Prague in Winter
After visiting Prague in September 2017, it quickly became my favourite city. We decided to head back just before Christmas for my mum’s *big* birthday. The city looked so picturesque in the snow! If you’re thinking about visiting Prague over winter, I’ve included some of my top recommendations below.
Prague at Christmas
Hello Christmas markets and festive lights! December is a great time to visit if you’re looking for some festive cheer and the New Year can offer beautiful wintry scenes. The weather is very cold (in the minuses when we visited, with highs of 4 degrees!) so make sure you wrap up warm. You’ll need thermals, thick jumpers, warm gloves, hats and scarves. I also wore my ski jacket which I was so thankful for!
Don’t be put off by the cold weather. Shops, restaurants and bars are all toasty warm and there are even some cute areas to sit outside with blankets and patio heaters if you’re feeling brave.
Old Town Christmas Market: this market was very busy but still easy enough to look round and to get served. We tried out the mulled wine, which went down a storm. Plenty of places to eat, drink and shop, and the Old Town Square is so quaint. Just don’t visit a restaurant here as it’s a lot more expensive.
Prague Castle Christmas market: this was a relatively small market consisting of food, hot drinks, alcohol (of course) and some craft stands. If you’re looking for something non-alcoholic, we recommend the hot chocolate (yum) and the hot apple juice. There’s also the cutest little Christmas shop, nestled along a street inside the castle walls. We bought a couple of baubles, although I could’ve bought the whole shop (have I mentioned I love Christmas?)
There are also a few more Christmas markets that we didn’t get round to visiting as we were just that little bit too far out. One was Manifesto Market which looks amazing and has cute little igloos to cosy up and have a drink in, and the other lined Wensceslas Square, an area with lots of shops and department stores if you fancy some retail therapy.
What to wear in winter
November – February can be very cold in Prague. Make sure you take warm layers and a thick waterproof coat with you. It’s difficult to walk around with an umbrella due to the crowds and narrow streets, so it’s handy to have a coat with a hood in case it rains.
Comfortable waterproof shoes are a must! My trusty Timberlands got me through 7-8 miles of walking a day through snow and rain. There’s no point in bringing heels or heeled boots as there are so many cobbles, it’s not worth the sprained ankle (I’m talking from experience…!)
The best piece of advice I was given is that people don’t dress up much in Prague, especially during winter. I didn’t see anyone in dresses or heels. I took a few glittery jumpers for the evening to wear with black jeans and my boots. The boys all wore casual shirts or jumpers with jeans in the evenings. Prague is a very relaxed place and none of the restaurants we visited had dress codes. So in summary, go cosy!
What to pack
Mama and me looking very cosy in our layers! As well as what to wear, here’s a list of things you should pack for winter in Prague:
- Lip balm, moisturiser and hand cream, to battle the cold
- Hand warmers, these are great to slip inside your gloves to keep your hands toasty
- Thermos flask, to fill with your preferred hot drink if you’re planning on lots of walking
- Reusable water bottle, you can drink the water in Prague so it’s easier, cheaper and more eco-friendly to bring a reusable bottle
- Gluten free snacks! The main Tesco was very good but we ended up being a 45 min walk and the smaller shops don’t always cater for intolerances
- Download a version of the Czech allergen list. A lot of menus use the numbering system, which is great, but you need to know how to use it!
- Power bank, to charge your phone throughout the day if you’re planning on being out for a while (remember that the cold drains phone batteries quickly)
- Pack of cards, great for an evening in or for passing the time at the airport!
- European travel adaptors
- Food for the airport as there’s not much choice, especially if you have any intolerances.
Where to eat
As we did stay a little far out, some of these recommendations might be a bit of a walk, depending on where you’re staying:
Good food, Coffee and Bakery (Old Town): this one is near Charles Bridge in the Old Town. We ducked in here for some ‘chimney cones’ and they even had gluten free! I was a very happy bunny. My brother and I both went for the chocolate filling and we were not disappointed. Great for a snack and a sugar rush.
