Shakespeare once wrote "Boldness be my friend!" That's great advice for exploring Prague!
Cozy bookstores never fail to tug at my heart. I absolutely love discovering these charming, locally owned literary nests all around the world and I know you do too. I'm always happy to wander around no matter what style or language of book is offered, but I'm especially excited when I discover an English bookstore when I'm in another country. I usually can't resist picking up a new novel for the road and I enjoy bumping into other expats and hearing about upcoming events (and occasionally crashing them, especially when there's free wine involved!)
I heard about Prague's Shakespeare and Sons bookstore long before my visit. It's arguably the city's most famous bookstore and it comes highly recommended by all guidebooks. Still, my heart skipped a few beats when I saw it for the first time as I explored the cobblestone streets at dusk. Here it was!
Prague is unlikely to be the first city you think of when you consider Shakespeare, but the Czech capital has a lifelong love affair with all kinds of literature and has many homegrown literary heavyweights to call its own. (Case in point: the Kafka Museum is about a 2 minute walk from Shakespeare and Sons!) Between all the English speaking locals and visitors, along with a strong student base, it's not surprising that Prague is home to one of Europe's best English language bookstores.
Shakespeare and Sons was established in 2002 and has a second branch in Berlin (which has a bookstore cafe - with bagels!) While their website and social media is a bit slow to update, it looks like they've hosted plenty of cool events in the past and I think it would be well worth the effort to get in touch and see what's happening while you're in town. They stock a wide selection of English language titles as well as local authors. They also sell cute, store branded cloth shopping bags for a few dollars each and they're the perfect travel souvenir.
My visit to Shakespeare and Sons was everything I hoped it would be and I happily left with a new book, one of the awesome tote bags I mentioned, and a spring in my step after chatting with the friendly staff for a moment (but I do regret not getting more photos). It was every bit as homey and well stocked as all those guidebooks promised and it did Prague's literary spirit proud. And it was the perfect, gentle retreat from the busy city streets. It may be a famous bookstore but it still hasn't been discovered by a majority of visitors, making it the ideal destination for a small dose of 'me' time in the middle of a busy trip. And I think you'll like it as much as I did!
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Our visit in Prague was facilitated by Czech Tourism and we thank them for their support. All research, writing, and opinions are our own.