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All about Prague

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Naplavka

When in Prague, don’t follow the tourist crowds. The city has a lot to offer if you want to explore it like a local. You will find many surprising spots to hang out if you get off the beaten path. One of them, Naplavka, also known as “Prague’s hipster hangout,” is a stretch of pavement along the River Vltava.

It all started with Bajkazyl, a bike shop and bar founded in 2010 by Martin Kontra. When people discovered it, they found the neighborhood irresistible, and soon, other venues popped up. Today, Naplavka stretches from Palackého most to the railway bridge at Vyton. It is a lively spot with buzzy sidewalk cafes and restaurants serving good food and drinks al fresco.

The locals usually come here to spend a couple of hours at a terrace, but other activities may include roller skating, cycling, or attending a cultural event. Evenings are full of laughter, with many live concerts taking place in summer months. The Rašínovo nábřeží embankment in Naplavka is the perfect spot for beautiful panoramic views of the Hradčany Castle too.

On the official website of the Naplavka neighborhood, you can find a map of the boardwalks, practical information, and a list of events. Among the latest, the farmers’ market is a must see. It takes place every Saturday, from 8:00 am till 2:00 pm. Besides fresh flowers, fruit, and vegetables, at this market, you will also find original culinary creations, including cakes, pies, strudels, cookies, fresh juices, ice cream, chocolate, coffee, tea, beer, wine and handmade toys and jewellery. You can also drop in for ready meals at breakfast or lunch. The market is also the occasional site for thematic events like beer and wine festivals, live concerts, and more.

Last, but not least, Naplavka is where you will find four Busking sites. Busking is a musical, theatrical or artistic production run in public places with the purpose of obtaining a cash contribution from passersby. You can find more information here.

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David Černý's Kafka

One of the most delightful ways of discovering Prague is walking in Kafka’s footsteps. More than a walking tour, this is a cultural experience. You can start at Náměstí Franze Kafky where his birth house stood once. Only a door is left from the building where Prague’s beloved novelist and short story writer saw the light of day. You can still see it integrated as the main door of the building standing at Náměstí Franze Kafky 3, next to the Church of St Nicholas.

Kafka spent his childhood (from 1889 till 1896) in the beautiful Dům U Minuty (Staroměstské nám. 3/2 – in the Old Town Square), in English, House at the Minute – a stunning Gothic-style building covered in ornate Sgraffito decorations depicting scenes from Greek mythology, Renaissance, and the Bible.

Dům U Minuty

Have a cup of coffee at Café Franz Kafka before you begin your walk to the Old-New Synagogue (Altneuschul), which is not only the place where Kafka attended religious services, but also Europe’s oldest active synagogue. An edifice dating from 1270, the synagogue was among the first Gothic buildings erected in Prague, and today it remains the oldest surviving medieval synagogue of twin-nave design in existence. The synagogue is open to the public, but they charge an admission fee, so have cash ready.

From here, walk to 16 Dlouhá, where you will find the house where Kafka wrote the bulk of his novel The Trial in 1915. From here, you can walk to Café Louvre (Národní 22), one of the few remaining of Kafka’s favorite haunts. Kafka was not the only famous patron of this monument: Karel Capek and Albert Einstein count among the cherished guests of the locale too. The venue also boasts a non-smoking saloon and restaurant, patisserie, billiards, and in the summer months terrace, plus a gallery with a nice café and a Functionalist style saloon, suitable for exhibitions and other events.

Another Kafka favorite, Palác Lucerna (at Štěpánská 61) still offers a rich cultural program, along with cafes, restaurants, and shops. From here, the Kafka Museum (at Cihelná 635/2b) is 25 minutes on foot.

Kafka is also celebrated in street art, as well as through an impressive monument by David Černý.

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Fall Prague

The UK Post Office Travel Money ranked Prague among the top budget-friendly destinations for UK travelers in 2017. The Czech capital follows European destinations like Algarve (Portugal), Sunny Beach (Bulgaria), Costa del Sol (Spain), and Marmaris (Turkey). The top continues with Paphos (Cyprus), Budapest (Hungary), Sliema (Malta), Corfu (Greece), Porec (Croatia), Sorrento (Italy), and Nice (France). Tokyo (Japan), Cancun (Mexico), and Cape Town (South Africa) are also considered to be among the most affordable destinations for UK vacationers according to the Holiday Money Report 2017.

