Winter in Prague
Prague is exceptionally beautiful and it’s a lovely city to walk around, but it’s big and there’s a lot to see. In winter it’s very cold too , with temperatures regularly hitting below zero – so for the sake of efficiency, your feet and your core temperature, you’ll probably want to use public transport. The Prague Card is a good idea if you plan on doing a lot of sightseeing – it’s valid on all public transport, and on top of that it gives you free entry to some of the city’s best attractions as well as discounts on loads more attractions, restaurants and bars.
Take tram 22 through the city to get a really nice overview of the city – it comes every 5-10 minutes and runs all the way from the shopping streets of the New Town, across the river and into Prague’s Old Town and all the way up as far as Prague Castle.
Prague Castle is in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s biggest castle complex, and it’s an absolutely fascinating place to visit. You’ll see architecture from every significant period of the past millennium, and you’ll learn loads of Prague’s history as you tour the complex’s many buildings. It’s worth taking a guided tour of the complex so that you don’t miss anything.
The gardens might not be quite as welcoming in sub-zero temperatures as they are in summer’s warmth, but they are perfectly manicured and very beautiful and well worth seeing, even if you’re not tempted to linger outside for too long! The changing of the guards at the Castle happens every day at noon, year round.
Prague has many towers, each and every one of which will give you stunning views of the city. You may not get to all of them (in fact we’d be very surprised if you did), but do climb at least one to get a panoramic view of Prague’s beautiful cityscape. We went to the youngest of all the towers in Prague – Petrin Tower – which sits on top of Petrin Hill and is easy to reach on the Petrin funicular. You’ll have 299 steps to climb to get to the top of the tower, but the views of the city from the top are well worth each and every step.
If you’re a foodie, you’ll be happy in Prague. From the grotty, delicious fried cheese sandwich stalls in Wenceslas Square to high-end gourmet meals, Prague has a multitude of flavours that are well worth tasting.
Meat fiends who appreciate good ingredients should book a table (and you will need to book one) at Bila Krava in the New Town. Bila Krava (White Cow) is named after the white Charolaise bulls it uses in its menu, and this respect for the animals and the meat they produce is evident in the quality of the food served. Try the selection of steaks for two (just make sure you bring a fellow meat-lover), it’s one of the best plates of meat you’ll ever eat!
Burger lovers should make the trip to Dish Burger Bistro. It’s a fairly small and always busy burger joint that serves up ridiculously succulent beef burgers topped with all manner of delicious toppings. Their sweet potato fries are some of the best I’ve ever tasted, their beers are local and perfect accompaniments to the food, and the staff are just lovely. You’ll get a stellar burger, fries and a beer for just over a tenner.
The Vltava is the heart of the city, and you’ll naturally find yourself spending time around it when you’re in Prague, walking its banks and crossing its bridges. You can get properly stuck in with a river cruise though, and you should. There are loads of different cruising tours available but we went with the Venice Prague boat tours, because their boats are old-school and charming, their captains are friendly and funny, and – of paramount importance – because you get free booze (the mulled wine was particularly welcome for warming up cold hands).
The Town Square
Old Town Square is a bit like Charles Bridge, in that it’s big and very famous and we don’t really need to tell you to go there – it’s pretty difficult to go to Prague and NOT visit the Square. But we can advise that you grab a succulent, cheap sit-roast ham sandwich from one of the stalls on the square, and that you take the time to climb the Old Town Hall tower after you’ve had a look at the astronomical clock for beautiful.
Across from the tower is the GOAP Gallery, where works by Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, and the Czech artist Alfons Mucha are exhibited with each artist getting a floor entirely dedicated to them. Admission is a little pricey, but if you’re an art lover you’ll love this collection.