You might not realize it if you stay on-the-beaten-path, but Prague has more to offer than Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, winding streets and churches. Anyone seeking a more authentic Czech experience should turn their attention outside Old Town and Lesser Town. Prague’s Letna Park is conveniently located and just about perfect.
The name Letna means something like “good sunbathing spot,” and locals have flocked here on sunny days for decades. Originally, the hill was a strategic defence post. But the most recent history of Letna Park is connected with communism. In 1955, the city erected the world’s largest monument to Joseph Stalin at the edge of Letna Park, but in 1962 it was destroyed for political reasons. If you stop by you’ll notice that a kinetic art piece, Prague Metronome, has taken its place, along with packs of skateboarders.
What to do in Prague’s Letna Park
A walk through the park might make you thirsty, so you won’t want to miss the beer garden in the heart of the park, which offers great views. Furthermore, if you are interested in tasting Czech microbrews, go to the bar under the former Stalin monument.
Architecture lovers are in luck too, because there are a few notable buildings in Prague’s Letna Park. Hanavsky Pavilion is an impressive example of the Art Nouveau style. It’s also a very expensive restaurant. Pop in for a coffee if you want to get a closer look. In addition, on the other edge of the park you can find the award-winning Pavilion of Expo ’58 from the Brussels World’s Fair. It’s pretty amazing.
Where to eat
There are plenty of places near the beer garden to enjoy a classic Czech sausage, which is the perfect accompaniment to a crisp cool beer, there’s also a decent restaurant in Letensky Zamecek (Letna Chateau, right by the beer garden). But for American visitors looking for a taste of home there is the popular Mr. Hotdog. Located on Kamenicka street just five minutes from the Expo ’58 Pavilion, this cozy place will offer you classic American hotdogs. If you want a lighter meal you should try the best restaurant in the area, Restaurace 500. The name refers to the famous tiny Italian Fiat car from the 1950s. One of them even hangs over the bar! Expect a cool garden, great Mediterranean classics and nice wine.
On the very edge of Prague’s Letna Park you’ll find two fun museums: the Technical Museum and the National Museum of Agriculture. And a few blocks further there is a pearl of functionalism, the National Gallery. It has an astonishing collection of fine art.
View the video version
Take another look at Letna in this short video I put together earlier this summer:
As you can see, there’s something for everyone at Prague’s Letna Park. Have fun!