Top Cheap Destinations 2017

The UK Post Office Travel Money monitors the price of eight tourist items – comprising dinner for two with wine, a range of drinks, suncream and insect repellent to generate its Holiday Money Report. Out of 44 resorts and cities around the world, the report has found that Europe takes 9 of the top 10 places – with Tokyo at number 8 before Sliema and Corfu.

Prague and Budapest offer excellent value accommodation and dining opportunities, as well as quality entertainment year-round. For visitors interested in luxury without paying an arm and a leg, Mamaison offers a good choice of accommodation and dining at the two destinations: Mamaison Hotel Riverside, Mamaison Residence Belgicka, and Mamaison Residence Downtown in Prague, and, in Budapest, Mamaison Hotel Andrassy and Mamaison Residence Izabella. Booking directly on our corporate website guarantees guests the best online prices and a variety of other perks.

Our hotels and residences are centrally located and close to some of the most interesting and attractive tourist and cultural landmarks of the two cities. You can choose Mamaison hotels for accommodation when you travel on business too, as well are equipped to satisfy your needs, offering free WiFi and business amenities. You have dining choices at your Mamaison hotels, or you can explore their neighborhoods to find something for your budget too.

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Fall Prague

Our guests staying at Mamaison Hotel Riverside, Mamaison Residence Belgicka, or Mamaison Residence Downtown enjoy a wealth of attractions within short distance from their hotels. These are some of the things we recommend for first time-visitors.

There’s no charge to enter the grounds of the Prague Castle, but a ticket grants you entrance to the St Vitus’s Cathedral, the Castle museum, the Basilica of St George, the Golden Lane and the Daliborka Tower.

Mamaison Hotel Riverside Prague

Then don’t miss the Old Town Square (Staromestske namesti) and its architectural gems: Church of Our Lady, the Old Town Hall Tower & Astronomical Clock, and the St. Nicholas Church.

Close up of the Prague astronomical clock

Of course, Charles Bridge (Karluv Most) is a must. It is the oldest Prague bridge built in the place of a former Judith Bridge which had been badly damaged by a flood in 1342. The Stone Bridge or Prague Bridge (as it was originally called) was founded by Emperor Charles IV in 1357 and acquired the name Charles Bridge in 1870.

A must see, the Jewish Quarter (Josefov) is surrounded by the Old Town. It is believed that the quarter has its origins in the 10th century, when the first Jews came here. Here you’ll find one of Prague’s best known landmarks, the Old Jewish Cemetery. The most notable personalities buried in the Old Jewish Cemetery are Yehuda ben Bezalel known as the Maharal Rabbi Löw (d. 1609), Mordechai Maisel (d. 1601), David Gans (d. 1613) and David Oppenheim(d. 1736).

The Strahov Monastery and Library (Strahovský kláster) is a temple for tradition and culture. Visitors are encouraged to visit the libraries, which boast over 125,000 volumes – one of the world’s most profound collections of theological texts – and stunning interiors.

In the early 1980s the young citizens of Prague started painting and writing on an otherwise plain wall, covering it up with portraits of John Lennon and The Beatles, and lines from their songs. The Lennon Wall was a constant aggravation for the communist regime of the time. Today it is a symbol of love and peace.

lennon wall

The world-renowned statue of Infant Jesus of Prague (Pražské Jezulátko) can be seen inside the Church of Our Lady Victorious in Malá Strana. The wax statue was brought into Bohemia in 1628 by princess Polyxena von Lobkowitz, who later donated it to the Discalced Carmelites in Prague.

If you’re seeking a place to take a quiet break, look no further than Letna Park. This city oasis is known for attracting locals and tourists alike, especially during hot, summer days.

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David Černý's Kafka

David Černý is a prominent figure in the Czech Republic. A son of Prague, the sculptor has already made a strong mark in the city, and his works represent true landmarks, famous tourist attractions. If you want an alternative to traditional Prague tours, follow the “Černý-path” – and start with his newest addition to the local art scene, the amazing mechanical sculpture known as Kafka at Wenceslas Square. This stunning kinetic sculpture measures 10 m in height, and is entirely made of steel. HepcoMotions Heavy Duty Rings technology enables 42 independently driven layers to move, creating stunning effects.

Just off Wenceslaw Square, at Lucerna Pasaz, you will find another work by Černý, this time an upside-down horse, and St Vitus riding it. It’s a puzzling creation, controversial and often photographed by tourists. Get your camera ready: the journey continues.

Horse

Cross the Charles Bridge, and visit the Franz Kafka museum – “Piss” by David Černý seems to be the main attraction here. The sculpture, which depicts two men peeing into a Czech Republic-shaped fountain, is interactive – you can use your mobile phone to send an SMS and control how the two figures pee.

