This is Know Your $h!t – a series where I help you get in the know before you Shut Up And Go. Get the historical, political and social lowdown before you touchdown (and maybe some recs on the hotspots and hidden gems of the area).
As you already know from my previous Prague post, I’ve not long returned from a week on a Worldpackers experience in Prague. However, it wouldn’t be right of me to live somewhere brand new for a week and not provide you with a Know Your $h!t guide. So it’s back, baby. Tie down your trdelníks – it’s Know Your Sh!t: Prague edition.
In honour of how different this entire experience was for me (travelling solo, working while I travel, working with a company such as Worldpackers), I’m organising this Know Your $h!t article a bit differently. If, like most people who visit Prague, you’re only there for 3/4 days, this is how you’re really gonna Know Your $h!t according to what you want to do, what you should do, and when.
The Day Of Culture
So, it’s your first day in Prague. Maybe you arrived late the night before (like me), or maybe you landed first thing, and are throwing yourself straight into the city. It doesn’t matter: Prague’s not gonna wait for you. My advice? Get yourself a coffee (I never had one bad coffee the entire time I was in Prague, so you can take your pick) and head to Hamley’s in the new town to join the ‘free’ walking tour. This is the perfect place to start. Learn the history, and hit up a lot of the city’s key attractions, before deciding which of them you want to return to.
After having spent so long outside, in the cold in my case (sans scarf cos I’m a dumb-dumb who leaves her things at the hostel), maybe now would be a good time to see what Prague’s hiding behind its doors. Art fiends: head to the main square, near the clock tower, and pay a visit to the GOAP (Gallery of Art Prague). This is a MUST VISIT for artists and laymen alike. For less than £10 I got into 2/3 of the exhibitions, but you can go to all 3 for under £15. From a choice of Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol and Alfons Mucha, I chose the first two. The Warhol exhibit is a complete necessity as (and I’ve said this before) Prague’s most high profile export ever (?)
Sorry Alfons, I just don’t know that Mucha your work
Fellow politics nerds, rejoice, for Prague is the place for you. If you’re not into art, or you’re just museum hopping today, then head to Prague’s Communist Museum for a pretty intense, totally immersive and very rich account of Prague under communism. Plus, get a free coffee from the museum’s café, and maybe treat yourself to a bite at Cacao next door (NY deli bagel highly recommended by yours truly).
Finally, after a day of soaking up the city’s architectural, sociopolitical and artistic heritage, the best way to end your Day of Culture is with a cold Prague beer (or maybe a few) and a traditional Czech meal at Krcma. Expect something wholesome and filling, with a side of candlelit tavern aesthetics.
The Day Of Inspiration
Because I was in Prague for a week, I was lucky to have some time to be able to just wander around Prague and soak it in without time pressure. Even if you’re only there for a weekend, there’s a lot to take inspiration from while you’re there.
Maybe you want to wake up at 6 am (like I did) and head to Charles Bridge to watch the sunrise (or higher ground if you’re prepared to get there that early) – you won’t regret it.
If that’s not for you, maybe make the National Museum your first port of call, stopping for a coffee at Cafedu while you’re in the area (my regular fave while I was there), and be inspired by the rich Czech culture on display.
Most iconic of all, get yourself to the other side of the river and be inspired by one of the biggest castles in the WORLD. You could really spend an entire day here if you’re super into your history, going on the guided tours and paying for entry into the castle’s numerous different attractions (entry to the castle grounds are free). However, you could just as easily use your time here to simply wander through the cobbled streets, watch the guards, and let yourself get lost in this civilisation of its own.
Once you’re done, perhaps do as I did and hit up Mistral Café on your way back. Not only is this the perfect spot to allow your inspirational stimulus steep into your brain, but I had the best damn chicken sandwich of my life here. Not one to miss!
Yeah, we all know that Prague has a rich cultural history, but that’s not all it’s known for (and we know that). So what about the night?
For a lowkey bev, you are not short of bars and pubs to pick from. Make sure to avoid the big tourist areas, because you really shouldn’t be paying more than a few £s worth of CZK for a beer.
If you’re after something more, you’ll probably be aware of the Drunken Monkey bar crawl operating in Prague, the big name in bar crawls over there. If you’re going there in summer (I’m jealous. I might have to go back) then you will absolutely not be short of invitations to secret, spontaneous, hidden and bizarre parties popping up all over the region: mini music festivals in fields, underground raves in abandoned train stations, clandestine parties inside shipping containers. Keep your ear to the ground and don’t let these opportunities pass you by.
However, my personal favourite while I was there was this bar called Vzorkovna. As yet totally untouched by mass tourism, as my hosts at the hostel told me, this place is totally grungy, eclectic, and a really good time. Each room has a different vibe: beer pong, DnB basement rave, spontaneous live music, you name it. It’s a minimum 100 CZK spend to get in, which European nightlife connoisseurs will know is pretty amazingly reasonable.
It’s Europe, so there is smoking indoors. There may (or may not) be other stimulants in circulation down there in the basement. There are people dancing, people singing, people having intense table football tournaments. There was a girl curled up on an armchair sketching by candlelight, whilst everyone else in the otherwise pitch black room was shouting over the furious beat of the electronic music.
Ugh, just writing about it is making me want to go back.
Most importantly of all, avoid the 5 storey club like the plague
Don’t forget: if you want to get a $20 discount on your Worldpackers membership, you can use the code SHUTUPANDGO19 to reduce that bad-boy to $29 from $49
Who’s gonna join me in Prague?