Fall is a magical season, because nature displays an amazing coat of colors, and although “leaf peeping” is not necessarily a favorite pastime of the locals, there are still many awe-inspiring places that no one can resist in the Autumn. One of them, a true paradise on earth, is a mere 90 km drive from Prague, s the first nature reserve in the Czech Republic, Český Ráj. In English, you would call this the “Bohemian Paradise,” and that’s precisely what it is.
Hrubá Skála Chateau and Trosky
Castles and Magic Kingdom Wonders
Český Ráj is a place of rare beauty, a landscape worthy of exploring a lifetime, peppered with outstanding architectural structures, which integrate among the sandstone rocks in perfect harmony. The view of the ruins among the colors of the Fall is breathtaking, inspiring artists and poets alike. Words cannot do justice to what the eyes can take in in a mere second. The Czech Republic’s largest designated area of natural beauty covers about 182 km², and it is hard to pinpoint its boundaries. But consider Turnov, Jičín and Mnichovo Hradiště as rough delimitation points, and, as you start your journey around the Bohemian Paradise, you will explore some of the country’s most scenic townships, quaint villages, hills and caves, beech and maple forests, meadows and river valleys.
And then, the castles and chateaus of Český Ráj are the stuff of fairy-tales. They rise among the loveliest landscapes imaginable, standing high atop sandstone rocks, some with honey-hued rooftops, others with white, pristine walls, and undulating architectural accents. The impressive Hrad Kost is built on a spit between two brooks, at the intersection of three valleys – Plakánek, Prokop´s, and Černý Pond. It is one of the few privately-owned historic monuments, which can be visited by the public. Due to its beautiful architecture, and fortunate location, the castle is a favorite wedding venue in Český Ráj.
Mnichovo Hradiště, a spectacular baroque estate, is another beautiful landmark of the Bohemian Paradise. Granted, this is not a solitary landmark, but it is interesting for the variety of cultural events it hosts, and for its museum. Better for leaf peeping would be the ruins of Rotštejn Castle, which grace the nature reserve Klokočské rock.
From the top of Rotštejn you can see the beautiful colors of the Klokočské Rocks, with leafy trees among sandstone rocks. Or, for even more impressive colors of Autumn, the Valdštejn Castle in Hruboskalsko near Turnov is a must. Surrounded by lush forestry, the cliff castle is visited by around 60,000 tourists every year. Just one hour walk from this castle you will find the Hrubá Skála rock town, at the end of the hike on the Golden Trail. Or hike up to the Hlavatice cliff lookout nearby, for breathtaking of Turnov, Kozákov, Ještěd, Bezděz, Ralsko and the hills of the Central Czech Highlands.
These are just some of the wonders of the Bohemian Paradise, a favorite destination for cycling, as the area is covered by a dense network of marked bike trails, which can be also traveled on skis during winter. Most trails are easy to hike, and suitable for travelers of all ages. They are clearly marked, in different colors, and usually short. For even more adventures in the area, consider canoeing on the Jizera River. Other activities include rock climbing, horseback riding, paragliding and hot air balloon rides.
August ends with an ice cream festival in Prague, but the fun is just about to become: come September, the city continues to celebrate all kinds of things that inspire travelers and locals alike. But, if you want to say “goodbye,Summer!” in style, the Prague Exhibition Grounds (Výstaviště Praha) are the place to be on Sunday, August 30, for Prague’s coolest festival. Get your family and friends, and go to enjoy a world of flavors, from local ice cream makers, and from international visiting exhibitors. You can partake in tasting sessions, and enjoy the day in a beautiful environment with an interesting program.
Then, in September, visit the Prague City Gallery at Troja Castle (Zámek Troja) for even more gourmet treats. Prague’s Foodparade is at its 5th edition. This is a family-friendly event, with an interesting children’s corner, beautifully decorated, with colorful balloons, where kids can join a cooking workshop, draw and play. Adults can enjoy gourmet cuisine prepared by famous local chefs and by luxury boutique restaurants. Of course, the festival couldn’t be complete without artisan wines, delicious coffee, good beer, exotic cocktails and delicacies from around the world. The festival lasts two days, from September 5 to 6.
