Trips out of Prague

Our Tokyo trip

Our Tokyo trip

When we were planning the trip to Tokyo, we were approaching our stay with respect and a bit of caution. We were intimidated by the different culture, the impenetrable language and rigid customs. Having spent nearly a week in Tokyo, we must say the respect has grown, while the caution disappeared. We absolutely loved our stay in Tokyo. Staying in Tokyo gets you the thrill and excitement of seeing something new and different, and none of the intimidation of seeing something new and different.  

When we were planning our three-week Asian trip, we've reserved one week for Tokyo. What a mistake. We really would love to spend more time in Tokyo, and venture out into other Japanese cities, too. Oh well. Don’t repeat our mistake. If you’re planning a trip to Tokyo, reserve the time the city deserves. We’ve already promised ourselves we would be back. 


Tasties on the Road: Helsinki

Tasties on the Road: Helsinki

Oh, Helsinki. We spent about four days in Helsinki, and it was not enough. We’ll say it right at the beginning: we loved our short stay. We had very little expectations coming in. (Your standard stereotypical stuff: Finnish design, long summer nights, cold, Marimekko, Mika Häkkinen, Matti Nykänen, Ittala, Tom of Finland.) One thing was sure: we would not understand absolutely anything. And you know what? It proved to be absolutely right. If you’re a European, you kinda expect to understand at least something when you travel abroad. Not in Finland. That said, English is widely spoken on the streets and in the restaurants. And the people are friendly.


Our Paris Trip

Our Paris Trip

It's official. We love Paris. But it took us a while and a few visits to get there, and we did have a rocky relationship with Paris: on one hand, it is clearly one of the most beautiful cities anywhere. On the other hand, we always had some kind of experience in Paris that made us less appreciative of its beauty. Like getting our iPhone grabbed from your hand on the street, followed by a running chase, followed by a police chase, for instance. (The police chase was actually kinda cool.) But we have kept coming back and always gave the city of lights another chance. 

Coming from Prague, the sheer size of Paris can get overwhelming: a single week is not enough to even begin to understand how big the city is and how different the districts are. Throughout our visits, we have noticed a shift. At the beginning, we saw parallels between Paris and Vienna: the Belle Epoque charm, the monumental palaces and so on. During our later visits, and as we gravitated towards Marais as our district of choice, we have started to see similarities to Berlin: bright New Balance sneakers, fixie bikes, baristas that look like ZZ Top roadies and Australian university drop-outs. Yes, Paris has turned hipster. And we kinda like that. 


Things to do and where to eat in Vienna, according to us

Things to do and where to eat in Vienna, according to us

We have a confession to make: we have this secret competition with Vienna. Many of the guests who join our food tours visit Prague and then continue to Vienna and Budapest, or start in Budapest and get to Prague via Vienna. And we always want them to enjoy Prague more than Vienna. (Budapest, you’re cool.) We don’t know what it is. Maybe because the people and the culture are so similar. We just feel this rivalry and we cannot put our finger on it.


Our Prague to Vienna Trip

Many of our guests come from overseas and in addition to Prague, they also want to see other Central European capitals, especially Vienna and Budapest. Some of them have the comfort of a rented car, which gives you a bit more freedom and the opportunity to see something else than just cities. And if you are traveling from Prague to Vienna (or vice versa), the trip gives you a great opportunity to taste some great Moravian wines (at least for those not doing the driving) and to meet some great Moravian people, too.

And because we want you to travel like locals, we give you our model route when we travel from Prague to Vienna. You do not have to visit everything but in any case we recommend that you make a day out of your Prague-Vienna travel. You don’t have to rush (and when you take the D1 Pague-Brno highway, you won’t anyway - you’ll see when you get there) but instead enjoy some countryside in addition to the cities you will visit.

EMA Espresso Bar, Prague

Our Moravian trip always starts with good coffee. EMA opens at 8am, which is reasonable, and we always get coffee to go (cortado for Zuzi, flat white for Jan) and a sweet bun, just like “Honza”, the proverbial hero of many Czech fairytales when he left his humble home to slay the dragon.

