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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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Exploring Czech Salt Caves

Published on April 09th, 2015 in Entertainment

  • Mineral Praha Salt Cave (photo courtesy of www.solnajeskyne-praha.cz)

  • Mineral Praha Salt Cave (photo courtesy of www.solnajeskyne-praha.cz)

  • Mineral Praha Salt Cave (photo courtesy of www.solnajeskyne-praha.cz)

  • FitStudio Kotva - Kids Salt Cave

  • FitStudio Kotva - Adult Salt Cave (photo courtesy of www.fitnesskotva.cz)

  • Jihoměstská Salt Cave (photo courtesy of www.solna-jeskyne-praha.cz)

  • Jihoměstská Salt Cave (photo courtesy of www.solna-jeskyne-praha.cz)

  • Jihoměstská Salt Cave (photo courtesy of www.solna-jeskyne-praha.cz)

  • Jihoměstská Salt Cave

 

Salt caves (solná jeskyně) are by no means unique to the Czech Republic. But the Czechs certainly do have a particular passion for salt therapies and salt accessories if the Himalayan rock salt lamps that frequently appear in Czech homes and offices are any indication.

 

Though salt therapy is known worldwide, it did in fact originate in Eastern Europe, in Poland in 1843, where a doctor at the Wieliczka salt mines noticed that the miners had less bouts of asthma, allergies, and hay fever. It has even been said that a one-hour visit to a salt cave is the equivalent of spending two to three days at the seaside.

 

While hanging out in a salt cave may or may not offer a remedy for what ails you, it definitely offers the perfect opportunity for children to enjoy the novelty of playing among heaps of salt in magic-cave surrounds – and Czech moms seem to know this as they, along with senior citizens, are among the most frequent visitors to the city's salt caves.

 

We recently explored several of Prague's salt caves with a group of friends and their small children and found out that while they may not really clear up a runny nose, they are ideal for keeping kids occupied while their moms chat!

 

 

FitStudio Kotva

 

The newly opened salt cave in the fitness center on the fourth floor of the Kotva shopping center, a communist-era gem of a department store that I cover in my book, is the most centrally located of the ones we visited – and possibly the strangest.

 

As a friend remarked: “It was like being inside a shop window filled with salt.” Indeed there really wasn't much of a cave element to this windowed “cave” as it featured a view of people working out on treadmills in the adjacent gym. While the layout was bit too cramped for our taste, the kids enjoyed the Krtek (Little Mole) cartoons and array of toys.

 

 

If you're interested to see what the phenomenon is all about and happen to be downtown, then this will do. As an added bonus, a large indoor play area is slated to open here in April making it possible to schedule a salt cave play day.

 

Náměstí Republiky 656/8, Prague 1

www.fitnesskotva.cz/cs/clanek/solna-jeskyne-pro-deti
hours Mon-Friday 6:30-22:00; Sat-Sun 9:00-21:00
tel +420 224 801 281
entry Adults 120 CZK; children 6-15 90 CZK; children under 6 free
cave rental for 10 people: 1,000 CZK/hour
metro B to Náměstí Republiky

 

 

Jihoměstská Salt Cave

 

Tucked inside of a communist-era apartment building in a rather gray residential neighborhood, all of this is forgotten by the time you enter this inviting little space. Soothing music – children's tunes are available on request – and fiber optic stars and mood lighting give the experience added magic, while a dedicated kid's corners with lots of pails, shovels, dump trucks, and little chairs and plenty of room to maneuver got the seal of approval from the smallest members of our group.

 

 

I believe it also gets the local vote; an entire preschool had the time slot before ours! Add to this the very friendly staff and comfy lounge chairs for adults and we all agreed that this salt cave is an absolute winner.

 

Modletická 1390, Prague 11
www.solna-jeskyne-praha.cz/jeskyne/
hours Mon-Sun 9:00-20:00
entry Adults 140 CZK; children 6-15 70 CZK; children under 6 free
cave rental for 7 people 750 CZK/hour
bus 136 or 213 to Ke Kateřinkám

 

 

Mineral Praha

 

Holešovice, in Prague's former meatpacking district, is an up-and-coming neighborhood with many of its industrial buildings having been converted into lofts and other interesting spaces, including the 19th-century former brewery complex that houses the last salt cave on our list. I'm not sure what I liked more about this salt cave, its location in a trendy design district or the fact that the owners have totally disregarded their hip surroundings in favor of retro wood-paneled lobby décor that is made even kitschier by the oil paintings of forest scenes hanging on the walls. In fact it resembles a Czech chata (cottage)!

 

 

The salt cave itself is bit smaller than the Jihoměstská cave we previously visited but no less fun thanks to the special-effects lighting and even a little dry-ice fountain that was a great source of entertainment. A small children's area (comprised of a sand box made entirely of salt and filled with salt) housed ample dumping and digging tools.

 

If you want to check out some amazing modern architecture and a traditional Czech salt cave all in one visit, this should be your top pick.

 

Na Maninách 29/1590, Prague 7

http://www.solnajeskyne-praha.cz/index.html
hours Mon-Fri 10:00-19:00; Saturday 10:00-17:00
entry Adults 170 CZK; children 6-15 120 CZK; children under 6 free
cave rental for 12 people 1,500 CZK/hour
metro C to Holešovice then tram 1, 12, 14, 25 to Maniny

 

 

 

 

Note: All salt caves require reservations and none of those that we visited were particularly English friendly; I suggest making a reservation online or via e-mail. Sessions last approximately 1 hour.

 

 

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