Your inside guide to the ultimate stag weekend in the Czech capital
Considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world, the Czech capital has been relatively untouched by the ravages of the 20th century, leaving the spectacular architecture intact, from Baroque churches to Art Nouveau arcades and, of course, that iconic castle. There are hundreds and pubs and bars, and numerous restaurants serving everything from local delicacies to international cuisine.
Prague at a glance:
- Over six million tourists visit each year, including 300,000 Brits, making it the fourth most visited city in Europe
- Prague has the largest castle in the world, sprawled across 18 acres
- The city is hugely popular with stag parties due to cheap flights, good quality and relatively cheap beer, plus numerous activities – not to mention the women
- Spectacular architecture and breathtaking sights make for photo opportunities aplenty
- There is loads to do, including many great art galleries and collections, plus hot nightspots and some renowned strip clubs
Staré Mesto (Old Town) – the heart of Prague
Massively popular with visitors, Stare Mesto, in Prague 1, includes the historical Old Town Square and is the geographical centre of the city. Attractions include the intricate medieval Astronomical Clock and Old Town Hall. As well as some amazing architecture and popular tourist attractions there are also boutiques, high street stores, restaurants and nightlife to suit all tastes – expect to pay a little more for a beer in the square. There are also street performers and quieter cafes and bars, if you're looking to just chill.
Wenceslas Square – where culture vultures gather
Also just a few minutes walk from Old Town Square is Wenceslas Square, in the heart of New Town (Nové Mesto). Essentially a wide boulevard, it's home to the National Museum and Prague State opera.
Mala Strana (Lesser Town) - nothing less than impressive
Just a short walk over the medieval Charles Bridge is Prague’s most exclusive neighbourhood. Although not as popular with tourists as Staré Mesto, Mala Strana has some of the finest restaurants and cafes, and plenty to keep you occupied, including traditional Czech pubs, small exclusive shops and stunning views over the river.
Vinohrady – for the cheaper seats
Not as well trodden as the main areas of Prague 1, Vinohrady is still an exclusive place with plenty to do and see. It’s an ideal place to get away from tourist crowds and has plenty of cafes, restaurants and shopping centres. Vinohrady has some of the largest and most popular nightclubs and bars in Prague, so is an excellent place for a night out.
Best bars in Prague:
Cloud 9 Sky Bar and Lounge (Pobrežní 1)
Situated at the top of Hilton Prague, Cloud 9 commands breathtaking views of the city below with floor-to-ceiling windows and an outdoor roof patio. A luxurious bar with suitably swanky drinks and food menu. Their most popular cocktail is The Charisma – peppered vodka stirred with sweet melon liqueur and a splash of cranberry juice, served in a martini glass with green basil leaves. Nice.
Fashion Club (Námestí Republiky 8)
Situated on the site of an old communist department store, Fashion Club has been quick to establish itself as a hot destination for the city's well-dressed. Great atmosphere, fantastic dancefloor, top DJs. It also hosts one of the best Italian restaurants in Prague.
Black Angel's Bar (Old Town Square)
Located on the second lower level of the Hotel U Prince in Old Town Square, Black Angel’s Bar has picked up numerous international awards including being voted one of six World’s Best European Bars in 2013. With a 1930s design and original Gothic and Romanesque masonry, it's atmospheric, brimming with old world luxury. If you’re heading there, do be aware that it's not cheap, and photography and filming are not allowed.
Hemingway Bar (Praha Karolíny Svetlé 26)
Small, friendly (and very brown coloured) bar inspired by famed boozer (and writer) Ernest Hemingway, this is THE place in Prague to drink absinthe, with a range of the stuff on offer.
Letna Beer Garden (Letenské Sady)
Situated in Letna Park, it might have a pretty limited number of bevvies, but leafy Letna Beer Garden is a perfect place for a summer afternoon drink, with a lovely view of the river and city. If you're starting early – and it's warm – start here.
Pivovarský Klub (Prague 8)
Although slightly further out from the normal tourist areas, Pivovarský Klub is well worth the trek. With six beers on tap and over 240 bottled beers to choose from, traditional Czech food is also on the menu.
U Medvídku (Na Perstyne 7)
It's a Prague institution that's been around for 550 years, and serves both great beer and great food. They also brew their own beers, including BlackGott and X-Beer 33 (12.6 per cent, beer lovers, and billed as the 'the strongest beer in the Czech Republic'). They also make beer ice cream and beer chocolate. And if the beer gets the best of you, there's a hotel upstairs. And even if you don’t like beer, you still have to see this place.
Pivnice U Rudolfina (Krížovnická 10)
A proper traditional Czech pub with live music and lots of different beers and ales available. Traditional Czech meals are also on offer. A great place to start the night.
Best clubs in Prague:
Studio 54 (Hybernská 38)
No relation to the famed 1970s New York venue where disco was king, but nonetheless, a magnet for clubbers to like the party to never stop. Prague's best known after-party venue, Studio 54 doesn't open until 4am/5am, and keeps the beats going until well into the middle of the afternoon.
