Bored watching guards changing at Prague Castle? Lets escape it and see places only we locals know. Keeping it low cost with a lot of surprises and a full stomach.
Being a tourist in Prague means you have to go to Prague Castle. An average Prague citizen with no foreign friends to show around goes there with his school class when he is small and then usually just by accident. Don´t know how we got this idea to go there but in the end it was a great day. Just a strange feeling to go there and see it all with eyes of a tourist. If you want to escape the crowds and explore, join us.
If you walk from the castle direction Strahov monastery, you will still see a lot of sights. Then at the monastery there is a really good modern Czech brewery which also makes excellent ipa and other types of beer. Unfortunately it is already known by tourists but arriving there around 10 a.m. and having a bit late breakfast is definitely the option. We just shared one warm starter „taliány“ which is strange looking ham sausage, not fatty at all and delicious with horseradish and mustard. One portion consists of two pieces. And the beer of course.
Petřín orchards and one more shot of brandy
After this special breakfast we set off direction Petřín (this link has lot of other different tips)which is a hill with a smaller copy of Eiffel Tower on its top. You can climb the tower and visit a mirror labyrinth. Children like it. We went straight to the gardens. There is one special place hidden behind a gate with a sign saying „Květnice“. A fairy tale garden with benches and loads of different plants. The whole Petřín hill is just gardens, park and orchard. If you head from the garden direction Nebozízek (which is a restaurant for tourists and wedding parties). You will get to the orchard part. Depending on which time of the year it is, you can pick sour cherries, plums, pears or apples. There are tons of them and freely available.
Walk through the terrace of the Nebozízek restaurant and down the stairs under the funicular. You can also get here from Újezd by funicular using usual public transport tickets. Stay on the path until you see a small building. It is a sort of garden restaurant very local and very special, you will see…They usually just serve some soup or one main meal, not really a big deal, we basically always go there just for a drink. With big shots of apricot or pear brandy costing around one euro and sour cherry wine it can be quite tempting. If your water bottles are empty, you can refill them from a small spring on the left side of the path.
Eat like a Czech labourer
Refreshed again but a little hungry we decided to return a bit and have lunch at my favourite diner. Well, go back to Nebozízek and continue towards the stone Hunger wall. When you see a hole in it, go through it. After a couple of metres you will get to a beautiful viewpoint. From there find your way to Náměstí Kinských. There are many different paths but if you are lucky you will walk pass a wooden church from Carpathian Mountains and two ponds, one of them with a waterfall. There is only ne way out of the park, through a big gate. Cross the street to your right and go past the tram. Our desired lunch spot serving classic Czech meals is on the right side after about 100 metres. It is called Bufet Korunka and yep, there are no chairs. The staff don´t probably speak English and the menu is only in Czech but when you see the prices and when you eat the food made by those ladies with love, you will understand. My favourite is potato purée with melted butter and pickled gherkin together with a bowl of cucumber salad. Alltogether for less then 2 euro.
Markets and great coffee
Coffee time I would say…Either take any tram and go one stop to Anděl or walk. There are two delicatessen shops on the way that offer great things and straight at the place in front of the Anděl (Angel) metro station take place my favourite farmers´markets. You can buy fresh fruit and vegetables and great cheese there every Friday except winter. Christmas markets with sellers offering mulled wine take place there during November and December. Never seen a tourist there.
This is actually my part of the town and I have spent most of my life crossing Anděl on my way to school or work. This area used to be industrial with a lot of factories and cheap pubs for working class, opening as early as 6 a.m.. Nowadays there are many offices and lot of new restaurants, mostly of average quality, but you can still find several bizzare places surviving from the bad old times. Looking for a cup of good coffee, we have to walk a few more minutes to Kavárna co hledá jméno. If I didn´t tell you, you would probably never be able to find it. It is a yard with old chestnut trees and Berlin style café hidden behind a carpark. Use the map, no chance without it. Best places around I am telling you. The coffee, the staff, the atmosphere and the most photographed toilets in Prague.
Not tired yet?
Swans and views
Now you can either visit a brewery which makes average beer and exports it to many countries around the world or go feed the swans. The brewery also runs a chain of restaurants Potrefená husa. There they serve their average beer with average meals in average looking space for above – average prices.
I prefer the second choice. More ways to get there, head for the river and keep going in the direction away from the castle. When you see the old but still used railway bridge with Vyšehrad up on the hill above it, you are there. There is a small sort of beach next to the river with possibly hundred of swans. Why so many? People feed them. Prague swans can´t even fly properly anymore and some of them don´t even have all the necessary parts for it. Most injured swans that are brought to Prague rescue station for wild animals, are let out here after they have made a full recovery. Feeding swans is so popular that Vietnamese shop owners in this area sell bags of old bread for around 50 cents.
Finished with feeding and making pics with swans, find your way up on the bridge (best way is to return to the main road and from there). It is still in use and passing trains might scare you but don´t worry. Oh yes, what a great view of Prague castle and what a perfect place to sit down for a while and enjoy it!
Náplavka day and night
I have tried to find a translation for this. It is not an embankment although it is. Area next to the river which can get flooded and protects houses standing above it. When the river behaves fine, it is a place to spend a Friday night. Or any night. It is very lively on warm days and dead on the cold ones. Popular in recent years with locals and tourists. Part of the bars is in the walls of it, part is on boats along it. My favourite is an old rusty boat called (A)void Floating Gallery. If you arrive on a boat, you can order your drinks from the side of the river in a special window by the bar. Parties with alternative music styles take place there too. Hard to say which bar is the best, I just would not really recommend food from Loděteria.
Náplavka is not just about partying. Every Saturday morning a great farmers´market takes place there. Perfect breakfast choice. There are also occasional festivals dedicated to food and drinks (beer, cider, BBQ, burgers…). Fancy some ice cream? You are lucky. Just above Náplavka, by the Výtoň tram stop is a gelateria Puro selling the best ice cream in Prague. I am not a big ice cream friend but these people taught me to eat it again. Poppy, gooseberry, salt caramel, they have them all according to the season. The owner and staff have been working hard since they opened two years ago and they are always nice. I love them.
There is one more interesting place on both sides from Puro. Na Břehu Rhôny is a French wine bar offering delicious tapas and quiche. It is not French just by the wine the offer, the other day we got served by a French who was trying to speak Czech. The one very special thing about it is the way the wine is served. Well, it is actually not served at all. It is self service and you just write down how much of which wine you had and pay it at the counter before you leave. Na Břehu Rhôny (At the banks of Rhone) used to be quite a small place but due to its popularity opened another room and now has some more tables in the tiny park across the street.
From here you can continue to Vyšehrad castle via Vratislavova street. But let´s leave that for the next part of these Prague tips. OK one more tip. Čekárna café in Vratislavova street, that you would probably go past without noticing. Charming garden in the yard, good coffee and homemade cakes. That´s all folks. See you soon 🙂