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If you want to know how to spend one day in Prague at Christmastime, you’ve come to the right place. I often say that I don’t fall in love easily, but Prague was love at first sight for me. Maybe it was the allure of the massive Christmas tree in Old Town, maybe it was the smell of the chimney cake, or maybe, just maybe, it was because the city itself is just that fascinating. Yeah, I think I’m gonna go with that one.

This year, I planned my Christmas trip with the focus around seeing different European Christmas markets in various cities and countries and comparing them. In addition to Prague, I was also visiting Paris and 3 different cities in Germany. While I was most excited to explore the Christmas markets in Germany, I was most excited to explore Prague as a city. Judging by the photos I saw when I was researching my trip, I felt like seeing it at Christmastime would be an added bonus.

I whispered to myself “remember this moment”

Originally, this blog post was supposed to contain 2.5 days worth of Prague content…but, due to a snowstorm in Munich and a highway collision that left me stranded on a bus for 11 hours, I was only able to spend one full day in the City of 100 Spires. So – I took what I had and ran with it!

Whether you’re spending 1 day or 5 days in Prague, this blog post will give you some great suggestions for things to do in Prague at Christmastime!

  • Pro Tip: I should probably add that 95% of this post could be applied to 1 day in Prague at any time of the year if you remove the part about Christmas markets. So, even if you are visiting in July, it’s worth reading the rec’s!

How to Spend One Day in Prague at Christmastime
Table of Contents

Intro to Prague
Where to Stay in Prague

THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN PRAGUE AT CHRISTMASTIME
1. Breakfast and Sightseeing in Old Town
2. Walk Across the Charles Bridge
3. Tour Prague Castle with Get Your Guide
4. Grab an Authentic Czech Beer (While Taking in the Best Views of the City!)
5. Explore the Different Streets and Alleyways of Old and New Town
6. Grab Dinner at an Authentic Czech Restaurant
7. Explore the Christmas Markets in Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square
8. End Your Night at Black Angel’s Bar

Website Disclaimer: I visited Prague in December 2023. Although everything is accurate as of the publication of this post, it is important to keep in mind that prices, attractions, and other things may change with time.

Intro to Prague

Prague, often dubbed “The City of a Hundred Spires,” owes its moniker to the myriad of Gothic towers and Baroque domes that punctuate its skyline, rendering it a living, breathing open-air museum.

The illustrious Prague Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest castle complexes globally, watches over the city from its perch atop Hradčany Hill, while the iconic Charles Bridge, adorned with statues of saints and artists, connects the historic Old Town with the Lesser Quarter.

Prague has sometimes been referred to as the heart of Central Europe and is regarded as one of the safest cities in the world. Renowned for its stunning architecture, rich heritage, and magnetic allure, this city beckons wanderers from across the globe to lose themselves in its captivating maze of cobbled streets.

Pro Tip: Although located in Europe, Prague does NOT use the euro as its currency.
Instead, they use the “Czech koruna,” or “crowns.”
At the time of this post, one US dollar is equivalent to about 22 CZK. I recommend using a currency converter here because many times, you’ll think you’re spending a ton of money when you aren’t! For example: I freaked out when my lunch bill came and was 525 CKD, but keep in mind this is equal to only $23 USD.

Where to Stay in Prague

I recommend staying as close to Old Town Square as possible to get the most out of your one day in Prague.

I stayed in the Perla Hotel, a 4-star hotel that is roughly a 7 minute walk from Old Town and loved it! My bed was super comfy, and they had an amazing breakfast buffet.

The Best Things to Do in Prague at Christmastime If You Only Have One Day

1. Start Your Day with Breakfast and Sightseeing in Old Town

Breakfast in Prague

I am ALL about finding the most aesthetic restaurants with the best food when I travel. As you can imagine, only having one day in Prague really limits the amount of food rec’s I can give you, but what I CAN say is that I saw a lot of places around Old Town with great reviews that looked really cute.

I ended up eating at café 11 and got their oat pancakes. Although they were good, they were not what I expected (I was expecting more of an American style pancake made with oat flour, whereas these were smaller). They were also less sweet than American pancakes because of the Greek yogurt on top. I thought they were good, but wanted to point out the uniqueness because they’re probably not for everyone!

Oat pancakes at café 11

Sightseeing Around Old Town Square

After you eat breakfast, be sure to take in the scenes of Old Town Square. The Christmas markets will be set up (don’t worry, I’ll be telling you to see those too), but right now, take a minute to be in the moment and really notice the architecture and design of Old Town.

