Prague is a beautiful city with millions of tourists heading to Prague Castle, Charles bridge and other sightseeing highlights every year. However, not everything in Prague is a must see. There is couple of things that you may easily skip without regretting it such as Golden Lane at the Prague Castle, Klementinum Library – visit the Strahov Monastery Baroque library instead and the overpriced and poor serviced Lokal restaurant at Dlouha street.
And here is why. Continue reading “3 things to avoid in Prague”→
I was walking through Wenceslas Square in Prague today, (I will admit it is not my favorite place) and noticed this quiet little courtyard. I couldn’t believe it. Is it really a tea room?! Really at Wenceslas Square? At this busy place, full of tourists, noise, shops and some bizarre offers made by even more bizarre people?
So I walked in the courtyard and I found myself in a bamboo garden (OK, so only a little bamboo garden) with people sitting outside at little tables, sipping tea.
If you like to take a rest while avoiding tourist traps of Prague, check this Dobra Cajovna (A Good Tea Room) at Wenceslas Square No. 14, Prague 1 just few steps from Bata shoe store.
You may not notice this place when exploring Kampa island and its romantic corners. When coming from Charles Bridge, head accross the park and keep on the left side. You will soon see the giant babies, an art work by famous and according to some controverrsial artist, David Cerny. You are almost there – the Kampa Museum, a former mill owned by Sova family in 15th century – thus the original name, Sova Mill or Sovovy mlyny in Czech.
The building was rescued by a Czech-American art collector, Mrs. Meda Mladek who supported Czech artists during the comunism era together with her husband, Jan V. Mladek, one of the top officers of the International Monetary Fund after WWII. Meda Mladek returned to then Czechoslovakia after 1989 and turned the mill building into a muzeum and art gallery featuring an exquisite art collection of Frantisek Kupka, a co-founder of abstract art and cubism. The gallery belongs to leading Central European art centers regularly hosting avant-gard exhibitions attracting visitors and modern art enthusiasts from all over the world.
The place is magic, romantic, offering beautiful sights of Prague. Enjoy coffee or glass of wine in the Museum cafe, definitely visit the Museum shop and do not forget to stop by at the Praying Monk statue – Mr. Harmony.
Get the feel with a Prague Travel Concierge Kampa Video.
Look for the small park in front of Old-New Synagogue, you will find a beautiful sculpture of Moises, work of a Czech symbolist and Art Nouveau sculptor, Frantisek Bilek. The bronze sculpture shows Moises on his knees, writing the name of “Adam”. The sculpture was placed in the park near the Synagogue in 1937 (although Bilek completed it in 1905). The German Nazzis removed the sculpture and melted it 1940. Fortunately, the widow of Frantisek Bilek kept the plaster model so the bronz cast of Moses was re-done and it was placed in the park again after World War II in 1946.
After you visit the Hybernska street secondhand bookstore (ANTIKVARIAT) in Prague, you may want to check another bookstore just few steps from here. When you leave the bookstore, facing the trainstation, head to the left side and turn to left on the corner. You should be at the Dlazdena street. Look for Dlazdena No. 5. There is another secondhand bookstore. A bit smaller than the first one but still quite interesting. You may find some English language books but what is really nice are the old photographs and some artwork. This store is in the same place for ages. I remember walking by as a small girl wondering why would someone buy an old book. Now I know, whether you buy or not, it is always an adventure. And usually it is a bargain.
Enjoy and check back to Prague Travel Concierge, I will add more Prague secondhand bookstores soon.
Antikvariat Dlazdena No. 5, Prague 1
Opening hours Mo – Fri 9 am to 6 pm’, Sat 9 am to 1 pm
If you feel like you are ready for an Italian breakfast in Prague, I will recommend stopping by at La Bottega di Finestra at Platnerska street No. 11. This is a place to enjoy coffee, scrambled eggs with Fontina cheese, Eggs Benedict or croissant (OK, it is French but with Italian coffee…?). Do not expect great views, but still a strategic location. Charles Bridge and Old Town Square are just 5 minutes of walk from here as well as the Jewish Quarter being 10 minutes of walk. So starting the day or stopping by for a quick bite to eat during the day may be a good idea. Price range $$$
Want to taste the real Czech kolache, strudel or babovka (poundcake or Gugelhupf in German)? Head to Jungmannova street No. 7 to Bakefactory. Very simple bakeshop with coffee and Czech type of pastry. The counter looks like my grandma’s kitchen. The place opens at 7.30 (I know, you may check in a bit later, it is your vacation) and if you are looking for a quick and easy Czech breakfast, this may be your place. Price range $
When you are at Jungmannova street, check the Home Kitchen, a bistro across the street from Bakefactory. Home kitchen serves breakfasts (I admit, I never had one here) and daily menu, but quite hard to get a table at lunch time. Really nice soups (I did have many soups here). Price range $.
Chlebicky, a genius Czech invention, open face sandwiches that Mr. And Mrs. Paukert, the owners of once best deli in town, invented for Czechoslovak movie stars back in the First Republic (1918 – 1939). Czechs love them, no real celebration at work or at home happens without chlebicky. There are couple of places where you can enjoy chlebicky in Prague. Do not look for fancy staff, get the real Czech thing – Liberske lahůdky at Vodičkova street No. 9or Golden Cross Deli (Zlaty kriz lahůdky) at Jungmannovo namesti (square). Heads up no tables to sit, you wait at the counter, point the chlebiceks you want and you get your package (you can eat it in the shop at the small tables – however it may be better to grab you chlebicek and enjoy it at the bench in the adjacent Frantiskanska garden. When you stand infront of the statue of Mr. Jungmann (a leading figure of the Czech National Revival in 19th century) look for the entrance to the garden on your right hand). Unfortunately, the historical Paukert Deli at Narodni trida is closed at the moment but you can at least read about the family history here. Price range $.
Wherever I travel, I always look for second hand book stores. I like 1 hour instant payday loans them. Old books that can tell stories. It would not be Prague without many second hand book stores – Antikvariat – in Czech. Some of these shops look like a set for a movie or they make you feel like you are entering a completely different world.
The one, well hidden “anitkvariat” that I really like is Podzemni antikvariat – Underground second hand bookstore in Czech. I will admit that I did not know about it but then a friend of mine told me „You have to go there, it is interesting.” It is located at Hybernská street 22, opposite the side entrance to the Masaryk railway station. The street by itself is nothing special, many cheap and unattractive stores. But look for No. 22 and enter into the building. Yes, you will see bizarre paintings on the walls and ceiling but keep going and follow the ANTIKVARIAT signs. There is a staircase leading down to the bookstore and there it is – books, boxes of books, books on the tables, books on the floor, everywhere. And old drawings, paintings, old postcards, posters, junk, just look around. No matter whether you want to buy an old Czech book (look for the locked glass cabinet in one of the rooms), enjoy the very Prague atmosphere or you will like one of the „artworks“, it is a place worth of a visit. I saw couple of English language books, too.
Look for Tynská, Stupartska and Mala Stupartska streets. Look carefully as there is no sign UNGELT. This courtyard is just off the Old Town Square behind the Tyn Church. It is one of the most important historical sites in Prague, a block of buildings, probably built in the 11th century, was originally a fortified merchants’ yard, where customs duties – ungelt – were collected. The most important building here is the Granovský Palace with its arcaded loggia, one of Prague’s best preserved Renaissance treasures with beautiful sgraffito. Little street cafes in summer or mulled wine in winter. There is an interesting collection of modern art in the street, Botanicus shop with organic herbal cosmetics and a beautiful Czech hand made glass design shop MATERIAL, you should stop by it is worth a visit.