By "Franchise", I mean the big global companies - McDonalds, KFC, Starbucks, Subway and Costa.Off the top of my head, those are the five main global companies that can be found in and around Prague. Sure, McDonalds is safe. Starbucks does good coffee. Subway is tasty. Costa do good snacks; but you can do so much better in Prague.
If you fancy a good fast-food place, head over to Bageterie Boulevard. They do super delicious massive sandwiches with sides and a drink for the same price (or less!!) than a McDonalds or Subway. If you're looking for a late-night snack on the way to the pub, you'll find loads of places around Lazarska, the late night tram stop. Here you can find Fornetti's (delicious pastries that soak up the beer that you've been drinking), Burrito Loco is open pretty late into the night, and although it's sliiiiiightly more expensive than those listed above, it's super super satisfying to have Mexican food on the way home.
We simply cannot forget about my absolute favourite thing. Pizza. Piiiizzzaaaaa.... I know you can get it anywhere, but can you also get a 50cm pizza for approx. €7 anywhere? I don't think so. Try to spot Pizza Borsalino near Narodni Trida tram and metro stop, and you can either pick up a slice for 30CZK, a normal size pizza for as little as 109CZK, or a supermassive 50cm one from 169CZK. In my opinion, it's the best in Prague. I know you can get pizza most places on the street, but trust me, this is the best.
HOWEVER, on the other hand, the Czech Republic isn't exactly the fast-food sorta place. I mean, there's a completely chilled out vibe, no one is ever in a rush, and it's really easy to pop into a cafe to grab a sarnie to go. For instance, a short walk away from Narodni Trida is an amazing bagel shop called JustBagel. It's what it says on the tin. You'll be waiting no more than 10 minutes for the kind staff to make your chosen bagel in front of your eyes. Take it to go and walk to the park and enjoy your yummy lunch. Better than a McDonalds, right?
Starbucks and Costa may be a recognisable option - BUT it's super freakin' expensive over here. No one pays 109CZK for a coffee. The average price of a coffee is maybe 30-70CZK. (you can find out more about where to find a decent coffee in Prague here). PLUS if you branch out a little and find a lovely nice local cheap coffee, you'll see new parts of the city and new people with lots to tell you.
Shopping-wise, there are a lot of global franchises and chains (Marks and Spencers, Lush, The Body Shop, Zara, Mango etc) - be warned. The Czech Republic may be a cheap country, but the price of the products in these kinds of shops are pretty expensive. More so than in different countries. Alternatively, there are plenty of Czech stores such as Bata to keep you occupied.
There are also a lot of second-hand shops. These can be found all over the place, but if you want to find some of the best, walk up and down Narodni street. You can really get a good bargain here!
And plus, the majority of these global chain places are packed with tourists. It'll totally ruin any attempt you're trying to make to fit in with the locals. You definitely won't get any feel for the local culture. Worst of all, it'll be the same as it is back home. That's not the point of travelling, is it? ;)
By local-supporter, Angharad Owen