But to be honest recently I just skip the major tourist attractions in Prague and focus on regular districts, where the life goes by at its own pace. And so right now I can’t imagine any visit to Prague without at least a quick stop in Holesovice.
I remember the first time I arrived to Holesovice. It was a pure accident, I missed my tram stop and ended up at Strossmayerovo Namesti, in the very heart of the district.
I’m not gonna say it was love at first sight (like it was with Prague in general) but there was definitely something intriguing about the place that got me curious. Now, numerous visits later, I’ve fallen for Holesovice.
Recently the district was named one of the coolest in Europe and I completely agree with this title. Holesovice currently goes through the process of gentrification but as a result tourist get the perfect alternative to Prague’s picture perfect tourist attractions.
You can spend the whole weekend in Holesovice and still you won’t see all it has to offer! Here is my mini guide to Holesovice – the heart of hipster Prague!
Table of contents
How to get to Holesovice?
Even if Holesovice is located away from the tourist crowds it’s actually very easy and quick to get there! Just take the metro line C (red) to Vltavska or Nadrazi Holesovice and you’re there! Alternatively you can take the tram: no. 6 from Vaclavske Namesti, no. 12 from Mala Strana / Malostranska metro or no. 17 from National Theater / Charles Bridge / Staromestska metro. Here you can find the map of Prague public transport (click on the picture to open in the new window enlarge it):
What to see in Holesovice?
Wandering around, especially in Letna area, is a treat itself and this part of Prague has a really beautiful architecture, mix of tenement houses from the end of 19th / beginning of 20th century I assume and newer, often modernist, buildings. You can just aimlessly walk around and just enjoy the place. But there are couple of places worth seeing anyway!
- Vystaviste – Prague Exhibition Grounds founded in 1981 for the Jubilee Czech Exhibition. These days it’s the venue of many cultural events, I myself was there at System of a Down concert in 2013.
The most distinctive building is the Industrial Palace, a beautiful art nouveau gem made from steel and glass. Most tourists visiting Vystaviste come here to see Krizik Fountain – a technical masterpiece at the times when it was created. It gives a wonderful musical show, with light and water synchronized with the songs. It’s best to be here in the evening to see the Fountain at its best performance.
- Strossmayerovo Namesti – the main square in the area and the important transport hub. It’s best known for the St.Anthony of Padua Church, built in years 1908-1911.
- Letna Park offering some of the best views in Prague, especially from the area around the metronome. In this very spot the largest monument of Stalin used to stand until its destruction in 1962. The panorama of Prague seen from Letna park has been among my favorite places in Prague for years now!
Best art galleries in Holesovice
Holesovice is full of art galleries, some of the best ones in Prague. The area is especially known for modern and contemporary art. When visiting Holesovice you can’t miss these places:
- DOX Center for Contemporary Art (Poupetova 1). A former factory turned into the art gallery and multi-functional space that hosts some of the best exhibitions you can see in Prague. You can literally spend the whole day there! I’ve seen a really good photo exhibition about Israel there, recently I’ve heard lots of good opinions about the exhibition on Vaclav Havel. There is always something interesting going on!
- Veletržní palác (Dukelských Hrdinů 530/47) – part of the National Gallery, hosting the art of 20th and 21st century. That’s where I’ve seen paintings of Gustav Klimt or Oskar Kokoschka for the first time in my life (it was pretty mindblowing!)
- Jatka 78 – the art space located in Prazska Trznice (Prague Market). It mostly hosts contemporary circus performance, dance and puppet theater but there are occasional art exhibitions too
- Trafo Gallery – also located in Prazska Trznice, hall no. 14, connected with artists group „Trafacka”. I’ve seen a very disturbing yet interesting exhibition there, with the theme „Life Is Painful and Breeds Disappointment”. Yes, it was just like it sounds.
- The Chemistry Gallery (Bubenská 1477/1) – focusing on the young, contemporary artists. I was rather unlucky with the exhibition I’ve seen there as I didn’t get it at all but I’d definitely give the place another chance.
