No visit to Prague is complete without some café time
, a much-loved local pursuit. The city is currently enjoying a café boom
, and many coffee houses offer perfect places for chilling with a book. And thanks to Prague’s tradition of independent bookshops
, you can also easily pick up plenty of reading material. Here is a round-up of some of the best cafés for relaxing with a good read.
La Bohème Café
This roomy, high-ceilinged café fuses New York-style coffee house and Central European café. Although it looks well established, this favourite Vinohrady haunt is a relatively new addition to the Prague scene, and just a short walk from Wenceslas Square. The unhurried atmosphere is conducive to reading, as are the comfy winged armchairs, and the bench spaces, which are handy for tapping away on your laptop. La Bohème Café is owned by a coffee importer company, whose ground coffee you can buy at the counter.
Sazavská 32, Prague, Czech Republic, +420 734 207 049
The ultimate reading corner, this café, handily located just a short hop away from the National Museum on Wenceslas Square, is built around the concept of a “study café”. Books are placed at various points throughout the space, and there are plenty of tables and chairs, where you can sit with your laptop, and comfy sofas. If you want more peace and quiet, you can make use of the dedicated study area upstairs. Although Cafedu attracts a predominantly student crowd, all ages are welcome. Choose from a selection of coffee, snacks and cakes.
Škrétova 12, Prague, Czech Republic, +420 776 790 660
© Café Jedna
Housed in the same building as the modern art collection of the National Gallery, Café Jedna enjoys an unrivalled location in one of Prague’s most famous modernist structures. Enjoy a suitably minimalist environment to relax with your book or newspaper; the classic-style easy chairs and abundant space make for an undisturbed reader-friendly environment. And a cuppa goes perfectly with one of the café’s sweet baked goodies. When you’ve finished, you can catch the latest exhibition next door or simply admire the stunning gallery interior.
Dukelských hrdinů 47, Prague, Czech Republic, +420 778 440 877
Cafe Rudolfinum comes under in the same category as Café Savoy or Café Louvre – think high ceilings, fin-de-siècle atmosphere and Viennese formality. Yet visitors often overlook this café, in the famous concert hall of the same name, as they dash to these more well-known haunts. A pity, but on the other hand, you can spoil yourself with a coffee, cake, and a good read, in the heart of Prague – without the crowds to disturb you.
Alšovo nábřezí 12, Prague, Czech Republic, +420 703 181 182
Don’t let the location, close to the Sparta football stadium, put you off. Cukrárna Alchymist oozes calm, especially in the wonderfully secluded garden. In summer, relax there with your novel and a long cool drink, such as the Czech favourite citronáda (lemonade). In winter, stave off the chill outside with coffee and something sweet and sinful. The café is famous for its cakes, for instance gooey chocolate cake, or lemon meringue pie. And the nearby leafy streets, to the west of the Sparta football ground, are pleasant for strolling along.
Jana Zajíce 7, Prague, Czech Republic, +420 732 938 046
© Dobrá trafika
Despite being in the heart of the Lesser Quarter, Dobrá Trafika exudes the laid-back, slightly studenty vibe typical of many Prague teahouses. They have become popular again in recent decades, and the typically tranquil atmosphere of the teahouse provides the perfect environment for reading. At Dobrá Trafika, the tea selection is extensive, but coffee varieties are well represented too. In the summer, you can chill out in the garden at the back. The café also has branches in Vinohrady and Karlín.
Újezd 37, Prague, Czech Republic, +420 732 852 364
© Globe Bookstore and Café
Globe Bookstore and Café
Prague’s first English language bookshop, the Globe Bookstore and Café first opened its doors in 1993, in the heady days of early post-communism. Since then, the café has acquired cult status among anglophones, especially as the number of English-language bookshops has dwindled. Browse the front section for the book you’re looking for, and choose from a selection of fiction and non-fiction. Make your purchase, then you can read it over a drink or lunch at the café section at the rear. Pštrossova 6, Prague, Czech Republic, +420 224 934 203
Housed in a typically angular interwar tenement in the swish Bubeneč neighbourhood of the Prague 6 borough, you’ll find quirky, cosy Kavárna Kabinet. A visit feels like a journey back in time; the café is suitably decked out in solid period furniture. Retro style is very much in vogue in the Czech Republic right now, and the interior reflects the strong interest in the First Czechoslovak Republic, which existed between the wars and is regarded with great affection. The café takes its name from the teachers’ staffroom or kabinet, in Czech schools.
Terronská 25, Prague, Czech Republic, +420 233 326 668
Kavárna Nový Svět in winter | © Kavárna Nový Svět
Kavárna Nový Svět
Somehow, relatively few visitors discover the many charms of Nový Svět, a winding cobbled alley just minutes away from Hradčanské náměstí. But that means you can have this atmospheric nook of Prague to yourself. In a sturdy whitewashed cottage, Kavárna Nový Svět, a homely little establishment café with a living room ambience, provides a cosy refuge from wintry weather. In the warmer months, unwind with a glass of homemade lemonade. It’s best enjoyed on the intimate terrace overlooking a shady garden and the bubbling Brusnice brook. Bookworm bliss.
Nový Svět 2, Prague, Czech Republic, +420 242 430 700
Kavárna pod Lipami
In translation, the name of this café means “under the lime trees”, and likethe nearby Alchymist, the greenery adds a rustic touch to this establishment in the bustling Letná area. The soothing, simple interior, with white walls and distressed furniture, welcomes book fans. Snacks to keep you going include a Czech favourite, buchty, the chubby yeast-based buns. Kavárna Pod Lipami also serves as a space for events, such as art exhibitions, and the garden is open in warm weather.
Čechova 1, Prague, Czech Republic, +420 777 568 658
Hidden away in a back street in an overlooked but part of the Old Town, this café offers an authentic local café experience hard to find elsewhere in the centre. In fact, this part of town is a mini literary quarter, a second-hand bookshop and a literary café are on the same street, and nearby Kavárna Rybka is a bookshop-cum-café. The space at the front of Velryba is busier, but in the rear section, you’ll find plenty of space to settle into a comfy chair, sit back and chill out.
Opatovická 24, Prague, Czech Republic, +420 221 931 444
Žižkavárna | © Elke Parsa
In the Prague 3 borough, where you’ll find Žižkavárna, cafés are popping up like mushrooms after rain, to use a fitting Czech expression. This café has become one of the favourites in the area, and a constant stream of locals, students and visitors pop by. Despite the bustle, Žižkavárna manages to be peaceful enough for a quiet read; the side room attracts readers and students working on assignments. Or sink into the only sofa, or grab a window seat. A daily soup menu, Spanish omelette, and tempting cakes are just some of the food favourites.
Kubelíkova 17, Prague, Czech Republic, + 420 602 398 898