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.
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.
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.
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.
Kafka at Wenceslas Square. This stunning kinetic sculpture by David Černý' 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fall is a magical season, because nature displays an amazing coat of colors, and although “leaf peeping” is not necessarily a favorite pastime of the locals, there are still many awe-inspiring places that no one can resist in the Autumn. One of them, a true paradise on earth, is a mere 90 km drive from Prague, s the first nature reserve in the Czech Republic, Český Ráj. In English, you would call this the “Bohemian Paradise,” and that’s precisely what it is.
Hrubá Skála Chateau and Trosky
Castles and Magic Kingdom Wonders
Český Ráj is a place of rare beauty, a landscape worthy of exploring a lifetime, peppered with outstanding architectural structures, which integrate among the sandstone rocks in perfect harmony. The view of the ruins among the colors of the Fall is breathtaking, inspiring artists and poets alike. Words cannot do justice to what the eyes can take in in a mere second. The Czech Republic’s largest designated area of natural beauty covers about 182 km², and it is hard to pinpoint its boundaries. But consider Turnov, Jičín and Mnichovo Hradiště as rough delimitation points, and, as you start your journey around the Bohemian Paradise, you will explore some of the country’s most scenic townships, quaint villages, hills and caves, beech and maple forests, meadows and river valleys.
And then, the castles and chateaus of Český Ráj are the stuff of fairy-tales. They rise among the loveliest landscapes imaginable, standing high atop sandstone rocks, some with honey-hued rooftops, others with white, pristine walls, and undulating architectural accents. The impressive Hrad Kost is built on a spit between two brooks, at the intersection of three valleys – Plakánek, Prokop´s, and Černý Pond. It is one of the few privately-owned historic monuments, which can be visited by the public. Due to its beautiful architecture, and fortunate location, the castle is a favorite wedding venue in Český Ráj.
Mnichovo Hradiště, a spectacular baroque estate, is another beautiful landmark of the Bohemian Paradise. Granted, this is not a solitary landmark, but it is interesting for the variety of cultural events it hosts, and for its museum. Better for leaf peeping would be the ruins of Rotštejn Castle, which grace the nature reserve Klokočské rock.
From the top of Rotštejn you can see the beautiful colors of the Klokočské Rocks, with leafy trees among sandstone rocks. Or, for even more impressive colors of Autumn, the Valdštejn Castle in Hruboskalsko near Turnov is a must. Surrounded by lush forestry, the cliff castle is visited by around 60,000 tourists every year. Just one hour walk from this castle you will find the Hrubá Skála rock town, at the end of the hike on the Golden Trail. Or hike up to the Hlavatice cliff lookout nearby, for breathtaking of Turnov, Kozákov, Ještěd, Bezděz, Ralsko and the hills of the Central Czech Highlands.
These are just some of the wonders of the Bohemian Paradise, a favorite destination for cycling, as the area is covered by a dense network of marked bike trails, which can be also traveled on skis during winter. Most trails are easy to hike, and suitable for travelers of all ages. They are clearly marked, in different colors, and usually short. For even more adventures in the area, consider canoeing on the Jizera River. Other activities include rock climbing, horseback riding, paragliding and hot air balloon rides.
August ends with an ice cream festival in Prague, but the fun is just about to become: come September, the city continues to celebrate all kinds of things that inspire travelers and locals alike. But, if you want to say “goodbye,Summer!” in style, the Prague Exhibition Grounds (Výstaviště Praha) are the place to be on Sunday, August 30, for Prague’s coolest festival. Get your family and friends, and go to enjoy a world of flavors, from local ice cream makers, and from international visiting exhibitors. You can partake in tasting sessions, and enjoy the day in a beautiful environment with an interesting program.
