Prague’s laid back and extensive coffee culture makes it a fantastic city for freelancers, with hundreds of great coffee shops all over the city. Here are some great cafes where you can settle in, and stay caffeinated and productive for hours.
Monolok is one of the most comfortable places to work in Vinohrady. It has plenty of seating across two floors, including a little outdoor terrace. Their small menu of breakfast and lunch items means you’ll never go hungry at Monolok. The café is also great for small meetings because there’s plenty of space between the tables. But perhaps the best thing about Monolok is the music which gives the place a chill vibe.
Cafedu reading room is open 24 hours a day. But you can only get your croissants and lattes at the café until 10 pm every night. It’s a student café that’s often busy, but if you can get a table, it’s a great place to be productive because almost everyone else will also be studying or working.
Friends Coffee House is another great place to work in Prague. Despite being in the heart of the city, it doesn’t carry a city center price tag. It has spacious and cozy back rooms, where you’ll also find a small library. And if you like the calming sound of running water, there is a fountain in a back room with floor-to-ceiling windows.
This unique café and tea room is in Prague 7. Cukrarna Alchymista (or the Alchemist) has wood-paneled walls and brass chandeliers. But the real magic of the Alchemist is the fairy tale garden, which fish-pond. They have the best variety of homemade cakes and desserts in town, but no regular food.
There’s café in Karlin, owned by doubleshot coffee roasters, Můj šálek kávy. The Czech specialty coffee roasting company is serious about their coffee, so you know your brews are always going to be high quality. They offer espresso and filter coffee from countries like Brazil, Ethiopia, and Colombia, in addition to great coffee and pastries. Their exposed brick and bookcase atmosphere is perfect for a long work session. It gets busy, so a reservation is recommended.
This hipster hideaway is not only a café, but a great spot to grab a beer with friends after hours. Café Sladovsky has a really affordable menu that includes breakfast favorites, sandwiches, and a variety of burgers. The patterned wallpaper and the cushy weathered furniture make you feel like you’re in the movie Garden State. It’s a great atmosphere to get your creative juices flowing.
7. Kavárna Pražírna
As are so many great bars and restaurants in Prague, Kavárna Pražírna is in a stunning underground cellar. Their selection of coffees from Ethioia, Peru, Colombia, and El Salvador is roasted in house. In addition to coffee, they serve homemade lemonade and alcoholic drinks. Their roomy wooden tables and good lighting create the perfect mood to focus on your work. And don’t worry, even mostly underground, their WiFi signal is stellar.
Café Jen is a tiny hole-in-the-wall. There’s a welcoming chalkboard sign outside the door, and the café is always full of locals. They have a great selection of coffee roasts from around the world and a tiny food menu, which includes yummy homemade cakes. Maybe it’s the size, the décor, or how friendly everyone is, but it feels more like someone’s living room than a café.
SO YOU’VE GOT A DAY’S LAYOVER IN THE CZECH CAPITAL? That’s a full 24 hours to take in all the aptly-named “City of a Hundred Spires” has to offer, and I’ve seen some people who can save the world in less time.
The city is action-packed with oohs and aahs, but the most beautiful part of being in Prague is that everything is already in your path. You can spend countless days simply picking a direction and walking — but on this trip we only have the one, so let’s make it count.
First things first: Get some cash, or exchange your currency. Find an ATM, bank, a safe place to exchange, whatever your situation calls for. Figure it out, because your credit card is going to be a problem all day if you don’t.
Second things second: Get some coins. One of the earliest lessons I learned in Prague was how important coins are, and you’re definitely not getting those out of the ATM. Luckily, solving the coin problem is a grand excuse for breakfast, and there’s an abundance of pastries and other quick, simple goodies all over the place, all the time, almost everywhere. Find one you like and buy it. Heck, buy three. Pocket that clutch of coins and find the closest potraviny (market) while you eat your treasure. Buy a bottle of water and stash it, because water isn’t free at any of the places to eat in Prague, and in most cases it’s more expensive than beer.
And, yes, this may be a bit of a bitch, but all of this is for a reason: You’ll want 110 CZK in coins to effortlessly get your 24-hour public transit pass. (Note: You can buy a pass with cards and bills at the windows, but sometimes the windows are closed; even if they’re open, sometimes the attendants are shy about language. Unless you know Czech, its probably not happening. You can certainly risk it, but you’ve been warned.)
The final step is to go down into one of the metro stops and put your coins in the vending machine to get your day pass. I’d highly, highly recommend buying the pass. I’ve heard so many stories of people getting fined up to nearly 1000 CZK (about $40) for failing to do so, and it can make a real bummer out of your trip. (Again, you can certainly risk it, but you’ve been warned.)
Once in business, hop on the C line to Vyšehrad, which is both the name of your stop and of a baroque fortress overlooking the Golden City. Follow the signs to “K Rotunde.” This time of day will be very calm and quiet, and you should have plenty of time to explore Prague’s past. Sitting atop the imposing ramparts of the 10th-century complex are the 15th-century neo-Gothic churches of Saints Peter and Paul, as well as one of the oldest standing buildings in Prague, the Rotunda of St. Martin (there will be signs along the way toward all of these).
