Exploring Karlin District, Prague

on February 11, 2017

I can’t quite make up my mind whether, as a traveler, I’m a spreadsheet-loving organization-aholic, or an I’m-a-free-bird burn-all-the-maps kind of wanderer. Leading up to our Prague trip, I was honestly just too busy to plan… and I felt the aftershocks of lack of planning in the various disasters I encountered over the weekend.

However, one of the best parts of our lack of organization was our morning exploring the Karlin district of Prague! Karlin is a bit off the beaten path, and seen as a more hipster (and a bit gentrified), residential neighborhood. Unlike the touristy Prague 1, in Karlin you can relax and just… wander.

That’s exactly what we did, at least, and in the end our lack of planning led to some wonderful surprises!

Karlin Organization & History

Karlin is on the east side of Prague 1, south of the river. It has a dramatic history as the home of both neo-Nazis and Romas in the 80’s. It was hit particularly hard by floods in 2002, and since then the renovations have given the little district a bit of a facelift. It is now seen as a bit of a hipster hangout, partly in thanks to the cafe Muj Salek Kavy. It’s a pretty simple neighborhood, organized by three parallel roads, one of which includes the metro system. It only took us a few hours to walk the length of Karlin, which included more than one stop for coffee. Speaking of coffee…

Karlin Coffee Shops

Muj Salek Kavy: I wrote about this lil’ cafe in my gluten free Prague post, and also featured its fancy-shmancy coconut mocha on my instagram last week! This place is oozing hip-ness, and the brunch looked incredible. It was super popular but we managed to snag a table (and a brownie…)

Kavarna Kocici – Cat Cafe! Karlin also hosts Prague’s only cat cafe!! Which we discovered completely by accident thanks to two cats staring me down through their window… we stopped here for the second coffee of the day, and got to cuddle some Czech cats for an hour or so.


Karlin Sites

St Cyril and Methodius Church – This was the first place we stopped and really appreciated the seclusion and beauty of Karlin! The church itself is beautiful (and host to a farmers market in the summer, I hear…), but I also loved the rows of pastel houses that surrounded it.

Lyckovo Namesti Square – This was probably my favorite site in Prague… and guess what… it’s a primary school! Let’s just say my elementary school was defffff not as fancy as this place is! The architecture is absolutely gorgeous, and the courtyard was completely empty when we visited. A very different feel from sight seeing the architecture in Prague 1! I also loved that we could see the children’s artwork hanging in the school windows…the juxtaposition of that with the grandiose architecture was hilarious and heartwarming.

Just explore! Like I said, Karlin is such a great area of Prague to get lost in… everything was beautiful, even if I can’t offer you a wikipedia link to its history, it’s worth checking out!

In Karlin For Longer?

We only spent a morning exploring the quirky Karlin district. If you’re looking to visit for longer, I recommend checking out the Taste of Prague guide to the district. I found their guide after we’d visited Karlin and it made me wish we’d had a whole weekend to explore! There are many places we didn’t get to, but I have to say I still wouldn’t take back my aimless wandering if I could…

Sarah xx

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  • Wading Wade

    Oh my gosh this is perfect!! Firstly that mocha looks unreal 😍 Secondly that café sounds amazing and thirdly I really get you on the not-knowing which type of traveller you are. Sometimes I think it’s all down to time for me, if I have the time I’m kind of burn your map type of girl but if I have four days I’m like how can get the most out of this trip! Anyway, I’m sold on Prague, thanks for that 😉

    • I think it looked better than it tasted to be honest hahaha… And yes, so glad you get me! I want to be the cool-girl but that usually only ever happens on accident…usually I’m on a mission with all my maps and spreadsheets!

      • Wading Wade

        Haha so real <3

  • Claudia Crismaru

    The pictures are brilliant! i wish my primary school would have looked like that haha. Also, I love that you don`t stick to the touristy areas of Prague but go wandering around and discovering little hidden gems, such as that cafe. <3

  • great photos!

  • These are my favorite kind of travel surprises. Just wondering off the places that make the city feel so real!

    • It gives the city such a different vibe to see people walking their dogs, taking their kids to school, commuting on the metro, having coffee with friends…rather than the swarm of tourists!

  • Aww you’re making me homesick for Prague! 🙂 I loved Karlin, and the coffeeshops there are some of the best in the city. Don’t you love it when not planning gives you a great surprise instead of a disaster??

    • Haha I’m glad someone who actually lived there liked Karlin! I could’ve lived off the coffee we found there 🙂

  • I loved our visit to Prague last year, but because we only had two days in the city, we really only had the time to see the main sites. Karlin looks like a fun and beautiful part of Prague to visit, and I hope that I can visit during another trip!

    • It was the perfect thing to do on our third day 🙂 I definitely recommend it if you have an extra morning!

  • Corey with fifi + hop

    I totally hear you on planning vs. being spontaneous. I think there’s advantages to both. Cat cafes seem to be all the rage now, still have to visit the one in NYC! Love that school, beautiful. #wanderfulwednesday

    • I know they are super hip! I first heard of cat cafes three years ago when I friend drove four hours to go to the one in London, after being on the waiting list for months… so when we just randomly came across the Prague cat cafe (and didn’t need reservations) I was so excited! I’m betting it was a lot more low key than the NYC or London cat cafes tho…

  • I love this type of architecture so much!! And cat cafes? I’m totally in for a trip now!!

  • Gorgeous pictures!! One of my friends lived in that area when she was studying abroad, but her photos definitely didn’t do it justice. The cat cafes are hilarious!! I can see that being really big here. (I have a bunch of cat people on my staff. Skewed sample size maybe?)

    • Ah thanks Sara 🙂 Oh really?? That’s so cool! It seemed very residential to me – but I did wonder if students lived there or just the really wealthy people who could afford to live near Prague’s center!

  • I have read the Karlin is one of the coolest districts in Prague. Seems like locals love it. I wished I had time to explore it. From your photos, it looks like a lovely place. #wanderfulwednesday

  • I definitely did not back it to Karlin on my trip to Prague, but this looks like my kind of neighborhood! Those cafés are just darling! I also often struggle with the plan vs. spontaneous type of travel. In my instincts I’m a planner, through and through, but sometimes I crave spontaneity! It’s just so hard when you only have a fixed time in a place, because you want to make sure you do it all! Always nice to fit in a little time to just wander though… those seem to always be my favorite memories 😀

  • I discovered that one fancy looking school on a wander one day when I was playing “Metro Roulette” and it was such a hidden gem of a place/area! Karlin has a totally different vibe to the rest of the city – definitely new, hip, & gentrified.

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