Last Updated on April 6, 2023 by Audrey Scott
While we lived in Prague for over five years, we were simultaneously awed by its beauty and frustrated by the rapacious tourism development that had swamped its old town. More recently, I've heard from travelers disappointed by their visits to Prague because of the city's crowds and tourist schlock.
Yes, there's a fair heap of that. But, there are also ways to avoid it and there is much to see and experience in Prague without crowds. That's what this insider's guide is all about with tourist traps to avoid, best things to do, favorite Czech beers and pubs, neighborhoods to stay in, and where to eat in Prague.
Many moons ago, during our first month living in Prague, I remember exiting Charles University after a Czech language class and looking up at a night-lit Prague Castle and thinking, “My God, do I actually live here?“
It didn't seem real.
Even after five years of living in Prague, I could still turn a corner, catch the right light and get that feeling. Prague is a Bucket List and “Top 10 Romantic Cities” favorite — for good reason. But frankly, there's also a lot of touristy crap that can leave a casual visitor tourist-worn.
During my last visit to Prague, I played tourist for a day and forced myself to walk through through its main tourist artery — from the Prague Castle, over the Charles Bridge, down Karlova Street, through Old Town, up to the top of Wenceslas Square. Maybe it had improved since we lived there?
But all is not lost. Here are some ideas on how to minimize the tourist schlock, what to do to replace it with, local neighborhoods to explore, Czech beers to try and where to eat in Prague at the end of the day.
Plus, we share recommendations on which Prague neighborhoods to stay in and some tours and boat rides that might help you explore the city even more. This all makes for a more enjoyable visit to Prague that also allows you to avoid some of the overtourism challenges that the city has faced and travel more sustainably by supporting local businesses.
Note: This post was originally published in May 2011 and was updated on June 4, 2019.
What to Avoid in Prague: Tourist Schlock
1. Karlova Street
In tourist hell, right next door to San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf and Bangkok's Khao San Road is Prague's souvenir-engorged Karlova Street. If you only retain one piece of information from this post, it should be this: avoid this street like the plague.
Don't ask why, don't be tempted. Just avoid it. Your visit will be all the better for it.
Alternative: “But how am I going to get from Charles Bridge to Old Town Square?” you might ask. Easy.
When you come off the Charles Bridge (on the opposite side of the river from Prague Castle), cut through the Klementinum (look for the doorway across the street to the left of Karlova street) and enjoy a peaceful stroll through a 14th century courtyard.
2. Concerts — or anything for that matter – sold by people in period costumes
If classical music's greatest hits served up in machine-gun style is your thing, by all means head right for the guys in period outfits. If, however, you have a taste for a full symphony and the real, high-quality, accessible classical music Prague is known for, go elsewhere.
Alternative: See #2 below for where to find high quality shows and buy concert tickets.
3. Wenceslas Square at Night
Where protesters once stood up to Soviet tanks during Prague Spring in 1968, hawkers now stand up for your opportunity to patronize their strip clubs. After dark, Wenceslas Square becomes a central place for strip club touts, prostitutes, their pimps and all manner of the shady and unpleasant. Although it's not unsafe per se, it's best avoided.
Alternative: After dark, walk any of the streets parallel to Wenceslas Square or take the metro to avoid the area altogether.
4. Astronomical Clock Show on the Hour
I know I'm going to get crap for this one. Don't get me wrong, the medieval astronomical clock on the side of Old Town City Hall is beautiful and worth a look.
But really, don’t worry about fighting with the tourist hordes that gather on the hour to see the “show.” The hourly spectacle features some figures moving around, a rooster call (my personal favorite) and a dancing skeleton (Dan's personal favorite). However, it’s really not worth the elbowing and unpleasant crowds you have to deal with to watch it.
Alternative: Have the clock to yourself to admire at any time outside the top-of-the-hour. If you find yourself tiring of the crowds on Old Town Square, pop up to the rooftop terrace at U Prince hotel, order a cocktail, and enjoy the view from above. It's particularly nice at sunset.
5. Prague's Scams and Overcharging at Tourist Restaurants
Unfortunately, some touristy restaurants and taxis still hold a narrowly opportunistic view of tourism and tourists (i.e., they scam anyone who looks like fresh meat).
What to do: Don't let these places get away with it: be vigilant, mind your bill, count your change, and question or complain if you are being cheated. If you don't, you'll be doing yourself — and all other tourists who follow in your footsteps — a disservice.
If your restaurant bill arrives with extra service charges or “taxes” that are not specifically called out on the menu, refuse to pay them.
If you need a taxi, use a local taxi app or have the hotel or restaurant call a trusted taxi company in advance. I would never pick up a taxi outside the front door of the train station or hotel. If you pick up a taxi on the street, use a company like AAA or ProfiTaxi. Finally, if you've been grossly overcharged, pay what you believe is fair and walk away. We've done it.
Non-Touristy Things to Do in Prague: The Good Stuff
With the unpleasant stuff out of the way, let's focus on what to do and visit besides what we call the “Prague Tourist Triad” (Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, Old Town Square). The aim: to give you a feel for a living city whose history goes long beyond just a few pretty buildings. And, to help you avoid some of the tourist crowds in Prague.
You might be thinking as you read, “But that's outside the city center.”
In some cases, our recommendations are outside of the Old Town City center, but they are not so far. Within a few minutes, you are only a tram, metro or a few footsteps away.
1) Vyšehrad: An Alternative Castle
Just down the Vlatava River from Prague Castle is the lesser-known 10th century castle of Vyšehrad. In addition to offering great views of the Vltava River and the city, Vyšehrad features grassy grounds stocked full of locals having picnics with family and friends.
The cemetery at Vyšehrad is also home to many of Czech greats of art and music, including Alphonse Mucha and Antonín Dvořák. The Peter and Paul church is also worth a look – neo-gothic on the outside, but Mucha-inspired art nouveau murals on the inside.
2. Classical Music Concerts and Operas
Prague's music scene is one of the things that kept us there so long. Even if you're not a huge classical music aficionado, it's still worth trying to see a concert just to experience the venue.
Go directly to ticket offices or a venue's box office for real performances. Basically, if the concert is associated with a national ensemble, you’re more likely to see a high quality concert at a lower price.
If your visit coincides with Prague Spring, try to book tickets in advance or, for last minute tickets, visit the Rudolfinum box office. Prague Spring often features top performers, conductors and orchestras from around the world.
I cannot begin to count the $1000s of dollars we would have spent on all the performances we took in had we seen the performers on their home turf. Prices continue to go up, but are still reasonable compared with Western Europe and the United States.
Suggested concert venues: Rudolfinum (our favorite venue and home of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra), National Theatre, State Opera. These concert halls not only have wonderful acoustics, but they also are just beautiful concert halls.
In addition, Prague's art and museum scene is constantly changing and evolving. Many of the galleries and events are located in interesting neighborhoods and buildings. You can check out the list of upcoming events, festivals and exhibitions here.
To provide you with more flexibility and discounts if you want to visit several museums at once, consider getting the Prague City Card (2-4 days). It also includes a free river boat cruise, which is a nice way to get an overview of the city on both sides of the Vlatava River.
3. Exploring Prague's Neighborhoods
Although Prague’s Old Town (Staré Město) and Lesser Town (Malá Strana) often steal the Prague tourist show (and for good reason) with their medieval architecture, it's worth it to spend time poking around some of the surrounding neighborhoods. The Art Nouveau architectural stock in Prague's residential neighborhoods is impressive.
Walk, look up and soak it up. Architectural period melange, details, mosaics, statues, paintings, are all standard fare. Not to mention, this is the way you'll really begin to understand what modern-day living in Prague is all about.
Suggested neighborhoods to explore and to stay in: Vinohrady, Vršovice (our old neighborhood), Žižkov, and Holesovice.
4. Prague Beer gardens
When the weather is warm (or at least un-cold and bearable), Prague’s beer gardens are the place to while away an afternoon, evening, or possibly even both. Beer gardens are casual affairs with long, simple picnic tables, a food stand or two serving greasy sausages, and — most importantly — an endless supply of freshly pulled Czech beer.
Relax with locals of all ages, from the stodgy business guy in a suit to grandpa with his dog to the young punk kids.
Recommended Prague beer gardens:
Letna Park Beer Garden(Prague 7) with views of the city and Vltava River or Riegrovy Sady (Prague 2) for a more grungy, local flavor.
5. Glass of Wine at Grebovka Vineyard
There's actually a small vineyard within Prague’s city limits. And, there just happens to be a little café (called Altan) with a great gazebo sitting right above it.
These are the makings of a perfect spot to enjoy a glass of wine and a cheese plate. For quality, we actually suggest trying the Austrian wine over the local Grebovka wine.
Address: Grebovka park is in Prague 10. Closest tram stop is Krymska on 22, 16, or 4 tram lines. Finding your way here through the windy residential streets is part of the fun; this is not a touristy area at all. Go past the Grobovka Pavillion to get to Altan Cafe.
Recommended Prague Tours and Activities
Our partner, Get Your Guide, offers many Prague tours and attractions. They have the lowest prices, guaranteed, for these tours with no booking fees or hidden charges. In addition, they work with their partners to ensure Covid-19 safety features and you can usually cancel up to 24 hours before in case your schedule changes.
For inspiration, consider some of the following Prague city tours to experience the city from different angles and to go a little deeper:
- Prague Sightseeing Dinner Cruise on Open-Top Glass Boat (3 hours): As mentioned before, Prague is pretty stunning at night. Everything is lit up, and it is especially magical from the perspective of the water. This evening cruise will take you along the Vltava River past many of the city's historical sites like the Prague Castle, Charles Bridge and Old Town. And, you get to enjoy dinner and a drink as you take in the city by night.
- Prague Walking Tour (3 hours): One of the best ways to learn about a city is through a walking tour, and this one provides a great overview and takes you through what we described as the Prague Triad above: Old Town Square, Charles Bridge and Prague Castle.
- Prague Walking, Bus and Boat Tour (4 hours): If a long walking tour sounds a bit daunting and you you want to mix things up a bit, consider this walking, bus and boat tour of Prague. It will take you through many of the Prague Triad sites, but you'll have a chance to also view some of them, like the Charles Bridge and Castle, from the water on a 1-hour boat trip. This tour also includes a guided walk through Josefov, the Jewish Quarter.
