A historic city, located in the heart of Europe, with the Vltava River as its lifeline and with so much charm that the entire old town is on the UNESCO World Heritage List… Prague is a city that everyone wants to see. Where it is normally busy in the cobbled alleys of the historic city center, it is now relatively quiet. A perfect moment to rediscover this beautiful city!
Where it was previously almost impossible to see the clocks on the market square display their beautiful arts, this can now be captured up close on camera. But even if tourism is fully underway again, it is very worthwhile to go on an adventure in Prague. The city is developing at a rapid pace and where the city center used to be the absolute highlight, nowadays there is also a lot to experience outside of it!
Hidden Gem Karlín
For example, just outside the old town is the Karlín district. With the industrial architecture, which can still be found in many details, it immediately looks different here than in the city center. The district has seen a significant rise in recent years and where old factories had previously settled here, it is now home to small coffee shops and trendy bars and restaurants in old industrial buildings.
On a food tour of Karlín
Together with Leona van Prague Food Tours we explore the Karlín district on a food tour, and there is no better way to get to know such a place than by eating and drinking. The hidden spots that Leona shows demonstrate how old and new merge in this hip neighborhood. This is how you drink Dva Kohoutic delicious locally brewed Czech specialty beer, while you can pick up your traditional beer snacks at the adjacent Lokal Hamburk – a place worth visiting anyway because, like the real Czech beer houses, they are deliciously low-key and do true they are best at: serving beer!
You are in the right place for dinner Spojka Karlin, a restaurant that Leona refers to as a flexitarian restaurant, something that is increasing in the neighborhood anyway. Delicious food in a beautiful space full of floating plants on the ceiling, with open kitchen and a great choice on the menu. Moreover, they also serve the tastiest homemade lemonades (another typical Czech tradition) that are definitely worth trying.
More of the coffee, then you get the most delicious coffee EMA Espresso Bar, or visit Etapa Karlin. This coffee and lunch room was founded by two Instagrammers, and the business looks like it can be done with a ring. Plus, they serve delicious savory dishes alongside a wide choice of sweets on display, from fresh cheesecakes to sweet potato-and-beet pie; it’s all not to be missed!
The nice thing about a food tour through such a neighborhood is that you come to places that you would never have found otherwise, and it is also the tents where the people who live there mainly come, you will not see many tourists here yet. A look at the real Prague, so to speak, and that combined with delicious food is of course just perfect!
Another view of Prague
In search of the other Prague it is always nice to look outside the Old Town. In addition to our discovery tour through Karlín, we mainly did this by bike under the guidance of guide Joshua van My Prague Tours. The bike ride takes us to Vyšehrad, a fortress just south of the old town. Here you have a great view over the Vltava and the city of Prague and you can escape the busy city life in peace. Guide Joshua notes that few tourists come here either, it is just a bit further from the center, is not mentioned in the tourist guides and you just have to find this hidden gem!
During the bike ride towards Vyšehrad we stop at many more places, and based on historical stories about Prague in WWII, among other things, we come to special churches with dark (hidden) cellars, but also past modern architecture, stately buildings with beautiful white peacocks in the courtyard garden, or absurd bridges such as the Nusle bridge that simply runs high above a residential area. A great experience that will show you all those other hidden places of Prague in no time, before returning to the heart of the city center to continue exploring from there!
Explore Czech nature
How nice is it to alternate a day in the city with a nice walk in nature? In Prague that is a piece of cake, because it is surrounded by hilly, green area where the old castles are almost innumerable and there are many special nature parks. For example, in Kokořínsko, an hour from Prague, you can enjoy great walks. This area is characterized by old forests and characteristic rock formations. From Mšeno we followed the yellow walking route, which was really perfectly marked.
The walk is about 9 km long and takes you past rolling landscapes, deep forests and over the absurd rocks where you have to do a lot of climbing and scrambling to get over them. A wonderfully varied walk that ends in the village, where you can enjoy a delicious hearty meal in one of the traditional restaurants before leaving by train. You can return to Prague by train, for which you can buy tickets online that you do not have to print, but a stopover in the town of Mělník is also possible. This village is known for its wines, something you can’t miss when you are so close!
The other side of Prague
Of course, there is still a lot to do in the center of Prague. The historic buildings, the market square, the Karelsburg, are all sights that you want to see. In addition, you can also find great nice little tents in the city center that are true to discover. This is how you find the best coffee at venue, and you can’t have left Prague without having a beer at You Fleku. This traditional beer hall is immense, and in one of the many large halls, where the tables have an almost Oktoberfest-esque set-up, the beer is simply handed out to the tables, instead of you having to make an order. Those Czechs understood that very well!
A visit to the Manifesto Market will complete your trip to Prague. This food market on the edge of the center, towards the Karlín district, is a buzzing happening that attracts young and old alike. A lively scene of delicious food smells and colors makes you want to eat here every evening. There’s something for everyone, and even more, and it’s the perfect place to grab a low-key snack and drink and end the day.
Practical tips for your trip to Prague
Prague is easy to get to, with daily flights, buses and trains making it a great place to travel from all over Europe. The city is bursting with hotels, but if you want to be a bit outside the tourist center it’s Pentahotel in the Karlín district highly recommended. A nice place, within walking distance of the historic center, with nice and spacious rooms and a perfect breakfast, this is a good base for your city trip to Prague.
The bike ride through the center, or just outside it, can be booked via My Prague Tours and Leona van Prague Food Tours is a great guide to discovering Prague cuisine both in groups and privately through specific neighborhoods like Karlín. Want to read more about Prague? Read more about the best beer bars in Prague here, for example, or look at Visit Czech Republic.