We have heard tons about how beautifuil Christmas in Prague was and while we had already made plans for our 2013 Christmas we still wanted to celebrate our family travel “Christmas” in the Czech Republic. And so, despite being a month early, we loved it.
Prague is beautiful. Cobblestone streets not only make this a picturesque city, but add a unique sound to the town from the clop-clop of horse and carriage to the clickety clack of suitcases rolling down the streets. The two most prevalent noises as the city is filled with tourists. The bustling visitors push up prices in Prague, which is a drawback to such an ageless and stunning city, but there is also good reason why all the tourists are coming here.
We decided to enjoy our Christmas in Prague we really wanted to have a home for a week and GowithOh were the perfect solution. We found the ideal apartment online and their website was easy and clear.
It was in the best location, the Old City, minutes walk from the Palladium Shopping Mall, easy walk to train stations or a walk around town, to a sizeable Lidl supermarket or numerous restaurants and mini-markets. But still in a quiet cobbled street.
Located on the second floor up a tiny elevator it took a few trips to get the bags up, but inside was lovely and spacious. 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, lounge, kitchen and a washing machine – woohoo! The house was heated and, with the chilly weather outside, it become our very cozy abode.
We found a small Christmas tree and decorated it. While Mia’s favourite activity was making Christmas paper chains, which we artfully hung throughout the house. The kids were so excited to be celebrating and we all felt truly festive.
Before we left London for Prague, GowithOh also sent us an email with a link to some posts on their website about where to eat and how to reach the city centre from the airport. It was so helpful and we unearthed several great meals because of it.
Our apartment owner was extremely friendly and helpful, with handy tips on how to get around town, places to eat and fun activities for the kids. He was only a phone call or email away. He helped us organise private transport to and from the airport which was €25 each way.
Throughout the city lights were coming up left, right and centre. The mall was beautifully decorated, as were the streets and churches.
Unfortunately we were one week too early for Christmas markets. They usually commence the last week in November and are open daily including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day & New Year’s Day.
The markets are known to consist of beautiful decorated wooden huts selling Christmas items, puppets, costumes, traditional handcrafts and much more.
While the stalls are aimed at every tourist and their family, even if you don’t buy anything, meandering through those quaint streets with the elaborate decorations and bright Christmas lights would be magical. Luckily fellow blogger Kami has been there and provided me a photo of the gorgeous stalls.
The main Prague Christmas markets are on the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square with smaller Prague Christmas markets at Namesti Republiky and Namesti Miru.
While we were in Prague during November for one week it got as low as 1°C and not much higher then 5°C. Snow was on the horizon. I believe during December you are looking between 1°C and minus 5°C and hopefully snow, so rug up to stay warm.
Winter is a great time to eat in Prague because they are experts in thick, chunky soups and delicious, steamy stews. While we missed the Christmas Markets the food stalls were set up and doing a roaring trade.
Our first taste was outside the Palladium. It wasn’t cheap, but it was delicious. Outside on the street were vendors set up in small wooden huts selling hot food. The smell was intoxicating and I could have walked there blindfolded following my nose. We had big plans to go to a restaurant and ended up out there on the street, standing at one of the tall tables trying food from several different vendors.
You can find spit roast and sausages – both usually served with rye bread and mustard. There are desserts of pancakes and stalls selling warm mulled wine. There are strangers huddled around tables together and the atmosphere was so warm and inviting.
We tried “bowl food”. There was a selection to choose from, but the most famous is the Czech Halusky. This is a very filling mix of tiny dumplings mixed with fried bacon. You can get alternatives with cabbage and sausages. We were not aware how filling or how much were would be served and because we were paying per 100 grams it became expensive when they just loaded it on. We bought 2 dishes and 1 would of fed our whole family of 4. The plain one was a bit bland, but the one with the spicy sausages was delectable.
After our dumpling dinner we then set our sights on the stall selling Trdelnik. A warm, hot dessert or snack. It’s kinda like a ring of donuts made with sweet bread covered in sugar, cinnamon and crushed almonds. It is formed by wrapping the dough around a revolving cylinder and cooking it. It’s so delicious, but eat it quickly as it cools down rapidly.
Despite our early approach to Christmas in Prague I really felt like it was one of the most festive seasons we have shared. Of course we couldn’t have done it without our GowithOh apartment and I can’t wait to use them again. My only complaint is that they specialize in Europe and I would love them to be worldwide.
Last year we had a fairly low-profile white Christmas in New York with our Jewish relatives. This year we will be back in Australia with family and 40°C temperatures. I missed the hot weather and hot Christmas. So if you are heading to Prague this Christmas you can keep the snow, but please, please, please… send me one of those Trdelniks. YUM!