There’s plenty one can say about Prague. It’s as pretty as Paris, as architecturally important as Barcelona, and as vibrant as Rio de Janeiro. There’s also plenty one can do there too.
Millions visit the Czech capital every year to sample the unrivalled Christmas traditions of Praguers. From the hustle and bustle of the Christmas markets to the special services that echo around this historic city, it’s truly a lifetime must.
It’s called “the most wonderful time of the year” and if you’re touching down at Vaclav Havel as the year draws to a close, here are a few ways to make it exactly that.
Celebrate St Nick
Kicking the Christmas period off in true style is Mikulas Day on December 5, beginning a 20 day rundown to the big day.
Focusing around the Old Town Square, the action gets underway late afternoon when three figures slowly begin to make their way round the square. St Nicholas, the Angel, and the Devil, frighten the on looking children as they scuttle by.
The Santa figure visits each and every child making sure they’ve been good this year and if they haven’t then it’s into the Devil’s sack and straight to hell. Which is a shame, because there’s plenty more to be discovered in Prague over what is a magical season.
Experience Prague’s Entertainment
It’s no secret that Prague has a tremendous nightlife. Groups of friends arrive into the city in busloads every weekend to experience what the bars have to offer. And what they’re serving up is the best beer in the world. The Pivovarsky Klub, just a short walk from the main Hlavni Nadrazi station, has perhaps the finest selection in the city with over 240 bottles and six offerings on tap.
However, if it’s a classier evening you’re looking for then look no further than the Golden Prague Poker Casino at the Old Town’s opulent Hilton Hotel. It’s one of the finest places to play cards in the city, even welcoming the world’s best players in the Eureka Poker Tour, and is perfect for anyone wanting to put their glad-rags on and spend an evening enjoying the often hidden Czech glamour.
An Evening At The Opera
Keeping with the glamour, Prague really has a lot to offer when it comes to the opera. It’s almost selfish in the way it continually showcases some of the world’s finest talents across its masterful venues.
This winter will welcome the Barber of Sevilla, Carmen, and Cosi fan tutte at the Theatre of Estates, National Theatre, and the incredible Prague State Opera, and if you’re lucky enough to sit in one of the boxes it really will be a trip to remember.
Toast Christmas In The Old Town
Although there’s likely only one place any tourist will be heading in Prague this Christmas – the Christmas Markets.
Known to locals as Vanocni trh, the streets come alive with the smells of smoked sausages and mulled wine with the echoes of laughter reverbing off every building in the Old Town. It makes for a magical atmosphere and will leave you feeling full on both food and that fabulous Czech beer.
The market has an eclectic array of stalls with everything from Trdelnik – a traditional hot sugar-coated cake – to wooden toys, to jewellery; perfect for perusing right up to Christmas and even Christmas Day!
See In Christmas At The Castle
One of the most important parts of life at Christmas in Prague is Midnight Mass at the historic castle. However, with most valued traditions across the world you’d expect locals to be a little less welcoming towards tourists. Not in Prague. The service greets tourists of all creeds and cultures, creating a special atmosphere for one of Prague’s biggest days.
Hundreds make their way up the hill every Christmas Eve and come together to welcome in the season, and it’s the perfect way to end a fine experience in one of the world’s finest cities.