PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
It occurred to me recently that having been to Prague twice, I've never written a blog post about it.
So, here we go...Praha!
WHERE TO STAY
This is definitely the question I get the most often. There are two main areas of Prague that I recommend staying - either in Old Town or Mala Strana. Now, with that said, the two times we've been, we only stayed in Mala Strana. There's a reason for this. While Old Town is very lively with restaurants, bars, hotels and The Astronomical Clock, it's also VERY touristy. If it's your first time in Prague and you want to be super close to the action, then sure, stay in Old Town.
If you want to be in a quieter more authentic area that's only a short walking distance of about 10-15 minutes to Old Town, then stay in Mala Strana.
Mala Strana, in my opinion, is the best option. You'll find more authentic restaurants while you're still close to major landmarks like the castle and the area is even more charming than Old Town.
Peak season in Prague is May-August. To avoid higher hotel rates and excessive tourists, travel outside of these months.
GOLDEN STAR HOTEL
$191-$300 a night depending on the time of year.
I can't say enough good things about this hotel! Don't let the Golden Star name deter you. This boutique hotel is very nice and breakfast is included in the price. All of the rooms are remodeled in a modern style and it is right next door to the castle. We booked a Deluxe Double room and emailed the hotel to request a room with a view. It worked because our room was on the top floor with one stellar view!
Photos courtesy of Golden Star Hotel
The free breakfast was surprisingly great every morning. They even had champagne and orange juice sitting out in case we fancied a mimosa!
Photo courtesy of Golden Star Hotel
This restaurant is open for lunch and dinner or you can just pop in for a drink.
A view of one of the castle entrances from our window
WHERE TO EAT
One of the great things about Prague is how affordable it is and eating out is no exception. Prices do vary by area, though.
OLD TOWN SQUARE
On our first night in any new city, we like to have lunch or dinner in the center of the city even if it's touristy. It's a nice welcome and we get it out of our systems. As I mentioned before, Old Town is the touristy area of Prague but definitely worth visiting. I highly recommend lunch on the rooftop terrace at Hotel U Prince. You won't be dining here for authentic Czech food, rather the unbelievable view of Old Town and The Astronomical Clock.
Because this is Old Town Square, be prepared to pay more than the norm for Prague. Entrees ranged from 15-30 USD.
SHOP THIS PRINT
It's a bit of a hike but if you're looking for authentic, you don't want to miss Švejk Restaurant U Karla for their goulash. They even had gluten free goulash! You'll meet a lot of locals in this joint and don't expect fancy decor. This place is 100% Czech and it's affordable!
Main dishes range from 4-7 USD and a glass of wine or beer is about 1.50 USD.
Now, if you're looking for something high end, I've got just the place for you, La Degustation Bohême Bourgeoise. Now when I say high end, I mean it. This restaurant is a one star Michelin rated restaurant. Of all the restaurants we've eaten at while traveling, this experience remains at the top of our list. We opted for the 11 course menu with wine pairings. The dishes were small but there were so many we definitely filled up! 11 wine pairings was a lot, too. I swear they were more than just a tasting. The course included unique offerings like beef heart and pigeon (which was surprisingly good!) but, overall, the dishes were normal foods and it was all spectacular. They even made gluten free bread for us.
The 11 course menu cost about 550 USD for two people. They do offer smaller courses, which I would recommend to keep the cost down. 11 courses was a bit too much, as well.
Be sure to make a reservation.
Mala Strana can still be a little touristy so a good rule of thumb is to stay off of the main street up to the castle. That's where you'll find the hole in the wall restaurants with great Czech dishes, however, there is one exception to this rule. Let me introduce you to Vegan's. Yes, you guessed it - everything at this restaurant is vegan but you'd never know it. Now, there is nothing authentic Czech about this food but after eating local, rich dishes, it was nice to have a healthy and delicious option. This restaurant is located just steps from Golden Star Hotel and the castle.
In addition to the fresh food, there is one table on the rooftop terrace overlooking the castle. Get there early because it's a hot commodity!
This restaurant is affordable. Main dishes are about 10 USD.
Photos courtesy of Vegan's
Another favorite of ours is hOST Restaurant. The food is yummy and it offers a unique view over Prague. On a good weather night, they will open the roof. Email ahead of time to make a reservation as this restaurant is extremely small. They also offer gluten free so be sure to let them know ahead of time, as well.
Fun fact, my husband and I got married in Prague in 2014 and hOST is where we had our reception dinner. We rented out the tiny restaurant for our 11 guests and it was so fun. We went back in 2016 and it was just as great.
If you're looking to go down a rabbit hole, you can read about our wedding in Prague + see our wedding video here.
SHOP THIS PRINT
An honorable mention goes to Restaurace Čertovka. I suggest only grabbing a drink here for the view of the Vltava River and Charles Bridge - the food isn't great. It can be hard to find so keep an eye out for an extremely narrow staircase down to the river with a flashing stop light. Also, be sure to bring cash! They do not accept credit cards.
Restaurants in Old Town Square will likely have prices listed in USD in addition to many other currencies, but at the smaller restaurants away from Old Town, you'll need an app to convert CZK to USD. I use XE Currency. This app is great for converting tons of currencies to USD.
1. Avoid visiting Prague during peak season of late May-August.
2. Avoid staying in Old Town if you want a more authentic experience. Mala Strana gets my vote.
3. Prague is generally super affordable. Beer and wine are about 1.50 USD and main dishes are 4-15 USD.
4. Avoid touristy restaurants with menus in multiple languages. These restaurants will be more expensive and not as good, frankly.
4. Try the Czech beer! It's cheap and fresh.
You're all set. If you're thinking about visiting Prague or are making plans for an upcoming trip, I hope there are some valuable takeaways from this post. Feel free to leave a comment with questions!