- Prague Historical River Cruise (45-Minutes): If you want a quick (and very affordable) view of Prague's historical sites from the river, this boat tour is a good option. And, it includes a drink so you can take in the views with a cold Czech beer or local wine in hand.
You can see all their Prague tours here and read customer reviews to select the type of tour that's best fits your interests, budget and schedule.
Where to Stay in Prague
There is certainly no shortage of accommodation options in Prague, whether a hotel or your own apartment rental. So it can sometimes be a bit overwhelming to choose where to stay based on your interests and budget.
Although booking accommodation in Prague's Old Towns — Staroměstská or Malá Strana — will put you in the middle of the city's main sites, we actually prefer staying in one of the nearby neighborhoods. They provide a more local feel with more non-touristy pubs, cafes, restaurants and shops.
Here are a few recommended accommodation options in some of our favorite Prague neighborhoods. Click on the neighborhood name to see a selection of all accommodation in that area. Plus, we've added both hotel and apartment options, depending upon your preference.
- Vinohrady Hotels (Prague 2): A beautiful neighborhood filled with colorful 19th and turn of the 20th century architecture. Easy to spend hours wandering its back streets, lots of local cafes and restaurants.
- Anna Hotel: This small, reasonably priced hotel, is located on a quiet neighborhood street near Namesti Miru. It's an easy 15-minute walk to the Old Town Square or enjoy getting lost in the colorful Vinohrady streets.
- Apartment on Slavikova Street: A good option on a quiet Vinohrady Street if you prefer to have your own apartment with your own kitchen and space to spread out.
- VršoviceHotels (Prague 10): We're biased as this was our old neighborhood that we loved. Not quite as polished as Vinohrady up the hill, but Vršovice has a fun local feel to it with lots of turn-of-the-century architecture and streets to wander.
- Czech Inn: This design hostel meets B&B is in a beautiful corner 19th century building. It is located near where we used to live in Prague, just down the hill from more touristy parts of Vinohrady and near the Grebovka vineyards mentioned above. There are also double and twin rooms available, in addition to dorms for the more budget-minded.
- Holešovice Hotels (Prague 7): Another neighborhood with beautiful turn-of-the-century architecture and residential streets with some big parks providing lots of green space and quiet.
- Art Hotel Prague: Located in a quiet area not far from Letna and Stromovka parks, but Prague's historical center is about a 20 minute walk (and even shorter by tram).
- Residence Nad Vltavou: If you're looking to stay in your own apartment, this option is in a modern building not far from the river in residential Holešovice.
- Žižkov Hotels (Prague 3): Traditionally a working class neighborhood, Žižkov today is known for its edgy, artistic and alternative side. It has some great street art, hilly streets, lots of local bars and art venues.
- Carlton Hotel: Located in a good location not far from the Žižkov TV Tower with artist David Černý’s “Tower Babies” and close to lots of residential streets for walking and getting lost. Not far from the main train station and just a few tram stops to the center of town.
- Žižkov Studio Apartment: A good newly renovated studio apartment option in the residential streets of Žižkov with a small kitchen, living room and loft sleeping area.
- Dejvice Hotels (Prague 6): This neighborhood is located above the castle and near several big parks. It's well connected for the airport.
- Hotel Meda of Muesum Kampa: Located in a residential area near the main Dejvice circle. We had a friend who lived in this area and she really enjoyed it for its quiet, but also close proximity to the historical center and public transport.
- City Castle Aparthotel: If you want your own apartment, this is a good location not far from the castle and very close to the metro and public transport. Lots of green space around as well, so good for active walkers.
- Karlín Hotels (Prague 8): In the last years Karlín has become rather hip and we know a few people who have moved to this neighborhood. It's a short walk to the historical center and close to the bus station and other transport hubs.
- Botanique Hotel: A modern hotel with big rooms located in the Florenc area of Karlín, walking distance from old town and close to public transport.
- Seven Wishes Boutique Residence: If you want your own apartment with modern fixings this is a good option on a quiet residential street about a 10-minute walk away from the old town.
Where to Eat in Prague: Czech Food and Recommended Pubs
There is definitely no shortage of hospodas (pubs) serving Czech fare throughout the city with varying levels of quality and grease content.
If you want a Czech restaurant or pub with a little better meat quality and less grease, give one of the following places a try. In addition to good Czech food, they usually serve tank beer (often, unpasteurized), making the Czech beer drinking experience all the more enjoyable.
Useful websites for reviews of new Prague restaurants: Czech Please, Spotted by Locals Prague, Taste of Prague's food blog.
One of the newer additions to the Ambiante Restaurant empire. This place serves up quality and hearty Czech food at reasonable prices. Be sure to check out their constantly changing daily menu. In addition, they have tank beer, meaning that it will be harder to get fresher beer in town. So good. Address: Dlouhá 33, Prague 1.
Just a block away from popular Wenceslas Square, but with a different feel from the high-traffic tourist areas. Try to go during lunch as there are inexpensive lunch meonus and you’ll be enjoying your meal with locals on their lunch break from nearby office buildings. Address: Politických vězňů 13 (parallel street to Wenceslas Square), Prague 1
This restaurant is right at the Staropramen brewery, so you know the beer is fresh. Hearty food, too. Address: Nadrazni 84, Prague 5 (Smichov)
Nice Czech pub serving both Czech and continental specialties. The changing daily lunch menu (11:00-3:00) offers hearty traditional Czech fare at reasonably prices. Address: Vítězná 7, Praha 1 (Ujezd)
Favorite Czech Beers and Prague Bars
If you are a beer drinker then you will be in heaven in Prague. Czech beer is that good. Even the big national brands like Pilsner Urquell, Budějovický Budvar and Gambrinus are really good, especially when you can find them pulled fresh from a tank. However, there are also lots of smaller label beers that are worth seeking out like Bernard, Svijany, and Krušovice.
And, every region of the Czech Republic seems to have its own small breweries and specialties. These micro-brews are becoming easier to find in Prague. Not to mention, the craft beer scene has exploded in the last few years so it's worth experimenting.
Below are some of our favorite Prague bars with a wide variety of Czech beers and craft brews on tap. Some of the places below also serve snacks and food, but beer is the main show.
To learn more about Czech beer, book a Prague beer tour that includes visits to local puts, beer tasting, information about local beer culture and a hearty Czech dinner.
Prague Beer Museum
It's not really not a museum, but it does serve close to 30 different beers on tap from small to medium breweries across Czech Republic. This is the place to learn about Czech beer the old fashion way — by drinking it. The owner is meticulous about buying only small kegs, keeping the keg lines clean and changing the beer menu every three months. Just be careful and pace yourself — mixing heavy beers can have a devastating effect the next day.
Address: The original Prague Beer Museum on Dlouha street is now closed. But, the Prague Beer Museum pub has opened up at Náměstí Míru (Americká 341/43, Prague 2) that is bigger and has a full menu. In addition, there's a second location at Smetanovo Nabrezi 22 in Prague 1 (Staré Město). So you can have your fill of hearty Czech food to go with all those great beers.
In addition to a good selection of beers on tap, this place offers a minimum of 240 beers (Czech and international) in bottles on the menu. Ask the waiter for advice if you get paralyzed on what to order. This place also has good and reasonably priced Czech food, too. Address: Krizikova 17, Praha 8 – Karlin
This isn't so much a pub as it is a mill that has been turned into a café near Kampa Park. It's quite close to the touristy areas, but is a local place that serves wonderful unfiltered Bernard beer. Address: Všehrdova 449, Prague 1
One of the recent additions to the Czech craft brewpub scene with an impressive list of craft beers on tap. A bit outside the center in Prague 4, but worth the effort. Address: Čestmírova 5, Prague 4
Practical Prague Travel Tips
1. What to Take With You
If you forget anything at home, you can probably find a replacement for it in Prague. Shopping possibilities are endless. For those coming from North America, be sure that your electronics can take 110-220 volts so that you don't blow out your gear.
Much of Prague is covered in cobblestones and stone sidewalks, so beware of high or thin heels that can get easily stuck between the stones. You'll be doing lots of walking so invest in comfortable shoes.
2. How to Get Around Prague
Public transportation in Prague is truly wonderful. If you're going to be in Prague for several days consider buying the 3-day pass for unlimited travel for 310 CZK. Otherwise, you can purchase individual tickets for either 32 CZK (90 min) or 24 CZK (30 min). Be sure to validate your ticket before starting your journey. You can plan your journey by public transport here.
If you do need a taxi, be wary of picking one up off the street, especially near train stations or other highly touristy areas. Use a taxi app or have the hotel or restaurant call one in advance for you. We recommend AAA Taxi or ProfiTaxi.
Consider booking a Prague airport shuttle so that you have someone waiting for you when you arrive and don't need to deal with any taxi games.
3. Money and Tipping
ATM machines are everywhere in Prague and almost all of them take international bank cards. We recommend using these to take out local money instead of using currency exchange places.
If you must exchange money, avoid using the currency exchange places along Wenceslas Square or Old Town as they are known to charge high commission fees or exchange rates. Some have multiple exchange rates depending upon how much you want to exchange. If you do need to use one, ask in advance how much in Czech crowns you would receive for your dollars or Euros. Don't be afraid to walk away if the rates are atrocious.
Credit cards are accepted in most restaurants and shops. Euros are also often accepted in many stores these days as well.
Tipping is usually around 10%, rounded up to the next whole figure. When in touristy restaurants be sure to check your bill for strange service charges and count your change carefully.
4. Safety and Security
For the most part Prague is a safe city, but like everywhere in the world it's important to stay aware of your surroundings and your stuff, especially your passport and wallet.
Be careful when walking around at night in dark streets and areas around Wenceslas Square. When in bars, cafes or restaurants keep an eye on your bags and stuff, especially in more touristy or popular areas. Stay alert when on public transport in touristy areas as groups of pickpockets have been known to work together on trams or metro cars.
