Last week we shared some tips for some cultural rainy days diversions in Prague. This week we turn to more practical matters – shopping, working out, and relaxing.
Get the shopping done
The past decade has seen a huge number of shopping malls built in the city and whilst there’s nothing exceptional or exciting about any of them, they provide a handy refuge from the rain and an opportunity to get some gift and souvenir shopping done. You can also take in a movie at Novy Smichov and for a bite to eat there our tips are the La Casa Argentina Fast Grill, praised in this write-up from the Prague Post or Safir, a Lebanese fast-food place also on the top floor of the mall. If you don’t want to stray that far from the centre, then Palladium should be your mall of choice. No cinema there, though nearby boutique mall Slovansky Dum has one.
Aside from these modern monuments to consumption, you’ll find plenty of shopping arcades (called pasaž in Czech) within and between the older buildings, especially off Wenceslas Square, usually housing more boutique and quirky shops. In Lucerna Pasaž you’ll come across an inverted version of the Wenceslas-on-horse statue that you will doubtless have seen at the top of the square, from the country’s foremost contemporary artist, David Černy.
Not just stand out in the rain wet, properly wet. There’s a pool at the YMCA sport center and another pool at Hotel Axa that are open to the public and are fairly cheap. Axa also has sauna and steam room facilities and massages are available. Some of Prague’s fancier hotels boast plush spa facilities. If a spa day appeals you could do worse than head to the Mandarin Oriental’s spa for some pampering – it was voted best in Europe by a spa magazine. If it looks like the rain is set for the day and you’ve got kids with you, head to AquaPalace Praha, Prague’s first proper water park, on the very edge of the city limits. There are spa facilities there for adults too.
Many of Prague’s larger hotels have well equipped gyms you can use even if you’re not staying there, though it’ll usually set you back a pretty penny. The Cybex gym at the Hilton was where Obama worked out when he was in town. It’ll cost you a pretty penny to run in the President’s footsteps (if you pick the right treadmill) though – a one day all-access entrance is 900Kc or around $50 . If you’re keeping to a budget, Hotel Axa is again one worth visiting. Axa Gym has an off-peak (10am – 3pm) rate of 100Kc per visit.
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Charlie is head of marketing at JayWay Travel. A long-term Prague resident, his interests are cooking, eating out, cycling, skiing and of course, travel.