Host (Prague 1): best meal of the whole trip. Host restaurant is a hidden gem, tucked up some stairs a ten minute walk from Prague Castle. The food was so, so good. Our party had: steak, shrimp risotto, lamb shank, goulash and salmon. We easily got a table, the waiter was very accommodating and the best thing about Prague? Everything is so cheap, include the food and drink!
Rilke (Prague 1): another restaurant ten minutes above Prague Castle. I loved the authentic feel of this Czech restaurant. We were super lucky to get a table as the place is quite small and it seemed very popular. Great food and a lot of choice. We had the salmon, beef stroganoff, roast chicken and steak.
Sousto (Mala Strana): loved this little lunch place. Perfect if you’re looking for some variety! My mum had the homemade soup, my dad and I had the burgers (amazing) and my brother and Nathan had the steak sandwiches. They also had a lot of breakfast options, smoothies, fresh juices, pastries etc. The decor is super cute and as pretty much everywhere in Prague, it was really well priced.
Strahov Monastic Brewery (Prague 1): this place was pretty cool. It was a brewery/tavern, located in the monastery. They had outdoor seating which would be amazing in the summer/autumn, and inside it was one big hall. Expect to share tables with other people (I quite like this vibe) and the food is pure heartwarming goodness. We recommend the goulash, the goulash soup and the pulled beef sandwiches, and of course, the beer. In total, a lunch for the five of us plus drinks cost just under £40, which is pretty impressive!
Where to explore
Petrin tower and park: one of the bonuses about staying in Prague 1 was the Petrin tower and park, both of which were on our doorstep. We visited the day it snowed and it felt like we were walking through a winter wonderland. The views across Prague were amazing. We paid to go up the Petrin tower for better views across the city (if you don’t like heights or confined spaces, I would advise against this! I hate both and had a bit of a wobble before getting the hell down. Great views though!)
We also stopped at the cafe inside the Petrin tower which served the best hot chocolate I have ever tasted, and it wasn’t overpriced as you might expect.
Along from the Petrin tower is the mirror maze, which is fun for kids. And yes, we did go in! It was around £3 entry and whilst it was quite small, it was good fun and gave us a chance to warm up. We were hoping to jump on the funicular tram down through the park but unfortunately it was closed the weekend we visited.
Other sites you have to see include:
- The John Lennon Wall: which looked just as amazing as I remember. It was after Lennon died that the graffiti came about, he became quite the hero for young pacifist Czechs and you can really feel the love for him. The graffiti constantly changes, with new art gracing the walls on a regular basis.
- Old Town Square: don’t eat or drink here! It’s way more expensive. But do have a look around the square, take in the history and the astronomical clock.
- Prague Castle: we didn’t pay to enter the buildings but did wander around the beautiful grounds, Christmas market and the Christmas shop. There’s a lovely walk down from the castle towards the Old Town too, which has incredible views across the city.
- Charles Bridge: stunning bridge with amazing views across Prague. I would recommend going at night to see the city lit up!
Where to stay
Last time I visited Prague, we stayed in Mala Strana. This is the area I would recommend as it’s only a few minutes from Charles Bridge and the Old Town and not far from Prague Castle either. There are lots of restaurants and cafes in this area and it’s easy to get Ubers and trams if you do struggle with the walking.
This time, we had a slight mishap and the location we were promised by hotels.com (Mala Strana) turned out to be…a 20-30 minute walk up the top of the hill in Prague 1. It was a nice, quiet area but definitely too far out for us. If you have anyone in your group who struggles with walking, Prague 1 might be a struggle for you.
For more Prague inspiration and recommendations, take a look at my previous Prague travel guide. Have you been to Prague? Leave your comments and recommendations below!
If you fancy some more city break ideas, take a look at my travel posts. Go on, you know you want to.