Experience Prague Like A Local.
The city of Prague has a long and storied history in central Europe, dating back hundreds of years and spanning empires. It is a city where ancient castles, and modern culture collide in a mix of historic and artistic excellence. Prague is one of those cities that many people have heard about, but never take the time to pass through on their European travels; which really is a shame.
Prague is packed to the brim with bustling streets, beautiful historic landmarks, breathtaking nature, and hearty cuisine–oh, and don’t forget the beer! If you are considering a trip to Europe, but don’t know quite where to go, let me make the case for Prague. It is one of the most brilliant cities in all of Europe.
– What To Do In Prague.
Prague has its fair share of tourist sites, and packed ‘old city’ streets that are nothing but overpriced food and cheap souvenirs. Much like any major European city, they bank on travelers not knowing any better. Let me be your tour guide for a moment, and give you some tips and tricks on how to really t ravel Prague.
It should be said that many of the major tourist sites–Prague castle, the Charles Bridge, etc, are all great places to visit. They became famous for a reason. The stunning gothic architecture and testament to the rich history of the region is something to be experienced for certain.
Although, when you get sick of the crowds, and want to see some really cool things away from the highlights on the walking tour map, you are going to have plenty of options too. Let’s take a look at a few fun activities to do away f rom the normal tourist destinations.
– Visit A Beer Garden.
Imagine for a moment that you are sitting under the shade of a sprawling tree, high up on a hill, enjoying an ice cold Czech beer while you overlook the entire cityscape below you. Prague has several spots throughout the city that offer this very experience–Beer Gardens.
Prague is somewhat famous for their beer gardens. While many would say they imagine Berlin, or Brussels whenever they think of beer gardens, Prague is definitely no slouch. Beer gardens are a great way to enjoy the nature of the city over an ice cold Czech drink, all while getting some great views and atmosphere.
Many travellers love to visit Letna Beer Garden. This is primarily due to its perfect location and one of the best views in the city. However, if you want a more local experience, try the beer garden Stalin. Take it from me, the beer is cheaper, the views are better, and the crowd is almost completely local. It might be one of the most relaxing and fun experiences you will have during your entire stay in Prague.
– Meet Some Peacocks!
You would probably never guess that the chance to meet and engage with roaming peacocks in Prague was a possibility. However…. Here we are. Not far from the center city, it is a small little park about three minutes walk from the Charles Bridge. This park–Vojanovy
sady- -is home to a number of roaming, and beautiful peacocks.
At the park, you are unlikely to find massive crowds. It’s a little off the beaten path, and you have to know that it’s there in order to find it. That is, unless you get lucky and find it by accident. In this park you will find plenty of shady benches, lush grass, and wonderful views to relax in. It can be the perfect spot to enjoy a coffee or small lunch in between activities.
The peacocks here are used to interacting with humans, and are mostly friendly. In many cases, you can get rather close to them and see how gorgeous they are in real life! Just remember, they are roaming wild, and should not be touched. Although, I bet you never knew that you could see peacocks in the wild, in Prague!
– Visit The Prague Underground.
Due to the old city being constantly flooded by the massive Vltava river, the city of Prague had to be raised. Right around the 13th century the ground floors of Prague were raised, and the city itself was lifted above the flood levels. Many of the original ground floors of buildings then became cellar and underground passageways.
Many of the underground passageways and cellars are now used today as bars, restaurants, monasteries, and even crypts. You can explore many of these places if you know where to look! While the city is filled with ‘underground tours’, you can surely get by on your own with a little bit of exploration.
For example, just outside of old town is a fun and exotic underground bar by the name of Vzorkovna – Dog Bar. This underground pub offers exotic seating–such as sitting in the wooden rafters–live music, and even entire 40oz (1,200ml) beers for just a couple of euros, as well as some real dogs who roam around the bar itself and let you pet them. Places like this permeate the city. Don’t be afraid to look under your feet for fun in Prague.
– How To Get Around In Prague.
Prague is actually a very large city. Exploring the entire place by foot is unlikely to be feasible without some serious blisters. Luckily, Prague is packed with tons of transportation options that are not only cheap, they are incredibly convenient.
Side note: Do not, I repeat do NOT ever take a taxi in the city of Prague. They are notoriously over priced, and have a very unsavory reputation. Now, back to the goods.
– Ride Sharing.
Rideshare apps are very common in Prague. You will be able to locate an Uber within minutes from almost anywhere, and they are very reasonably priced. However, for those from outside the EU, consider using Bolt.
Bolt is just like Uber, with two major distinctions.
1) it is usually cheaper.
2) you can pay in cash for added convenience.
In many cases, if you are splitting the cost with friends, Uber or Bolt will cost less money than it would if you had taken the tram or bus.
– Public Transportation.
Prague has a very modern and efficient tram system that runs 24/7. Many of the trams even have contactless payment options on the tram itself, so you can simply hop on and pay. However, you should remember that city officials do check for tickets regularly and the fine for not having one can be hefty.
A 1hr ticket for Prague public transportation costs about $1.25, and allows you to make as many transfers as you see fit. That price of course goes down when you buy extended timeframe options. Overall, public transport is amazingly cheap and efficient in Prague–it’s what the locals use!
– What To Eat In Prague.
Czech food is very similar to other central/eastern European cultures in many ways. The best way I can describe it is, ‘it’s everything that goes good with a beer’. That is, meat, potatoes, bread, and cooked vegetables. The Czech people love to eat large portions of dense and hearty food.
Some of the best places to eat traditional Czech food are going to be a little outside the center city. Remember, the old city has great food, but you are going to overpay for it. Consider these places instead.
– U Sadu.
Located just 15 minutes from the center city by tram is this nearly 100 year old traditional Czch bar and restaurant. In the neighborhood of Žižkov, you will find tons of really awesome and cheap places to eat, but U Sadu might just be the best.
With a menu filled with traditional Czech delicacies, and unique local brews, you are sure to walk away feeling stuffed.
– Sociální Bistro Střecha
This place is also located in the neighborhood of Žižkov–can you tell I love this area? Střecha is a totally vegan restaurant, with a menu filled with great breakfast foods, the best vegan burgers in the city, and even amazing fresh squeezed lemonades and deserts. Even as a non-vegan, I absolutely loved this place.
In addition, Střecha employs homeless or rehabilitated employees. This means that they have made it their mission to give back to their community, and help give people a second chance. Overall, Střecha is delicious food with a great mission for their community.
– Final Thoughts.
You could absolutely spend months in the city of Prague, and still not see everything. Prague is packed with unbelievable sights, sounds, tastes, and experiences. It truly is one of the most unique places in the world. That is why, if you are considering a European trip, consider Prague.
I guarantee you will leave the city feeling like you left a piece of your heart behind.