A former dancehall, Roxy has been at the centre of Prague’s club scene since the early 1990s. The music policy is varied, though leans away from the mainstream, with high profile international and Czech DJs and bands. There are four bars and considering you’re in Prague 1, the drinks are reasonably priced.
Lucerna Music Bar (Vodickova 36)
Popular music venue near Wenceslas Square featuring the best Czech and alternative acts, plus UK and US names such as Papa Roach and George Ezra. On Friday and Saturday nights, they also host famed 80s/90s pop discos playing retro hits by the likes of A-ha and Wham.
Food: eat like a local:
Czech food is quite simple and mainly consists of pork or beef with dumplings/potatoes or rice.
Rajská is a speciality of meat with whipped cream and sauce (not to everyone’s taste but worth a try at least once). A classic is Smažený Sýr which is fried cheese garnished with potatoes.
Palacinky (Czech pancakes) are filled with various fillings such as ice cream or jam and coated with whipped cream and almonds. Ovocné Knedlíky (fruit dumplings) and Kolac (Czech cake) are also filled with different curd, fruits and jams.
The riverside Náplavka Farmers' Market (Podskali) is on every Saturday from 8am-2pm and has an amazing range of local produce such as Czech cakes, sweets, cider, coffee and more. Jirák
If you need a solid hit of caffeine in the morning, try the award-winning Café Lounge (Plaská 615, in Lesser Town), which serves a range of interesting coffees, plus a great breakfasts, from croissants and eggs to fruit, Czech dishes and the good ol’ reliable hangover cure, the full English. Open from 7.30am too.
Situated right by the river, Kampa Park (Na Kampe 8b) has a great atmosphere and fantastic views of the Charles Bridge and Certovka stream. With stylish dining rooms and more intimate terraces, it's a popular celeb' hangout. The food is 'international', mixing Czech with European.
They do a great pepper steak with potato cake (makes a change from mash), and anything on the dessert menu is to die for (especially the chocolate fondant). The five-course set menu, with different wines served between each course, is a must for foodies, while the wine menu, with 150 choices, will satisfy any wine buff. They also offer group menus for 10 people.
For something a little more quirky, Pod Kridlem Noci (Národní 138/10) offers a Czech take on the dining-in-the-dark experience, while Pravek (Nezamyslova 10) is an underground restaurant where the decor is best described as ‘stone age’. With a rocky interior, the staff are dressed like cavemen and women. A unique experience. Fred Flintstone would approve.
Jumping forward a few thousand years, Prague 1's Medieval Tavern offers a slightly more updated themed experience with a step back to the Dark Ages, complete with serving wenches, jugglers and musicians.
Famed for its beer, one of the most popular Czech tipples is Gambrinus with Original and the pale Premium widely available. Pilsner Urquell, the first pilsner in the world, is another local favourite, as is Kozel's Medium, which was been voted the best Czech beer.
As Prague is a small city with everything close together, it's reasonably easy to walk everywhere. However, there are also the options of trams, buses and the metro, which all use the same tickets (available from automatic machines). Tickets must be purchased in advance and validated by the traveller before getting on a metro, or as they enter the bus or tram.
You can buy public transport tickets at the airport when you first arrive, large hotels, metro stations, newspaper stands and convenience stores.
Traffic congestion means that taxis can be expensive. While there are honest drivers, Prague has been blighted by less reputable companies who overcharge and prey on tourists, so pre-booking registered cabs (such as AAA or Tick Tack) is recommended. You can ask for estimated costs in advance, or if hailing in the street, check that they're a registered taxi.
When to visit:
The climate in Prague can be considered moderate. December to February are cold, winter months (with January the coldest – average -3 °C), March and April can be chilly, with temperatures rising slowly in April.
July and August (average temperature 18 °C) are the hottest months. On average, the wettest month is July. It’s a hive of activity in the summer, with plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy around the city, plus an endless supply of outdoor drinking spots and people-watching cafes.
As a tourist in a major capital city, you should be sensible when it comes to carrying money and tech. Don’t carry large amounts of cash, be careful in crowded places and especially on public transport, and don’t keep your phone and cards in your back pocket. Groups of men looking for directions to strip clubs can often seem like easy targets for petty criminals so just keep your wits about you.
Also, be aware of people peddling counterfeit cash on the streets and bogus plain-clothes policemen, who ask to see your foreign currency and passport (if approached, don’t show them your money, ask instead to go to the nearest police station). To call the emergency services, dial 112.
Hello – Ahoj!
Goodbye – Na shledanou
Yes – ano
No – Ne
Sorry – prominte
Excuse me – S dvolenim
Help! – Pomoc!
Do you speak English? – Mluvite anglicky?
I don’t speak Czech – Nemluvim Cesky
A beer, please – Jedno pivo, prosím
How much is it? – Kolík to stoji?