Planning a trip to the heart of Europe can be as exciting as the destinations themselves, and it’s hard to find a more enchanting pairing than Prague and Vienna. These two capital cities epitomize the grandeur and charm of Central Europe, with their rich historical and cultural experiences. A five-day itinerary of Prague and Vienna provides the perfect opportunity to explore the must-see attractions in both cities while still having time to soak in the unique atmosphere each has to offer.
In this article, we will guide you through an unforgettable five-day Central Europe itinerary, switching effortlessly between the cobbled streets and graceful bridges of Prague, and the elegant boulevards and timeless charm of Vienna. With this itinerary, you’ll be able to capture the best of Central Europe’s art, history, and soul, making memories that will last a lifetime.
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- Citi Mastercard Agoda: Up to 22% off hotel bookings worldwide until 30th September 2023. More information here
- Trip.com: 50% off flights every Friday, capped at S$200, until 29th December 2023
- Klook: S$10 off with minimum spend of S$150 until 31st December 2023. Check it out here
- Qatar Airways: Up to 10% off flights until 31st December 2023. Discover more here
Day 1: Prague’s Old Town and Jewish Quarter
Tip: If you are taking the train / bus from Prague Airport to hotel, you may wish to avail of LuggAgent’s luggage delivery service. For a small fee, they will deliver your bags between the airport and your hotel/airbnb within the same day and save you the hassle of carrying heavy bags while in the metros or buses. You can book this service through Klook here.
Obtain your bearings at the iconic Charles Bridge, probably the most popular tourist attraction in Prague. This centuries-old bridge connects Prague’s Old Town and Lesser Town (Malá Strana). It’s adorned with statues of 30 saints and offers breathtaking views of the city. Make sure you snap some photos and browse the local art vendors for unique souvenirs.
Old Town Square
Next, visit the historic Old Town Square which is surrounded by a stunning blend of architectural styles, including gothic, baroque, and renaissance buildings. The square is home to the famous Astronomical Clock – be there at the top of the hour to witness its fascinating mechanical performance. Additionally, there’s the beautiful Church of Our Lady before Týn and the Old Town Hall Tower offering panoramic views of the city.
Spend the rest of the morning exploring the charming cobblestone streets, tasting local cuisine, and perhaps attending a classical music concert or black light theater performance.
In the afternoon, explore the historic Jewish Quarter, also known as Josefov. This area is home to several important sites, including the Old-New Synagogue, the Jewish Museum, and the Old Jewish Cemetery. Stroll through the narrow streets and take in the unique architecture of the buildings. Josefov has 6 synagogues, each with a unique history. If you have time to check out only one, head to the largest – Klausen Synagogue.
Unwind in a Beer Spa
A unique activity you can do in Prague is to bathe yourself in a beer spa! Despite what it sounds like, it’s not as simple as merely being soaked in a tub of beer.
Essentially, guests get to dip in an old-style hot tub. The attendant then adds beer ingredients such as powdered malt and yeast. The experience is said to offer a variety of health benefits such as detoxification and improved circulation. While doing the bath, you can also enjoy unlimited servings of Czech beer on tap, just beside the tub!
You can find a number of beer spa venues in Prague. One of the most popular places in the Original Beer Spa located in Zitna 658/9. They open until 10PM so you can do this as a night time activity to allow you to unwind after a long day.
Day 2: From Mala Strana to Wenceslas Square
Begin your second day by exploring the western side of Prague. When you walk westward from Charles Bridge, you will encounter the charming neighborhood of Mala Strana or “Lesser Town.” There is nothing lesser about this neighborhood. Many of the government buildings are located here, as well as foreign embassies and consulates. This is another historic area of Prague filled with baroque architecture. Here, you will find the Lennon Wall – a colorful wall dating back from the communist era and filled with peace slogans. Another attraction worth checking out is the Kafka Museum – an exhibition dedicated to the Czech writer known for his surrealistic literary works.
From Mala Strana, you can climb up to Prague Castle, the largest ancient castle in the world. If you look at a map of Prague, you can practically see the castle occupying almost the entire upper left chunk.
It’s easy to spend an entire day getting lost there. The castle complex is much more than one medieval building – inside there are churches, a series of palaces, other residential buildings as well as a seemingly endless number of gardens. Despite the medieval look, Prague Castle to this day is a living complex and still serves the modern Czech government. The President of the Czech Republic officially calls Prague Castle home.
Pay a visit to the majestic St. Vitus Cathedral and admire its gothic architecture. Don’t miss the Golden Lane, a picturesque street lined with small, colorful houses that once housed castle guards and goldsmiths.
