prague is also wonderful during the summertime, but there’s a much larger influx of tourists. This brings up the average price of accommodation, which is not something you want when you’re trying to see Prague on a budget.
It can obviously become very chilly during the snowy season, so only visit Prague from November through February if you’re used to the cold. If the gloomy weather doesn’t bother you, you’ll be able to witness the city’s transformation into a winter wonderland. Accommodation also costs half of what you’d pay during the high season, and you’ll be able to indulge in some svařák (mulled wine) at the winter markets.
How to get around Prague on a budget
Fortunately, Prague is a very suitable for pedestrians. You’ll need to come prepared with the right shoes for walking, however, as Prague’s streets are paved with cobblestones. To save money on transport, wander between Prague’s many Old Town attractions and soak up the vibrant energy.
Travelling via Prague’s public transport system is easy and convenient, so long as it’s not during the weekday rush hours. The metro is the best option for travelling out to neighbourhoods outside of the city centre, while the tram network is ideal for shorter trips. Tickets are the same regardless of whether you’re catching a train, a tram or a bus, and can be purchased from metro stations and newspaper kiosks. A 90-minute trip costs 32Kč, while a shorter 30-minute trip costs only 24Kč. You can also pick up a one-day pass for 110Kč or a three-day pass for 310Kč.
Avoid catching a taxi if you can, as drivers are notorious for overcharging tourists. With such an integrated public transport network, it’s an unnecessary waste of money.
What to expect in Prague
The primary language spoken in Prague is Czech. Hotel and restaurant staff will speak basic English, as will anyone working around the tourist hotspots. If you’re stuck and need help, you can ask anyone who looks under 30, because they’ll likely speak English too.
The currency in Prague, Czech Republic is koruna, also known as the Czech crown. The symbol for koruna is Kč. Since the Czech Republic is a member of the European Union, euros are occasionally accepted. That said, you should make the effort to exchange to the local currency. For reference, one euro currently equals about 25Kč. Foreign visitors are expected to tip at least 10% at restaurants and bars.
Budget things to do in Prague
Prague is the ideal European city for budget travellers due to the number of free sights and affordable activities on offer. If you’re worried you’ll miss out by having to adhere to a strict budget, you won’t be for much longer! Use the following suggestions as your guide to Prague on a budget and get excited about everything you’ll be able to see and do.
Visit the churches
The city’s religious architecture is nothing short of impressive. Luckily, you can visit most of the magnificent churches, cathedrals and chapels in Prague for free. Listing them all would take far too long, so here are four of the most stunning religious buildings worth seeing in Prague.
The Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Vitus
As the largest and most significant cathedral in Prague, St Vitus is a natural first stop. It took over 600 years to construct this monumental Gothic cathedral, and the amount of care and work has certainly paid off. Situated within the Prague Castle complex, the cathedral contains the tombs of Holy Roman emperors and Bohemian kings. The main tower stands 102 metres tall and is a notable structure of the city’s skyline. While entering requires a ticket, you can admire the cathedral from outside at no cost.
The Church of Mother of God Before Týn
The Gothic church often referred to as Týn is best known for its twin 80-metre-high towers with menacingly spiked spires. The two towers, which are not symmetrical, represent masculinity and femininity. The current church has been a feature of the Old Town since the 14th century and is decorated with paintings by 17th-century Baroque artist Karel Škréta. There’s no entrance fee, though donations are welcome.
The Church of Saint Nicholas
Saint Nicholas Church is a beautiful domed basilica in Malá Strana. Completed in 1755, the parish church is an extraordinary example of Prague Baroque architecture. The interior walls showcase incredible frescos by Jan Lukas Kracker and František Xaver Palko, as well as sculptures by František Ignác Platzer. Entrance to the church costs 70 Kč, the equivalent of a few euros.
The Church of Our Lady Victorious
While the church appears modest and humble from the outside, the opulence inside will amaze you. The walls are adorned with eye-catching gold, marble and wooden statues. Many are drawn to visit this Baroque church to see the Infant Jesus of Prague, a wax effigy with a golden crown donated by Pope Benedict XVI. Despite it being so popular with tourists, it is completely free to visit.
Take in the views at Prague Castle
Prague Castle takes up an area of 70,000 square metres in the Hradčany district. There are a number of palaces, churches, structures and gardens to see within the complex, making it one of the most visited attractions in Prague. The buildings are a unique mix of architectural styles, ranging from Gothic and Romanesque to Bohemian Baroque. The castle itself is the largest ancient castle in the world, with constructing beginning all the way back in 870 AD.
Fortunately, you can walk around the grounds without paying the expensive entrance fee. The castle walls open up to show a breathtaking view of the city below.
Taste the local beer
Prague is the cheapest city in Europe to buy alcohol, so why not take advantage of this and enjoy a few drinks? The city has some beautiful beer gardens, all with their own unique atmosphere and vibe. Heading to one of the gardens to enjoy a local beer is one of the most enjoyable activities in Prague, particularly for backpackers. You’re on vacation, after all!
The most popular spot to go is Letná Beer Garden, a leafy terrace in Letná Park with views over the Old Town. From the first hint of spring to the last sunny days in autumn, you can relax with a Pilsner in hand under the shade of the chestnut trees. Also on tap are Czech favourites Gambrinus and Kozel Dark. Best of all, a decent-sized beer will cost you less than 40Kč (about €1.5).
Check the time at the Astronomical Clock
The Prague Astronomical Clock in the Old Town Square is the oldest functioning astronomical clock in the world. Dating back to the 15th century, the clock has three main components. The astronomical dial represents the sun and the moon in the sky, while the calendar dial represents the months of the year. Figures of the Apostles and other sculptures strike hourly to show to the time.
