I was going mostly for the bone church. I mean the flights were cheap. There was the promise of cake that was the love child of churros and those overstuffed crepes I’d so enjoyed in Japan. Prague seemed like a pretty solid option. I mean, if you are into beautiful libraries, fancy cocktails and some really incredible food then I suppose you’ll find something to do in Prague. And hey, if you like your art served with a side of vintage vibrators Prague has you pretty well covered there to. It’s less a case of what to do in Prague than what can’t you do?
Where to stay:
“Help me, I’m poor” has become a bit of a mantra when all you want to do is travel and spend your money on food. Hostels can get a bit of a bad wrap but for the solo traveller, they are a fucking godsend. Look, I’m not reinventing the wheel when I say book a hostel because it’s cheap, what I am saying though is chose wisely based on what you’re looking for from your experience. I wanted cheap, central and to be left to my own devices. Hostel Marv was in spitting distance to most of the places I wanted to check out, cost me less than £40 for 4 nights and was wonderfully chilled out and quiet. Party hostel it is not but for me that’s perfect.
What to eat:
Go the whole hog (and halibut and cow)
If you are going to treat yourself to one incredible fuck it meal in Prague you can do far worse than local favourite Sansho. It’s a whole animal Asian fine dining restaurant and comes with everything that encompasses. The menu is constantly in flux with lunch served a la carte and dinner as a tasting menu. I’m going, to be honest, I went in with eyes bigger than my belly and agreed to the whole damn tasting menu without asking if I could maybe have an abridged version (spoiler alert: you can) and ended up stuffed to the gunnels. The meal varied from some of the best food I’ve tasted in my life (I would happily eat their fat slices of salmon sashimi every day thank you very much) to okay (the soft shell crab slider did little for me but I’ve never been one to be won over by crab.) Come hungry though – the staff are happy to talk you through the menu and move bits around if there is anything that you don’t eat. Really though I recommend going the whole hog and seeing what the kitchen has on offer. Sansho has two sister companies – Maso a Kobliha and The Real Meat Society. Maso a Kobliha (Meat & Doughnut) is across the road from Sansho and focuses on their own takes on English pub food (try their Scotch egg) as well as some great cocktails. The Real Meat Society really pays tribute to chef-owner Paul Day’s past as a butcher with the first Czech butchershop focused on heritage and local breeds. Yes they are also the whole animal and of course, they cure their own meat. You can get your own haggis or black pudding, they even do bird feeders to make sure nothing goes to waste. Really though you’re going to want to treat yourself to a meatloaf sandwich – with an egg, naturally – and a beer.
Still feeling snackish?
If you haven’t quite had your fill of meat yet, Nase Maso is a great little butcher where you can pop in for a cheap bite to eat. Meatloaf with pickles and freshly baked bread for around £3.50? You got it. Steak tartare, burgers and all the sausages you can shake a stick at? Sorted. A trip to Prague though wouldn’t be complete without trying Chlebicky (basically open sandwiches) and a local delicacy. Sisters next to Nase Maso are renowned for doing the best in the city, the fact they are purse friendly is but a brucey bonus. Trdelnik you can find sold all over Prague and is a sweet dough cone which can be stuffed with cream or chocolate if you’re feeling fancy, or coated in sugar if you’re trying to restrain yourself. Get this one fresh and eat lots of it. If you’ve got a sweet tooth like me though you’re also going to want to make a stop off at Parlor. If building your own ice cream sandwiches isn’t enough to get you through the door then I fear all hope is lost. A bit of a detour to get to for me but near lots of awesome coffee shops and most definitely worth the walk.
A tasty of cafe culture
A trip to Prague wouldn’t be complete without checking out some of their legendary cafes. Cafe Louvre is classical without feeling overly fussy and is the perfect place to spend a couple of hours over a set breakfast with a book. Past patrons included the likes of Kafka and Einstein so you’re in good company. There’s also some turtles. Just in case you needed any more convincing. Cafe Savoy is more known for it’s pastries but you’ll get a gorgeous reasonably priced lunch here too. Get the duck leg with more bread dumplings than you could possibly eat. Die happy.
Where to drink:
Cocktails with flair
Most come to Prague for the beer. Me? I’m here for the cocktails baby. Anonymous, a V for Vendetta-inspired cocktail bar, may seem a little gimmicky, and it is, but they also serve up world-class cocktails. Everything here is done with plenty of showmanship from Guy Fawkes masks to fire to scattered rose petals to blood bag drips. With blue lights for secret cocktails, this runs the risk of seeming more style over substance, that is if the cocktails weren’t super delicious. Also worth checking out if their sister bar The Shrink’s Office which pays more than a passing homage to Alan Moore’s Watchmen. Black Angel’s Bar is rated as one of the top rated bars in the world and for good reason. Again their cocktails are great even if tend to stick to my staples (an aviation or a gimlet if you’re asking.) There’s nothing quite like sipping a cocktail while hearing a live pianist plan the theme from Jurassic Park. A tour of Prague’s cocktail bars though wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Hemingway. This cosy little bar is seating only and is a wonderful little nook to nest in for a few hours. Champagne, absinthe and a bar staff that can mix any cocktail of your liking – as well as a few of their own creations make this a must-see. Make sure to check out their sister bar Cash Only which is well, cash only and serves up cocktails and hot dogs into the small hours.
There are some pretty awesome coffee shops worth stopping off at while in Prague. Super Tramp benefits from having some incredible roasts from all over Europe and a gorgeous little courtyard to chill out in. For takeaway though Coffee & Riot was my personal favourite and right on my doorstep. While I didn’t manage to pop into them Muj Salkey Kawy and EMA are also popular spots for any caffeine enthusiast.
What to do:
Dear little mother with claws, dildos and spinning heads
Look, you can’t go to Prague and not go to the Kafka museum. It is exactly as claustrophobic, imposing and disturbing as you hope it’s going to be. You can also get discounted tickets for the Mucha museum when visiting so make sure to add that to your list. Round the corner from the Kafka museum is the Lennon wall which is a constant work in progress. Expect to see those who’ve made the pilgrimage to add their own tag or take a selfie next to it. If nightmares are your thing (and hey if you’re checking out the Kafka museum then I’m guessing they might be in your wheelhouse) do pass the Kampa museum and visit David Cerny’s giant bronze crawling babies. For more sculptures, the rotating Kafka head is pretty central and all sorts of hypnotic. The Klemintinium boasts the world’s most beautiful library, and while you can’t take pictures in it, it really is breathtaking. Entry includes a guided tour which ends with some of the most spectacular views of the city. Last but not least I cannot recommend the Sex Machine Museum enough. From vintage porn to vibrators throughout the ages, the place is packed with curios of all kinks.
Dem bones, dem bones dry bones
While not strictly Prague (okay, well not Prague by any stretch of the imagination) I cannot recommend taking a trip to Kutna Hora enough. Home to the Sedlec Ossuary, Kutna Hora’s famous bone church ticks the boxes of humbling, beautiful and just straight up strange. Do you want a bone chandelier? You got it. Crest made entirely of bones? Got that too. Festive bone garlands? In abundance.
Prague’s a gorgeous city worth just walking about and getting lost in. The food is cheap, the people are friendly and there’s loads to do. A final tip though? Maybe give the torture museum a miss.