Then, in September, visit the Prague City Gallery at Troja Castle (Zámek Troja) for even more gourmet treats. Prague’s Foodparade is at its 5th edition. This is a family-friendly event, with an interesting children’s corner, beautifully decorated, with colorful balloons, where kids can join a cooking workshop, draw and play. Adults can enjoy gourmet cuisine prepared by famous local chefs and by luxury boutique restaurants. Of course, the festival couldn’t be complete without artisan wines, delicious coffee, good beer, exotic cocktails and delicacies from around the world. The festival lasts two days, from September 5 to 6.
KampART 2015 on September 5 is an open air event, with free entrance. It will feature urban music and art, at Kampa, a park on an island between the Vltava River and its side branch, Čertovka. This is also where you will find Kampa’s pottery market from September 5 to 6, which will also feature a cultural program for the whole family. Kampa is also home to Museum Kampa, another Prague must-see. Plus, this beautiful island is regarded as one of the most romantic spots in the city.
What would September be without the Dvořák Prague festival? This kicks off on September 6, and lasts till September 23. It takes place at different locations around the city, and will feature the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, led by Christoph von Dohnányi, and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Soloists will include such brilliant artists as Piotr Anderszewski, David Garrett, Lisa Batiashvili, and Gautier Capuçon, among many others. Check out the listed website for information and full schedule.
If you want something different, the first American-style Low&Slow barbecue festival in the Czech Republic is scheduled for September 12 and 13, and it’s called Bohemian Bluegrass. 24 professional BBQ teams from around the world will gather at Smíchovská náplavka – Smíchov riverside to cook chicken, pork ribs, pulled pork, and beef brisket in a competition for cash and prizes, and for a chance to compete in the Jack Daniels World Championship in Tennessee. Of course, you are invited to taste their creations. The family-friendly event is free for children. Some of the most talented musicians in the Czech Republic will play bluegrass music to entertain visitors during the festival.
To end the first half of the month, we’d like to recommend the Ladronkafest at Ladronka – Sports and Recreation Area on September 12, 2015. This is the largest leisure time festival in Central Europe, featuring concerts, extreme sports, creative workshops, and much more. Free admission.
Summers are the best time to explore this magnificent city, and nothing can be more fun than to visit it with little explorers, who will enjoy many of the beautiful things Prague has to offer. The parks are true oases of green, fresh and landscaped to resemble palatial gardens, with colorful flowers, and tall trees.. The streets are equally welcoming, with something fascinating at each turn: here a street artist blowing huge soap bubbles, there a cozy cafe that serves out of this world chocolates and desserts. And sure, there are always those attractions designed exclusively with children in mind.
Merlin’s KinderWelt is located more than 2 ½ hours drive from Prague, in Chvalovice, but it is well worth the trip, for a great family day out: visitors will enjoy bumper boats and bumper cars, Archimedean screws, Carnival carousel, butterfly-shaped cart for two persons, Children’s train, Ferris wheel, climbing frames, kiddy bob, nautic jets, mini golf, racing course and much more.
Mirakulum is about 50 minutes drive from Prague, in Milovice, and local children love it, especially for its mini zoo with donkeys, sheep and goats that kids are allowed to pet. But there’s much more to explore and play with at Mirakulum: a wooden castle with slides, suspension bridges, giant swings, mazes, climbing frames, and tunnels, and much, much more. You will see many people gathered around barbecues, playing, or just relaxing in the sun.
If you cannot leave Prague, but you are looking for a safe playground for children, try Hafikov: this is a great choice rain or shine, as it is an indoor area, at the Galerie Nove Butovice. There are toys, slides, and everything your child could need to have a blast. You can shop while children play safely, and, if you get hungry, enjoy a slice of pizza or another snack at Pizza metropol.
To escape the heat of the summer, and to splash around in a water park, head over to Hlavní Město Praha for Aquacentru Šutka. This offers many attractions, including Finnish sauna, steam bath and 50 m indoor pool, suitable for recreational swimming and competitions, as well as training pool, ideal for mothers and children.
The Funicular Railway is also a wonderful activity to do with children. The ride is fascinating, taking you from Lesser Town all the way up to Petrin Hill.
