City Break Guide: Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is the perfect destination for the perfect Christmas weekend city break. Get the low-down on where to stay, what and where to eat in Prague, and the best things to do in Prague.

Prague is the perfect destination for a winter weekend city break. It has everything – Christmas markets, mulled wine, delicious food and doesn’t break the bank!

Recommend: 2-3 days. Great for couples and trips with friends. £.


Stay.

Golden Key, located in Prague 1, is a boutique hotel in a 13th-century building. Despite formerly being a locksmith’s workshop, the rooms were modern, spacious and cosy. The location of the hotel was great: walking distance to the Prazsky Castle (ten minutes) and the iconic Charles Bridge (15 minutes) and the other tourist attractions. For any ventures outside of Prague 1, the transit system was nearby and also easy to use. Use the discount code FRIENDS for 10% off.

Getting Around.

Public transport fares/prices are cheap, and they do offer a variety of tickets based on the duration of travel – 60 mins, 90 mins, 24 hours, and 3 days – as opposed to the number of trips. Similar to other European public transport systems, it’s so easy to use. To soak in as much of the city as you can, I’d opt against using public transport, and walk as much as possible, just remember to wrap up warm!

Eats.

For breakfast or brunch, head on over to Cafe Savoy, located in the Little Quarter. It has gorgeous interiors, which includes a listed neo-renaissance ceiling which dates back to the 1890s. 

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Cafe Savoy’s french toast

It’s regarded as one of the best places to eat breakfast by the locals since it serves an array of different dishes and has its own bakery, which offers fresh confectionery and baked goods daily.

Order the french toast with fresh fruits and maple syrup with a freshly brewed pot of black tea to cut the sweetness, I’d recommend either the French breakfast or the Ruschka. Then finish off breakfast with a selection of their freshly baked in-house cakes. 3/5.

For a spot of coffee and a snack, head to EMA Espresso Bar, loved by the foodies of Prague. They serve good coffee in a minimal and Shoreditch-sque spot. 5/5.

Latte at EMA Espresso Bar
Latte at EMA Espresso Bar

For lunch, if you fancy something different and want to experience more of the Czech food culture, dine in a Vietnamese restaurant. The Vietnamese community makes up the largest ethnic minority group in the country, so if you’re up for some exploring and venturing outside the city centre, make a stop to Czech’s ‘Little Hanoi’ or ‘Sapa’. Although there isn’t much there to do since it’s a huge industrial park with supermarket stores and a place to buy bulk items. But there, lies a gem called Phuong Phuong, which sells in a northern Vietnamese speciality, banh cuon – a favourite of mine. Banh cuon is steamed rice rolls, either served plain or with a meat and mushroom filling, accompanied with a fish sauce vinaigrette and Vietnamese pork roll. 4/5.

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Banh Cuon at Phuong Phuong

Alternatively, for somewhere in the centre of Prague, head over to Remember, a family-run restaurant serving cheap yet hearty delicious Vietnamese dishes. 3/5.

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Traditional Czech dinner at Krcma

Accidentally finding Krcma, a tavern serving traditional Czech dishes, was the best thing to happen on my trip to Prague. Located in the Old Town near the street lit up by all the designer stores, it was a full-house on a weekday, packed with locals and tourists. We luckily managed to grab the last table of the evening. Must-have dishes include the beef goulash and the roasted duck with dumplings, and a side of mash potatoes. The portions were enormous, delicious and really good value for money. Highly recommended. 5/5.

 

Do.

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Walk and get lost in the city. As I mentioned, the best way to really explore the city is to just walk and get lost, and you’ll find yourself strolling along Charles Bridge, walking past Prague Castle, St Vitus Cathedral, and through the Jewish Quarter.

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Climb 229 steps to Petrin Hill (or a ride the funicular railway). From the top of the hill, it offers a lovely view of the city and gives you a moment to appreciate Prague from a different perspective! 5/5.

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Christmas market in Prague
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Trdelík

Wander around the two main Christmas markets which are open during the Christmas period. Located at Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square, both markets walking distance from each other. Grab a cup (or five cups) of mulled wine, some delicious overpriced cured ham, and the Czech traditional pastry, trdelík, a fully circular pastry which has the option of fruit, cream or ice cream fillings. 5/5.

