Travel Prague, Czech Republic | WAVEJourney Travel Tip

Travel Prague, Czech Republic | WAVEJourney Travel Tip

WAVEJourney Explores Prague in Czech Republic

WAVEJourney Explores Prague in Czech Republic

Prague: We Came for the Pils, but Left Thirsty for More of the City!

By WAVEJourney – Vivienne Chapleo and Jill Hoelting

On a cold and blustery day in early April (in what was supposed to be spring), Jill and I arrived in Prague after a scenic and rather interesting (whole other story), seven-hour train ride from Budapest.  From our very first moments after stepping from the train, until we departed from the airport, our time in Prague was spectacular.

Jill with Mike from Mike's Chauffeur Service in Prague

Jill with Mike from Mike’s Chauffeur Service in Prague

Our smiling chauffeur met us at the train station with our name written on his board.  Quickly and efficiently, Mike (the owner of Mike’s Chauffeur Service), showed us to his van and whisked us through the busy city traffic towards our hotel.  Within twenty minutes of leaving the train, we entered the lobby of the hotel that would be our home-away-from-home for the next three nights.  We had booked our transfer online the previous day at a price of CZK380 (US$24).

Library in Hotel Maximilian Prague

Library in Hotel Maximilian Prague

The Hotel Maximilian proved to be a perfect choice for our stay in this exciting city. Designed by Czech-born architect Eva Jiricna, the Hotel Maximilian is ideally located on a quiet street within a few minutes walk of Old Town Square and within five minutes you can be at all the major sights – Astronomical Clock, Wenceslas Square, Charles Bridge, Powder Tower, opera and concert halls. The stylish, four-star boutique hotel of seventy rooms and one suite provides plenty of amenities to ensure a wonderful stay: down bed duvets, soundproofed rooms, blackout drapes, rainfall showerheads, free high-speed internet, satellite-TV, DVD player, umbrella, coffee maker, mini-bar, bathrobes, slippers, in-room safe, air-conditioning and quality healthcare amenities in the bathroom.

Taking time to break from exploring the city, we found the Maximilian’s library to be a well-stocked and lovely room in which to enjoy some quiet moments after a long day of pounding the pavements of Prague. We also took time to enjoy the honesty bar in the drawing room, where we parked ourselves one afternoon next to the fireplace with complimentary coffee and pastries.

A great start to our Prague mornings was the sumptuous breakfast buffet at Hotel Maximilian. This must-not-miss event, included in the room rate, taken in the sleek and sexy breakfast room is available daily from 6:30AM to 11:30AM, and extended until 12:30PM on Saturday and Sunday.

Hotel Maximilian also boasts The Floating Centre in the Zen City Spa – the only one of its kind in the Czech Republic – where we experienced the Bali massage and floatarium.  The spa is open to hotel guests as well as the public. Excellent location, professional service and courteous staff, with room rates starting at Euro 143.00 (US$225), are some of the reasons why Hotel Maximilian is where we will call home on future trips to Prague.

Jill Drinking Pils in Prague

Jill Drinking Pils in Prague

As it is our mission to sample as much local beer as possible during our travels (well, somebody has to), we set off in search of a place to quench our thirst. Within a five-minute walk from our hotel, we arrived at Maestro Steak and Pizza and promptly ordered our first Czech beer. Knowing the Czech Republic to be the land of lager, we decided to start the exploration with the famous Pilsner Urquell lager and sat back in the comfortable and pleasant surroundings to savor the experience. The aroma of food quickly aroused our appetites and we ordered a delicious brick-oven Margerita pizza. With beer priced at CZK37 (US$2.32) for a 0.5 liter glass and pizza priced at CZK99 (US$6.30) our bill came to a whopping CZK200 (US$12), including tip. Now, that is a great deal!

Glassware Shopping at iMaterial in Prague

Glassware Shopping at iMaterial in Prague

Day two found us on a morning walk (in slightly warmer and sunnier weather), exploring some of the areas within close proximity of our hotel. This was our time to visit a few local shops and ramble along the cobble-stoned streets, taking in the fascinating history and beautiful architecture that surrounded us. Tucked away on quiet streets we discovered what are now two of our favorite shops – the funky, Artel Design Shop and the glass shop, Material. As Czech glass is very famous, Material is the perfect place to find original glass products in limited series, inspired by the mind of designer and founder of the brand, Tomas Kysela. So, keep these shops in mind whether you are looking for a small trinket to pack with you or a fabulous piece of glass artwork to ship home.

Early afternoon found us with Prague Top Tour on their three and a half hour Grand City Tour (which worked out perfectly as the weather had turned cold and rainy again). Most of the sightseeing was from a comfortable twenty-passenger bus, with approximately one hour of walking and about eighty downhill steps involved. This tour enabled us to set eyes on the main highlights of the city and our well-versed, local guide gave explanations in both English and German. The Grand City Tour is one of the many options available with Prague Top Tour and operates twice a day, 10:15AM and 2:15PM at a cost of CZK740 (US$47.00) per adult.

