Vienna Prague Day Trip. From Vienna to Prague it is little more than 250 km. Some busy Europe travellers visit Prague from Vienna in a day. If you have the same plans make sure you are perfectly organised to get the most out of your day. I joined a guided day trip by coach to find out how Prague shaped up in a mere couple of hours. (If you prefer small groups, consider this boutique day trip from Vienna to Prague.) Here is my review.
Vienna Prague Day Trip Review
Vienna Prague Day Trip. I knew Prague had a spectacular historic architecture. My biggest concern was the 2 x five-hour journey. If the transfer was bad, it would turn into a liability on my ‘total experience’ account, with just four hours of fairy tale town left on the ‘plus’ side.
The coach driver chose the scenic route, travelling through the countryside. The alternative was the highway via Brno, a detour that hardly saved you time. It didn’t take long to find out that at least half the journey was a worthy experience in itself.
A dozen of Moravian villages played curtain raiser to Czech history and culture: Traditional and modern dwellings embracing churches with onion shaped towers; orchards with gnarled pear trees surrounding small farms; corn and wheat fields separating the villages; I particularly loved cutting through occasional patches of woodland.
If you know Vienna you will notice how much Znaim’s houses at the Moravian border resemble Vienna’s. All along the way Viennese tour guide Claudia chipped in with short snippets of information on the regional history and culture.
We took a mid morning break in a good highway restaurant some 40 min before Prague. The idea was to get us up and walking with local tour guide Jan right upon arrival. He joined us in the Prague suburbs, taking over the English speaking group, while Claudia managed the French speaking travellers. We headed straight for the Hradschin castle district on the hill. The subsequent city walk was all down hill.
Guided Prague City Walk
Vienna Prague Day Trip. The city walk was laid out as an orientation tour to make us familiar with key highlights and history. This made it easy to mind map the old town later on in our free time.
Our route was laid out along the key landmarks of Prague. The coach drove up the steep hill to the castle, to give us a downhill run during our tour.
We started with landmarks St. Vitus church and Hradschin castle, Hradschin square with its lovely view of the Mala Strana (‘small side’ in Czech) quarter and the Old Town across the Moldova river.
1,100 years, together with milestones and key facts, followed us past gorgeous palaces and churches, Medieval town houses and baroque façades.
What kept me fascinated as a Viennese: Our views weren’t destroyed by a single post-war purpose built block (unlike in Vienna). While the Medieval and Renaissance buildings preserved a unique character the power of the Habsburg Empire materialised in baroque churches and houses – they just had that old Vienna and Salzburg feel.
We crossed St. Charles bridge, all the way diving through waves of fellow travellers from all parts of the world, with Jan’s signature black fan dancing on top of them.
On the other side of the bridge, our group of 50 walked past splendid historic monastery/library and university of Klementinum , baroque St. Nicholas Church and up to the Town Hall Square and Estate Theatre.
As during the coach trip, I had wished for more historic anecdotes and contemporary references (post fall of Iron Curtain) to help our brains soak up the facts and position Prague firmly in the 21st century.
Free Walk Through Prague
Vienna Prague Day Trip. Claudia and Jan had ring fenced the last 100 minutes to give us free time. I headed straight for the next Trdelnik stand and bought a large tube of crispy sweet dough, a traditional delicacy originating from Slovakia: Never have it filled with Nutella while on the go in a non-brown dress…
I love Austro-Bohemian writer Franz Kafka but found his museum was a little far off from where I was at the time.
Instead, I walked up historic Powder Tower (see photo), took a closer look at the Old Town Square and adjacent district and focused on the many Art Nouveau gems in town, such as the concert hall.
When I visit Prague next time, I’ll definitely visit the Klementinum complex to fully dive into European art history. Bottom line, be clear about how you want to spend your precious 100 minutes: you can visit a city centre museum or the Old Town Hall, too, simply hang out for a late lunch or do some shopping.
At 4.00 pm we headed back from Wenceslav Square towards Vienna, landing there at 9.00 pm after a 40 min stop at shopping outlet Excalibur.
NOTE: I was invited by the tour operator. All opinions expressed are my own.
Vienna Prague Day Trip. Are you not a coach person? You can travel in a group of maximum eight people from Vienna to Prague. A local Viennese boutique tour operator will take you in one of their Mercedes mini vans on a day trip. I know some of their driver guides – they frame your whole experience in a completely different way than the common tour guide can. You will learn about local history through interesting contextual references and memorable anecdotes. On top, the quality local city guides connect you with the local zeitgeist, from popular culture to current affairs and business. Additional sweetener for an early morning start: you will be picked up from your central Vienna hotel. Bottom line: You will see the same things as with the coach group but gain a VERY different experience. Learn more about this boutique day trip from Vienna to Prague.
Vienna Prague Day Trip. If you have more than one day to spend for Prague, go for it. There is so much to see and learn there. The most comfortable way is to book a private transfer from Vienna to Prague. All car journeys take about five hours as they tend to take the same routes.
Find out more about the Day Trip from Vienna To Prague.