Much is packed within the small area of Josefov, Prague’s Jewish Quarter, formerly a walled ghetto, and today one of the most complete collections of Jewish historical monuments in Europe. Here are some tips for what to do and, naturally, where to dine, as you explore this monumental area.
Go to the Jewish Museum
The landmark sites comprising the Jewish museum are spread throughout multiple locations of the quarter. The newly opened visitor’s center—here you can plot your route via interactive maps, buy tickets, and check out interesting exhibits—is a great starting point. Top things to see: Old Jewish Cemetery, Old-New Synagogue, Spanish Synagogue.
JMP Information and Reservation Centre
Maiselova 15, Prague 1
222 749 464
Open: Daily 9 am – 6 pm (summer season); 9 am – 4.30 pm (winter season)
Look out for the plaque commemorating the birthplace of Prague’s foremost literary son at the corner of Maiselova and Kaprova Streets. The current building, calledKafkův dům (Franz Kafka Square 3), has a small exhibit devoted to the writer. The Franz Kafka Society’s bookshop (Široka 14) is a great place to browse. Kafka Snob Food would have been too flashy for Franz, but for breakfast, lunch or drinks this eclectic bistro can’t be beat.
Kafka Snob Food
Široká 64, Prague 1
725 915 505
Open: Mon – Sat 8 am – 10 am, Sun 10 am – 10 pm
The often overlooked Museum of Decorative Arts, so close to the Jewish quarter that it actually provides a stunning view of the adjoining Jewish Cemetery, has a wonderful collection of textiles, Czech poster prints, photography, glass, furniture, and other fascinating objects, plus a gift shop that sells unique jewelry and books.
Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague
17 listopadu 2, Prague 1
251 093 111
Open: Tue 10 am – 7 pm, Wed – Sun 10 am – 6 pm
Spend big or just window shop
Obsession multi-brand store, in the heart of the Josefov, is a favorite among local celebs and fashionistas; or take a walk along nearby Pařížská Street, which connects the Jewish Quarter to the Old Town Square, to discover the choice boutiques and international flagship stores—Prada, Burberry, Gucci—of Prague’s luxury shopping district.
Obsession Multi-Brand Store
Široká 7, Prague 1
725 607 955
Open: Mon – Fri 10 am – 7 pm, Sat 11 am – 7 pm, Sun 12 pm – 6 pm
Appreciate Art Nouveau splendor
The Jewish Quarter was partially demolished in the 19th century and many of its buildings were reconstructed in grand Art Nouveau style. One of the most ornate is at Pařížská 17, next to the Old New Synagogue and formerly housed the “Restaurant at the Old Synagogue.” Today you will find an upscale Italian restaurant serving Tuscan-style steaks and pastas.
Pařížská 17, Prague 1
222 326 203
Open: Daily 10 am – 12 am
Drink in the old-world magic
Don’t have time for a full exploration of Prague’s Jewish Quarter? Take an evening stroll, dusk being the best time to experience the ancient magic of this neighborhood, followed by something a bit more modern: a night cap at one of Prague’s most elegant cocktail bars. Tretter’s New York Bar, near the Spanish Synagogue, pairs expertly prepared cocktails (try a saffron gimlet!) with a jazzy soundtrack straight out of 1920s Manhattan.
Tretter’s New York Bar
V Kolkovně 3, Prague 1
224 811 165
Open: Mon – Sat 7 pm – 3 am, Sun 7 pm – 2 am