The Czech Republic’s glorious, pedestrian-friendly capital boasts great sightseeing, good hotels, delicious food and crowds of tourists competing for nearly every inch of space.
By Kevin Chaffee
Overlooked by most visitors to Prague, the adjacent Lobkowicz Palace should enjoy pride of place on any truly sophisticated traveler’s must-see list. Home to the Lobkowicz dynasty since the 16th century (except for the era of communist rule from 1948 to 1990). Members of the princely family narrate the audio guide as you wander through 20-plus chambers filled with historical treasures that include musical scores by Beethoven and Mozart and artworks by Velasquez and Canaletto.
Walk south to arrive at the teeming Wenceslas Square, the commercial heart of the city, which you’ll want to experience despite the teeming crowds who gather there both day and night to enjoy performances by a wide array of street musicians, jugglers, acrobats, dancers and the like. (Watch out for pickpockets.)
Other sites you’ll want to include are the Jewish Museum (the former Nazi Museum of Extinct Races); the Church of Our Lady Victorious’ collection of 300 different and mostly very elaborately representations of the Infant of Prague, one of most revered Christian images; the European old masters (El Greco, Rembrandt, Rubens) at the Sternberg Palace; and the domestic modern art collection on display at the Veletrzni Palace.
Terasa U Zlate Studne, located on the fourth floor of the Golden Well Hotel, boasts truly world-class views of the old city as well as direct entrance to the Palace Gardens. Noted chef Pavek Sapik offers traditional Czech cuisine focusing on seasonal options. Try the creamy Bohemian Kulaida soup, the duck and seafood dishes that include salmon and scallops. Expect to spend around $100 per person. U Zlate Studne,166-4.
Sansho, a “groundbreaking” restaurant helmed by British chef Paul Day, features locally sourced meat and produce for daily menus that are recited by the waiters rather than read on a menu. Favored dishes include the renowned pork belly with watermelon, curried rabbit, slow-cooked beef rendang. $50 per person. Petrská 1170/25.
Bistro 8 is open only for breakfast, lunch and brunch and features daily specials along with salads, omelettes and sandwiches along with house-made lemonade and tea. Portions tend to be a bit small but ultimately satisfying.