Insider’s guide to Prague, Saxon & Berlin

Insider’s guide to Prague, Saxon & Berlin
January 2020

Prague

The Golden City of Prague, capital of the Czech Republic, is an architectural beauty, full of romance with contemporary sparkle. There’s an abundance of Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance buildings to admire, the elegant Jewish quarter to appreciate and an astonishingly well-preserved Old Town with independent galleries, cosy jazz bars and microbreweries providing a cool contrast.

DO

Craft Beer

Czech beer is a global phenomenon and the Czechs drink more of the amber nectar than any other nation on Earth. So, to find out which breweries are the best, join a local expert who shares their favourite lagers and ales and opens doors into traditional breweries like the 12th century U Kunstatu in Old Prague and the Strahov Monastery, where the beer is brewed by monks.

From the water

Admire the beautiful Charles Bridge, and the myriad spires which make the city so famous, from a different perspective aboard a vodouch on the Vltava River. Glide along the city’s famed waterways as dinner is served on your traditional wooden boat serenaded by violinists or a harp player.

DINE

Dinner with a View

For stellar views of Prague by night, book a table at Terasa, roof terrace of the Golden Well Hotel at the foot of Prague Castle. Executive Chef Pavel Sapík presides over a sophisticated menu of international favourites, from Russian caviar and Scottish salmon gravlax to grilled halibut and Argentine beef. During the summer months, guests can access the castle gardens straight from the terrace.

Art Nouveau

Dining at Francouszska is a grand affair. Located inside the city’s finest Art Nouveau building, the Municipal House, overlooking Republic Square, glittering chandeliers hang from the ceiling, tables are dressed in crisp white cloths while immaculately presented waiters attend well-heeled guests. The well-balanced menu features fine French cuisine with Czech influences and use of local ingredients.  


STAY

Aria Hotel

This eclectic boutique hotel on a quiet side street in the picturesque Malá Strana near the Charles Bridge celebrates the city’s rich tapestry of culture, arts and music. Each floor is dedicated to a different genre of music and rooms are dedicated to the work of a particular composer or performer and decorated accordingly. Head to the rooftop terrace for glorious views.  

BoHo Hotel

Stylish yet restrained, BoHo is a boutique design hotel well located between the Old and New Town. Rooms are elegant and spacious with a palette of soft greys and creams against warm timber floors. Pause for refreshment in the cocktail bar or a meal in the small but bright atrium restaurant, which overlooks the hotel courtyard.  


DRESDEN

This pretty Baroque city is the capital of the German state of Saxony. Most of the historic centre dates back to the 18th century and while much of it was destroyed during WWII meticulous reconstruction has restored the city’s most important architectural wonders. Divided in two by the River Elbe, Dresden’s grand churches and museums are found in Altstadt on the south bank while its Bohemian bars and street art are to the north.  

DO

New Green Vault

An addition to the historic Green Vault, which claims to be the oldest museum in the world, the New Green Vault features exhibits of Baroque jewellery and countless gleaming objects of gold, silver, enamel, precious stone, ivory, coconut shell and ostrich eggshell. The museum’s highlight is the Cherry Stone, a 16th century earring on which over 100 different faces have been carved.  

Albertinum

Get your art fix at this impressive collection of paintings from the Romantic period to the present day including masterpieces by Caspar David Friedrich, Claude Monet, Marc Chagall and Gerhard Richter and sculptures by Rodin. The glass fronted storerooms give a unique insight into the workings of the museum.  




DINE

Schloss Wackerbarth

Between Dresden and Meissen, this picturesque castle plays host to one of Europe’s oldest sekt (sparkling wine) producers where grapes are cultivated in beautifully manicured vineyards and produce elegant cool climate wines. After a tour and tasting, sit down in the gourmet restaurant for a sophisticated Saxon feast.  

e-VITRUM

Leading Dresden restaurant, e-VITRUM is located in the futuristic Volkswagen car factory and exhibition space and is run by Michelin-starred chef Mario Pattis. Expect seasonal organic produce and reimagined Saxon specialties, including local favourites like pickled herring and potato soup as well as special Pattis-style burgers. Even Volkswagen’s classic dish, currywurst (sausage in curry sauce) from Wolfsburg, has been refined by Pattis’ touch.  

STAY

Hotel Taschenbergpalais Kempinski

Perfectly located in the heart of Dresden’s Old Town, this Baroque masterpiece combines timeless elegance and grand hospitality with restrained contemporary interiors. The excellent choice of restaurants, plus the inner courtyard which is a perfect retreat in summer and a sparkling ice rink in the winter months.  


LEIPZIG

One of Germany’s most dynamic urban centres, Leipzig is undoubtedly Saxony's coolest city and a creative powerhouse. It boasts a fascinating history and played a pivotal role in the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Its rich musical heritage is intimately linked to the lives and work of Bach, Mendelssohn and Wagner, while both Goethe and Nietzsche were alumni of the university. Easily explored on foot, this compact city is a surprise package.  

