The Prague Karlin District
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Rags to Riches?
The Prague Karlin district is in the Prague 8 area and if you are prepared to use public transport or don’t mind a 30 minute walk then you will find the area has a lot going for it. I worked here between 2013 and 2015 so I know the area very well. I’ll describe the best accommodation options, a selection of places to eat and drink, some places to visit in Karlin and generally how to navigate it. Geographically Karlin starts by the railway bridge on the east side of the highway which divides Prague 1 from Prague 8. At it’s closest point i.e. the railway bridge, the Hotel Mucha, Pension Alice or the Jurys Inn you could walk to the Old Town Square in 20 minutes. At it’s furthest i.e. Urxova it would be more like 35 minutes.
Karlin has the river on one side and the Vitkov hill on the other and the whole area as far as a tourist is concerned is covered by just three long roads which I will make reference to i.e. Sokolovska (tram), Krizikova (tram and metro access) and Pernerova. Note that the Krizikova tram stop is actually in Sokolovska and Krizikova is one road further over. The whole area is only slightly larger than the Old Town.
Getting Around Prague Karlin
It won’t take long for you to get accustomed to the transport. My advice (unless you are prepared to walk everywhere) is to invest in a travel pass during your stay. You’ll soon work out that the Metro at Krizikova will get you to Republic Square in two stops or the bottom of Wenceslas Square in three. Likewise, from Karlin (Krizikova) you could catch the No.3 tram and that would take you to Wenceslas Square in 6 stops or the No.8 tram will get you to Republic Square in 4 stops and the Old Town Square is only a 5 minute walk from either.
Places to Stay
Check the full Guide to Prague Karlin Hotels for more detailed info on places to stay.
Jurys Inn 4* A popular hotel for those who already know the UK brand. It’s right opposite the Florenc Metro/Tram station so it’s two metro stops to Wenceslas Square, four tram stops or a 20 minute walk from here to the Old Town via Republic Square. Jurys Inn Prague is a purpose built 4 star hotel with modern amenities and for those who want to explore the area you’ll find many independent shops, restaurants and cafes within a 5 minute walk. Check for Current Prices.
Hotel Alwyn 4* is a 5 minute walk to the Florenc Metro/tram. It has an on-site Czech/International restaurant. Rooms are in two classes with “Comfort” being a regular double or twin. The “Deluxe” rooms are much bigger and are laid out in a open-plan bed/living arrangement. The Deluxe rooms can also take an extra bed. A small fitness/wellness area is available to guests (fitness is free, wellness is paid). Check for Current Prices.
Galerie Royale 4* opened in 2013. It’s a 2 minute walk to the Krizikova Metro/tram. Some deals here include free parking and children under 6 free. They also have a discounted single-day entry into the Holmes Place fitness/wellness area so you can enjoy their pool, sauna, steam room, gym and sun terrace. Check for Current Prices.
Hotel 3Domy 4* is made up of three separate Prague Karlin apartment blocks which includes the Holmes Place fitness/wellness area. Guests have free access to the wellness if booked in advance. The apartments are spacious and comfortable and I’ve stayed in apt 205. There is a breakfast option but I prefer going to one of the local cafes if you can breakfast after 9am. Check for Current Prices.
HotelBB 3* opened in 2013 as part of the larger BB group. It’s a three minute walk to the Florenc Metro/tram. The front of the hotel faces a railway line so light sleepers should go for an interior room. Check for Current Prices.
Places to Eat
I’ll start at the Florenc (railway bridge) end and work down the street.
Gate Cafe/Restaurant is one of the smarter places in the Prague Karlin area. Open for breakfast from 8am during the week and from 12 at weekends it stays open generally until midnight (0100 fri-sat). Always smart service. Gate is right by the railway bridge 2 minutes walk from the Florenc metro/tram and within 1 minute of Jurys Inn, Hotel Mucha and HotelBB.
