Prague Blog

second hand bookstore in Prague
Prague hidden gems, Prague Literary Tour

Secret second-hand book stores (ANTIKVARIAT) of Prague – (Part I)

Wherever I travel, I always look for second-hand book stores. Old books that can tell stories. It would not be Prague without many second-hand book stores – Antikvariat – in Czech. Some of these shops look like a set for a movie or they make you feel like you are entering a completely different


The one, well hidden “antikvariat” that I really like is Podzemni antikvariat– Underground second-hand bookstore in Czech. I will admit that I did not know about it but then a friend of mine told me „You have to go there, it is interesting.” It is located at Hybernská street 22, opposite the side entrance to the Masaryk railway station. The street by itself is nothing special, many cheap and unattractive stores. But look for No. 22 and enter into the building. Yes, you will see bizarre paintings on the walls and ceiling but keep going and follow the ANTIKVARIAT signs. There is a staircase leading down to the bookstore and there it is – books, boxes of books, books on the tables, books on the floor, everywhere. And old drawings, paintings, old postcards, posters, junk, just look around. No matter whether you want to buy an old Czech book (look for the locked glass cabinet in one of the rooms), enjoy the very Prague atmosphere or you will like one of the „artworks“, it is a place worth of a visit. I saw a couple of English language books, too.

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Discover Czech Republic, Prague Castle, Prague hidden gems

3+1 things to avoid in Prague

Prague is a beautiful city but…. Do you want to fall in love with Prague or become a victim of tourist traps? Not everything in Prague is a must see. There is couple of things that you may easily skip without regretting it such as Golden Lane at the Prague Castle, Klementinum Library – visit the Strahov Monastery Baroque library instead and the overpriced Lokal restaurant at Dlouha street. 
And here is why… Continue reading “3+1 things to avoid in Prague”

Cafes and Restaurants in Prague

10 Prague Cafés plus a secret garden café

Check some of the Prague cafes that have been here for ages, you shouldn’t miss them. Plus we have one secret tip for you – a cafe in the garden of a former publishing house, scroll down to the end of this article and discover this place.

Breakfast with Kafka

Kavarna Obecni dům(Municipal House Cafe)  by itself is an Art Nouveau gem, so it is worth to book a tour of the Municipal House after enjoying your breakfast. The entire building is a reminder of the good old Prague Grand Cafe atmosphere (20s and 30s of 20th century) and Belle Epoque style. It is one of the most famous Cafes in Prague, together with Cafe Slavia(opposite the National Theatre)  and Cafe Louvre(at the crossroad of Narodni trida and Spalena street). Louvre Cafe serves coffee since 1902. It was one of the favorite places of Franz Kafka and Albert Einsteinduring his stay in Prague. If you like cubism, the only architecture style invented in Czechoslovakia (in the beginning of 20th century), you should visit The Grand Cafe Orientat the Black Madonna Houseat Ovocny trh 19and its hidden cafe on the first floor.

Cafe Imperial– another famous Prague Cafe, interesting Art Deco interior with tiled walls from floor to ceiling. Café Savoyat Vitezna 5, just across the bridge from the National Theatreserves one of the best breakfasts in Prague. It is a busy place with a feel of a French bistro, a bit noisy but real Prague.

Another place just few steps off Café Savoyis Café Loungein the basement of the Hunger Wall Residence. Their coffee is famous as well as Czech sweets such asbuchty or kolache(a sweet bun filled with sweet cheese or plum jam). Get a table in a patio on a summer sunny day. You better book your breakfast table, they got a bit spoiled lately given their ranking among Prague cafes but still worth a visit. It would not be a complete list without mentioning the Alchymista cukrarna(sweet shop) at Letna, Prague 7 where you get a great coffee and home made cakes. It is a place with an atmosphere of good old times (I don’t mean good old times before 1989 but rather good old times before 1939 – which I don’t remember). As much as it is nice in winter, nothing can beat their garden during a sunny late spring or summer day.

