Ultimate Prague Blog

I’ve lived here for four months. It’s not enough. Not enough time to do and see and eat everything that Prague has to offer, but I tried to get pretty close. I ate cake at every cafe I could… just for you! For this guide to my favorite city on earth. This is the culmination of the adventures of a girl who is probably avoiding her homework and exploring a side street instead. Enjoy.

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Food

Czech food can be… Czech. Not really for the vegetarian or the faint of heart, these people love hunks of meat, cheese and LOTS of potatoes. But in case you don’t, I included some other options as well!

  • The Black Madonna
    • Famous cubist building with amazing cubist cakes
  • Lokal
    • Traditional Czech food (translation: hunks of meat and hunks of potatoes)
  • Creme de la Creme
    • The best gelato in Prague, the line is always long but worth the wait honestly
  • U Pinkasu
    • Traditional Czech food
    • Good to make reservations beforehand
  • Street Meat in Wenceslas Square
    • I lived on this cheap giant brats for a few months. They’re a great thing to grab while you’re exploring and also somewhat traditional Czech food (hunks of meat and hunks of potatoes)
  • Hany Bany
    • Super cheap and quick food
    • Cash only
  • Bageterie Boulevard
    • Fast food better than you’ve ever had in the US
  • Javarka and Co
    • Indonesian
    • Cash only
  • Pho U Letna
    • Vietnamese/Thai
    • Cash only
  • Chickn
    • American food for when you’re homesick!
    • Fried chicken, fries, mac and cheese

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Cafes

Cafe culture in Prague is my favorite. You can pretty much get coffee and cake almost any time of day with no judgement. My kind of people.

  • Mistral Cafe
    • Light lunch spot/cafe
      • Homemade iced mint tea
    • A little on the expensive side for a cafe but a nice environment
  • Mama Cafe
    • Study spot!
    • Interesting food options and younger, busier crowd
  • Cafe Plecnik
    • Favorite study/hangout spot
    • Iced coffee!
  • Grand Cafe Orient
    • Right above Black Madonna
    • They serve real food as well as light snacks and cakes
    • Cash only
  • Cafe Louvre
    • Favorite cafe in Prague
    • This super historical cafe was once the hot spot for the Czech avantgarde including writers, actors and politicians
    • Try the homemade gnocchi or any of the crepes! Also the hot chocolate which is served in the traditional sense of literally hot… chocolate. It’s life changing.
  • Cafe Slavia
    • I believe this is the oldest, still functioning cafe in Prague (dated 1884!)
    • Many influential individuals have sipped their coffee and enjoyed a cake here, including Vavlac Havel, the first prime minister of Czechoslovakia
    • Located right next to the River Vlatava and across the street from the National Theater, this was THE spot

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Things to Do

The best part? Most of these things are free! (or very inexpensive)

  • Tour of Town Hall in Old Town Square
    • This is where the infamous Astrological Clock is and also where several people have met their deaths being pushed out of the window for political reasons (this was actually a big thing in Prague, pushing people out of windows– be sure to ask your tour guide more)
    • The rooms are beautiful and it offers a unique look of medieval Prague and the history of this magical place.
  • Tour Prague Castle
    • Requires tickets
    • This is where the current prime minister of the Czech Republic still works and is a fully functioning government center
    • There’s an incredible gothic cathedral that’s spires can be seen for miles on top called the St. Vitus Cathedral
    • The gardens are free and can be wandered at your leisure
  • Kampa Gallery
    • Modern Czech art
    • This is a great chance to explore modern Czech culture which is quite alive in Prague as well as support local art
  • Museum of Communism
    • Learn more about the crazy history of the Czech Republic and central/eastern Europe as well as the difference between “communism” and a true communist regime
    • Tickets are required
    • This is one of the most informative museums I’ve ever visited and offers a true look at why this country is the way it is even today
      • For example, you may see a lot of PDA in Prague. Seriously, people will make out in the metro, on a park bench, in the middle of the sidewalk. This is a lasting impact of the communist regime and one of the few acts of rebellion the people could get away with. Culture is lasting.
  • Drink a beer at Letna Beer Garden
    • Cheap beer, incredible views
    • This is a spot locals frequent often. You’ll even see moms sipping a beer with their baby in a stroller on a nice Tuesday morning. Czech drink, they don’t get drunk.
    • One of the best views of the city and best beers in the city
  • Klementinum tour
    • This old monastery offers a beautiful baroque library as well as other incredible architecture and views of the city
    • Located conveniently next to the Charles Bridge
  • Buy souvenirs at Pragtique
    • My favorite trendy little store with souvenirs by local designers
    • NOT the tacky tourist stores with a bunch of postcards with Comic Sans font
      • ps. many of the souvenirs in those campy little shops are actually from Russia, not the Czech Republic ie. nesting dolls
  • Explore JZP
    • Hip, trendy area in Prague 3
      • Get off at the green metro line metro stop “Jiriho of Pobrady”
    • If you’re in the city for several days and want to see the more modern and realistic side of Prague, explore this hipster little area with cute cafes and perfect little Czech families playing in the parks
  • Climb Petrin Tower
    • Can buy tickets on the spot (~$4 for students)
    • This is a to-scale model of the Eiffel Tower in Paris that was built in Prague in 1891 to bring the city into the “modern age” with the rest of Europe
    • It offers an incredible look at the city and is a kind of funny token of modernism in the Czech Republic
    • You can walk up or take a funicular to the top as it’s quite the climb
  • Get drinks at The Dancing House
    • Take elevator to top floor and buy a drink to sit outside and look over the city
    • This iconic building was built in 1994 and designed by the Croatian-Czech architect Vlado Milunić in cooperation with Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry. It’s a tribute to the great Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, famous American dancers.
      • Fun fact: the building is located on the spot where Americans accidentally bombed Prague in 1945 during WWll, thinking it was Dresden, Germany.
  • Try the hot mulled wine
    • Especially if you’re here in the winter time!
    • This is one of my favorite Czech staples and a great way to try Czech wine produced away from Prague in the province of Moravia.
  • See an opera at the Estates Theater
    • Mozart’s Don Giovanni premiered here in 1787
      • The creepy statue out front of the theater is in homage to this opera
      • Mozart was not well appreciated in Europe at this time, but Prague loved him and he’s quoted as saying he wrote his operas for these people.
      • Don Giovanni still is performed here periodically, if you get the chance you should definitely see it (English subtitles are provided)