Pivovarsky Klub. Facing the railway arch with the Gate restaurant on the other side on the left, turn right and walk one block alongside the railway arches. At the road (Krizikova) turn right and Pivovarsky Klub is 20 metres on the right. It’s split level so if there’s no space upstairs try the airy cellar downstairs. Both areas have their own bars with a selection of beers on-tap as well as bottles. Certainly a place to try a beer with your food.
Mlsna Kavka is the non-smoking vegetarian option at this end of Prague Karlin. A selection of vegetarian food, modern decor and they do a nice vegetarian Sunday brunch. Mlsna Kavka is right next to the railway bridge 2 minutes walk from the Florenc metro/tram and within 1 minute of Jurys Inn, Hotel Mucha and HotelBB.
Sushi-time is mid-way between the railway bridge and Prague Karlin Square. It has a few places to sit but is mainly a takeaway option. They deliver for free in the area. I’d get something from here once a week. Sushi Time is a 2 minute walk from the railway bridge or a 4 minute walk from the Hotel Alwyn. Takeaway service at the weekend.
Amfora. For me this is a lunchtime “Poledni menu” stop i.e. set lunch choice where (at the time of writing) you would get a two courses meal and a drink for 159CZK. Unfortunately all menus are in Czech but basic knowledge of Czech meals would be enough to get you a good meal. Amfora is the restaurant of the Karlin Hotel and is a 2 minute walk from the Krizikova metro/tram stop.
Karlinsky Mlyn is next door to Amfora and slightly less grand. Busy at lunchtime and a popular venue for a beer and a meal after work. There’s a fixed lunch menu (Czech only) and sports lovers will drop by here to watch one of the two screens. Karlinsky Mlyn is mid-way between the Karlinske Namesti and Krizikova tram stops.
Green Factory (formerly Chop’d) is almost opposite the Krizikova tram stop. It specialises in salads and soups to takeaway or to eat there. It has a couple of tables outside in the summer. It’s only open mon-fri lunchtimes.
Beas Dhaba (www.beas-dhaba.cz) is the other non-smoking vegetarian option in the Prague Karlin area. There is no fixed menu, instead here you pay by weight from a daily changing selection. I’ll be here a couple of times a week if I’m not so hungry. Two types of rice, at least 5 hot vegetable choices plus a range of extras (indian) and a salad bar. This is a 2 minute walk from the Krizikova metro/tram.
Krystal Mozaika is another smart option serving a selection of Czech and international food. Tables on the street in the summer. This is a popular place for an evening drink or a meal for people staying at the Penta Hotel just down the road. Krystal Mozaika is located mid-way between the Krizikova and Urxova tram stops.
Red Hot Chilli (no webpage). Come out of the Krizikova metro or tram stop and go one block back to Krizikova street. Turn right and after 50 metres you’ll find Red Hot Chilli. The sign says Vietnamese food but believe me it’s Thai by any other name. Very good selection of hot and cold dishes and I’ll be here once a week. I’d be paying something between 150-200CZK for a two course meal with a drink. People staying at Casa Italia will probably stop here at some point or at the Charleston further up the road. English spoken and English translated menu.
Peters Burger Pub (site is CZECH but the menu is translated) is located on the corner of Pernerova and Thamova which means you come out of the Krizikova metro and head back towards the hill until you’ve walked two blocks. Peters is on the opposite corner and the pedestrian tunnel is at the end. Good burgers, steaks and nachos.
Quick language lesson: Sebo (pronounced Seb-oh) means you want it to takeaway. Tady (pronounced taddy) means to want to eat it there. If there’s more than one of you then Do Hromady (pronounced doh-hromardy) means you want to pay all together. Zvlast (prounounced zvlarsht) means separate payment.
Karlin Food is next to the Karlinske Namesti tram stop. My choice locally for kebab and pizza. You get the kebab either in a thick sandwich (sendvic) Belgian style or in a Tortilla (Durum). Kebab will be around 70CZK, Tortilla around 90CZK. They’ll ask if you want lamb or chicken (or a mix) and which sauce (chilli, cesnek (garlic) or Bylinkovy (herb). Pizzas are around 100CZK with slices between 20 and 30 depending on the make.