As I made my way out of the train station I was greeted by the sharp, crisp morning air; snow flakes started to fall whilst I could hear church bells chiming in the distance. There was a calmness as the rooftops and streets were covered in a white blanket of snow. I’d arrived in Prague for the final leg of my journey and the scene was set for a white Christmas.
I decided to walk from the station to my accommodation so I could get acquainted with the capital of the Czech Republic and begin to unearth what it had to offer. My journey entailed a 20 minute brisk walk winding through Prague’s narrow cobbled streets and spellbinding architecture before I reached my destination- Gorgeous Prague Rooms.
Where to stay:
With its setting in the heart of the old town and located close to many of the attractions, Gorgeous Prague Rooms offers you an ideal location for your stay in Prague. The Rooms are both spacious and tastefully decorated with mint green walls, stone grey furnishings set off by wooden floors with a large bathroom. The receptionist was extremely helpful and attentive and helped make my check-in effortless.
Alternatively, why not enjoy a breathtaking view of Prague from the comfort of your hotels sumptuous room within the Dancing House Hotel. The hotels unique architecture, along with its spacious, contemporary rooms are rounded of nicely with a minimalist finish. Located next to the River Vltava and with the closest metro station just 350 yards, this hotel is a great choice for your stay in Prague.
For those of you looking for a more budget friendly option look no further than Little Quarter Hostel. Located within the quieter Mala Strana area, the hostel lies within close proximity to Prague Castle and many restaurants, bars and shops whilst offering guests clean, modern accommodation at a very low cost.
After the relative ease of my check-in it was time to get down to business and start exploring Prague. So with that being said I slipped on my best walking shoes and within less than a 5 minutes I found myself entering the old town square. Standing tall and proud in the middle of the Square was the superbly decorated Christmas tree surrounded by quaint decorative market stalls. Just behind the tree with its towers reaching upwards of 80 metres high lie the Gothic styled dominant church of Our Lady before Týn. Whilst directly across from the church and mounted upon the southern wall of the old town hall was the colourful astronomical clock; first installed in 1410, making it the third oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest one still operating. Once you have finished viewing the clock venture up to the top of the old town hall to the viewing deck to catch a bird’s eye view of Prague.
The river Vltava runs through the heart of Prague and is the longest river within the Czech Republic. The river is crossed by 18 bridges with the most famous of them being the picturesque Charles bridges. So upon finishing up at the old town square I set off on the short walk towards this iconic landmark marvelling in the city’s fantastic Christmas decorations as I did so. The bridge was alive with the sound of music from performing street artists and the hustle and bustle of tourists mingling and having fun. Aligned with 30 baroque style statues this beautiful stone Gothic bridge connects the old town with the lesser town. Located on the old town side you will see the dramatic Gothic tower. Built in 1373, the tower allows you the opportunity to make the climb up its narrow winding 138 steps to the viewing gallery for a fantastic viewpoint and the perfect photo opportunity.
Across the opposite side of the bridge and built on the slopes of Castle Hill lies the lesser town (Malá Strana). With its charming little colourful streets, this part of the city offers up a quieter and slower pace than the old and new towns. It’s here that you will find the Lennon Wall. Starting out as a single image of John Lennon and some lyrics painted by an unknown artist after the singer-songwriter was assassinated in 1980. Unfortunately it now seems that the wall has become more about meaningless graffiti than representing any sort of message or ideal, leaving me to only imagine what the wall looked like back when it delivered and represented something of more substance and meaning. Although feeling a little underwhelmed when I paid it a short visit, it’s still a major tourist attraction to this day and is worth a quick pass as it is something that remains a part of the city’s history.
Now is the time to immerse yourself in history by taking the short walk up the hill to explore Prague castle. The castle doesn’t stand upon its own but lies within a complex that spans over 18 acres and contains three courtyards. It is also here within this very complex that you will find the most recognisable landmark in Prague and the one that dominates the city skyline from afar- St Vitus Cathedral; a leading example of Gothic architecture. This is the biggest and most important church in the Czech Republic.
Outside the castle lie many a great viewpoint to admire the city below from afar. Make sure you don’t miss this tremendous opportunity to take in the moment and capture a fantastic photo of what lies beneath.
Upon finishing up at the castle I decided to pay Letná Park a visit. Take a stroll and relax in the peacefulness of the park away from all the noise and crowds whilst being afforded a commanding view of the Vltava river and its many bridges. Enjoy the opportunity to snap away with your camera without having to fight for position through all the crowds of tourists.
From the peacefulness of Letná Park move on to the vibrant Wenceslas Square. Acting as the centrepiece for Prague’s new town this boulevard and its surrounding streets allow you the opportunity to indulge in some retail therapy thanks to its vast amount of shops that it has on offer. Make the walk to the top of the boulevard and it is here that you will find the extraordinary National museum with its striking centrepiece statue of St Wenceslas on his horse. Be sure to take a moment to marvel in the fantastic view that spans down the boulevard and revel in the energetic atmosphere that this part of the city provides.
If you’re anything like me and love to explore book stores then you’re in for a real treat because located amongst the bustling streets of the new town you can find the fantastic Globe bookstore and cafe. Prague’s first English language bookstore offers a diverse range of both new and used books catering to everybody’s needs. Why not peruse your purchases in the store’s cosy, atmospheric cafe-bar whilst enjoying a bite to eat with a cup of coffee or by sipping on a cocktail.
If you’re looking to grab a bite to eat on the go then look no further than Lifehouse health food bistro. Located in the centre of Prague this eaterie offers tasty homemade raw vegan food and drinks. The food is fantastic and the raw vegan milkshakes are sure to leave you wanting more.
When darkness falls Prague really comes to life over the Christmas holidays. As I made my way through the old worldly, lantern lit streets of the old town I could hear the choir was in full voice as I approached Old Town Square. The tree was sparkling with its spectacular decorations, the market stalls were busily occupied as people mingled and enjoyed the festive goodwill laid on by this fantastic city. This was the perfect way to spend my last evening in Prague and to bring the curtain down on my solo European Christmas travels. So, as I made my way back to my hotel to call it a night, I felt a sadness that it was all over, but that was soon replaced by the excitement at the thought of planning my next adventure- so until next time……