When I decided to go to Prague, I knew what was on my must-see list: walk across the Charles Bridge, fall in love with Malá Strana, and drink as much absinthe as I could possibly stomach. And while all of those things are wonderful (albeit, crowded), there’s so much more to this city than the typical slew of tourist must-sees.
‘The City of a Hundred Spires’, ‘The heart of Europe,’ or ‘A symphony of stone.’
Whatever you call it, Prague is an amazing city that has made its way into millions of hearts. For that reason, it is far from being an “off the beaten path” destination.
Still. Isn’t there anything authentic anymore in the beautiful city of Prague? That’s what I sought out to find.
I didn’t find these hidden sites of Prague all on my own. I relied upon Prague Urban Adventures to give me a comprehensive tour around the city. But not just any tour: a tour of offbeat, local spots that were worth visiting for its culture, art, history and food!
If you find yourself wondering “How on earth can I go off the beaten path in a busy and beloved city such as Prague?” then read on to see the hidden sites of Prague!
Art Nouveau Lucerna Palace
To start your day of authentic art, food and culture in Prague, head to Art Nouveau Lucerna Palace. This shopping arcade is said to be Nové Město’s most elegant of malls and was designed by Václav Havel (grandfather of the former president).
But if you’re not up for the cinema, shops, or restaurants, you’ll want to see the famous sculpture known as “Kun.” In the center of the marbled atrium hangs the large sculpture by famous Czech artist David Černý. This political piece pokes fun at the equestrian statue of St. Wenceslas in Wenceslas Square referencing to Václav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic from 2003 to 2013.
Ovocný Světozor, meaning fruit delicatessen, is a seemingly casual and modern looking shop located not far from Art Nouveau. The chain has been around since the 1970’s and would only be noticeable by it’s line out the door.
My guides told me that this was the hottest spot for locals in all of Prague and that tourists rarely stumble upon this Czech establishment. While the restaurant is primarily known for its sweet treats like mini cakes and soft serve, we opted for the savory open-faced sandwiches that are famous in Prague.
Panny Marie Sněžné
Also known as “The Church of Our Lady of the Snows,” this spectacle is often overlooked! Behind the statue of Josef Jungmann is a wall that most would believe to be a ‘no tourist’ zone. However behind this wall is a piece of amazing, Czech history!
Founded in 1347, this church was built along with a monastery of the Carmelite order. Today, it has one of the highest vaults in Prague. It was originally supposed to be the second biggest church in Prague, but was not completed.
K on Sun
David Černý did it again! This time with the head of Franz Kafka, a Prague German-language novelist and short story writer. The sculpture known as “K on Sun” is a giant, kinetic sculpture made of 42 independently driven layers of stainless steel and weighs about 45 tons.
The sculpture’s layers twist and turn in random order, making his head look like an occasional blob. They say it’s meant to distract people from the frustrations of dealing with government employees, as Kafka was once a clerk at an insurance company. You can find the statue at the Quadrio business center, directly above the Národní třída metro station.
Velvet Revolution Memorial
You might have heard of the Velvet Revolution in the 80’s. This non-violent transition of power took place from November 17 to December 29, 1989 in Czechoslovakia against the one-party government of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia.
On Národní street, you’ll see the Velvet Revolution Memorial. The small bronze plaque with hands symbolizes the revolting Czech students that held a large demonstration against the government. This demonstration was the first of many and sparked the Velvet Revolution.
If you need a pick-me-up (which to me means sugar and caffeine), it’s time to head to the Vinohrady district and delight yourself with delicious eats and drinks. Vinohrady, meaning “vineyards,” is known for its coffee houses and breweries. But amongst them all, my guide informed me that this was the best cafe.
Café Sladkovský made a mean green tea, but it was the pancakes that got to me! I’m used to buttery, doughy fluff in the states. In Prague, it’s all about sour cream and jam! Afterwards, you’ll want to mosey around this incredibly quaint neighborhood that also happens to be home to the oldest brothel in Prague (though I hate to disappoint, it is no longer a running brothel)!
So you’ve had your fill on culture, sweets and art. But where’s all the Czech beer everyone is always talking about?! Look no further than Vinohradský Pivovar! The Czech Republic is famous for its beer, more specifically for its tasty malt and hops. At Vinohradský Pivovar you’ll find the beer here to suit any beer lover’s taste buds.
The brewery contains half vast vaulted cellars used for cooking, fermentation and maturation of several types of beer as well as a visitors tavern, restaurant and underground hall. Try the pork belly on black beer with red cabbage and potato chunks after 1 or 2 (or 3 or 4) beers. It will definitely soak it all up!