Another place not to be missed is Cafe Adria– just look at the rondo-cubist masterpiece (read more on my Prague blog) Palais Adria at the end of Narodni street, enter the passage and go up the stairs to the first floor and you will discover a summer terrace – my personal view, I would not go in winter, as the terrace is the place to enjoy. And my personal tip when you get back to Narodni street – look up to the roof of this monumental building – you will see a beautiful sculpture of Adria by Jan Štursa.

If you want to experience a bit of the glamour of what we Czechs call First Republic (1918 – 1939), look in the Cafe Lucernaat Lucerna Palace in Vodickova street. Yes, it is worn out but it shows the famous Cafe where the First Republic movie stars stopped by for coffee and drink. It was the place to be seen, as Havel’s family (yes the family of former Czech President, Vaclav Havel) had their private movie theater.

And here is the secret garden cafe…

Super Tramp Coffee may well be one of the secret tips in Prague. It is nestled in a hidden courtyard of once famous Prague publishing house (1884). It is hard to find it and I recommend using the entrance from Opatovicka street No. 18, just don’t give up and keep going through the courtyard. You will be rewarded by a great coffee, little snacks and secret garden. If you feel like specialty tea and bio wines, you got your place.

Interested in more tips for your Prague trip?

Architecture in Prague, Art

Prague Museum of Decorative Arts – a must see spot in Prague

One of the Prague neo-renaissance jewels, Prague Museum of Decorative Arts dedicated to applied art and design is a place you should not miss when in Prague. Designed by architect Josef Schulz (who also designed Rudolfinum, a concert hall across the street from museum), it houses extensive collections of ceramics, porcelain, textile & period fashion, toys, jewelry, and more, it is a dream of every art lover. The museum has been extensively reconstructed and re-opened in November 2017.

Originally, a building dates back to 1897 inspired by similar institution in London, the South Kensington Museum (today, Victoria and Albert Museum). The Museum soon became an important cultural and educational center in the Bohemian Kingdom, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and important figures of the art/business/political life were appointed to the Museum Board  including a progressive feminist Continue reading “Prague Museum of Decorative Arts – a must see spot in Prague”

Discover Czech Republic

A Trip to Cesky Krumlov

Karel Čapek ilustration Pictures form HomeA UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ceský Krumlov is famous for its Old Town, with 300 protected medieval buildings, and its castle complex, the second largest in the Czech Republic.

Going to Cesky Krumlov is a busy one day trip or a relaxed two day trip. You can go by bus (it takes 3 hours) or by train (you need to change the train in České Budějovice) or we will arrange a car and a driver for you. Visiting Cesky Krumlov is worth a trip.

To imagine what a magic place Cesky Krumlov is, read an excerpt from a story written by one of the greatest Czech writers of the early 20th century, Karel Čapek in his Pictures from Home.

“…I do not know how many times the Vltava meanders before you get through the town – doing so as directly as possible you will cross it about five times and each time you are surprised that it is so golden-brown and in a hurry. Neither do I know how many inhabitants Krumlov has, but there are twenty-four pubs, three churches, one castle, still two large town gates and a large number of monuments; in fact the whole town is one big historic monument which reminds one of Sienna or Stirling or other famous places. Well, there are old gables, bays, dormers, arcades, arches, galleries, battlements, sgrafitto, frescoes, stairs up and down, balustrades, fountains, columns, corner stones, nooks, frame-works, maßhaus, underpasses, historic pavement, zigzagging lanes, Bethlehems, high roofs, a Gothic church, Minorites and all over the place the red roses of the Rosenbergs, everywhere you stir you can see only picturesqueness and antiquity and historical fame, while in the old suburbs there are only low houses whose roofs you can touch with your hand, geraniums in the windows and the sign over the door, here old crafts are still alive as in the fifteenth century.

