Prague is a city of many beautiful, old buildings and famous attractions. The old city centre that surrounds the Vltava River is full of stunning ancient buildings, old streets, interesting museums and art galleries. If your visit to Prague is short, your schedule will be surely filled up for the whole day. Luckily, Prague is also the city full of tiny cafes and cosy bars where you can chill out. It is a bit like Vienna in that way, but more relaxed. Just sit in some of these cafés and enjoy great homemade cakes or try the famous Czech beer. The rush of the day will quickly disappear. As there are many places to go in Prague centre, here are a few tips for the ones that you should definitely not miss.
1. Rehor Samsa: books and good coffee
Are you walking in the Old Town? You’ll surely visit Prague’s biggest square – Vaclavske Square, where the Velvet Revolution started. In Vaclavske Square there are two nice places to sit just nearby. The first one is called Rehor Samsa and it is hidden in the complex of passages in Vodickova Street, just next to the Mustek Metro Station. This café is named after the main figure of a famous story by Franz Kafka that is called Metamorphose. It is a tiny café that connects good coffee with great books – actually, one part of the space is a tiny bookstore. If you look closely, maybe you’ll find one of Kafka’s books … When you’re done looking at the books, find a place to sit and watch the intellectuals and artists have a lively conversation with the owner (a tiny man with glasses who is always smiling) who are sitting at the bar. Order some good tea – the one made from the fresh ginger and honey - it is a real pleasure.
2. Ovocny Svetozor: the best ice cream ever
If you’re not in the mood to have tea, just cross Vodickova Street and enter the passage called Svetozor. There is a wonderful ice cream store and milk bar called Ovocny Svetozor. Its owner, Hajek, is the most famous pastry chef from the Czech Republic. The enormous queues that are in front of his store prove it! Even if there are a lot of people, try to get in and grab a spot, as his cakes, ice cream and milkshakes are a must try. The offer is really big and looking at all the tasty goodness in the window you will surely want to eat all of them. Do you want some chocolate cake with whipped cream and cherries? Or rather a light fruit cake? You’ll surely find the dessert that fits you! Even if all these cakes are delicious, don’t get stuck only on them – Hajek’s real speciality lies in the art of ice cream sundaes. Their variety is enormous – Hajek serves both scooped ice cream (you can choose your flavour), as well as sundaes made with his traditional flavor - banana strawberry ice cream. One of these sundaes is a real must-try as you can’t find this particular ice cream anywhere else in the world!
3. Mala Ryba: wanna have a beer?
Do you want to experience the real Czech pub full of young students and of good beer? Try Mala Ryba, a small pub that is hidden on Kremencova Street just a few steps from the Narodni Divadlo Tram Station. Even though it is tiny, Mala Ryba is always crowded – the locals know where the beer is good! So grab a place there, order a pint of Kozel and enjoy the relaxed, familiar atmosphere of the place. If you’re hungry, order some of their cheese or ham stuffed pita breads or try the purely Czech dish called “nakladany hermelin”. “Hermelin” is a Czech cheese that resembles French Camembert and “nakladany” means that it is pickled in a mix of spices and oil. If the cheese is well matured, it is a real delicacy that melts in the mouth. This goes perfectly with some slices of typical Czech rye-wheat bread on side and your beer.
4. Velryba: tasty cheap food
Just a few blocks from Mala Ryba, on Opatovicka Street, there is another great café/restaurant that is called Velryba. This restaurant is well-reputed among art and language students for its great food. Velryba offers a large scale of cheap and good dishes, ranging from vegetarian meals based on vegetables and cheese, through a variety of pastas to grilled and fried meat specialities. Velryba’s breaded chicken tenders or its hamburger are definitely the most popular meals. If you order either you will eat really well. Even though Velryba has good beer, order the non-alcoholic draught lemonade called Kofola. It is an original Czech drink that tastes a bit like Coca-Cola, but at the same time it is very different. Try it, as you can’t find it anywhere else in the world.
5. Café Louvre
Do you long for some fancy and stylish coffee? Then Café Louvre is the best choice. This café and restaurant is situated on the first floor of an ancient building near the Narodni Trida Tramway and Metro Station. Its interior has preserved the beautiful art nouveau style full of curves and flowers. Also, the staff perfectly follows the old tradition of good, quick service that was common for Czech and Austrian cafés during the first half of 20th century. The waiters who wear old-style lined aprons know perfectly the decorum of their job and you’ll be enchanted by their aptitude and skillfulness while carrying trays full of tasty dishes. Order the traditional Czech food called “Svickova na smetane” – high-quality beef in a cream sauce accompanied by Czech dumplings – and you’ll feel like you are in heaven. Attention – plan to leave some room in your stomach for some of Louvre’s lovely desserts. You can’t leave without trying the blueberry pie with vanilla ice cream or the real apple strudel!
Prague’s best cafés and bars
Prague is a city with a wonderful friendly atmosphere full of young people that love good beer and good coffee. Mainly in the city centre, there are an enormous number of tiny cafes and bars. You should definitely visit some of them. Here are a few tips for several of the best places ever.
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