KampART 2015 on September 5 is an open air event, with free entrance. It will feature urban music and art, at Kampa, a park on an island between the Vltava River and its side branch, Čertovka. This is also where you will find Kampa’s pottery market from September 5 to 6, which will also feature a cultural program for the whole family. Kampa is also home to Museum Kampa, another Prague must-see. Plus, this beautiful island is regarded as one of the most romantic spots in the city.
What would September be without the Dvořák Prague festival? This kicks off on September 6, and lasts till September 23. It takes place at different locations around the city, and will feature the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, led by Christoph von Dohnányi, and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Soloists will include such brilliant artists as Piotr Anderszewski, David Garrett, Lisa Batiashvili, and Gautier Capuçon, among many others. Check out the listed website for information and full schedule.
If you want something different, the first American-style Low&Slow barbecue festival in the Czech Republic is scheduled for September 12 and 13, and it’s called Bohemian Bluegrass. 24 professional BBQ teams from around the world will gather at Smíchovská náplavka – Smíchov riverside to cook chicken, pork ribs, pulled pork, and beef brisket in a competition for cash and prizes, and for a chance to compete in the Jack Daniels World Championship in Tennessee. Of course, you are invited to taste their creations. The family-friendly event is free for children. Some of the most talented musicians in the Czech Republic will play bluegrass music to entertain visitors during the festival.
To end the first half of the month, we’d like to recommend the Ladronkafest at Ladronka – Sports and Recreation Area on September 12, 2015. This is the largest leisure time festival in Central Europe, featuring concerts, extreme sports, creative workshops, and much more. Free admission.
Summers are the best time to explore this magnificent city, and nothing can be more fun than to visit it with little explorers, who will enjoy many of the beautiful things Prague has to offer. The parks are true oases of green, fresh and landscaped to resemble palatial gardens, with colorful flowers, and tall trees.. The streets are equally welcoming, with something fascinating at each turn: here a street artist blowing huge soap bubbles, there a cozy cafe that serves out of this world chocolates and desserts. And sure, there are always those attractions designed exclusively with children in mind.
Merlin’s KinderWelt is located more than 2 ½ hours drive from Prague, in Chvalovice, but it is well worth the trip, for a great family day out: visitors will enjoy bumper boats and bumper cars, Archimedean screws, Carnival carousel, butterfly-shaped cart for two persons, Children’s train, Ferris wheel, climbing frames, kiddy bob, nautic jets, mini golf, racing course and much more.
Mirakulum is about 50 minutes drive from Prague, in Milovice, and local children love it, especially for its mini zoo with donkeys, sheep and goats that kids are allowed to pet. But there’s much more to explore and play with at Mirakulum: a wooden castle with slides, suspension bridges, giant swings, mazes, climbing frames, and tunnels, and much, much more. You will see many people gathered around barbecues, playing, or just relaxing in the sun.
If you cannot leave Prague, but you are looking for a safe playground for children, try Hafikov: this is a great choice rain or shine, as it is an indoor area, at the Galerie Nove Butovice. There are toys, slides, and everything your child could need to have a blast. You can shop while children play safely, and, if you get hungry, enjoy a slice of pizza or another snack at Pizza metropol.
To escape the heat of the summer, and to splash around in a water park, head over to Hlavní Město Praha for Aquacentru Šutka. This offers many attractions, including Finnish sauna, steam bath and 50 m indoor pool, suitable for recreational swimming and competitions, as well as training pool, ideal for mothers and children.
The Funicular Railway is also a wonderful activity to do with children. The ride is fascinating, taking you from Lesser Town all the way up to Petrin Hill.
The National Marionette Theatre (Narodni divadlo marionet) is a must see: it still plays Mozart’s Don Giovanni using classic marionettes. But it also offers other puppet performances for both adults and children.
Finally, Sea World, at the city zoo is both fascinating and educational. At the Výstaviste fairgrounds you’ll also find a number of other popular attractions, such as the Krizík Fountain. The most fascinating exhibition of the Sea World is the GALERIE KROKODÝL which offers a view of the dangerous world of alligators, caimans and crocodiles, including their regular feeding.
