After traversing through Zurich for two days, the next stop was Prague.
For lack of a better term, Prague is a cool-ass city. It’s full of young people (although that could also have been because of spring break) walking to and from bars, sights, restaurants, and alleyways. People wear multi-colored pants – which if you know me then you know this is basically what I wear all the time – and there is a historic realness in the air that makes you want to explore.
Aesthetically, Prague looks like a mashup of Paris and Florence – red-roofed buildings flanked by giant gothic structures and bridges. While to me, Paris is still better, I can’t deny that having a castle in the city skyline is pretty damn awesome. I’m also convinced that the Prague Castle is actually Hogwarts, which makes me wonder what other sorts of magic lurks in this city.
Admittedly, Czech food involves a lot of heavy meats centered on beef and pork knuckle, neither of which I felt completely comfortable eating. Luckily, Czech pastries are amazing, and so I was never left hungry. Here were some favorite spots we ate at:
If you want authentic Czech food with authentic beer to match, this is this spot. With over 250 beers, Pivovarsky boasts the highest variety of beer in the country. The staff is extremely helpful in navigating the menu, so tell them what you’re in the mood for (hint: it should be some sort of Pilsner) and let them do the rest. Food is heavy but comforting for the chilly nights – duck breast, dumplings, pork knuckle, and more.
I thought I was the only one who craves sweet food at 1 a.m., but I was wrong! This bakery in Old Town is open very late, and you can watch the bakers roll dough onto the pastry cylinders to bake into trdelník,, a common Eastern European pastry. You’ll find trdelník stalls over the city, but this one was my favorite because it was open whenever I needed to be (aka past midnight) and everything was made fresh.
While this is a somewhat more touristy spot, it is for a reason – the bright natural light radiating through the windows and upscale Czech food make this an excellent brunch spot and a perfect way to start your day exploring in Prague 5. They also have an excellent bakery attached that serves some serious delicious cakes. The pastries also come in mini sizes so you can eat 3 different types – and lezbereal, you’ll want to try everything.
I never thought I’d find gelato on par with what I’ve eaten in Italy, but this place proved me wrong. Right across the street from Petřín Hill, Angelato feels like you’re eating gelato from the angels, especially when you combine the pistachio and chocolate-hazelnut flavors.
Tucked away in the more industrial Prague 3 neighborhood, Café Erhart is great for a morning breakfast. The pastry case is full of traditional and non-traditional desserts, but be sure to try to the Czech signature: větrník. The choux exterior is filled with pastry cream and topped with caramel, and while it seems light at first, it will leave you full and happy once you’re done.
Some travel tips for y’all:
- Prague is an extremely affordable city. Uber rides are $10 USD max and the train is even cheaper. Don’t be afraid to take cab if and when you need to.
- Even better, just walk everywhere. The Prague train system isn’t as intuitive as you would think, and it’s more fun to walk on the cobblestone streets from neighborhood to neighborhood anyways.
- Beer is everywhere. Someone there told me that the Czech Republic drinks the highest amount of beer per capita in Europe. With the Pilsner as delicious as I drank, I can believe it.
- Clocks are a thing in Prague. In addition to the Astronomy Tower in Old Town, all large buildings have clocks in them, so you’ll basically always know what time it is.
- Prague 5 was one of my favorite neighborhoods to explore. Not only does it have great brunch (see Café Savoy), it’s also where the John Lennon Wall and Petřín Hill are, from where you get a stellar view of the city. It’s less touristy but provides great photo-taking opportunities, which is ideal for someone hauling around a DSLR camera like me.
Check out my interactive map on Prague. Next up: Japan!