Sunday, December 23, 2012

Prague, The Gem of Eastern Europe

Prague looks like a fairytale city undergoing a renaissance through tourism, for the better and for the worse. As one of the world's most beautiful and monumental cities, it's seen the emergence of new hotels and of a young generation intent on living as bon vivants. That's good news for visitors, who'll be enchanted by the old center and then join the local beauties down the cobblestone streets for a night of golden beer and cocktails. But the hip cocktail bars and cool designer restaurants will always come in second to the stunning architecture. The city's soaring Gothic spires and towers are to be admired slowly, by strolling through the medieval lanes and crossing the marvelous Charles Bridge. You'll find that despite the onslaught of tourists, the city remains a well-preserved gem, and away from the stag parties is a classy and sophisticated city break destination. 

Top 10Top 10 Sights and Attractions
  1. PRAGUE CASTLE, the world's largest castle complex.
  2. OLD TOWN SQUARE, one of the world's most beautiful urban spaces.
  3. CHARLES BRIDGE, the monumental pedestrian bridge.
  4. The huge gothic ST. VITUS CATHEDRAL.
  5. RASIN BUILDING, Frank Gehry's "dancing building."
  6. The landmark TYN CHURCH.
  7. Strolling through WENCESLAS SQUARE.
  8. Europe's oldest surviving JEWISH CEMETERY.
  9. ST. NICHOLAS CHURCH, one of Europe's finest baroque churches.
  10. The outstanding collection of modern Czech and European art in Veletrzni Palace.
Hotels and HostelsHotel Bookings Look for the hotel or hostel that best matches your budget, type of trip or personality. Here you can guarantee a room but you do NOT pay anything at the time of booking. Payments are only made at the hotel and there are no booking fees. Most hotels allow cancellations with no penalty if done up to 24 or 48 hours in advance. You'll see that information at the time of booking and again in the confirmation email.  

RestaurantsEating and Drinking When the Czech Republic became part of the European Union in 2004, Prague's restaurants improved dramatically. A number of international cuisines were offered for the first time in the city, and today you'll find a variety of dining options. Together with the international flavors, the upmarket restaurants also list gourmet interpretations of classic Czech dishes, often presented in beautifully-decorated spaces or in locations offering fine city views. All of that is to be experienced at the end of the day that should begin with coffee and cake at one of the city's grand old cafés. From the late 19th to the early 20th century, Prague's cafés were meeting points for artists and intellectuals, much like elsewhere in Europe. Today many of them maintain the splendorous décor from those times and remain the best places in town for breakfast or brunch.
Parizska Street is Prague's elegant avenue lined with the international designer boutiques, while the city's biggest retail area is found around Wenceslas Square. That means Parizska for Vuitton and Wenceslas for Zara, with a number of homegrown creations in between. The major one-stop-shopping destination in the city is the Palladium Praha Shopping Center set in a converted historical building. 



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