Category Archives: SOME USEFUL INFORMATION

Czech food classics

Plzensky Gulas, Copyright Week-end PragueI have to admit, Czech cuisine is not as renowned as French, Spanish, Italian or some Asian cuisine, but here in Prague, we very often keep a tradition of serving home made and fresh food.

Indeed in every hospoda (local pub, restaurant), you’ll almost never get pre-cooked meal that were just warmed up – it’s almost always home made dishes. And when trying local food (which in fact is often considered local to Central Europe and not only Czech Republic) you’ll have the opportunity to try some classics.

A soup as a starter, a Czech tradition

As a starter, you’ll notice that Czech people very often have a soup, even in hot summer months. Lunch menus which are offered in local restaurants and often called “poledni menu” are traditionally menus including a main dish and a soup. The variety of soups is endless : chicken/ beef consommé with noodles, mushroom cream soup, spinash cream soup or gulášova (soup derived from the famous guláš) are amongst the most common ones.

Don’t miss the Plzeňský guláš!

As a main dish, make sure you get to try a real classic : a beer guláš (with Pilsner beer in that particular case). You may argue that guláš is originally Hungarian, but as mentionned earlier on, we may consider that this dish is local to the whole region. This dish may sometimes be served with bits of spicy red pepper, so make sure you tell the waiter if you’re not a fan of spicy food! If you had to compare this dish to another renowned international dish, it would be to a « bœuf bourguignon » in France or an Irish stew in Ireland.

In typical Czech restaurants you’ll also have the opportunity to try the chicken or pork schnitzels, called Smažený kuřecí řízek for chicken and Smažené vepřové řízek for pork, which are very similar to the famous Wiener Schnitzel. Still, if you want to try something typical from Czech Republic and that you rarely find in other countries of the region, have a try at the Smažený sýr (fried cheese) or commonly called smažák which is often served with potatoes. It’s generally made of eidam cheese (similar to a French camembert) or blue cheese.

As far as street food is concerned, the klobása (Czech sausage) is a real classic. It is usually served on a small paper plate, a piece of local bread (Šumava) and local mustard. You may also try smoked ham which is pretty common in the country.

Czech desserts

Czech Republic may not have a lot of internationally renowned desserts, but amongst the classics, you may still want to try the medovnik which is a cake made with honey – dessert which is also popular in Russia and former soviet republics. You may also want to try the trdelník, a pastry made of flour which is rolled  and generally covered with sugar and nuts. In touristic districts, you’ll find a lot of small shops selling these trdelník and for instance on Malostranské náměstí square or on the old town square you’ll find several ones.

Hotel in Prague, central location

Prague centreYou’re planning a weekend in Prague and would like to be as much as possible in the centre and avoid loosing time in public transport?

When looking up on internet, you’ll notice that a great number of small hotels or “boutique hotels” will tell you that they are very well located, but some of them may oversell themselves. They’ll indicate a central location even though you may need to take public transport for each of your visits. So as to help you in your research, here below are best locations to be, when visiting Czech Republic’s capital.

Good location to visit and get around

Namesti Republiky (Republic’s square) is amongst the most visited places. You’re at one end of the pedestrian street called Na Prikope (know as the famous Prague shopping street), 5 minutes away from Staromestké namesti (old town square), and close to many restaurants. This location benefits from very good public transport connections with 4 tram lines, 3 night tram lines, and a metro station. To get to the airport, you’ll only have to go to the nearby bus stop and catch the Airport Express (AE) or Cedaz shuttle – for more information, have a look at our articles on Prague taxis or on Prague public transport.

On Namesti Republiky, you’ll find the MGallery Hotel Century Old town or the Ibis Praha Old Town which is slightly cheaper. Nevertheless, the first hotel offers better value for money.

Next to the Jewish quarter (Josefov)

If you can be located next to Pravnicka Fakulta (Prague’s law university), this is also ideal. You’ll then be able to visit most of the city without using the public transports.

On one side you’ll see Letna hill and on the other side Parizska (Paris street) that leads you to the old town square, the astronomical clock, and you’re only steps away from the Jewish quarter. As far as hotels are concerned, you’ll find in that area the Intercontinental hotel which was one of the most sought-after hotel at the end of the 80’s. It is not as prestigious as it used to be, but its facade was recently renovated, as well as all rooms.

Great view of Charles bridge

Pachtuv Palace is located 200 metres away from Charles bridge, and if you’re lucky enough to have a Vltava river view, you’ll enjoy a fantastic panoramic view of Charles bridge and Prague castle (in Hradcany district). This luxury hotel is a historical monument, and was once Earl Karel Pachta’s residence, as well as Mozart’s. This won’t be the cheapest option in town, but it’s perfect for a romantic weekend.

This list is certainly not an exhaustive one, as these are only some nice hotels that benefit from a very good and central location, and are therefore convenient if you’re planning on visiting the centre.

Czech currency (CZK) – Bank notes & coins, Currency converter

The “Czech crown” is the official currency of Czech Republic, and was since 1993 (dissolution of Czechoslovakia). There is a plan to adopt the euro but no change is expected soon to due political matters. 1 Czech crown consists of 100 “hellers”.
When changing currencies, always check the commission AND the spread (price difference between “buy” and “sell”). Some may advert “no commission” but will charge you a huge spread… it’s the same result at the end of the day !

Reliable currency exchange office in Prague

Some of the best rates in town can be found at these “bureau de change” :

Alfa Prague
Na Příkopě 23, Ovocný trh 12
Praha 1
+ 420 724 215 559
Check here their rates (the website page is only in Czech)

Eurochange
Opletalova 30
Praha 1
+ 420 224 243 614
Check here their rates (the website page is only in Czech)

 

Czech bank notes and coins

CZK notes : 50 / 100 / 200 / 500 / 1000 / 2000 /5000
–> Note that the 20 CZK note is not used any more
Click to view the Czech bank notes (Czech National Bank official website)

CZK coins : 1 / 2 /5 / 10 / 20 /50
–> Note that the 10, 20 and 50 hellers coins (or 0,1 / 0,2 and 0,5 CZK) are not used any more
Click to view the Czech coins (Czech National Bank official website)

To convert any currency against the Czech crown, you can easily use Yahoo currency converter

If you’re afraid of making mistakes or if you prefer to avoid changing currencies, you can still pay in euros (EUR) in many shops and restaurants all around the city center. They just might charge you a little bit more so try to check that before.