The SL City Guide To… Prague

A chic European hotspot, Prague comes into its own during the winter months when its Christmas markets brim with festive treats, ice skating rinks pop up around the city, and the main attractions aren’t overrun with tourists. Here’s how to spend a long weekend in the Czech capital.
ANDREW FRIEDRICH/UNSPLASH

WHERE TO STAY

Boho Hotel

This boutique hotel set in a former art-deco post office has been given a slick makeover in recent years. Just a five-minute walk from Prague’s Old Town, guests will appreciate the cleverly designed rooms and modern interiors. Book a spacious suite for a weekend trip – all of which have eye-catching marble bathrooms with fluffy towels and robes – and make your way around the nearby cafés and bars to sample the local produce. The hotel also has an impressive spa, gym and library, as well as a modern restaurant and bar which hosts regular jazz nights. 

Rooms from £128 per night.

Visit MrAndMrsSmith.com

Alchymist Grand Hotel and Spa

Easily one of the smartest hotels in the city, Alchymist is in a great location, right next to Prague Castle and the famous Charles Bridge. Set within four houses dating back to the 16th century, the hotel has grand interiors that look like something out of a medieval castle – think plush furniture and opulent accents throughout. There are 27 rooms and 19 suites to choose from – all with spacious marble bathrooms – as well as an on-site spa, and the award-winning Italian restaurant Aquarius. 

Rooms from £165 per night. 

Visit AlchymistHotel.com

Mandarin Oriental

In Prague’s historic Malá Strana district, Mandarin Oriental Prague is surrounded by cobbled streets and impressive landscaped gardens. Guests can choose to stay in modern rooms with city views or suites with floor-to-ceiling windows and Prague-inspired artwork. Guests can enjoy treatments at the spa before eating at Spices Bar & Lounge which offers all-day dining and cocktails in the evening until 10pm.

Rooms from £200 per night. 

Visit MandarinOriental.com

Four Seasons Hotel Prague

The Four Seasons has beautiful views of Prague Castle and Charles Bridge, which are just a short walk away. Ideal for special occasions, the hotel has everything you need to enjoy a long weekend, from luxurious rooms and spacious suites to a spa with treatments by Omorovicza, and full room service. The hotel’s Italian restaurant Cotto Crudo is one of the best in the city, while the adjoining bar is the perfect place to enjoy a glass or two of champagne after a long day of sightseeing. Couples should book a Premier River Room with views of the Vltava, but if you want to go all out, choose one of the Duplex Suites.

Rooms from £308 per night.

Visit FourSeasons.com

Le Palais Art Hotel Prague

If you don’t want to stay in the city centre, Le Palais Art Hotel is in the trendy neighbourhood of Vinohrady, which is lined with art-deco buildings, small cafés and nightclubs. One of the most affordable options on this list, guests can choose from 72 accommodation options, ranging from standard rooms to spacious luxury suites with balconies overlooking the city skyline. There’s also a basement spa with an array of facilities, plus the Artista restaurant with two grand dining rooms.  

Rooms from £70 per night.

Visit LePalaisHotel.eu

Mama Shelter

Regular SL readers will know how much we rate Mama Shelter for a fun weekend – you can’t go wrong at its hotel in Prague. Slightly further away from the main attractions, the hotel is a ten-minute tram ride from the Old Town. Set over ten floors, rooms have modern décor with fun accents dotted throughout, plush linens on the beds, and organic toiletries in the en-suites. Ideal for a girls’ trip, groups can have drinks at the rooftop bar and order sharing dishes to the restaurant’s large communal tables. During weekends, resident DJs play until the early hours. 

Rooms from £110 per night.

Visit MamaShelter.com

Aria Hotel

Offering great value for money, Aria is a charming boutique hotel full of character. A five-minute walk from Charles Bridge, the surrounding area has baroque palaces, churches and gardens. After an extensive renovation three years ago, rooms and suites are spread across four floors, each devoted to a different music genre: contemporary, classical, opera and jazz. Rooms have modern interiors, and the en-suites have fluffy bathrobes and slippers, free-standing baths or rainfall showers, and Molton Brown toiletries. Guests can also dine in the hotel’s two restaurants and enjoy private access to the nearby Unesco-protected Baroque garden Vybta.

Rooms from £172 per night.

Visit AriaHotel.net

WHERE TO EAT & DRINK

La Dégustation Bohême Bourgeoise

For Michelin-star dining, book a table at La Dégustation, set withing a historic building in the city centre. Diners can choose fom three or five-course set menus with paired wines, featuring traditional Czech dishes. The current all-day dining menu includes duck with pear and currants, fallow deer with truffle and egg yolk, and sunchoke served with caramel sauce and cream. 

Visit LaDegustation.Cz

Café Savoy

One of the biggest and most popular cafés in Prague, Café Savoy has a buzzy atmosphere. Whether you’re stopping for coffee or eating in the spacious dining area, there’s plenty to choose from, including giant pastries, traditional Czech breakfasts and lunchtime favourites like chicken schnitzel with potato salad. You can even place your order online and pick it up for a quick bite on the go. 

