Since I visited Prague twice, once in winter weather, and in summer, I feel I saw and photographed two different contrasting cities, both beautiful. I explored so far only districts Praha 1 and Praha 2. May sounds as Hunger games, but in fact Prague is more bohemian than entertaining, more Kafka than Hollywood.
In this rhythm, I will need more visits to cover all districts of the Czech capital.
Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old – Franz Kafka
For visualization, Praha 1 has 5 sections: first, the Old Town, New Town and the Jewish quarter (Josefov). Across the Vltava River is Lesser Town (Malá Strana) and the Castle District (Hradčany).
The Old Town Square is beautiful and overwhelming. We can admire here the medieval Astronomical Clock (Prague Orloj), the old Town Hall, the Gothic Church of Our Lady Tyn and Baroque historic buildings with special details on every corner. A lot for the eye. I remember when I visited Prague in March 2018, the clock was in reconstruction, and I had a déjà vu from Rome, when the Fontana di Trevi was in renovation.
The Jewish quarter (Josefov) was for me the most enchanting, with old Synagogues and where every building is decorated as a jewel, mostly in Art Nouveau. Franz Kafka monument is located here, next to the Spanish synagogue.
Historic Wenceslas Square, the National Theatre and Charles Square are the main landmarks of the lively New Town. Actually Charles Bridge across Vltava river is connecting the two sides of Praha 1.
Charles Bridge, Lesser Town (Malá Strana) and the Prague Castle (Hradčany) offer beautiful viewpoints, as well as Letná Park, the Royal Gardens (that can be visited for free) and the hill Petrín. The islands of Vltava as is Kampa Island, are a breath of fresh air in summer.
PRAHA 2 – Vinohrady and Vyšehrad
More viewpoints in Praha 2. Started exploring from Náměstí Míru (Peace square) and continued until Park Folimanka and Botanical Garden of Charles University (also can be visited for free).
From there, I walked until the last stops: Saint Peter and Paul Basilica and fort Vyšehrad, which is Czech for “upper castle.” The view from the “Gallery” of the former fortress was beautiful, different than the view across the river from the Castle of Praha 1. Inspired for the walk after reading about it here.
Prague never lets you go… this dear little mother has sharp claws – Franz Kafka
Vyšehrad cemetery holds the remains of famous Czech, including Art Nouveau illustrator and painter Alfons Mucha.
And I could not leave Praha 2 until paying a visit to the landmark that became the “Dancing house” (office building), inspired by the dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
Food & Prague Cafés
Czech food I ate only once at restaurant “Lokal” – potato dumplings with meat and cabbage on the side. And a good dinner was a burger at “Fat Cat” in the streets of the Old Town. Worth mentioning the quick lunches at Mezi Srnky in Praha 2. Sweet treats were ”Koláče”, pastry with poppyseeds, and “Trselnik”.
Favorite topic are coffee houses
- Traditional Café Slavia, near the National Theatre
- Lunch and coffee at beautiful and very busy Café Savoy. Reservation is recommended and the sweets are prepared in their own bakery. At Vítězná 5
- The most chic was Grand Café Orient, designed in Cubism. In the Old Town at Ovocný trh 19. This café is in the same building as the Museum of Decorative Arts – House at the Black Madonna (Dům U Černé Matky Boží)
- Café Imperial is a fine dining / high end café, with interiors in Art Deco, at Na Poříčí 15
- And lastly, specialty coffee in a modern setting at “La Bohéme Café” in Praha 2.
Prague is for me one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and a perfect mix of old and new architecture styles – Gothic, Baroque and Neo-Renaissance, with patterns and Art Nouveau details inspired from the nature that Czech people love so much. And Art Deco across Vltava, with lines in perfect symmetry.