Travelers take great pleasure in the fact that there is never a shortage of things to do in Prague. Even in the winter, a time when many places might be expected to close down or at least limit events, Prague offers a wide range of activities for people of all ages and interests.
Prague at Christmas is, of course, a delight. The famous Prague Christmas markets are open, decorations are everywhere, and strings of lights help to keep the winter darkness at bay. But there is much more to Prague in winter than these markets, attractive though they are.
If you are going to visit Prague in December, weather must always be taken into account when planning your day. If you decide not to travel outside the city for various winter sports (though you certainly can), you’ll probably be spending the majority of your time indoors. Fortunately, Prague offers a great many indoor activities, most of which will continue through the winter. If you visit at a later date, you’ll still find plenty of ways to get out of the cold.
IMMERSE YOURSELF IN BEER
If you are looking to warm up, you might want to try the unique experience of a beer spa. The Czech Republic is justifiably famous for its beer (the famous Budweiser brand is Czech), and the liquid is used for a variety of purposes. At a spa, you can sit back in an oak tub, filled not with beer itself, but with malt, brewer’s yeast, and hops. As you soak, you are free to drink as much beer as you like. The spa is said to help detoxify the body, soften the skin (a very important consideration in a harsh Prague winter), aid in relaxation, and support the metabolism. Some spas offer a beer massage; others provide beer bread after the soak. Be prepared to spend at least an hour here. You may also decide on a massage; there is certainly no lack of massage studios in the city! Most of them offer Thai massage, though there are plenty of other types to choose from, including the ever-popular foot massage. The cobblestones, though picturesque, are hard on the feet, and it’s a distinct pleasure to have your aching feet treated to a massage.
Prague abounds in art, and you’ll be spoiled for choice if you want to visit one of the art museums. The Mucha museum gives you an overview of the life and works of Alfons Mucha, one of the country’s most famous artists and a leading figure of the Art Nouveau movement. His magnum opus, a series of twenty paintings known as The Slav Epic, is currently divided, with eleven paintings on display in Prague, and the other nine in Brno. The paintings in Prague are to be seen in the city’s stunning Municipal House, next to the Powder Tower downtown. (Note: The paintings will be on display through January 13, 2019. After that, they will be relocated to an as-yet unknown venue.)
2018 marks one hundred years since the creation of an independent Czechoslovakia, established on October 28, 1918. The Prague City Museum is commemorating this event with an exhibit titled “Prague 1848–1918”. The exhibit, currently on display, will continue until February 24, 2019.
For those with children, the Lego Museum downtown will give the young ones – and those young at heart – an opportunity to experience one of the world’s most popular toys. Hamleys toy store also has an exhibition titled “Czech Repubrick” which shows several replicas, built using Legos, of iconic Czech buildings. The website shows photos of the jaw-droppingly intricate Lego creations, along with information on ticket prices, opening hours, and more. The Lego Museum is open every day, while the exhibit at Hamleys will end December 31, 2018.
Will you be in Prague for the New Year? Make sure to watch the fireworks. The good people of Prague set them off at midnight on New Year’s Day, as well as at 6:00 the following evening. Both displays are stunning, and well worth the wait. Make sure to arrive early for the show, as all the best vantage points fill up quickly. The event lasts 10 minutes. Bring your camera!
If you’re going to be outside more than a few minutes at a time, mulled wine is a Czech winter special, and it’s available almost everywhere. Market stands sell it, as do many restaurants. The drink is called “svařené víno” or just “svařák” in Czech. It is usually made with red wine, to which sugar, cinnamon, cloves and lemon are added. It is then cooked slowly – mulled – for hours.
February can be devastatingly cold in Prague, but there’s a bright spot: Valentine’s Day. Prague, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, is also one of the most romantic. For a special day with your loved one, you can take a look at what’s on offer at Prague’s historical Estates Theatre. The theater, at which Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni premiered in 1787, stages operas, dance performances, plays, and more. Take a look at the website to find out what is playing next Valentine’s Day. For dinner, many restaurants come with a view – of the river, of the rooftops of Old Town, or of the city’s incredible landscape. You can also combine dinner with a cruise, where you board a boat that will take you along the river, through the heart of the city. Most restaurants offer a special menu for Valentine’s Day, which will be found on their website.
As you can see, there is no shortage of entertainment here in Prague during the winter months, even after the festivities of December and the New Year have become a thing of the past.
Article written by Erin Naillon