Visit CafeSavoy.ambi.Cz

Au Gourmand

This French patisserie always has a tempting selection of pastries, cakes and desserts to choose from. Get to Au Gourmand first thing to enjoy coffee and freshly baked croissants, or stop by at lunch for toasties and sweet treats like chocolate éclairs, mini lemon meringue pies and custard slices. 

Visit @AuGourmand

Divinis

This elegant Italian restaurant gets booked up quickly, so be sure to reserve a table in advance. In the Old Town, it serves rustic, seasonal dishes alongside an extensive menu of Italian wines. Mediterranean plates include linguine vongole, veal tartare with truffle, grilled calamari in pomodoro sauce, taglioni with wild boar ragu, and quail with buttery mashed potatoes. Be sure to leave room for dessert – we like the sound of the hazelnut tartlet with orange caramel. 

Visit Divinis.Cz

WHERE TO SHOP

Naplavka Farmers Market

Prague’s main farmers market is spread across the bridges over the river Vltava. Running every Saturday morning, visitors can choose from seasonal fruit and veg, bread, foraged mushrooms, a selection of cheeses, and organic eggs. 

Parizska Street

If designer shops are your thing, make a beeline for Parizska Street on the edge of the Old Town. This bourgeois street has a selection of jewellery, accessory and fashion stores like Cartier, Prada, Acne and Chloé. Look out for small cafés dotted in between each shop if you’re in need of refreshments. 

Pragtique

Pragtique is a lovely souvenir shop where you’ll find a range of unique keepsakes and gifts. From homeware and postcards to t-shirts and tote bags, items feature subtle motifs of some of Prague’s most famous landmarks. We love the panorama notebooks.

Visit Pragtique.com

Shakespeare & Sons 

Tucked away on a back alley in Krymska, this bookshop might look unassuming from the outside, but it’s actually the largest independent bookstore in Prague. With every genre on offer, you could easily spend a whole afternoon browsing on each floor, with many books sold in English. Regular readings and events take place in the cellar, from art exhibitions and live concerts to open mic nights.

WHAT TO DO

Charles Bridge

One of Prague’s most famous sites, this 14th-century stone bridge connects the two sides of the city. With fairy tale views, tourists often stop halfway to capture the best of both sides – Prague castle on one, the Old Town on the other. During the winter months, skip the daytime crowds and walk over the bridge at dawn or late at night.

Astronomical Clock

Every hour, visitors stand beneath the Old Town Hall Tower to watch the Astronomical Clock strike. One of Europe’s most famous landmarks, the clock has four figures representing vanity, greed, death and pagan invasion. On the hour, Death rings a bell and flips his hourglass, and the 12 apostles parade past the windows above the clock, nodding to the crowd. 

Old Town Square

Back in the 10th century, Prague’s principal public square was home to the city’s biggest marketplace. Today, it’s one of Europe’s most impressive urban spaces. Honey-coloured buildings with red tile rooftops surround the square, while jazz bands and street artists perform year-round.

Jewish Museum

This museum consists of seven Jewish monuments, including five synagogues, the Old Jewish Cemetery and Ceremonial Hall. After the Nazis invaded and filled the museum with valuable items from across Europe, it now contains the world’s largest collection of sacred Jewish artefacts. Tickets include entry to all the monuments. 

Visit JewishMuseum.Cz

PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARTIN KRCHNACKE/UNSPLASH

St Vitus Cathedral 

Built over 600 years ago, St Vitus is one of the most impressive and lavishly decorated cathedrals in Europe. With an interesting mix of gothic, renaissance and baroque architecture, the building has beautiful stain-glass windows and vaulting inside. A must-see.

Tram 22

One of the best ways to explore the city is via its tram system, Tram 22 being one of the oldest and most scenic routes to take. A great way to tick several sights off your list, it passes the National Theatre, the river Vltava, Mala Strana and Prague Castle. Easily recognised by its 1960s-style red cars, you won’t miss it during a trip. 

Mecca 

If you want to go out out, make a beeline for Mecca, one of the city’s trendier nightclubs. Spread over three floors, DJs play house music until the early hours, while dancers hype up the crowd with light shows. Arrive from midnight to catch the party in full swing.

Visit Mecca.Cz

Prague Castle

Prague Castle looks like something straight out of a fairy tale, with sky-high spires, towers and palaces that dominate the skyline over Charles Bridge. You can visit some of the many buildings within the castle walls, including museums and galleries home to world-famous Czech art.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY YOGENDRA NEGI/ UNSPLASH

The Details

Current Travel Info: UK travellers can enter the Czech Republic providing they can show proof they’re fully vaccinated. You will also need to fill in a Passenger Locator Form and present it on arrival.

Flight Time: The flight from London to Prague takes just under two hours. The main airport is Václav Havel. 

Average Temperature: During the winter months, average temperatures range between -1° and 8°C.

Currency: Czech koruna.

Time: GMT + 1 hour.

 

*DISCLAIMER: Travel restrictions are changing daily, so please check the latest government advice and entry requirements to the Czech Republic before you book anything. Visit Gov.uk for more information

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