 

 

City Break Guide: Copenhagen, Denmark

City Break Guide to Copenhagen: where to eat, hotels to stay and what to do.

Your essential travel guide to Copenhagen – my recommendations on where to stay, where and what to eat, and what to do.

Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital, is home to hygge, functional and minimalist interior design and fashion. Copenhagen is perfect for couples, friends or even solo! Keep in mind that although you can grab plane tickets cheap, the cost of living is high (££££). Stick to three days, or four days if you’re planning a day trip to Malmo.



Stay.

Without a doubt, you can expect interior envy at any hotel or AirBnB you stay in. My hotel choices include:

I’d recommend using hotels.com where possible, because of their 10% student discount. But keep in mind, if you’re part of their loyalty scheme, you won’t be able to collect nights. Or book directly from the hotel’s website, sometimes there are deals which work out cheaper!

Eats.

In the morning, take a walk toward 108’s The Corner for a coffee and their in-house Danish pastries. Priding themselves on only using seasonal ingredients – something embedded in Noma’s food philosophy – their pastry selection always accommodates what produce and ingredients are most fresh and best. If you’re not near-by, there is an abundance of Ole and Steen branches dotted all around the city. Head in for a latte and their famous cinnamon socials. (And if all this talk of cinnamon buns has your mouth watering, head over to their London branches in Piccadilly Circus, Tottenham Court Road or Canary Wharf).

Cinnamon bun from Andersen Bakery
Cinnamon bun, Andersen Bakery

For a light lunch, pay a worthy visit to Andersen Bakery. A Japanese chef, Shunsuke Takati, was infatuated by Danish baking and opened up this bakery as a result. The bakery offers traditional Danish pastries which are heavenly, and pastries which fuses his Japanese heritage, like matchabolle. Gourmet hotdogs are also on the menu, which are house-made and served in a delicious brioche-bread. We opted for the Spicylicious and Beef hotdogs and to satisfy our sweet tooth, we ordered the classic but delicious cinnamon bun.

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Fleish interiors

A must-try when you visit Denmark is their smørrebrød – the Danish open sandwich. It consists of buttered slices of rye bread with a variety of toppings and accompaniments. We visited two spots during our visit, both as good as each other, but offered different experiences.

Fleish is located in Copenhagen’s Meatpacking District and serves smørrebrød in their afternoon menu. As soon as you take a seat, the ambience will have you immediately feeling cosy and warm, or what the Danes would call hygge, with their wooden chairs propped up with furry blankets and candles on each dining table. (It does get really busy, and if a table isn’t possible, Paté Paté, a bistro and wine/tapas bar, next door is an alternative option for lunch or dinner).

Smørrebrød at Fleish

Kronborg Restaurant offers a more traditional, homey, old-school aesthetic in comparison to Fleish, but still very delicious! If the weather permits, opt for alfresco dining and enjoy the sun as you chow down on an assortment of open sandwiches. Order 3-4 dishes between two. Order the classic, pickled red herring, the paté, and the Danish meatballs.

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Alfresco dining at Kronborg Restaurant

For coffee shop hang-outs, my favourites include Sonny, Democratic Coffee, CUB Coffee Bar, Coffee Collective and Atelier September. Take a seat, rest your feet, and enjoy your coffee (and of course, a pastry – or two – too!).

Restaurant Honey’s self serve soft serve set up

For dinner, head over to Restaurant Honey, one of my favourite restaurants, Despite being located very close by to the touristy area Nyhavn, the food is amazing!

The dining concept of sharing plates and carafes creates a chilled and social atmosphere., with a plethora of plates and cups spread across everyone’s table. Choose a main course, from lamb, pork to fish, which is then accompanied by their daily garnishes which changes according to seasonal ingredients. For our dinner, we were served gnocchi in brown butter, baked celeriac with truffle butter and chives, fried apples with cottage cheese and tarragon, and a salad.

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Sharing plates at Honey

Even if you don’t have space in your stomach for dessert – make space! Their soft-serve ice cream topped with in-house toppings was the perfect way to end the meal. The self-serve service enables you to choose your choice of ice-cream and toppings (which is unlimited!) Honey was definitely my favourite dining spot during my visit.

