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Prague | Mulled Wine, Swans, and Christmas





The narrowest street in Prague is less than 50cm (20 inches) wide. A traffic light was put in place to help pedestrians from walking into each other in the middle and not being able to cross to the other side.


Getting to Prague
By Plane: You can reach Prague with year round flights from Moscow, St Petersburg, Kazan, Yekaterinburg, Paris, Nice, Rome, Venice, Milan, Lisbon, Warsaw, Vienna, London, Manchester, Brussels, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki,  Geneva, Zürich, Oslo, Budapest, Major cities in Germany (Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg) Tel Aviv, Istanbul, Dubai, DohaSeoul, Shanghai, Xi'an, Beijing, and Chengdu

(Seasonal flights from Toronto, Philadelphia, and Malmö)

By Train: Major services to Prague run from Germany (Munich, Berlin, Dresden, and Hamburg), Poland, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Serbia, Russia, Ukraine, and Croatia in summer. 


When to Go?
↠ Spring: The city is in full bloom, and Prague spring Festival begins in Mid-may, book in advance. Average 10C/50F
↠ Summer: if you like the warmth, this is the best time to go for lots of sunshine and walks/cycling around the city. Average 20C/68F
↠ Autumn: It's concert season, check out the calendars at entertainment venues before going. Average 15C/60F
↠ Winter: Dec 5 - Jan 5th is when Christmas markets are in town squares, average 0C/32F 


Prague around Christmas

Old Town Square
This is where the main Christmas market is, with stalls filled with Mulled Wine, sweets & desserts, sausages, glass ornaments and so on. I've also noticed that each market around Prague usually has a metalsmith/craftsman who is melting metal and making all kind of things right there in the square. 



The Christmas tree is of course in the middle of the square. The best time to take a photo is around midday, preferably cloudy. If you take it at night, the lights on the little bridge platform will wash out all of the colors of the trees and background, same with an overly sunny day. 

 

 


Charles Bridge
This is a place you cannot miss, it is also once of the most crowded places in Prague. I tried going a little after sunrise around 8am in the winter, but it was already crowded with people. My suggestion would be to pick one of the towers on either sides and enjoy the view from above! 


Find out where this photo (Below) was taken by scrolling down to the "Looking for a Scenic View?" section of this blog post


The Swans
Another thing that Prague is famous for are the swans on the West bank of the Vltava river. After you cross Charles Bridge towards the west, head further North and you'll see the swans gathering. It is perfectly legal to feed the swans, in fact it is encourage as this is the food source they rely on now. Nearby there are several bakeries on the way, so I stopped by to buy some gingerbread to feed these swans. They are very friendly and won't bite, you just have to hold out a piece and wait for one of them to come to you. (Map at the end of this blog for location)


 

 

Strahov Monastery 
This is a beautiful monastery founded back in 1138. There are two magnificent baroque halls dating back to the 17-18th century. The first one you see is the Philosophical Hall which is 2 floors high with floor to ceiling walnut shelving. The ceiling painting features figures such as Adam & Even and various Greek Philosophers. Down the hall with cabinet of curiosities, at the end you will see Theology Hall. It has a lower curved ceiling decorated with sculpted edges and more paintings. There are several large globes in the middle of the hall. 

Strahov Monastery contains over 200,000 volumes, 3,000 manuscripts and 1,500 first prints.  

Philosophical Hall


Theology Hall


Eat Here
Good Food (Bakery)
This is a bakery that sells the famous Trdelník, or chimney cake. It is on the way to Charles Bridge if you walk over from Old Town Square. They have so many different flavors to mix and choose from, and they all look deliciously adorable. Pick one up and enjoy this yummy dessert while you gaze at Charles Bridge! 


 


Caffe Italia & Cafe U Tyna (Czech Restaurant) in Old Town Square
If you're looking for a quick and yummy bite, there's lots of restaurants surrounding Old Town Square, however the tricky part is picking one. Lots of them are crowded, or don't have heating installation but you're sat outside. The best ones where you can sit outside but in a heated area and people watch, while you enjoy delicious food are these two restaurants on the East side of the Square - Caffee Italia and Cafe U Tyna. Both have fresh hot Mulled Wine! 



Looking for a Scenic View?

Prague Castle Starbucks
This is hands down the Starbucks with the best view that I've been to. It's just nearby the Prague castle, you can find the rooftop entrance to the right of Prague Castle. There'll be a line of people waiting for photos, so my suggestion would be head on downstairs and get yourself a warm cup of coffee before lining up, plus it can be used as a prop! (Map will be included on the bottom of this post)

 


(Below) Just in front of Prague Castle entrance, head right from here and you'll see all the beautiful orange rooftops as well as the staircase down to Starbucks 

Up the Astronomical Clock Tower
A lot of people go see the Astronomical Clock Tower strike on the hour, however most walk pass it without going up. It offers a great view of Old Town Square from above and also the rest of Prague around it. 


Up The Lesser Town Bridge Tower (West end of Charles Bridge)
This is one of the Towers near Charles Bridge. You climb up several flights of wooden stairs to end up on top of the tower. I prefer this one on the West end, because not only can you see Prague Castle, you can also see Old Town Square's iconic "Church of Our Lady Before Tyn" (The black pointy towers)


Mostecká Street (West side of Charles Bridge)
After the Lesser Town Bridge Tower on the west of Charles Bridge, just continue straight on the same street which will lead you to Mostecká Street. The colors of the buildings here are just amazing. On top of that, you can see some vintage cars parked on the side which makes it even a greater experience to walk down these streets. 

 

(Click on map below to enlarge or save)





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