Sleeping in Airports

Prague Airport Layover Sightseeing

This article includes links to our travel partners at Tripadvisor, where you can read traveller reviews, book tours and plan your visit to Prague.

Prague Airport Layover Sightseeing
Photo Credit: PytyCzech / iStock

Called the City of a Hundred Spires, Prague is one of the smaller European capitals and abounds with stunning architecture and history. A compact tourist center makes this the ideal city for a fleeting visit since a lot can be seen relatively quickly. The city’s Václav Havel airport has excellent transport connections and is close enough to the city center to make sightseeing easy if you have a layover of six hours or more.

Airport Overview

Once known as Ruzynĕ, Václav Havel airport was renamed in 2012 to honour the last president of united Czechoslovakia and the man responsible for bringing democracy to the Czech Republic. One of the largest airports in east and central Europe, Václav Havel, has modern amenities and is open and spacious. However, with only two main passenger terminals, walks between gates are short. You’ll find free WiFi, various passenger lounges, and various food and drink options. But with the centre of Prague just over half an hour away, there’s no reason not to do a little sightseeing on a more extended layover. Check out our Prague Václav Havel Airport Guide for more information on the airport.

Prague Sightseeing Attractions

Below are a few of the top things to do in Prague:

The Royal Route/Silver Line Tour (Self-guided)


Royal Route
(photo credit: josefkubes / Shutterstock)


Because Prague’s historical center is so compact, seeing a little bit of everything is possible. The easiest way to do this is by following the Royal Route (also known as the Silver Line). This was traditionally the route that Czech kings took to be crowned at Prague’s St. Vitus Cathedral, and it passes most of the significant Prague landmarks. Beginning at the Powder Tower at the city’s Municipal House, the route takes you through the old town and the Jewish quarter before turning and crossing the Charles Bridge and continuing up to Prague Castle and the Cathedral. Along the way, you’ll see small silver disks with the words “silver line” emblazoned on them cemented into the sidewalk, so getting lost isn’t an option! The perfect way to see all Prague has to offer is the Royal Route, which can be done in part or as a whole, and if you have plenty of time, feel free to make a few stops along the way.

  • Time Required: The entire route is 2.5 km (about 1.5 miles) from start to finish and takes around an hour and a half with no stops. From the Powder Tower, turn your back to the main street and walk down Celetná Street to spot your first “silver line” disk, then follow the trail. Be aware that this timing does NOT reflect the time to travel from the airport.
  • How to Get There: Check out this Google Map for public and private transport options from Václav Havel airport to the Powder Tower. Note that you must walk from the metro station to the beginning of the tour.
  • Plan Your Visit: Visit Tripadvisor for more information, book a tour or read traveller reviews.

Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral

Prague Castle
(photo credit: duchy / Shutterstock)

Prague Castle and its connected cathedral dominate the Prague skyline. Situated on top of a hill in the city’s Little Quarter (Mala Strana) and a UNESCO world heritage site, the castle is the official residence of the Czech president. The castle is a large complex, rather than a single building, consisting of halls, small alleys and lanes, and the large Cathedral of St. Vitus at its heart. You can freely tour most of the complex without a ticket, though if you want entry to any of the buildings, the cathedral, or Golden Lane (a street of tiny houses now turned into shops), you’ll need to buy a ticket. Construction commenced on the St. Vitus Cathedral in 1344 by Charles IV, and the cathedral is now the largest in the Czech Republic. The cathedral is the burial place of saints and notables and the coronation site for Czech kings. It is famed for its architecture and stained glass windows. Guided tours of the castle, cathedral, and grounds are available but are unnecessary. You can pick up a free guide map at the ticket office and show yourself around.

  • Time Required: Travel time from the airport is around 40 minutes. Official tours last anywhere from one to three hours, depending on what you opt to see. If you’re self-guiding, allow at least an hour to see the castle grounds (no ticket necessary) or at least two hours if you wish to visit some of the buildings.
  • How to Get There: Check out this Google Map for information on public and private transport options and times from Václav Havel airport. Be aware that the castle can be approached from the front or the rear. The front approach, however, involves a relatively steep climb up a hill unsuitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs.
  • Plan Your Visit: Visit Tripadvisor for more information about visiting Prague Castle, book a tour or read traveller reviews.

