When I first studied abroad here in 2014, I had no idea that impact that this city would have on me. Although it is not the first country you think to visit during a European getaway, it should be. Prague is full of old charm, fascinating history, and incredible arts and culture. From exploring the Prague Castle to enjoying a cheap delicious beer, there is something for every traveler in this amazing city. If you are lucky enough to visit in the winter, enjoy the charming Christmas markets and the holiday spirit that the city brings out in everyone.
Before You Go:
Winter Forecast- Average high 2°C/36°F and average low -2°C/28°F
Currency- Czech Crown
Beer is most likely going to be cheaper than a bottle of water!
Do not buy Russian dolls or any Russian/German related souvenirs, there are still some strong resentments.
The transportation is quick, cheap, and efficient!
Things to Do:
The Charles Bridge
Although the Charles Bridge is usually crowded with tourists, it’s because it’s a incredible landmark of the city. You will be rewarded with incredible panoramic views of Prague if you choose to walk the few flights of stairs up to the top of Old Town Bridge Tower.
This famous bridge spans the Vltava river and connects Mala Strana to Old Prague Center. The bridge is guarded by thirty Baroque-style statues and three Gothic-style towers. The city has this old tradition that you can rub certain statues and they will bring you good luck!
Pssstt… like every tourist attraction…get there early to see it without the crowds!
look how cute my mom is on the Charles Bridge!
The Prague Castle vicinity is a place you can visit over and over again in Prague and never get tired of. It is a renowned landmark in Prague as it is the largest ancient castle in the world. This architectural beauty sits atop a hill giving a panoramic view of the Vltava River and the city. The main things to see on the grounds are the incredible St. Vitus Cathedral and the peaceful park around the castle.
The Klementinum Library
I think someone should come up with a beautiful libraries across Europe tour. The Klementinum library is an Baroque architecture beauty first opened in 1722. It houses over 20,000 books and has incredible hand-painted ceiling frescoes from the 18th century.
When I think of Mala Strana, I think of the early mornings taking the tram to this stop to pick up coffee and go to school. I think of the cobblestone streets and the old century buildings that I would take in while feeling the crisp air on my face. Although it may look like a tourist-filled neighborhood, there are the cutest hidden shops and cafes waiting to be found. This popular neighborhood is full of charm and a great place to find some cheap souvenirs.
Shop my Prague style favorites:
Old Town Square
If you have looked up Prague on Pinterest, this is probably where you saw the photos from. This famous square is keeper to beautiful 14th century Gothic style buildings and the Astronomical Clock. You wouldn’t believe how many tourists come every hour to see the mechanical relic put on a small show. I can promise it is very underwhelming (it reminds me of the Gastown Steam Clock in Vancouver) but amusing to see if you are in no rush around the city.
In the wintertime, the square is filled with Christmas markets, mulled wine, and other goodies to put you in the holiday spirit!
John Lennon Wall
Since the 1980s, this wall has been covered in graffiti inspired by John Lennon and his lyrics of peace. Although the wall is covered in different graffiti, most send the same message: “All you need is love.” And love is truly what you feel roaming through the streets of Prague.
Prague National Theater
The National Theatre is another renowned landmark within Prague. To tourists and locals alike it represents symbols of Czech cultural heritage and artistic quality. The theater puts on dramas, operas, ballets, and more. In the wintertime, the National Theater puts on an incredible performance of the Nutcracker.
In both Prague and its neighbor Budapest, I would highly suggest doing a river cruise! A river cruise is a great way to see these incredible cities from the water without the stress of walking. There are so many different options for a cruise from a one hour cruise to cruises with full course meals.
The Jewish Quarter is one way to uncover the history and experiences of Jews throughout history. The many well-preserved landmarks act as storytellers for the Jewish experience. I would recommend going to the Old-New Synagogue, the Jewish cemetery, and the Pinkas Synagogue. The Pinkas Synagogue is the second oldest surviving synagogue in Prague. Its main exhibition is well-known for displaying children’s drawings from the Terezin Ghetto during the Holocaust.
Take a Day Trip!
Prague is not the only fairytale type city in the Czech Republic. Explore outside the city bubble and take a bus/train to Karlovy Vary, Cesky Raj, Cesky Krumlov, Brno, or Kutna Hora. Each city offers something new and unique to itself. For example, Karlovy Vary is a spa town (you may have seen it in Last Holiday with Queen Latifah) full of winter activities and an unexplainable charm. On the other hand, Kutna Hora offers cave exploring and a chapel that holds over 40,000 skeletons.
Prague Winter Food Favorites:
To me, Trdelnik is basically a mixture of cinnamon roll and cake. First, they roll dough around a stick. Then, they grill it and top it with sugar and cinnamon. You can add nutella, ice cream, and other amazing toppings!
Do this really need an explanation?
Palačinky translates to “pancakes”, but these delicious snacks resemble crêpes more closely. They are often filled with sweet flavor like fruit or savory flavors like spinach and garlic.
I love writing these posts because they are such a great way to remember a special time. I am grateful that I was able to study abroad there and learn from this incredible city. Prague will always hold the key to my heart, I promise I will be back someday!
What is your favorite winter memory? Let me know in the comments.
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