The summer is officially here and while the temperatures in Prague are not as high as they may be in other places (anything over 30C/85F is considered a heat wave here), it can still get very hot in Prague, especially given that we have no benefit of sea breezes and the like.
Prague is the perfect walking city: everything is within walking distance and the hills offer some beautiful vistas, but in a scorching heat, you want to walk smart. Here are some tips that may help you survive the heat while still enjoying some great food and walking (mostly) in the shade:
The first trip looks like a visit to the Prague Castle, but it's not (reserve that for the night hours). Walking down from the Strahov Monastery, turn left to the New World area, one of the most beautiful corners of Prague in our book. Get some refreshments in the beautiful Novy svet cafe and then follow on to the "Deer Moat" in front of the castle, cool down in the pedestrian tunnel, sit on a bench. Walk down along the slopes to the Malostranska station and from there to the Kampa Island, passing some wonderful walled gardens on the right. Feel free to walk inside and rest there. Make a few snapshots of the opposite bank with the yellow penguins on the riverside, explore the Kampa museum located in the beautiful Sova's mills, tap the babies by David Cerny and just enjoy the lazy atmosphere of the park. Follow towards the Ujezd and rest at one of our favorite cafés in town - Café Lounge at the Plaska street (just look for the "Hunger Wall" banner).
Often missed by many travelers, Convent of St Agnes near the Hastalske square is a beautiful gothic complex that accommodates a minimalist exhibition of Czech and European medieval art from the National Gallery collections. After you're done exploring the Convent, cool down with a cold beer and a light snack at the Lokal restaurant nearby. Alternatively, you can have an updated Czech classic - an open-faced sandwich at the Sisters bistro (they do delicious daily soups, too), or have the fantastic meatloaf, burger or sausages at the Nase Maso butcher shop right opposite the hall. Finally, Sansho, one of our favorite restaurants in town, has a great outdoor seating for lunches (served until 3pm on weekdays - closed on Mondays) and serves fantastic Asian-fusion dishes, some of them lighter and thus perfectly suited for this weather.
Once you have eaten, take the 8 tram to the Urxova stop (or walk for about two miles) and have coffee at the air-conditioned Muj salek kavy cafe at the corner of the Krizikova and Saldova streets. You can literally spend the whole day there - in addition to coffee, they serve nice cakes, home-made lemonades, and ice-cream. On the other hand, you don't have to: you can just walk two blocks further to reach two great and fairly recent openings. Tea Mountain is currently our top pick for a tea room in Prague, and they offer fantastic, high-quality cold teas in the summer. Finally, if you want to spend a lazy, hot afternoon drinking wine, Veltlin, located right next door, has wines. And absolutely great, organic, Central European wines at that.
Another cool idea for the hot days to come is to go and just relax in a beer garden - you don't have to have a beer, of course. Instead, you can have Kofola, the Czech coke, for instance. On top of that, beer gardens tend to be integrated in parks, which offers the exciting possibility to just buy a beer and sit on a bench and enjoy the shade and views. Yes, life can be beautiful here in Prague.
Here are the three beer gardens that we would recommend: the Riegrovy sady beer garden, which can be found in the Vinohrady district. Many people buy beer into a plastic cup and go about 100 m from the garden to the park and enjoy the beautiful view of the centre, just sitting on the grass. Alternatively, have some craft beers and a great pulled pork burger at The Tavern on the edge of the park.
The second beer garden is at Letna, again with a great view. You can combine your visit with a visit to the National Technical Museum nearby. The best way to get there is to climb to the metronome above the Jewish Quarter and then turn right. You'll be there in about five to ten minutes. Finally, if you really want to avoid tourists and combine beer drinking with a great walk, visit Hospudka na hradbach within the Vysehrad fortress south of the centre. After the city cools down, just walk back down and head to the town on the riverside.
Last but not least, two tips: if the heat really gets to you, there is always ice-cream: we have posted about it recently here. And, even if ice-cream fails, you should definitely hide from the sun at one of our favorite independent movie theaters in Prague. It is always cool and nice there. We have blogged about them here. Have a great, cool day!