Who needs resellers, supermarkets, and other middlemen to drive up the cost of fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy products, fish, and meat, when you can buy them directly from the farmers who produce them? Prague is not to be outdone by other European locales when it comes to following the growing trend toward being able to shop at city-sponsored fresh food and craft markets. With the Prague magistrate and citizen-initiative organizations like Archetyp backing the farmers’ right to produce and sell directly to the public without the interference of big business, you can spend a relaxing day wandering from market to market in Prague while supporting the existence of the traditional Czech farming lifestyle which, as in almost all industrialized countries, is in danger of disappearing altogether without these important commercial outlets. And for those of us who are worried about the complete corporate takeover of food production in the modern world, farmers markets offer a green alternative to the increasingly GMO-saturated supermarket world.
Below, there is a list of some of my favorite farmers markets in Prague, complete with locations, map links, operating hours, and transportation instructions to help you find them.
Prague farmers markets are not just about fruit and vegetables. As already mentioned, there’s a wide variety of dairy, fish, and meat products available, as well as locally produced honey, wine, bread and spices. You can also see on display many different types of handcrafted items like pottery, soap, jewelry, woven straw hats and baskets, clothing, wooden kitchen utensils, blown glass, and metalwork, just to name a few. And, of course, no event in the Czech Republic would be complete without the inevitable presence of beer. And the beer you’ll find at the farmers markets comes from smaller, private breweries, each with their own specialties: honey beers, berry beers, India pale ales, dark beers, half-dark beers, and a selection of good Czech pilsners, all available to drink on the spot or to buy by the bottle for takeaway.
If the presence of all this food and beverage makes you hungry and thirsty, then eat and drink to your heart’s content. In addition to the aforementioned beer sellers, all of the farmers markets host a large number of prepared-food vendors, both vegetarian and meat-based, raw and vegan too. You’ll also find coffee, tea, fresh-squeezed juices, green smoothies, and various herb waters. And frequently various types of fresh pasta and Asian food will be on sale as well.
When visiting farmers markets, it’s always best to bring your own reusable bag or basket. If you don’t have one already, you can usually buy interesting locally-made tote bags and wicker baskets at the markets themselves. Also, make sure you have Czech currency before you set out to explore, because you can’t expect the farmers and craftspeople to accept Euros (though some do), and I’ve never see a vendor who lets you pay by card. The following list of weekly markets, complete with transportation instructions, will get you pointed in the right direction. The two biggest and most impressive are the markets at Dejvická and Náplavka. However, all of the markets listed are well worth seeing and enjoying. Have a great time!
NÁPLAVKA, located on the east bank of the river Vltava, just south of the center. Take trams 3, 7, or 17 to stop Palackého Náměstí (nábřeží). Or more interestingly, walk just 15-20 minutes down the riverbank from the National Theater (Národní Divadlo) for great views of the city on your way. Hours: every Sat. 8:00-14:00
JIŘÁK, located at Náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad, Praha 3. Take Metro A (green) or tram 11 to stop Jiřího z Poděbrad. Hours: Wed.-Fri. 8:00-18:00, Sat. 8:00-14:00