My mission for this week was to speak with Prague locals about their favourite “hidden spaces” in the city. Each of our local experts was asked to nominate one place which they love but that isn’t often featured in the guidebooks. The responses were fascinating and really varied. The people featured in this article have all lived in Prague for many years. In amongst them you will find expats, Czechs, students, teachers, managers, writers, parents, entrepreneurs, people who have lived in the city for their whole lives and people who have been here for just a few years. I really enjoyed putting this article together and I made a lot of exciting new discoveries in the process. We hope that it will be an informative and enjoyable read.
Tip #1 from Claire (Ireland)
New World near Prague Castle
“They say it’s the most golden part of Prague. Tycho de Brahe lived there and also artists, designers, painters and writers. It’s sort of Prague’s Montmartre.”
This is a simply charming area with tiny houses and narrow streets. Many of the houses are identified not only by number but also by name and are decorated with illustrated plaques above the doors, showing what the houses are named after. Considering how beautiful this part of Prague is, I’m always surprised to see that it is not packed with tourists. On the contrary it is generally a quiet and peaceful part of the city.
- To get here, take tram 22 to Brusnice, or you can walk from the castle grounds. Just leave the main Hradcanske Square by Kanovnicka Street.
Tip #2 from Alice (Czech Republic)
Saint Margaret’s Monastery in Brevnov
“A beautiful Baroque monastery with lovely parks and ponds around it”
As the days are getting warmer and warmer, Saint Margaret’s Monastery is a perfect place to visit. The monastery itself is the second oldest in Bohemia and is a stunning example of Baroque architecture. The grounds of the monastery are open free of charge to visitors all year round and they make for a thoroughly pleasant summer time stroll. One of the best things about this monastery is that it comes equipped with its own brewery/restaurant, which has an outdoor terrace looking out over the grounds.
- To get here, take trams 22 or 25 to the stop Brevnovsky Klaster.
Tip #3 from Hana (Czech Republic)
Pruhonice Park and Castle.
“It may not be in the centre but it’s definitely worth seeing”
So strictly speaking the Pruhonice Park and Castle isn’t in Prague, but it’s only a few kilometres away and is easy to get to from the city. This Neo-Renaissance castle is surrounded by 240 hectares of landscaped park land, all based within a winding river valley. The park contains over 40km of well maintained trails, which will lead you through beautiful forests with some rather exotic trees and lush meadows containing many interesting species of flowers, plants and animals. The park is on the UNESCO world heritage list.
- It’s quick and easy to get to the castle from Prague. Simply make your way to Opatov Metro Station (C Line) and then take bus 363 or 385 to stop “Pruhonice”. The bus ride should only take around 15 minutes.
Tip #4 from Anna (Italy)
Tynska Literarni Kavarna
“It’s a nice place to chill out after a whole day walking in Prague”
Tynska Literarni Kavarna is another place that you could quite easily miss if you don’t know that it’s there. Many tourists, being distracted by the spectacular beauty of Tynska Church, would walk straight past the inconspicuous wooden doors of one of central Prague’s most charming café bars. This probably explains why this place is mostly frequented by locals. The café takes its name from the fact that it’s also an independent publishing house for local writers and is a popular hangout for students and artists. On the inside, its arched ceilings give the café a really cosy atmosphere and there is also an outdoor terrace, which is a terrific spot to pass those summer afternoons.
Prices here are unusually reasonable considering that it’s located right off Old Town Square and they offer a really tempting range of snacks and small meals alongside the normal, teas, coffees, wines and Czech beers.
- The Tynska Literarni Kavarna can be found at Tynska 630/6 Prague 1 and is open Mon-Fri 10am-11pm and Sat-Sun 12pm-11pm.
Tip #5 from Romain (France)
Oliveira market/restaurant for Portuguese style tapas and wine
“They’ve got authentic Portuguese tapas and really nice wine.”
