A huge and magical castle, cobbled streets, traditional cafés, bars and restaurants and music everywhere – Prague is particularly enchanting at Christmas when a blanket of snow adds to its charm as the “City of a Hundred Spires” – one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
The city of Prague is entrancing, its heritage reflected in wonderful painted and decorated buildings, and distinct historical quarters with their hidden courtyards and passages, winding lanes and tiny shops... together recalling bygone ages and countless Bohemian secrets. Against this extraordinarily atmospheric backdrop, music seems to be everywhere, with wandering musicians performing in city squares, streets and on bridges, and ticket sellers in traditional costume promoting concerts in halls, libraries, churches...seemingly anywhere. Some of the venues are simply gorgeous.
Cross the stunning medieval Charles Bridge (Karlùv most) with its statues of saints and climb up steep and narrow streets to the massive Prague Castle with its cathedral (and Good King Wenceslas’ tomb), chapel, palaces and picture gallery. The castle looms way above the meandering Vltava River and the views are spectacular. Picturesque Golden Lane (Zlatá ulička), whose tiny, coloured houses are built into the castle walls, is named after the goldsmiths who worked here in the 17th century. Franz Kafka lived at no. 22.
Timeless bars, cafés and restaurants will entice you into their warm interiors where you’ll feel a distinct sense of the past. Meals are often nourishing with thick soups, noodles or dumplings (knedliky), and meat dishes are likely to come in creamy sauces – perfect with the famous local beers. At Christmas carp is a popular celebration dish, particularly in the traditional rybí polévka fish soup. You could follow this with a typical pancake (palačinky) with a filling of jam, fruit or ice-cream and a sugar or whipped-cream topping, or alternatively a fruit dumpling (ovocné knedlíky).
The Spirit of Christmas
To enter into the spirit of Christmas wander around Staromĕstské Námĕstí or Old Town Square where you’ll find magnificent Renaissance and Baroque houses with colourful mosaics and the beautiful 700-year-old Old Town Hall with its famous astronomical clock. The square is even more special at Christmas when it’s filled with colourful stalls selling arts, crafts, food and hot spiced wine. This is the place to find Christmas tree decorations and gifts such as wooden toys, traditional puppets, Bohemian glassware and handmade jewellery. The square is illuminated and decorated with a huge tree and a Nativity scene with live animals. There will be music, carols, dancing and traditional costumes... Absolutely magical!