Sightseeing in Prague, while hugely enjoyable, can be tough on your feet, which will need a break after negotiating the picturesque but bumpy cobbles of the historic centre. One of the most enjoyable ways of rewarding them and yourself is to spend a lazy hour or two in a café, known as a kavárna in Czech. Let us in Bohemia Apartments Prague say something about it.
The city’s coffee house tradition goes back a long way, to the days when Prague was one of several provincial capitals in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Vienna, the former Habsburg capital, is the regarded as the “café city”. However, Prague and other cities, such as Budapest and Kraków, developed their own coffee house cultures, similar to those of Vienna.
As well as serving a variety of types of coffee – and of course cakes – coffee houses offered meals, including breakfast and lunch. But they were much more than just places to drink coffee or have a meal – cafés were local institutions, places where you could read a newspaper, play card games or do business.
During Communism, Prague’s cafés were regarded as bourgeois symbols and were neglected, becoming shadows of their former selves. But since 1989 café life in Prague has revived considerably, and old favourites such as Café Slavia and Café Savoy have re-established themselves. In many you’ll come across classic features of Central European cafés, such as cups of coffee served with a small glass of water, a traditional atmosphere, and newspapers (hanging from the wall on wooden frames).
One of the best things about Central European café culture is the relaxed ambience; you can linger over a coffee or newspaper (or both) for ages, without any pressure to move on. What’s more, many of Prague’s cafés are a short walk from your apartment. In the next article in this two-part series, we’ll look at some well-known and some not so well-known coffee houses. Bohemia Apartments Prague wish you a pleasant stay in Prague.