When the weather’s nice, the Czechs head outside — just take a walk through the city’s many parks or beer gardens on a warm day and you’ll see residents soaking up the sun. While there are often long, never-solved debates as to which of Prague’s fabled beer gardens is the best place to beat the heat or enjoy a nice autumnal day, Naplavka — a space that is neither park nor beer garden — has emerged as something just a bit different.
Hailed by some as Prague’s “hipster hangout,” Naplavka is a stretch of pavement next to the banks of the Vltava, between the Palackého most (Palacký Bridge) and the Vytoň tram stop, and serves as a boardwalk of sorts during Prague’s warm-weather moments. In the colder months, you may find runners or cyclists taking advantage of the bike paths along the river, but it is in the summer when the place truly comes alive.
Bordered by boats and modest riverfront restaurants, during summer evenings Naplavka transforms from a boring stretch of riverbank into one of the liveliest hangouts in Prague. There, you can sample a variety of local beers from vendors’ tents or sit in one of the lively sidewalk café-style seating areas provided by some of the local restaurants. There is almost always a different kind of live music playing, and while you can check the line-up online beforehand, I personally like the feeling of leaving the night’s music up to fate. Variety is never a problem and depending on the day, you can hear anything from dub-step to swing and maybe even join a group that has sprung up for an impromptu dance party.
If, after sampling some of the many beers served on this stretch of riverbank, you’re feeling a bit peckish, Naplavka will not disappoint. The culinary choices are dizzying and you can either grab a meal from a nearby food truck or even a passing grill boat, or opt to climb the gangway of one of the docked restaurant boats and grab a bite to eat — literally on the river. Naplavka has everything from homemade toasts sold for charity to burgers, Balkan cuisine, and even vegetarian and vegan options. The discerning foodie may even be interested in taking some time to check out fresh local fruits and vegetables and other goodies at the farmer’s market that calls Naplavka home every Saturday.
Like most things in Prague, the best way to experience Naplavka is like the locals. In this case, that means grabbing a drink — say, a classic Prague pilsner — or maybe even bringing a bottle of wine, and taking your place along the edge of the riverbank, feet dangling over the water and watching the ducks and the flow of the Vltava. It’s the perfect place to unwind with friends after a busy day in the city centre.
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