Anytime we get the opportunity to spend more than a few days in a city, or to return to a city we’ve been to before, we attempt to live like a local. In my opinion, it is one of the best ways to experience a city and a key benefit of long-term slow travel. Even if you only have a few days, though, it is possible to experience a city beyond the main tourist traps.
For even more great tips on how to make the most of your trip, check out this post on the best locations for photos in Prague.
My 9 Tips on How to Live Like a Local in Prague
1. Rent an Apartment
Anytime we are in a city for longer than 3 nights, we end up renting an apartment. As long-term travelers, it’s how we attempt to not lose our mind. We look for an apartment that is centrally located, with wifi, a kitchen, and a washing machine. Often, a one bedroom, or a large studio, offers us extra space so that we are not spending our entire stay in the bed like we do in a hotel. I love having access to a kitchen as well. We’ve occasionally cooked our own meals, but even just to have fresh fruit and yogurt in the fridge, and the ability to make our own coffee, means the world to us.
During this trip, we definitely felt like we were living like a local in Prague because we actually invested in a fan for the apartment. We arrived during a heatwave, and like many European apartments, we had no air conditioning. We actually spent $15 on a fan for the apartment, which was money very well spent. Living like a local in Prague, the Czech Republic, indeed.
2. Eat Like a Local
In Prague, I am not sure exactly what it means to eat like a local. The local food, which we ate a lot of, includes goulash, dumplings, and large chunks of meat, often in casing form. When we ate the Czech food, we were often surrounded by Czechs, making it seem as though we were eating like a local.
The other thing about Prague, though, and something we did not notice or appreciate during our prior visit 3 years ago, is the amount of ethnic food that is available. There is a very large expat population living in Prague, but it is not merely the expats who are popping in for Vietnamese banh mi, hipster hot dogs, and conveyor belt sushi. It seems, then, that the locals are also going ethnic.
This was one of the best things about Prague, and why I know we will return, probably for a longer digital nomad style stay. It was the western conveniences and availability of a wide variety of foods. Everything we ate was a good value too.
My only advice on how to eat like a local in Prague, then, is to avoid the touristy areas to ensure a good value. Step away from Prague 1, and the sausage stalls near Charles Bridge. A great alternative is Amerika street in Prague 2, (yes, that’s America street), where we ate Mexican and BBQ at two restaurants in one afternoon.
3. Have a BBQ in the Park
We celebrated Eric’s birthday in Prague, and our friend Charlie from JayWay Travel organized a BBQ in the Park. On the eastern edge of Stromovka Park, at Grill Park Výstaviště, it’s possible to rent a little grill. You can buy meat from them, or bring your own. Buy some cold Czech beers or cocktails and set up your own backyard BBQ right in the park. This was definitely a unique experience, and one we haven’t had while being a tourist in other cities. It definitely made me feel like we were living like a local in Prague.
4. Drink Tank Beer at Lokal
Drinking beer is a must when visiting Prague. We learned during this trip, though, about tank beer. Tank beer is a fresh beer, similar to bia hoi in Hanoi, but of better quality. Our favorite place to drink like a local in Prague was, in fact, at Lokal. Although there are a few places like this one across the city, and this particular Lokal, in Prague 1, tended to get a decent number of tourists, we still found ourselves there, almost daily. Their local Czech food is really good value (think goulash and potato dumplings), and their beer is some of the coldest we found. I also loved that they provided a sheet with loads of beer mugs and marked off each beer you drank. Inspiration.
Some other notes on Czech beer. The foam is normal, albeit unusual for us Americans who prefer less foam. When you toast a beer, touch the beer to the table after the toast, but before taking a sip. Don’t marry your beer (pouring a little of the last beer into the new one to get rid of a glass). That’s apparently a beer sin. And, I am sure there are mess more rules on how to drink beer in Prague, as they take their beer very seriously.
5. Shop at a Local Farmer’s Market
One of the largest markets in Prague is located across the river at Pražská Tržnice. Smaller food markets exist across the city on different days. It’s always possible to find some fresh, local produce to bring back to your apartment. Nothing makes me feel more like a local than when I explore a local farmer’s market, even if I don’t end up buying anything.
6. Hit Up a Summer Food Festival
There are a ton of festivals across Prague throughout the year. We just experienced one.
The Zizkov Food Festival was in a small alleyway in Prague 1, behind a bar. Local restaurants and food trucks set up to serve food on a nice Saturday afternoon. What I loved about this type of festival is that it was just a group of eateries coming together to showcase their foods. There were no tickets for admission or purchasing tickets to get food. It was simple, and it was fun, and it apparently happens all the time.
7. Avoid Prague 1
Our apartment was in the heart of Prague 1, and therefore was a bit noisy with the windows open at night. We were a stone’s throw from the Old Town Square. We only walked through there once. Obviously, you have to visit the Square and see the Astrological clock. But, do so once, and then explore the other neighborhoods. There are so many great bars and restaurants, parks, and architecture, all just a short stroll outside of the touristy Prague 1.
8. Go For a Run
Although it might be a bit harder to go for a run on the cobblestone streets, there is a pretty decent stretch of running and biking paths all along the Vlatva River. It’s possible to run with a view of the castle in the distance and is a great way to see the city like a local. It helped me to work off all the tank beer and big sausages.
9. Use UBER
Normally, when I provide advice on how to live like a local when traveling, I suggest taking public transport. It’s often a great way to see the city. Because our apartment was centrally located, though, we walked pretty much everywhere and didn’t touch a tram.
When the distance was too far, though, we used Uber. I love Uber! I hate taking taxis overseas, as it instills great fears of getting ripped off, or worse. I love Uber because I don’t need to explain our address or worry about making change or being overcharged. Anytime I use Uber in a new city, it makes me feel like a local.
Looking For Unique Food, Beer and Wine Tours in the Czech Republic?
Looking for a unique way to learn about traditional Czech food in Prague, or farther afield in the rest of the country? What about an interesting beer tour, or even a Czech wine tour? Here are our recommendations for Czech food tours to learn more about Czech cuisine and traditions.[table id=7 /]
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Heading to the Czech Republic?
Where to Stay in Prague: Get hotel recommendations here.
Find more Czech Republic posts here.
What are your tips on how to live like a local when traveling?
Thanks to Flipkey for supporting us during a portion of our stay living like a local in Prague.
Amber Hoffman, food and travel writer behind With Husband In Tow, is a recovering attorney and professional eater, with a passion for finding new Food and Drink Destinations. She lives with her husband, Eric, in Girona, Catalonia, Spain. Together over the last 20 years, they have traveled to over 70 countries. Amber is the author of the Food Traveler’s Guide to Emilia Romagna.