I Heart My City: Irena’s Prague
Irena Schlosserová is a Prague local, through and through. In fact, she’s only spent nine months outside of her beloved Czech capital. While Irena currently works in the field of gastronomy, she finds time to indulge her hometown pride via Spotted by Locals. Irena admits that there are many tourist traps in Prague, but urges visitors to get off the beaten path and into the real heart of the City of a Hundred Spires. Read on to be off to a good start.
Prague Is My City
When someone comes to visit me, the first place I take them is a hidden café or local beer pub where we can spend a few relaxing hours and get prepared for the beauty of Prague. Those few hours seem to make other tourists magically disappear and leave the shady Prague streets empty just for us.
Spring and early autumn are the best times to visit my city because it is not as crowded but still charming with lovely weather.
You can see my city best from several places because Prague is a particularly hilly place! Get inspired by visiting Vyšehrad or Dívčí Hrady, extend your Prague Castle experience by heading to Chotkovy Sady, or simply get lost on Petřín Hill, where you can discover your favorite view yourself.
The Manufaktura shops are the places to buy authentic, local souvenirs. Still, you have to choose wisely—avoid noisy crystal shops selling inauthentic souvenirs, unless you want Russian knock-offs.
In the past, notable people like novelist Franz Kafka, science-fiction writer Karel Čapek (who coined the word “robot”) and (briefly) classical music virtuoso Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart have called my city home.
My city’s best museum is Prague itself; our city hall is trying to preserve the city for future generations.
If there’s one thing you should know about getting around my city, it’s to hop on Tram 22, which will take you to the most visited spots in town.
The best place to spend time outdoors in my city is at one of Prague’s many parks, and one is always close. For example, Riegrovy Sady makes for a great meeting spot before exploring the pubs of Žižkov, Vyšehrad Castle to learn about Czech history, and Park Ladronka to get your fitness on.
My city really knows how to celebrate Czech hockey wins because we like to welcome back the team at the airport and party in the streets all night.
Just outside my city, you can visit old castles and beautiful countryside—all of which is accessible by train. One of my favorite railway stations is Praha-Dejvice.
A local bakery is my favorite place to grab breakfast, and the Národní Třída tram station is the spot for late-night eats.
My city’s biggest sports event is probably the Volkswagen Prague marathon. For those who love running, it’s a “must-attend” event. For other Prague locals, it’s a “must-avoid-city-center-at-all-costs” event.
When I’m feeling cash-strapped, I buy a beer because it’s cheaper than water.
If my city were a celebrity it’d be someone who definitely loves attention, has great talent and skills, but can forget his or her manners at times.
The dish that represents my city best is Svíčková omáčka, hearty dumplings made from vegetables (but they’re not vegetarian), and beer is my city’s signature drink because it complements our heavy meals well. Sample them at Hospoda U veverky or pop in to one of our pub paradises, such as Zlý Časy.
Žižkovská věž (Tower Park Prague) is my favorite building in town because you can see it from almost every spot in the city—you simply can’t miss it.
A “vegetarian” meal served with bacon could only happen in my city.
In the spring you should spend as much time in the parks as possible to admire nature in bloom.
In the summer you should become a beer lover to cool down a little bit and enjoy Prague at its hottest.
In the fall you should visit all the sites you’ve always wanted to see but avoided because of the crowds.
In the winter you should visit picturesque Christmas markets and sip mulled wine.
The best book about my city is Magical Prague, by Angelo Maria Ripellino, because he genuinely loved Prague.
When I think about my city, the song that comes to mind is a symphonic poem called “Vltava,” by Bedřich Smetana that celebrates the river Prague is built around.
In 140 characters or less, the world should heart my city because it’s unique, will open your mind and heart, and is definitely worth investing some feelings in.