Everything is dominated (and really so after the Dukes of Eggenberg) by the castle over there and particularly the tower, one of the most towery towers which I have ever seen, I would say that towers are a Czech specialty because nowhere else can you find such strange cupolas, paunchy onion-domes, poppy-head cupolas, lanterns, stuck little turrets and galleries and spires as in this country; each old Bohemian town has its own particular tower by which you can tell that this is Hradec and this is Brno and this is Budějovice and this is Český Krumlov.

As concerns the castle, it is all decorated and covered with frescos inside as well as outside but the best of all is the little Baroque theater in which the old decorations still hang; an eighteenth century Italian opera could haunt this place at this moment but it does not because it is not allowed to perform here because of safety measures. Further there is the summer-house Bellarie with such funny stairs on the facade and lots of other Baroque things; for three crowns this is enough and to spare…”

Karel Čapek – Pictures from Home

Architecture in Prague

Art Deco Arcades in Prague

Art deco arcades in Prague, modernist and cubist are interesting, vibrant, loved by locals and overlooked by tourists. Most of the arcades are close to Wenceslas Square, Vodickova and Stepanska streets.

The architecture enthusiasts should not skip at least Lucerna, Rokoko and Koruna arcades. Lucerna, once built by former Czech President Vaclav Havel’s family is admired for Arabic bazar style decoration while Rokoko arcade is a small art deco jewel. Most of the „passages“ – as locals call them, were built between the turn of 19th and 20th century and the end of the „First Republic“ (1918 – 1938). Don’t forget to visit Cafe Lucerna – yes, it would deserve  a facelift but still, you will enjoy its former glory and art deco charm, it is still there. Continue reading “Art Deco Arcades in Prague”

Art, Prague Literary Tour

A Prague lover’s reading list

Prague literary tour and Prague books
Prague literary tour

These are just few books that a Prague lover may want to grab before heading to Prague or after getting back from your Prague literarary tour. We will be adding books but will be happy if you let us know of any treasures that you feel other Prague lovers should know of. Thank you! So here is your Prague lover’s reading list. And let’s go for a literary walk when you are in Prague.

Franz Kafka (1883 – 1924)

It is impossible to talk about 20th century literature in Prague without mentioning Franz Kafka. For those who would like to penetrate the mysterious world of this Prague born Jewish German-language writer, their reading list should include:

  • The Metamorphosis
  • The Trial
  • The Castle
  • America


Only a few of Kafka’s works were published during his lifetime but the publisher, Max Brod, ignored Kafka’s wish to have the manuscripts destroyed, and published most of his works. By the way, the Franz Kafka Muzeum in Prague is definitely worth a visit plus it is almost underneath the Charles Bridge, so convenient location, isn’t it….?

E.E. Kisch (1885 – 1948)

Czech writer and journalist, who wrote in German. Nicknamed the “Raging Reporter from Prague”, Kisch is considered one of the founders of the Czech investigative and reportage journalism. He wrote books about his numerous trips, such as:

  • Zaren, Popen, Bolschewiken (On the Soviet Union) (1926)
  • Paradies Amerika (On the United States) (1929)
  • Secret China (1933)

Franz Werfel (1890 – 1945)

Czech-Jewish novelist and playwright born in Prague, later moved to Vienna where he met and fell in love with Alma Mahler, widow of Gustav Mahler, the former lover of the painter Oskar Kokoschka, and the wife of the architect Walter Gropius. By the end of the nineteen-twenties, Werfel had become one of the most important and established writers in German and Austrian literature. Werfel and Alma left Austria after the German occupation in 1938 and finally settled in the United States where Werfel died in 1945. The beautiful, passionate Alma attracted a number of artists but also writers, so choose one of the books inspired by this  femme fataleContinue reading “A Prague lover’s reading list”

Prague Cafe Slavia slider
Cafes and Restaurants in Prague

10 Prague Cafés you should not miss

There are some new cafes but also cafes that have been in Prague for ages and you shouldn’t miss them.  

