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Prague is flaunting a disgusting secret. One that may shock you to your very core. It’s this thing. A once beautiful and glorious thing. Now a common, lying and thieving street food. A delicious delicacy that has turned to the dark side of mass tourism and despair. No, I’m not over reacting at all. The truth is out there if only you look past the cinnamon & sugar sprinkles. Trdelník has ruined Prague.

Has Trdelník Ruined The Charm of Prague?

Yes. No arguments. True story. Let’s move onto another city. But that wouldn’t make me a very good food writer now would it? After my recent trip to Ostrava to attend TBEX, explore Czech and relive my European dreams I discovered this dark and dirty street food secret. Which continues to push out what little remains of the romantic charm of Prague.

I still remember my first trdelník. It was a warm spring afternoon as we walked around the streets of Prague. Armed only with a sense of adventure, the fear of being pick pocketed and our dreams. Prague was the first European city on James and my first European adventure. As we wandered the streets like cheap backpacking tourists that we were I could smell the cinnamon. That sweet scent dragged me down an alley way, across a large open space and lead me to a small angry looking lady watching over a hot coal stove and rotating deliciousness. In a haze of baked good happiness, a total lack of Czech language skills I ordered what was an unknown mystery to me. The treat was still hot, still crisp and soaking in the cinnamon goodness. With that first mouth full I was in love. Pure love and happiness for a mere 40kr. And I ate many trdelník. At a conservative guess I would say I ate 5 over a three day period. Yes I am one of the many to blame for the popularity of this sweet treat. And I am ashamed of myself.

The popularity of cheap trdelník has spread across Prague and indeed across Czech like a horrible cause of undiagnosed herpes.

Fast forward to 2018 and there is barely a street corner, town square or shopping mall that doesn’t have a trdelník touting store. Really you can’t miss them.

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So What’s Wrong With This?

Well firstly, the trdelník has become a bit of a tourist trap. If you do get to talk to the trdelník operator than no doubt they will spin you a tale as wonky as the rotisserie holding the raw trdelník. Some say that the trdelník was a treat from the queen’s personal breakfast table. Others will say it has roots in peasant culture and was popular during pagan festivals and that the funnel shape represents fertility. More commonly you’ll just be told that it’s a very old treat and to buy one for you and one for your friend.

There isn’t any wrong with eating a trdelník. Just realise that it’s a tourist money making trap and enjoy your baked treat if you do decide to partake.

And then the stores do look like a pock mark on the beautiful old areas of Prague (also seen in Cesky Krumlov, Brno and other towns across Czech). There are just so many of them. Oh so many.

Maybe you’d like to see Prague from a different perspective on a 2.5 to 3-hour walking tour of its alternative neighbourhoods and go beyond the usual tourist haunts. Book your tour here.

Trdelnik store
Trdelnik roasting themselves

The Truth of the Trdelník

The real story of the trdelník is of a common method of cooking used across all of Europe and beyond. The Hungarians, Slovaks, and even Turkic peoples of Asia have spun dough on an open flame. The current historical theory on trdelník is that the treat came from Hungary into the Moravia region in the 18th century.

The truth is that no matter how much I hated seeing the dodgy tourist stores around I still have fond memories of eating trdelník in 2011 and on my recent trip to Prague.

You can DIY trdelník at home.

The recipe for trdelník is quite simple. You don’t need an coal fire place either. Though in my experience open flame cooking is one of the most enjoyable and satisfying ways to cook.

Old town Prague

Should You Trdelnik?

Well assuming that you’re an adult then you can make up your own mind. In the hot summer a trdelnik with ice cream is rather tempting. At the time of writing a plain trdelnik was 60kr – $3.65 AU, $2.65 USD. Adding ice cream, sauces and sweet fruits ranged around 120kr.

Instead of trdelnik why not try out a traditional and unique Czech dessert? Such as;

  • Prague Apple Strudl.
  • Makový koláček – Poppy Seed Cake.
  • Medovnik Honey Cake.
  • Marlenka Honey Cake.

If you are after a more traditional experience of Czech style food than I highly suggest that you go on a food tour. You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars, you can get a beer & food tour for less than $50! Book your Czech Food Tour now.

Have you trdelnik’d? Let us know in the comments below. Did you enjoy it? Or was it a colossal disappointment like your high school lover?

Also don’t forget to book your airport transfer into the city of Prague. It’s cheap as chips and makes travelling to and from the city a breeze. Book now.



