Cultural Autumn in Prague

Are you wondering whether autumn is the right time to visit Prague? Well, if you are into culture, the answer is a definite yes as there are many significant cultural events taking place in Prague before the winter starts. In this period, you will have a hard time choosing from the wide range of theatres, festivals, exhibitions, concerts, balls and other social events. Moreover, you will not have to make you way through crowds of people running after Christmas presents. And this year, the forecasters are predicting a sunny Indian summer.

CZECH PRESS PHOTO

The world around us never stops changing. We cannot possibly witness all the important moments and visit all the interesting sites on our planet. However, we can still discover and experience them through the prestigious photo competition CZECH PRESS PHOTO. The competing photos are divided into eight categories, including Daily life, Portrait, People in the news or Humans and the environment. The competition includes only photographs taken by Czech and Slovak authors. The photographs from the competition will be exhibited at the Old Town Hall’s Cloisters and Knight’s Hall from 23 November 2019 until the end of January 2020.

 

Strings of Autumn

The Strings of Autumn Festival is one of the youngest music projects in Prague. So what is it about? Let us employ a metaphor of a multiple-course meal served from 15 October until 13 November at various unconventional venues in the centre of Prague. The aperitif will be the performance of British singer and pianist Laura Mvula, followed by the main course served by saxophone player Charles Lloyd, jazz pianist Fred Hersch or the avant-garde group Jack Quartet. This year’s dessert will be prepared by the legendary hip-hop group De La Soul. The menu also includes another mini-festival “Strings in Film”, presenting film music of composers and musicians associated with Strings of Autumn. You make look forward to personalities such as Miles Davis, Bobby McFerrin, Phillip Glass and many others.

MARTIN’S GOOSE

Last but not least, do not forget to taste the famous St. Marin’s roast goose served with dumplings and sauerkraut. On St. Martin’s Day (11 November), you will find it in the menu of all Prague restaurants as the medieval tradition of dancing, hunting, pig-slaughtering and feasting on St. Martin’s Day is still very much alive today.

Little Quiz For Tourists With A Capital T

We have a little quiz for all tourists with a capital T. Every place, all the more so every capital city, has its distinctive character – let’s say a legend of its own. Not to worry – what follows is not a test of your knowledge of the history or geography of the Czech Republic. We would like to share with you the absolute “musts” in the Czech Republic: the must-visits, must-sees, must-hears and, of course, the must-tastes. Each of us has their own specific idea when it comes to the symbols of this city in the heart of Europe, so you might as well consider this an invitation for discussion. Here is our list of 3 characteristic features of Prague and the Czech Republic that you should definitely include in your travel itinerary. We welcome your suggestions, ideas and additions to our list if you feel that we have left anything out.

BEER

We could not possibly name anything else as the absolute number one. Czech beer is simply something of a national institution. Just like the Italians have their pizza, the French their champagne, Czechs are famous for their beer. It is unique in that it is brewed using traditional Czech recipes and technological methods and high-quality ingredients. Czech beer is best known for its rich colour, full taste, savoury bitterness and hoppy smell. We are talking about a true national treasure – Czech Pilsner, also called Pils or Pilsener (Plzeň in Czech). The term Pilsner-type beer is used for pale, bottom-fermented lager brewed according to a recipe originally from the city of Pilsen. It has a much richer hoppy taste compared to other lagers. This beer should always be poured down the edges of the beer mug in one go, so that it has a nice big head.

photo credits: https://www.tiqets.com/en/

Do not miss out on the flawlessly tapped beer in the Restaurant U Fleků – they are real beer masters as they have been doing this since 1499!

COMMUNISM

Communism had characterised this country from 1948, when the communist party took power in Czechoslovakia, establishing a totalitarian regime. These dark times when Czechoslovakia formed a part of the Eastern Bloc came to an end in 1989 with the Velvet Revolution. We recommend visiting the Museum of Communism, where you will discover the communist era from various perspectives, including everyday life under the communist rule.

photo credits: https://hlidacipes.org/

KAFKA

Franz Kafka might be the most famous native of Prague and he is definitely one of the most influential 20th-century writers. Kafka lived in Prague his entire life and loved this city dearly – after all, you might often hear the term “Kafka’s Prague” in this context.

