Hidden between the Holešovice and Bubeneč districts on the non-historic side of the Vltava river, Letná is seldom visited by tourists. We would tell you why that’s a mistake, but we’ll let our friend Joe here do it for us – Joe is a guy that just spent an entire day and night in Letná and he’s just dying to share that experience with you.
“I woke up at my friend’s apartment on Heřmanova street and soon realized I had no coffee. Mortified by the idea of getting through the day without a proper caffeine boost, I quickly got up and went out to find a nice café. Luckily, there is a little place called Kumbál right there on the street – it’s just one small room with a few tables, but the coffee is great and they also serve full breakfast and amazingly refreshing milkshakes for really nice prices, which was a pleasant surprise. The waitress told me that it often gets very crowded here in spring. I finished my breakfast and decided to go for a walk.
My friend emphasized that Letná is not a district, but in fact the name of one of Prague’s hills; this one is famous for its huge park, so that’s where I headed next. All I knew was that Sparta Prague has a home stadium here somewhere. The park is really big and offers a fantastic view of the Vltava river, Old Town, and Prague Castle. I tried looking for the famous Stalin monument, but it was torn down years ago; all that remains is a pedestal with a huge swinging pendulum (metronome). The whole place has turned into a skate park now, and apparently also a pretty popular gathering place, because it was still early and there were already like 50 young people there sitting, chatting and enjoying the warm spring sun. I need to remind myself that as soon as it gets hot, I want to bring some people here for an outside party. The park practically begs for it.
After a nice lunch at a typical Czech restaurant called Domažlická jizba (excellent Pilsner lager and conveniently located right in Holešovice at Strossmayer square). I decided it was time to explore some more nearby places. Too bad I’d booked some tickets for a movie later in the evening, because after a brief stop in front of Veletržní palác, I knew I could spend the whole day there – just how many floors does that thing actually have? And are there art exhibitions in every single one of them? It certainly seems so. Oh well, might as well be moving on, I’m pretty sure that… holy hell is that another park?
I’ve read that Prague has a lot of green areas, but two huge parks practically next to each other, just a few minutes from the very center of the city, that’s just… something. Now I understand why it seems that Czech people love dogs more than everything else – they have so many places to walk them that not having a dog must actually be harder than having four of them. This park is called Stromovka and it’s actually even bigger than Letná. Super nice.
As it started getting chilly I remembered that my friend told me about some other fine places to go for a coffee or a drink; a few of them were located right at Heřmanova street. Across the road from Kumbál, there is a place called Ouky Douky – or, as I shall call it from now on, that café that looks like Bernard Black’s wet dream. It seems that people drink wine, smoke and read books there all the time. I’m a bit more of a beer person, though, so I chose to visit Liberál instead – and was pleasantly surprised. This place is really hip judging how many cool young people hang out there, but luckily I found a place to sit and enjoy a nice pint of Únětice beer. This local microbrewery, situated just a few kilometers north of Prague definitely isn’t the most famous out there, but the beer is quality – very bitter, pretty strong, but refreshing with a pleasant aftertaste.
In the middle of my fifth Únětice I remembered my movie tickets and I nearly had to run to Bio Oko to make it on time (it’s just a few hundred meters uphill. Whew, will have to remember that). I was expecting a plain ol’ regular cinema, but if it weren’t for the box office next to the main entrance, I’d have had no idea I was at the right place. Bio Oko turns out to be a great little café/bar/pub that also shows movies. They even let you bring your beer into the auditorium, you just cannot smoke there. If you’re a fan of indie cinema, you can visit the place pretty much any time – there’s a good chance they’ll be screening something you’ll like, and there most certainly will be plenty of young artists to discuss the movie with afterwards… over some more beers, that is.
So that’s what I did. I don’t know how I got home, but I don’t regret a single thing.
Come visit me some time,
JoeIn fact, Joe isn’t real. You probably guessed that by now. But we hope you enjoyed his introduction to some fine places to visit in the industrial district of Holešovice, which is quickly becoming a very hip place to visit.