Walk across Charles Bridge
Charles Bridge is the iconic and historic bridge crossing the Vltava River. Spanning 621 metres, the pedestrian-only bridge was completed in the 15th century and remains an important connection between Prague Castle and the city centre. Bring your camera, as the bridge offers incredible views of the city. The towers on either side of the bridge can be climbed for an even more magnificent bird’s eye view.
Discover more unique architecture
Amongst all the medieval Gothic and Baroque buildings in Prague, you shouldn’t forget about the more modern constructions too. The Dancing House on Jiráskovo nám is perhaps the most unique building in the city and a definite must-see. Built in the 1990s, the unusual shape and “deconstructivist” design represents the infamous dancing duo Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.
Find the most intriguing street art
For the most interesting and colourful street art in the city, stop by the John Lennon Wall on Velkopřevorské náměstí. Since the 1980s, Beatles lyrics and various other graffiti inspired by John Lennon have popped up. The wall continues to undergo changes and remains an expression of peace, art and love.
Pasta Oner, a famous Czech street art artist, has a distinctive style inspired by pop art. He has painted numerous impressive murals around Prague that’ll stop you in your tracks. Spot a few of them outside the DOX Centre of Contemporary Art and near the Dejvická train station.
Where to stay in Prague on a budget as a backpacker
The amount of affordable and well-designed hostels in the city make backpacking in Prague a breeze. While exact prices depend on the size of the room and the time of year, you’re guaranteed to find a bed under €20 per night at any of these Prague hostels. Airbnb is also a great option to find some budget gems. We have also written an extensive guide on where to stay in Prague.
Czech Inn: Located in a hip Art Nouveau building in Vinohrady, Czech Inn is out of the tourist area yet surrounded by tons of cool bars and markets. Keep it cosy in a four-bed room, or make a bunch of new friends in a mixed 36-bed dorm.
Hostel Lipa: If a shared apartment vibe is more your style, Hostel Lipa is for you. With a tram stop a four-minute walk away and a bus stop right outside, you can enjoy the peacefulness of Vitkov Park while still being able to get to the Old Town quickly. The building is also a 10-minute walk to and from the popular Žižkov Beer Garden.
Ahoy! Hostel: Being a backpacker doesn’t mean you have to compromise on location. Ahoy! Hostel is a charming place to stay inside the Old Town and just minutes away from some of Prague’s best attractions. While the gorgeous building dates back to the 17th century, the renovated rooms and dorms inside are modern and minimalist.
Budget eats in Prague
Spending your money dining out at restaurants for every meal can really add up, so planning ahead where you’re going to eat is important. You’ll be glad to learn that there are a ton of cheap eats in Prague that also happen to be delicious.
For a cheap and filling meal, try halušky. This dish is made with thick noodles or dumplings and includes toppings like bacon, fried cabbage, onions and cheese. If you’re in a hurry but want to enjoy some authentic food, stop by Havelská Koruna. Walk a few minutes from the Astronomic Clock to Havelská and you’ll discover this humble cafeteria-style eatery.
Want to treat yourself to an Instagram-worthy meal without breaking the bank? Mezi srnky on Sázavská is a charming brunch spot with affordable prices. With a cosy atmosphere and a menu catering to all dietary requirements, you can’t go wrong. Order an open sandwich, a Czech favourite known as chlebíčky.
U Magistra Kelly on Šporkova is another charming and affordable cafe worth visiting. Here you can order some traditional favourites, including guláš, potato dumplings, and homemade pickled sausage.
In the mood for something sweet? Grab some trdelnik rolled pastry cakes, one of the Czech Republic’s most popular desserts.
Cheap tours to do in Prague on a budget
What’s more budget-friendly than free? There are a few free walking tours you can choose to go on in Prague, depending on what you want to see. This Prague tour is perfect for discovering the city’s alternative scene and going off the beaten path. Most walking tours take about three hours, and you can leave your guide a small tip only if you think the tour provided value.
Another tour that’s great for the budget-minded is the Prague Super Saver tour. Get into two of Prague’s top attractions with this two-for-one deal on Viator. First, visit the Lobkowicz Palace for a classical music concert in the Baroque concert hall. Afterwards, see music scores by Beethoven and Mozart at the Lobkowicz Palace Museum, as well as marvellous paintings by Diego Velázquez and Canaletto.
A tour that’s worth paying a little money for is a river sightseeing cruise. For less than €15, you can sit back and sail past Prague’s most picturesque sights along the Vltava River. Alternatively, take a 45-minute cruise through the canals of Prague’s Little Venice. Board a small wooden boat and discover the hidden gems and quiet corners of the city, hear interesting facts, and see the remains of the Romanesque Judith Bridge.
Recommend budget tours in Prague
- Small-Group Prague City Walking Tour Including Vltava River Cruise and Lunch
- Prague Beer and Czech Tapas Evening Walking Tour
- Small-Group Bohemian and Saxon Switzerland National Park Day Trip from Prague
- Mozart Concert and Dinner in Prague
- Prague Walking Tour of Old Town, Charles Bridge and Prague Castle
- Prague Super Saver: Lobkowicz Palace Concert plus Lobkowicz Palace Museum Entrance Ticket
- Prague Old Town Ghosts and Legends Walking Night Tour
- Scenic Karlstejn Castle Bike Small-Group Day Trip from Prague
- Discover Prague Private Tour – 3 hours
- Prague Off-the-Beaten-Path Morning Walking Tour
- Prague Cooking Class Including Market Visit and 3-Course Lunch
- Vltava River Sightseeing Cruise in Prague
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