The National Marionette Theatre (Narodni divadlo marionet) is a must see: it still plays Mozart’s Don Giovanni using classic marionettes. But it also offers other puppet performances for both adults and children.
Finally, Sea World, at the city zoo is both fascinating and educational. At the Výstaviste fairgrounds you’ll also find a number of other popular attractions, such as the Krizík Fountain. The most fascinating exhibition of the Sea World is the GALERIE KROKODÝL which offers a view of the dangerous world of alligators, caimans and crocodiles, including their regular feeding.
Prague, the eternal romantic city, is also a great place to explore with children. There are many beautiful attractions, hands-on interactive exhibitions in some of Prague’s most prestigious museums, parks and gardens with fun-filled playgrounds, other outdoors recreational and educations opportunities, and finally, festivals aimed to bring laughter and joy in participants of all ages.
This summer, don’t miss the open-air exhibition project Sculpture Line, with unique artworks scattered all around the city, from the Václav Havel Airport, to the Prague Botanical Garden and the Zoo, on to the National Theatre’s Piazzetta, and so on. You can find a complete list of locations on the official website of the festival, as well as detailed information about the works, and about the artists who exhibit this year on the streets of Prague.
Behind the Door is an international street theater festival, which takes place in Wenceslas and Jungmann Squares in the city center, but also on the premises of the Prague Exhibition Grounds. The festival is free of charge, and open to visitors of all ages, as well as to local residents. From 13 to 18 July this year you can expect clowns and street performers of international caliber, open air shows at night, lights and laughter, music and dance.
Letní Letná is at its 12th edition this year! The International Festival of Contemporary Circus and Theatre in Prague will take place from mid August (16) to early September (3) – the perfect conclusion to a summer of active fun. The programme includes street art and open air shows, photographic exhibitions, workshops of new circus, encounters of professionals working in the field, projections of recordings of selected foreign productions, concerts, and much more. A large part of the festival was created with children in mind: kids may choose from five shows per day, and they can also partake in several workshops of graphic arts (free of charge).
World of Botanicus, about 40 minutes drive from Prague, is an ideal family destination, with botanical gardens, featuring herb and vegetable gardens, and a Medieval village with various traditional workshops. This is a must if you want to escape the city, and to enjoy activities like a local.
Dvůr Hoffmeister is a great weekend escape for your family. The equestrian center offers stabling and horse training, as well as pony riding school for children aged 3 or older. They also have a restaurant, serving local cuisine, prepared with organic ingredients.
If you want to splash around, and to escape the heat of the summer, Aquacentru Šutka is a must: the water park with two large water slides, paddling pool with climbing frame, waterfall and tubs, also offers indoor and outdoor pools, Finnish sauna, steam bath, and a training pool, ideal for mothers and children.
Another day trip from Prague, Mirakulum is an exciting adventure park with slides, mazes, climbing frames, and tunnels, offering attractions for all ages, including wooden castle with slides, suspension bridges, towers and other surprises; large trampoline; giant swings and more. There’s also a little zoo that children will love.
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La Rotisserie, the gourmet experience at Mamaison Hotel Le Regina Warsaw, is set to dazzle and seduce you with seasonal cuisine every time you visit. Chef Paweł Oszczyk does not rewrite the rules of French cooking: he is fluent in execution, and he applies every morsel of knowledge to design the ideal Polish-French fusion menu, with perfectly crafted starters, and mains that will blow your mind. Such is this month’s menu, a creation worthy of VIPs, but affordable to all, be them foodies or simply people looking for a decent meal to tame their hunger.
Introducing conversation-stopper duck pastrami, a salty, spicy, sweet, and fatty delicious starter, served under a bed of salad and strawberry, and seasoned with fresh herbs with an unbelievable coffee dressing. A rich, succulent meat, and the freshness of the salad with the perfect side of strawberry, make for an extraordinary treat: a scene stealer, by all means, you’d think, but things will only get better, with the next star of the tasting menu.
