Prague, Czech Republic – Top Winter Things To See And Do

Prague Castle

Ahh, Prague … The “City of a Hundred Spires”! What is there not to like about Prague? From its Old Town Square, cobbled streets, horse drawn carriages, beautiful architecture to the Prague Castle and the Charles Bridge spanning the Vitava River – it is truly one of Europe’s finest cities. We doubt you could throw a stone in Prague – or the entire Czech Republic – without hitting something historical!

While Prague is beautiful in the spring, it becomes magical during the winter months. First, the crowds are mostly gone and second, you can enjoy the sight and smell of Prague’s Christmas Market!

Formerly known as Czechoslovakia, a part of the communist Eastern Bloc, the Czech Republic (also referred to as Czechia) and Slovakia once again became independent sovereign states following the peaceful Velvet Revolution and the fall of the Soviet Union. Historically known as Bohemia, the Czech Republic of today ranks the 9th safest and most peaceful country in the world.

Although it is a part of the European Union, the Czech Republic never adopted the Euro rather electing to stay on its own currency, the Czech Koruna, making it a very affordable destination.

Take A Walk Across Prague’s Charles Bridge

One of the best known landmarks in Prague, the Charles Bridge is typically the first destination visited by tourist.

The Staroměstská věž Old Town Bridge Tower, Prague Czech Republic
The Staroměstská věž Old Town Bridge Tower. Photo Credit: Rick Cooper Photography/Capturing The Art Of Living

Spanning the Vitava River, the Charles Bridge connects the Old Town with the Lesser Town. Construction began in 1357 under a commission by the Czech King and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV.

On each end of the Bridge are two towers, the Staroměstská věž on the Old Town side and the Malostranská věž on the Lesser Town side.

As you cross the Bridge, you will find over 30 statues and historical monuments, including The Crucifix and Calvary added to the Bridge in the 17th century.

Statue of the Holy Crucifix and Calvary, On The Charles Bridge, Prague Czech Republic
Statue of the Holy Crucifix and Calvary. Photo Credit: ©Rick Cooper Photography/Capturing The Art Of Living

Enjoy Prague’s Old Town Square

Founded in the 12th century, Prague’s Old Town Square is the most significant square in the city. Dominated by the Jan Jus monument, it is surrounded by the Old Town Hall, the Church of Our Lady Before Týn, St. Nicholas, The Rococo Kinský Palace, the Gothic House, numerous shops and restaurants.

The Old Town Square, Prague Czech Republic
Prague’s Old Town Square At Night. Photo Credit: ©Rick Cooper Photography/Capturing The Art Of Living
Old Town Hall & Tower, Prague Czech Republic
Night View Of Prague’s Old Town Hall & Tower. Photo Credit: ©Rick Cooper Photography/Capturing The Art Of Living
Jan Has Monument, Prague Czech Republic
Jan Has Monument In Prague’s Old Town Square. Photo Credit: ©Rick Cooper Photography/Capturing The Art Of Living

Although a popular attraction, venture a few steps down the side streets and experience where the locals shop and eat.

Be Amazed By Prague’s Astronomical Clock

Astronomical Clock, Prague Czech Republic
Prague’s Astronomical Clock. Photo Credit: ©Rick Cooper Photography/Capturing The Art Of Living

Located at the southern side of the Old Town Tower, Prague’s 600 year old medieval Astronomical Clock is one of the oldest functional astronomical clocks in the world. In addition to telling the time, it shows astronomical and zodiac information, the relative positions of the Sun and Moon, as well as a theatrical display of the twelve apostles that appear every hour making it one of Prague’s most popular landmarks.

Take A Tour Through The Prague Castle

Prague Castle, Prague Czech Republic
Prague Castle Overlooking The Golden Lane and Vitava River. Photo Credit: ©Rick Cooper Photography/Capturing The Art Of Living

One of the largest complexes in the world, the Prague Castle has stood above the city for more than a thousand years. Constructed in the 9th century, it was the seat of the Bohemian kings and in later years became the official residence of Czech presidents.