Our Prague Recommendations in Podcast Form
If you're still curious about what else we recommend to see, do and eat in Prague, listen to this podcast interview on Prague we did with Chris Christensen of Amateur Traveler.
155 thoughts on “Insider’s Prague: 5 Tourist Traps to Avoid and Things to Do Instead”
LOVE Prague. The dumplings are fantastic and one of my favorite spots is the Natural History museum where they have the bones of a whale on view – SUSPENDED from the CEILING!
I spent two wonderful days in Prague, and definitely want more. Ohh the beer! Ohh the memories….. albeit, partial!
Hi! Thanks for your article. It’s interesting to read your perspective of the city. I’ve been living right in the city center (just off the Wenceslass Square) for over 10 year’s now. I think this area is ok during a night, I never faced a problem or anything that you describe (well, probably 10 year’s ago yes, but last few years, Prague is a very safe town indeed, especially the Wencesslas Square). Policemen are literary everywhere….Just for your information, I work as a professional tour guide and I run FB page Praga Caput Regni, where I write not only about famous sights, but also little hidden gems…You might find there an inspiration for further discoveries in Prague: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Praga-Caput-Regni/296474234892?v=wall
I enjoy reading your posts, especially from European countries. Fingers crossed for your travels! Marketa
@AcceleratedStall: So glad to hear you had a positive experience in Prague and loved it! I used to work right next to the National Museum – know that place well! And those dumplings are great…especially with a freshly pulled beer.
@Northern Nomad: Each time we return to Prague (every 1-2 years) we are repeatedly surprised by how great the beer is. For pilsners, I can’t think of a better place in the world. Still inexpensive compared to Western Europe, too.
@Marketa: Thanks for commenting and sharing your thoughts from a local living near Wenceslas square! As I wrote, the area is not unsafe. But, it can be unpleasant to walk down in the evenings, especially as a foreign-looking man on his own. Sometimes if I want to play a trick on Dan, I get behind him so he’s walking by himself and then I watch the different strip club touts (for some reason, most come from West Africa – can’t figure out why) come up to him one by one offering him a free drink and a great “show.” He finds it less amusing than me 🙂
I just wish that the zoning of the city was such that the strip clubs were moved to another part of the city or that the touts were not as “active” on Wenceslas Square at night. Otherwise, it would be a really lovely place to walk at night as there are some beautiful buildings in that area.
@Stephanie: Prague is a wonderful city, but the tourist crowds and schlock can really be annoying. There’s a reason why locals essentially avoid the old town area in the summer months. Glad to hear you had a good visit and hope this guide helps when you return!
I loved Prague when I visited for a mere 3 days a few years ago. It is the only super-touristy place I have ever fallen in love with, but I know I probably would have hated it if I dealt with the tourists much longer. I will definitely be saving this guide for my eventual return to the amazing city.
I visited Prague in 2006 when I was studying abroad in London. It was mid-November, freezing, rainy, touristy and I just got a general bad impression, particularly compared to elegant Budapest which I loved. Still, some moments- the Charles Bridge at dusk for example, have still stuck with me to this day.
I’ve always known I didn’t give Prague a completely fair shake and I do want to return for a shot at it.
Great post Audrey! I’m sharing it on arttrav facebook page… I recently visited Barcelona and skipped the Sagrada Familia; i’m all for totally missing the tourist areas, it just makes for frustration and disappointment. I’m not going to say that avoiding them makes for an “authentic experience” given the much debated term in relation to travel, but at least I didn’t get pickpocketed nor get the same photos everyone else did.
These are really great suggestions, and I love that you include some specific places to eat, have a beer, etc. I will use this info. when I go back there. I spent a lot of time in Prague from 1996-2000 and then went back almost 4 years ago. It was crowded, and I hit the touristy places because I was with my husband, who hadn’t been there before and wanted to see the main sights. I still think they’re all worth visiting, except that awful Karlova. I love wandering the smaller streets on both sides of the river. Vysehrad is wonderful, but I also love the quaint areas beyond the castle, including Novy Svet.
@Steph: November is a pretty dreary time to visit Prague – the locals are just entering into their winter depression, but you still have the tourist crowds around. Prague and Budapest have such different styles and feel. If you do return to Prague and spend more time in the neighborhoods, you’ll probably get a bit of that laid back feeling that you like.
@Alexandra: The more we travel, the more we make decisions not to visit certain places on “must see” lists. Sometimes when we do decide to go to a certain site, the journey there is often more interesting that the final destination. That said, there are certain big sites that are really stunning. But, it’s almost like you have to go zen about the visit to not allow the crowds and tourist schlock to get you down in the process.
Thanks for posting this to the ArtTrav Facebook page!
@Jenna: Glad you agree with us on Karlova street! Hope this round up becomes useful for your next visit! Prague restaurants do change a lot, but we’ve been visiting many of these for years and the quality has stayed the same.
Yes, Novy Svet is another lovely area. I was also tempted to put Petrin down a well – the walk from Petrin to the castle through the fields can be quite peaceful as well. Lots of great places in the city away from the big crowds!
@Sarah: We just discovered Masala on this last visit to Prague and I really, really, really hope the quality doesn’t change or that they “Czechify” the food (as happens with a lot of ethnic restaurants in Prague). Love that place as well!
Ohhhh Masala! That place is a-ma-zing. I need to go back to Prague. Like, yesterday.
Excellent, detailed post! We last visited Prague 11 years ago and the tourist stuff wasn’t too bad then. I’m sure it has changed a lot.
I’m always amazed by how easy it is to escape tourist traps, often just by walking a few streets away.
@Erin: While Prague still was rather touristy 11 years ago, the tourism machine has been ramped up quite a bit more since then. But, as you said, it’s often easy to avoid tourist traps by just walking a few blocks one direction or another to a local neighborhood.
No Oliva? For restaurants….
@Dave: Restaurant recommendations are tough – always hard to fit everything in. Oliva is a great restaurant in Prague – perfect for special occasions. Remember especially good duck there…
Thanks for an awesome list. I only have a few days in Praga because I’ve been staying too long in places and have to move a bit faster as my 90days visa is running out and i’m still on my 3rd country 😀
@Wanderlass: Even in a few days you can get a feel for the city, don’t worry. Just be sure not to spend all your time in the tourist center, but get out to the neighborhoods, parks and other areas. If you have any specific questions we can help with, just ask!
I spent a month in Prague 3 years ago and had a blast, I hit all the places to avoid then got off the main street and hit the small pubs and restaurants and a few side trips to smaller towns where I had a blast.
@Bob: So glad you had a good time during your visit to Prague a few years ago. You’re right – you usually don’t have to go very far off the tourist trail to find a quiet street with local places. Makes such a difference in one’s experience of the place.
roaming your wonderful site and my heart leaps anytime Prague is mentioned..two trips to date, ’91 and ’05, both late March,fewer tourists…just mad about that place on Earth…did the usual stops but with some resheduling was able to discover the outskirts, just staying on the trolley for hours circling the town and as luck would have it, stumbled upon Kobylisy, where we decided to stay for a few days…quaint, colorful, with friendly locals…had the two best meals there EVER..at Hoffman u Penzion and at the restaurant atop the Kobylisy subway station, Plzensky Restaurant Kobyla…salivating now remembering…sooo looking forward to seeing you on your visit to Scranton this month…really hope time permits a few rounds of pilsners !
@Frank: You must have seen so many changes between your first and second visit to Prague. Just trying to imagine. You took the right approach to get on public transport and see where it took you – there are some really lovely areas on the outskirts of town where there are friendly locals and so not touristy. Look forward to catching up in person soon in Scranton!
Hey guys, great tips in this post – you should tag it under Czech Republic on the left hand side. I knew it was here as I had read it ages ago, but it took me a while to find it today when we wanted to see what places you mentioned.
@Sam: Hope these tips were useful for your trip and thanks for the reminder to add this to the Czech Republic category!
@Allison: Really glad you found this piece before your trip with your parents. It is a beautiful city, but as you’ve heard it does have its overly touristy side. The main sites are definitely worth visiting – take a tram to the top of the castle and then walk through the castle, Malastrana to the Charles Bridge, through Karolinum (remember: avoid Karlova street!) to Old Town Square. A great walk and way to hit the main sites in one path.
Hope you have a great time!
I stumbled on this post in the Travel Bloggers group on FB and I must say, thank you for this! I’m heading to Prague for the first time in April and I’ve been about concerned about how touristy it’s said to be. I’m only going to be there for 4 days and I’ll be visiting with my parents who are coming over to Europe from Canada. I’m sure we’ll want to see the popular sites but I’m not a fan of crowds so I’m looking forward to checking out some of your alternative selections. I’m a big foodie too so your restaurant tips have been duly noted. Thanks again!
Fantastic TIps! I’ve bookmarked it for my future travels back to this remarkable city. I agree, looking over your bill in restaurants is a MUST. We were charged a “tourist’ tax each time but didn’t realize it until we got home. I thought there was something fishy. Czech Republic is so beautiful, it’s so unfortunate the people are not respectful of tourists 🙁
@Cristina: Thanks, glad you found these tips useful! Unfortunately, your story about being overcharged is too often the norm. I used to have a British boss who would tell me every weekend a story or two of how someone tried to “accidentally” miscount her change or add weird charges to bills. Really sad that people are not thinking of respecting tourists and good customer service that would encourage people to return to Prague again. But, once you know these “tricks” it makes it easier to navigate and call people out when they are trying to cheat you.
@Vicky: Unfortunately, your story of the restaurant near Charles Bridge with the overpriced (and often mediocre) food is all too common for Prague. So glad you had the experience at the local pub first so that you had a feel for what local places and prices should be. Prague is a great place and there are still tons of good local places, but they are harder to find in the Old Town and tourist areas.
In 2009 while studying abroad in Spain a few of my friend and I went to Prague for a long weekend. We had an amazing time and loved the city, sights, culture, everything. The first we happened to stumble upon a locals pub that had fantastic authentic Czech food for an incredibly low price. The second night was quite the disaster. Not realizing that we were right around the corner from the Charles Bridge we stopped in a small restaurant that looks pretty simple, nothing special at all. When they brought over the menus we noticed there were no prices listed, and we made the fatal mistake of just assuming that everything would be fairly cheap. No such luck. The drinks were almost 15 euros a piece and the food itself while edible, not delicious, ending up costing each of us around 40 euro a person! Such a shame! You really do need to be careful to stay away from the tourist traps!
