A Budget Traveller's Guide to Prague

Colourful houses in Prague Old Town
Colourful houses in Prague Old Town | © Samuli Siivinen / Alamy Stock Photo

Along with stunning architecture and captivating history, Prague’s status as one of Europe’s most affordable capitals makes it a top destination for those travelling on a budget. Here’s our guide to help you get the most from your time, without breaking the bank.

Embrace the romance of a bygone era as you navigate Prague, a historic city packed with things to see and do. Join a free sightseeing tour, savour exceptional food and enjoy top-notch accommodation with a pleasing price tag.

Where to stay

Excellent budget accommodation can be found around the Czech capital, from splurge-worthy hotels that offer rooms for under £100 to lively mid-range hostels costing around £25 per person per night. At the heart of this historic city, you will find Miss Sophie’s Hotel. Whether you’re staying for business or pleasure, you’ll find their selection of private rooms and artsy apartments an ideal base for your stay in Prague. A 10-minute walk from Charles Bridge, Mosaic House is another reasonably-priced option. This eco-friendly establishment offers a range of dorms with shared bathrooms and kitchens, along with spacious private rooms and a women-only dorm that is particularly popular among solo female backpackers. The hostel also hosts a trendy bar, where guests can listen to live music. For great amenities, head to Plus Prague. Boasting airy private rooms, together with dorms accommodating four to eight people, Plus Prague features an indoor pool and fitness centre. Each room comes with free Wi-Fi and lockers.

Hotel room in Prague

Where to eat

There’s more to Prague’s culinary scene than the upscale restaurants of the Old Town. Look beyond the tourist traps to find local dining spots offering menus designed with budget-conscious patrons in mind.

To get a taste of local cuisine, look no further than U Magistra Kelly. Here you can sample pork knuckle and homemade sausages, washed down with Czech beer or wine. For something a little different, try Loving Hut. This vegan restaurant takes its inspiration from Asian cuisine and can be found in shopping centres across the capital. Specialities include rice noodles and Thai curry and, best of all, you can expect change from £8. For true sustenance, head to Sad Man’s Tongue Bar & Bistro – the perfect place to refuel after a day of exploring. You might have to splurge a little to try their famous burgers, but there are plenty of options for less than £8. Top trip: try the delicious buffalo chicken tenders. If you’re in search of a cosy spot to unwind, Café No. 3 ticks all the boxes. In addition to serving affordable drinks and snacks – their mulled wine is the perfect treat for a cold day – the café’s exceptional service will surely be a highlight of your visit.

Roasted smoked pork is a popular dish in Prague

Where to sip on local beer

No trip to the Czech capital would be complete without a trip to one of Prague’s famous beer gardens. Often to be found within the city’s many parks, the gardens offer a relaxed atmosphere in which to sip on local brews and enjoy a wide selection of traditional fare. Riegrovy Sady is a favourite among locals, and a great place to kick back with a beer and watch sports on the big screen al fresco. If you’re exploring the historic Vyšehrad fort, drop by Hospůdka Na Hradbách for Balkan-style grilled meats and a refreshing beer. Alternatively, head to Unijazz. Aside from its abundance of cheap but delicious beer and whisky, this café-bar has great taste in music. They also have all sorts of board games and, if you know where to look, you will find a reading room packed with a myriad of books and magazines. To experience a true local watering hole, make your way to Kavárna Jarda Mayer. This intimate pub has a distinctive charm, owing not least to its quirky interior and delicious, reasonably priced beer.

Prague’s spectacular views make drinking al fresco a popular pasttime

Join a walking tour

Compared to many European capitals, Prague is quite a compact city. This is good news for your bank balance: its cobbled streets are best explored on foot. An informative and affordable (free, in fact) option is to join a walking tour. Free tours by Sandemans, Discover Prague and Prague Extravaganza all come highly recommended.

Walking tours in the Old Town Square are a great way to learn more about the city

Where to day trip

Local trains leaving Prague’s central station are very affordable. A 40-minute trip will get you to Karlštejn Castle, with return tickets costing the equivalent of around £5. Entrance to the castle grounds is free, but if you want to see the inside of the castle you’ll have to join a guided tour. A trip to Kutná Hora and its famous Sedlec Ossuary will take about two hours one-way, with tickets costing the equivalent of less than £25 for a round trip. You can also take a train to the historical town of Tábor (90 minutes away) for the equivalent of about £15.

Castle Karlstejn is roughly 40 minutes from Prague

Which neighbourhoods to check out

Žižkov‘s nightlife has boomed over the past few years, and the neighbourhood has more cafés and pubs than any other area in Prague. For shopping, you can’t beat the Smichov area, which offers a mix of shopping centres and small boutiques, as well as cinemas and affordable places to eat. Malá Strana (Lesser Quarter) and Staré Město (Old Town) are a little on the pricey side when it comes to eating and shopping, but this is where most historical sights are – many of these are free to explore.

Havelska Stare Mesto market in Prague deserves a wander

How to get around

If you’re looking to explore a little further afield, you’re in luck: most of Prague’s neighbourhoods are connected by public transport. Plus, tickets are cheap, starting at about £1. All public transportation in Prague – the tram, bus and metro – can be used with the same ticket. A 30-minute ticket will only cost you around £1, while a 90-minute ticket should cost around £1.40. At around £5, a 24-hour pass could be an economical option worth considering, while a 72-hour pass is available for approximately £14. Tickets are available at metro stations and many convenience stores.

To get from the city to the airport and vice versa, you can opt to take a taxi for upwards of £20 or avail yourself of the more budget-friendly Airport Express bus.

Prague’s electric trams are a fun and economical way to get around

This article is an updated version of a story created by Diana Bocco.

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