Literally a city within a city, the Castle spans some 45 hectares (110 acres) and encompasses the royal palaces, government offices, St. Vitus Cathedral, fortifications, courtyards and gardens.

Visit Prague’s St. Vitus Cathedral

St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague Czech Republic
St. Vitus Cathedral. Photo Credit: ©Rick Cooper Photography/Capturing The Art Of Living
St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague Czech Republic
St. Vitus Cathedral Interior. Photo Credit: ©Rick Cooper Photography/Capturing The Art Of Living

Founded in 1344 with construction taking almost 600 years, St. Vitus Cathedral is the center piece of the Prague Castle. The Cathedral contains the crypts of Czech kings, the tomb of St. Wenceslas, the Crown Chamber and Crown Jewels. If you’re in great shape, climb the 287 narrow, winding steps of the Cathedral’s 90m high Great South Tower for a panoramic view of the City below!

Be Overwhelmed By Prague’s Strahov Library

The Strahov Monastery, founded in 1140, contains one of the most valuable and best preserved historical libraries in the world, the Strahov Library. Consisting of over 18,000 books, the library also features a unique desk with a compilation wheel used in compiling texts.

Theological Hall In The Strahov Library, Prague Czech Republic
Baroque Theological Hall, Strahov Library. Photo Credit: ©Rick Cooper Photography/Capturing The Art Of Living

Established around 1673, the ceiling decorations in the Baroque Theological Hall were created by Giovanni Dominik Orsi, the Library’s architect with the ceiling fresco created by Siard Nosecký.

Enjoy Prague’s Street Art

A walk down any street or alleyway and you will be met with some form of artwork. From beautiful museums, centuries old statues, elegant interiors of the myriad of cathedrals that dot the city, to whimsical sculptures and artwork, Prague’s art scene will not disappoint!

Statue of Kafka, Prague Czech Republic
Statue of Kafka By Frank Kafka. Photo Credit: ©Rick Cooper Photography/Capturing The Art Of Living

Created by the artist David Černý, the 11m tall metal rotating Statue of Kafka. Created by artist David Černý, the sculpture is of Czech writer Frank Kafka. Weighing some 39 tons, the 42 stainless steel mobile tiers start as a maze that rotate to align perfectly into a head. It is located next to the Quadrio Centre and directly above the Národní třída metro station.

Žižkov Television Tower, Prague Czech Republic
Žižkov Television Tower. Photo Credit: ©Rick Cooper Photography/Capturing The Art Of Living

Standing 216m high, the Žižkov Television Tower remains controversial among Prague’s residents. Construction began in 1985 under the communist rule, but was not completed until 1992. One of the first things visitors will notice – besides the height – are the babies climbing up the Tower. The unusual artwork is a creation of David Černý, the artist known for the rotating Statue of Kafka. Be sure to take the lift to the Observation Deck which is located some 100m up and provides a spectacular panoramic view of Prague, the Old Town and the Prague Castle.

Shop Prague’s Christmas Market

Prague Christmas Market, Prague Czech Republic
Christmas Market on Prague’s Old Town Square. Photo Credit: ©Rick Cooper Photography/Capturing The Art Of Living

Nothing says Christmas quite like being in the historical capital of Bohemia! Open from 26 November to 6 January, the annual Christmas Markets take place at Prague’s Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square, the Prague Castle and St. George’s Basillica.

Prague Christmas Market
Food Vendors Are Popular At Prague’s Christmas Market. Photo Credit: ©Rick Cooper Photography/Capturing The Art Of Living
Prague Christmas Market, Prague Czech Republic
A Blacksmith Is Seen At Work Forging Medieval Weapons At The Prague Christmas Market. Photo Credit: ©Rick Cooper Photography/Capturing The Art Of Living
Prague Christmas Market
A Street Performer Entertains With Bubbles In Prague. Photo Credit: ©Rick Cooper Photography/Capturing The Art Of Living

Bringing locals and tourists together, the Christmas Market offers a little bit of everything to put you in the Christmas Spirit with decorative souvenirs, hams roasted on spits, klobása (barbequed sausage), trdelník (sugar coated pastry), gingerbread and so much more!