Prague, the eternal romantic city, is also a great place to explore with children. There are many beautiful attractions, hands-on interactive exhibitions in some of Prague’s most prestigious museums, parks and gardens with fun-filled playgrounds, other outdoors recreational and educations opportunities, and finally, festivals aimed to bring laughter and joy in participants of all ages.
This summer, don’t miss the open-air exhibition project Sculpture Line, with unique artworks scattered all around the city, from the Václav Havel Airport, to the Prague Botanical Garden and the Zoo, on to the National Theatre’s Piazzetta, and so on. You can find a complete list of locations on the official website of the festival, as well as detailed information about the works, and about the artists who exhibit this year on the streets of Prague.
Behind the Door is an international street theater festival, which takes place in Wenceslas and Jungmann Squares in the city center, but also on the premises of the Prague Exhibition Grounds. The festival is free of charge, and open to visitors of all ages, as well as to local residents. From 13 to 18 July this year you can expect clowns and street performers of international caliber, open air shows at night, lights and laughter, music and dance.
Letní Letná is at its 12th edition this year! The International Festival of Contemporary Circus and Theatre in Prague will take place from mid August (16) to early September (3) – the perfect conclusion to a summer of active fun. The programme includes street art and open air shows, photographic exhibitions, workshops of new circus, encounters of professionals working in the field, projections of recordings of selected foreign productions, concerts, and much more. A large part of the festival was created with children in mind: kids may choose from five shows per day, and they can also partake in several workshops of graphic arts (free of charge).
World of Botanicus, about 40 minutes drive from Prague, is an ideal family destination, with botanical gardens, featuring herb and vegetable gardens, and a Medieval village with various traditional workshops. This is a must if you want to escape the city, and to enjoy activities like a local.
Dvůr Hoffmeister is a great weekend escape for your family. The equestrian center offers stabling and horse training, as well as pony riding school for children aged 3 or older. They also have a restaurant, serving local cuisine, prepared with organic ingredients.
If you want to splash around, and to escape the heat of the summer, Aquacentru Šutka is a must: the water park with two large water slides, paddling pool with climbing frame, waterfall and tubs, also offers indoor and outdoor pools, Finnish sauna, steam bath, and a training pool, ideal for mothers and children.
Another day trip from Prague, Mirakulum is an exciting adventure park with slides, mazes, climbing frames, and tunnels, offering attractions for all ages, including wooden castle with slides, suspension bridges, towers and other surprises; large trampoline; giant swings and more. There’s also a little zoo that children will love.
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La Rotisserie, the gourmet experience at Mamaison Hotel Le Regina Warsaw, is set to dazzle and seduce you with seasonal cuisine every time you visit. Chef Paweł Oszczyk does not rewrite the rules of French cooking: he is fluent in execution, and he applies every morsel of knowledge to design the ideal Polish-French fusion menu, with perfectly crafted starters, and mains that will blow your mind. Such is this month’s menu, a creation worthy of VIPs, but affordable to all, be them foodies or simply people looking for a decent meal to tame their hunger.
Introducing conversation-stopper duck pastrami, a salty, spicy, sweet, and fatty delicious starter, served under a bed of salad and strawberry, and seasoned with fresh herbs with an unbelievable coffee dressing. A rich, succulent meat, and the freshness of the salad with the perfect side of strawberry, make for an extraordinary treat: a scene stealer, by all means, you’d think, but things will only get better, with the next star of the tasting menu.
An everyday ingredient in Italy, the humble artichoke is not so humble when handled by Paweł Oszczyk: it’s becoming a posh highlight for a basic risotto bianco, that will make you crave for more. It’s Warsaw: artichokes are not a traditional meal here. But Oszczyk delivers a menu that rivals the most celebrated restaurants, and chefs, of the world. Think Gordon Ramsay’s Jerusalem artichokes risotto with seared scallops, such a sensational experience for the taste buds, but nothing compared to this dish, which comes in an enjoyable size, topped with scallops, plus summer truffles for an extra kick.
