You’re in Prague- you’ve seen the Astronomical Clock, the Castle, one cathedral too etany, and everything else listed on your guidebook’s ‘Must Do’ list. You’ve even bought a fridge magnet with the Astronomical Clock on it. Surely that can’t be all, you wonder? There’s got to be more to the European capital of quirk- of course there is! That’s where we come in. We got our mitts on, did all the grubby work for you, and narrowed our Top 10 experiences in Prague:
#1 Nuclear Bunker Tour
If there is one thing you must do in Prague, it is this. We’ve spoken of our distaste for organised tours before, but it is impossible to visit a nuclear bunker in Prague independently. That was why we opted for this tour, and boy are we glad we did! Visiting a nuclear bunker in a decrepit part of Prague was definitely the highlight of our entire trip to Eastern Europe.
This ex-Soviet bunker, made during the Cold War, is located 5 stories under the ground. It is crammed with paraphernalia including gas masks, medical kits, and uniforms. The ambience is evocative of the paranoia and violence of the Cold War years and it is bound to send a chill down your spine.
The entrance to the Nuclear Bunker
Gas masks at the Nuclear Bunker
Once you’ve digested all the information, it’s time for that old Bruised Passports staple – some tomfoolery. We played around with gas masks and guns- as you can see, Savi got a bit too carried away
Savi at the Nuclear Bunker
If you haven’t had your fill of the nuclear bunker (we hadn’t), you can even go back at night for a drink or two. The bunker transforms into a club at night, and it’s definitely a fun place to be. You can book your tour of the Nuclear Bunker here.
#2 Hot Chocolate at Café Kafíčko
Imagine a melted bar of smooth, velvety dark chocolate- now multiply what you feel by 100. That might begin to give you an idea of what the hot chocolate at Café Kafíčko tastes like. It’s so thick, it needs to be eaten with a spoon. In a quiet street close to the Kafka Museum, Café Kafíčko serves the best mug of hot chocolate you will ever have. Our tummies rumble just thinking about this cup of scrumminess. More information here.
#3 Letná Park
Much has been made of the panoramic views of Paris from the Eiffel Tower or Dubai from the Burj Khalifa. Given an average tourist’s obsession with panoramas, we’re surprised Letna Park isn’t mentioned more frequently on itineraries of Prague.
Letna Park is built on a plateau and it takes quite a climb to get there. The park itself is gorgeous in every season- you can visit its beer garden in summer, crunch on autumn leaves during fall, and demolish the rest of your party with snowballs during winter. However what makes it truly special is the arresting view it offers over the Vtlava river and the bridges of Prague. If you’re a photography enthusiast, this should top your list of things to do in Prague. Go before sunset and walk around till you find the perfect spot (from where you can see all of Prague of course!). Now wait for the sun to set and the magic to begin…
Prague panorama from Letna Park
#4 Shoe Monument
Yes, you read that right- a SHOE monument. What’s better, it replaces the world’s largest statue of Joseph Stalin. Stalin’s huge statue was unveiled in 1955, and destroyed shortly after in 1962. In an interesting representation of counter-culture, skate-boarders who use the area to practice, have strung together hundreds of (unwanted?) shoes to construct a ‘monument’. Fun activity or counter-hegemonic expression? You decide! Fascinating if you’re struck by the unusual.
Letna Park houses this gem- it is at the top of the stairs that lead to the park.
#5 Lennon Wall
If you’re a Beatles fan, it is well worth negotiating your way through a maze of cobbled alleys to arrive at this graffiti-laden wall dedicated to John Lennon. However, the wall is not all about music. In the past, it has been a symbol of the Czech youth’s resistance against Gustáv Husák’s communist regime which banned pop music (amongst other things). It might be difficult to find political slogans amongst the hodge-podge of graffiti that graces the wall but it is definitely worth a dekko if you’re in the area. More information here.
#6 Pork in the Old Town Square
It wouldn’t be a Bruised Passports list without a dash of street food would it? We recommend trying roast pork from one of the vendors lining the Old Town Square. Czech cuisine is traditionally based around pork and beef, and they sure know how to do it well. This one is cheap and cheerful – you will definitely go back for more
The party doesn’t stop there. You need to follow that pork with dessert- of course you do! We suggest skipping the waffles and picking a barely-pronounceable Trdelník from the vendors in the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. The Trdelník is a traditional pastry made from freshly-grilled dough covered with sugar and ground walnuts – what’s not to like?
Trdelník Stall at the Old Town Square
Trdelník Stall at the Old Town Square
If you’re not too hungry, or have the attention span of a 5-year old, you can even play with the Trdelník:
#8 David Černý’s Sculptures
David Černý is notorious for his provocative sculptures in Prague. His subversive sculptures might not be subtle but they are definitely compelling.The three that top our list include:
- The 2 male figures urinating in a puddle shaped like the Czech Republic at the Franz Kafka Museum. More information here
- The 3 giant babies guarding the entrance to Museum Kampa. More information here
- The 10 enormous and creepy infants crawling up the Zizkov Television Tower. More information here
David Černý’s ‘Piss’ at the Franz Kafka Museum
David Černý’s babies at Kampa Museum
Vid’s ‘critical appreciation’ of David Černý’s babies at Kampa Museum
David Černý’s babies at the Zizkov Television Tower
#9 The Dancing House
The Fred and Ginger Building, or the Dancing House, as it is known, is a perfect example of Noveau- Baroque architecture. It is historically significant because it is built at the location of a house destroyed by the U.S. bombing of Prague in 1945. The fluid curves of the Dancing House reminded us of some of Gaudi’s buildings in Barcelona. We would suggest visiting The Dancing House at night – get off at the Karlovo Namesti (line B) metro station and walk along the river to the Dancing House. The lights make it special.
#10 A Meal at Ferdinand
If you’re stuck on where to eat in Prague, head to Ferdinand in the New Town. Try their beer and Czech goulash- essentially a beef-stew, cooked with paprika and served with bread dumplings called Knedliky. Their goulash is smooth and flavoursome and their dumplings are as fluffy as can be- the ultimate comfort food. You can find the address here.
Where to stay in Prague
Right, the question that we get asked the most – which is the best place to stay in Prague. Well, we stayed in Prague 6, and would not recommend that area simply because we found it quite cumbersome to get to the old town or to the cool places in Prague. If you are going to be in Prague for 2-3 days, then it’s best to stay right in the centre. It can get touristy but you’ll be walking distance from most of the places. If you visit Prague for longer, check out accommodation options in Anděl or Vinohrady – both really cool districts of Prague and not very far from the old town.
Leave a comment below if you enjoyed ‘Offbeat Prague: Top 10 Experiences’. It makes us happy 🙂 🙂