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Places to Go

These are the places you see on the Prague Instagram accounts and those drone travel videos on Facebook. They are not overrated.

  • Old Town Square
    • In the summer it’s filled with tourists but it’s still one of my favorite places because it showcases the eclectic architecture of Prague perfectly.
      • Go inside the Church of Tyn, my favorite church in Prague and also free!
    • In the square you can also see the statue of the great Jan Hus, an early reformer and critic of the Catholic Church (pre-dating Martin Luther by 200 years)
      • He serves as a symbol of dissidence and strength against oppressive regimes in Prague which one may notice is kind of a pattern for them
        • Fun fact: the Czech Republic is actually the least religious country in the world by several polls
  • Jewish Cemetery + Museum
    • Tickets required but such a cool experience
    • This ancient cemetery is essentially a pile of gravestones because as more people died, they simply buried them on top of one another
      • I love cemeteries (weird but) and this is probably my favorite I’ve ever seen
    • The museum is a great and moving tribute to the Jewish population in Prague which at one point was thriving and then completely demolished by the Nazi regime.
  • Wallenstein Palace and Gardens
    • Free!
    • Perfect to picnic + an perfect example of incredible Mannerist gardens
    • One of my favorite spots in Prague to enjoy a sunny afternoon, this spot is somewhat hidden behind large walls in Mala Strana (Old Town) and was once home to a wealthy military general (it’s actually bigger than the original Prague Castle as a snub to the monarchy at the time)
    • The palace is now home to the Czech Senate
  • Charles Bridge
    • Best in the early morning or evening because it’s less crowded
    • Amazing view of Prague!
    • Very touristy, if there was ever a spot to get pickpocketed, it is probably here
      • Otherwise Prague is super safe and I have never felt threatened once even late and by myself
  • Wenceslas Square
    • Lots of shopping including Bershka, Mango and Zara
    • Historical location of most political protests including the Velvet Revolution of 1989 as well as the newly reopened National Museum which houses a collection of all random things the Czech Republic has acquired through their evolution including shrunken heads and a giant whale skeleton
  • Petrin Hill
    • Great views of the city and the location of the Petrin Tower
    • Another perfect spot for an afternoon picnic
      • Fun fact: it is actually legal to drink publicly in most place in Prague. However, not near churches or on the metro so check before you do; we got a ticket once for this which is not my fondest of memories
  • Vysehrad
    • Super old church (Romanesque) on a hill with an amazing view
    • This is the original spot of the medieval rulers of the region. One of the oldest still standing buildings in Prague
    • It’s surrounded by a beautiful park you can explore as well located near a famous cemetery where many well-known Czechs are buried
  • Lennon Wall
    • Iconic, perfect for the classic Prague pic but also an incredible social message symbolizing the strife of the Czech people and that never ending search for peace on earth
    • Located in Mala Strana (Old Town), just follow the crowd of tourists to this iconic but crowded photo opp

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Night Life

Prague actually has a pretty wild nightlife scene. The beer is also way stronger (and better) here so enjoy responsibly!!!