The highlight of the menu is a beautifully roasted fillet of Atlantic cod. The chef is using wild-caught fish – the best possible choice for the star of the show – and creates a eat-it-now kind of dish, which tastes as good as it looks. The cod is an island surrounded by green farfalle, hand made with a touch of fresh herbs, which blend with the rest of the ingredients into a symphony of unexpected flavors, and yet so masterly assembled. There’s a hint of tomato there, near the tangy mushrooms. Then, you’d think that the unbelievable hazelnut pesto is enough to bring this dish to its whole, but the Chef has two more aces that crown, effortlessly, the plate: crab and caviar.
Finally, the lesser known relatives of blueberries, the bilberries end this spectacular menu, in a dessert that will steal your heart. A surprising, yet equally inspired, marriage of ingredients brings you the bilberry cake with a refreshing sorbet made with pine sprouts. This is not your everyday dessert.
For wine connoisseurs, the selection put together by Andrzej Strzelczyk, sommelier champion of Poland in 2012 and 2013, is just that extra touch to bring this dining experience close to perfection.
With such a lineup, there is no wonder that the restaurant attracts so many tourists, but don’t be surprised by the large number of locals who enter its doors. La Rotisserie is also a media darling: local food bloggers, seasoned journalists, artists and VIPs are often seen lunching at pristine tables, always in good company. You’d think, with such credential, that the restaurant is out of your reach: fear not, with La Rotisserie, gourmet food is made available to indulge you with one delicious taste after another.
Prague is a culinary paradise in May: several food and drink festivals take place in and around the city, celebrating local produce and traditional cuisine. The month begins with an asparagus festival on May 2nd in Hostín u Vojkovic, not far from Prague. This is an occasion for you to taste a variety of foods prepared with asparagus, and to party with the locals. The program includes live music and dance, but also activities for children.
Another important celebration of local traditions is Prague’s answer to the German Oktoberfest: the Czech Beer Festival. At its 8th annual edition, the event will take place from May 7th to 23rd, featuring more than 150 top quality Czech draft beers, daily concerts and workshops, plus other forms of entertainment, and, naturally, beer snacks. The main tent we will be offering 10 and 12 degree beers, made in the Krušovice royal brewery especially for this festival. You can’t taste these anywhere else. If you are a wine drinker, there will be a selection of labels from the Moravian winery Spielberg. The food menu is appealing too: with grilled meats, salads, soups, and locals specialties. Where? Letenská pláň.
The Fishkus Festival on May 16th at Hořejší Nábřeží is all about fish: the event focuses on the supply, treatment and sale of marine and freshwater fish and seafood. Everyone who loves and works with fish is invited, to learn about these creatures, but also to try gourmet delicacies, traditional foods, and more.
Also on May 16th, the Prague Restaurant Day gives you a chance to enjoy creative cuisine at special prices in many restaurants around the city.
Another interesting culinary event is the Vietnamese Food Festival, at Náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad on May 21st. The event is part of a series of celebrations for the Vietnamese Year of Culture and is organized by the Vietnamese Embassy in Prague.
The annual Prague Food Festival at Prague Castle is the last culinary event in our list, although there are several other festivals to attend in May (Latin Food Festival on May 23rd; Vinohradský Gurmet May 29-30, etc). The three-day feast of gastronomy will be held in the Royal Garden of Prague Castle. Tickets are already on sale on the official website.
The Prague Spring International Music Festival edition 2015 will be epic, because the festival celebrates its 70th anniversary. The event will open May 12, 2015, with Má vlast (My Country) set of symphonic poems, by Bedřich Smetana, at the Smetana Hall of the Municipal House. The festival lasts for almost a month, ending on June 6.
Several events will follow, beginning with the Prague Spring International Music Competition on May 13, the flute finals, at the Talich Philharmonia, and the clarinet finals the next day at Prague Philharmonia.
An extraordinary concert featuring the St. Petersburg Philharmonic conducted by Jurij Těmirkanov will take place on May 15, at the Municipal House. In the programme: Dmitrij Šostakovič’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor Op. 77 and Symphony No. 5 in D minor Op. 47. There are premium tickets for this event, available online at the Prague Spring International Music Festival official website. Another concert featuring the St. Petersburg Philharmonic will take place the next day, at the same location, this time presenting Dmitrij Šostakovič’s Symphony No. 7 in C major Op. 60 “Leningrad.”