You can also visit the Vyšehradcemetery, the final resting place of many of the most famous and influential Czechs throughout history, including the Art Nouveau artist Alphonse Mucha. Be sure to make your way all the way to the back of the “Castle on the Heights” to overlook the river — if you’re lucky, you might get to see an awesome morning fog roll through the river valley just below you.
If you didn’t already find one of the many places to eat surrounding Vyšehrad, make your way up to Náměstí Míru, or Peace Square. There you’ll find another neo-Gothic church. At this point you might be all “churched out,” but that’s fine because you’re not here for that — it’s lunchtime and this place is far enough away from the center of Prague, where you won’t spend a small fortune on a good Czech meal. The entire church courtyard is surrounded by enough local lunch choices sure to make even the most discriminating palate happy. Wherever you stop, I would recommend svíčková (sirloin with veggies) or guláš (goulash), and I would certainly wash it down with a good Czech beer like Pilsner Urquell or Staropramen. Once your belly is full, take a few minutes to notice the gorgeous architecture all around the square including the famous Vinohrady Theater.
Hop on the tram (schedules change, so just take a look beforehand), head towards the river, and get off at Palackého náměstí. There’s an impressive statue of Francis Palacky right at the tram stop that’s flanked by some scary-looking bronze angel and demon figures, and it’s worth a look before you walk down the stairs to Náplavka. Náplavka is a path right down the river that has bars, flea markets, merchants — the list goes on. It’s a great place to hang out when the weather is nice, and if you get a bum deal with the weather on your visit, you can always get a table on one of the many dining boats and have a meal on the river.
While you’re down on the water make sure to look for the Dancing House. Its design was based on the famous dancing duo, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. If you’ve got time to burn, make your way up to the top of the house for a photo-worthy view alongside some libations.
Depending on how you spend your afternoon in Náplavka, you may find the day winding down — that means it’s time to go watch the sunset over Prague castle, just like in the storybooks. The best view is from a nearby park called Riegrovy Sady, and you can get there by walking two blocks northwest from the Jiřího z Poděbrad station on the A line. (You know you’re at the right stop when you see the Žižkov Television Tower. Make sure to pay close attention to spot the famous David Černý sculptures of giant monochromatic babies crawling up and down the massive broadcast tower, too.)
After the mind-blowing sunset, scrape your brains off the park bench and head to Wencelaus Square, one of the most popular civic squares in all of Prague. The lighting in the square at night is on par with Times Square in New York or the Vegas strip in terms of its overwhelming beauty; however, it lacks even a hint of the gaudiness and gimmicks you find in those places. I would walk north, away from the National Museum and head towards Old Town Square, one of the most beautiful man-made places I have ever seen in my life.
As you traverse street after street of gorgeous fantasy-inspiring façades (including the gothic and baroque churches), try and keep track of time. You’ll need to arrive at least five minutes early to the Old Town Hall to see the oldest working astronomical clock in the world keep time and do its hourly mechanical dance — which it’s been doing since 1410. There are so many places to find refreshments of all kinds, but perhaps one of the more rare treats is U Medvídků, a medieval brewery dating back to the 15th century. Take a seat and try a beer worthy of King Charles himself!
It would be easy to spend the rest of the night lost in Old Town Square. There are plenty of little corners to explore, so I wouldn’t blame you if you did, but if you happen to be looking for something with a bit more of a beat, check out the Cross Club. This place is an audio/visual treat every single time I see it with its Willy-Wonka, post-apocalyptic charm and, of course, the world-renowned musicians and DJs that frequent the place. Cross Club was built by a number of artists over the years that have ensured that it was one of the most exciting and interesting places to kick back a few pints not only in Prague, but perhaps the world. Chapeau Rouge is a good stop, too — when the live music on one floor doesn’t do it for you, just go up to the next. Alternatively, if you don’t feel like sweating your night away in between blinks of neon, Letná Beer Garden is the place to be. Good views and good beer.
Remember that, in Prague, the party usually doesn’t stop, and if you find yourself still awake when the guilty birds start singing, give yourself one final treat. Go to Charles Bridge and enjoy the sunrise. You’ll never forget it.
I’m often surprised when I look back over photos from the last twelve months to see how much I’ve done… and this year is no different. 2015 has been an amazing year, full of good times, not-so-good times, and time with friends and family.
We saw the new year in in our temporary home of Alcalá de Henares, where I was doing a master’s degree. We’d been based there since September 2015 and stayed until the end of June, so it was a pretty long stretch for us. Luckily, we loved it — and who wouldn’t? Not only is it Unesco world heritage listed, it’s full of lovely people and delicious tapas.
We’re always happy to have an excuse to visit our old home of A Coruña, so we took advantage of a long weekend to fly up to visit our friends Oliva and Guille at Carnival time. They (and another friend, Alba) had created some spectacular costumes for us to wear, and we enjoyed watching the parades and looking like idiots while eating tapas.