  • Retro
    • Very clubby vibe
    • No cover for girls on Wednesdays!
    • Located near the Namesti Miru stop on the green line of the metro
  • Stalin Containall
    • An outdoor event on weekend nights during the summer by the Metronome where the infamous statue of Stalin used to stand before 1989
    • They sell beer from carts and it’s a true Euro grunge scene, probably one of my favorite things in Prague
  • Lucerna
    • Club atmosphere
    • Sometimes there are specific shows, check online first for tickets
      • 80s/90s night is my favorite! Usually on Fridays and sometimes Saturdays
      • Worth the 100 crown ticket
    • Also a historic building housing a theater and cafe as well
  • Bukowskis
    • Free sangria starting at 7 on Tuesdays until they run out
      • I don’t understand how it’s possible but it’s like… completely free, no strings attached. Go.
  • U Sudu
    • Underground cave-like bar located close to Wenceslas Square
    • Very smokey, prepare to wash all of your clothes immediately
    • A perfect pre-game spot especially with a more chill vibe before clubs
  • Dog Bar
    • Vzorkona is the real name but Americans just call it dog bar because… there are dogs there
    • Very chill and a much more Euro vibe
    • You load a card at the beginning with how much money you want to spend and then swipe your card when you order your drink which is pretty modern for Prague
    • This is very much a chill and young scene, probably my favorite bar in Prague
    • Sometimes there’s live music as well
  • Zazemi
    • An actual Czech student bar, no other Americans really which is always a good push out of your comfort zone
    • Live music most weekends which is really fun and everyone is just wanting to dance and laugh and have a good time
  • Duplex
    • Very clubby club
    • 300 crown cover (approximately 15 USD)
    • This bar has multiple floors and is definitely on the upscale side of clubs in Prague
      • Very fun but that’s all I remember honestly
  • Zizkovoska
    • Super cool grunge student bar where they have trivia once a month and jam sessions on Sunday nights (+ soup!)
    • The true Euro experience, you’ll probably be the only Americans there
    • I still don’t fully understand the soup thing but they have it and it’s good so eat

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Day Trips

All of these places are between an hour to three hours away from Prague by train! If you have an extra day or two these are fascinating places in the CZ.

  • Plzen
    • About an hour away, this is where the famous Pilsner Urquell is brewed!
    • Take the factory tour, you get a glass of unpasteurized beer from the barrel at the end which is amazing!
      • Fun fact: “pilsners” were invented here, NOT in Germany like you may think. Also the Czech Republic consumes the most beer per capita, again not Germany.
  • Karlovy Vary
    • A tiny historical town with shops, restaurants and hiking!
    • Located in what is called Czech Switzerland because of it’s abundance of nature and beauty
  • Kutna Hora
    • Home of the infamous “bone church” this is a creepy yet amazing little cathedral tucked away in Moravia
    • Seriously, google it; it’s a church made entirely of human bones of the victims of the Plague. The perfect symbol of a Czech stance on religion, death and art.
  • Karlstejn Castle
    • The second home of Charles the lV, a Gothic castle featuring a small chapel of religious relics on top (relics being bones, bodies, limbs, hair, etc. of deceased saints, promised to bring them back at the end of time)
    • This is a beautiful and more residential type of castle with a wealth of historic and sometimes creepy facts

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Other tips:

Czech peoples aren’t rude; they’re just reserved. Don’t expect strangers to return your smile or a cashier to act like he doesn’t despise you. And don’t take it offensively– it’s culture, not wrong or bad; just different.

Take the metro. Prague has one of the easiest public transit systems I’ve seen in Europe. It’s not expensive and is honestly an experience in itself. My favorite for people-watching.

You only need to tip up to 10% in the Czech Republic. Service industry employees make real livable wages here, not like in the US. If you feel like leaving a bigger tip than that you definitely can, but it’s not expected.

Dobry den. That means like “good day” in English and they will say that to you in every store or restaurant you walk into. It’s polite to say it back, even if it’s the only Czech you know!

Most restaurants you can go and choose a table on your own without waiting to be seated, unless there’s a sign that says otherwise. Just saving you from a few embarrassing moments when is everyone staring at you standing by the door and you don’t know why.

Go inside churches! One of my favorite things about Europe is most historic churches are open all day. These are beautiful examples of architecture and art, the perfect place to think/meditate + in the summer they are some of the only buildings that stay cool since they’re made of basically all stone.

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My ultimate advice for Prague? Take it in. Take in the fact that this was a land unvisited by tourists from over 50 years because it was hidden behind the Iron Curtain. Take in the fact that what you’re seeing now is as untouched by the western world as we will ever experience it again in our lifetime. Take in the fact that people live, eat, breathe and work here so respect that; this isn’t Disney World, this is their home. Take in the beer that made me change my mind about beer and the people that made me change my mind about people.

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To je Praha.

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