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Why Prague is more sustainable than you think

Travelling
5 minute guide

Jesse Dodd

21 March 2017

Jenny Day and Aneta Hebrová have spent the last two years researching and compiling the first green guide to the Czech capital, Prague. Their guide covers everything from campsites to cool eco-hotels, hiking advice to organic breweries and even how to recycle your waste or find a co-working space when you’re in town. We caught up with them to find out what makes Prague sustainable.

What makes Prague such an eco-friendly city? 

Prague doesn’t usually make it to the top of sustainability rankings, but the city does have a lot of green attributes. There’s widespread recycling, a large amount of public green spaces and nearby nature reserves, several energy efficient buildings (including some of the hotels in our guide) and an excellent public transport system. Biking isn’t yet widespread as a form of transport due to hills and lacking bike lanes, but thanks to local initiatives promoting urban cycling and bike sharing, it's on the increase. Though it would have been quite a challenge 10-20 years ago, it's now possible to find a wide range of vegetarian, vegan and organic food and other products in Prague.

Prague Green City Guide Authors 2
“It's important for us that the owners of the businesses care about sustainability, are transparent about the source of their products and are making genuine efforts to improve their environmental impact”

How has the city got more sustainable in the last few years? 

We think awareness is rising, and with that, several businesses have sprung up offering people greener alternatives. There are now a range of farmer's markets, organic grocery stores, bike rental and sharing options, vegan and vegetarian restaurants, electric car rental services and renewable energy providers.

Prague Green City Guide Cover And Map

The Prague Green City Guide launched this year and includes a map and special discounts

If you're being green, can you still enjoy a few beers? 

Of course! There’s no reason why having fun can’t be part of a sustainable lifestyle, in fact, we think it’s essential. We even included a nightlife section in our book where you can find non-smoking places that serve local and sometimes organic beverages, from beer to wine. Prague’s bars and restaurants are set to become completely smoke-free at the end of May, which we’re pretty happy about!

What's your favourite vegan restaurant?

There are a lot of great options in Prague. Lehka Hlava (meaning ‘clear head’) is probably one of our favourites. The menu is vegetarian but there are plenty of vegan options. We like that they serve vegetarian versions of Czech specialties, as well as great juices and raw cakes. The atmosphere is very cosy and it’s located right in the centre of Prague.

Prague City Guide 3 Pebble Magazine

Prague's the largest city in the Czech Republic and it drinks more beer per capita than anywhere else in the world. Cheers!

How did you put the guide together and test it?

We spent two years researching it as part of a personal mission to live more sustainably in Prague. Our list of places grew organically and we interviewed the owners of each business and from those interviews we usually got new tips. It's important for us that the owners of the businesses care about sustainability, are transparent about the source of their products and are making genuine efforts to improve their environmental impact.

What's your favourite way to spend a day in Prague?

In summer, I like heading to the farmer’s market on the Náplavka river embankment on Saturday mornings to pick up groceries and a coffee, and to take in the bustling atmosphere and great views of Prague castle. In the afternoon, a picnic on Petřín hill or in another one of Prague's beautiful parks is hard to beat. On warm evenings, hanging out at one of Prague’s outdoor nightlife spots, such as the Náplavka river embankment or Stalin (named after the statue of Stalin that once stood there), is a great way to catch some live music and do a little people watching. Prague is also a very walkable city. There are lots of ‘off the beaten path’ spots that are full of interesting nooks and crannies, such as the Nový Svět neighbourhood, nestled behind the castle.

Prague Green City Guide Cycling
“For hiking, we recommend Divoká Šárka, a nature reserve on the outskirts of Prague, full of paths that wind through forests, streams and rock formations”

Where's best for hiking and biking in Prague?

For a bike ride, we recommend starting at the Náplavka river embankment and biking south towards Modřany. The bike trail along the river continues for quite some distance and eventually you'll reach several cool spots including the pretty Prokop valley. For hiking, we recommend Divoká Šárka, a nature reserve on the outskirts of Prague, full of walking paths that wind through forests, streams and interesting rock formations. It can be reached by taking the metro to Nádraží Veleslavín or hopping on the 20 or 26 tram to the Divoká Šárka stop. There's even a reservoir there for swimming.

What kind of sustainable designers are working in Prague?

Several designers are focused on local production using sustainable or recycled materials. For example, there are brands making accessories from upcycled seatbelts and bike inner-tubes and other materials that would otherwise be sent to the incinerator or landfill. Other brands are working with hemp, which can be grown locally using lower amounts of water, energy, pesticides and fertiliser. There are a number of local designers refreshing and spicing up vintage Czech products, including bikes, clothes, accessories, furniture and records.

Green Prague City Guide Pebble Magazine

Split in two by the Vltava River, Prague's known as the 'city of a hundred spires'

Petra Pihanova

What time of year is best to visit? 

Prague is great at any time of year, but personally I love it in the spring. Around the middle of April, the trees are in full bloom and it's really beautiful. It's usually sunny and around 15-20 degrees, which I think is perfect for exploring the city. Prague’s Easter markets are also famous and worth a visit. 

What three words describe Prague best? 

Bohemian. Magical. Green (we hope).

pebble readers can get a 10% discount by entering the code 'pebblemag' when buying the Prague Green City guide online here.

How to get there

Why not make Prague a slow travel adventure and take the train? Click here for Rail Europe.

For more eco-travel ideas join the pebble pod

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