At the Prague Spring Debut, the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra will present Rhapsodic Variations by Klement Slavický; Petr Iljič Čajkovskij’s Symphony No. 4 in F minor Op. 36 and the Oboe Concerto Op. 26 by Martin Hybler. The orchestra will be conducted by Marek Šedivý. At oboe, Johannes Grosso, winner of the 2014 Prague Spring International Music Competition.
The Czech Philharmonic will perform for the Concert of the Friends of Prague Spring at the Municipal House on May 22, 2015: Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 in D minor. The complete programme of the festival can be downloaded as PDF here.
Other venues hosting concerts during the festival include the Prague Academy of Music, church of St Simon and St Jude, the Rudolfinum, the CNB Hall, the Capitular Hall at the Grand Priory Palace, the Imperial Hall of the Lobkowicz Palace (Prague Castle), the Tuscany Palace, the St Agnes’ convent, the National Theatre, The State Opera, the Old Town Square, the Church of St Luke, the Slavin cemetery, the National House of Vinohrady, and the Old Town Hall, Brožík Hall.
There are special offers for tourists who visit Prague for the festival: 50% discount on train fare on a Czech Railways (České dráhy) train, provided on request (Vlak + Pražské jaro) at any Czech Railways (České dráhy) ticket office or from the train conductor (train guard). The discount applies to any round-trip ticket from any station in the Czech Republic to Prague with the first date of validity on any day between 8 May and 3 June 2015. Discounted tickets can be purchased beginning on 15 March 2015.
Special discounts are also available at your Mamaison hotels in Prague, Mamaison Hotel Riverside and Mamaison Residence Belgicka. Check our special offer, and choose the package that is most convenient for you. We recommend the Lengthy Affair for extended stays at Mamaison Residence Belgicka.
There are many interesting activities in Prague, besides the festival: for instance, you could visit the House of the Black Madonna on Ovocný trh at 569/19. This was the first ever Cubist building erected in Prague, and it is still one of the most celebrated landmarks of the city. Step inside the Grand Café Orient at the first floor, not only to dine, but to immerse yourself in the retro atmosphere created by the original, authentic Cubist interior, one of its kind in the world. To tame your thirst for knowledge, enter the Museum of Czech Cubism, housed inside the same building, to see why Cubism was a way of life for the locals, and to admire outstanding paintings, sculptures, and commercial art.
An extended stay is also an opportunity to explore the lands beyond the city gates of Prague. One possible destination is the romantic Nelahozeves Castle, less than 45 minutes drive from Mamaison Hotel Riverside, or Mamaison Residence Belgicka, towards Nelahozeves, via E55. The countryside makes this beautiful Renaissance landmark a favorite with tourists and local residents alike, but beyond architecture and natural beauty surrounding the palatial edifice, you will discover a world of art and culture inside, curated in the permanent exhibition of the museum, Private Spaces: A Noble Family at Home, which illustrates in extensive detail how an influential noble family lived in the 19th century. A beautiful destination every season, the Nelahozeves Castle shines best the light of spring, when nature comes through with the shiniest greens, and the Spring Pottery Market brings you authentic artisan creations from the region, the perfect souvenirs to remind you of fairy-tale like Prague.
Souvenirs have insinuated themselves among the fruit and vegetables stalls at Havelská Market too, another attraction worthy of attention if you have an extended weekend. This is where the locals like to shop, despite being a favorite of one too many tourists who come here to hunt for souvenirs, or to taste local produce.
Finally, to finish your weekend in style, the Clementinum is an absolute must-see. Once, this was the third largest Jesuit college in the world. Today, its Baroque Library Hall housing the Czech National Library counts among the wonders of Prague. If you believe in legends, God Himself “is in one of the letters of one of the pages of one of the four hundred thousand books of Clementinum.” To visit the famous Astronomical Tower of the Clementinum complex, purchase a tour and concert package, which allows you to attend a concert in the Mirror Chapel. The tours starts one hour before the concert and lasts 50 minutes.