Tip: It is free to enter the castle grounds of Prague Castle and to even enter the front section of St. Vitus Cathedral. If you don’t foresee yourself exploring the exhibitions in the castle extensively, you may very well save a few Korunas by checking out the free sections only
Next, head to Petřín Hill, a beautiful green oasis in the middle of the city. This hill boasts stunning views of Prague and is accessible by either a funicular or a walk up its footpaths. Once at the top, visit the Petřín Tower, a mini version of the Eiffel Tower, and the Mirror Maze, a vintage amusement where distorted mirrors create illusions.
Finally, round off the day at Wenceslas Square. This lively area is the commercial and cultural heart of Prague. It is flanked by a wide boulevard as well as shops and restaurants on both sides. Stroll down this historic square where events such as the Czechoslovakian independence was proclaimed in 1918 and pass through picturesque landmaks such as the Hotel Evropa and Grand Hotel. At the end of the square is the National Museum which houses an extensive collection in the areas of natural history, history, arts, music, etc.
If you have time after checking out Wenceslas Square, you can either walk around 20 minutes or take the #5 tram from the other end of the square to the famed Dancing House. Also known as the Gehry Building, it’s hard to miss as it’s the only radical looking construction in the vicinity. The building is shaped like it has been severely elbowed by a giant, but a closer look reveals some pretty sophisticated design. The shape is made possible due to a bunch of curved pillars that extend all the way to the sidewalk. Interesting stuff.
Remember to wear comfortable shoes as there will be plenty of walking and navigating the streets of Prague on this exciting day.
Where to Stay in Prague
Tip: Book your Prague and Vienna hotels with Agoda using your Citi Mastercard and enjoy up to 22% off hotels bookings until 30th September 2023.
Hotel Cube is a modern design hotel located close to Charles Bridge. This is a relatively new hotel that opened just 2 or 3 years ago in a quiet cobblestone street. Some of the rooms here come with rooftop terraces offering panoramic views of church towers and baroque buildings in the distance. Another recommended hotel is the BoHo Prague Hotel, located just steps from the old town and with chic shops and cafes nearby. This is a luxury hotel with plenty of bells and whistles such as indoor heated pool.
Getting From Prague to Vienna
The RegioJet trains run between Prague and Vienna every 2 hours and the journey takes approximately 4 hours and 4 minutes. Alternatively, bus services are also available and take slightly longer, at around 4 hours and 20 minutes. You can also choose to rent a car for this journey. You can get a discount of S$10 with minimum S$150 spend for car rentals on Klook until 31st December 2023. Book here
Day 3: Vienna & Its Palaces
Begin your day in Vienna at the magnificent Schönbrunn Palace, the former summer residence of the Habsburg rulers. Arrive early to avoid the crowds and explore the stunning Baroque architecture and landscaped gardens. Take a guided tour of the palace to learn about its history and admire the opulent interiors.
Painted in a distinct shade of yellow, this is routinely considered one of Europe’s major palaces, and rightly so. With 1,441 rooms and stately Rococo interiors, this is where casual visitors get to have a close glimpse at how royalty lived a few centuries ago. Classical concerts are regularly held here as well, including the elaborate ones held during New Year’s Eve that showcase compositions such as Austria’s unofficial anthem, Johann Strauss’ Blue Danube Waltz.
Don’t forget to spend some time in the expansive palace gardens, complete with a maze, fountains, and even a zoo.
As it is the most popular tourist attraction in Vienna, the palace is usually crowded regardless of the time of day. You can book a guided tour here which comes with fast-track access of the palace. Book this palace tour with Klook and get S$10 off with minimum S$150 spend until 31st December 2023.
Next on the itinerary is the Belvedere Palace complex, consisting of two Baroque palaces, the Orangery, and Palace Stables. The Belvedere houses a world-renowned art collection, including Gustav Klimt’s famous painting, “The Kiss”. Allocate at least two hours to explore the extensive art collection and magnificent gardens. Key attractions in Belvedere Palace include the Marble Gallery and the Hall of Grotesques.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral
End your day at the St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a historic, Gothic church in Vienna’s city center. The cathedral is not just an architectural marvel, but also houses a fascinating collection of religious art and artifacts. Some must-see areas inside the cathedral are the main altar, Gothic pulpit and the catacombs.
If you have some energy left, climb the 343 steps to the South Tower for a breathtaking view of Vienna.
Day 4: A Cultural Day in Vienna
Begin your second day on Vienna by visiting the historical Hofburg Palace. This former residence of Habsburg monarchs now serves as the official residence of the president of Austria. Inside, you’ll find a multitude of museums, such as the Imperial Treasury, housing the imperial crown jewels, and the Sisi Museum, dedicated to Empress Elisabeth of Austria.
