Holesovice is nestled into the meander of the Vltava River and boasts amongst many other attractions: 2 of the city’s best parks, arguably the most famous and iconic art installation in the city, countless superb restaurants offering a range of cuisines from all around the world, a cinema unlike any other, some of the city’s finest modern art galleries and several night clubs, each offering a unique and exciting night out in the city.
Most importantly, you will find a distinctly more “Czech” feel as you walk the streets. This is a district where ordinary Czechs live, eat and go out with their families.
Yes, it’s cold outside but that is no excuse to miss out on a walk through the beautiful Letna Park. You can take the tram 17 or 5 to the Cechův Most tram stop and from here walk up the stone steps to the Metronome (trust me, it will be worth the effort!). This giant, functional metronome looks out over the city and was built on the plinth where once stood an enormous statue of the former Soviet leader Josef Stalin. Although it’s hill top location makes it visible from various parts of the city, to see it up close is a very worth-while and ever so slightly eerie experience. You can also take in some breath taking views of the city. From the metronome you can take a relaxing stroll through the rest of the park. Here you will find kiosks selling refreshments all year round, the excellent Letensky Zamecek Restaurant and no shortage of spectacular spots to stop and look out over Prague.
A little off the beaten track but also well worth a visit for those nature lovers willing to brave the cold is Stromovka Park. If you take either tram 6, 17 or 12 to Vystaviste Holesovice, you will immediately see the expanse of trees which is by far the largest of Prague’s parks. 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. Even in the winter it is popular with runners, dog walkers and those simply seeking a relaxing afternoon. There are several children’s playgrounds, large duck ponds and a couple of café’s serving a range of hot and cold drinks and snacks. There is even a planetarium! If you’re feeling adventurous you can follow a footpath as far as the Troja Chateau and Prague Zoo on the other side of the river.
VNITROBLOCK is a gallery and so much more. Created in the summer of 2016, it is very much the new kid on the block and is doing things very differently. It’s creators chose to keep a minimalist, industrial feel to the design in this large former factory building and the effect is really quite stunning. VNITROBLOCK functions as an exhibition space but is a also a great place to come and buy sustainable clothing and home decor all by Czech designers. You will also find a cafe and there is even an area dedicated to dancing, where you can simply dance for the fun of it or take lessons from professionals.
The Veletrzni Palac (Fair Trade Palace) is part of the National Gallery of Prague and boasts an extensive permanent collection featuring works from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. This collection contains works by renowned international artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque in addition to works by Czech artists. The Gallery is open every day except Monday from 10am-6pm. Tickets will set you back 300 CZK (around 11 €) but entry is free for students under the age of 26 and for all under 18s. Your ticket will also gain you entry to any of the 5 other permanent exhibitions of the National Gallery located around the city.
The DOX Modern Art Gallery is a real hidden gem and must for any art fans visiting the city. It is located in lower or “down town” Holesovice and is most easily accessed by tram (tram 6 or 12 to the stop Ortenovo Namesti). The building is difficult to miss as there is a giant wooden blimp sitting on its roof. DOX plays hosts to a wide range of ever changing temporary exhibits. The gallery is currently celebrating what would have been the 80th birthday of the former playwright, artist, political activist and Czech president, Vaclav Havel. It’s possible to view his life and significant moments in history through the camera lenses of renowned Czech photographers Tomki Němec and Bohdan Holomíček. DOX also contains a café, a bookshop and yes, you can go inside the blimp.
Mecca Club offers is located right in the heart of Holesovice and offers 3 floors of fun, 2 live music stages and 5 bars, so you never need to be without a drink! The club was renovated and modernised in 2012 and now it boats a simple, industrial theme. The music you here will be mostly house and future house but they are not afraid to mix things up a bit. The club isn’t open every night, so be sure to check their website to find out when they are open and what special events are scheduled.