Oliveira was opened by a Portuguese man and his Czech wife and is the only authentic Portuguese restaurant in Prague. The interior is stylish and contemporary but it is also a cosy and friendly spot, where you will just want to stay all evening. So pull up a chair, enjoy a glass of delicious Portuguese wine or port, and indulge in a range of scintillating and authentically Portuguese style tapas.
- Oliveira can be found at Čermákova 1231/4, Vinohrady, Prague 2. It is open Tues-Sun 4pm-11pm but is closed on Mondays.
Tip #6 from Todd (USA)
The Bio Oko Cinema
“They have many films in English or with English subtitles, and most of crowd there is younger and speak English. The bar area is a great place to meet new people and have a drink after seeing one of the lesser-known indie films.”
The Bio Oko is a cinema with a difference. They show a lot of independent films, foreign films, documentaries and just things that you wouldn’t see in most of the big chain cinemas. Bio Oko is also equipped with its own bar and it’s possible to take your drinks with you into the screening. If you’re not much of a traditionalist, why not enjoy the film from a bean bag, a deck chair or even the front seat of plastic car? (traditional style seating is also available!).
- For information about what’s coming up at the Bio Oko, check out their website. The cinema can be found at Františka Křížka 460/15, Prague 7.
Tip #7 from Iain (the UK)
Zizkov Boulder Bar
“You can climb walls and drink until you fall off the walls”
The basic concept of this bar is pretty simple. It’s a bar with a climbing wall. There are a few bars which offer climbing in Prague, but Iain recommends this one in Zizkov, as it has a friendly, laid back atmosphere. As you can see by checking out their website, the climbing wall is not so much a climbing wall as several climbing rooms, with crash pads installed and areas suitable for both total beginners and experts. The price to climb for an adult is 80CZK and you can climb for as long as you like/can. There is also optional shoe hire for an additional fee of 30CZK.
- You can find the Zizkov Boulder Bar at Borivojova 104, Prague 3. Climbing is available from 4pm-11pm but the bar stays open until the last customers leave.
Tip #8 from Amy (USA)
“Joystick is an Arcade bar that offers classic pinball, your favorite 80’s and 90’s video games and table football. It’s smoke-free and the bar tenders are awesome!”
Czech craft beers, gaming themed cocktails and your favourite retro video games all under one roof is, in a nutshell, what you will find at the newly opened Joystick Bar. The interior design is pretty industrial and the place has a feel of a large disused warehouse, but this only adds to its many charms.
- Joystick bar can be found at Jindřišská 5, Prague 1. It is open from 4pm-2am.
Tip #9 from Paul (the UK)
Prague’s Bobova Draha (Bobsleigh track)
“It’s just a fun way to spend an afternoon”
Not many visitors realise that Prague has its very own fun packed and adrenalin filled bobsleigh track. Hidden away in the hills of Prague 9, you will find the track, which is 1km in length and is full of loops, tight bends, dips and bumps. If you’re in the mood to really get the adrenalin pumping you can get up to some really eye watering speeds as you make your descent, or you can just slow it right down and enjoy the scenery. 1 trip down the hill is 70CZK, or you can get 6 trips for 330CZK. At the top of the hill there is also a good quality restaurant and bar. For more information, have a look at their website.
- The track can be found at Prosecka 903/34b. To get here, take bus 140 or 185 from either Palmovka (B line) or Prosek (C line) to stop Kelerka. It is open from 12pm-8pm Mon-Fri and 10am-10pm at the weekends.
Tip #10 from Denny (the UK)
Green Spirit Vegetarian Café and Bistro
“I’m not a vegetarian and I love this place.”
Green Sprit produces food, which is so tasty and so creative that even fully commited carnivores won’t care for a moment that everything on the menu is vegetarian. The meals here are inspired by national cuisines from all around the world and are made using fresh, high quality ingredients. The menu also includes a range of raw deserts, freshly made sandwiches, unusual cocktails containing acai and guarana and there is the world famous Czech beer, Pilsner Urquell on tap.
