Whether you’re just in Prague for 24 hours or are spending a couple of weeks traveling around the Czech Republic, you’re sure to want to see, do and eat the best that the city has to offer. Our Foodie Guide to Prague offers you insider’s tips on how to make the most of your visit. We’ve gathered together our favorite attractions, restaurants, bars and places to stay in Prague, as well as our very own shortlist of not-to-be-missed food and drinks in the Czech Republic! (PS. Want to be shown around Prague by a local and taste the best of the city? Then book one of our Prague food tours!)
The original Czech open-faced sandwiches, chlebíčky are commonly eaten for lunch or as snacks. They’re traditionally topped with cold meats, cheeses, deviled eggs (usually spread with margarine or cream cheese underneath) but nowadays more “gourmet” chlebíčky with creative, innovative toppings are being served. On our Prague Food Tours, you’ll try chlebíčky with pickled herring and wasabi, for instance, or goat’s cheese and beetroot.
These delicate snacks resemble French crêpes more closely than “pancakes”, as they are often translated. Fruit fillings like strawberry (jahoda) or apricot (meruňka), or heartier versions with spinach and garlic (špenát, česnek) or ham and cheese (šunka, sýr), add either sweet or savory infusions of flavor.
You can’t come to Prague without tasting Czech beer (pivo) at least once, even if you’re not usually a beer drinker. After all, the population of the Czech Republic drinks the most beer in the world: the total consumption – divided by every man, woman, grandparent and baby in the country – equals approximately 150 liters per year, or in other words almost half a liter daily, for every person. Impressive! But after tasting a foam-topped pint from the birthplace of Pilsner, understanding why becomes much easier. The larger Czech beer brands include Pilsner Urquell, the world’s first pilsner, Budweiser Budvar (not to be mistaken for the American version of Budweiser), Velkopopovický Kozel (a darker, maltier brew), Gambrinus, Radegast, Staropramen, Krušovice, Starobrno, Bernard and Svijany. The craft beer scene in Prague is exploding as well!
Svíčková with dumplings
Sirloin beef in cream sauce is considered the queen of Czech sauce-based dishes, the Czech name for which is svíčková (pronounced sveech-covah). For Czech families, this is a classic Sunday family lunch dish, since it is best when the meat is prepared and marinated a day in advance. Traditionally, this delicacy is served with bread dumplings and, to complete the dish and create a perfect harmony of flavors, it has to be garnished with a slice of lemon, cranberries and scoop of whipped cream. It may look like dessert, but it’s not! Tip: try the best svíčková in city (in our humble opinion!) on our Prague Food Tour.
A soft Czech pastry that’s usually filled with a dollop of fruit or sweetened cheese, or sometimes poppy seeds. Kolache makes great on-the-go breakfast fare or a deliciously sweet afternoon snack.
The Czech fine burgers bistro (the best burger place in Prague and voted 5th in the whole of Europe!) that serves amazing beef patties (vege-friendly portabellas, too) and homemade ice cream – can’t beat it.
Literally translating to “At the Blue Duckling”, this restaurant serves sophisticated duck and game dishes in lavish 1930s style. Half portions are available and advised, as Czech portions are generally huge!
The Old Town square is at the center of Prague’s medieval, cobble-stoned Old Town. In the square, you will find the Old Town Hall, built in 1338 and paid for by the duty levied on wine consumption. The Old Town Hall houses the tourist information office, from which you can get access to the tower. On the outside, the Hall is famous for its gorgeous façade clock, commonly known as the Astronomical Clock. Every hour, just before the hour, from 8 am to 8 pm, the skeleton on the right opens the clock doors by pulling on a string while looking at his other hand holding an hourglass. Then, the central windows open and the 12 apostles march across the clock. A cock crows to mark the end of the ritual. The clock tower also features a calendar painted by the famous Czech painter Josef Manes.
Translating as “Lesser Town”, Mala Strana is the neighborhood of Prague adjacent to the Prague Castle area and connected to the Old Town by the Charles Bridge. In the Middle Ages, the German citizens were concentrated in this part of the city. The Lesser Town was home to a number of noble palaces, whereas the Old Town was more bourgeois and Bohemian.
The Jewish Quarter
The Jewish Quarter dates back to the late 11th Century when the Jews in Prague were forced to move out of their homes and into one restricted neighborhood. The Jewish Quarter later became known as the Prague Jewish Ghetto. Six synagogues exist, including the Old-New Synagogue and the Spanish Synagogue, as well as the Jewish Town Hall and the Old Jewish Cemetery, considered the most noteworthy in Europe.
