Prague, Czech Republic – Top Things To See and Do In Winter

Prague Czech Republic

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.

Stroll Across Prague’s Charles Bridge

Nothing is more identifiable with Prague than the Charles Bridge. Typically the first destination visited by tourists, the pedestrian-only Bridge spans the Vitava River and connects the Old Town with the Lesser Town. Construction of the Bridge began in 1357 under a commission by the Czech King and Holy Emperor Charles IV. 

Prague, Czech Republic
Charles Bridge. Photo Credit: Windows 10 Spotlight Images

On each end of the Bridge are two towers: the Staroměstská věž on the Old Town side and the Malostranská věž on the Lessser Town side. The towers provide an entry way to the Bridge with the Old Town Tower considered one of the most noteworthy examples of Gothic buildings in the world.

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

The Bridge is lined with vendors and artists selling a myriad of paintings and products as well as over 30 statues and historical monuments, many with a storied past. Take your time, there is so much to see!

Enjoy Prague’s Old Town Square

As you leave the Bridge through the Staroměstská věž, you will enter Prague’s Old Town Square. Founded in the 12th century, it is the most significant square in the city. Dominated by the Jan Hus Monument and surrounded by the Old Town Hall, the Church of Our Lady Before Týn, the Church of St. Nicholas, The Rococo Kinský Palace, the Gothic House, numerous shops and restaurants, the Square is one of Prague’s most popular attractions.

Among the most important Czech Art Nouveau and Symbolist works, the stone and bronze Jan Jus Monument. Unveiled in 1915, the monument features the martyr Has standing above a burning stake while looking towards the Church of Our Lady Before Týn.

Prague, Czech Republic
Jan Hus Monument. Photo Credit: Capturing The Art Of Living/Rick Cooper Photography

Across from the Jan Hus Monument, you will see Prague’s Old Town Hall and the Church of Saint Nicholas.

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

Established in 1338, Prague’s Old Town Hall features a beautiful Gothic Tower with the Astronomical Clock located on the southern wing. The eastern side of the Town Hall was destroyed in 1945. Never rebuilt, it now is the site of a park.

Prague. Czech Republic
Prague’s Old Town Hall. Photo Credit” Capturing The Art Of Living/Rick Cooper Photography

Be Amazed By Prague’s Astronomical Clock

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

Located at the southern side of the Old Town Tower, this 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 Of The Prague Castle

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. The complex is so large, we recommend scheduling a walking tour. Our favorite tour guide is Viator who we highly recommend.

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

Visit Prague’s St. Vitus Cathedral

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

The center piece of the Prague Castle, construction of the Saint Vitus Cathedral began in 1344 and took almost 600 years to completion. 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.

Prague, Czech Republic
Strahov Library. Photo Credit: Capturing The Art Of Living/Rick Cooper Photography

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.

While visiting the Monastery, be sure to step outside and marvel at the panoramic views of the vineyard and city below!

Walk Through Prague’s Old Jewish Quarter

Prague’s Old Jewish Quarter (or Jewish Ghetto), dates from the 13th century and contains some of the best preserved Jewish monuments in Europe.

Prague, Czech Republic
Photo Credit: Achille Abboud

The torrid history of the ‘Ghetto’ can be found in the Jewish cemetery and the six synagogues including the Old-New Synagogue. Despite its confusing name, it is not only one of the oldest Gothic buildings in Prague, but the oldest active synagogue in Europe. One of the most popular tourist spots, the best way to see and learn more about its history is to take a Viator Prague Jewish Quarter Walking Tour.

Prague, Czech Republic

Enjoy Prague’s Street Art

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!

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

Created by the Czech sculptor David Černý the 11m tall Statue of Kafka weighs 39 tons. The 42 stainless steel mobile tiers start as a rotating maze that aligns perfectly to create the head of Jewish Czech writer Frank Kafka. It is located next to the Quadrio Centre and directly above the Národní třída metro station.

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

Standing 216m high, construction of the Žižkov Television Tower began in 1985 under the communist rule, but was not completed until 1992. It remains controversial even today among Prague’s residents. Regardless, one of the first things visitors notice besides the height are the babies climbing up the sides of the Tower, another creation of  David Černý, the Czech sculptor who created the Statue of Kafka. Insider’s Tip: Take the lift to the Observation Deck located some 100m up and be rewarded with a spectacular panoramic view of Prague, the Old Town and Prague Castle.

