The capital of the Czech Republic, renowned for its cultural sophistication, really does go all-american for a whole weekend.
In the first weekends of September forget about sampling the local goulash. When the city has its annual Prague Burger Fest, at the Holesovice Exhibition Grounds, burger mania takes over.
Credits to: burgerfest.cz/en/
What is Prague Burger Fest All About?
The Prague Burger Fest is an amazing outdoor food festival celebrating America’s favorite food, the burger. Sponsored by the American Embassy and the Jack Daniels whiskey company, the festival is all about elevating the reputation of the humble beef pattie to the gastronomical heights it truly deserves.
It’s the right place to be to get a good grilling too as expert grill masters are flown in from the States just for the event. So you keep your eyes open and you’ll learn a thing or two about flipping burgers.
Is the Prague Burger Fest just about burgers? No, it isn’t. There’s everything going on from stand up comedy to fashion shows, live music plus the all important barbecuing exhibitions and contests. There’s plenty of beer flowing, plus food trucks and of course, lots of great burgers to chow down on.
The 100 CZK (around $4.50 USD) admittance fee covers both days and allows you to come and go as you please. The Prague Burger Fest grillers light their charcoal at 10am and don’t put them out until 10pm. That’s a lot of barbecuing. So get to Prague and make sure you don’t miss out on Europe’s biggest burger and barbecue party.
Burger Eating Contest
There’s one thing you can’t have a burger fest without and that’s a burger eating contest. You’ll need a lot of sauce to participate in the one at the Prague Burger Fest and be a quick chewer too. To be the festival’s champion you need to munch your way through an astonishing ten burgers in just two minutes.
Credits to: burgerfest.cz/en/
That’s a lot of beef and buns to demolish in such a short time. No, no-one has quite managed it yet. Last year’s winner scoffed just five to find himself in first place. What does the winner receive? A basket full of goodies including a camera, a big bottle of Jack Daniels and a bad case of indigestion.
BBQ Pit Boys Demo
Barbecuing food takes a certain amount of cooking skill to get the desired end result. No-one wants to eat a piece of meat which is as carbonised as the fuel it’s cooked on. The Prague Burger Fest flies in the expert BBQ Pit Boys from the States to make sure everyone finds out just how it should be done.
Do they come quietly? No, they really like to make their presence felt and arrive at the fest on a cavalcade of Harley Davidsons. Once the braziers have been stoked and the coals are glowing, they put on a fantastic demonstration of the grilling skills they’ve become famous for as well as disclosing one or two of their secret, barbecuing recipes.
Credits to: burgerfest.cz/en/
Classic motorcycles are not just driven through the streets at The Prague Burger Fest. There’s a whole exhibition of over ninety vintage Harley Davidson models which is open to the public both days of the festival. There’s no extra admittance fee either.
Don’t miss checking out which one you’d love to ride down Route 66. If you prefer four wheels to two, then you’ll love the presentation of vintage cars by the 1st US Veteran Car Club. They’ve got everything from chevy’s to cadillacs and the odd transam too.
Amateur Grill Show
If you think you have a flair for creative cookery, then you ought to enter the Amateur Grill Show Challenge. As all good chefs should, you’ll need to do some pre-prep. Just before the festival, the organisers publish a list of ingredients from which you’ll need to create a unique burger recipe.
Your recipe must be submitted for judging prior to the festival. If it’s chosen, then you get one hour to prepare and cook your recipe in front of the challenge judges during the festival. The tastiest, best looking burger wins.
Credits to: burgerfest.cz/en/
If cooking your own dinner isn’t on the agenda, don’t worry. It wouldn’t be an all-american food festival without food trucks and stalls. There’s really no shortage of them at the Prague Burger Fest. Manned by chefs from over seventy local restaurants and some international ones, they’re all there to exhibit their burger making and barbecuing skills so no-one is going to go hungry.
The fest’s trademarked motto might be – in beef we trust- but even vegetarians have nothing to beef about at the Prague Burger Fest. Most off the food stalls also have vegetarian burgers on their menus.
There’s nothing like a truck load of whiskey to get a party started. The Jack Daniel’s truck, a hunk of gleaming monogrammed metal and chrome, pulls a massive trailer which has been converted into a bar.
From there the Prague Burger Fest’s number one sponsor dishes out delicious bourbon based cocktails, bourbon on the rocks and some great bourbon based competitions. You can even get a JD postcard to let the folks back home know exactly where you’ve been.
