We have one rule whenever we travel: we visit the main sights early in the morning or late in the evening to beat the crowds, and see the other, more local things during the day. When we visit a city, we prefer to see how people live there today, and not necessarily how they lived there in the past. And Prague is no exception. Especially during the high season, we recommend getting up early, seeing the sights before all the other people get to see them, and then just walk and explore the surrounding districts. And the Karlin is a place you should not miss if you travel like us - it has a great local feel and great places to eat and drink. That is why we sometimes visit it with the guests of our Prague Foodie Tour and that is why we think it is worth a visit even during the off-season.
You know what they say: ”The best Czech wine is… beer.”
Of course, this is disrespectful of the beautiful Czech and Moravian wine production that we are so fond of, but the undeniable fact is that the Czech beer culture is one of the strongest unifying themes in the Czech national identity. While ”Czech Republic means beer” may sound as a cliché, it is mostly right. We Czechs actually do love beer and drink a lot of it. And the Czech beer culture is unique in several ways. Beer is to Czechs what wine is to the French - just walk into any restaurant and order their “house beer”, and it will be cheap and good. It’s the default beverage. A no brainer.
So you should have a beer in Prague. Make it several beers. Not having a beer in Prague would be a mistake even if you think you don’t like beer. Honestly, don’t diss beer until you had a tank Pilsner Urquell (more on that later) on a hot night. It might be a game changer. We know it has been for many guests of our Prague Foodie Tour. We’ve had many beer converts on our tours actually.
The following is a short guide to beer in Prague. Of course, this is in no way comprehensive or exhaustive - most travelers don’t spend more than three nights in Prague, so this mostly for them. The idea here is to get you introduced to the world of Czech beer and get some basic lay of the land, teach you what you should drink and where, what to look for and what to avoid in your Prague beer experience. So let’s do this! Na zdraví! (Which obviously means Cheers in Czech!)
In an ideal world, Hana would have been the first team mate we would have hired. We did talk about her joining us waaaay back when Taste of Prague was just Zuzi and Jan. But we don’t live in an ideal world, and Hana was not ready to leave the big law she was practicing at the time, just like Zuzi did a few years before. Fast forward five years later, and we are incredibly happy to welcome Hana to our small team. She will fit in like a glove - she loves food and other people’s company. She still does practice law a bit, though. (Remember, not living in an ideal world?)
There is something about Hana. She has a calming, soothing presence, and you just can’t help but feel good when she’s around. She’s a great listener with heaps of empathy, and when she talks, you listen. We also assume she hates being bored: she’s a well-travelled fan of food, wine and coffee, an avid skier who likes to bike and hike, and has a keen interest in architecture and urban planning. Oh yes, and movies. You know, the smart kind.
What we’re trying to say she’s busy. Or crazy. One of those two things. But never mind her schedule, she was super quick to give her tips for her five favorite places in Prague and five social media accounts, and not one, not two, but four (!) secret tips for Prague. But that’s just Hanna being Hanna. So here we go!
So the day has arrived and we are happy to announce the third itineration of what our moms, and the voices inside our heads, say is by far the best food guide to Prague - the Prague Foodie Map.
This version did not come easy to us. Originally scheduled “before Christmas”, it took us over half a year to finish. And let us tell you, a lot of things can happen in six months on Prague’s food scene, which has led to many, many, many rewrites. This was the first full version we wrote as parents, and in many way, the process showed. But at the end of the day, we feel that writing the guide as parents has added a completely new dimension that the guide lacked before. (And no, we’re not talking about sleep deprivation.)
Letna district is arguably one of the best places to live in Prague. It benefits from its location just across the river from the busy historical centre, which means you’re near it all if you want to, but not in the middle of it all if you don’t. Nestled in between two parks, the Letenský park and the Stromovka, the area is great for families: there’s always somewhere to go or something to do, and far from traffic, too. Also, the people of Letna create a lively, healthy community, as witnessed by the mayor of the entire Prague 7 district, who was voted in as an independent candidate of a purely local movement.
The Letna is spread over a hill and the plain at its top has always been a strategic point for military purposes. It was even used by Soviet helicopters that landed here during the 1968 invasion. Today, it is known for its relative affluence, a Bohemian feel with lots of art-related spots, incl. the National Gallery or the Academy of Fine Arts, and a plethora of independent galleries, and for the splendor of the ubiquitous 1930s Constructivist buildings.
It is also a great place to visit if you want to see something outside of the centre and just browse a few streets with the locals. Last but not least, Letna is the neighborhood of our awesome Prague rental apartment (if you’re reading this from the apartment now - because we set this as the load page on the computer's browser - welcome in Prague!).