Just got back from Prague and wish I saw this!
You are so spot on about the taxi scams. I got scammed by picking up a taxi in front of a train station (near the Prague Castle no less). I think the difficult part is not knowing how much a certain distance should really cost. This is also very similar in Budapest. Sigh. Otherwise, Prague is fantastic and the beer gardens are a lot of fun.
@Natalie: Ah, too bad this got to you too late! Your experience with the taxi scams (and from other people’s experiences with inflated bills) is exactly why we wrote this. Perhaps I should add a section in here on taxi companies to call that are reputable and don’t overcharge. And yes, the beer gardens are fantastic!
I have to admit, I enjoyed the production at the astronomical clock, even with the crowds. Think your tip to go up to the roof top terrace is brilliant – we saw it when climbing the clock tower – would gladly have watched the clock from there!
Loved the beer gardens (and I don’t even drink beer!) – they had the most amazing schnitzel! I wouldn’t even be able to begin to try to name some of our favourite restaurants – we managed to find places so off the beaten track, we were the only english speakers most nights. Food was amazing and the prices were not jacked up for tourists! The one night, we didn’t have enough cash – the owner wasn’t phased! We had it all sorted out and on our way in no time!
Couldn’t get enough of Prague. We really didn’t have any problems other than tired feet! Not bad for 10 days of pounding the pavement!
Thanks for the article. I been there 3 years ago and all the good stuffs which you suggested I had not been.. I went old square and spend most of the time waiting Astronomical Clock Show…haha..
Anyway I love the sunset there with the Prague castle scene behind…and it’s really awesome
@Anita: The astronomical clock show is kind of fun, but the crowds are too much for me. Maybe that’s the result of living in Prague for too long 🙂
Glad to hear you had such a good visit and got a taste of the local Prague scene, schnitzel, good beer and all.
@Ken: Easy to happen at the Astronomical Clock – lots of waiting and then people look around afterwards and ask, “Is that it?” Quite funny.
Actually I watch three times with 12 noon, evening and 10pm night…I remember the 12 noon is the longest…other is not so special compare with the 12 noon
So glad I just found this information, Thanks Audrey. We will be visiting Prague for the first time in September 2012, and also Cesky Krumlov by bus. I will keep reading to find restaurant tips, etc. I prefer to stay away from very touristy spots myself so I enjoy reading about alternative places to visit. So to all, please keep the recommendations coming and how to avoid any scams 🙂 Thanks
@Ken: Yes, the noon show at the astronomical clock is the biggest and longest, which is why it attracts the most people.
@Nor: So glad you stumbled upon this piece just before your trip to Prague. Hope you can enjoy some of these more local, less touristy places. Cesky Krumlov is also wonderful – really a magical little place. Enjoy and safe travels!
We’ll be off to Prague this Thursday and returning on Monday next i.e. 10th Sep. We found your column useful and interesting for a fresher like us vsisting Prague for the first time. Will post again when we return.
Thanks for all the info anyway.
@Bill & Violet: So glad that you found this before your trip to Prague – I hope it proves useful. Please let us know how your visit went!
Thanks! Going next month. We will listen to your suggestions. Although I have to say I am curious about the clock! 🙂
@Ashley: Just be sure to arrive early to get a good spot for the clock! Hope you have a great trip.
Great guide, I haven’t been back for a few years now but am returning with a group of friends in March. I am sure it has changed but I cannot wait to revisit such a wonderful place. It never fails to capture me never mind how touristy it is.
Will be looking for the “non-tourist” eating/drinking places though!
@Kelly: Although Prague has become quite a touristed town, it is possible to find local places and get a feel for its “unpolished” self. As you’ve been there before, it will likely be easier as you know what to look for. And yes, even with all the tourist shops and such, it is a stunningly beautiful place. We still gaze up to the castle lit up at night in awe. Enjoy your trip!
Superb post; great info. I stumbled upon this while searching for ‘Prague non-tourist area’ (in preparation for our forthcoming visit to the city) and such a gem this turns out to be.
Can’t stop for suggesting (know it is not my place to do so) adding a link on stays – or perhaps such locations where a stay would be more worthwhile than the city centre areas. It is obviously a difficult call for a local because I would never stay in a hotel/GH/pension in my own city thus would not have much info on that 🙂 May be just the areas, like I would look up on stay options in Praha 7 (Holesovice), thanks to this post.
Thanks for the unadulterated, insider info.
As a Prague local, I hate tourist traps and all the scams and traps set up to rip off travelers who visit my city. The taxi drivers are the worst. If you need a cab (and I doubt you do – the Prague public transport is fast, safe and reliable), do what the locals do – call a central dispatch number (the two major taxi service numbers are 14014 and 14015). Your cab ride will be recorded, you get a text message upfront with the estimated price so the driver cannot rip you off. Always ask for the receipt upfront. As a local, I always call even if there’s a vacant cab standing right in front of me – it’s simply cheaper and safer. You normally wait for less than 10 minutes.
Otherwise the post is right on the money about most of the things to avoid. I would add the money exchange offices. Please read the fine print and never give away your money before you ask what precise amount you get for the precise amount of foreign currency you want to exchange. Once you let go of the money, it’s really hard to get it back.
Have a great stay in Prague!
@Mauro: Your question about recommended neighborhoods to stay is a good one. Someone recently asked this on our Facebook page. I would say that staying in any of the suggested neighborhoods we mentioned above – Vrsovice, Holesovice or Vinohrady would be good. These days, there’s a lot available on airbnb or apartment rental places that often are better deals than hotels. So I’d probably start my accommodation search first with those. Hope you have a good trip!
@Jan: It is quite frustrating as a local to see these scams happen and people taken advantage of consistently (I had a British boss in Prague who was always scammed at restaurants). But, it’s good to see that some improvements have happened – last visit we noticed there were recommended fare signs near taxi stands so people could get a feel for what a trip should cost. But we always call a service instead of picking up a taxi on the street.
We’ve seen people go crazy at money exchange places because they didn’t read the fine print. Best to avoid them all together if you can. Thanks for the advice on this.
This is great! Thanks for the insights.
I leave for Prague Tuesday. First trip to Europe! So for this Ohio woman, I’m in countdown mide. Have done all my prep, but so glad I tripped over this site when I went to search for two last things befor I meet my daughter there next week. I think and your followers will give me the best advice. 1) We plan on attending a performance at the State Opera. Question: I want great seats, better to order online from U.S. and if so what is a reputable website. If I wait, where do I go for great seats without getting ripped off? 2) We’re only there for 4 days. This is going to be our one “big hight”. Where to go for dinner for good food atmosphere and that fiew we’ll tell everyone about when we come home? Thanks to you for providing the layman’s point of view for the rest of us!
@CK: To buy State Opera tickets in advance, you can try http://www.ticketsonline.cz/ – they charge a small commission, but I remember the prices of the actual seats being the same as if you bought them at the ticket office. Otherwise, just go to the State Opera when you get to Prague and check out what tickets are available – that’s the lowest price option.
As for a dinner recommendation, I’m trying to think of places with good food AND a nice view. You could try Hergetova Cihelna. Has a great view of the Charles Bridge and food was good (disclosure: been a few years since I last ate there). There’s also Grosseto Marina recommended above. Has great views of the castle.
Good luck and enjoy your trip!
Thanks for valuable info, specially for indian tourist.
@Peter: Having lived in Prague for five years I don’t agree that Prague doesn’t have many redeeming qualities. If you are stuck in the downtown tourist areas, it’s easy to understand that one might be treated rudely. But, in our experience, the neighborhoods are a different story. That’s why we wrote this to try and help people navigate away from the areas that are overly touristed and into more local areas. I will agree with you that Prague’s architecture is pretty fabulous.
Praque has one thing going for it. Architecture. The food is awful, the city is filthy, covered with grafitti and the people are rude and disrespectful especially to Americans. I have lived and traveled throughout Europe for 20+ years and would NOT recommend Praque. If you really want to see it buy a DVD watch and dream. I cannot understand the hype and such by travel guides etc. because I find very few redeeming qualities in this city with the exception of the buildings and architecture. Save your money and go elsewhere. I know my comments seem harsh but they are truthful. Reality sometimes offends people but please note that it is not my intention.
@Peter: No worries, no offense taken 🙂 The reason why I wrote this article in the first place was to share information and advice that goes beyond just the “Top 10 Sights” that drew from our experiences living in Prague. I kept hearing reports from friends and other travelers who had bad experiences in the tourist areas of Prague, so I wanted to help people navigate those waters better and also understand the fun of the neighborhoods. Although people might be drawn to Prague for the big sights, I’m getting more and more emails from people asking for advice on which neighborhood to stay in and what restaurants to visit outside the center because they want to get a more “local feel.” I think people want a bit of both – the sights and the neighborhoods. That’s the different perspective we’re trying to provide in this article.
With Respect Audrey, most people travel to see the sights and not wander neighborhoods. Maybe for you being a local it makes sense as you have time in your favor but for the average tourist passing through the historical and cultural areas are more in favor. That being said IMHO that is where Praque fails miserably. Many other countries serve the public better such as France, Italy, Scandinavia, Vienna, The Baltics, Turkey and Russia just to name a few. Again while the architecture is a marvel to ones eyes the unsavory character of the people and the seedy subculture leaves me with the opinion to save your money and avoid this much ballyhooed, over rated and hyped city but then again to be fair and democratic “To each his own”…….there are those who just adore a Disneyland vacation eating those giant turkey legs. Safe Travels to all this summer!:) Cheers!
Dear Audrey, After reading over my posts i feel that I was a bit harsh, ignorant and one demential in my description. You are doing a wonderful service with this article and I am sure that many tourists will take your sincere advice and concern to see the other side of the tourist traps that many European cites offer. Fact: The beauty of Praque is unmatched……i just wish that the native people would be a bit more congenial and nice to visitors. Thanks again Audrey.
