CULTURE CLUB • January 2019
Thanks to its cobblestone streets, medieval spires and gabled houses, Prague is a picture perfect destination for a warming winter break, helped along by some captivating architecture and knock-out restaurants. Pavel Ruml, head concierge at Mandarin Oriental Prague, takes us on a tour of the city’s most charming highlights
For something truly local, try the tasting menu at Field restaurant (pictured) where chefs offer up traditional Czech recipes that use local produce with modern Scandi twists. Head to U Modre Kachnicky for a menu of wild game, dumplings and rich desserts, housed in a 16th-century apartment – there’s live piano music in the evenings. The views at Hilton Prague’s Cloud 9 Sky Bar won’t disappoint either – order the Charisma Spaghetti edible cocktail, made with Absolut pepper vodka, melon liqueur, cranberry juice and angostura bitters.
...our national dish, svickova, which is made with braised beef, dumplings and cranberries in a creamy sauce. Another classic is roast duck with dumplings, cabbage and pork knuckle. If you love street food, head to the Good Food Bakery (pictured) on Karlova Street for a trdelnik, a pastry made by wrapping dough around a stick, grilling and topping it with sugar and walnut mix.
If you’re lucky enough to catch some snow, a powder-dusted Prague is a spectacle. The city centre is less crowded and our heavy Czech dishes taste even better after a day strolling in the cold. Tuck into a mug of mulled wine or mead, a trdelnik and traditional Czech cookies.
You don’t need to visit a single museum to experience Prague’s artistic flair – the city’s architecture is some of Europe’s finest. Recruit a local guide to explain the history of prominent streets, buildings and monuments, and keep an eye out on your rambles for local artist David Cerny’s bizarre sculptures.
I have kids, so on weekends we head to Hergetova Cihelna for Sunday brunch, where children can have their faces painted and there’s a hilarious magician’s show. If the weather holds, we spend the afternoon on a boat on the Vltava river, or head to Prague Zoo (pictured), ranked one of the top 10 in the world.
We like to escape to the countryside whenever we can. Lipno Lake Resort (pictured), in southern Bohemia, is a three-hour drive south of Prague, on the Austrian border. It’s a fantastic area for hiking, skiing, bobsleigh tracks, aquaparks and boat rides on the expansive lake, with the 11th-century city of Cesky Krumlov just 30km away.