- Green Spirit can be found at Helichova 14, Malostrana, Prague 1. It is open Mon-Fri 10am-6pm and Sat-Sun 11am-8pm
Tip #11 from Ben (the UK)
“It’s a cool place to chill with a beer and play a bit of evening Frisbee.”
Stromovka Park is Prague’s ultimate picnic location and the city’s largest park. It was founded in the 13th century as a royal game reserve but these days it has the feel of a large English country garden. There are lush green lawns, large man-made lakes, streams, fountains, blossoming flower beds, and as the name of the park would suggest, a whole load of majestic and mature trees (Strom means “tree” in Czech). Stromovka Park is very popular with runners, roller bladders and cyclists all year round and as the evenings grow longer and the afternoons get warmer, it’s going to be filling up with picnic blankets, barbeques and Frisbees.
- To get to Stromovka Park, take trams 17, 12 or 6 to the stop Vystaviste Holesovice. From here you can’t miss the expanse of trees and greenery.
Tip #12 from Vasek (Czech Republic)
The Františkánksá Zahrada
“I really like this small garden because it is a very calm place right next to the busy Wenceslas Square”
This is a fantastic place to sit down and relax with a drink and a sandwich after taking in the busy shops and markets of Wenceslas Square. There are plenty of benches, beautiful arched trellises covered in spring flowers, manicured hedges and some nice trees and flower beds. There is also a small playground for kids.
To get here, you need to first of all find the Vaclavske Namesti Tram stop. From here turn into the passage which is sign posted “Kino Svetozor” and follow the passage right to the end.
Tip #13 from Marie (Czech Republic)
The Mrazovka Training Grounds
“This place has a 100% local atmosphere, beautiful views and is a beautiful place”
Hidden away on a hill top in the district of Smichov, you will find the Mrazovka Training Grounds. This is a great place to visit for anyone who’s a bit sporty, as it’s possible to hire tennis courts and beach volleyball courts. There is even a running track if you really feel like working up a sweat. Once you’ve had your fill of exercise, you can unwind by grabbing a beer from their kiosk and enjoying some beautiful views over the city. Oh and I forgot to mention the coolest thing about the place, you get here by a cable car, which is totally free.
Be warned, this place is very well hidden. To get here, you need go into the NH Hotel (a short walk/tram ride from Andel Metro Station). Walk straight past the reception desk and you will see the cable car. The cable car will take you to another building of the NH Hotel on top of the Mrazovka Hill. Once you have left the hotel, the training grounds are short 3 minute walk away.
Tip #14 from Katie (Australia)
The Cat Café Social Point
“It’s just a cool idea. Plus the money goes to a cat shelter, so it’s nice.”
The mission of The Cat Cafe Social Point is to bring people together and they do things in a bit of a none-traditional way. Tea, coffee, snacks and a range of delicious freshly baked muffins are all served here for free in the “kitchen”. There is a “games room” which features an xbox, projector and comfy sofas, you will also find a main “living room”, full of sofas and tables. Lastly, but most importantly is the “cat room”, which is home the café’s 6 resident cats (Leo, Teo, Debie, Beatrice, Kenzo and Hugo). Visitors may use any of these rooms and rather than paying for what you consume, you pay 90CZK for the first hour you are here and then 1CZK for each following minute. Money goes not only to the up keep of the 6 resident cats but also to cats living in local shelters.
- The Café is very close to the Karlovo Namesti Metro Station (B line) and can be found at Gorazdova 20.
Tip #15 from Erik (Sweden)
“This is my favourite place to take my Mum when she is in town.”
A visit to the Kolkovna Olympia is a must for lovers of good, hearty food, which is full of flavour and carefully prepared using top quality ingredients. This is one of the best restaurants to visit if you are interested in trying some traditional Czech dishes, as they offer some typically Czech meals such as svickova, roast duck, goose, wild boar and even beef goulash made with Pilsner Urquell beer. Service here is top-notch and the interior oozes all the welcoming charms of an old-fashioned beer hall.
- Kolkovna Olympia can be found at Vitezna 619/7, Prague 5. It’s open Mon-Sun 11am-12am.