My sincere warm regards and blessings to you!
Thank you for the post, it’s been very helpful. What do you think about the neighborhood Miss Sophie’s Hostel is located in?
Miss Sophie’s, Melounova 3, 120 00 Prague, Czech Republic
I noticed on the map it is a 22 minute walk to Vinohrady, which is really where I would like to stay but I’m unable to find accommodations that aren’t just by myself. I’m traveling alone so I’d prefer to stay where there will be other travelers staying as well.
Vinohrady from what I’ve read, is known as a gastronomic neighborhood. I travel for food and enjoy visiting local coffee shops and cafes, etc. I live in San Francisco, CA and love walking and eating all day 🙂 Also, I want to visit a few pilates and aerobic dance classes while I’m here.
Great article! I’m in Prague as I type, and I’m checking out one of your resturant choices this evening. 🙂
I really like it here, but also try to avoid the touristy areas.
I’ve also found the as long I avoid looking like a tourist (no visible camera or map) I get treated well, and many assume I’m local. I guess Norwegians doesn’t look that different from the people here. 🙂
I love the simple and hearty food. They sure love their pork!
A bit too hot here now, but I’ll manage. 🙂 Second year in a row I’m here now. Living in a really expensive country, it’s nice feeling rich for 10 days. 🙂
We just returned from our first visit to Prague and loved the city and your recommendations! The Prague Beer Museum had some great brews and brew cocktails (for this non-beer drinker) and we visited Grosseto Marina twice…first for an afternoon beverage after visiting Prague Castle, then a return that evening with a group of 8 for dinner and the fantastic views! Food was scrumptious and the service very, very good!
I have to suggest one touristy thing, though. Enjoy a beverage on the roof-top terrace of the U Prince Hotel that overlooks the Old Town Square (there is an elevator inside). We dropped in about mid-afternoon and found plenty of seating with fantastic views of the whole city! (Food is disappointing however, so just go for drinks.)
Thanks for your post!
Thanks so much for this post. I’m traveling to Prague this Fall with my husband and we invited my mom to come along as her family, starting with her Grandfather, is from Prague and none of us have ever had a chance to visit. We’ll be the first 2 generations. Really excited to see the old homeland, so to speak.
My question to you – even though I’ve read other posts I’m a little confused about the taxi situation. My mom is 70 and suffers a bit with arthritis so is more comfortable riding in a more ‘private’ setting. I’m sure our hotel (the Golden Well) will take care of us getting to the restaurant/pub or what have you but are restaurants open to helping you when you’re ready to leave? We won’t have our cell phones with us, too pricey to use in Europe.
Thanks again, appreciate the non-touristy point of view!
@Ericka: Miss Sophie’s is just near IP Pavlova so it’s really easy to walk to Vinohrady (closer than 20 minutes I think) or old town. Also, it’s a transport hub so you can always hop a tram of metro if you want to go faster. In addition to Vinohrady, I’d also check out Vrsovice (our old neighborhood) which is just down the hill from Vinohrady. There are so good, small restaurants there and funky cafes. Just take a look at expats.cz and you’ll likely find a good listing for pilates and other classes. Have fun and enjoy your visit!
@Amund: I hope the restaurant recommendations steered you in the right direction. After Norway, almost every country in Europe is cheap 🙂 But the beer in Prague is especially good quality for the price. And yes, not looking like a tourist helps as well.
@Tina: So glad you had a good visit to Prague and that these recommendations were useful! U Prince is a GREAT place for a drink – we used to take our visitors there often (but only for drinks, not food). We hadn’t been there in a while so we didn’t include it in this list in case it had changed, but glad to hear that it’s just as good as ever.
@Jen: What an exciting trip you have coming up with your mother – it will be great to be able to do some family research and connect.
As for your question, restaurants/pubs should be able to call a reliable taxi for you. If you want to be sure for a reputable taxi service, ask them to call AAA taxi – this service is honest and it’s usually quite fast in pickups. Enjoy your trip!!
i think prague is rubbish. There is very little to do in Prague and at night…every street corner filled with men trying to sell ‘Charlie’. The Czech people are not friendly at all and in my opinion come across very arrogant to tourists there.
Will NEVER come back and would never recommend it to anyone.
@Jen: We’re sorry you had such a bad experience visiting Prague. After several friends did not have good visits there, I wrote this piece to help people avoid some of the tourist trap areas where there’s a higher chance that you’ll find less friendly people and be ripped off. In my opinion, the neighborhoods of Prague are great places to hang out and meet people outside the tourism industry. If you return to Prague at any time, I hope you have an opportunity to explore these local areas.
Prague is definitely worth visiting. However you need to be prepare in advance, otherwise you pay…
1. Book hotel in advance, otherwise if you try to get a room the same day you will be overcharged. Hotel Tiepolo charged me 130$ a night this July. I could make a reservation over the Internet for 60-70$ a night at the same hotel a few days later.
2. Do the currency exchange outside the country (or may be that’s just Prague), go to a bank or use credit card if you can. The currency exchange places will charge a service fee (in my case it was 19.5% at the main railway station and about the same at the Malostranska Namesti).
3. Never call outside using hotel phone system. (Hotel Tiepolo again).
4. The Tourist Information Office at the main railway station is not very useful. They would help to find something on a map or how to get to a place but that’s about it. The “hotel” they recommended offered small room in the communal building with no AC for only 130$ a night (it was the end of July).
@Jozef: Some very good advice here. Unfortunately, it is quite common to end up paying more for a room in high season (also outside of Prague) without pre-booking. The currency exchange places in Prague are quite notorious for ripping people off with fine print. We always use ATM machines in Prague to get cash and never had a problem.
Hello Dan and Audrey,
It was wonderful and informative to read such insight and details. Me and my wife are planning for a week long trip. It would be great if you could put up some advise on some good places to stay in neat areas and locations.
@Abhishek: I don’t have a list of hotels we can recommend firsthand, but I would suggest looking for accommodation in neighborhoods such as Vinohrady, Vrsovice, Holesovice. Be sure also to check sites like airbnb as you might have more flexibility finding accommodation in the neighborhoods. Enjoy your visit with your wife!
@Sandra: So glad you found this post helpful for your upcoming trip to Prague. Beginning of October is a great time to be in Prague as the weather is still kind of warm but you start to see the changing leaves. Enjoy!
Thank you so much for the post. My husband and I are heading to Prague for 3 days in the beginning of October and your post has proven extremely helpful.
@Jenny: Wow, Prague 30 years ago – that must have been quite an adventure!! Hope you enjoy your upcoming trip there.
If you don’t have a lot of luggage, the easiest thing is to grab a bus from the airport to Dejvicka metro (green line). From there, you can get to anywhere in the city you want to go by metro. The cost is just a regular transport ticket (32kc).
Thanks for all your advice Audrey. Prague was my first stop on a year’s journey overseas almost 30 years ago! In October we are going to spend a long weekend there so I’m looking forward to seeing how it’s changed. I clearly remember how beautiful the buildings were and how ordinary the food was. Hopefully we’ll find that the later has changed for the better. I will take note of your recommendations this time.
Just one thing I’m wondering about. What’s the best way to get from the airport to the city?
Many thanks for a great post.
Thank you for all the wonderful trips! I will be there in just a few short weeks. Can’t wait!
Oh, yu guys know Prague really good. I used to live in Prague for almost 4.5 years and you just got perfect hidden locations that only Czechs might know 🙂
@Halee: You’re welcome! Hope you have a wonderful trip to Prague. Let us know how it goes!
@Ivana: Yes, we know Prague quite well. We were fortunate to have lots of Czech friends who showed us some of their favorite places.
Good article..Planning a trip next year so taken made notes from your article:) Hope I can make it. Would you by any chance know if an Indian can do some kind of work for a week or 2 to earn a bit? Europe is so expensive for Indians 🙁
@Vaishnavi: Thanks, glad you found the article useful for your upcoming trip to Prague. You might want to check in the hostels (especially those with bars) to see if they would do an exchange of some work for room and board. Otherwise, it would be tough to find work for just a week or two.
Many thanks for your awesome information . I will be going to prague in February 6th, do you think i am going to be dead cold that time of the year ?
@Parisa: You’re welcome – glad this information is useful! As for the weather in February, it’s usually cold at that time (around or just above 0 degrees Celsius). But, each year the weather changes – last year it was cold until April. But, right now (December) it’s quite warm for this time of year. My suggestion is to pack lots of layers. That way, you’re prepared for anything!
Hello, while I have found some useful info on your site, thank you, this post does great disservice to your followers. Every one should read this and any online blog advertising travel expertise with a grain of salt. One person’s nadir is another’s paradise.
I have lived a 5 minute walk away from Vaclavske Namesti for many years and it is without overdramatizing,,,my favorite place on earth. I’ve been there at 3 in the morning, 11 at night and every hour in between in every season. It is the safest place in the Czech Republic at any time of day or night. Not going to Vaclavske Nam at night is like not going to Time’s Square, really, do you know that there are hookers and strip joints in Times Square even with the Disneyification? But millions of people somehow manage to have a good time.
I’ve seen Vaclavak packed with tens of thousands of Czechs celebrating hockey triumph, and tens of thousands of jet set Euros celebrating life. I’ve seen it evolve from seedy taxi filled backwater to it’s current pleasure seeking family friendly hot spot, not to be missed. Sure, you may hate it, there are many warts that still need to be cleaned up, plus many people will only want to stay in the medieval dreamworld of the Old Town or Mala Strana, but DON’T end your trip without wandering up and down and up and down, 1st on the left, now on the right, then next time up the middle. Enjoy the majesty of the National Museum sitting on it’s perch at the ‘top’of the square, take note of the countless beautiful buildings intermixed with communist era schlack. Shop for imported aged cheddar at M&S, shop for overpriced clothing at the hundreds of outlets, have a fatty sausage and listen to the multitude of languages and sounds surrounding you in a friendly embrace. Here are pleasure seekers from all over the globe united in the purpose of having a good time, whether it be at a fancy Michelin rated restaurant or in a sports bar watching football. Rich and downtrodden mix shoulder to shoulder. I take my kids here every Sunday night for pizza, I had my bachelor party here, I had my wedding reception in one of the rooftops near Mustek, I shop here for books, my dentist is here, I play paintball here, my World Class Gym is here, I was just there last night at 2 am having a few beers with a buddy at some seedy Turkish kebar bar. There is something for everyone, day or night. And if you ever see some guy with his kids riding scooters down the middle of the square no matter the time of day or day of the year, that’s us.