February is still gray and grim in Moscow, but not for lovers. There are so many wonderful destinations in this cosmopolitan city, that choosing it to re-declare your love is as good as you can imagine. From your Mamaison All-Suites Spa Hotel Pokrovka Moscow, which will spoil you from arrival till the moment you leave, this is truly a city to celebrate romance.
Shop at Lillies, to have that perfect fashionista outfit for Valentine’s dinner, or, if you want to splurge, choose the Chanel Boutique for clothing, accessories, jewelry, cosmetics, watches and footwear. Another excellent destination to buy luxury fashion is Moscow’s celebrated Novinsky Passage selling the most fashionable clothes, sports gears, footwear, underwear, mobile phones, gadgets, and much more.
Perfect Valentine’s Day gift and outfit sorted, plan a romantic day out, doing something not many tourists do on this occasion. Take a ride in the metro, for example, and see the most beautiful metro station in the city (and probably in the world), Komsomolskaya, or stop along the way to admire other artistic and architectural gems like Mayakovskaya, Taganskaya, Novoslobodskaya, and Arbatskaya, to mention but a few.
Izmailovo, part of the State Historical Museum, was once home to several rich and famous Russian families, whose legacy can still be seen here. A museum of rare beauty, this can make for a romantic date if you are into art and history.
If nature is your thing, enjoy the beautiful landscapes of Bitsevskii Wood, between the residential areas of Chertanovo, Yasenevo and Ziuzino. This protected area is the green lungs of Balaklavskii Prospect, a romantic destination all year round. During the winter season, the woods are also favored as a cross-country skiing destination.
Before you end your romantic day out, let yourself pampered at the exclusive Spa by Algotherm, which takes up two floors of your Mamaison All-Suites Spa Hotel Pokrovka. The most luxurious medical spa in Moscow, Spa by Algotherm at Pokrovka was created to restore the harmony in between body and spirit, offering an oasis of relaxation and calm set in an atmosphere of luxury and lavish comfort. Even if you don’t stay at Mamaison Pokrovka, when your trips bring you to Moscow, check out the gem in our crown, for an experience that has the stuff of period-drama, and romance film illusion.
Finally, seal the day with dinner at Meat & More the perfect setting for a date, for a wedding, and, why not, even for a psychedelic evening. Just look around you: the interior is so fresh, innovative, and unexpected, that it can transfigure into any theme you may choose. A wedding? We are a favorite partner of the Wedding Magazine, and many couples pick MEAT & MORE for a lively party, after they tie the knot.
The cuisine is refined and sophisticated, just like the interior decor by Anton Gorlanov. This is the only restaurant in the Mamaison collection to welcome you 24 hours a day, every day. When hunger strikes, just step inside the restaurant, and the staff will make you feel like a VIP, every time.
If you visit Prague in February, to celebrate love with that someone special in your life, stay at a Mamaison hotel, as now rooms are available at promotional prices. And if you love beauty and art, as much as you love culture and discovering new places, Prague is a true destination for the soul. Fall in love with this beautiful city, and visit some of its cherished landmarks, but also add to your itinerary the following recommendations.
Many restaurants in Prague will offer outstanding menus for Valentine’s Day, and our own Restaurant Amade at Mamaison Suite Hotel Pachtuv Palace is no exception. Romantic and elegant, with a contemporary vibe, and unique interior design defined by exciting and uplifting elements, such as comfy cushions, and crystal chandeliers, Amade offers a sophisticated urban experience that inspires unforgettable moments and romance. Just like the decor, the cuisine, rooted in Czech traditions, but recreated with flair and gusto, refines your Valentine’s Day dining experience with sophisticated flavors, and dishes fit for royalty.
How else would you want to experience the City of a Hundred Spires? For romantic couples, Mater Urbium is the city break of choice, for its lush, palatial charm, for medieval, fairy-tale like atmosphere, for cuisine, and yes, for everything that makes your heart beat faster, in amazement.
