Prague looks like something out of a fairy tale — beautiful sites to incredible culture to good food and more
Fairytale architecture, romantic riverside views, winding cobblestone streets, it’s easy for any traveller to get lost in Prague’s beauty. Rightly said in a Travelex report that “the Czech capital offers more for your money than most European cities.” Luckily though, Prague also boasts of a lot of secret spots often excluded out of a visitor’s to-do list while in the city.
In the post-communist years, Prague has seen an explosion of expressive and unusual contemporary art to match the free spirits of the times. In the neighbourhood of Smichov, artists have transformed abandoned buildings into multi-purpose art spaces. Try David Cenry’s eclectic Meetfactory, a renovated factory that now hosts projects of all imaginable kinds – whether getting inked in a temporary tattoo workshop or learning to screen print your own designs, you’re in for an adventure. Other Smichov venues worth checking out are avant-garde theatre Svandovo Divadlo and the trendy new Radlicka 125, another warehouse that hosts everything from fashion shows to bike-painting lessons. For a slightly less interactive experience, see what’s on display at the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art in the up-and-coming neighbourhood of Holesovice, or head to galleryNoD in Old Town for your coffee and culture fix. Kampa Park is home to three bronze babies, and the nearby Kafka Museum has the not-so-child-friendly “Piss” sculpture.
While Prague is full of beautiful parks, if you want a real escape from the city’s hustle-and-bustle, go visit the nature reserve of Divoká Šárka. Named after a mythic female warrior – Wild Šárka who seduced the warrior Ctirad in order to beat the male tribe – this park is big enough for hiking or biking. Climb some of the small, steep hills to get an amazing view of the valley and city. In winter, hiking and cross country skiing are ideal here and there are no crowds. Blanketed in snow, Divoká Šárka has a fairy-tale-like atmosphere and is quiet and peaceful.
Prague’s Jazz scene is a colourful and varied one but unfortunately not so well known by the city’s visitors. There are several good old jazz clubs that provide live music in a great bohemian atmosphere. Visit Agharta, just off the Old Town Square, for a great ambience and superb acoustics. The musical style is broad, covering jazz, blues, funk and swing. History lovers should check Reduta, one of Prague’s oldest and most well-known jazz clubs, it is famous for the ‘Two Presidents’ gig that featured Bill Clinton on the saxophone.
Sapa Vietnamese Market
Prague’s Vietnamese market, a maze of food stalls and tacky treasures on the outskirts of Prague 4, is great for a day of meandering. On a sunny day, and especially if that day is over the weekend, a visit to Sapa can really feel like a visit to another country. Shoppers can grab a bowl of pho or cup of bubble tea before perusing endless shelves of novelty items for affordable accessories and unusual souvenirs.
The flea markets here have a lot of great memorabilia, cheap second-hand items, and even Bohemian crystal to offer. The flea market at U Elektry Street, the largest flea market in Europe with a total area of 50,000 sq m, is a treasure trover of Bohemian glass, porcelain, Soviet-era medals and even jewellery. The Klementinum Antique Market — open only on Sundays – is known for mysterious, shiny and beautiful antique goods. A(void), a flea market located on a boat permanently ankled on the riverbank Naplavka, is a place for smaller treasures, if you’re looking for jewellery, old watches, vintage clothes, bags and household items.
Words by : Ian George