Also, Karlovo street is not my favorite street but it makes my top 10. It is simply a street that you have to go down. I am slapping my face trying to picture someone advising someone else not to go there because their are souvenir shops….really!>?? Do you not go to Disney world because some large mouse wants you to buy a pin that you’ll forget about 5 minutes later? Just avoid it at peak hours. Most tourists don’t hit the streets before 11am so just go early so you can see the eery twisty turny carless streets filled with ancient leaning buildings and adorned with wild statuary that made me fall in love with this city in the first place. If you look hard enough you can see the statue of the saint who proved his godliness by having his small dog chomp off his wonker (you can see the blood on his leg and the bulge in the dog’s mouth!! Weirdly enough, I just discovered a smaller version of this saint and his dog treat/schmackle on my own street, having not noticed it was there for years, Prague is like that, walk down any street a number of times and you will always see something new). Or the famous Greek Gods holding up the heavens. There are also some seriously beautiful art/souvenir shops to admire and not miss. And smack in the middle of this tourist area is the Czech Republic’s most famous pub, The Golden Lion, filled day and night with sweaty dirty loud worker Czechs enjoying an experience shared by many for hundreds of years. Good luck getting a reservation…
The astro clock is way overrated but has to be seen at least once, they didn’t have these where I grew up in the states plus you can compare it to the other schlocky clocks in various other Central European cities.
And do go see a tourist centric classical concert. These shows are high quality since the same musicians performing for Czechs moonlight for extra cash at these venues. If you are a classical music afficiando (like myself) and have the time and ability to get tickets for a ‘real’ show by all means do it, but if you are a average tourist with limited time and just want to get an experience and a ‘taste’of some beautiful musical highlights without the (for many people, not me) long winded filler while admiring the inside of a church christened 800 years ago…..
While I am on my sopabox, EVERY city has scams and thieves. Prague is one of the few cities I’ve spent time in where I was assured that I would never see violent crime but maybe my bill would be higher than expected,,,, just be a smart traveler and count your change, this isn’t the drug store in your home town. Lots of the petty workers the average tourist runs into aren’t even Czech, there has been a flood of eastern euros into the bottom end of the local economy.
BUT DO::: travel further than the center, there are so many places to go and so much to see. Go to Stromovka park, Riegerovy Sady park, Havlickovy Sady park, Folimanka (next to Vysehrad and walled in by the 600 year old hunger wall), Troya, take a special zoo boat upriver to the zoo, see the world’s largest equestrian statue in Zizkov, go to the top of the tv tower for amazing Russian inspired views with it’s giant babies hanging off(I personally find the building charming). Every weekend I head out on a train or bus to hike and see a 3000 Celtic hill fort, a 5000 year old Hallstat era historical area, or a 300 year old Chateau. Check out Pruhonice, Karlstejn, Krivoklat, and my favorite small town of all, Zatec, in the land of the summer hops that fill everyone’s refreshing Pilsner.
Gotta go, heading downtown to eat lunch at my favorite place, Apetite Jidelna in the Lucerna Passage (gawd, I LOOOOOOVE walking through Prague passages, it adds to the city’s living soul as an outdoor/indoor backyard/living room. Wander, explore, get lost,,,,,discover for yourself.
If you take nothing from this post but one thing let it be this,,,,, Prague was meant to be enjoyed very early in the morning or very late at night. Spend the rest of the day at a classical concert, puppet show, ballet, park, pub, garden etc etc….
@Brian: Thanks for your long and thoughtful response. I do agree with you that one personâ€™s nadir is anotherâ€™s paradise. I do share with you the same love for Prague’s passages (esp. Lucerna), but I’m afraid that I don’t share the same feeling about Karlovo street and a few other places. Your advice to wander, explore and get lost is spot on.
Can you recommend any people who do city walks?preferably someone who wants to show you around the not so touristy areas?
@Lynne: I don’t know firsthand of people who do city walks but I do believe that Context Travel has started walks in Prague. We took one of their neighborhood walks in Berlin and it was really well done – the guide was a historian and had so much knowledge about the area.
I’ll ask around from our Prague friends if they can recommend anyone else.
I have an amazing contact for a great guide who does walking tours and anything else you want to see. If you’re interested please email me at [email protected] and I can give you more info. She and her colleagues showed us more of Prague than I ever thought I’d see. Fantastic!
You said you came out of a Czech language class. In your travels (and maybe this info is found elsewhere), how many languages do you speak, now? I love languages, and one of the reasons I love traveling is learning the language.
Also, I visited Prague in 2001 and 2003, and absolutely loved it. It was cheap, fun, and I left calling it my favorite city both times. I do not recall the over-touristy stuff. Is that all recent? When did it become so touristy, do you know?
Love the blog!
@Mike: I am conversant in 5 foreign languages – French, Estonian, Czech, Russian, and Spanish. Currently trying to learn German, but it’s slow going. For more on how I learn foreign languages: https://uncorneredmarket.com/learning-foreign-languages-while-traveling/
Like many cities, Prague’s old town has always been more touristy then other parts of the city. But it was around 2009 onwards that I started to hear more complaints from travelers about tourist schlock in the old town and bad customer service. It is a beautiful city. Glad you had such a great experience there!
Lovely post. I have been to Prague several times and I think there are still places I have not seen or want to see again. Thanks for sharing nice pictures and tips 😉
hi there. coming to prague with my adult son end of june for a quick 3 days before heading on to lake como.
i took an apartment in old town but want to avoid the touristy traps. thank you for your blog. wondered if you wouldn’t mind a few questions:
1)were able to answer lynne’s question about non-touristy guide we might hire to see the highlights and some gems off the beaten path.
2) we love to look at contemporary art – is there a part of town that has a concentration of serious art galleries?
3) lastly, getting in at 6 p.m. our first night. where would you go for great dinner (we’re foodies) and good cocktail. would love to be only a 10 minute walk or so by foot so we can get back early and crash.
thanks so much,kim
If you scroll above you’ll find my response to Lynne’s question on guides, but just to summarize here. We don’t have first-hand experiences with guides, but we have taken a Context walking tour in Berlin and really liked it. Learned a lot about an area that we thought we already knew well. They have opened up tours in Prague recently so perhaps look them up.
As for contemporary art, you could see what exhibitions are on at Museum Kampa.
If you’re looking for something with a view, try Grossetta Marina. If you want something more upscale, you could go for Hergetova Cihelna near Kampa Park.
Enjoy your trip!
Thanks! I have enjoyed reading this thread and has gave me some insights about what to and not to expect, where to go/avoid and what to do, tips on where to eat, etc. My husband and I are all booked to visit Prague in October for my birthday. I work with a Czech colleague and was given hints about this spectacular place but it is different for a ‘foreigner’ to actually form his/her own idea or description. We just came back from Athens and Santorini and was allured (well for me more so for Santorini as have been to Athens 11 years ago and left a spot in my heart). Here’s hoping for a delightful 5 days in Prague for us..i’ll keep you posted 🙂
Jill, so glad that this article was timely and useful for your upcoming trip to Prague. Hope your trip in October goes well and you enjoy some wonderful fall weather! Look forward to hearing about it.
Hi there, thanks for the interesting blog and posts. What a way to earn a living. Nice work if you can get it!
I’m wanting to bring a group of South African music lovers to Prague and Budapest for a music trip (and of course architecture, art, culture, castles, good food and fun times). How would I find a GOOD tour operator in Prague who would be able to put together an itinerary for me, make bookings, arrange transfers, etc? I don’t want to go to an operator in the UK or the States, because it will just push up the price dramatically. I’m also going to try approaching the Czech embassy here to see if they have any ideas, but if you have any suggestions they’d be most welcome.
In addition to contacting the Czech Embassy you might want to get in touch with the Prague Tourism Board in Prague for local tour operator recommendations: http://www.praguewelcome.cz/en/
I’m afraid that we don’t know of companies off the top of our heads to make arrangements like that. If you’re looking for a walking tour to cover architecture and history you can check out Context Travel Walks: http://www.contexttravel.com/city/prague/all-walking-tours
Enjoy your trip!
Hey Audrey, nice well-rounded post! I live in Prague and agree with some things more than others.. e.g. the astronomical clock is worth seeing ONCE (not more times:))
Anyway.. there’s some news in the city – Prague Beer Museum opened one more location a year or so ago! It’s on Namesti Miru and it’s very popular. I’d say the layout of that place is even better than on Dlouha.
Thanks for stopping by and glad to get a thumbs up for (most of) the recommendations here from a Prague native. While the hourly show on the astronomical clock is pretty cool, the crowds that gather around at that time, particularly in the summer months, are challenging at times. So perhaps the idea is to go see the show way early in the morning when not many people are around 🙂
Thanks for the heads up about the second Prague Beer Museum near Namesti Miru! I’ll update the post with this. I hear that the new outlet also has good food.
Your blog is very detailed and a good read!
My partner and I are planning to go to Prague around the end of January 2015. We’ll be travelling around Europe from December 2014 – February 2015. Since it’s Winter, we’ve been reccommended to not pre-book hotels and just pay as we go. I was just wondering if it’s cheaper that way? or will accommodation be more expensive if you book and pay upfront?
Any feedback is welcomed! 🙂
During the winter months in Europe it’s usually fine to pay as you go except for the Christmas and New Year’s time period. Things get busy and booked quickly. What I would perhaps do is check the prices for the hotels that you’re interested in on a site like Expedia and then check the prices on the hotels’ websites (or call the hotels) and see if there is a difference. We’ve found that sometimes the Expedia prices can be cheaper, but it really depends place by place. I’d also recommend looking into renting a flat through airbnb or a similar website as that can often be cheaper and in interesting neighborhoods. Good luck and enjoy your trip!
