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Prague: ARTĚL Style

Expert recommendations and insider tips for first-time visitors and locals alike from ARTĚL’s founder, Karen Feldman, who has lived in Prague since 1994. Click on the links below for detailed reviews – from Feldman’s own unique perspective – of all the best that Prague has to offer...

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ARTĚL Street Guide: Malá Strana & Surrounds

Published on August 27th, 2015 in Basics

 

 ARTĚL Concept Store on Platnéřská 

 

This is the second in a series of short guides to the neighborhoods surrounding the ARTĚL stores, (see the first guide to the neighborhood around our Platnéřská 7 shop here). Below, my suggestions for what to see, try, and buy in the heart of Prague’s Lesser Quarter:

 

 

 

SEE

Wallenstein Gardens (Valdštejnská zahrada)

This exquisite Baroque garden was designed by the Milanese architect Andrea Spezza between 1624-1630, at the same time that the adjacent palace was being built for General Wallenstein who razed some two dozen houses to make way for this jaw-droppingly ostentatious version. The garden is geometric in design and several peacocks are in residence. Open to the public since 2002, it is an excellent venue for open-air summer concerts.

 

 

Left: Wallenstein Gardens (vintage postcard) | Right: Wallenstein Palace Gardens (photo courtesy of flickr.com, © Olivier Bruchez)

 

Valdštejnské náměstí 4, Prague 1 Malá Strana
tel 257 075 707
hours Apr – Oct: Mon – Fri 7:30 – 18:00; Sat & Sun 10:00 – 18:00
entrance FREE
metro A, Malostranská
tram 12, 20, 22 to Malostranské náměstí

 

 

Church of St. Nicholas Bell Tower

Appropriated in the 1950s by the Communist secret police, this bell tower was, until the 1990s, used to monitor the activities of the nearby US Embassy. The 243-foot tower—the view is from 148 feet—re-opened to the public in 2010. It promises one of the city’s most breathtaking vistas and several points of interest along the climb up. The historic splendor on view as you ascend the 215 stairs contrasts starkly with the sparse Socialist-era furnishings at the top, making this a unique Prague attraction. For more information on this attraction see my post here.

 

 

Left: Church of St Nicholas Bell Tower (photo courtesy of museumprahy.cz) | Right: Church interior (photo courtesy of wiki commons, © Jorge Royan)

 

 

Left: Socialist-era furnishings in Bell Tower | Right: A spies-eye-view of Prague (photos courtesy of radio.cz, photo: prazskeveze.cz) 

 

Malostranské náměstí, Prague 1, Malá Strana
http://en.muzeumprahy.cz/the-town-belfry-by-st-nicholas-church/
tel 257 534 215
hours Daily: 09:00–17:00
tickets 70 CZK
metro A, Malostranská
tram 12, 20, 22 to Malostranské náměstí

 

 

 

DO

Prague Venice Boat Tour

This historical river cruise is a bit of a cheat as a Malá Strana pick as it no longer docks in front of the store and has had to change its route temporarily due to reconstruction on the Čertovka (Little Devil) canal. That said, I still find it worthy of mention as it is super inexpensive and far exceeded my expectations. Departing from the Charles Bridge Dock it takes you through the canals of Prague’s Little Venice as well as beneath the the remaining arch of Judith Bridge, the predecessor of Charles Bridge, on a replica 19th-century wooden boat.

 

 

Left: River Boat and Prague Castle | Right: Serving hot wine (photos courtesy of www.prague-venice.cz

 

Křižovnické náměstí 3, Prague, 1 Old Town
www.prague-venice.cz/
tel 776 776 779
hours 10:30 – 17:00
tickets 325 CZK
metro A to Staroměstská

 

 

 

TRY

Lokál

With décor that is reminiscent of what Czech pubs looked like in the 1980s (though in a highly stylized fashion) and some of the best pilsner in town, Lokál is not to be missed. The menu is filled with Czech classics served by waiters in old-school black aprons. Reservations are essential.

 

 

Left: Lokál food (photo courtesy of tripadvisor - Traveller photo by U-Guan A: “photo0.jpg”, Aug 2015) | Right: Lokál U bílé kuželky (photo courtesy of pragagid.ru)

 

 

Míšeňská 12, Prague 1, Malá Strana
http://lokal-ubilekuzelky.ambi.cz/en/
tel  257 212 014
hours Mon – Fri 11:00 – 01:00; Sat 11:00 – 01:00; Sun 11:00 – 24:00
tram 12, 20, 22 to Malostranské náměstí

  

Vinograf

Not far from Lokál is the charming little wine bar Vinograf which has made a name for itself serving small-batch Moravian and Bohemian wines (as well as local champagne and sparkling juices) and delicious cheese boards. This is the smaller, original location, though if you happen to be in Old Town, their larger venue recently started serving a wine brunch; a third location is now open in Prague 5, Anděl.

 

 

Left: Vinograf Interior | Right: Open faced sandwich (photos courtesy of vinograf.cz

 

Míšeňská 8, Prague 1, Malá Strana
www.vinograf.cz
tel 604 705 730
hours Mon – Sat 16:00 pm – 12 midnight; Sun 14:00 – 24:00

tram 12, 20, 22 to Malostranské náměstí

 

 

 

BUY

Marionety Truhlář

This shop offers a very broad range of puppets from simple, generic 300 CZK puppets to one-of-a-kind creations that cost 60,000 CZK. Needless to say it was the one-of-a-kind selection that did it for me. Ask to see puppets designed and made by Antonin and Martin Muller, as these two brothers are my personal favorite. Jan Růžička is another renowned artist to seek out. In total the shop carries the work of over 60 artisans. The store has a very small workshop located right on the premises, so you can even see the puppets being carved! They have a second location near Old Town Square at Ungelt-Tyn 1, but I prefer this location.

 

 

Left: Interior of shop | Right: My Mini Me and Me - Look, even our shoes match! (photos courtesy of www.marionety.com

 

U Lužického semináře 5/78, Prague 1, Malá Strana
www.marionety.com  
tel 602 689 918
hours Daily 10:00 – 21:00
metro Malostranká
tram 12, 20, 22 to Malostranské náměstí

 

Analogue Shop and Gallery

Digital not your thing? You might want to pop into Analogue while you are in town. This tiny shop specializes in all things analogue: less traditional film formats and accessories, Polaroid, Lomo, and Holga cameras, DIY camera kits, instant cameras and even wooden pinhole cameras (camera obscura). Worth a browse for the delightfully retro camera cases, giant flash bulbs or the rotating exhibits by local photographers working in these mediums.

 

  

Cameras and photos on display in shop (photos courtesy of Analogue facebook page)

 

Vlašská 10, Prague 1, Malá Strana
www.analogue.cz
tel 603 530 035
hours Mon – Fri 10 – 19:00; Saturday 12:00 – 18:00
metro Malostranká
tram 12, 20, 22 to Malostranské náměstí

 

 

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