The story of Kafka’s manuscripts is well-known – being a perfectionist, Kafka published only a small part of his writings during his life. When his health began to deteriorate, he asked his friends to destroy all of his unpublished texts, notes, journals and letters. Kafka’s partner fulfilled his wishes and indeed burnt all of the documents she had. That was not the case for Kafka’s best friend, who decided otherwise and thus preserved a large part of his work for future generations. He believed that Kafka was a genius and – as we all know now – he was more than right as Kafka’s novels and short stories became some of the most important sources of modern literature in the world. Visit the Franz Kafka Museum in Prague and learn more about this intriguing writer.

Are there any other symbols of Prague and the Czech Republic that come to your mind? We are looking forward to your comments, ideas, experiences and suggestions.

Hot summer in Prague

Most of us are excited about the arrival of summer. We count down the days until the cold and grey days without sunshine are over. Sounds familiar? You wake up in the morning but the sun is nowhere in sight, only lazily breaking the dawn. Then, the long-awaited summer arrives and the sun finally rises earlier than you do. And perhaps you start wishing that the daylight would come just a little bit later…  And then it is all over again.

If you are planning a summer trip to Prague and you are in that stage when you would welcome the sun taking more time to wake up, you will definitely appreciate these few tips on where to hide from the burning heat and cool down for a bit.

There are several hidden spots not far from Prague where you can take a swim, go for a pleasant walk or enjoy a picnic in the shade.

Kosov Quarry

As this is a flooded former quarry, you will by no means feel as Mr or Mrs Chlorine after taking a dip in the crystal turquoise water. The quarry is big enough for everyone to swim comfortably without bumping into other people all the time. Access to water is a bit tricky but do not let this discourage you from the visit as there are many spots on the shore where you will have no problem getting in. The quarry has been abandoned and of course there is no mining going on but swimming there is still at your own risk. Apart from people looking for recreation, it is also a popular destination for palaeontologists and environmentalists. You can see the bottom of the lake through the crystal clear water, which is home to various species of fish, water plants and crayfish. As we all know, crayfish are a sign of clean water. This spot is simply a perfect one-day hideaway in hot days. If you are in the mood for a swim in clean cool water and a bit of an adventure, the Kosov Quarry is the place to go (“Lom Kosov” in Czech). Our tip: take your food and drinks with you since unspoilt nature kind of excludes the presence of snack bars.

Průhonice Dendrological Garden

Have you ever dreamt of a place where you could go with your loved one on a hot sunny day and enjoy a romantic picnic in the shade of a tree by a small lake, surrounded by fragrant flowers? A place where you would have privacy without having to look at another couple’s lunch? Or perhaps you are wondering whether there is a place where you could let your children play outside but still see them all the time? Or maybe a place you could visit with your friends and take a walk while having a pleasant chat, followed by a cold beer in the shade of a tree? If your answer to any of these questions was yes, then we recommend going to the Dendrological Garden in Průhonice. It covers the area of 72.8 hectares and offers nearly 8,000 species of plants. You may admire – and smell – the most beautiful collections of rhododendrons, ornamental apple trees, lilacs or spireas in the Czech Republic. You will also find beautiful climbing roses, old rose species and rose bushes as well as various pine trees and spruces in the park. It is a true paradise if you want to escape from the hustle and bustle of the centre of Prague but, at the same time you, you do not want to travel far away. On top of that, you can expand your knowledge of botany as each plant is marked by its Latin name.