A personal highlight is the Prunksaal or the State Hall of the older section of the Austrian National Library. With an extensive fresco on the roof and an imposing statue of Charles IV in the center, this is hands down the best-looking library one could ever go to.
Vienna State Opera
Next, make your way to the Vienna State Opera for a guided tour. Famous for its exceptional acoustics and stunning architecture, the opera house is an essential visit for music and culture lovers. Tours are available for those who are not attending a performance, allowing you to explore this magnificent building and learn about its history without seeing a show.
These tours are run in German and English, and are scheduled at certain times. The most updated schedule can be found in their website and as of this writing, the 40-minute tours go for about Eur 13 per person. I have totally no inclination to opera but found the tour interesting, mainly because of the exceptional architecture of the building. As a general tip, it would be wise to book tickets for the tour online. It is also possible to purchase tickets 30 minutes before the tour starts, subject to availability.
Prater Amusement Park
After a day filled with history and culture, it’s time for some fun at the Prater Amusement Park. Famous for its iconic Ferris wheel, the Wiener Riesenrad, the amusement park offers attractions for all ages. Take a ride on the historic carousel or challenge yourself on one of the roller coasters. With numerous food stalls and restaurants, it’s the perfect spot for a leisurely dinner as your day comes to a close.
Day 5: Vienna’s Museums
In Vienna, travelers might want to visit the Hundertwasserhaus, or relax at the Donauinsel, a large recreational area on the Danube River. Alternatively, check out the Museum Quarter, a complex housing no less than six museums, exhibition centers and offices dedicated to the artsy types.
I came here to visit a black, box-like building, the outrageous and sometimes shocking mumok, or Vienna’s Museum of Modern Art. The art works here change from time to time. At the time of my visit, the exhibition featured among other things, empty bottles and plates stuck on a canvas, a mutilated piano, a very detailed wax figure of a naked woman lying down and videos that bordered on the unspeakable. To see some truly weird stuff, Vienna’s mumok is a good place to start.
To get to Vienna International Airport from the city center, the fastest option is through the Vienna City Airport Train which takes just 16 minutes from Vienna Mitte Station. You can book tickets from Klook here.
Where to Stay in Vienna
Hotel Sacher Wien is something of an institution in Vienna’s hospitality scene. Aside from being built by the family that created the famous Sacher Torte cake, this property is also located just next to Vienna Opera House and close to many museums. The palatial feel of this luxury property is sure to impart a palpable imperial vibe with its grand chandeliers, elaborate wallpapers, antiques and paintings. For something more modern, the Andaz Am Belvedere is a totally contemporary affair with chic furniture and state-of-the-art inroom amenities. Be sure to book their corner rooms which come with full length windows across two sides.
Before leaving Prague and Vienna, it is essential to set aside some time for souvenir shopping. Here are some top spots to find unique and memorable gifts:
- Palladium Shopping Center: Located in the city center, this shopping mall offers a variety of high street brands as well as restaurants
- Manufaktura: Known for their traditional Czech craftsmanship, this store offers a range of handmade wooden toys, ceramics, and beauty products.
- Havelská Market: This historic market is an ideal place to find local food products, handicrafts, and souvenirs.
- Naschmarkt: This lively market sells everything from Austrian wines and chocolates, to unique arts and crafts.
- Freud Museum Shop: Perfect for fans of the famous psychologist, this museum shop offers a range of Freud-inspired gifts and souvenirs.
- Vienna’s Christmas Markets: If visiting during the holiday season, Vienna’s Christmas markets are an unforgettable shopping experience, offering traditional handicrafts, festive ornaments, and seasonal treats.
Tip: Use your Citi PremierMiles Card while in Vienna and Prague and earn 2 Citi Miles per S$1 spend in foreign currency.
How to Get There
There are no direct flights from Singapore to Prague or Vienna. However, you can easily fly in to Prague and fly out of Vienna from Singapore and other major Asian capitals with Qatar Airways. Voted as the World’s Best Business Class in 2023 by Skytrax World Airline Awards, Qatar Airways flies to Prague 10x per week and to Vienna 14x per week via Doha. Citi currently has a promotion where you can get up to 10% off Qatar Airways comfort/convenience and 7% off classic bookings. More information here. There is also a promotion with Trip.com with 50% off flights every Friday, capped at S$200 per transaction until 29th December 2023.
Until 13 October 2023, book your Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Korean Air or Thai Airways flights with Citi Mastercard and receive S$100 Fraser Malls e-vouchers when you spend a minimum of S$1,000. Check out more details of this promotion here.
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Accelerate Your Holiday Plans
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