Prague in winter has its unique charm. You can experience that magic by walking beneath the snowy rooftops and chimneys of Lesser Town and Hradčany, ice skating on ponds and cross-country skiing in forest parks, or settling in by a pub fireplace with mulled wine. These inviting spots around Prague offer winter loveliness both inside and out and make for a lovely snowy day outing.
Walki through the romantic lanes and corners of the mysterious neighborhood Jánský Vršek in Lesser Town and finish with a meal or drink by the open fireplace at the tavern U sedmi Švábů – Seven Cockroaches with a truly medieval atmosphere. The whole hangout is immersed in darkness, illuminated only by bursts of flames from the fireplace and candles.
Nový Svět (New World)
In the picturesque and bohemian style neighborhood, Nový svět (New World), under the massive baroque walls of the Castle District (Hradčany) there is a hidden treasure: the only timbered house with a shingle roof, U Raka – Crayfish. The name of the house comes from the number of crayfish in the Brusnice brook which formerly flowed through here and is hidden in underground pipes today. Behind the door there is a narrow courtyard and even the small cafe in the mountain chalet style with a crackling fire in the fireplace.
Near the site called Prague Venice it would be a mistake to miss the homey local fast food window Bruncvik. You can order here one of the best mulled wines in Prague and a fantastic BBQ sausage to be eaten by the fire in the grate. The most beautiful atmosphere prevails here on Christmas Eve, when artists sing carols under the arch of the Charles Bridge. At the end of the Kampa Island the ancient wheel of baroque Mill Huť still turns around in the Čertovka channel. Cross the footbridge and find yourself inside the mill, where you will be surprised by the cozy Mlýnská kavárna pub.
While hiking snowy Stromovka park it is always nice to stop at Šlechtovka. The original neo-gothic summer residence has been unfortunately waiting to be repaired for a long time, but has been replaced with a little wooden pub. There is nothing like buying a hot wine on a frosty day and lingering outside by the campfire to enjoy the crisp air.
Walking these deserted fortress ramparts is an unexpectedly romantic winter experience. Afterward, grab a seat by the wood-burning stove at Na Hradbách – On the Ramparts with its casual atmosphere and nice people. Or have dinner or lunch at the restaurant U Šemíka by the gate under the fortress. The name of restaurant reminds of the old Czech legend, when horse Šemík saved his master by jumping across the walls of Vyšehrad to the Vltava River. The cozy atmosphere is accented by a fireplace and a library.
Břevnov monastery, with its more than 1,000 years history, is the oldest monastery in the Czech lands. As well as a close local brewery is the oldest one in the country. Although the tradition was interrupted, it was successfully restored four years ago. Nowadays the irresistible smell of good Czech cuisine and an excellent home-brewed beer will attract you into the ancient hall of the old Bohemian restaurant Klášterní šenk – Monastery tavern with its big fireplace.
From Malá Chuchle to Slivenec
A nice winter hike through Chuchelský grove starts in the former spa Malá Chuchle with beautiful baroque houses. From there you will climb the trail along the creek to Marian spring near a small stone chapel. Following on the nature trail you can see animals in a small forest zoo or enjoy the view of the Vltava River valley from the St. John of Nepomuk church. From Pacold’s vápenka (lime works), the 150 years old technical monument, continue following the blue tourist signs to Slivenec. There you will be rewarded with the best Czech home-made food in Prague at an open fireplace, in the middle of the restaurant U rozcestí – Crossroads Inn.
In the old Záběhlice village you will discover the ancient church standing on the edge of the pond and the nearby sport center Hamr. In winter you can enjoy 18 outdoor tennis courts as well as 6 outdoor beach volleyball courts, all covered with inflatable halls. Inside there are 8 squash courts and many other facilities available including a good buffet restaurant. On the pond you can ice skate up to the island in the middle, which is said to hide the remains of an old fortress of Záběhlice, or to the opposite shore, taste Moravian wine near the pleasant warmth of the fireplace in wine cellar Lechovický sklípek.
In case of good snow conditions visit this area for cross-country skiing or ice skating on one of many ponds. Close to one of them, the swan pond, there is a countryside restaurant Za větrem–Behind the Wind at a former sheepfold that is scented with wood-fire and the char-grilled specialties made on the open grill located right in the restaurant. Just under the ruins of the King Wenceslas IV´s castle, a restaurant of the same name is hidden. It also has an open fireplace, of course. In this neighborhood you can feed forest animals at a mini-zoo.
This is the highest point on the right bank of the Vltava River. From the rocky hill you will be amazed by the best panoramic view across the whole Northern Bohemia, including the Giant Mountains, Jizera Mountains with Ještěd and the Bezděz Castle. Right next to the iron cross on the top there is an observatory, where you can watch the night sky better than on Petřín, because it is not that affected by light pollution of the city. The slope below the observatory provides nice terrain for sledding. The Červený Mlýn-Red Mill restaurant under the hill in the old village is also worth visiting for its red brick walls and open fireplace.
Where do you warm up in the wintertime?