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Insider’s Prague: Tourist Traps to Avoid, Things to Do, Where to Eat

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. Recently, I've heard from travelers disappointed by their visits to Prague because of the city's tourist schlock and crowds.

Yes, there's a fair heap of that. But, there are also ways to avoid it and much more 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 and where to eat in Prague.

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The Best European Christmas Markets

We’re here in Beijing, China and the only things going up more rapidly than new buildings are Christmas trees (mostly fake, of course). Last night, we became nostalgic while strolling past another giant shopping center Christmas tree, this one shielded by a roof that houses the world's largest LED video screen (250 meters long by 30 meters wide).

Beijing Christmas Decorations
Getting into the Christmas spirit in Beijing, China.

Though the proliferation of Christmas decorations in Beijing is remarkable, their presence just doesn't capture the holiday spirit like a European Christmas market would. So, we offer a walk down European Christmas Market memory lane and our “Best of” European Christmas Markets list.

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Eating Ethnic in Prague

When we first moved to Prague in 2001, ethnic restaurants were relatively expensive; the selection was slim and value low. In response, we sought out odd spice shops and developed new skills in cooking Italian, Indian, Thai and Mexican. As with the availability of ingredients, the number of ethnic restaurants in Prague has grown substantially over the last few years. We’ve even been introduced to some new cuisines like Afghan and Georgian.

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Cooking Well in Prague

When we first moved to Prague at the end of 2001, fresh goods like celery and limes were luxury food items with out-sized price tags whose whereabouts were restricted to an imported food shop called Fruits de France.

In the last five years, however, the landscape for finding fruits, non-root vegetables, spices, herbs and imported goods in Prague has evolved rapidly. Prague still doesn’t have a good central food market or a “fresh market” culture like Vienna or Munich, but the Vietnamese community has managed to fill some of the void by opening endless fruit and vegetable shops. Although it’s still difficult to assemble a sophisticated, full-course meal with one stop, if you know where to look you can find almost anything you need.

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Malesice – Prague’s Little Hanoi

Wondering where the real Vietnamese food is in Prague? Are fresh herbs and Asian goods your thing?

Where did you get those bags of frozen tiger shrimp? Where do you get your fresh Thai basil and long beans? Where did you get all those fresh herbs for your Vietnamese summer rolls?

If we had a nickel (a Czech koruna, perhaps?) for every time we’d been asked these questions, we’d have enough money to buy a vote in the Czech parliament.

We covet the secret no longer. Here’s the scoop…

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