Charles Bridge, originally known as Stone Bridge, crosses the famous Vltava River in Prague. Until 1841, it was the only way across the river, connecting Prague Castle to the Old Town and the surrounding areas. It is adorned with 30 statues of saints and lined with beautiful old-fashioned lanterns. The Charles Bridge is a favorite location for artists, who set up their canvases and expositions along the side of the bridge for locals and tourists to admire. Beware of the bridge in the middle of the day as it is packed with tourists taking pictures from all angles.
Found in Petrin Park, the Petrin Watchtower is sometimes referred to as “the little Eiffel Tower”, although it is different in both size and design. The tower offers stunning views of Prague and a considerable part of the Czech Republic. When visibility is good, you can spot the highest summit of the Czech Republic (Snezka) from the top of the tower. To access the tower, take the funicular (with a single adult ticket) or go by foot (for free) to the top of the park and the base of the tower. If you’re up for more walking, get a ticket and head up 299 stairs to a view that’s definitely worth the effort!
Kampa is an island found in the Vltava River in central Prague, belonging to the Lesser Town area. The island is one of the prettiest spots in Mala Strana, giving you a great view of the Charles Bridge and the activity that goes on around it. It is separated from Mala Strana by a small artificial canal called the Devil’s stream, supposedly named after a sharp-tongued woman who lived in a local home called the Seven Devils.
Prague Castle and Picture Gallery
Prague Castle is the most important historical site in the city, as well as the biggest castle in Europe. The castle was used as a residence for the kings of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperors in the 8th century. Today it contains the office of the President of the Czech Republic. Inside, the Prague Picture Gallery contains paintings from the famous collection of Emperor Rudolph II. It allows visitors to view 100 paintings selected from the over 4,000 paintings in the Prague Castle.
John Lennon Wall
If you’re a Beatles or just a John Lennon fan, you can’t miss the famous John Lennon Wall in Mala Strana. Since the 1980s, it has been filled with graffiti and song lyrics dedicated to John Lennon and the Beatles. The wall has undergone years of additions, and the original face of John Lennon is lost under layers of new colors. The wall is a symbol of youth ideals, love, and peace.
The Powder Tower
The Powder Tower was built around 1475, as one of the 13 medieval entrance gates to the Old Town. However, it wasn’t finished for centuries and was barely used, except for a brief period to store gunpowder – which is of course what gives it its name. Today, it is one of the main historical sites of the city and the main entrance to the Old Town Square. You’ll see the Powder Tower on our Prague Food Tour!
Parks and gardens
Prague has numerous beautiful parks and gardens, most of which are accessible for free. These include Wallenstein Gardens, Kampa Park, Prague Castle Gardens, and Petrin Park. Letna Park offers a beautiful view of the city; in the center, the biggest statue of Stalin in Europe once stood on what is now a huge metronome visible from the city center.
Drive to Český Krumlov
The World Heritage listed old town of Český Krumlov is a 2-hour drive from Prague, offering you the opportunity to see more of the Czech Republic, taking in the stunning Bohemian countryside as you drive through quaint villages. Rent a car in Prague and your party will be rewarded with a tour of a breathtaking castle known as the “Pearl of the Renaissance” when you arrive in Český Krumlov. While the castle is the reason most people make this trip, the entire town of Český Krumlov is on the Unesco World Heritage Site list and travelers who take a day to visit the castle will also enjoy walking among 300 historic houses. One of our favorite day trips from Prague.
Explore the unexplored
Feel like you’ve already gotten your fill of the best-known sites in Prague? There’s always something else hiding, usually just around the corner from wherever you’re standing. Check out this article over at The Culture Trip on the best-kept secrets of Prague and escape the crowds while still fully immersing yourself in the history of this beautiful city.
Travelers looking for luxury in the center of the city can spend the night in style right in Old Town Square. This historic building maintains an 18th-century baroque façade and 24 individually decorated rooms dripping with chandeliers, ornate bedspreads, and impeccable attention to detail. Turn off the alarm and use your view of Prague’s famous Astronomical Clock to keep the time.
This boutique hotel in Prague’s trendy Vinohrady neighborhood gives you a quiet glimpse of everyday life in the Czech capital. Compare the pictures of historical Prague that decorate your walls as you walk the city streets. Jump onto the metro at Namesti Miru, just one stop outside of the city center, for easy access to all the sights.
Visitors looking for a pivo (Czech for beer) and a party usually congregate at Mosaic House. This 4-star, environmentally-friendly building houses everything from shared hostel beds to high-end private rooms, plus live music and DJs at La Loca Music Bar and Lounge. Start your morning slowly after a long night with a short walk to the Dancing House and continue along the Vltava River or relax in the park at nearby Karlovo Namesti, with easy access to public transportation.
Traveling on a budget? This clean, friendly, affordable hostel boasts a prime location between Wenceslas Square and Old Town Square, right in the center of the action. The ornate ceilings and 16th-century building give this hostel experience a touch of class you don’t usually find among the backpacking crowd.