Recently I’ve had a few people ask me for advice on upcoming trips. They’ve been looking for more practical information than I usually give – where to stay, where to eat, and some of the highlights of a particular location. I’ve decided to add an occasional feature to my Thursday posts, where I’ll share some of that information. Keep in mind that I’m only reporting on what one family has seen, and you’re always best to consult a guide book for a complete list of highlights. Also, hotels and restaurants may change over time, so a quick visit to tripadvisor.com should tell you if the establishment is still open and still operating at the level we experienced.
When we visited: August 2006
Why to go:
It’s a wonderful, old European city that’s full of charm and romance. The Charles Bridge is iconic. This lovely bridge is lined with statues of the saints that are so eloquent, you feel that if they could speak, they would whisper the wisdom of the ages.
|On Charles Bridge|
What to see:
The focal point of Prague is the Charles Bridge. It's busy during the day, and fills up in the evening with street performers. But I loved it early in the morning, when it was still and silent, and we had it almost to ourselves.
Prague Castle is to the west side of the bridge, up a steep hill. The castle complex is always crowded, but definitely worth seeing. Golden Lane is a little street of 16th century homes built inside the castle walls, and Franz Kafka lived at one of them.
|Pinkas synagogue, in Josefov|
On the east side of the bridge are Wenceslas Square and the Old Town. We loved visiting the Jewish quarter (Josefov), Pinkas synagogue and the old Jewish cemetery -- very poignant and powerful. The myth of the Golem originated here, and knowing that story added so much atmosphere to our walk.
We also spent a lovely afternoon at Petrin Hill. It was a fun walk there and back for the girls, and provided a beautiful view of the city and river.
|Church of St. Nicholas|
Where to stay:
We stayed at the charming hotel, The Golden Wheel. Located in the quieter Mala Strana district, we were a short walk from the bridge that connected to the more bustling Old Town. (However, if you’re not a walker, be aware that it was a steep uphill trek at the end of each day.) Breakfasts were lovely, and our room had a sweet little loft for the girls to sleep in.
Where to eat:
Having kids, we don't always eat at fine dining establishments! But we had three great dinners in Prague. Our first night, we ate at Malteskych Vytiru (I'm missing about five accents, but it translates as "At Knights of Malta"). They serve Czech meals in a brick-lined cellar, and that's where we learned to pronounce our first few Czech words. The second night we ate at Hergetova Cihelna. It had a magnificent view of the Charles Bridge, and our hotel helped us make reservations that would coincide with sunset. And probably the best meal we had was at Square, close to the Church of St. Nicholas.