- Street art – you can find in Holesovice works by some of the best known European artists like Point, Pasta Oner or Mode 2. Best spots are next to the entrance to Vltavska metro station, the building of DOX and Milady Horakove street. Click here to read more on Prague street art!
Where to eat in Holesovice?
Since the area is very hip and popular you will find lots of food options to choose from, mostly the modern bistros urban food. Here is where I ate and can recommend:
- Lokal (Nad Královskou oborou 232/31). A popular chain restaurant serving typical Czech food.
- Home Kitchen (Jankovcova 14a).
- Bistro 8 (Veverkova 1410/8)
- The Farm (Korunovační 17)
- Bar Cobra (M. Horákové 688/8)
- Cross Club (Plynární 1096/23). The epic and well known cafe / pub / club where you can grab something to eat too.
Where to go for a coffee in Holesovice?
Holesovice is the cafes’ heaven! You will find some of the best cafes in Prague in that very district!
My favorite was definitely Cafe Jedna – a big bright space located in Veletrzni Palac. But I bet the majority of cafes you would step in are amazing, that’s how this area are.
The new places are opening on regular basis, during my last visit the newest addition to the area was Barry Higgel’s coffeehouse (pretty great place!). In Holesovice you will also fine the first bitcoin cafe in the world – Paralelni Polis!
As always my best source of information about cafes was Foursquare app.
Where to shop in Holesovice?
Veverkova street is where the best boutiques can be found, it was also recently praised by The New York Times! But there are small, interesting shops spread all over the districts so again wandering aimlessly around might be your best way to find true gems.
Where to relax in Holesovice?
Holesovice is home to two of the most beautiful parks in Prague: Letna and Stromovka. Both are perfect to relax! Letna offers you amazing views over Prague Old Town (that you can enjoy over a drink in the beer garden) and Stromovka – the largest park in the city – is where mostly locals hang out. If you decide to spend summer in Prague you just have to visit both places!
If the weather isn’t on your side you can visit one of the above mentioned galleries or go to the cinema. Holesovice is home to Bio Oko, one of the best independent cinemas you will ever see! The selection of the movies is on a very high level here, many of them are in the original version or with the English subtitles. But Bio Oko isn’t only a cinema, it’s the active cultural institution with numerous events and festivals. There is also a great bar so you can stop by even without seeing the movie!
Where to stay in Holesovice?
I’ve already stayed at couple of places in Holesovice/Letna area: random hotels, apartments and eventually Sir Toby’s Hostel. I’ve been to that hostel before, grabbing a beer with friends in the basement bar. That was already a good reason for me to return there the next time I visit Prague. And now I can’t imagine a better accommodation option in Holesovice!
Sir Toby’s is one of the oldest (celebrating 18th birthday this year!) and best known hostels in Prague. As I’ve mentioned couple of times before – I love staying at hostels as they are the best way you can meet people when you travel solo but I’m not so fond of dorms anymore. At Sir Toby’s you can choose between dormitories and private rooms – of course I went for the second option and I just loved my room! It was bright, spacious, practical (big thumbs up for tea and coffee provided!) and carefully designed with all the small details that made it so special. The private rooms at Sir Toby’s are located on the top floor so there is no need to worry about the place being loud! After a busy day exploring Holesovice it was so good to return there, I enjoyed the place so much!
But the rooms aren’t the only great thing about Sir Toby’s hostel. As soon as you enter the property you’re in the carefully designed space with all the tiny details that made me fall for the place. The reception area looks like a cozy living and the basement pub with brick wall is a perfect place to chill out (and the good selection of best Czech beers definitely helps here!). I stayed at Sir Toby’s in February so unfortunately I couldn’t use the outdoor terrace but it is there and I can only imagine how great it must be in the summer time!
One last word of explanation: I use the name „Holesovice” but the area I’m talking about basically covers Prague 7 – the district that consist of smaller areas – Holesovice and Letna are the cores here! This really should be your next stop when you are in Prague!
If you think of visiting Czech Republic or just want to read more about the country take a look what else I wrote about it:
- Cool places to visit in the Czech Republic
- Quirky Prague: art by David Cerny
- Photo walk through Zizkov – the authentic Prague
- and many more!
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