The first in a series of travel guides created by my darling sister, Claire. An intrepid and well-researched traveller, she has impeccable taste in food, hotels and activities. Here, she explores the cobbled streets of Prague.
Hästens beds. The best sleep in Europe. Need I say more? Michelin recommended restaurant down stairs. Dreamy.
Flashpacker at its best. Grab a double bed. Great location. Given that there are hostel beds available some rooms can get a little loud but great décor and a great price with a comfortable bed.
Of course you should see the usual sites of Prague. Start with the Castle (the biggest ancient castle in the world), wander across the Charles Bridge, watch the Astronomical clock strike 11am and see Wencelas Square, especially during December when it's filled with Christmas Markets.
The Jewish quarter (Josefov) the area was preserved during the Nazi occupation of Prague intended to be a museum of he extinct race therefore a lot of the Jewish artifacts accumulated by the Nazis from all over Europe were sent to Josefov, and some remain today.
The Cubist Museum aka the House of the Black Madonna is one of the first examples of cubist architecture in Prague, and now holds the permanent exhibition of Czech Artist work from furniture to painting. If anyone can locate the famous cubist lamppost I would be indebted to you – I am still looking for it!
Around Prague and FUTURA Gallery Prague you will see the work of renowned Czech sculpter David Černý. My favorites include Two Peeing Guys, housed in the courtyard at the Franz Kafka museum and the very creepy Zizkov TV Tower with (faceless) Crawling Babies.
Petřínská Rozhledna is a miniature version of the Eiffel tower in the park at the top of the Petrin hill. It is well worth the walk up the hill. It gives an incredible view over the river and the entire city.
Café Savoy (est.1893) and Café Louvre (est. 1902) are two of the most famous places to breakfast in Prague. Think a cake starter (I am not kidding), huge portions and hot chocolate made with Valrhona chocolate, in incredible surroundings it is hard to be unhappy.
This is a good place to stop for lunch or a coffee between the Charles Bridge and heading on to the Castle. In the middle of the tourist trail it is located on a surprisingly quiet square in Malá Strana (the "Lesser Town" or "Little Side") - and next to another favourite, Bistro Au Petit Prince - we had hot pear cider and a delicious Waldorf salad. In a city where most food is heavy, filling, fried, or covered in cream, it is great to find something a little lighter. And containing vegetables.
Sansho is my go to if I am going out for dinner. Good seafood is (understandably) hard to find in CZ but Sansho does it. It is a six-course degustation with no menu so make sure you're hungry! In saying that I always get a dessert anyway – their chocolate chip sea salt cookies are to die for!
The crowds in the Old Town can get a little overwhelming at times. Duende is a really centrally situated café/bar but it seems like a world a way. Mix with the Czech hipster locals.
Stick to the hot chocolate – a good coffee is notoriously hard to find.
Try the beer – nearly all beer brewed in the Czech Republic is lager, however over the last couple of years small breweries are on the rise, bringing with them a bit more variety. Do try the unpasteurized Pilsner (Lokal is a good destination) but also try the more unusual beers on offer such as Mead (literally honey beer).
Try the wine – Moravian whites have a great international reputation and I highly recommend Pálava. Although they're not universally good, the bad reputation of Czech reds is undeserved: do try them.
No trip to the Czech Republic is complete without trying some traditional Czech cuisine. My favourites are nakládaný hermelín (pickled camembert) and vepřové koleno (pork knuckle). It is huge, several kilograms, but a must try.