With Valentine’s Day only 2 days away, love and romance is on the mind of many.
You begin to think about the perfect gift to bequeath to your special someone. You want to avoid the typical cliched gestures of jewelry, flowers and chocolates, instead planning a getaway to one of the world’s most romantic destinations. You mull over some of the standard cities that come to mind like Paris, Rome and Buenos Aires. While these places are lovely, you want to travel to somewhere different, somewhere lesser known, somewhere not as mainstream. Just where can you go?
How about Prague, Czech Republic?
This Eastern European city is so full of beauty that it will delight anyone, single or coupled. Seriously, you don’t need to be in relationship to appreciate the romance of this city. I should know, as I fell under it’s enchanting spell while touring Eastern Europe alone at Christmastime. I’m not the only one who is in love with the place either, as Frommers recently included Prague in their list of the world’s most romantic cities.
One of the best ways to experience the romance of Prague is to see it at night. Take a walk through the Old Jewish quarter, continue along Pařížská street (modeled after Paris’s Avenue des Champs-Élysée), check out Old Town Square and the Astronomical Clock, stroll along the Charles Bridge taking in the buildings along the Vlatava River and behold the beauty of the Old Town Bridge Tower and the illuminated Prague Castle.
Want to step up the romance factor another notch? Head to Prague at Christmas and take this same walk on a winter night. Picture big fat snow flakes falling, a city decorated with lights and nativity scenes, Christmas markets taking place, quiet streets and festive carols playing.
This is what it took for me to fall in love with Prague. Yep, I got to experience the wonder of the city at Christmastime, on a snowy winter night. I walked along, happy and content, suddenly very sure that my decision to go away alone at Christmas, away from family and friends, was not a mistake.
What was this experience like? Well, let me tell you through photos. (Note, you can click on each photo to view the larger size.)
My tour started in Prague’s old Jewish quarter on Pařížská street.
At the base of the building on the left, is a restaurant called Pravda. I had lunch there the following day – duck with white cabbage and potato dumplings paired with some local white wine. It was delicious!
To the right, is The Old New Synagogue, Europe’s oldest active synagogue.
Walking further along Pařížská Street, you feel almost as if you were on Paris’s Avenue des Champs-Élysées. Dotted with expensive boutiques, it is a shopaholic’s dream. In warmer weather, it is the place to be seen, a socialite’s haven.
Continue walking and you end up at the beautiful Old Town Square. One of the main attractions here is the Astronomical Clock.
This iconic angel is watching over the people of Prague.
On the other side of the square is another church, an enormous beautifully decorated Christmas tree and a Christmas market where you can buy Christmas gifts, drink mulled wine, and sample tasty barbequed treats.
Taking one last look as I walked away from Old Town Square.
A fire and ice sculpture outside of a cellar pub where my tour group stopped by for a pint of beer and traditional Czech music. Cellar bars and pubs are very popular in Prague.
Worthy of a postcard and one of my favorite photos.
Experiencing Christmas in Eastern Europe is very special not only to visitors like you or me, but to locals as well. During Communist times, decorating the city in such a way was prohibited.
Leaving the pub, we continued on to the Charles Bridge.
Historical buildings with stunning architecture line the Vlatava River.
Another view from the Charles Bridge.
To the right, the statue of John of Nepomuk. According to Wikipedia, “On 20 March 1393 he was thrown into the river Vltava from the Charles Bridge at the behest of Wenceslaus, King of the Romans and King of Bohemia.”
The Old Town Bridge Tower, a gothic style building.
More of the Old Town Bridge Tower.
Prague Castle, illuminated at night, is considered the world’s largest castle complex.
Token photo of myself, to prove that I was there. A very happy me, happier than I’ve ever been in fact!
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