It’s definitely worth checking out SaSaZu. Although they are not open every night, the venue regularly hosts concerts and events. International stars such as Tiësto, Kosheen, Jarek Nohavica, Lily Allen, Paul Van Dyk and One Republic have all performed here. Check out their website for information about upcoming events.
If you are looking to experience a truely unique night out, you absolutely must try Cross Club. It’s easy to find, located just a few meters from Nadrazi Holesovice (Metro line C or trams 12 and 6) and it’s also very difficult to miss. From the outside it really catches the eye with its futuristic, almost space age design, put together using all manner of recycled treasures. It really is something which needs to be seen to be appreciated. The music you will find here is delightfully alternative and wonderfully varied. Live acts travel from all over the world to play here and you will also find some of the best alternative artists from the Czech Republic. You are likely to hear dubstep, techno, hardcore, electric swing, reggae and all manner of musical genres. Expect the unexpected.
For a truly elegant and delicious and unique dining experience, you must visit Home Kitchen. Chefs Standa Riedl and Václav Bolek and their team come up with a new menu every day and only use fresh, seasonal ingredients. The atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming and the decor is simple yet classy. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the food is so delicious that you might just want to try all three!
We don’t know whether Phil’s Twenty7 is a cafe, a bistro or a restaurant but we do know that it is must for any food lovers visiting Holesovice. The interior in minimalistic yet elegant and the atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming. The food here is international and inspired by time the restaurant’s owner and chef spent travelling the world.
If you’re craving the tastes of South East Asia, SaSaZu is well worth a visit. This is an award winning restaurant with a captivating and mystical atmosphere. The chef only uses fresh ingredients and all dishes are inspired by the many years he spent travelling throughout South East Asia. For food full to bursting with taste, passion and colour, it would be tough to beat SaSaZu.
Prazska Trznice (The Prague Markets) is an historical area in Southern Holesovice. It is a fantastic place to visit for fresh and local produce from Czech producers. It’s possible to find not only a wide array or fruit and vegetables but also flowers and locally produced honey. The market is open all year round and doors open everyday from as early as 7.30 am.
For a quirky vibe, some unique décor and really great food, Fraktal is for you. They don’t have much in the way of Czech specialties but they do have excellent burgers and an extensive range of Mexican style food, which is really tasty and well worth a try. Their 100% vegetarian sister restaurant Vegtral is just down the street and also well worth a visit whether or not you’re a vegetarian.
Pet Penez is simply one of the most charming restaurants in the district. It is based around the theme of an old school house, so you will find old maps and charts on the walls, abacuses on the tables and even the menus are designed to look like old school notebooks. You will find good quality Czech food here in addition to a wide range of pastas, pizzas, burgers and salads, soups and stews. The staff of very friendly and the warm and cosy atmosphere of the place make it perfect for cold winter nights.
Something for the little ones
Vystaviste Holesovice (The Holesovice Exhibition Hall) is probably the most spectacular building in the district. At the moment it’s well worth a visit not only for its architectural beauty but also for what you will find inside. Until the 2nd of February it will host the Vystava Modelu z Lego® Kostek (The Exhibition of Lego® models). The exhibition hall is best accessed by tram (numbers 17, 12 and 6 to the tram stop Vystaviste Holesovice).
Right next to the Exhibition Hall you will find Zoo Morsky Svet (Sea World). It is the largest sea aquarium in the Czech Republic and if you are visiting Prague with children, it is well worth a visit.
A tip for cold, winter days – BIO OKO cinema
There’s nothing like a movie on a cold winter’s afternoon and there aren’t many cinemas in Prague which are better than the BIO OKO (Organic Eye). Where else would you have the choice to view your film from a traditional style cinema seat, from a deck chair, or from a bean bag? And if you’re really quick you might be able to bag the best seats in the house and watch your film from the front seat of a large, novelty car. The Bio Oko is also fully equipped with a bar and visitors are very welcome to take drinks into the cinema. The films shown vary from current blockbusters, old classics, foreign movies, documentaries to lesser known indie films but as there is only one screen it’s always worth checking ahead to see what will be showing.