Now, we have suggested a cool walk from Letna to the Holesovice district a while ago on this blog, but we thought Letna needed a closer look. Here’s our small guide to the neighborhood.
If you ask us, vacations start once you book the flights, and the joys of research start right away. Problem: today, you can Google pretty much everything, and information seem to contradict each other. Case in point: have you tried to google child vaccination? Yeah, exactly. The link you click the first will set you on a path through a rabbit hole, and you’ll end up no smarter after two weeks of research. Solution: you’re joking, right? When it comes to Prague research, we’re the solution. The following should set you on your path through the right rabbit hole. Oh, we mean Prague trip research.
Here’s the twelve things you should know before you travel to Prague.
Oops, we did it again. (Oh, this never gets old. Thank you, Britney.)
Yes, we’re happy to announce that the second, updated and improved edition of our Prague Foodie Map, our Prague food guide, is finally out. Our curated selection of the best restaurants in Prague, along with best coffee shops, bistros and bars in town.
The first edition sold out in less than six months (the recommendation in the Food & Wine magazine helped). The new, second and improved edition adds more tips and Prague travel advice, mostly based on two things: (1) our own travels, and (2) the most common questions that get asked on both of our Prague food tours.
We travel quite a bit, and if you’re following us on Instagram (if you don’t, drop everything and do it now), you know it’s mostly for food. And we’ve always wanted to have a reliable, honest guide for each city we travel to, written by a local foodie. With things that only make sense to taste, and nothing more. A guide devoid of cliches and stereotypes. With tips that get you outside of the beaten path. Basically a guide a local would endorse. So we wrote one for Prague. And now you can have it, too.
Calling an area this central “off the beaten path” can be quite daring, but we think the stretch of the Old Town between the National Theatre and the Charles Bridge can offer a truly authentic, local experience, with many venues frequented more by locals than foreign visitors. You see, most of Prague’s visitors move between the two bridges along the river bank, which surely is beautiful, but sadly bypasses some hidden, shady streets just a block away from the river that can offer some nice culinary and shopping opportunities.
And on top of that, this area, which takes the total of some 15 to 30 minutes to explore at a leisurely pace, is just utterly beautiful, with a nice, quiet atmosphere that can be enjoyed literally seconds from the madness that is the Charles Bridge. Just a few steps away, you have an area where you can fall in love with Prague all over again, have a breather or contemplate the day in some of the nicest cafes and bars in Prague, and talk to the owners of some of the nicest and cleverest shops in the entire city. What follows are our personal tips for the area.
Sure, we may run what we think are the finest Prague food tours, but that does not mean we don’t get asked about where to stay in Prague. We do our best to help by inviting our guests to send us a shortlist of the hotels or apartments they have chosen and then give them our two cents on each of their choices. We love to travel, so we like to think we’re in a good position to combine our local knowledge with some of our travel know-how.
With this post, we want to help you understand the different areas of Prague and their pros and cons. When we travel ourselves, we always look for a balance between easy accessibility to the centre of the town and getting a feel for what we think is a local, true, and interesting part of the city that we visit. So, we will be recommending areas along those lines. We will also throw in a few apartments and hotels we ourselves would like to stay in if we travelled to Prague. And yes, some of these recommendations will be based on our personal experience. (Which is gained when you do non-simultaneous house swaps, rent your own rental apartment and have to book a hotel in your own city because you promised someone to stay in your apartment while you're in Prague.) But don’t worry, we will not push our beautiful, awesome and super cool rental apartment in Prague that has no peers too hard. Oops.
The Vinohrady district is a place of many appeals. Originally a place for vineyards (which is what “Vinohrady” means, anyway), Vinohrady witnessed a population boom in the late 19th and early 20th century, becoming the fourth biggest town in the Czech Republic alone before it became a part of Prague in 1922. It is a district of affluence and beauty, with Art Deco houses and lush trees and beautiful parks overlooking either the centre or other parts of the city. It is also very popular among expats and young professional: it is very near the centre, but not directly in it, and it has nearly everything you’d want for a comfortable life. If you live in Vinohrady, there would be very few motives to move out of it.
And it is also a great place for other things: Vinohrady has probably the highest concentration of specialty coffee places in Prague: it actually boasts more good cafes than the central district. It is also a great place for Vietnamese, Mexican or Italian food, with some fancy fast food thrown into the mix. And the Jirak farmers’ markets can be a reason alone to move in. What to see, where to eat and what to drink? Here’s our Vinohrady neighborhood guide.