Villa Tugendhat, Brno

If you want to see this marvel of late 1920s architecture, you should stop reading this, go to their site and book now. Because it may already be too late: they tend to be fully booked for months ahead. However, our experience has shown that their booking system is not the last resort. If they are fully booked, try to call them and ask directly. (And if they are still fully booked, try to call again in a week.) They may actually have some spots available. In any case, this is the villa to see if you love modern architecture: Villa Tugendhat offers some great views, spaces and history behind them. Even if you decide to see the villa without a reservation, you can visit the garden and see the villa from the outside.

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Lunch in Brno

Despite the slight rivalry between the two towns, we actually love Brno - the capital of Moravia - and its friendly, laid-back atmosphere. Brno is also home to a few foodie places we would love to have in Prague. For a lunch on a budget, we recommend Castellana Bistro, Ruzova slepicka, Bistro Franz and Ebisu. While the former three are popular local bistros with daily specials, the latter very simple serves Japanese fare.
For an upscale lunch, head over to Koishi, Pavillon or Forhaus. Il Mercato is a sister restaurant of Aromi and La Finestra in Prague and serves Italian cuisine. Koishi serves lunch specials and focuses on fish and Asian fusion. Pavilon offers a fantastic, airy and light space in the central park and also offers quite nice lunch specials. Finally, the cooking at Forhaus pays tribute to the Austro-Hungarian tradition (think schnitzels, goulash etc.) and their outdoor seating is really nice.

The smartest Prague food tours. Cool rental apartment. Awesome pocket wifi device. We’ll turn your Prague trip up to eleven.

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Industra Coffee

We absolutely love this place. Housed in an old industrial park, Industra Coffee (part of the Industra gallery) is very hard to find but when you do, you’ll reap the rewards: excellent coffee, English-speaking staff (both co-owners used to be baristas in London) and a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. You will not want to leave. At least we don’t.

Sonberk

No other winery offers a stunning view of the Palava hill like Sonberk. It is a larger winery but the wines are still pretty good, especially the Rieslings and the Palavas (the latter is a Czech crossing of aromatic grapes). If the weather is great, we can spend a lazy afternoon on the wooden terrace overlooking the vineyards, the ponds and the Palava hill. 

Krasna Hora

A beautiful small winery in the Stary Poddvorov village. The winery building is beautifully integrated in the vineyard and we already plan to retire there (shhhh, the owners do not know yet). You can skip the lunch in Brno and instead call ahead and ask the lady of the house to prepare a cold spread for you. It’s all delicious, and Mr Vybiral, the husband and winemaker, will help you with the wines and share his views on just about anything.

Velke Bilovice

It is a telling sign of the size of the winemaking in Moravia when the biggest winemaking village, Velke Bilovice, sports 2,000 acres of vineyards... and 700 winemakers. We recommend that you drive to "Velke Bilovice - sklepy" where the wine cellars, some of them centuries old, are nested one next to each other under leafy trees. Drive beyond the cellars to see the real vineyards and the "Na hradistku" chapel. The view is nothing short of stunning. 

Mikulov

We never miss a chance to visit Mikulov, dubbed “A bit of Tuscany in Central Europe”, on our way to Vienna. As a former seat of both the Cardinal and Moravia’s Regional Rabbi, the history of this picturesque small town just breathes at you. During Communism, the locals would go to the top of the hill to “have a look at the West”, while the recently expelled Sudeten Germans were looking from behind the nearby Austrian border to have a look at their former place of residence. Unlike many other small countryside towns, Mikulov does not suffer from brain drain and is full of lively cafes and small galleries.  

Cafe Fara

This little gem of a cafe and restaurant in the Klentnice village is hardly a secret: the former parish is one of the most popular stops for many cyclists cruising the wine country, and for good reason: the kitchen grows its own vegetables and herbs and puts emphasis on using local ingredients, and you will not get better coffee within a 30-mile radius. Add the great view and the lovely courtyard and you have a winner. 

People on Caffeine

After the long drive, the food (and for some, the wine), we need a serious coffee fix. And there is no better place for us to have coffee in Vienna than People on Caffeine, the wonderful small cafe run by our friend Robert. This is not amateur hour: Robert has represented Austria in the World Barista Championships and will prepare anything from a tasty flat white to drip coffee. On top of that, he's a really nice guy and it shows in the café and in the kind of regulars he gets. One of our must-visits in Vienna.