Our guide uncovers the real Prague in its neighborhoods, a treasure chest of Bohemian gems waiting to be discovered in the capital of the Czech Republic.
Strolling across Charles Bridge, plotting your way around the fairytale-like Prague Castle, and soaking up the timeless charm of Old Town Square rank among the things you must do when you visit Prague. But once you’ve done them all, what do you do next on your trip?
Uncover the real Prague, of course.
With Baroque buildings, artistic masterpieces, and pretty cobbled corners aplenty, it may seem like the city center has it all. But spread your wings a little further by venturing into the local neighborhoods and you’ll discover more culture than you could dream of.
The first thing you need to know about Prague’s neighborhoods is the numbering system, which sections the city into 22 numbered districts. Prague’s 1-10 neighborhoods are considered pretty easy to get to – with Prague 1 at the heart of the tourist district. On the other hand, the areas 11-22 are further away from the city center. We’ve cherry-picked the best places to go in Prague within its collection of charming neighborhoods.
Vinohrady (Prague 2)
Once a place where wine was made for the monarchy, Vinohrady is now the king of Prague’s cool neighborhoods. This hipster haven is adorned with many classy restaurants, most of which are concentrated in its two main squares: Namesti Miru and Jiriho z Podebrad.
There are enough trendy bars and cafés here to keep you supplied with the local waters all afternoon, particularly at the microbreweries, where craft beer is beginning to rival the standard Budvar and Pilsner Urquell. Just make sure you have a safe way to get around if you plan to partake in the festivities. If you’re in the mood for a walk, classic English garden Riegrovy Sady is a safe bet, although the tree-lined streets and wide sidewalks mean a casual stroll is just as rewarding.
Vysehrad (Prague 2)
This historical fort is where the first Czech settlers allegedly hung their hats in the Middle Ages. As such, Vysehrad oozes history. It’s home to one of Prague’s oldest-surviving buildings, including the 11th-century-built Rotunda of St Martin and the Basilica of St. Peter and St Paul, where Antonin Dvorak and other famous Czechs are buried.
While admiring these awe-inspiring structures could quite easily take up all your time in Vysehrad, you have to take a walk along the walls where you can catch great views over the Vltava. If you’re looking to sample some tasty treats, head down to the nearby Naplavka Farmer’s Market. Vendors selling delicious jams and spreads, cheese, meat, and fish pitch their stalls just by the riverbank at this scenic market, which has become one of the most popular destinations in town.
Zizkov (Prague 3)
If you’re looking for a cool contemporary edge, you’ll find it in Zizkov. It’s arguably Prague’s liveliest neighborhood, with more bars per square kilometer than anywhere else in Europe – maybe even the world. For many years, Zizkov had a reputation as one of the grittier parts of town, but it’s taken on a more alternative, eclectic image in recent decades, while preserving its blue-collar community roots.
Apart from all the bars, the biggest landmark here (quite literally) is the Zizkov TV Tower – a bizarre structure that features models of toddlers scaling the sides. If that wasn’t enough to get you scratching your head, there’s also an experimental art space and café called Nakladoveho Nadrazi, hidden within a railroad depot.
Nusle (Prague 4)
Like Zizkov, Nusle combines its humble heritage with contemporary character. Take a stroll around Folimanka Park, which crosses beneath the impressive Nusle Bridge – one of the longest in the Czech Republic. On the main street you’ll find typical Czech restaurants serving up a cafeteria-style menu that’s fresh, tasty and served in generous portions. Dining out at places like Bistro Rybarna offers an authentic cultural experience not readily available in the city center.
Smichov (Prague 5)
Bustling with activity every hour of the day, Smichov is a neighborhood at the heart of the action. One of its biggest draws is the Novy Smichov shopping mall. It occupies an area the size of several city blocks – with big-brand fashion houses, designer boutiques, and niche market stores galore.
If you’ve got an eye for art, you’ll be right at home at Smichov’s internationally renowned Futura Gallery, where the country’s brightest and boldest visual works – by the likes of Karima Al Mukhtarova – are showcased across three floors. There are even treasures to be uncovered in the industrial corners of Smichov where you can find all manner of breads, cheeses, and meats at Prague’s best Italian market.
Letna & Holesovice (Prague 7)
Regeneration has seen these two connected neighborhoods spring to life in the past few years. Their old meatpacking factories have become galleries, bars, and restaurants that attract trend-setters who have kept the momentum moving. Sitting on the northern banks of the Vlatava, Letna, and Holesovice are home to Prague’s best museums, including the National Museum of Agriculture, the National Technical Museum, and the National Gallery.
However, the real ace up their sleeve is Stromovka Park – Prague’s largest green space – whose flat, wide sidewalks are perfect for cycling, rollerblading and running. Further bike paths wind along the river to places like Divoka Sarka, a nature reserve with options for hiking and depending on the time of year, outdoor swimming.
Karlin (Prague 8)
Tucked between the Vltava and Vitkov Hill is Karlin. Here you’ll be able to sample a taste (in every sense of the word) of authentic Prague life with dozens of stylish cafés, vegan restaurants, and effortlessly cool bars spread across the neighborhood. Once labeled ‘up and coming’, Karlin has most certainly now arrived.
As a hip, leafy enclave that borders the Vltava, it’s renowned as one of the more upscale areas of the city. Design showrooms, publishing houses, and art galleries fill the spaces previously occupied by factories, while high-quality fashion boutiques and glassmakers occupy some of the many quirky shops decorating the high street. Often seen as a quiet area, Karlin will provide the ideal escape from the city center hustle and bustle.
Vrsovice (Prague 10)
With its faded Art Nouveau townhouses, funky architecture, and abundance of nightclubs and independent music venues, Vrsovice has often been described as the little sister of Vinohrady, which lies to its immediate north. But Vrsovice was its own village hundreds of years ago, before it got swallowed up by Prague.
That’s why this happening hangout feels more intimate than some of the city’s other hip neighborhoods. Explore cafés and bars that would fit right in the coolest parts of Brooklyn or San Francisco, and you’ll see why it’s put the ‘boho’ in Bohemian.
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