An everyday ingredient in Italy, the humble artichoke is not so humble when handled by Paweł Oszczyk: it’s becoming a posh highlight for a basic risotto bianco, that will make you crave for more. It’s Warsaw: artichokes are not a traditional meal here. But Oszczyk delivers a menu that rivals the most celebrated restaurants, and chefs, of the world. Think Gordon Ramsay’s Jerusalem artichokes risotto with seared scallops, such a sensational experience for the taste buds, but nothing compared to this dish, which comes in an enjoyable size, topped with scallops, plus summer truffles for an extra kick.
The highlight of the menu is a beautifully roasted fillet of Atlantic cod. The chef is using wild-caught fish – the best possible choice for the star of the show – and creates a eat-it-now kind of dish, which tastes as good as it looks. The cod is an island surrounded by green farfalle, hand made with a touch of fresh herbs, which blend with the rest of the ingredients into a symphony of unexpected flavors, and yet so masterly assembled. There’s a hint of tomato there, near the tangy mushrooms. Then, you’d think that the unbelievable hazelnut pesto is enough to bring this dish to its whole, but the Chef has two more aces that crown, effortlessly, the plate: crab and caviar.
Finally, the lesser known relatives of blueberries, the bilberries end this spectacular menu, in a dessert that will steal your heart. A surprising, yet equally inspired, marriage of ingredients brings you the bilberry cake with a refreshing sorbet made with pine sprouts. This is not your everyday dessert.
For wine connoisseurs, the selection put together by Andrzej Strzelczyk, sommelier champion of Poland in 2012 and 2013, is just that extra touch to bring this dining experience close to perfection.
With such a lineup, there is no wonder that the restaurant attracts so many tourists, but don’t be surprised by the large number of locals who enter its doors. La Rotisserie is also a media darling: local food bloggers, seasoned journalists, artists and VIPs are often seen lunching at pristine tables, always in good company. You’d think, with such credential, that the restaurant is out of your reach: fear not, with La Rotisserie, gourmet food is made available to indulge you with one delicious taste after another.
Prague is a culinary paradise in May: several food and drink festivals take place in and around the city, celebrating local produce and traditional cuisine. The month begins with an asparagus festival on May 2nd in Hostín u Vojkovic, not far from Prague. This is an occasion for you to taste a variety of foods prepared with asparagus, and to party with the locals. The program includes live music and dance, but also activities for children.
Another important celebration of local traditions is Prague’s answer to the German Oktoberfest: the Czech Beer Festival. At its 8th annual edition, the event will take place from May 7th to 23rd, featuring more than 150 top quality Czech draft beers, daily concerts and workshops, plus other forms of entertainment, and, naturally, beer snacks. The main tent we will be offering 10 and 12 degree beers, made in the Krušovice royal brewery especially for this festival. You can’t taste these anywhere else. If you are a wine drinker, there will be a selection of labels from the Moravian winery Spielberg. The food menu is appealing too: with grilled meats, salads, soups, and locals specialties. Where? Letenská pláň.
The Fishkus Festival on May 16th at Hořejší Nábřeží is all about fish: the event focuses on the supply, treatment and sale of marine and freshwater fish and seafood. Everyone who loves and works with fish is invited, to learn about these creatures, but also to try gourmet delicacies, traditional foods, and more.
Also on May 16th, the Prague Restaurant Day gives you a chance to enjoy creative cuisine at special prices in many restaurants around the city.
Another interesting culinary event is the Vietnamese Food Festival, at Náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad on May 21st. The event is part of a series of celebrations for the Vietnamese Year of Culture and is organized by the Vietnamese Embassy in Prague.
The annual Prague Food Festival at Prague Castle is the last culinary event in our list, although there are several other festivals to attend in May (Latin Food Festival on May 23rd; Vinohradský Gurmet May 29-30, etc). The three-day feast of gastronomy will be held in the Royal Garden of Prague Castle. Tickets are already on sale on the official website.
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