Prague Stories

Start traveling east and secure a dictionary if you want to step into the largest castle in the world: you’ll need to take some time parsing definitions. Prague Castle, in the Czech capital, as the largest ancient castle in the world as listed by Guinness World Records— because it depends on what you consider ancient, and how you define castle so don’t take that at stated value.

Prague Castle deserves attention sans a doubt. The castle was built in the 9th century, stretching 18 acres, and reworked in both the 10th and 14th centuries. It’s an obvious mixture of Romanesque and Gothic-style creation. At night, walking over the Vltava River on the Charles Bridge, it’s hard not to be dazzled by the castle’s magnificent. But that does not mean it’s really the world’s huge castle.

For good reason, Prague has made as one of the most visited cities in Europe: prosperous history, astounding architecture, and an excellent go-to place for drinking and dining. The Czech capital is also encountering a renewed interest in design and fashion, with dozens of new shops and once but thought of as slightly behind the times. Thankfully, either outside or on the edge of the densely tourist city center where most of the best modern boutiques, restaurants, and pubs are located. You can whip from new attractions in the once-snubbed neighborhood of Smichov, south of the travelogue places in the Mala Strana district, party-friendly areas of Vinohrady and Zizkov east of Old Town but out to the residential, thanks to Prague’s top-notch public transportation. Catching up on Prague’s cutting edge usually means avoiding crowds even in more central areas.

For good beer, Prague is a great town but the still somewhat gritty Smichov neighborhood has prolonged dilly-dally behind other areas like crafting beer bars, as well as other basic essentials. The opening of Ale Bar, a tiny, seven-tap pub that offers rare brews from small Czech producers made the scene improved this year. It changes almost daily of what’s on draft together with the prices, but you’re expected to find (probably fall in love) any of the ales from the recent Czech craft brewery Pivovar Raven.  You’re almost definitely never to taste back home should price less than 150 koruny by just a couple of pints.

The Smichov neighborhood, base to the Lycée Français de Prague, named after Raymond Oliver, a legend of 20th-century French cuisine got another dose of Gallic culture with the late 2015 opening of the cozy bistro Papi Oliver. The master chef’s grandson Grégory Oliver in Prague, serves rustic, time-tested dishes — beef tongue with Camargue-style risotto, moules marinières with frites and fragrant, tarragon-scented gribiche sauce— in a fanciful but informal background,  by a limited list of regional French wines. You’ll pay around 2,200 koruny, including wine for the cost of dinner for two.