108 Restaurant

108 is the sister restaurant of the best restaurant in the world (in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014), NOMA. (Although it would have been quite an experience, NOMA was far too expensive, upwards of £300 per person – maybe in another life?) Both restaurants are known for their reinvention and interpretation of the Nordic cuisine, using only seasonal, fresh produce and famous for their fermentation kitchen which they share together. 108 is a cheaper alternative to experience New Nordic Cuisine. I discovered 108 by watching this MUNCHIES video, and I was in awe with the way the head chef, Kristian Baumann, spoke about food. For reference, we ordered cured squid, raw Norwegian scallops, braised oxtail and beef short ribs (for two). My favourite dish were the scallops – it was unbelievably fresh and delicate, and was plated beautifully. However, overall, the meal was quite average for me.

Fish and chips at Copenhagen Street Food Market

Visiting a food market gives you a great opportunity to sample a variety of different Copenhagen’s Street Food Market. Open from 12pm till 8pm, it’s an optimal place to grab lunch or dinner. Similar to Shoreditch’s Dinerama, there are a variety of different cuisines from 50DKK+, as well as alcohol. If the weather permits, sit outside by the waterfront in the sun with a cocktail in one hand and food in the other. Otherwise, there is indoor seating to accommodate for any rainy/cold weather. I highly recommend trying the fish and chips and the duck and chips stall located on the left-hand side of the market upon entering.

Other dining options include Manfreds, a farm-to-table restaurant, so you can expect fresh, quality produce. Opt for the ‘Chef’s Choice Menu’, which consists of 7-8 courses to share family-style, and make sure to order their famous tartar from the a la carte menu! Gasoline Grill for some delicious, juicy burgers! It’s in an old petrol station (the Landgreven 10 branch specifically) so it’s also definitely Insta-worthy too. And lastly, ILUKA, a seafood restaurant.

Waffle stick at Gelato Rajissimo

For sweet treats, a #CopenhagenFoodie spot is Gelato Rajissimo which serves delicious gelato and the Insta-famous waffle stick with melted chocolate and sprinkles!

A perfect treat whilst you’re walking along Nyhavn. Another choice is Osterberg Icecream located in Osterbro, which a selection of unique flavours like jack fruit and durian!

Do.

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Sit on a bench at Nyhavn and people watch. No matter what time of day, you’ll always find locals with friendly faces biking around; people enjoying al fresco dining and drinks by the water, chatting and gossiping; and freelancers sitting in coffee shops with their laptops. The neighbourhood definitely has a charm to it.

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Visit the Botanical Gardens. Visit the Botanical Gardens inside the University of Copenhagen, it’s absolutely beautiful (and humid!). Whilst you’re there, pay a visit to Rundetaarn, attached to the University’s Library, it provides a lovely view of the city.

Visit Christiania, also commonly known as the ‘Green Light District’, Freetown Christiania is a commune in the borough of Christianshavn, with a population of almost 1,000 residents.

Tivoli Gardens. If you’re a fan of amusements parks, schedule a day at Tivoli Gardens, the second oldest amusement park in the world. However, bear in mind the park is only open from Mid-April to Mid-September.

Acne Archive finds!

Shopping. Denmark is famous for its reputation of being the happiest place in the world, but its fashion and interior design comes right after. So shopping is a must when visiting. To discover and explore Danish fashion, recommendations include Playtype, Acne Studios, Weekday and Norse Store Women. Remember to make a visit to Acne Studios outlet store, Acne Archive, with luck you’ll score some heavily discounted bits! If you’re a lover of stores similar to Dover Street Market, Storm is a must-visit. To shop Danish interiors, browse Frama and Dansk Made for Room, which sells a curated selection of homeware; and a beautiful ceramics store called Keramik and Glasvaerkstedet; and of course, a visit to Copenhagen wouldn’t be complete without a visit to HAY House.

Museums. There is a wide range of museums for you during your visit to Copenhagen. Favourites include the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Design Museum, and ARKEN Museum of Modern Art. Be sure to book in advance, if not remember to bring your student card for entry discount.

Day trip to Malmø. Malmo was never on my radar till my colleagues at my part-time retail job boasted about how amazing the city is. Only a 40-minute train ride away, Malmø offers great food, shopping and atmosphere! On every foodie’s list should be a visit to Saluhall, a food-hall market with a variety of stalls and eateries.

A Google Map list of everything mentioned.