Prague, Czech Republic

Take A Stroll Along Prague’s Wenceslas Square

Dating back to the founding of the New Town by Charles IV in 1348, Wenceslas Square is the bustling commercial center of Prague. Lined with restaurants, shops hotels and banks, is is dominated by the National Museum and the statue of the national patron, Saint Wenceslas.

Prague, Czech Republic
Prague’s Wenceslas Square. Photo Credit: Prague City Tourism

Get In The Spirit At Prague’s Christmas Markets

Nothing says Christmas quite like being in the historical capital of Bohemia!

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

Christmas is undoubtably the best time to be in Prague. Open from 26 November to 6 January, the annual Christmas Markets take place at Prague’s Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square, Prague Castle and Saint George’s Basilica.

Prague, Czech Republic
A Vendor At Prague’s Christmas Market. Photo Credit: Capturing The Art Of Living/Rick Cooper Photography
Prague, Czech Republic
A Blacksmith Forges Medieval Weapons. Photo Credit: Capturing The Art Of Living/Rick Cooper Photography

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: /Capturing The Art Of Living/Rick Cooper Photography

Where To Shop In Prague

Prague is a shopper’s delight with a myriad of stores offering everything from Bohemian trinkets to high end fashion. Take advantage of the favorable Czech Koruna conversion rate as you browse among the boutiques and shopping malls.

Parizska Avenue

Lined with some of the most exclusive brands in the world – Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Gucci, Hermes and much more. Leading from Prague’s Jewish Quarter to the Old Town Square, the tree-lined Parizska is Prague’s version of the Champs-Elysées.

Prague, Czech Republic
Prague’s Parizska Street. Photo Credit: Grand Magazine/Argus Media

Celetná Street

Connecting Prague’s Old Town with the New Town, Celetná is one of the city’s oldest streets.

Prague, Czech Republic
A Street Performer Entertains On Celetná Street. Photo Credit: Capturing The Art Of Living/Rick Cooper Photography

Once part of the Royal Road, it represents the medieval heart of Prague. Here you will find Swarovski as well as shops offering Bohemian crystal, handcrafted wooden toys and trinkets all situated in buildings steeped in history. It is the perfect place to spend an afternoon. 

Palladium Shopping Centre

The largest shopping mall in the center of Prague, the Palladium consists of over 200 stores and 20 restaurants stretched over five floors. Both internationally chain stores as well as lesser known brands are located within the mall providing a welcome shopping experience while escaping the winter chill.

Prague, Czech Republic
Palladium Shopping Centre. Photo Credit: Prague-Now.com

What To Eat In Prague

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

While taking a stroll around Prague’s Old Town Square, stop at any of the local vendors offering a huge selection of Czech favorites. Warm up with a skewer of crisp deep fried potato chips, the ultimate street food. Top it off with a mug of mulled wine and you will completely forget the chill in the air!

Prague, Czech Republic
A Vendor Serves Mulled Wine At Prague’s Christmas Market

For dinner, try the traditional Vepřová pečeně se zelím a karlovarským knedlíkem (Goulash) comprised of roast 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
Czech Goulash. Photo Credit: Nillerdk/Wikimedia Commons

Have a craving for chocolate? Look no further than Viva4You located on Provaznická Street.

Prague, Czech Republic
Viva4You, Prague. Photo Credit: Capturing The Art Of Living/Rick Cooper Photography

Getting Around Prague

Prague is a pedestrian friendly city, yet it can be a long walk from Prague’s Old Town Square to Prague Castle, especially during the winter. Fortunately, 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), it is easy to navigate.

Prague, Czech Republic
A Prague Metro Station. Photo Credit: Capturing The Art Of Living/Rick Cooper Photography

The Prague Metro is an open ticket system meaning there are no turnstiles. Kiosks are located in each station. You must validate your ticket before entering the metro platform and have it available if approached by a uniformed ticket inspector. Be careful if you plan on bypassing the kiosk: fines can range as high as 1,500 Czk (approximately 60€).

It’s no wonder Prague ranks among the most favored tourist attractions in Europe!

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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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