Piss

Talking about bizarre creations, the Zizkov TV Tower is now known for its grotesque “tower babies,” which are also a vision by Černý. Initially, the babies were supposed to make the tower more attractive. It may not be attractive, but its certainly famous. Controversial art has its effects on people.

tower babies

As you will walk the streets of the city, you will notice other works by Černý: Hanging Out on Husova street, the Brownnosers at the Futura Gallery, and a bizarre “In Utero” sculpture on Dlouhá Street where visitors can step inside to “experience” the womb.

You should not miss Černý’s own center for art, the Meet Factory, which has interesting culture and entertainment programs, art exhibitions, theater and summer cinema, and an artist-in-residence program for visual artists, curators, musicians, theatre directors or writers.

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Prague Castle

Imagine getting lost on the cobbled streets that once witnessed secrete romance stories between blue-blooded Czech royalty, and their Austro-Hungarian rulers. This is when you will understand why Prague is revisited like an urban art gallery, over and over again: its vast arteries are lined up with outstanding landmarks of diverse architectural styles. You could live in the City of a Hundred Spires for a lifetime and still not visit all the great sites that make Prague a true royal city.

And when it comes to art, as in art museums, galleries and artists’ studios open for public visits, Prague truly has more than enough to offer.

Nová galerie is for Czech fine arts. The gallery exhibits local talent, in thematic exhibitions that challenge your imagination, and inspire meaningful dialogues. These are works that exude creativity and adventure, works that inspire you to learn, observe, imitate, develop, and play. Nova also aims to present and support of top Czech artists both at home and abroad. The curators choose artists based on the quality, message and singularity of their works.

nova

Výtvarný ateliér Malování kreslení is a fine art studio and workshop in the center of Prague. They offer classes for children, youth, adults and seniors. The classes and workshops are conducted by academic painters, sculptors, architects and designers.

Berlínskej model is a new, young gallery, also with focus on Czech talent, but they also feature visiting, international artists. The gallery was designed to resemble the art galleries typical to Berlin Mitte. Artists who exhibited here included, among many others, Milan Kohout, Michaela Kuříková, Jan Šerých, Vladimír Turner, Aleksandra Gronowska, and Ivars Gravlejs. You will always find something outstanding to admire.

The art gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts, Galerie AVU, fulfills more than the traditional functions of a gallery: besides its own academy programs, it features events organized by curators, artists and students of other Czech and foreign schools. They always have interesting exhibits, and a schedule of events with focus on diversity and dialog.

DOX Prague

The DOX center of contemporary art is a multi-functional space focusing on the presentation of contemporary art, architecture, and design. However, what truly recommends this place is its predilection for controversial and edgy art. They feature both contemporary Czech and international art, with strong focus on social topics that are shaping and transforming today’s world.

Carnevale Praha

The Prague Carnevale 2016 is a Bohemian event, an Amadeus-style carnival full of surprises. The festival begins with a masquerade on January 29, and ends with a concert of Baroque music at the Clam-Gallas Palace.

The traditional masks meeting takes place at the Old Town Square on January 30, at 15:00 – this is the event that marks the official opening of the carnival. It is followed by the masquerade at 20:00, when there will also be live music performances, as well as food tastings. Some of the most interesting events of the day include the competition for the best mask, and the Race of the Golden Pig. The same day, in the grand residence of the Clam-Gallas Palace, you can attend the concert “In the Gardens of Goddess Pomona,” featuring the Opera Barocca ensemble and soprano Jana Bínová Koucká, under the artistic direction of cellist Ondřej Michal. To attend the concert you need to wear a costume and mask.

Carnevale Praha Masks

A group of people wearing traditional masks at Carnevale Praha 2015, courtesy the official page of the event on Facebook.

The rich program of this year’s edition makes this one of the most promising carnivals in the Czech capital. There will be a Mardi Gras soiree on the 6th and the 7th of February at the palace, after baroque music concerts, part of the famous Prague Opera Barocca, as well as a concert and matinee on January 31. The official carnival stages in the Old Town and Wenceslas Squares will feature theatrical and acrobatic performances hourly for the whole duration of the festival.

There is also a special ball for the smallest attendees, gondola tours on the Vltava, and romantic, Baroque-style carriage rides on the streets of the old town. Don’t worry if you don’t own a costume and mask, there are rentals available at Boudoiru Franzise Wussina, where you will find sublime Baroque dresses and accessories. Here you can also buy handmade original masks.