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TRAVEL WITH PANACHE
Destination: Prague
Prague, the city of Kafka, with its maze of alleyways, cobblestone streets and skyline of soaring spires, is the Czech Republic's capital and international crown jewel.
By Bill Chernow 
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Charles Bridge aerial view. Photo courtesy of Czech Tourism.
OVERVIEW

This modern, vibrant and captivating city - home to emerging restaurants, designers, and a new generation of Western-influenced, discerning shoppers – is the envy of the former Communist-bloc capitals. The city's rich, colorful palate of Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance buildings has stood the test of time, emerging from the post Second World War years behind the Iron Curtain, the 1989 bloodless "Velvet Revolution," and the end of communism into a free market economy.

At the heart of Prague lies the Castle District (Hradeany) west of the River Vltava. To the east is the Old and New Town (Stare Mesto and Nove Mesto), which is joined by the majestic Charles Bridge. Nestled on a hill overlooking the city, the Castle District spans two major attractions, the Castle itself and the Cathedral. The Old Town and its meandering passageways, evoke a romantic, fairytale quality as it leads to the Old Town Square, Staromestské Namestí. The old Jewish Quarter, known as the Josefov Ghetto, is situated within the old town. Wenceslas Square, the fashionable shopping boulevard, epitomizes the modern, New Prague.

Prague is a city with cultural offerings galore, with year-round classical music concerts, opera and ballet, not to mention a diverse selection of art galleries and small museums. It has an active nightlife and vast array of wine and beer hubs.

When to Go: Though Prague's high season is in midsummer (sunny, warm days and cool nights), it can get extremely crowded. Ideally, plan your holiday either in spring (April/May), which is temperate and fairly dry, or autumn (September/October), when the weather is pleasant and the crowds have dissipated. Temperatures are just above freezing during winter months.

LUXURY HOTELS

Aria Hotel
Trziste 9, Mala Strana, Prague
+420.225.334.111 www.aria.cz
A stylish and luxurious boutique hotel inspired by the beauty of music, in harmony with an exceptional location adjacent to the exquisite Vrtbovska Garden, offering outstanding amenities and superb service.

Four Seasons Hotel
Veleslavínova 2a, Prague
+420.221.427.000 www.fourseasons.com/prague
Situated on the banks of the celebrated Vltava River, the hotel blends centuries of architecture with highly personalized service and state-of-the-art technology.

Mandarin Oriental
Hotel Nebovidska 459/1, Mala Strana, Prague
+420.233.088.888 www.mandarinoriental.com/prague
On the left bank of the Vltava River, nestled amid the quiet, cobbled streets of Mala Strana and built on the site of a former 14th century monastery with high contemporary design blending seamlessly with period architectural features, this is not only a luxury hotel, but a beautifully preserved piece of history.

Carlos IV
Senovazne namesti 13, Prague
+420.224.593.111 prague.boscolohotels.com
A majestic luxury hotel in downtown Prague with spacious rooms, fine furnishings, and refined ambience.

Hotel Palace Praha
Panská 12, Prague
+420.224.093.111 www.palacehotel.cz/en/home
Incomparable luxury in an Art Nouveau-style architectural landmark located in the heart of the city.

Hotel Savoy
Keplerova 6, Prague
+420.224-302.430 www. savoyhotel.cz/en/home
Elegant comfort in Prague's diplomatic quarter.

Hotel Le Palais
U Zvonařky 1, Prague
+420.234.634.111 www.palaishotel.cz/en/home
A former residential palace located in an exclusive residential area of Prague.

Hotel Hoffmeister Lily Wellnes & Spa
Pod Bruskou 7, Prague
+420.251.017.111 www.hoffmeister.cz
A luxuriously restored family residence at the foot of the Old Castle and inspired by writer and artist Adolf Hoffmeister (1902-1973).

MaMaison Pachtuv Palace
Karolíny Světlé 34, Prague
+420.234.705.111 www.pachtuvpalace.com
A beautiful baroque residence situated on the right bank of the Vltava river.

Riverside MaMaison Hotel
Janáčkovo nábřeží 15, Prague
+420.225.994.611 www.riversideprague.com
Behind a unique, Art Nouveau façade, a bold design with stunning Belle Epoque interiors.

Hotel Maximilian
Haštalská 14, Prague
+420.225.303.111 www.maximilianhotel.com
Artistic innovation incorporating elements of chrome, glass and onyx in a fusion of art deco, modernist and contemporary design.

FOOD & WINE

  • FINE DINING
  • Coda Restaurant
    Trziste 9, Mala Strana, Prague
    +420.225.334.764 www.codarestaurant.cz
    Since its debut in early 2003, Coda has become a culinary destination for discerning gourmands and oenophiles alike. Located at the stylish Aria Hotel, and under the direction of Chef David Šašek, the vibrant and ever changing menu offers guests international cuisine accompanied by an excellent selection of fine wine.

    Allegro
    Veleslavinova 2a, Prague
    +420.221.427.000 www.fourseasons.com/prague
    Price Entrees: 640Kc-1,700Kc ($31-$82).
    This outstanding and award-winning restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel offers Prague's best Italian cuisine.

    La Degustation
    Hastalska 18, Prague
    +420.222.311.234 www.ladegustation.cz
    Prix fixe CZK 1750-2450 ($88-$122).
    Three sumptuous, seven-course tasting menus featuring Continental recipes, daily market specials and traditional Czech dishes. A sleek, new restaurant opened in 2006.

