Prague is a city of startling grandeur. Exquisite baroque palaces line both banks of the Vltava River, while high above soar the dramatic Gothic spires and towers of Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral. Prague is still distinguished by its music, and an evening at the Estates Theatre is highly recommended. Candlelit concerts are also regularly held at the magnificently restored St. Nicholas Church. The extraordinarily evocative views of Charles Bridge are best enjoyed at dawn, when crowds are thinner. Quite improbably, the culinary scene has become nothing less than thrilling. And in addition to enjoying the city’s convivial cellar brewpubs, don’t miss the chance to try a glass or two of Czech wine, available in most restaurants and in atmospheric wine bars.
The Czech Republic has a thriving contemporary art scene, and one of the best places to view cutting-edge local works is the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art. Located in a renovated factory in the Holešovice neighborhood, this Kunsthalle-style gallery opened in 2008. Don’t miss the blimp-like “airship” recently added atop the building. I also highly recommend the Holešovice branch of the National Gallery, which has a sensational collection of modern and contemporary works.
Prague heaves with glassware and crystal shops, reflecting Bohemia’s centuries-old tradition of glassmaking. My favorite place for contemporary Czech glassware is ARTĚL, which carries the designs of American owner Karen Feldman. The best shop for quality traditional crystal is Moser Sales Gallery, in business since 1857 and the most respected Czech producer. The Museum Portheimka, a jewel box that opened in 2018, has a small but gorgeous collection of glass in a renovated Baroque palace. And the main building of the recently renovated Museum of Decorative Arts has many treasures, but its display of Czech glass alone makes a visit worthwhile.
We highly recommend making time to take a day trip or two outside the city. One of the most popular excursions is south to Český Krumlov, known for its perfectly preserved old quarter overlooked by an impressive castle complete with an intact baroque theater. To the west, Karlovy Vary retains the atmosphere of an elegant 19th-century spa town. And an hour east of Prague, Kutná Hora has a lovely old center as well as an astonishing ossuary elaborately decorated with human bones, mostly from victims of the plague.