Romanesque chapels and cellars, Gothic cathedrals, Baroque palaces and gardens, worldly Art Nouveau buildings, and unique Cubist architecture make it a place with no parallel in the world. You don’t have to be an expert on individual artistic styles in order to appreciate the diversity of the city’s architecture. The Rotunda of St. Martin, the Cathedral of Our Lady before Týn, the Wallenstein Palace and the Municipal House will be forever etched into your memory. Frank Gehry’s Dancing Building has become an icon of modern architecture in Prague, as have new buildings in the Karlín neighbourhood and the new National Technical Library in Dejvice.
Those in the know say the best beer in Prague (although this point is always argued hotly) is poured at Zlý časy in the Nusle district. Its twenty-four taps pour beers from small and medium-sized breweries both from the Czech Republic and abroad. Who can resist – you can enjoy a great selection of draught beers and pick up bottled delicacies from around the world. Of course, there are many places in Prague where you can get good beer, from classic pubs or in the ever more popular beer bars with more than a dozen beers from small and medium-sized breweries on tap. Also very popular is the Lokál chain of restaurants, where in addition to great Pilsner, you can enjoy traditional Czech cuisine. For sheer atmosphere, check out some classic pubs where seemingly time stands still, such as U Jelínků, with over a century of tradition. The pub U Pinkasů also has its place on the Prague beer map, as do an increasingly significant number of small breweries (Pivovarský dům, Břevnovský klášterní pivovar sv. Vojtěcha, Klášterní pivovar Strahov).
Prague also has celebrated cafés which people visit out of respect for the classical café tradition, the famous people who used to frequent them, or for their great coffee – but rarely all three. Forget the hustle and bustle of the city when you sit at Café Slavia; experience a nearly Parisian atmosphere at Café Louvre; and the Grand Café Orient will win you over with its exceptional Cubist interiors and furniture. Praguers like having breakfast in the posh Café Savoy or Café Imperial. On the rise are also modern cafés. Café Lounge will amaze you not only with its first-class cappuccino, but also its homemade cakes and desserts, all in the spirit of the noble First Republic. Kavárna Pražírna offers specialty coffee from small farms. They buy the beans themselves, test and roast them, and if you like, you can take a pack of fragrant fresh coffee back home with you. Also popular is Karlín’s Můj šálek kávy (My Cup of Coffee), so it’s better to book a place in advance.
You can cool your shopping fever in a number of modern shopping malls (Palladium, Nový Smíchov, Chodov, Arkády Pankrác, and more) or on Pařížská Street, Prague’s most exclusive shopping avenue, home to many of the world’s top luxury brands. If you want to take something valuable home from Prague, then try an antique shop. Jewellery and precious stones are the specialty of Prague’s Uhlíř Antiques, and paintings and china, you can choose at the antique shop on Karmelitská Street. Galerie Petr Brandl focuses on old master canvases, and it’s worth checking out even if you don’t plan on buying anything. You can buy current and retro Czech design at Modernista in the Vinohrady Pavilion or in the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art’s design shop.