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Czech phrase guide
Prague Subway map (in Czech)
Download a free, abbreviated version of the always excellent In Your Pocket guide to Prague: IYP Prague Download PDF

Prague is my favorite city. It is beautiful and I always have fun there. The only bad thing about Prague is the mass of others that also think that it's a great place to be. Walking down the street on any given day, it usually feels like there are more tourists then residents! The flocks of tourists have certainly raised the prices, but they are still quite reasonable. They have also given Prague a really wide variety of restaurants and plenty of internet cafes and anything else that a tourist could need.

The city has a great old town. There are lots of tiny streets, beautiful buildings, and is a great place to buy gifts. Local artists make all sorts of things that are beautiful, cheap, and easy to bring home. Avoid the old town for gifts and buy them direct from the artists on the Charles bridge, or from a shop for artists that is two blocks after crossing the bridge on the right, where the street opens up and the street cars curve by. Underneath an overhang and through some wooden doors is a shop with only art from prague artists. A wide variety of prices, things, and sizes.

The most incredible brunches (weekends only) anywhere at any price, and great food for other meals (all weeek) as welI: Radost FX Vegetarian restaurant, record store, art gallery and night club. Outside it's eastern block city store front and inside it's a funky, great atmosphere. They have sofas and a galery in the back, and all of the furniture appears to be made by the restaurant. I have never been to Prague without eating at least one meal at Radost FX. Radost FX is on my personal list of favorites. One of those places where the food is good, it's not too expensive, there's a cool atmosphere, and niether extreme of overly impersonal nor too formal. Every town needs a place like this, but not all have them.

During the day, If I'm not walking around, I usually read, eat, hang out, and check my e-mail from either the Globe bookstore and cafe at Ps^trossova 6, P-1, or Bohemia bagel. (Two locations - I think?) They are pleasant open spaces and serve great food.

Hotel Europa

While there, I stayed in the grand Hotel Evropa (Hotel Europa). A beautiful old art-nuveau hotel that was one of the grandest hotels in Prague when it was built. It was a two star when I stayed there in 2001 because of the condition. They have supposedly been renovating it in the last couple of years, but I haven't been back to see it. I actually liked the run down furniture and things in the hotel. You could feel the history, and imagine who had all passed through the hotel.

I stayed on the first floor in some rooms independently rented by Lou from Lou's Travel. They are cheaper than the hotel rooms, and were supposedly housing for the servants of the people staying upstairs, while between the wars they served as the living quarters for the staff. The rooms ran around 700 crowns/person in 2001. I'm not sure what the prices are now, but still should be a great deal for a downtown hotel, especially one so grand and full of history, and it fills a needed gap between hostels and full-price hotels.

Dahabi is a new eastern restaurant. It has a variety of North African inspired dishes, with some creative touches, as well as deserts. The room is a big dark room with small tables. Make reservations to sit in the back room where the low tables allow you to sit on the carpet and pillows.

 

At night, the place to be for expats, tourists in the know and locals wanting to meet the two, or to buy some 'stuff', are the Chateau (formerly chapeau rouge) and the Marquis de Sade Templova' 8. The Chateau is a Prague classic, although I don't know the history of the name change. Marquis de Sade is newer and has a lot more space inside, maybe a better atmosphere. All things said, if you're doing the Eurail thing, you're gonna end up at one of these places, so you might as well just get over there.

 

A great place to see locals and drink absinth in a basement bar is Kozicka. In 1998, the place had only Czech on the menu and the staff spoke no English at all. I think that things have changed a little, but hopefully not too much.

The way to find out more about what's currently going on in Prague is to check out Think magazine, published monthly, or the fairly complete, but just a folded sheet of paper, Do Me^sta Downtown, published every coupla days. Both are free and available at many of the places mentioned here.

I asked some bike couriers about mountain biking in the area. I was told that the Krkonoń(s^)e mountains are the place to go. In Prague, one said that the best run is called Petr^i'n in Prague-5.
The recommended shops were Bike Expert at Karlovy namestaj (Karl's Plaza)
and maybe Kony Sport on St. Skor^epna street.

Read about the Czech Greenway: a beautiful trail connecting Prague and Vienna with great little villages along the way.

Buy Lonely Planet Czech & Slovak Republics. A great guide for someone visiting either of the two countries. If you are just going to Prague, there are city guides available. Buy Eyewitness Prague.
Eyewitness travel guides have hotel and restaurant information, but their real value is found in the history, and the beautiful, detailed illustrations giving you a deep sense of where you are and what has come before you.