1. Explore an up-and-coming district
Once the city’s industrial centre, Holešovice has in recent years reinvented itself as a bona fide hipster hub. Former factories and industrial spaces have been transformed into everything from artisan coffee shops – such as the shabby-chic hangout Vnitroblock and the Bitcoin-only café Paraleni Polis– to centres of contemporary art, including airship-topped art gallery DOX and innovative theatre space Jatka 78.
Spend an afternoon wandering the tram-filled streets of Holešovice and you’ll also stumble upon other hipster-tinged highlights, including upmarket Asian-fusion restaurant SaSaZu, riverside craft beer pub Pivovar Marina and steampunk music venue Cross Club, notable for its retro-futuristic scrap metal interiors.
After all that, you may need a breath of fresh air. Head to the beautiful Stromovka Park for a pond-side picnic or climb the hill to Letná Park for views over Prague’s majestic Old Town.
Holešovice © Milan Humaj/Shutterstock
2. See some weird art
David Černý has gained an international reputation for his unusual, provocative sculptures. Remember the London bus doing press-ups back in 2012? Or the map of the EU in Brussels that managed to insult every member state? Well, Prague is David Černý’s hometown… and his odd artworks are everywhere.
His best-known city sculptures include Babies, a series of faceless toddlers climbing Žižkov Tower, and Horse, an homage to the famous St-Wenceslas-on-horseback statue, except this time with a lifeless horse. But lesser-spotted works include Piss (two male figures urinating on a map of the Czech Republic), Hanging Out (a life-sized figure of Sigmund Freud dangling from a rooftop) and Franz Kafka’s Head (a gigantic metal bust of Kafka composed of 42 layers that separately rotate). Oh, and then there’s Brown-Nosers.
METALmorphosis by David Černý © Paul Carter Photography/Shutterstock
3. Sip tea in a ‘čajovna’
Prague may be best-known for its frothy beer, but the locals are also partial to another less-intoxicating tipple: tea. The Czech capital has some remarkable tea shops, but they’re usually found away from the tourist centres; tucked down side streets, buried underground and even hidden in apartment blocks.
There are dozens of čajovnas dotted around Prague, and every local has a different favourite. But here are three great places to start: Čajovna Na Cestě, a hard-to-find Arabic-themed tea shop with the best masala chai this side of India; A Maze in Tchaiovna, a colourful, cavernous place with rooms secreted behind bookshelves and wardrobe doors; and Čajovna Banyan, a cosy little spot that also offers shisha.
Tea © GreenArt/Shutterstock
4. Tour a nuclear bunker
During the Cold War, several nuclear bunkers were built across Czechoslovakia to protect citizens in the event of attack. Today, most have closed their doors – but a few have opened up to curious visitors.
With daily guided tours in English, the 1950s Nuclear Fallout Shelter in the basement of the city centre Hotel Jalta is a popular choice. But for a better sense of the scale of some of these facilities, head deep underground to the Prague Nuclear Bunker Museum, and its great collection of Cold War memorabilia.