Join the revolutionaries with a trip to one of Europe’s most naturally beautiful cities
Scene of grand imperial architecture, popular uprisings and, since the fall of the Berlin Wall, quite a few movies (including Mission Impossible). Have a Prague Spring and you’ll have a ball. Even in October.
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The winding streets of Prague’s Old Town hide a plethora of different souvenir shops, collectively offering everything from mass-produced tat to gorgeous handmade crafts. Browse wisely and there are some treasures to be found – puppets and wooden toys are particularly popular. For a more typical shopping experience, meanwhile, the streets around Wenceslas Square, most notably Na Příkopě, provide plenty in the way of department stores and international brands. North of the Old Town Square, Pařížská Street is full of luxury outlets, while quality Bohemian glass and porcelain can be found at Moser (Na Příkopě 12).
Food & Drink
Any city as popular as Prague knows the importance of providing quality fare, so there are some excellent dining options. The much sought-after Bellevue (Smetanovo nábřeží 18) is set in a handsome 19th-century townhouse with a summer terrace, while the pub-cum-brasserie of Kolkovna (V Kolkovně 8) serves traditional Czech cooking from a location in the Jewish quarter. Elsewhere, vegetarians rave about the healthy, meat-free menus at Country Life (Melantrichova 15). Drinking is integral to the local culture, of course, and the traditional beer tavern at U Zlateho Tygra (Husova 17) remains a no-nonsense spot to get a feel for Prague’s passion for pilsner.
Prague Writers Festival
Drawing respected writers and journalists from the Czech Republic and further afield, this festival offers much for visitors of a literary bent, with public readings and numerous side events, some in English. It takes place in various venues across the city.
Prague International Marathon
One thing Prague provides in spades is inspiring scenery – perhaps a key reason why its springtime marathon draws so many overseas participants. It starts and finishes on the Old Town Square, taking runners through all the key neighbourhoods.
Prague Fringe Festival
A rollicking week of cabaret, theatre and comedy, the Fringe Festival sees Prague in full creative mode. The programme tends to be unpredictable but richly enjoyable, with a number of English-language productions always part of the schedule.
Approaching its eighth decade, this spring festival is widely considered the most important cultural event in the city’s calendar. There’s an emphasis on ‘serious’ music, with classical performers, jazz musicians and big-name conductors all sharing the bill.
A fast-moving celebration of the Roma way of life, Khamoro entwines the various strands of an often-misunderstood culture, from its music to its fashion. There are evening concerts across the week, with a colourful street parade also held.
Location counts for a lot in Prague, where the sumptuous medieval treasures of the old centre have long made the city a prime attraction for overseas visitors. The indulgent Hotel Kings Court (U Obecního domu 3) combines a grand setting next to the Municipal House with a host of modern comforts, including a spa and vodka bar. Also enjoying a plum location is the smaller Archibald At The Charles Bridge (Na Kampě 15), while MOODs Boutique Hotel (Klimentská 28) caters well for those in search of contemporary trends. The three-star Cloister Inn Hotel (Konvitská 14) is a strong option in a lower price bracket.