Some notable buildings and things you will see are:

The Church of Our Lady before Týn

The Church of Our Lady before Týn is the building that most people think of when they think of Prague. This church, with a mix of gothic and baroque-style architecture, is probably the second-most unique looking church I’ve ever seen (the most unique being La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona!).

The Church of Our Lady is one of the most dominant features in the city and is considered the heart of Old Town Prague. Because I only had one day, I admired this church and Old Town Hall, which I will talk about next, from the outside. One day, I plan on coming back and touring both.

The Church of Our Lady Before Týn with the Christmas market huts
Old Town Hall and the Prague Astronomical Clock

The Old Town Hall is a stunning building that served as the administrative center for Prague’s Old Town. Inside, it contains several preserved historical interiors that you are able to tour. Below the hall lies a medieval cellar, older than the Town Hall itself, showcasing exquisite 12th-century Romanesque architecture.

Old Town Hall at night (this was better than any daytime photos I got…/shrug)

Attached to Old Town Hall is the Prague astronomical clock (or Prague Orloj), a medieval clock installed in the 1600’s and the 3rd oldest working clock in the world.

If you look closely, you will see the 3 main components on this clock:

  1. The astronomical dial – This dial showcases where the Sun and Moon are in the sky, along with intricate astronomical details. Flanking this dial are statues honoring several Catholic saints.
  2. The Walk of the Apostles – This enchanting feature unfolds every hour, with animated figures of the Apostles and other captivating sculptures. Among them is a striking representation of Death, symbolizing the passage of time.
    • Pro Tip: If you are near this clock during the hour when the Apostles come out, this is definitely worth watching!
  3. A symbolic calendar dial – This section of the clock contains gold medallions representing the different months of the year
Prague astronomical clock
The Architecture and Aesthetic of the Surrounding Buildings

I thought the buildings in Prague were fascinating. Many of them were different colors and had their own unique character – and when I say this, I mean you could find pink, gray, blue, and orange buildings with different designs on their facades and roofs, all right next to each other. You would think that something like this would make the city look messy (or, tacky at the very least), but damn they somehow pulled it off.

Old Town Prague architecture

Of course, there is nothing wrong with exploring the Christmas markets while you’re here in the daytime. I walked around for a bit and got some awesome photos of Prague with the Christmas decor in the background (and if you’re a solo traveler, this is the tripod that I use to take all my own photos!).

Christmas in Prague

2. Walk Across the Charles Bridge (and Touch the Famous Statues)

The Charles Bridge sits on the Vltava River and is arguably the most famous bridge in Prague. The views from here are stunning – not just of the buildings across the water, but also the bridge itself. It’s a fantastic place to stop and take photos if you want the city and the river in the background.

The bridge was build in the 14th century and is made of stone. On each side, there’s a gothic gateway that towers over each entrance/exit.

One of the gothic archways at the entrance of the Charles Bridge

One of the most unique things about the Charles Bridge are the 30 different statues of saints that are placed along the sides as you walk from one end to the other. I saw people touching various parts of the statues, and learned that this is done for good luck and to ensure that their return to Prague will be soon.

One of the many statues on the Charles Bridge
  • Fun Fact: The most famous statue to bring good luck is arguably the statue of Saint John of Nepomuk, the priest who was killed by the king. Legend has it that he was killed for refusing to tell the king something that was confessed by the queen, but in reality, he died because he invited a bishop to Prague who was the king’s enemy! 1

1: Source: www.pragueexperience.com

The Charles Bridge connects Prague’s Old Town to the Prague Castle, which is convenient for you, since the next thing I’m going to tell you to do is: ⬇️

3. Tour Prague Castle with Get Your Guide

While in Prague, I did a sponsored tour of Prague Castle with Get Your Guide. The tour is 2.5 hours and takes you inside Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George’s Basilica, and the Golden Lane. I loved going on this tour and getting to experience the ancient buildings and the history of Prague.

Standing outside of the St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague, which is included in the Prague Castle tour

You will start this tour by taking a tram near the tour meeting point up to the top of the hill where the castle and cathedral are. Once you’re here, your guide will give you a ticket that will allow you to go inside each of the buildings mentioned above.

Some things to note about this tour:

  • Even though the tour is called “Prague Castle Tour,” I felt like we spent the majority of our time in the cathedral. Of course, I wasn’t mad. The St. Vitus Cathedral was not only beautiful, but reminded me a lot of the Cologne Cathedral that I saw when I visited Germany.
  • However, I went in with the expectation that we would be spending a lot of time in the castle. Before the tour, I was picturing Palace of Versailles in Paris vibes (iykyk), but it was not like this. I felt like our time spent inside the actual castle was brief.
  • The Golden Lane is not golden, but it is a lane of houses that were built in the 16th century to house the castle guards. (The name comes from the goldsmiths that later lived there in the 17th century.) The houses are all painted bright colors, and many of them now serve as souvenir shops!
  • You can get incredible views of Prague from this high up (but I’m going to show you an even better photo op in the next section…)
The entrance to Prague Castle

Since I only had 1 day in Prague, I did not get to really see this area of the city aside from seeing the castle. However, I could tell just from walking to the tour meeting point that it was somewhere I would like to explore. It gave different vibes from Old Town, but the architecture was still really picturesque. The next time I visit Prague, I would love to explore this area more.

4. Get an Authentic Czech Beer While Taking in the Best Views of the City

“Find the best view of the city” is something that is on every itinerary I make. In Prague, you can find the best vantage point at the Terasa U Prince, the rooftop bar on top of the Hotel U Prince.

ANYWAY – as an aesthetic traveler, one of my favorite things is when a place knows that they have a golden aesthetic opportunity and capitalizes on it. Once you enter Terasa U Prince, you will not only have the best views of Old Town Prague, but you will be able to get the perfect photos with Old Town Hall/Church of Our Lady before Týn in the background, surrounded by beautifully designed flowers and winter greenery.

They did it. They really did it.

Terasa U Hotel vantage point.
This photo was taken in December and they still made sure there were flowers and aesthetic greenery.

After you get your photos, make sure to grab an authentic Czech beer (ask the waiter for rec’s!) and spend some time taking in the views of the city. The Czech Republic is known for their beer – mostly pilsners – and at the time of this post consumes more beer than any other country in the world. So…let’s keep them on top, shall we?

FYI – this was a half pour…phew!

5. Walk Through the Streets and Alleyways of Old Town, and Explore the Modern (Yet Still Historic) Vibes of New Town

I’m not sure if I’ve already made this clear yet, but just in case I haven’t:

“Old Town” = Old Town Square, and
“New Town” = Wenceslas Square

Exploring Old Town

The New and Old sections of town are named in accordance with their respective surroundings. New Town/Wenceslas Square is updated with stores like H&M, Foot Locker, and chain fast food restaurants, whereas Old Town is…well…old. You will find much more historic looking buildings here, whereas many things in New Town look more modern.

After touring Prague Castle, you can walk back over the Charles Bridge (or, another bridge, it’s up to you!) and explore Old Town some more. You will pass a lot of shops selling souvenirs, food, baked goods, clothes, and more. It’s worth it to just get lost in the streets here and explore the area.

I really enjoyed wandering around the souvenir stores here. Sure, they have your typical tacky stores, but I stumbled across a lot of really cute ones that looked like a “mom & pop” shop with local, handmade gifts.

Exploring New Town/Wenceslas Square

New Town is between a 5-10 minute walk from Old Town. You will know that you’ve entered New Town Square because the change in scenery will be obvious. Like I previously mentioned, everything is more modern and updated.

Here, you will find bars, restaurants, and shops to explore. At the end of the street, you will see the statue of St. Wenceslas watching over the city, along with the Narodni Museum. I loved that the Narodni Museum kept with the “New Town” theme in that it still looked majestic, but not *quite* as old as some of the architecturally significant buildings in Old Town.

The Narodni Museum with the statue of St. Wenceslas

Keep an eye out for holiday decorations in both of these parts of town! The way Prague lights the city up at Christmastime is beautiful.

6. Grab Dinner at an Authentic Czech Restaurant

If I had to pick a word to describe Czech food, I would say “heavy.” And honestly, I get it. It’s cold here, and the extra calories will keep you warm. There are a lot of meat, potatoes, and soups here.

If you want to get an authentic Czech dinner with authentic Czech beer, I had 2 different places recommended to me:

  1. Café Louvre – 100+ year old cafe with authentic Czech food and separate breakfast/lunch/dinner menus
  2. Pivovarský klub Benedict – for authentic Czech microbrewery beers & contemporary Czech food

A Restaurant Recommendation if You’re NOT Feeling Meat & Potatoes…

Like I mentioned, I was in Germany for about a week before arriving in Prague…and I ate a lot of heavy food there. At this point in my trip, I was craving something a little lighter (and, since I tried authentic Czech pancakes for breakfast, I felt comfortable saying I had indulged in Prague food!).

While walking around Prague, I felt like I noticed a lot of Italian restaurants close to Old Town. So, I stopped at Kogo – an Italian restaurant – for dinner and got their grilled octopus.

I know what you’re thinking: “you wanted light food and you went to an Italian restaurant?” – but listen: it was literally JUST grilled octopus with a side salad and it was fabulous. Not to mention, the waiter practically became my new Italian grandfather by the end of the night. Don’t you just love Europe?

7. Explore the Christmas Markets in Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square

Out of all the things to do in Prague at Christmastime, this is the one thing you have to do. Besides, isn’t it what you came for?!

There’s no denying that Prague looks absolutely beautiful at Christmastime. In Old Town Square, they have a massive Christmas tree in front of The Church of Our Lady before Týn, along with a decorated walkway that allows you to get great views of the city. The market vendors sell ornaments, souvenirs, food, and drinks.

The Christmas markets in Old Town Square

I tried the chimney cake when I was there, and it was my favorite Christmas market food. Chimney cake is dough that is formed in the shape of a hollow chimney that they roast over hot coals and sprinkle with brown and white sugar and cinnamon. The sugar caramelizes and hardens and is just plain amazing. I found out later that this is a pretty popular Prague “street dessert.” You can even get them to add ice cream or Nutella to it! I know what I’m doing when I go back in the summer….

Making chimney cakes

After exploring Old Town at Christmastime and getting all of the necessary photos, I headed over to Wenceslas Square. The entire street was lined on both sides with trees that were strung with lights, and there were Christmas market tents in the middle where the pedestrian walkway was. I loved that Wenceslas Square looked just as beautiful and festive as Old Town but in a completely different way. However, IMO, nothing beats the Church of Our Lady as the backdrop of the Old Town Christmas markets.

Christmas in Wenceslas Square, aka New Town

Pro Tip/My Honest Recommendation:
Before coming to Prague, I toured 3 different cities in Germany and explored the Christmas markets there. While I absolutely loved seeing Prague and all its beauty at Christmastime, if your goal is to explore Christmas markets, there is nothing that compares to the Christmas markets in Germany.
For a more in depth look, check out my blog post about the German Christmas markets here!

8. End Your Night at Black Angel’s Bar

This is a bold statement, but Black Angel’s just might be my favorite bar in the world (and trust me, I’ve been to a lot of bars!).

Black Angel’s is located in the U-Prince Hotel (same hotel as U-Theresa), except instead of going up to the rooftop, you go down to the basement. You already know I’m going to say it: the aesthetic here is everything. You unfortunately aren’t allowed to take photos in here, but it would have fit in so well in the “Moody/Romantic Mysterious” section of my “The Aesthetics: Restaurants, Bars, & Coffee Shops” page.

The entrance to Black Angel’s (and the U Prince Hotel)

Because you aren’t allowed to take photos inside Black Angel’s, I am going to paint you a picture. Inside, you will find stone walls, crystal chandeliers, expensive bar furniture, and the absolute coolest dungeon vibe you will ever encounter. They also have live piano music every night from 7pm-11pm – and when I say “live piano,” I mean there was an older man who played countless Queen songs with absolutely no sheet music in front of him and didn’t mess up the entire time.

The drinks on the menu are incredibly creative and have even earned Black Angels a spot on the list of Top 10 Bars in the World (and if you love exploring bars on vacation, you can read about the time I visited the BEST bar in the world here!). However, I ended up keeping it simple and stuck to the Negroni. If you are a gin fan, I absolutely recommend it.

Fun Fact: Black Angels was founded upon Alois Krcha and his dream of opening a bar in the building that is now the U Prince Hotel. He is regarded as one of the leading bartenders of the 19th century, and even invented the Bloody Mary!2 I didn’t know this at the time, but during my first trip to Paris, I had a drink at Harry’s New York Bar, which is where Alois worked and first started drinking tomato juice with vodka in the evenings. Years later, another bartender who worked with Alois modified the drink to create the Bloody Mary that we know today.

2 – Source: www.blackangelsbar.com

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