Thank you, I enjoyed your article. 12 years ago I spent 4 months in Prague and I can very much relate to the wonder you describe. How many times in those months did I stop on the Charles Bridge, look down at the white swans gliding on the icy Vltava River and the statues staring down on me and think “Let me stay!” Probably the season saved me from at least some of the worst of the tourist industry, and I almost came to blows with an Englishman who suggested I help him with his new business “Praguepissup.com”, but the writing was on the wall. At the break of dawn that winter I could walk from my flat just off Wenceslas Square all the way to the Castle and barely see more than a few other people – a couple of drunken stragglers, a work crew fortifying themselves with some deep-fried cheese burgers. My footsteps were the first in the fresh snow outside the famous clock. But I fear what I’ll find when I return this November after so long. I guess I’m a tourist too. What must the locals think of it?!
Sounds like you have some wonderful memories from your time in Prague. Don’t worry, the beauty and special feeling of the place is still there. It just may be that you have to wake up a bit earlier or avoid certain streets downtown. That you are going in November will mean that you’ll avoid the high tourist season.
As for what the locals think of it, it’s a mixed bag as they are proud of the beauty of their town and that people from all of over the world come to see it. But, when we were locals we used to avoid the main downtown areas during the height of the tourist season as it felt too busy. I’d recommend spending some time in the neighborhoods to get a balanced feel for the place.
Hi Joel, the month of November is off-the-tourist season. I love it! The city center is all of the sudden (after busy months of September and November) abandoned from crowds of foreigners. The Old Town square is the worst though…. There are so many tourist things and attractions all year around that locals (like me 🙂 call this place the “Prague Circus”. However the month of November has it’s nostalgic misty ambiance that I enjoy. I love this music video shot in Prague in the 80’s….It’s similar how the city looks during the off-tourist season. I hope you’ll enjoy your stay! Maya Caput Regni
Sorry, I meant to say the busy months at the end of the tourist season are September and OCTOBER, not November….Oups!
I did go, and stayed a month until just before Christmas. Certainly it has changed in the years since I was there last. Wenceslas Square and the Old Town really have become a bit of a circus, with their endless souvenirs and Thai massage parlours, people dressed like medieval clowns poking you with gloved sticks to get your attention. I was particularly sad to discover that a wonderful deli I used to go to has been replaced by a tourist shop. But if you head off, you can still play chess in the corner at Lucerna Kavarna and drink svařák in some den on Kampa. It’s a shame that the Czechs feel that they need to run in and out of their extraordinary city centre; although I guess that’s true of most cities in Europe. However, once I was back at my apartment by Hradčanská I was the only foreigner to be seen. I imagine for locals like you it must feel like two separate towns.
Also, I know this music video well. They are Australian, like me.
We tried out the Bredovsky Dvur restaurant this evening based on your blog post for great local Czech food without the tourists. AMAZING. Thank you. The ratings on foursquare are dated and not as positive – but we thought to trust the write up. So it is wonderful service, a treat for any soccer/football fans and amazing food.
So glad you had a good time and experience at Bredovsky Dvur. I used to go there often at lunch with my Czech colleagues when I worked in Prague, so that’s how I first learned about it. Then we began going in evenings and always had good food, great beer and a non-touristy environment. Glad that hasn’t changed!!
Hi guys, I really enjoyed reading a blog written by a fellow resident. One small detail though. To avoid Karlova Ulice if you go a bit to the left after crossing from Charles Bridge then you’ll be going through the Clementinum, not the Karolinum. Little updates courtesy of livingprague.com.
Thanks for catching that mix up! I’ve corrected it now in the article so hopefully others can more easily find the Clementinum and avoid Karlova Ulice 🙂
Interesting,,, I am staying right in the middle of Karlova and have been doing all the things you suggest to avoid, as I read this….yes very touristy so busy… Also part of the experience…
Fascinating place love Prague …
Every where you look is just awesome….
Have found that the locals (shop workers) not very helpful, do not like to be disturbed, there face would crack if they smiled……
Looking forward to a non tourist day somewhere tomorrow….
Interesting post!! Thanks 🙂 I love Prague, the city from my personal point of view is incredible, specially, the czech beer and food. My ideal place is The Old Town Square and i would recommend eating in Sarah Bernhardt, near to Namesti Republiki!! I visited it with my wife six months ago…so…I would like to visit again Peter & Luisa
Loved the post about Prague. Am from india and this is my first time to Europe. Would be in Prague on 29th March for 2 nights & plan to take the overnight train to Budapest on the 3rd night.
– How would the weather be around that time |?
– Was confused as to which area to select a hostel/hotel in ? with respect to ease of commuting/walking to major attractions.
– Between Old Town Square – Astronomical Clock Area Casino Hotel (on priceline) & New Town square Charles Square Area Casino Hotel – which would be a better place to stay ?
Glad you found this article on Prague useful! As for your questions:
1) Weather will still be kind of cold (highs at 7-12 degrees Celsius), but usually there is sunshine around that time so it’s a nice time to be there.
2) We personally like staying in the neighborhoods (near a metro or tram stop) because you can easily go into the center to see the historic sites, but have regular (i.e., non-touristy) restaurants, cafes and bars near where you stay. We prefer Vinohrady, Device, Holesovice. When you look for a hotel, ask how far it is from a metro (preferable) or tram stop.
3) If you want to be in the middle of the historic district, then I would choose the Astronomical Clock area hotel. However, there will be many tourists and souvenir stands around. Charles Square (Karlovy Namesti) is OK, but I prefer the neighborhoods I mentioned in #2.
Have a wonderful visit to Prague!
Have had a lovely few days, thank you for your recommendations….would love to add that there are many good restaurants in the town especially around Republic square, we were not overcharged anywhere, and even in the city centre the food prices are cheaper than a pub lunch in Suffolk. AAA taxis were very good, if you get one from the airport they give you a half price coupon for the return journey. Particularly liked Spanish restaurant La Boca for its decor, food and music (although the waiters could have smiled!!!) and there was an Italian style restaurant on Na Porici which was lovely.
Great to hear you had such a great visit to Prague, Janette! Agree that Namesti Republiky has some great food options. Although the prices in Prague have gone up over the years, it’s still cheaper than most of the UK 🙂 Thanks for the recommendation for La Boca & the Italian place on Na Porici!
You’re very welcome, the information you have given on this page was so so useful to us
PS, please tell Maulik we got a fantastic late deal at the very nice Grand Majestic Plaza hotel, we booked it the day before via a last minute website.
Nice article! I would agree with most of it. I really like the recommendation section. Things that you mentioned in the beginning are the reason why we started our project with our team of young locals from the art scene. We are trying to show our guests a different side of Prague. The authentic and real one, without all the tourist traps and scams. If you are interested you can check our website in my profile and when you will come back to Prague, we would be happy if you will join us for a tour 😉 Best regards!
Thanks, Thomas! We have taken a similar alternative-style tour in Berlin and really enjoyed it. Will take you up on your kind offer next time we visit Prague 🙂
This is what I’m looking for. I love to travel but despise doing the touristy stuff or appearing as a tourist.
I prefer the term “visitor”.
My wife and I will be visiting Vienna, Prague, Bratislava and Budapest this April and I honestly have no idea what to do.
We are planning on renting an apartment via Air BnB but everything we have looked at has been around the main city. I was wondering if there were quieter, but still classic areas a bit further out and still be available for some of the main sights.
Personally, I’d avoid most of them and do the less touristy things and truly discover the city, but I need to find out what that is. Your blog has helped.
Any advice to help us not by “idiot tourists” would be appreciated. We have both traveled a lot and are willing to try most anything.
Hi Audrey. It’s my first time to visit Prague and I wondering if it will be better for me to convert my euros to your local currency? Or just simply use my euros? Will I be charged more if I’ll be using euros?
You should use local currency (Czech crowns) as much as you can as you’ll usually get a better price this way. My advice is to use your ATM/bank card as you’ll likely get a better rate than if you exchange money at an exchange desk.
Enjoy your trip!
Prague is such an amazing city with so many wonderful neighborhoods to explore outside of the busy corridors. I love all your food suggestions and wanted to include a food tour that I did with Eating Prague and the typical foods that are very popular in the city.
Noel, we’ve heard good things about the Eating Prague tour from our friend Adam (TravelsofAdam.com). Glad you had a good experience exploring the neighborhoods and also eating its food!
Thanks for you’re great recommendations in Prague!! We’re currently sitting at Masala having a late lunch after a bit of sightseeing – it’s wonderful!! We also tried Les Moules and Lokal on our visit and we’re very pleased with both – great locations, great food and very affordable!! Thanks again!
Amy, so great to hear that you’ve had good experiences with our recommendations above! Enjoy the rest of your visit to Prague!
need a good english speaking guide for a winter 4 days visit to prague.
I’m afraid we don’t know of a specific guide that could take you around for four days, but we can recommend taking a Context Travel walking tour for one (or more) of those days for in-depth historical or artistic knowledge. Their guides are usually specialized historians and experts in the field. Enjoy your visit to Prague!
Thanks for your wonderful recommendations which I have noted and will use when I visit in late August. We are 2 couples from India and will be in Prague for 3 days. Your suggestions on what to do and see will be immensely helpful.
PRAGUE IS WONDERFUL! But beware of the Italian restaraunt on the water that is suggested. It has a beautiful view, unrivaled! But it is a tourist trap, hands down. They do not list accurate prices for their drinks. Instead they will bring you a glass and charge you double because you wanted a full glass of wine. It’s not outrageously expensive but I am not a fan of places that try purposefully to trick you. Our waiter was rude and did not even offer us dessert or another drink. All the other suggestions on this blog are great though!
Emily, thanks for sharing your recent experience at what I’m assuming is Grosseto Marina. Sorry to hear that you didn’t have a good experience there. We’ll check it out again on our next visit. But, glad you had a good visit to Prague and enjoyed the other recommendations here!
How is Vitavska area. Smichov area. I saw an apartment there with good reviews. It said the bridge is close by tram.
The Smichov area is quite nice, and has become more popular during the last years with new restaurants and cafes opening up. Also, it’s position near the water is good.
