Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe in my opinion and whilst it is still lovely in summer my favourite time of year to visit is in the winter. It is so pretty (especially if you are lucky enough to have a little snow when you are there) and there are many things to do in Prague in winter too that make it such a special place to visit!
We visited Prague as part of a train trip around Europe from London. To find out more about that trip read all about it – London – Berlin-Prague by train.
First things first though and for me that is always knowing about the public transport systems wherever I go so I know how to get around!
PUBLIC TRANSPORT OPTIONS IN PRAGUE
- Prague has an excellent public transport system with trams, metro and buses available to get you around. Short term tourist passes are available for either 24 hours or 3 days. We purchased a 3 day pass which gave us unlimited access to all Prague public transport for the duration. It cost 310 CZK each and I would highly recommend purchasing one! We used trams, buses and the metro to get around the city.
- Metro – There are 3 lines (green A, yellow B and red C) which cover the city. Lines A and B run east to west and line C from north to south. There are 3 stations in the city centre where 2 subway lines intersect:
Můstek (lower end of Wenceslas Square) – lines A and B intersect
Muzeum (upper end of Wenceslas Square) – lines A and C intersect
Florenc (main bus station) – lines B and C intersect
It takes about 2/3 minutes to transfer lines and transfers are well signposted.
- Buses – the buses cover area where the tram and metro do not run. We used the bus to get us from our hotel to the old town and we rarely waited more than 2/3 mins for one – they run that often!
- Trams – My personal favourite!! I had read that Tram 22 is the most scenic route so we had to take this one – which we did to the end of the line (during a blizzard!) It passes by Prague castle and I would highly recommend taking this tram as it is a lovely route.
TIP – make sure you validate your ticket before you start using it. We had our tickets checked and if you haven’t validated you WILL get a fine.
THINGS TO DO IN PRAGUE IN WINTER
There are so many things to do in Prague in winter including the following must-see sights!
- Visit the OLD TOWN – Staré Město– which has the old town square at its heart (dating back to 12th century). This is one of two main squares in Prague (the other is Wenceslas) Here you will find the famous astronomical clock as well as St Nicholas Church and the Tyn Church. In the centre is a massive statue of Jan Hus. Stroll round the square, watch the clock on the hour and sit and have a drink whilst soaking in the atmosphere!
- Walk the CHARLES BRIDGE – Karlův Most – this is a stone bridge built in the 14th century and connects the old town – Staré Město – with the Lesser town – Malá Strana (personally my favourite bit of town). The Vltava River flows beneath your feet as you walk this beautiful bridge. There are 75 statues on the bridge with the most famous being Saint John of Nepomuk – legend has it if you touch it you will have good luck and also return to Prague. It was very shiny where the thousands (millions) of hands have touched it. I touched it so the good news for me is that I will be returning to Prague!
It snowed too!!!
- Explore the LESSER QUARTER or Malá Strana. This quarter is full of quaint little streets and a steep climb to Prague Castle! There are some lovely pubs and restaurants in this area and we had to stop off for a hot chocolate to warm us through after a snowy walk over the Charles Bridge (it only takes about 10 minutes to walk from the old town square to lesser town square but what a walk!!!!)
You sit outside but the seats have blankets and there are heaters all around you!
- Here we also found the Memorial to the victims of Communism…this is a series of 7 statues which commemorate the victims of the Communism 1948- 1989 a sad but poignant reminder of communist rule over what was then Czechoslovakia
On our way up the hill to the castle we also stumbled across a the gingerbread museum- the choice of beautifully decorated ginger bread in every shape as fantastic so I took the opportunity to buy something for my daughter! Note the hot chocolate is a LOT cheaper than the place we stopped at on the square!). Check out their website HERE!
- Visit PRAGUE CASTLE -Pražský Hrad- the largest Medieval castle in Europe. It is situated in the Hradčany or Castle District and is a walk up from the lesser town. We sort of wandered up by accident and found ourselves at the castle…as you do! We were there for the changing of the guard…in a blizzard! And we had a wander around the grounds before finding ourselves at St Vitus cathedral. Nice. Oh and the views from up there were pretty spectacular too!!!
and the views were spectacular!
- Visit WENCESLAS SQUARE – Václavské náměstí – this is 5 minutes walk away from Old Town Square and has lots of shops, bars, restaurants and hotels as well as rather impressive statue at one end!
- Visit the JEWISH QUARTER– Josevof – the Old-New Synagogue the oldest active Synagogue in Europe and the Old Jewish Cemetery which is home to 12,000 tombstones but an estimated 100,000 burials.
- If you like architecture (which I do) I would go and have a look at the DANCING HO– USE as it is nicknamed. This was completed in 1996 and is (was) quite controversial as it is in complete contrast to the other styles of buildings in Prague (Gothic/Baroque/Renaissance etc) Personally I love it.
- And I have saved the one thing I loved best of all for last! The KLEMENTINUM with its BAROQUE LIBRARY. I had read mixed reviews about this but the day we went it was amazing. We had a lovely guide who obviously loved the place and she took delight in my stunned reaction to the beauty that is that library!
- The Baroque library hall was completed in 1722 and its appearance and arrangement remain untouched. The books are foreign language theological books so not something I would consider for bedside reading! The overwhelming beauty of the room as well as the geographical and astronomical globes on display left me speechless (this does not happen often!) Read all about the experience of the Klementinum in my post – A Time Traveller’s Tale
- After the beauty of the library there is a three floor climb up the astronomical tower where you get fabulous views of Prague. On the way up though you pass a room (meridian hall) that is used for determining noon – a ray of light comes through a small hole in the wall and hits string stretched on the floor. (Don’t ask me any more on this – go and visit and hope its sunny!)
- Although technically not part of the tour our guide showed us the MIRROR CHAPEL. This was built in 1725 and is now used for classical concerts.
- Tip! We found the Klementinum entrance hard to find and wandered around a bit before we eventually located it. This is what the entrance bit looks like just in case you get lost too!!
- Tip – there are lots of reviews on other websites not really rating a visit to the Klementinum as a must-do when you are visiting Prague. For me it was THE highlight of our trip. I would recommend that you book a tour and go and see the Baroque Library for yourself – if you want a little flavour of the experience I have written all about it in my post “A time traveller’s tale”
WHERE TO EAT WHEN YOU ARE STAYING IN PRAGUE
We had a fantastic hotel which provided us with a big breakfast every day so we only really ate one other meal. I tried potatoes, cabbage and ham from a stall on Old Town Square..I have had better to be honest! We found a lovely little sandwich shop on the ground floor of the Quadrio Shopping Centre (at Národní třída metro stop) called Apetit where prices were good and the food tasty.
We also ate twice at the shopping centre called Palladium (you can’t miss this on a map as its pretty big). There was a good selection of restaurants on the top floor and it was all very reasonably priced. We had a hearty meal at Makakiko before our overnight sleep train to Cologne. We also had one evening meal at an American diner called James Dean just off Old Town Square – we had milk shakes (blackberry – first time ever!) and steaks. A lovely meal in a nice restaurant. Highly recommended though you may need to book!
WHERE TO STAY IN PRAGUE
We stayed in a fantastic hotel – 5* in a suite for a little over £90 a night – prices are very reasonable in Prague! Our hotel was called the Grandior Hotel and was in a great location for public transport and we found it easy to walk around the city too from the location. If you are staying in Prague in winter I would highly recommend that you find a hotel with public transport nearby!
TIPS FOR STAYING IN PRAGUE IN WINTER
As you can see from my photographs the weather can be changeable in Prague in winter – we had sun and snow on the same day! It will be cold though so make sure to dress warmly – you can check out my post “Packing list and tips for travelling Europe in winter” for some ideas of what to pack of you are visiting Prague in winter.
You may be interested in reading more about visiting Prague throughout the year including in summer!
If you are visiting other European cities in winter you may also be interested in these other city posts (we love travelling around Europe in winter!)
A UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Historic Centre of Prague is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and you can read all about it HERE!
SUGGESTED READING ABOUT PRAGUE
(if you enjoy reading check out my series of posts – Around the World in 80 books
BOOK YOUR TOUR IN PRAGUE HERE!
PIN FOR LATER – THINGS TO DO IN PRAGUE IN WINTER
Things to do in Prague in winter