DO

City of Music

Trace the history of music maestros Wagner, Bach, Mendelssohn and Schumann on a trail visiting their homes and haunts. Marvel at the Bach Museum, in the great composer’s former home, and step inside the Church of St Thomas where he worked as a choirmaster until his death. The Wagner Museum, in the 19th century composer and conductor’s former school, documents his early years; and the elegant Biedermeier-furnished apartment of Mendelssohn provides a delightful retrospective.  

Schloss Colditz

This impressive 1000-year-old castle has a rich history but gained notoriety during World War II when it became a high security prisoner-of-war camp for Allied officers who had repeatedly escaped from other camps. Step inside the castle’s beautiful chapel, which has been restored to its pre-war glory, and go in search of some of the escape tunnels built by prisoners.  

DINE

Auerbachs Keller

Walk in the footsteps of Goethe as you descend into this 16th century underground wine bar with its vaulted ceiling, painted columns, and wood panelling. The great writer was a regular patron, even including it in his best-known play, Faust, where he described the devil's ride on a wine barrel.  

Ratskeller

Venture into this atmospheric wine bar-cum-brewery with its vaulted ceilings and stone columns and tuck into some of the city’s best traditional fare. House favourites include pork knuckle, schnitzel and sausage, or baked cheese spaetzle for vegetarians. Wash it down with a stein of the house brew.  

SHOP

The Mädler Passage

This wonderful shopping arcade is a world-class architectural treasure located right in the centre of Leipzig. Dating back almost 500 years, it sits atop the Auerbachs Keller, and houses high-end boutiques and specialty shops.  

STAY

Hotel Fuerstenhof

A Luxury Collection property, this 18th century historic hotel in the city centre has a classically elegant feel with stylish and sophisticated interiors. Historic rooms – including the 19th century Serpentine Room, uniquely clad in rare Saxon stone – now house the hotel’s restaurant and bar.  

BERLIN

Berlin is a vibrant city of contemporary culture and one of Europe’s most dynamic with a thriving art and fashion scene and galleries and museums in abundance. Meander through Potsdamer Platz, once bisected by the Berlin Wall. Visit Checkpoint Charlie and venture into Nazi-era bunkers before touring the world's largest outdoor art gallery, and much more.  

DO

Street Art

Join a graffiti artist and discover the East Side Gallery, one of the largest remaining sections of the Berlin Wall and the largest open-air gallery in the world. A protected monument, it is probably the most important piece of modern history in Berlin and a canvas for artistic expression. Look for Dmitri Vrubel’s famous ‘Fraternal Kiss’.  

Museum Island

Admire 6,000 years of art and archaeology at this UNESCO listed collection of five world-class museums on the Spree River. Take in some of the world’s most important antiquities and artefacts, including works from Ancient Egypt, Byzantium, the Roman Empire and 19th century Europe.  

Secret Police

Gain an eyewitness account of life under the watch of the East German secret police at the Stasi Museum located in their former headquarters. Learn about their recruitment and surveillance techniques and step inside the office of Erich Mielke, Minister of State Security and head of the Stasi from 1957 to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.  




SHOP

Bikini Berlin

Seek out high fashion and indie design in Germany’s first concept mall located in an iconic 1950s architectural icon beside the Berlin Zoo. Browse pop-up stores where local brands and designers showcase their creations from the latest in eyewear and functional apparel to traditional socks and contemporary jewellery. Recharge at Kantini on cuisine ranging from Mexican and Israeli to Hawaiian and Korean.  

Hackesche Höfe

This Art Nouveau courtyard complex in the Mitte neighbourhood has become one of Berlin’s most vibrant shopping and entertainment districts. Wander through countless boutiques, independent designer stores and galleries selling one-off fashion, high-end apparel, jewellery, handicrafts and contemporary art.  


DINE

Facil

Justly awarded a two Michelin star rating, Facil dishes up classic cuisine in stylish surrounds in the middle of Berlin’s entertainment district. Innovative flavour combinations deliver artfully reimagined dishes like duck breast with royal trumpet mushrooms and eucalyptus, Icelandic salmon with radish and lentils and Uckermark beef tartare with juniper, white beetroot and Goji berry. Lecker!  

Rutz

The extensive selection of wines at this Michelin-star restaurant is sure to impress. Choose to chat over a glass of wine and deer salami in the downstairs wine bar or upstairs in the stylish restaurant where Chef Marco Müller serves up local, seasonal ingredients with modern flavours; think smoked eel with Koji sturgeon and juniper vinegar, mussels with elderflower and fresh and fermented kohlrabi or grilled pigeon with red currants and mushrooms. Conclude your meal with the miso molasses foamed sour cherries, washed down with a 2016 Scheurebe Auslese.  

STAY

Hotel de Rome, a Rocco Forte Hotel

Housed in an historic building which was once the headquarters of the Dresdner Bank, this elegant hotel artfully combines original architectural features with contemporary flair. Rooms are sumptuous but restrained with a designer touch from Olga Polizzi and varying views of the peaceful courtyard, St. Hedwig’s Cathedral, Französische Strasse or the grand Bebelplatz. The luxurious spa is cleverly located in the old vaults, and refined Italian dishes are served up at La Banca.