Prague is a beer city. The Czech Republic is the largest consumer of beer in Europe, and the beer is good, cheap, and plentiful. Pilsner beer is named after the city of Pilsen, just over 50 miles from Prague. But, what do you do when you’re surrounded by beer, but craving a glass of wine? Fear not wine lovers, there is plenty on tap for too. Here’s our wine survivors guide to your visit to Prague.
Visit a Winery
Wine in the Czech Republic is mostly produced in southern Moravia, a region about 150 miles southeast of Prague. The region is responsible for so much of the grape production in the country that Czech wine is usually referred to as Moravian Wine.
Today, there are a few wineries in Bohemia, closer to Prague: St. Clare’s, St. Wenceslas’ Vineyard, and Gröbe’s Villa.
We took a short train ride to visit the city of Melnik, where grapes have been grown and wine produced for hundreds of years. The vineyards are perched on the hills where the rivers, at the base of the castle (which is worth a tour as well). The city has a interesting (and sordid) history involving royalty and wine, and also hosts an annual winemaker’s festival.
Don’t worry, amidst the pubs and beer halls are some very good wine bars. A few to try:
Monarch – Located in old town, this wine bar (and shop) specializes in Czech wines.
Red Pif – In Praha 1, this wine bar and restaurant has great food as well.
Vinograf has three locations in the city, and sports a huge wine list.
Vinecko 33 – In Praha 2, this bar/restaurant offers wine by the bottle, or by the glass from the cask. The big terrace out front (during the summer) is a plus!
Veltlin – Located in Karlin, this unpretentious wine bar and shop specializes in Czech, Moravian, and Central European wines.
Sample Wine Direct from the Tap
Many wine shops have a variety of wines available on tap (maybe taking a clue from the beer makers?), that you can sample in the shop or take home. You select the your preferred size of plastic bottle (for which you need to pay a deposit), point to a tap, and the shopkeeper will fill up the bottle, even including a handy plastic ring to carry it. You probably aren’t going to find five-star wines at the tap, but you do have the opportunity to taste a sample before committing to a whole (plastic) bottle.
Relax at the Wine Spa
You have probably heard of Prague’s Beer Spas, where you can soak in a hot “beer” tub and pour yourself a glass of the frothy stuff at the same time. So whole idea sounded a bit dubious to me. Luckily there is a more sophisticated option. For the full wine/relaxation experience, try visiting the Hotel Casa Marcello, as we did. The hotel offers a range of wine concept experiences, including wine and massage, wine and sauna, and their bath with natural wine extracts. And no, we weren’t dunked in tub full of wine. This was by far one more civilized, and on of the more lush and memorable wine tastings we have had to date.
We were welcomed into the charming hotel, and then led through the curving corridors of the hotel and downstairs to the cellar. I first thought we were headed to a wine cellar for the experience, but instead were ushered into a private room with massage table, comfortable bed, and a wooden whirlpool tub.
After receiving full aroma therapy massage we soaked in a scented tub and enjoyed a bottle of wine and fresh grapes. The whole experience was so relaxing that we left feeling like we were floating out on a cloud. I doubt the beer spa patrons would say the same.
Visit the Saturday Farmer’s Market
This open air market is bustling with activity each weekend. You buy fresh fruits and vegetables here, along with other food favorites from Prague such as this sauerkraut and noodle dish cooked up in a huge iron skillet. And of course there is also beer. But, without looking too hard, you can also find a few wine vendors in the mix to satisfy your need for the grape.
Prague has a huge number of festivals. We went to several ourselves, including a cheesecake festival and a Vietnamese festival. You get the idea that in Prague there is a lot diversity and always reason to celebrate. And if you if it is wine extravaganza that you crave, Prague delivers. Here are a few wine themed festivals to consider during your visit.
Prague Events – General Listing by Month
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A very special thank you to JayWay Travel, specialists in travel through Eastern and Central Europe, who sponsored our time in Prague and directed us to many of the activities that made our trip so amazing. And also to Hotel Casa Marcello for hosting us for a day in their spa. As always, our opinions remain our own.
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