When people ask me where I come from, I usually say Prague. Most people around the world have an idea where Prague is, and I prefer to say that, rather than getting into a long discussion about Czechoslovakia. Prague is the city where I grew up, Prague is where I have spent most of my life and Prague is the place that comes to mind when I am feeling homesick.
Prague is a pretty good place to call home, it’s a beautiful city with a rich history and lively cultural life and it’s never too difficult to get international friends to come visit you. Even when you are not in Prague, as is the case for me right now, friends and acquaintances always ask for tips and recommendations for things to do. For most travelers, Prague is just one of their stops on a longer Euro–Trip (fun fact – the whole movie Eurotrip was filmed in Prague!), they tend to only spend a couple of days there and they want to make the most out of it.
I have put together a quick guide to Prague specifically for this purpose, so here you go: how I would recommend spending your time in Prague if you only have a couple of days. There will be a few of bonus activities, in case you happen to have a little more time on your hands.
Morning activities – I strongly recommend visiting these sights as early in the morning as possible. There will be less tourists and beautiful light to take photos.
Charles bridge and Kampa park – out of this world beautiful part of Prague that you have probably seen pictures of, however, not pictured are hordes of tourists that flood into these areas…so make sure to get up early and beat the crowds. Kampa is also home to my favorite modern art gallery in Prague – Kampa museum
Old town square – the main square with the astronomical clock, also gets ridiculously crowded during the day and even worse at nights… You can actually go up to the tower above the astronomical clock, the view is pretty impressive.
Nice places for breakfast – if you want to treat yourself after getting up early
Cafe lounge (right next to Kampa park, very close from Charles bridge) – excellent coffee and a nice breakfast menu everyday
Cafe Savoy – go there if you want to splurge on a fancy breakfast and enjoy beautiful art deco decor, it’s very close from Kampa as well
Bakeries – Czech people love their bread and sweets! In the less touristy parts of the city, each neighborhood has a couple of old school bakeries, they are called “Pekarna” with very affordable breakfast goods, I would recommend this one: Vaclavska Pekarna
Prague Castle – not many tourists know this but you can walk through all the courtyards of the Prague castle at night, it does not close, it is beautifully lit and very quiet. Nearby is a very large park – Petrin – one of my favorite places in Prague with great views of the city. It’s actually a huge fruit tree orchard, where the public can pick apples and cherries…or take picture of trees in blossom. May is the peak time for that…
Letna park – park on top of a small hill in the city center, you get an amazing view of the city and there is a nice beer garden – night activity on warm summer nights and a nice place for an afternoon walk when the beer garden season is over
Naplavka – area by the river with lots of bars, live music and a hipster crowd – definitely worth checking out – this area has become super popular in the last couple of years both among locals and tourists
Prague has an amazing café culture! It did not always use to be that way but in the last couple of years, Prague got a couple of great coffee roasters and new cafes are popping up on every corner. Espresso based drinks are the most popular option in Prague cafes, so ordering a cappuccino is usually your best bet.
My favorite cafes in Prague not only serve delicious flat whites but they also offer a cozy space to spend some time chatting with friends, reading a good book and enjoying some people watching. These are the places I always like to come back to:
Mama coffee – one of the older coffee establishments in Prague and I believe they were the first ones to offer fair trade coffee in Czech Republic! They have multiple branches around this city but this one is my favorite…the space is beautiful, full of light, there is always a small photo exhibit, their carrot cake will put all other carrot cakes to shame and recently they also added a vegetarian lunch menu.
Original coffee – if I had to pick just one place to have coffee in Prague, I would probably go with this one – their baristas are amazing! When I was living in Prague I was a frequent customer – for long coffee dates & to buy beans – seriously, these guys are the best. I really like their drip coffee.
Tricafe – delicious coffee just steps away from the Charles Bridge, tucked away on a little side street. They rotate coffee beans from different roasters around Europe. The space feels like someone’s living room, the owners are super friendly and they have very original cakes and sweets! Shortly after opening they became one of the top places in Prague on trip advisor and it’s well deserved, I love coming back to this place, my favorite thing to order is a flat white and their poppy seed cake.
Kavarna Čekárna – great café with a beautiful back yard patio, perfect to spend a full day there in the summer…very close to Vysehrad, their flat white will definitely provide enough energy to climb on top of the hill.
Kavarna pod lipami – another café that serves mama coffee beans, located in a residential area by Letna Park, cute front patio.
I need coffee – small café with a great design and huge windows – perfect for people watching.
Kavarna v ruzove – tiny café in a hustle and bustle part of the city, near Vaclavske namesti.
Bonus activities if you have a little more time
FARMERS MARKETS: Prague has amazing and affordable farmers markets – I usually go there to stock up on fruits and veggies but they also serve ready made food. They are perfect for picking up some picnic foods, there is always a coffee stand or two and sometimes even live music. They only take cash!
Obviously this is more fun to do in the summer but they run most of the year, just check their website.
Option 1: Saturday 8am – 2pm – Naplavka , same place as hipster bars area (if you take a tram, get of at Vyton stop)
Option 2: Wednesday, and Friday all day, Saturday mornings – Jirak – really cool area, also worth going there, very close to city center but more residential, you get there by metro (Jiriho z Podebrad stop)
LESS TOURISTY PLACES TO GO:
Jiriho z Podebrad and Vinohrady neighborhood – popular expat neighborhood with tree lined streets that is slightly removed from the tourist attractions, there is an awesome farmers markets as I mentioned above, couple of nice cafes, really interesting modern church, the spaceship-like TV tower (you can go up…but its not that great) and Riegrovy sady park.
Bistro for a modern take on czech food- Sisters Bistro – little open faced sandwiches with lots of different toppings, highly recommended, perfect as a lunch spot.
Nase maso – the direct translation is “our meat” – they serve meet in all forms, they have amazing burgers but they also make steaks, sausages etc from the best local ingredients, since its a more of a bistro than a sit down restaurant its pretty affordable but you might need to wait for a while to get seats
Vegetarian foods – Czech cuisine is all about meats and creamy sauces but there are a couple of good veggie options Lehka hlava & Maitrea – you can even try veggie versions of traditional czech dishes…just don’t tell any Czech people, it can’t be real deal without a pound of meat
Nota Bene – possibly my favorite sit down restaurant in Prague – small menu of mostly seasonal ingredients, always changing offering of beers from local microbreweries
This list of places should keep you busy for a couple of days! There is much more to see and do in Prague – lots of small and interesting art galleries, more residential neighborhoods where you wont see any tourists and lots of good options for day trips…I will definitely post more about Prague in the future.