Old Town Square (Staromĕstské Námĕstí)

old town square prague
(photo credit: QQ7 / Shutterstock)

Old Town Square is the heart of old Prague, and aside from beautiful architecture, you’ll find plenty to occupy yourself with here. In the middle is a statue dedicated to protestant martyr Jan Huss, and the south side of the square is dominated by the 14th-century Gothic Church of Our Lady Before Týn (the burial place of astronomer Tycho Brahe). However, the Astrological Clock (Prague Orloj) is the biggest tourist attraction here. Built in 1410, this is the oldest Astrological Clock still in operation. On the hour, the bells of the Old Town Hall chime, accompanied by the robotic dance of various figures representing life and death. You’ll also find the house where author Franz Kafka was born and plenty of restaurants, shops, and a few smaller museums. Beware of the restaurants on the central square, which are renowned for high tourist prices; slipping down a side street to eat will save you a few precious Czech Crowns. During Christmas and Easter, the square becomes home to a large craft and souvenir market, which can get crowded.

  • Time Required: The trip is around 40 minutes from the airport, and how much time you spend in Old Town Square is really up to you. Plan for at least an hour to allow you to see the Astrological Clock chime.
  • How to Get There: For information on how to get to Old Town Square, check out this Google Map. The square can get very crowded both in the height of summer and around Christmas time, so be prepared to battle the crowds.
  • Plan Your Visit: Visit Tripadvisor for more information about visiting the Old Town Square, book a tour or read traveller reviews.

Charles Bridge (Karlův Most)

Charles Bridge
(photo credit: mapman Shutterstock)

Perhaps the most iconic landmark of Prague is the Charles Bridge. Begun in 1357 under the auspices of Charles IV, the bridge spans the river Vltava, connecting the Little Quarter (mala strana, where Prague Castle is located) to the Old Town (staré město). The 621-metre stone bridge is lined with statues, buskers, and souvenir stalls, and each end is capped with a tower. A stroll across Charles Bridge is the high point of most people’s visit to the capital and is especially recommended early in the morning or late at night when the crowds have gone home. It would be best if you were on the lookout for a couple of things. The eighth statue on your right (as you’re looking towards the Castle) is St. John Nepomuk; rubbing the statue’s plaque is said to guarantee a return visit to the city. Also, on the right side of the bridge (looking towards the Castle), you’ll find a small golden cross about a third of the way along. Placing your hand on this cross is said to grant you any wish you please. Prague is renowned for its pickpockets, and Charles Bridge is one of the most significant danger zones, so watch your pockets and bags carefully here, and try not to carry valuables.

  • Time Required: The trip from the airport takes around 40 minutes or so, and the bridge takes about twenty minutes to cross (primarily due to crowding). Be prepared to spend more time if you’re souvenir shopping or simply taking pictures.
  • How to Get There: This Google Map will show directions and transport options to get to Charles Bridge from Václav Havel airport.
  • Plan Your Visit: Visit Tripadvisor for more information about visiting the Old Town Square, book a tour or read traveller reviews.

Airport Transportation

There are two options to get you from Václav Havel airport to the city center.

  • Taxi – Taxis leave from the front of both passenger terminals. Be aware that Prague has a problem with unlicensed cabs (though this is less of a problem at the airport than on the street), so ensure that your taxi has a meter switched on before departing.
  • Public Transit – Though there are plans to extend Prague’s metro system to the airport, these have not come to fruition so far. In the meantime, the Airport Express bus transfers travellers from the airport to the Prague Main Railway Station. Tickets on the Airport Express are not valid on other public transportation. Tickets can be bought inside the airport terminal (Arrivals) or from the bus driver. Take the metro in the direction of Depo Hostivař to reach either of the centrally located metro stops (Staromĕstská or Můstek).

Before You Go: Layover Tips

Now that you are motivated and excited about your mini layover vacation, check a few final logistical concerns off your list before you fully commit.

  • Do you need to organize a visa to leave the airport? Requirements change frequently and for each nationality, so be sure to seek out current details on the availability, cost, and procedures of obtaining a transit visa.
  • When is your next flight’s check-in time? Double-check with your airline exactly when you need to be at the airport – and plan your layover accordingly.
  • What are security wait times like at the airport? Some airports are notorious for extended security wait times, so research in advance and factor that into your overall time budget.
  • What’s happening with your luggage? When you check in to your first flight, confirm whether your luggage is checked through or needs to be picked up between your connecting flights. Check out our Václav Havel Prague Airport Guide for information about luggage storage.

Other Useful Resources

Finally, here are a few handy resources to help you plan your layover even more thoroughly: