3 December 2015

Suitcase. Prague, Czech Republic - Travel Guide

My friend Emma and I are the biggest Christmas elves you’ll ever meet. We’re usually listening to carols in November, frequenting Winter Wonderland more times than we can count and wearing our Christmas jumpers to any kind of Christmas pop-up we can find well into January even!

In honour of our spirit we’ve started a little tradition. A Christmas market tradition. Here we are last year in Bruges…

And here we are exactly 52 weeks later in Prague. See, grinning from ear to ear despite being outside for approximately six hours in 0 degrees. Told you we love Christmas.

For my first foray into the Czech Republic, I found Prague to be a delight, and definitely a place one should visit during the festive season! There’s mulled wine on every corner, giant Christmas trees in every square and a general festive spirit in the air that is totally infectious. We even had a sprinkling of snow!

The Old Town Square is not to be missed, particularly at Christmas time! This historic part of town hosts the city’s largest Christmas markets complete with food and little knick-knack stores. I bought some beautiful Christmas tree decorations and a gorgeous piece of artwork.  The church in the square is an awe-inspiring sight and if you head up the tower opposite you’ll have a beautiful bird’s eye view. You'll also find the famous astronomical clock here.

As I always say, you shouldn’t visit any European city without doing a walking tour. Our guide Katerina with Sandeman’s Tours was a delight and full of historical knowledge. This bohemian city is simply bursting with tales, from accidental bombings during the war to the Rolling Stone’s footing the bill to light up the city’s castle.

Of course, you can’t miss seeing Prague Castle itself. It’s the largest in Europe [although I do think that title might be cheating a bit as it’s not one big castle, rather a network of buildings and a grand church but beautiful all the same]. One things for sure, you certainly get a beautiful view back across the city from here.

If you’re looking for something a little different then I guarantee you’re going to love Mindmaze. Tucked away just outside the centre of town behind a mysterious red door you’ll find this life-size interactive puzzle game. It’s difficult to explain because you really have to experience it for yourself but basically you’re locked in a room and told you must solve the clues in order to find the “key” to get you out! It requires problem-solving, common sense, some math skills and of course a desire for fun! You’ve got one hour to solve the immersive riddle – we cracked it in 51mins [with a few hints]. A must-do!

Prague is a VERY budget friendly place. A trip on the tram around town is a mere 50p and the taxi prices aren’t too bad either. There’s also an underground metro system, and for those who like to take it all in, walking is a great option as the city centre isn’t all that sprawling.

I’ve never really been one for hearty meat dishes like those you find in Germany, Eastern Europe, or in this case, Prague, however I can recommend some very good Italian restaurants for dinner.

Il Palazzo is tucked away underground in what used to be the emperor’s old wine cellar, AND both Michael Jackson and Madonna have dined here! I ordered the scallop risotto which, as you can see, was prepared with a delicate hand and tasted equally delightful! A great choice for a fine-dining-feel at an affordable price.

Pasta Fresca was my favourite meal of the weekend. This little hotspot has a great vibe; as soon as you enter you can see chefs preparing fresh pasta and slicing Iberian ham off the bone. My lobster tagliatelle was divine, definitely a number one choice if you love a bowl of spaghetti.

When it came to the Christmas markets we certainly weren’t short of mulled wine and sweet treats. Plus we also tried the locals’ favourite festive dish – langos. Basically it’s like deep-fried bread topped with garlic, tomato sauce and cheese. Certainly not good for you but it was very moreish I will admit!

Continuing in the same vein of items bad for your waistline there are plenty of chocolate stores dotted around Prague. We liked this one for its Christmassy designs, free fudge samples and when the owner discovered we were Aussies he even took a snap with us.

If you’re the brunching kind then don’t miss CafĂ© Louvre for breakfast. By London standards it’s ridiculously cheap and there’s an extensive choice of food from eggs to smoked salmon toast, pancakes and croissants. Everything we tried was delectable!

Thank you for a wonderfully festive weekend Prague, your market squares, Christmas spirit and extraordinary history had me in raptures. I highly suggest you Czech it out!

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Photos by Krissie.