Take A Leisurely Stroll Along Prague’s Canals

With the tourist season over and a briskness in the air, it’s a perfect time to leisurely stroll along one of Prague’s canals.

Prague, Czech Republic
A Canal In Prague. Photo Credit: ©Rick Cooper Photography/Capturing The Art Of Living

Prague’s Love Locks

While three are numerous things to do in Prague, it is also important to mention something not to do. While love locks may be intended as a romantic gesture, they are a nuisance the city does not want. Couples attach the lock to the Charles Bridge, a monument, fence or gate, then kiss the key and throw it in the river or canal below. Unfortunately, the locks pose not only environmental damage but threaten the historical monuments they are attached to as well. If you insist on attaching a love lock to show your affection, place it momentarily on a railing, take a photo and then immediately remove it and never throw the key in the water below. At least you will have a memory you can share with others without leaving a blight after you leave.

Prague, Czech Republic
Love Locks. Photo Credit: ©Rick Cooper Photography/Capturing The Art Of Living

What To Eat In Prague

The winter months are a great time to enjoy traditional Czech cuisine topped off with a local pilsner!

For dinner, try the traditional Veprova s knedlikem a se zelim (Guláš) comprised of stew of pork, sauerkraut, paprika and sour cream with Czech dumplings. Originating in Hungary, this is perhaps the most quintessential Czech dish.

Stew of pork, sauerkraut, paprika and sour cream with Czech dumplings
Stew of pork, sauerkraut, paprika and sour cream with Czech dumplings. Photo Credit: Nillerdk/Wikimedia Commons

Warm up with a skewer of crisp deep fried potato chips! The ultimate street food, the chips are prepared fresh by local vendors and perfect to put you in the Bohemian spirit. Top it off with a mug of mulled wine and you will completely forget the chill in the air!

Potato Chips On A Skewer, Prague Czech Republic
Potato Chips On A Skewer. Photo Credit: ©Rick Cooper Photography/Capturing The Art Of Living

How To Get Around Prague

Prague is truly a walking city and one of the best apps we have found to help us get around is Mapy.cz, a free app available only on the App Store for iPhones and iPads. It is available in 16 languages and will guide you easily around the city. While the Old Town, New Town and Lessor Town sectors of Prague are known for walkability, there are times when another form of transportation will be needed.

The Prague Metro

A Prague Metro Station

The Prague Metro is a very efficient rapid transit system that is both convenient and inexpensive. Consisting of three color-coded lines (Green Line A; Yellow Line B and Red Line C).

The rapid transit system operates from 5am to midnight, seven days a week. Ask the front desk, concierge or host at your hotel/Airbnb to show which lines to take to the sites you want to visit.

Taxis and UBER

While taxis (both licensed and unlicensed) are plentiful in Prague, we suggest you never flag down a taxi on the street, rather find a taxi stand. Be sure to take note of the driver’s name and the 40/28/6 tariff is visible on the outside of the taxi representing the tariffs: CZK40 when you get in; CZK28 per kilometer; and CZK6 waiting time per minute. UBER also operates in Prague and is a good option, however, be aware that most European cars are small and will not accommodate a lot of luggage. If booking a taxi or UBER to the airport or train station, be sure to request a large car or van in advance.

We hope you have enjoyed this guide and, more importantly, that you enjoy your vacation in Prague.

Ciao!

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Published by Capturing The Art Of Living

Capturing The Art Of Living® is both a travel and photographic blog. We are a pair of international filmmakers who love to travel extensively and, just as important, love to share our experiences with the hope of encouraging others to learn more about our world. We invite you to follow with us and enjoy original photography, read about our travel experiences and find recommendations for awesome places to visit, what to see, where to stay and eat.

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