Breakfast with Kafka

Kavarna Obecni dům (Municipal House Cafe)  by itself is an Art Nouveau gem, so it is worth to book a tour of the Municipal House after enjoying your breakfast. The entire building is a reminder of the good old Prague Grand Cafe atmosphere (the 20s and 30s of 20th century) and Belle Epoque style. It is one of the most famous Cafes in Prague, together with Cafe Slavia (opposite the National Theatre)  and Cafe Louvre (at the crossroad of Narodni trida and Spalena street). Louvre Cafe serves coffee since 1902. It was one of the favourite places of Franz Kafka and Albert Einstein during his stay in Prague. If you like cubism, the only architecture style invented in Czechoslovakia (at the beginning of 20th century), you should visit The Grand Cafe Orient at the Black Madonna House at Ovocny trh 19 and its hidden cafe on the first floor. Continue reading “10 Prague Cafés you should not miss”

Discover Czech Republic

Prague birds-eye view


You probably heard of the Petrin lookout tower. It reminds the Eiffel tower in Paris because the Czech tourist club members liked the Eiffel tower so much that they decided to have one – a smaller one in Prague. That was in 1891 when they returned from the World Exhibition in Paris.

The Prague tower was built just in four months, it is 63.5 meters high with 299 stairs. There is an elevator for those who may wish to skip the exercise. The Petrin lookout tower is open daily from 10am to 6 pm (November to February) and to 10pm (from April to September).

Once you will be at Petřín hill (where you can get by funicular) from Ujezd station of tram No. 22) you will be in a beautiful park, with a mirror maze. There is also a little booth with beer and famous Czech bramborak (potato and garlic pancakes). And the best, you will be able to cut through the Petřín park to the Prague Castle where you end up at the amazing view of Prague just underneath the Strahov Monastery.


Vysehrad Cemetery in Prague

It may be compared to Paris cemetery Père Lachaise. The Vysehrad or Slavin cemetery in Prague where most notable figures of Czech nation are buried. Writers, actors, artists, poets and many others. Place of a magic and poetic atmosphere, just peace and art.

Vysehrad national burial ground was established in the second half of 19th century in place of an old Vysehrad cemetery dating back to 1660. It is one of the most significant Prague cemeteries. One of the notable Czech architects, Antonin Wiehl designed the neo-rennaisance arcades, which have been built according to the Italian style around the border of the cemetery. The cross vault of arcades decorated with paintings is carried by Tuscan pillars of sandstone. Walking through the Vysehrad cemetery is like walking in an open-air art gallery. Most of the tombs hold a piece of art work.

Vysehrad hill is linked to the origin of Prague when the Slavic Princess Libuse had a vision. She apparently stood on a cliff overlooking the Vltava, pointed to a hill across the river, and proclaimed: “I see a great city whose glory will touch the stars.” A castle was built at a place where a man was building the threshold (which translates práh in Czech) of a house. “And because even the great noblemen must bow low before a threshold, you shall give it the name Praha”. About two hundred years later, the city of Prague became the seat of the Premyslid dynasty. You will find statue of Princess Libuse and her husband, Prince Premysl as well as of Prince Wenceslas, later St. Wenceslas, a patron of the Czech nation who founded the first basilique (at the place of St. Vitus Cathedral) at the Prague Castle. Vysehrad is not exactly in Prague center but it should not be missed by art lovers.


Prague Castle

Don’t wait in queues at the Prague Castle

I am sure you have seen it or heard of long queues due to security checks at the Prague Castle. Why don’t you visit Prague Castle like a local knowing of more entrances. You still will be checked but you will not wait in queue but rather enjoy a walk through the Prague Castle courtyards, take a look inside the St. Vitus Cathedral, find out about St. Wenceslas, a patron of the Czech nation and the Czech King and Roman Emperor Charles IV. who made Prague one of the major medieval cities. You may find out why the Pope got upset with King Charles at one point (quite unexpected and surprising). And…..we will take you to a hidden café in one of the palaces at the Hradcany Square to enjoy coffee and cake or sandwich, of course like a local and for local prices.

Take me for a walk.