I had to knuckle down to work and study, but Craig headed off to Berlin to attend a conference and hang out with awesome people. I wasn’t too jealous — after all, it was at least ten degrees warmer where I was.
April was a month of family visits. First, my brother Simon and his fiancée Katie hopped over from London to spend Easter with us, and then Craig’s parents visited for a week in the middle of the month. We made sure to explore Alcalá and Madrid with them, and headed over to Valencia for the weekend.
The big event of the month was a trip up to Lloret de Mar in Catalunya to attend the TBEX travel bloggers’ conference. It’s always great to catch up with our travel blogger friends, some of whom we’ve known for almost ten years — as long as Indie Travel Podcast has been running.
After TBEX, Craig headed up to the Baltics with JayWay Travel and I returned to Alcalá with my friend and workmate Alisa. While Craig explored Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, I finished my thesis and went on school camp with a hundred preteens.
Our last month in Alcalá was spent in good company. My sister came over for a visit with her son Henry, and our friend Janine joined us part way through the month. We all hopped in a car together for a quick trip around Portugal with a stop in Segovia along the way, and Janine and Craig finished the journey with a week-long surf school in Peniche.
After my graduation, Janine, Craig and I headed north to take part in the Haro Wine festival — yep, we threw wine at each other for a beautiful, sticky morning.
Janine had never walked a Camino de Santiago, and we are always keen to do another, so we hiked 300km from Oviedo to Santiago over two weeks or so. We started as a group of three and finished as seven, and for some reason we called ourselves the Smurfs.
After a quick stop in Coruña (to show it off to Janine) we hopped in Alba’s car to head to Toledo for Oliva and Guille’s wedding. It was a beautiful day in a gorgeous location and we felt privileged to be invited to take part in it.
We had a few days in Madrid, during which we caught up with a few friends and ate tacos, then flew to Berlin for something completely different.
We were housesitting in the outskirts of the city and thought we’d just get down to work — but it didn’t work out like that. Instead, we spent heaps of time with our friends Claudia and Holger; Frankie and Jesus; Adam; Javier; and Natalie and Stephanie from Context Travel. We did find time to walk the dog twice a day, though!
From there, we caught a bus down to Prague, where we stayed with the excellent Charles of JayWay Travel. Our friends Graham and Jon were over from New Zealand, and Janine and our Camino friend Clothilde joined us for a wonderful couple of days together.
Too soon, it was time to go — we flew to England for another housesit.
We’d never heard of Oundle before we accepted the housesit, and it wasn’t anything like what we expected. There was so much to do — pub visits with the neighbours, walking tours, a visit to the theatre. I even went to a blogging festival near London (where I almost froze, but at least in good company). We were sad to leave, but not too sad — we were going to Moldova!
We’d wanted to attend the Moldovan wine festival for at least eight years, so you can imagine our disappointment when it was called off when we finally had tickets to the country. No worries, though: alternative activities were put on, and we enjoyed them in the company of a group of Moldovan and Romanian bloggers.
The weather really started to cool off at the beginning of November, and heading back to England probably didn’t help matters. However, we had a stunning day for watching New Zealand win the Rugby World Cup final, and only shivered a little while travelling across London for the World Travel Market conference.
Most of the month, though, was spent in Mexico with Janine and our other best friend, Ange. We hung out in Cancun for a week before starting our epic road trip around the Yucatan Peninsula, during which we ate a lot of tacos and only had to pay three bribes.
It was sad to say goodbye to Ange, Janine, and Luis, but they had other plans and we were heading back to Mexico to hang out with other friends. Pete and Dalene had told us they would be spending Christmas in San Miguel de Allende, so we decided to crash the party and head there too, with a one-week stop in Querétaro along the way.
An indie travel 2016
2015 has been an epic year, especially since we thought we’d be travelling slowly. Next year though, we really should be slowing down: we’ve got a housesit lined up in Panama, and we’re heading to Colombia for three months after that. We hope to explore a bit more of this part of the world before heading south again to hang out with family and friends in Australia and New Zealand towards the end of the year.
What are your plans for 2016? What was your highlight of the last year? Leave a comment below.
Prague holds a special place in our heart, ever since we spent Christmas 2006 there with a group of friends. It snowed, we had a snowball fight and I made my first snowman, and we drank snow-cooled champagne from plastic cups in our hostel room. It was one of the first European cities we had ever visited, and we had an amazing time.
We’ve been back several times since then, to visit friends or just sightsee, and we’ll certainly return again. There’s something about the stately buildings, the looming castle, the old town square, that resonates with us… and that’s not even mentioning the food!
On our most recent visit to Prague, the weather was against us: it was either swelteringly hot or pouring with rain. Somehow, though, the city still managed to charm.
While you check out the Prague Instagram photos, take a listen to our Prague podcast: hit play below or find episode 306 in iTunes, Stitcher or Soundcloud: