We jetted off to Prague for a short Winter break from the 4th-6th December 2016. This was our first time in this city and we fell in love. In love with the history, the lights and the magical Christmas Markets. Originally we were just going to spend the majority of our time enjoying the markets but when we got there we realised that there was so much more to do that we would regret not doing!
We arrived in Prague at 10:30am local time and got a transfer to our hotel. The hotel we were staying in was called Hotel Assenzio. All credits for finding this hotel go to the Holiday Pirate website! For £180 all in we got return flights from Edinburgh to Prague and a beautiful 4* centrally located hotel. We were a little worried that the hotel’s pictures wouldn’t live up to the real place but they did down to a tee. From the cellar hotel restaurant to the grand winding staircase. We would not hesitate to go back there!
After checking in we immediately started exploring Prague. We decided to google map (much easier than a compass) our way to Wenceslas Square to check out the main Christmas market. However when we found ourselves in the centre we were slightly disheartened by the square, there were lots of ordinary high street shops and restaurants with a smallish Christmas Market. Don’t get us wrong the market was charming and the smoked sausage was incredible but it wasn’t the size of market we were expecting…
However! We continued through the centre and what we thought was a straight line down (you never really know where you have and haven’t been in Prague, the winding streets have the same fascinating architecture at every turn) and discovered many more areas that were home to larger Christmas markets. During our time at these markets we indulged in the local Tredlic (think of churros) and delicious Czech mulled wine! Also we were a little under dressed for the below freezing weather in Prague, so naturally we wanted to blend in, so we purchased some furry hats!
After getting our energy from all the delicious food at the market we decided to find the 3rd oldest and only Astronomical Clock still working in the world!
It is placed in the most enchanting area in the whole city, The Old Town Square.
The night began with a beautiful meal at a cosy cellar restaurant near the hotel called Husinec. We found this place on the way to the centre and decided it was worth checking out, how right we were! For starters Matthew had Beef soup and I had Baked Camembert with a glass of crisp champagne costing us only 39 czk ( very very very cheap). For our main courses Matthew went for the traditional Czech dish of Beef Goulash and potato dumplings, what a delicious and warming meal that was! I also had a delicious meal of homemade gnocchi served in a creamy bacon sauce. To accompany the food we drank from large wine tasting glasses a smooth Merlot (also very reasonably priced). In conclusion if you like a romantic location, good and filling food at a reasonable price eat here – you will love it!
We were booked in for our exclusive 3o minute slot at the Ice Bar located in one of the largest clubs in Europe (Karlovzy Lazne) at 11pm. We set ourselves up for a fun night getting slightly tipsy at some really amazing bars before the Ice Bar!
We headed first to the Hemingway’s Bar for some cocktails as it was known to serve unusual drinks. When we got there the bar was completely full so a group of locals who had just been turned away from the bar asked the bar staff if there was anywhere she would recommend going to instead. She suggested a quirky little bar called “Cash Only” that was owned by Hemmingway. Honestly my favourite bar I have been to yet! It was intimate and stylish. We sat down stairs, we literally had that whole space to ourselves it was incredible. I drank a “Taste of Autumn” made with champagne, pear and spices!
To continue our “pub crawl” we ventured onto the Absintherie…. again another UNIQUE bar! I ordered a Absinthe fuelled Moscow Mule (served in a cool mug which I later bought before leaving), and Matthew ordered The Zombie! It was a really relaxed atmosphere in there with cool decor – I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected. (They also prepared the absinthe properly with flames etc)
After our fair few drinks it was time to make our way to the Ice Bar (only 10 minutes from Absintherie).
The Ice bar was -18 degrees! Thank god they gave us a thermal jacket…
We awoke rather sleepy…but didn’t want to miss a moment of Prague (or breakfast at the hotel).
As soon as we finished breakfast we walked into the centre again and bought more Christmas decorations for presents and consumed a variety of yummy food.
Potato, bacon, cheese and spinach (very good) Nutella crepes in the Old Town Square (obviously very good!)
Prague resembles a Disney princess movie, add snow and a white horse and carriage and you’ve got yourself the fairytale moment you always dreamed of (more relatable for girls maybe..)
When we got off the carriage we grabbed a hot chocolate from one of the stalls (the chocolate was so beautifully rich) we headed across the bridge to Prague Castle.
It was quite a walk from the centre to the castle, around an hour. By the time we got there all the lights were shining on the Christmas trees…but we were too late for the Castle entry.
Instead we climbed (hiked!) up the stairs in the Cathedral’s bell tower. The climb was nothing compared to the enchanting view that we were rewarded with. Prague illuminated.
This picture doesn’t do the view justice, go and see for yourself!
On our way back to the hotel (for another bath!) we took a detour to view the John Lennon wall. We weren’t really bothered about seeing the wall but we were taken back by the time that people had spent creating this tribute.
We wined and dined and wined again at the Fred & Ginger restaurant at the top of the Dancing House. Hand on heart this was our favourite restaurant experience ever. This restaurant does not just offer unbeatable food (might not taste anything as good till we go back) it offers a whole experience. To dine at one of the most famous buildings in Europe, drink champagne (at a good price) while gazing at your panoramic view of Prague and be waited on by very attentive staff!
GO! GO! GO! GO!
If you love a little bit of magic, history, exquisite architecture, flavoursome food wherever you stumble upon, travel to Prague….just go!
Until next time…