Imagine getting lost on the cobbled streets that once witnessed secrete romance stories between blue-blooded Czech royalty, and their Austro-Hungarian rulers. This is when you will understand why Prague is revisited like an urban art gallery, over and over again: its vast arteries are lined up with outstanding landmarks of diverse architectural styles.
Galerie Rudolfinum is a celebration of love and art, an ideal spot to bring a date for special moments that touch the soul in mysterious ways. If art is not on your list of priorities, an enchanted trip on the Vlatva River, aboard the Hamburg will certainly leave an unforgettable mark: the boat takes you on a romantic cruise, with music, dancing, and fine dining.
Or try Lázně na Lodi, the spa on the ship, on the river at Rašínovo nábřeží. Enjoy some great views on Prague while relaxing in a classic Finnish sauna or in an open-air pool with hot water on the deck. The spa will be open on Valentine’s Day, so give it a try.
February is also the season of the Prague Carnevale, which, this year, is held from February 6th till February 17th. Don’t miss its colorful festivities, which take place at various venues around the city. Bohemian costume parades will take place in front of Old Town Hall, but the most exciting event takes place February 14, at 19:30 at the Clam-Gallas Palace: the Crystal Ball, “A Barocco Grandioso.” Keep in mind that you can only attend if you were appropriate period costumes.
Christmas is a spectacular sight in Prague. Magnificent architecture gets dressed in a lace of shining lights; hundreds of Christmas trees sprout from nowhere lining up the imperial arteries, and even pedestrian alleys and markets; department-store window displays remind of the land of fairies and elves; and many other holiday attractions pop up around the city, spreading contagious cheer among locals and visitors.
It’s a season of joy and excitement, a time when age barriers fall, and the city becomes a huge playground for all. Even onlookers who don’t believe in Santa Claus find themselves looking up at the skies gazing to see the magic sleight and its reindeers.
You are greeted by colorful Christmas decorations at every step: some avantgarde, and using the latest technologies to woo and enthrall you; some artsy and chic, designed exclusively to make you want for more Christmas art; and finally, some traditional, to remind you of the local values, and the cultural past that shaped this holiday.
From the lobbies of Mamaison Suite Hotel Pachtuv Palace, Mamaison Hotel Riverside, and Mamaison Residence Belgicka, all decorated in the spirit of the season, as you step out you can live your own Christmas story.
First time visitors to the city must never miss the jolly atmosphere of the main Christmas markets of Prague, where tourists and residents alike spend hours munching on gingerbread cookies and Trdelník, or destroy their healthy diets with a fatty piece of ham and one sip too many from the local svařák wine, which perfumes the air with aromas of cinnamon and star anise.
If you want to avoid the crowds gathered around at the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square, where Prague’s largest Christmas markets display all kinds of Christmas goods for sale, walk to Havelská Market, the city centre’s permanent market, where you can shop like the locals, without needing to pay a season premium on your purchase, and the local Trdelník is as tasty as anywhere else too.
Still, the true spirit of the Czech Christmas is better emphasized by the events organized at Toulcův Court in Prague – Hostivař. Here, the court and Baroque stables fill with almost a hundred craftsmen and retailers of traditional goods and old Czech snacks. Folklore and theater revive past traditions, Christmas nativity scenes, and local fairy tales. This is the place to learn how to make Christmas candles, greeting cards, decorations and even sweets. In other words, Toulcův Court is the ideal address to live an authentic Prague Christmas story, in an environment that educates and entertains.
Then, buzzing restaurants, boutiques and nightlife will draw you in with even more surprises: special dishes, Christmas cocktails, sales, and amazing offers you cannot refuse. For restaurants, make sure you make a reservation way ahead, because this is the season when the locals take to the city’s eateries by thousands, all so jolly and merry, celebrating every opportunity with passion and joie de vivre.
Finally, when your spirit needs music to “wash away from the soul the dust of everyday life,” as Berthold Auerbach once said, you’ll find the heart of Prague beating in tune with God. Her beautiful churches, and even the Municipal House, open large doors, inviting the public to attend classical advent concerts and traditional Christmas carols. You’ll rarely need a programme to know what’s on: there’s always something going on during this season.
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