Prague is absolutely gorgeous, relatively cheap, and very walkable, which made for a great week of exploring and eating. We stayed in a newly renovated Airbnb in Prague 2 (or Vinohrady) a bit outside the city center, a district we definitely recommend if visiting for more then a couple of days. Prague 2 has great restaurants, nice parks, and more of a neighborhood feel, where Prague 1 is busy and packed with tourists in the downtown area. Another benefit of Vinohrady are its views of the Prague Castle which we took full advantage of a few times at Riegrovy Sady, a big park fit with a couple restaurants and a nice beer garden that had the Olympics on during the day and played american comedies in english at night!
Our first day started with a nice walking tour and we were amazed by the eye candy around Old Town Square. Everywhere we looked stood a beautiful building, church, monument or statue. For the GoT fans out there, it kind of reminded us of King’s Landing. We almost missed our tour because of the crowd gathered around the Astronomical Clock patiently waiting for the “show” that happens at the top of the hour. At the time, we weren’t sure what was going on but decided to take a video anyway. According to our guide it’s the second most disappointing tourist attraction in all of Europe with the first being the Mona Lisa – our short video validates what she told us. We learned that unlike some of the other cities we’ve visited, Prague was fairly untouched during the wars so many of its landmarks and attractions are in their original state. On the tour we visited the Jewish Quarter that used to be considered a ghetto but is now one of the most expensive areas of town. We also saw the street named after Franz Kafka who was well known for his unique and bizarre writing style, which is where the term “Kafkaesque” comes from.
Another day we checked out Charles Bridge named after Charles IV the King and ruler of the Holy Roman Empire, and also went up to the massive Prague Castle on the other side of the Vitava River which divides the city. The bridge itself is a big attraction lined with 30 baroque style statues, and is loaded with artists, vendors, and tourists. We didn’t go inside the castle, but got some great shots of the city from the grounds. We also stopped by the John Lennon Wall and painted ouronewayticket hashtag (#OOWT) on it next to many other images and messages left by other visitors. We also saw some of the Euro Pride parade that was making its way through the center of the city!
Jenn was set on attending a classical music concert while in Prague since its known for having a number of world famous orchestras and venues. After some research, we decided to go to our first opera instead called Don Giovanni. It was playing at The Estates Theatre, the same venue that Mozart debuted the show in 1787! The inside of the opera house was beautiful, and the show was great despite the fact our Italian isn’t up to par.
The food in Prague is outstanding. Its cheap, delicious and some of the best we’ve had! Our Airbnb host filled us in on the food scene and recommended that we take advantage of the great cuisine at very low prices. We took his advice and on our first night we ate authentic Czech food at U Bulínů only a few minutes walk from our place. The food was good and hearty especially the Czech Goulash stew, which we washed down with a couple of Pilsner Urquell’s, one of the major national beers. After our tour we had dinner at another authentic Czech restaurant in Prague 1 – Mlejnice Zatecka. It’s known for the pork knee so we ordered it and left happy that we decided to split the massive thing. One of our favorite places for dinner was a little underground tapas spot in our neighborhood called Kofein. It had the best, if you can believe this, greek salad we’ve ever had! They used heirloom tomatoes and added warm, grilled feta over the top. Every single dish we had there during our two visits was excellent and we left both times for around $40 (or 1,000 Czech Crowns), including bottle of wine and tip! We had a quick, pre-opera dinner at Kogo not knowing how good it would be. We stopped there because it was around the corner from the theatre and were delighted by the service and food, especially the spaghetti bolognese and minestrone.
We also visited Strahov Monastery Brewery on the other side of the river to try some of the highly recommended beer made by the monks there. We were told it’s the only place you can drink their brews, so we made the trek uphill to the Monastery to give them a try. We had a taste of all five, two of which were summer seasonal’s and they were great. Well done by the monks! After our beer tasting, we walked back down toward the river and had a glass of wine at a cool little wine bar called Vinograf. For dinner we went next door to Lokal, a highly recommended Czech restaurant with a low key vibe, a ton of locals, and the most delicious beef tartar served with toasted bread. Jenn will be talking about that tartar for a very long time. We also tried some local pastries, the first called Trdelník, which is made by wrapping dough around a stick and cooking over an open flame until it is golden brown and then it’s covered in cinnamon sugar – very tasty! Another was called Kolach and we found it at the Naplavka Farmers Market, which is only open on Saturday. It tasted something like a blueberry cream cheese honey bun and was definitely homemade!
All in all we really enjoyed our time in Prague and it will be a european city we will definitely visit again!
Some of our favorite places to eat & drink include:
- Kofein – fantastic dishes being served in a casual basement restaurant in Vinohrady at super reasonable prices. So good we went twice! The greek salad with grilled feta is a must!
- U Bulínů – nice place to grab an authentic Czech dinner in Vinohrady.
- Kogo – located near The Estates Theatre in Prague 1, this place pumps out some great Italian food. The spaghetti bolognese was money!
- Mlejnice Zatecka – great pork dishes and other authentic food in Prague 1 / tourist zone.
- Mistral Cafe – stopped in for lunch and we were both pleased, especially with the salmon.
- Lokal – the name says it all. This is where the locals go to drink beers and eat some good food. Jenn loved the steak tartar here! Located in Mala Strana across the Charles Bridge.
- Vinograf – cool little wine bar near Lokal. Stopped in for a drink before dinner.
Some of our favorite places we visited include:
- Riegrovy Sady Park & Beer Garden – great park that also has a beer garden and restaurants. Excellent place to chill out in the afternoon or evenings at sunset.
- The Estates Theatre – a classic european theatre and opera house that has been in operation since 1783!
- Strahov Monastery Brewery – the only place you can find these brews and well worth the hike!
- Old Town Square – the go-to tourist square with historic buildings, churches, and statues.
- Prague Castle – beautiful castle that sits above the river and dates back to the 9th century.
- Charles Bridge – historic bridge that was commissioned by King Charles IV.
- Naplavka Farmers Market – a great farmers market only on Saturday’s along the river.
- John Lennon Wall – famous wall where people used to write anti-communist messages during the communist era, but now it’s covered in messages of love and peace.