Thanks for your in depth sleuthing…much appreciated! I am traveling to Prague next week and am eager to try many of your recommendations.
I have read much about Grand Hotel Evropa for its lush Art Nouveau architecture and interior, which I was looking forward to seeing. But I can’t find a website for it and it appears to have closed a while ago. Do you know if it has reopened?
Also, it appears both the Museum of Decorative Arts and the National Museum are closed. Can you recommend any other museums that have antique ceramics & glassware in their collection?
Andrew, I just realized that your comment came in when we were walking the Camino in Spain, and this response is probably too late for your trip.
I believe that the Grand Hotel Evropa is still closed, but the restaurant part of it might be open. For more lush Art Nouveau architecture I hope you checked out Obecni Dum and took the tour into all the different rooms full of Mucha’s works.
I was so happy to have read this! I have just been in Prague for the weekend and made sure to check out some of the recommended places, like eating in Lokal, drinking in Pivovarsky Klub and in Letna Beer garden.
So my last comment here was in 2013, I’m here now for my 4th Prague visit, going back home to Norway tomorrow.
Love Prague so much, no wonder I keep coming back.
I keep checking this guide still to brush up on the good stuff, and have discovered a few nice places on my own too.
Klasterni Pivovar, smack in the middle of everything touristy, but their rabbit roulade with bacon, paired with their insanely good weissbeer, omg so good.
SaSaZu Asian reustaurant: https://www.sasazu.com/en/menu-alacarte
Their Hong Kong Rolls are just fantastic, going to check out more on their menu next summer.
Warning, quite expensive by regular Prague standards, but totally worth it IMO.
I also spent a day in Kutnà Hora, checking out their fantastic churches and cathedrals, well worth the 55 minute train ride..
Using the great Tripadvisor app for finding the good stuff is highly recommended. 🙂
Thanks, Amund, for returning and sharing some of your recent finds! We have not been to Sasazu, but have friends who have highly recommended it. We’ll be sure to try it next visit. I have also heard good things about Klasterni Pivovar for the beer and atmosphere, but didn’t realize their food was also a big draw – what you described sounds delicious!
And yes, Kutnà Hora is a great day trip. The ossuary is like nowhere else…
Thank you for writing this post, which is still helping tourists years later. Just one upate, the Mozaika restaurant is now a burger restaurant. Regardless, the service was friendly and the burgers were good. If you wanted a more international cuisine in the same neighbourhood, the tapas at Kofein restaurant were unique and delicious.
Thanks, Mat, for the update on Mozaika and how it has changed focus to burgers and barbecue. I’ve updated the article accordingly. Really appreciate this!
I just wonder if you could advise me on driving in and around Prague. I will accompany my wife in February next year. She will attend a course. Is it really necessary to rent a car there? Are roads in a good condition in February and how about parking spaces in the city limit? Your valuable advices are most welcome especially in safety and security in driving and car renting.
Unless you plan to stay far outside of the city center I would not recommend renting a car to explore Prague. The public transport system there is excellent (metro + trams) and it can really get you almost everywhere. Otherwise, there are taxis if it is a hard-to-find place. Prague isn’t a horrible place to have a car in terms of traffic and parking, but it really is easy enough to get around without it. Hope this information helps!
We’ve got strong snowfalls here, now they’re cleansed and ok. Maybe there will be some snowfalls in FEB, so it’s better to stay tuned and check the actual forecast.
Car is good, because it offers you lots of convenience and travel possibilities and dont’t just be anchored to Prague.
Oh my goodness. We got back from our trip which included Prague about 8 days ago. The Astronomical Clock was the absolute biggest disappointment on our trip. Just like you said…when it ‘finished’ I looked around and everyone was leaving, and I said to my husband “That can’t possibly be it. There has to be more than that! ” Nope. What a waste of time and excitement to see it.
Patty, but if you didn’t watch the Astronomical Clock “show” then you’d always be wondering 🙂 I do admit that I laughed reading your comment. We’ve been there.
I just visited Prague and I agree with you. I wish I followed what you wrote. I was at Karlova street and I really hate it! I was at some souvenir store and the owner was very impolite and super rude. I don’t want to go on details, but karlova is a tourist trap you want to avoid. I suggest you to buy souvenirs at the store next to sex machine museum (behind the starbucks). The ladies were very nice and the price makes sense.
You also don’t want to waste your time at The Astronomical Clock. Beware of your belongings around that place. You would find a group of strangers wander around for a long time and do nothing but observe people and their bags.
But apart from that, prague is a very lovely place to visit.
Monica, glad you enjoyed your visit to Prague, even with the unpleasantness of Karlova street. It’s a shame that what was once such a beautiful street has turned into the tourist trip that it is. And yes, it’s always important to keep awareness about belongings around the Astronomical Clock and in restaurants or public transport. Prague is a safe city, but still better to be careful…
Audrey, I want to thank you for your suggestions and tips about Prague! My hubby and I were there for 2 days and definitely took some of your ideas to heart! (Although we kinda liked the schlock of Karlovo Street!) the BEST suggestion you had was Osteria Da Clara! Oh my goodness! That food was just heavenly. I wished I lived in Prague just for that restaurant!!! And we would never have found it without your tip! Thanks so much!
Great to hear you had such a good experience in Prague and enjoyed Osteria Da Clara! We live in Berlin now and also wish it was around the corner from us 🙂
Hi, I’m going to Prague in a few weeks and staying in an Airbnb in area 10. Any favorite pubs, places to hear music, sites, and/or restaurants in that neighborhood? Thanks!!
Kim, great choice to stay in Prague 10 – that’s our old neighborhood 🙂 As for some recommendations in that area, check out Osteria de Clara, Prague Beer Museum (Namesti Miru location), Grebovka winery/restaurant, and Akropolis for music & Kino Aero for art house movies in Zizkov (not too far from Prague 10). Enjoy your trip!
Thanks for the tips!
Thanks for the information. We just had a terrible experience with the crowds in the main tourist streets and wish we’d read your post first.. We also got ripped off by a boat cruise company–boat was called Blanky. It would be useful if you could offer advice to others. It spoiled our day today and some of your comments about taxi drivers and restaurant bills do make me feel that Prague doesn’t treat its tourists like some of the other European cities. We’ve just come from Vienna and Prague could learn a thing or two from that city’s attitude to tourists and the wide variety of activities that mean that the tourists, although large in number, aren’t all stuck in the one place with not enough to do.
Sorry to hear about your bad experience with the crowds on the main tourist streets and the boat cruse. Thanks for sharing. Unfortunately, so much of the tourist traffic in Prague is still focused on the small old town. I do hope that more activity and experiences emerge in the nearby neighborhoods to help disperse the crowds a bit and also provide some exploration of other areas.
I’m glad to have found your advice! I visited Prague last year for the first week in May and, though we did do quite a bit of the touristy stuff, I adored the city. I went with my mother, aunt, and cousin; our excuse was visiting my son who was studying for a semester at Czech Technological University. He directed us to some local places to eat and was a great help at avoiding some of the traps such as the taxis and currency exchange places. That being said, 6 days was not long enough for me to visit, especially as 2 of those days were spent elsewhere, one on a hiking tour (Saxon Switzerland National Park and Bohemian Switzerland National park! Beautiful!!) and one in Vienna. I was so enthused about my visit that my husband and I decided to go back this summer (yes, I know, high tourist season but the timing was what we had available to us). I get 15 days in Prague and 2 in Vienna again! So, your tips are going to help me immensely in planning things to do other than the “big must see” things.
Do you have any opinions or thoughts on visiting the Zoo or other parks? We are also planning a beer tour and a day tour (not organized, just us on the train) to Pilsen. Any advice for this? Thank you so much!
Visiting your son during study abroad is a great excuse to visit Prague, especially with other family members. Sounds like a wonderful trip!
Even though your upcoming visit is in high season there is still lots to do and see that won’t be overly touristed or crowded, especially as you’ve already seen much of the main touristy stuff and highlights. I’d suggest taking some time to explore the different neighborhoods, perhaps getting to know their weekly markets and little cafes or hospodas (pubs). It’s been a while since I visited the zoo, but I do remember it being very well done and caring for the animals. It’s possible to take a boat to a point near there so that the journey to the zoo is also an experience.
As for parks, we enjoy the park around Vysehrad as you’ll find lots of locals having picnics or just hanging out there. Letna park is also quite nice as it overlooks the Vltava river and there is a good beer garden there. We also enjoy the park area around Petřín Tower (Prague’s mini Eiffel Tower) and there are quite a few walking paths through the park. It’s also nice to walk to the tower from the top part of the castle. Kampa park near the river can also be nice, especially in the summer as there are sometimes art installations or other events going on.
It’s been a while since we visited Pilsen, but we did enjoy visiting the Pilsner Urquell Brewery. Czech beer is still the best, in our opinion. Pilsen is close enough to visit as a day trip via train and the town itself is quite cute. The Americans liberated Pilsen during World War II (vs. Russians in Prague) so you might see some information plaques and other things that tell this story. We happened to visit one time during the anniversary of this so there were reenactments with people dressed in U.S. military uniforms and tanks and such.
Have a great trip!
Please avoid Airbnb. It is squeezing locals out of their apartments, reducing supply of housing for people who actually live there, contributes to the touristization of buildings against other neighbors’ wishes, etc. Get a hotel or stay at a hostel. Ideally short term rentals would be completely banned by the government. Short term rentals are a major driver of over tourism and a scourge for real people living in these places (other than the, often foreign, owners of the flats who rent them out to tourists all year round). Don’t contribute to the further Disneyfication of Prague.
Jan, agree with you regarding Airbnb and how it has distorted the local housing market. We have experienced the same thing in our current home in Berlin. So, I’ve removed mention of renting an Airbnb apartment in the article and have left the hotel links instead.
I know it’s in a touristy area, but a MUST see is the Golum and the old Jewish neighborhood! Yes, many folks are hawking tiny Golum figures, but the history of the Old Jewish Town is a must!
Good point, Janice. Golum and the history attached is very much of the essence of Prague. And of all the little things one can buy in Prague’s Old Town, some of the Golum figurines are among my favorite souvenir gifts I’ve given from the city.