Heading to Prague? The HAP guide to the Czech Republic’s most famous city awaits below.
Revamped by London’s Conran and Partners, Maximilian Hotel is an elegant Old Town boutique property overlooking the Gothic Church of St. Castulus with interiors that hint at Czech modernism throughout. Like the cozy library, Southeast Asian-inspired spa, and buzzy brasserie, the guestrooms, awash in deep blue, are true post-exploration retreats.
BoHo Hotel Prague is adjacent to the Powder Tower, one of the city’s original ornate gates. Through BoHo’s expansive glass, passersby are invited to step into a dreamy setting marked by a soft palette of cream and gray. In between excursions to Prague Castle and Charles Bridge, guests recharge in the banquette-lined restaurant or the wellness area’s pool backdropped by luminous tiles.
Along with its rotisserie and bakery outposts in the Vinohrady neighborhood, KRO has a laidback bistro and cocktail bar in the former industrial hub of Karlín. Settle in with a Miso Old Fashioned or tomato water Bay Leaf Martini before springing for the platter of roast beef and fermented potato pancakes to lap up the accompanying horseradish sauce.
Out-of-the-way Dian, in the Michle district, is where to head when maxed out on svíčková na smetaně (beef sirloin and dumplings). The youngest sibling of go-to Asian restaurants Gao Den and Taro, its perplexing location in an office complex only adds to the allure of a menu showcasing contemporary riffs on Vietnamese cooking that span sweet potato and black garlic croquettes and grilled pork wrapped in betel leaf.
Across from the central National Theatre, Café Slavia beckons with its palatial facade. Long a bastion of Czech culture that traces its roots to the late 19th century, Slavia is less a draw for its food (although there is something magical about an apple strudel break here) than its Art Deco ambiance. Brimming with wood and marble, the Old-World allure is heightened by live piano music.
Moody, subterranean Parlour, just off Wenceslas Square, reveres the craft of classic cocktails. Imbibers can seek out flawless favorites, whether a Pisco Sour or Old Fashioned, or leave their liquid fate up to the nimble bartenders. They are eager to create libations tailored to guests’ cravings with the likes of lemongrass and Bulgarian rose served in stunning vintage glassware befitting of the romantic room.
It will always be thronged with tourists, but Old Town Square never ceases to enchant, largely because of the mesmerizing Astronomical Clock. Part of the Old Town Hall, this medieval beauty is adorned with figures representing vanity, greed, extravagance, and death. Every hour on the hour (except for the middle of the night), statues of the Twelve Apostles parade through the windows above for a quirky, half-minute spectacle.
Josefov, Prague’s former Jewish ghetto, is strewn with poignant remnants of a devastating past. Begin with a visit to the Jewish Museum in Prague, where permanent exhibitions chronicle the arrival of Bohemia’s first Jewish people in the 10th century. Stops at the Old Jewish Cemetery (the earliest tombstone is from the 1400s), as well as the Old-New Synagogue, the oldest active one in Europe dating from the 13th century, are also essential.
At the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art in Holešovice, museum-goers are tempted with musical performances, open-air cinema screenings, and bold temporary exhibitions highlighting the oeuvres of such artists as the Chinese activist Badiucao and the Czech Republic’s own Věra Nováková.
About a 10-minute walk from DOX is VNITROBLOCK, a factory-turned soaring all-day hangout with brick walls and heaps of greenery. Pop in for late-morning coconut porridge or a nightcap whipped up with Prague-made Garage22 gin.
The charms of residential Letná, across the Vitava River from the historic core, are abundant. Kick off the day with Eggs Benedict and a coffee tonic at the minimalist yet homey Pilot Café, followed by a wander through Charaktery Design Store, an ode to fashion, jewelry, and accessories from contemporary local talents, including Nastassia Aleinikava, yrnche, and Maria Makeeva. Then, turn onto colorful Veverkova Street and drop by the showroom of architect and designer Helena Dařbujánová for a gander at her playful furniture and objects—capsule-shaped benches, rocking armchairs, black lacquer mirrors—brought to life by skilled Czech artisans. On the same street, PageFive is a bookstore and indie publisher stocked with offbeat Czech and international books, magazines, and prints that come to the rescue as gifts for art, design, and poetry lovers. Another reprieve awaits at the Letná Beer Garden atop Letná Hill, in lush Letná Park. With captivating panoramas of the city below, it’s easy to see why Prague denizens continue to ensconce themselves on shady picnic benches, Pilsner in hand, even after autumn’s first breeze.