The word picturesque is truly one of the best words to describe the enchanting, fairytale city of Prague. Having worked in travel for 25+ years, Prague is a destination that has slowly become one of the most sought after stops in Europe and clients have always raved about but even still, I was completely under prepared for the beauty, magnificence, history and delight this European city has to offer.
Our first day was spent exploring the Old Town Square, which is also home to the Prague astronomical clock. This masterpiece comes to life every hour on the hour, and people flock to see even though to be completely honest its 35 seconds of glory is quite underwhelming. The clock itself however is magnificent and so unique that its creator was blinded after its completion so that he could not duplicate his masterpiece anywhere else.
At the moment, the Old Town Square is filled with fantastic Christmas Markets and a stunning Christmas tree but the cobble stoned square is surrounded by cafes and restaurants, and small windy streets which are quaint and filled with souvenir ships and locally made Bohemian crystal and crafts so would be popular at any time of year.
The Old Town Quarter also houses the St Nicholas Church, Jan Huis Memorial and the Old Town Hall which are all worth a visit. Close by is the Jewish Museum (one of the largest in Europe and with several Synagogues and a cemetery to explore) and also Wenceslas Square which is where our hotel was located and named after the ‘Good King Wenceslas’ of the famous Christmas carol, which is now a shopping Mecca and filled with restaurants offering the local fare and bars/jazz clubs.
Day one of our visit was fantastic but two day was even more spell bounding; we crossed over the spectacular Charles Bridge (truly one of the most stunning views on the planet is witnessed from this bridge) and climbed up to visit the fairytale Prague Castle and St Vitus’ Cathedral.
The Prague Castle complex is huge and it takes almost a full day to go through and see all it has to offer. The Changing of the Guard was charming and not only did we explore the castle and cathedral, we also walked through Golden Lane, which is a street of homes on display showing the people’s lives who had lived there in days gone by.
The Czech cuisine is very similar to much of the rest of Europe, Weiner or Wurst sausages, goulash and soup in cobs of bread, boiled pork and delicious breads, pastries and pretzels, all washed down with tankards of beer or mugs of gluhwein, which is the drink of choice at this time of year.
Prague certainly did not disappoint, we had an amazing few days and saw one of the most beautiful cities in the world at Christmas, the best time of year to visit this fabulous region in my opinion. Definitely worthy of being a stop on everyone’s Europe itinerary!