To me, Prague seems to be cloaked in a state of permanent darkness. Even in the summer, the medieval architecture carries the weight of the night.

But with darkness comes mystery, and Prague is full of it. Best experienced at night, my preferred way to explore the city is just after dark.

But this time we landed in the middle of the day, and the night would have to wait.

We stayed at the Prague Residences in a (renovated) 1,000 year old building which is apparently the Prague’s oldest building on the right side of the Vitava river. hotel prague

The original archway…hotel prague

A very interesting bedroom. This ceiling was also present in some parts of Prague castle–which is about as old as this room! Although the building has been substantially renovated, there was a thrill factor at staying in a building so old. prague residence

The hotel’s painted wood-beam ceiling.

One of the very first things we did was stop in for food at V Zatisi. Featuring Czech, Indian, and international dishes, it was not only good, but very interesting. It is worth a visit, although the comparatively high price in a city with many more affordable high quality options does not make it an essential stop. It was about $45 for a three course meal without wine. But, compared to other Michelin starred restaurants, it is probably cheap. None of the photos I took were good enough to include–but it is a pleasant and nice place. Amusingly, they were playing 9o’s and 00’s pop love songs.

tretter's new york bar prague

Next, we hit an absolute Prague classic–Tretter’s New York Bar. With a classy interior and a serious drink selection, this is the place to go for cocktails in the city. However, the experience was slightly marred by the fact that smoking is allowed inside. I don’t remember it being like this during my other two visits in years gone by–perhaps I got lucky and nobody was smoking. Or, maybe I was just having such a good time I didn’t care. In any event, the drinks were good and the price was cheap ($6 or so) by international standards.

Prague Sky

The walk home provided us with a fantastic view of the Vitava river and Prague Castle.

ducks across vitava prague

A family of swans passed by.
prague breakfast bake shop

This was breakfast the next morning. At the earnestly named “Bake Shop” we had a great mix of pastries, soups, and an absolutely fantastic quiche. bakeshop prague

Bake Shop’s selection of cakes.

st vitus prague

We walked across Vitava river and over to Prague Castle. The world’s largest ancient castle still extant, it was impressive, although more like a large scale complex of buildings, instead of one gigantic stone fortress. Inside the complex is the St. Vitus cathedral, with a large assortment of pretty stained glass windows.

stained glass pragueOne of the many beautiful stained glass windows at St. Vitus cathedral.

christianity prague

Dramatic imagery.

prague market

We left the castle and walked back to Old Town. We hit a market along the way…

Cafe Louvre

The next morning was spent at Cafe Louvre, whose claim to fame is that both Einstein and Franz Kafka once ate here. It was apparently a hangout of intellectuals. Closed during the dark communist era, it has made a comeback of sorts. This set of pancakes in raspberry sauce was good, although, in regards to touristy cafes, it was probably a mistake for us not to go toCafe Savoy–famous for its preserved and ornate ceiling, saved from communism by a fake ceiling–which I have been to before and is probably better.

Cafe Louvre

Viennese Coffee, aka whipped cream and espresso. (For a brief explainer on different types of coffee, check out this article I wrote)

prague cliche

Multiple books using the same cover. Reminds me of this. BONUS: Apparently they are “FUN EXPLOSIVE”.IMG_1432

Prague near Old Town.

old town square prague

Old Town Square.

This might be the only city that I would rather visit in the winter. Like a sad song you can’t stop listening to, Prague is captivating, sullen, and beautiful… During my first visit, at the end of October 2007, snow had just begun to fall, and it was cold. Stands operated by men standing in the cold offered spiced red wine… It felt serene and tragic and romantic. Prague is a fantastic city, but the best time to visit is probably autumn or early winter, when all of the tourists are gone.

I had a great time here this summer, but I couldn’t help but long for a few snowflakes and a glass of mulled wine.

If you have a long plane ride ahead of you, definitely consider getting the Bose QC35 headphones–they will change your life.

Check out the other cities we’ve visited:

And don’t miss Brandon Belknap’s stories about Tokyo and Iceland.

If you have a long plane ride ahead of you, definitely consider getting the Bose QC35 headphones–they will change your life.


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