photo credits: https://dendrologickazahrada.cz/

Mlékojedy Beach Park

The beach park opens in mid-May and welcomes visitors throughout the whole summer. It is located on the shore of a flooded sand quarry in Mlékojedy, a tiny village near Neratovice less than 40 km from Prague. It is a great place for swimming, where you can also play beach volleyball or football and try out a climbing wall or let your kids have fun on the playground. There are many different events organised every night, including live concerts, DJs, film screenings, workshops, sports events and much more. You can sleep in a tent but there is a real possibility that all the great music will not let you close your eyes and you will simply dance all night long. Four-legged companions are welcome. Come and enjoy a party, awesome music and sports activities with your friends – all in one place!

photo credits: http://www.beachparkmlekojedy.cz/

Family Holiday in Prague

Everybody has their own idea of the perfect family holiday. These ideas might differ even within the family itself. Children usually prefer a place, where they can play and have fun all day long and – more importantly – get away from their parents for a while. Mums might dream of a place where they do not have to cook, will get a good night’s sleep, relax, maybe get a suntan and perhaps get away from their kids for some time. And most dads want to go to a place where they can watch sports events, enjoy great food and get away from everyone, just for a while. J Did we get it right…?

Before you take your family to Prague, read our holiday tips that will make everyone happy!

Mirror Maze

Have you ever imagined yourself giant-like, dwarf-like, Edward Scissorhands-like, Pinocchio-like or any other “-like”? Your kids will howl with laughter, and you will too! The Mirror Maze is indeed the place to go if you want an afternoon filled with laughing. From the outside, the maze looks like a castle and once you step in, you will get lost in endless corridors with mirror walls. Lost sight of your kid? And what is that long-nosed thing laughing its head off in the distance? Yes, you are right, that is your child… But wait, there are more! An only child turning into triplets? Everything is possible here. See for yourself what your family look would like in all shapes and sizes. But beware! Some keep their long noses even after leaving the maze…

 

Strahov Library

Adding an educational interlude into your holiday itinerary might be a source of dispute. However, the unique Strahov Library is both a feast for the eyes and a historical gem. It is a part of the Strahov Monastery, the oldest Premonstratensian monastery in Bohemia, founded in 1140. There are about 200,000 volumes in total in the library, including more than 3,000 manuscripts and 1,500 incunabula. The library offers a truly magical atmosphere. You can literarily feel the history breathing down your neck back with all these books and fascinating frescoes on the ceiling. Definitely something you do not want to miss on your visit.

Letní Letná

It is no easy task to describe this event, taking place in the last two weeks of August in the beautiful park Letná in Prague 7, in a few sentences. Let’s say it is a festival of new circus, acrobatics, music, dance, theatre, pantomime, fine arts, games and laughter. You can see all kinds of performances, listen to music or visit art workshops at night as well as during the day. There are also special performances for children, toys are available directly in the park and you might bump into clowns and jugglers. Naturally, you can enjoy all of this with great food and drinks. Each member of your family will find what they are looking for. Come and see for yourself at this year’s 15th edition of this exceptional festival from 14 August until 1st September.

Bakeries in Prague

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker’s man,
Bake me a cake, as fast as you can;
Pat it, prick it, and mark it with B,
Put it in the oven for baby and me.

Remember kindergarten? Well, in the following bakeries, they definitely do not make cakes as fast as they can, but as best as they can.

With the arrival of spring, we are all looking forward to picnics in the parks of Prague. And there is no picnic without good bread and pastry, right? So where to grab the best bite to eat out in the sun?

From the long list of cafés, sweet shops, snack bars, bistros, delis and patisseries, we chose three very different bakeries definitely worth a visit during your stay in Prague.

In all of them, you will witness a play co-starring quality and passion for baking. Their owners prepare their baked goods themselves, so you can feast on fresh pastries directly from the oven.

NAŠE TOUSTÁRNA   

Forget about shelves full of toasts and sandwiches of various shapes in “Our Toast Bar”. Goods baked in this toast bar, including delicious bread, buns or the local speciality – sweet “drawers“ – are all toast-like, at least in their shape. If you don’t see your favourite combination right away, no need to worry, the staff will prepare a special toast with only the ingredients of your choice.