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Has Trdelník Ruined Prague?


  1. I am a native Czech. I had trdelnik once in Brno, when it appeared. First bite – yum. Second bite – okay. Then I started to feel I have been eating dough forever. Forcing myself to eat half of it, I felt like I was made of dough. I wrapped in tissue to store it for later. It did not get any better, so i regretfully tossed it away.

    Now I hate how it spread like herpes in Prague, pushing out the actually Czech and actually good stuff. I want a vetrník (puff pastry with whip cream and caramel cream), or rakvička (fragile sweet pastry with whipped cream), or špička (chocolate cream dessert filled with eggnog – impossible to prepare at home unless you have special piping tip and lots of skill). But those are M.I.A. in center… instead stands with overpriced burned dough popped up there. Trdelník stand to Prague is like zit on your face before date with that hot guy.

  2. Just heading back from a nice weekend in Prague. Love the city. I made three observations:

    1. Trdelnik is a plague. They’re everywhere and from what I’ve been told, they’re a cointoss. It might be delicious, or it might be horrible.

    2. ATMs everywhere. Euronet branded ATMs exist in nearly every single window and are a eyesore. Rather than damaging the cultural heritage of a beautiful city, there should be designated places for ATMs (like a Bank) that don’t trick you into withdrawing 20,000kr in one go at a rate of €1 = 20kr.

    3. Shady exchange places that give you a terrible exchange rate, or charge you a 30% commission.

    Okay, Rant over!

    • So you pretty much “discovered” what people have been talking about for the past two years? 😛

  3. Been to Prague and tried this ofcourse – I always love to have it but I don’t live in Prague! Thansk for your homemade recipe info! I want to put an ice cream on it! Yummyyyy – like Prague.

  4. Loved our time in Czech. and of course we loved our share of Trdelnik. It is part of the culture and now it is a big tourist draw. As long as we get fresh tasty trdelniks , I am not going to complain 🙂 🙂

  5. I remember having a different version of this called the chimney cake in Budapest Hungary. They too come with different toppings. Great to know about this eat.

    • It’s great to know about an item that is ruining the cultural ambience of a city? Fundamentally the chimney cake and the trdelnik are the same thing.

  6. What an amusing way to talk about trdelnik. When I started the post, I had a fond memory of warm pastry and the smell of cinnamon. But you are right. With the popularity comes knock offs. And all trdelnik are not created equal. I would never want to make them at home. Some things you just need to search for an authentic version.

  7. I have never heard of a trdelnik, but after your blog I think i might need to try it and see if it is as dangerous as you say….lol.

  8. Haven’t been to Prague. Haven’t ate trdelník. Haven’t even heard of it. It looks amazing as an ice cream cone!

  9. I laughed out loud at this! How very dare the Trdelnik’s cheapen Prague like that! You’ll be pleased to know that I did not try one – not because they didn’t look great, but because they were everywhere and I tend to avoid things that are that popular! I did, however, try the Makový koláček which was delicious!

  10. Well, that’s the problem with popular destinations such as Prague. As soon as tourism takes off, enterprising people will try to find a way of making money at the expense of preserving traditions. Those trdelník look pretty yummy. You did well to devour five in three days.

  11. Prague is high on our bucket list, so we’re likely going there in a year or two. When we do, we’ll definitely try some of their trdelník. We’re not sure, but we think that we had some in Budapest several years ago. Are the ones in Prague better than those in Budapest, considering that they’re originally from Hungary? What do you think? Anyway, the yummiest ones must be those with icecream!

    • Well if you want to try a treat that I’ve likened to herpes go for it 😉

  12. Wow Jean, thanks a lot for making my day with a much-needed information. I am traveling freak and I love to travel a lot, and I will definitely make the next trip to Prague to enjoy the best food, best destinations and much more thanks a lot Jean, and please keep on posting these type of best Articles.

  13. I’m curious now, I feel I need to try one, but I’ll wait a few weeks until I’m in Transylvania.

    Thanks for the back-up suggestions!

  14. I don’t think so. We were in Prague for 10 days and we absolutely loved Trdelnik. Different flavors, with or without icecream….. all.
    But yes, it was everywhere! And probably you are right, next time I’ll not be indulging in it so much! 🙂

  15. We went to Prague over 20 years ago and I don’t recall seeing these …… time to revisit!

  16. No way! Trdlelnik’s always awesome and will eat it every chance I get, but the best chimney cake for me is the Hungarian one 🙂


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