Live On Stage
The Prague Burger Fest not only rocks the barbecue, but two different stages as well. Yes, you can expect the live music to have an American flavor. There are performances from various tribute bands such as Kiss and ZZ Top as well as hip swivelling Elvis impersonators.
Credits to: burgerfest.cz/en/
The program changes every year, so you won’t have the same lineup year after year. Plenty of local bands also put on their own shows. There’s no shortage of jokes from the stand up comedians who perform both afternoons of the festival.
So Why Prague Burger Fest?
Whether you like your burgers with cheese, relish or even a stray slice of gherkin, you’ll find one to your taste at the Prague Burger Fest.
You won’t be alone either. There’ll be over four thousand kilos of beef getting a good grilling before it’s slipped between some of the over thirty five thousand burger buns which are usually consumed during the fest.
Now that’s a barbecue. If you feel guilty at the thought of eating too many burgers, don’t. It’s all in a good cause and a hefty percentage of the profits are donated to various charities around the city.
If you don’t like beef, then the Prague Burger Fest really isn’t the right food festival for you.
2# Use Local Currency
The currency used in Prague is the Czech Koruna. Other currencies, including the Euro, are not widely accepted, so get some before you go.
3# Choose the correct Taxi
If you are considering taking a taxi journey anywhere in Prague, unless it is with the yellow AAA company, it is recommended to agree the journey price with the driver before entering the vehicle.
What To Do?
Prague is the capital city of the Czech Republic. Beautifully picturesque and with a Gothic centre which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is the fifth most visited city in Europe.
It is famous for the seventeen bridges which cross the River Vltava within the city boundaries, its numerous church spires and also its diverse museums.
Prague hosts many popular cultural events throughout the calendar year which range from jazz to film to writer’s festivals as well as the longest beer fest in the Czech Republic which lasts for an entire seventeen days.
Climb Petrin Hill
To really get a good look at Prague in all its glory, you’ll need to climb up Petrin Hill. Yes, it is steep, but well worth it for the stunning views of the city and river.
If you want to see still more, then continue on up the observation tower on Petrin Hill’s peak. A mini-version of the Eiffel Tower with almost three hundred steps inside.
It’s a great way of building up an appetite for all those burgers or burning of the calories if you’ve indulged in too many. If you really don’t feel like walking it, there’s a funicular railway which will carry you up. Catch it from the tram stop on Ujezd Street.
The Museum of Alchemists and Magicians of Old Prague
Who said museums are boring? The Museum of Alchemists and Magicians of Old Prague is weird, wonderful and definitely fun.
You’ll be initiated in the ancient art of alchemy as you stroll through the floors of the museum. Discover texts from Shakespeare and Charles IV, exhibits of unusual equipment and some pretty spooky skeletons.
Will you learn the secret of turning lead into gold? Probably not, but a drink in the Alchemical Lab Pub on the top floor will help make up for it.
Truffle Hunt with Dinner
Take your culinary experiences in Prague up a notch or two from the basic burger by going on a truffle hunting tour.
Accompanied by a guide and his specially trained, truffle hunting dog you can scour the city’s parklands for the elusive fungus. After the outing, sit down and enjoy a meal prepared using the gastronomically expensive ingredient.
Or as an alternative, you could always take a truffle home with you and add it to your homemade burger recipe. It’s bound to be a culinary winner.
Where To Stay
Prague is a city which is divided into numbered districts. The Prague Burger Fest is held in District 7 and even though it’s a central location, there’s a good choice of very reasonably priced hotels available really close by.
Though if you’re planning on going to the burger fest, don’t forget Prague is one of the most popular places in Europe to visit and the fest attracts a huge influx of extra visitors, so you’ll need to book your rooms early to avoid disappointment.
Hotel Belvedere, Prague 7 District
Stylishly contemporary, the Hotel Belvedere is located just a ten minute walk from the Holesovice Exhibition Grounds where the burger fest is held.
Ideal for couples or families who are looking for a little extra comfort though their mid-range prices of 50 euros a night definitely won’t break the bank.
Le Petit Hotel, Prague 7 District
Le Petit Hotel really is a budget hotel with prices starting at less than 20 euros a night, but that doesn’t mean they skimp on service.
