In their heyday in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Prague's elegant kavárny (cafes) rivaled Vienna's as places to be seen and perhaps have a carefree afternoon chat. The Bohemian intellectuals, much as their Viennese counterparts, laid claim to many of the local cafes, turning them into smoky parlors for pondering and debating the anxieties of the day.

Today, most of Prague's cafes have lost the indigenous charm of the Jazz Age or, strangely enough, the Communist era. During the Cold War, the venerable Café Slavia, across from the National Theater, became a de facto clubhouse in which dissidents passed the time, often within listening range of the not-so-secret police. It's here that Václav Havel and the arts community often gathered to keep a flicker of the Civic Society alive. The Slavia is still thriving today, though the tables, more than likely, will be filled with tourists pouring through maps and guidebooks, rather than monocled dandies or angst-ridden intellectuals bent over the latest feuilleton.

That doesn't mean that cafes don't have a role to play. Old standbys like the Café Louvre are more popular than ever, and a great spot to relax or have a coffee and a light meal. Many of the gems have been newly spruced up, and a visit to gorgeous Kavárna Obecní dum, the Grand Café Orient, or the Café Imperial is worth it simply for the wow factor.


Internet Cafes -- The Globe Bookstore and Cafe at Pstrossova 6, Prague 1, Nové Mesto (tel. 224-934-203; is one of the better deals in town; it's both a free Wi-Fi hotspot and offers surfing on its own computers for 1Kc per minute. Bohemia Bagel at Masná 2, Prague 1, Staré Mesto (tel. 224-812-560; charges 2Kc per minute for surfing, and also offers low-cost phone calls. Spika at Dlázdená 4, Prague 1, Nové Mesto (tel. 224-211-521; is open Monday to Friday 8am to midnight and Saturday and Sunday 10am to 11pm, and charges 20Kc for 15 minutes, and offers Internet-based cheap international phone calls.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.