We would definitely recommend the sweet “drawers” available in many different seasonal variants: chocolate, rhubarb, apple, raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, cherry, banana, poppy, coconut, pear…

Address: Dělnická 1565/56, 170 00 Prague 7

ARCTIC BAKEHOUSE

Arctic? Frozen? Cold? Shake off the shivers and visit the bakery Arctic Bakehouse, run by two enthusiastic Icelanders who decided to bake Nordic specialities in Prague. Any particular reason why in Prague, you ask? Cherchez la femme, as the French say… Despite the bakery’s name, both men sweat every day to make everything ready as each piece of bread goes through their hands. They are no newbies as they have been in the business for 25 years, so they really know their stuff.

We recommend the sweet fried cinnamon or vanilla snails. But consume responsibly, cases of addiction have been reported.

Address: Újezd 11, 150 00 Malá Strana

PRAKTIKA

Czechs are known for feeling very strongly about their bread. If you ask Czech expats what they miss the most from their homeland, they will often answer bread. They might as well say bread from Praktika. Made from stone ground flour, slowly proved from sourdough and highly hydrated, local bread is truly unique.

We recommend tasting the wheat and rye bread. However, there’s a real danger that no other bread will ever be good enough for you again, so at your own risk!

Address: Bělehradská 66/990, Prague 2, 12000

Top 3 lookout points in Prague from a local’s point of view

Planning a trip to Prague, the City of a Hundred Spires and capital of a small country in the heart of Europe? Are you one of those thoroughly prepared tourists who make a detailed itinerary ahead of their journey and follow it closely during their holiday? Or rather are you one of those travellers who also plan their programme beforehand but then let themselves be carried away by chance?

Whether you belong to either of these groups, I believe that the following tips might come in handy.

I consider myself to be somewhere in between these two categories. I like to read about places of interest in the given destination and other travellers’ recommendations before the journey but once there, I also enjoy discovering interesting places by chance and with the help of the locals.

Being a Praguer born and bred, I would like to share with you the must-see lookout points in our beautiful city.

Vyšehrad Castle

Vyšehrad castle surrounded by medieval ramparts owes its charm not only to its location, being built directly on a rock overlooking the Vltava River, but also to its intriguing history, playing a key role in several Czech legends.

Vyšehrad is a must-see and a walk along the castle walls offers breathtaking views of the city and the river. You might even be lured by one of the boats in the small port bellow and let yourself be carried away on water.

The best time for a visit is just after lunch, when the sun is shining high – just find a comfy spot on the ramparts and savour the view of the sparkling river snaking through the city.

Prague Metronome

The metronome located in the park Letenské sady – a green oasis and a perfect summer chill-out place for all age categories – is also called the Pendulum or Stalin. It replaced Stalin’s memorial from the communist era, which might be the principal reason why the Pendulum has become a popular venue for music shows, theatre performances and other cultural events organised by independent artists.

It is a truly magical place, with an exceptional view of the whole of Prague – seriously – you can see the Old Town, Charles Bridge, National Theatre, Petřín, Žižkov TV Tower as well as all the other Prague towers and spires.

Our recommendation: plan your trip after the sunset. The entire city with all the lights on will lie open before you – a genuinely inspirational experience is guaranteed.

Riegrovy sady Park

The park located in the very heart of Žižkov, a part of Prague 3, also known as the “most rebellious” Prague quarter is the perfect place to chill out for a bit in a beer garden and watch the sunset.

The best view is from the meadow next to the popular beer garden and the main access path with benches. The meadow is on a moderate hill, so you will feel as in a cinema, where the film is produced by nature itself. This view of the hundred-spired Prague bathed in the sun is simply breathtaking.

In summer, there is no need to leave after the end of the show as the park turns into a lively festival of people sitting on blankets and enjoying a picnic or a refreshing drink.