It’s friendly, suitable for families, groups or singles, with a daily maid service and free Wifi included. The rooms may be slightly smaller than other hotels, but they’re still super clean and very comfortable.
At the prices they’re charging you won’t need to share even if you’re travelling in a group, they’re cheap enough to get one each. And it’s only a six minute walk from the burger fest.
Absolutum Boutique Hotel, Prague
The Absolutum Boutique hotel is super modern and trendy. Their luxurious rooms fall into the categories of superior, deluxe, junior suite and suite.
The fresh and impeccable interior décor is complimented by amazing views of the city. This hotel is ideal if you want to spoil yourself, though the room prices of 69 euros to 99 euros a night still makes it very accessible.
You’ll save on transport costs too as it’s just a short, ten minute walk to the Holesovice Exhibition Grounds from the hotel.
Where To Eat?
There’s a limit to how many burgers you can eat in one day. When you’re ready for a bit of dietary variety, you’ll find Prague has some amazing restaurants which serve a lot more than traditional Czech food. But when in Prague, eat like a – well, you know the saying.
You won’t find a more authentic dish than Kolena which is roasted pork knee. It really does taste better than it sounds and you’ll find the best at the rustically decorated Restaurant Mlejnice who also serve a popular Czech produced wine.
Simple is often the best and usually by far the tastiest. You really can’t go wrong with a schnitzel, a scrumptiously tasty breaded chicken or pork fillet. U Tri Prasatek serves theirs with mash and brown gravy or sauerkraut if you prefer.
For something a little lighter, but equally as tasty go for the rabbit stuffed with bacon on a bed of creamed spinach at U Kroka, you won’t regret it.
Don’t forget to leave some space for a fruit dumpling or two. They do a great one at the Krystal Bistro. The fruit filling changes depending on the season.
If you’ve had your fill of meat at the burger fest or just prefer to eat vegetarian, try the Clear Head Restaurant. They serve a fantastic Bulgur Risotto with truffle oil which would make anyone’s taste buds sing.
For something heartier, their Seitan roast with red cabbage, dumplings and root veg gravy is a good choice.
Vegan Prague Restaurant
The restaurant Vegan Prague also offers an amazing selection of completely vegan dishes. Their Beetroot Carpaccio with vegan cheese is a real winner as is their Zucchini Lasagna for mains.
How To Get There?
Prague is served by the Vaclav Havel Airport which is just outside the city. There are no train or metro services from the airport into Prague.
There are two bus services, lines 100 and 119, which operate from 4am until 11.40pm. They run every twenty minutes and terminate in the Praha Florenc which is the main bus station. The journey takes around one hour.
Tickets cost about 40 CZK. A connecting service to the Prague 7 district where the burger fest is held can be caught at the Praha Florenc main bus station.
It is possible to reserve a private shuttle service from the airport which will leave you at your hotel. The shuttle service departs every half an hour. Cost varies depending on the number of passengers who share the ride.
Taxi services are also available, but Prague airport authorities recommend agreeing the journey price before boarding the car or preferably using the shuttle service.
Metro and Trams
The city of Prague itself has a good public transport system. A one day pass at a cost of 110 CZK can be used on all services. For children 10 to 15 years of age the charge is 55 CZK. Children 9 years and under travel free.
Trams 12, 17 and 24 stop at the Holesovice Exhibition Grounds.
The closest Metro stop is Nádraží Holešovice on Line C which is just a short walk from the exhibition grounds.
There is no inner-city bus service.
By Train to Prague
If you are travelling to Prague by train, you will arrive at Praha Hlavni Nadrazi which is the main train station. From there you can make a connection with Metro Line C which will take you to the burger fest location.
If you are driving to the Prague Burger Fest you will find the Holesovice Exhibition Grounds has good parking facilities. Tickets for parking can be purchased on site on the day.
Prague by Car
If you travelling from Pardubice to Prague by car the journey will take you approximately one and a half hours, from Pilsen just over an hour and from Dresden in Germany, it’s a two hour drive.
Prague Burger Fest History
The Prague Burger Fest began in 2012 and is about to celebrate its seventh consecutive year. Its organisation is a joint effort between the American Embassy in Prague and the festival’s sponsor Jack Daniels.
The purpose behind the burger festival, apart from eating a lot, is to improve the gastronomical reputation of the humble burger and let Europe know that America’s favorite food really is worth eating.