Kolkovna in Prague

Kolkovna in Prague

After a busy day of sightseeing, the time had come for us to find a restaurant that served great Czech cuisine. Our hotel staff recommended we dine at Kolkovna, one of the Kolkovna Group’s first restaurants to boast the title Pilsner Urquell Original Restaurant. Wanting to savor the flavor of Czech cuisine at its best, Jill opted for the half-roasted duck served with potato dumplings, white and red cabbage for CZK 325 (US$20) and I settled on the Pilsen style beef goulash served with dumplings and potato pancakes for CZK165 (US$10). Each with a pint of Pilsner Urquell lager in hand, we toasted to another great meal in Prague, wishing we had enough time to return and sample more of the local specialties this very popular restaurant offers. Due to the popularity of this restaurant we advise reservations be made as far in advance as you can. Luckily, for us, the Hotel Maximilian concierge was able to secure us the last table that evening.

Day three came far too quickly and found us hitting the city streets with Prague Walks on their three and a half hour Grand Walk – The Best of Prague Walking Tour. Our guide that morning, Michele, was exceptionally knowledgeable, spoke excellent English and left us delighted with the time spent on tour. During a drink break at a local café and whilst answering more of our questions on the history of this fascinating city, Michele suggested we try the Budvar beer and hot wine. Included in the price of CZK390 (US$25) per adult is a drink and tram ticket for the ride to Prague Castle.

The Municipal House’s Smetana Hall

The Municipal House’s Smetana Hall

When in Prague, do what the locals do – spend an evening being mesmerized at a classical music concert. With plenty of music venues from which to choose around the city, we happened upon the Prague Royal Symphony Orchestra playing at The Municipal House’s Smetana Hall and performing Smetana and Dvorak. As the performance was starting within thirty minutes, tickets were discounted and we were able to barter the salesperson down to half price – CZK700 (US$44) per person. The hall was beautiful; the fifty-piece orchestra amazing, the music very moving and the two-hour event was indeed worthwhile.

Later that evening, while wandering the streets near the Old Town Square we peered into the window of a very busy restaurant, filled to the brim with locals – always a good sign. As we try to stay away from the typical tourist traps, we headed inside and were fortunate enough to find a table right away. The Restaurace u Parlamentu turned out to be a great find. The beer and food were excellent and very reasonably priced. We each ordered a Pils and while Jill decided on the Spinach crepe for CZK79 (US$5), I chose the Czech onion soup for CZK35 (US$2.25). Both of our dishes were deliciously satisfying and we would definitely go back. Wow, another great meal for a total of CZK200 (US$12).

From Prague, we were taking a quick flight to Florence, Italy to start another journey. This time deciding to try the services of Prague Transfers for our trip to the airport, we booked online the previous day. Our friendly driver promptly picked us up from our hotel and smoothly delivered us to the airport thirty minutes later for only CZK550 (US$35). Another courteous and professional encounter, in what is now one of our favorite cities.

We came for the Pils, but left thirsty for the city. From start to finish, Prague exceeded our expectations and we wished we had a longer stay.

Note: WAVEJourney visited Prague in April 2008.

IF YOU GO:

Hotel Maximilian:
Hastalska 14, 110 00 Prague 1, Czech Republic Tel: +420 225 303 111 Fax: +420 225 303 110 Email: reservations@maximilianhotel.com
Website: www.maximilianhotel.com

View WAVEJourney’s Hotel Maximilian Review.

Eva Jiricna Architects:
www.ejal.com

Zen City Spa: Located at the Hotel Maximilian.
www.planetzen.cz

Material Glass:
Shop – U Luzickeno seminare 7, Prague 1  118 00 (under Charles Bridge)
Gallery – Lazenska 9, Prague 1  118 00 Tel: +420 257 530 046 Email: info@I-material.com
Website: www.i-material.com
Hours: Daily 10:30AM to 9:00PM

Prague Concert Ticket Sales
www.aai-concert.cz

Mike’s Chauffeur Service:
www.mike-chauffeur.cz

Prague Transfers:
www.prague-transfers.cz

Prague Walks: Offering a variety of city-walking tours of various durations.
www.praguewalks.com

Maestro Steak and Pizza:
Krizovnicka 10, Praha 1. Tel: 222 320 498 Open daily 11AM to 11PM
Website: www.maestropizza.cz

Restaurace u Parlamentu:
Czech specialties and Pilsner Urquell beer.
Valentinska 8, Praha 1. Tel: +420 721 415 747

Kolkovna:
V Kolkovne 8, 110 00 Praha 1. Tel: +420 224 819 701
www.kolkovna.cz

Kavarna Cas s.r.o:  Local café in Mala Strana. Try the Budvar beer and hot wine.
U Luzickeho seminare 15, 118 00 Praha 1. Tel: +420 731 476 502

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