    Maze
    V Celnici 7, Prague
    +420.221.822.300 www.gordonramsay.com/mazeprague
    Main CZK600 ($32.80)-CZK700 ($38.25); 7 course small plate dinner CZK 1795 ($98).
    One of Prague's new culinary destinations, the year-old Maze at the Hilton Prague Old Town, offers Central-European Cuisine with Asian influences with an inspiring interior invoking the architecture of the city of Prague.

    U Malíru
    Maltézské nám. 11, Prague
    +(42) 257-530-000 www.umaliru.cz
    Main courses 480Kc-2,390Kc ($23-$114/£11-£57); fixed-price menus 1,190Kc ($57/£28) and 1,790Kc ($85/£43).
    With a historical legacy dating back to 1543, U Maliru offers a combination of traditional cuisine, sumptuous wines and historical interior.

  • BARS, PUBS & CLUBS
  • Corner Bar and Bistro
    Manesova 64, Prague
    +420.222.724.581 www.barandbooks.cz
    No cover.
    A cigar bar with ambience and a wide selection of spirits.

    Lávka
    Novotneho lávka 1, Prague
    +420.222.222.156 www.lavka.cz
    Cover 50Kc ($2.40/£1.20).
    Featuring techno-dance tunes under the Charles Bridge, with outdoor terrace and riverside outdoor seating. Boats available for rental at 200Kc ($9.50/£4.75) per hour.

    U staré paní
    Michalská 9, Prague
    +420.224-228.090 www.jazzlounge.cz
    Cover 150Kc-200Kc ($7.15-$9.50/£3.55-£4.75).
    An attractive jazz club with great bands in the heart of Old Town.

    WHAT TO DO

  • LANDMARKS, MUSEUMS & PERFORMING ARTS
  • National Theater
    Národní trída 2, Prague
    Nové Mesto (New Town)
    +420.224.901.668 www.pis.cz
    This magnificent, gold-crowned structure, completed in 1881, epitomizes northern Italy's late Renaissance style. It is one of Prague's most recognizable landmarks and is the site of the National Theater Ballet.

    Estates' Theater
    Address Ovocný trh 1, Prague
    Staré Mesto (Old Town)
    +420.224.901.448 www.nd.cz
    The neoclassical theater where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart staged the premier of Don Giovanni in 1787.

    Prague Symphony Orchestra-Smetana Hall
    Námestí Republiky 5, Prague
    +420.222.002.336 www.fok.cz
    Located in the world-renowned Art Nouveau structure named for the legendary composer and fervent Czech nationalist.

    State Opera House
    Wilsonova 4, Prague
    +420.224.227.266 www.opera.cz
    A Renaissance-style theater first erected in the 1880's.

    The Czech Philharmonic at Rudolfinum
    Alsovo nábrezí 12, Prague
    +420.227.059.227 www.rudolfinum.cz
    An impeccably restored 19th century landmark named for Prince Rudolph, featuring mostly chamber music concerts.

    Alfons Mucha Museum
    Panská 7, Nové Mesto, Prague
    +420.224-216.415 www.mucha.cz
    A relatively new museum dedicated to the Moravian-born, turn-of-the-20th-century master who personified Art Nouveau.

    Franz Kafka Museum
    Cihelná 2b, Hergetova Cihelna, Malá Strana, Prague
    +420.257-535-507 www.kafkamuseum.cz
    The museum is dedicated to the legacy of Prague's most famous writer.

    Museum of the City of Prague
    Na Porící 52, Prague
    +420.224.816.773 www.muzeumprahy.cz
    This Renaissance building features an impressive miniature model of 18th-century Prague, as well as other exhibitions spanning Prague's history through the millennia.

    Church of St. Nicholas
    Malostranské nám. 1, Malá Strana, Prague
    +420.257.534.215 www.psalterium.cz
    Designed in the early 1700's, the Church is considered the most beautiful building of Czech Baroque. Its robust dome and thin bell-tower are an inseparable part of the Prague Castle skyline.

    Old Jewish Cemetery
    Siroká 3, Prague
    +420.222.317.191 www.jewishmuseum.cz
    One of Europe's oldest Jewish burial grounds, traced to the mid-15th century.

    Old-New Synagogue
    Cervená 2, Prague
    +420.222.317.191 www.synagogue.cz
    One of Prague's great Gothic structures, the synagogue is Europe's oldest remaining Jewish house of worship, estimated to have been built in 1270.

  • SHOPPING
  • Palladium
    Námestí Republiky 1, Prague
    +420.225.770.250 www.palladiumpraha.cz
    Two hundred shops, including dozens of fine brands, and 30 restaurants built on the site of a historic Army barracks.

    Moser
    Na Príkope 12, Prague
    +420.224.211.293 www.moser-glass.com
    The family behind Bohemia's finest, most exquisite crystal in central Prague dates back to 1857.

    Botanicus
    Týn 3, Prague
    +420.234.767.446 www.botanicus.cz
    Prague's popular chain of natural scent, soap, and herb shops.

    Halada
    Na Príkope 16, Prague
    +420.224.221.304 www.halada.cz
    Prague's premier jeweler, with one of the finest selections of market-priced gold, silver, platinum, and fine gems.

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