Yes, let's face it: this summer in Prague has been extremely hot so far, and is likely to remain so for at least the next week. It is hard to do anything in Prague in temperatures that reach 35C/95F: eat, walk, or even sleep. But that does not mean your vacation in Prague has to be ruined by great weather. No, we think you can use the heat to explore Prague in a slightly different way. Searching for shade can take to you places that are less exposed to tourism and more local. And that's not a bad thing. This is where we'd go.
Oh, the “Free Republic of Zizkov”. The Montmartre of Prague. No, this is not your daddy’s sightseeing district. It gets real in Zizkov. The district has always had a rough edge. Originally a workers’ district serving the booming industry of the 19th Century, it was seen as too hilly for high-quality architecture, and thus became home to cheaper developments with characteristic courtyards in the middle. And it has retained its edgy, working class feel until this day.
For most of the locals, Zizkov has become synonymous with Prague’s underground and classic beer pubs. This is a bohemian place that plays by its own rules, and a pub is never too far. Yes, Zizkov is definitely run down and probably not your first choice if you’re looking for a place to start a family, but it has its undeniable charm with vistas that oversee the cobbled streets and green areas. Most importantly, it can be a reality check and a more authentic alternative to the somewhat Disney-fied centre of the town that can be overrun by tourism. And today the lower rent and liberal attitudes have attracted younger crowds to move in and start new businesses. Zizkov is becoming alive again, and you can witness its rebirth in real time today. Here’s where we would go.
Here's a little video of our Prague Foodie Tour created by the lovely team of the even lovelier Soffa magazine. We had lots of fun with the Soffa girls, and we hope they had fun, too! If you'd like to read their interview with us, make sure you get your hands on their eighth edition now in print. We'll deny everything.
Letna, the district we love and recommend for a visit, has always been a place that attracted creative people. Heck, it’s the district that the National Gallery and the Academy of Fine Arts call home, after all. It is also the district of our rental apartment, so it must be good, right?
Recently, a small section of a small street in the middle of Letna has become a tiny hub for young creative types: the Veverkova street. A stretch of no more than 50 meters between the Kostelni and Milady Horakove streets accommodates a handful of places that offer fun shopping and eating opportunities. And because shopping and eating are two of our favorite things especially when we travel - and because Zuzi bought two Christmas presents for Jan there - we have to write about these venues. Some may be familiar, some may not. But they are all small, authentic and creative in their own right and create a sense of a small community.
OK, the winter may not be the best time of the year for a long walk, but honestly, the temperatures are not at all bad and if you wear an extra layer, you can see a part of the town that is not on the radar for most foreign visitors. If you've done all the major sights (and we're guessing you have) and wish to see something less crowded, one of the options is our home district, Prague 7. It isn't far and we think it offers a great variety of things to see and do. (And eat, too, don't worry - we know how hungry you can get after a walk, ok?)
Prague is so much more than just the Charles Bridge, the Prague Castle and the Old Town. We want you to see more of Prague so that you can bring home a much truer image of what Prague is and how people live here. Today’s Prague escape will take us to the Vrsovice district. Vrsovice always played second fiddle to the upscale Vinohrady district. But with the reputation of the Krymska street and the surrounding areas rising, it has recently become a hip place to be, boasting a communal spirit, restaurant days and many street events. And for a few hours’ trip outside of the tourist centre, Vrsovice with its parks and views is hard to beat. Here’s our Vrsovice itinerary:
Ahhh, we love Saturdays! Especially when the weather is nice and we did not stay up late the night before, Saturday morning is definitely one of our most favorite times of the week. We will reveal the secret of a great Prague Saturday morning: a visit to the farmers' market at the river embankment under the Vysehrad fortress! It's a great way to blend in with the locals, taste some great food and enjoy sights and places that only the locals (and now you) know about.