Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

Prague City Trip - Nove Mesto & Vinohrady

Vltava River in Prague
Vltava River in Prague



PRAGUE DAY 3: Nové Město

/
/
/

Now that you've seen the Prague the tourists see, it's time to go off the beaten path to Nové Město, the New Town. It's actually not very new at all, and its establishment in 1348 made Prague one of the biggest cities in Europe.

Start the day with a walk up Wenceslas Square, a wide Parisian-style boulevard, topped by the National Museum. Not long after the Russian invasion in 1968, two university students burned themselves alive just in front, next to the equine statue of King/Saint Wenceslas. It was also here in 1989 that communist rule was ushered out by a million-strong crowd jingling its keys in unison. Today, the square is lined with upscale shops, pubs, department stores and the iconic sausage vendors (worth at least a lunch).

Zizkov TV tower
Zizkov TV tower

Behind the museum lies the leafy neighborhood of Vinohrady. Walk up the wide Vinohradská Street until you get to a cruise-ship like structure on the left. The Church of the Sacred Heart, designed by under-appreciated and ahead-of-his-time Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik, is one of the most striking pieces of modern architecture in the city. Wandering around inside is also recommended.

The next destination isn't hard to find — just look up. The Žižkov Television Tower, despite looking like a 1950s moon rocket, was actually built just before the fall of the Iron Curtain. One of its original functions was to block (propaganda) frequencies coming from the West. Today, the Orwellian tower helps Czechs consume as much Western TV as they want. Make sure to visit the lookout tower for the breathtaking views.

Walk back west towards the river, taking a moment in Charles Square (Karlovo Namesti). This square, actually just a big park split by Ječná  Street, was home to the largest relic show in Europe in the fourteenth century. Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor, who ruled from Prague, loved collecting relics. Once a year, he displayed them here, drawing pilgrims came from all over the continent to get a peek at a saint's tongue or finger, even the Virgin's breast milk.

Prague hipster hangout RadostFX
Hipster hangout RadostFX

A block south of the square you'll find the Charles University Botanical Garden, the oldest in the country. Though it specializes in Central European flora, it also houses a clone of the Methuselah tree — the oldest documented living organism.

For dinner, head towards Jiráskův Bridge, where you'll find the "Fred and Ginger" building, designed by Frank Gehry and Vlado Milunić. So-named because it looks like a couple dancing, the building hosts a restaurant on the seventh floor, Celeste, which serves up some great French dishes alongside panoramic views of the city.

For a night of glimmer and glam, strap on your hipster gear and head to RadostFX, long one of Prague's top night clubs and chill-out lounges. This means a sexy and stylish clientele with semi-regular celebrity sightings. The kitchen also serves excellent vegetarian food into the wee hours
.

For more information on Prague, visit www.czechtourism.com, the official tourism site of the Czech Republic.

MORE PRAGUE INFORMATION

Ready to book a trip now?
Get exclusive savings on hotel rooms.

(Updated: 06/06/13 SG)


Whether looking to travel across the Australian Outback, the Canadian Rockies or historic Europe, these opulent trains will let travelers see the countryside in comfort.
Enter to win a trip to the posh Waldorf-Astoria Chicago, including round-trip airfare, daily breakfast and a credit for a luxe spa experience.