If you’re looking for a mysterious, gothic-feeling, misty-city-on-a-river type of place, then Prague in the winter is your city!
I was lucky enough to enjoy a full day in Prague, seeing all the tourist sights and walking down little streets and such. And although in those 24 or so hours I cannot say I’m an expert (not even close!) I can say that I have a pretty good idea of how to spend a great day there!
The very first thing we did after arriving late and dropping off our backpacks was admire the famous Charles Bridge, with its lamps faintly glowing, and the statues leering down at us in the shadows. At that time of night (especially being winter!), the bridge was quiet, with only a handful of people on it. It is a spectacular bridge, which is probably why it is the only UNESCO site in Prague.
Afterwards we wandered down some streets and actually found the main square (Staroměstské náměstí) with the Astronomical Clock by accident! It was high on my list of what to see in Prague, so stumbling upon it was particularly magical for me that night, especially while enjoying one of Prague’s famous bohemian desserts, the trdelník.
The next day started for us at Prague castle, since our hostel was just down the road from it. The views from the top of the hill there were very impressive, great for pictures! While the castle was not what I had expected, I loved the cathedral built right in the center of it! It is called St. Vitus Cathedral, and it has stunning gothic architecture, with many quirky details around the outside if you look closely enough!
Afterwards we headed towards Petrin Hill, a lovely park with a maze of sidewalks and steps, to get a sweeping view of the city and to see a few of the many small chapels that decorate the hillside. On the way, we passed a monastery where monks have been brewing beer for hundreds of years (just a fun fact, haha!). Within the park, although we did not go up onto the observation tower, we got great views. We also saw a small cathedral made entirely out of wood, even the nails, that has been taken down two times, and has had three different locations since it was first built.
At the bottom of the hill, be sure to check out the John Lennon Wall, which is where people used to publicly write their frustrations with Communism. Now, sadly, it is just a wall with too much graffiti and since it is not a protected site, not much is original anymore. Still, it is a part of their history and it does have some interesting art to admire!
Back across the Charles Bridge (which was a lot more crowded than the night before), we headed toward the old Jewish quarter. The synagogue was nice, but the real reason we went was to see their old cemetery. When they were segregated to this area of the city, the Jews only had a small space for their cemetery. Since they were never allowed to expand, even with population growth, they had to bury their dead on top of others. It is a sad part of history, but truly compelling and very interesting.
Besides taking strolls down random streets, one of the last things we did was return to the Astronomical Clock and watch the little show at the top of the hour. I use the words ‘little show’ very lightly. It’s really not exciting, but you have to see it, just to say you did.
So all of that, plus meals of course, filled a whole incredible day! Anything I missed? Comment below!