If you’re looking for a short getaway destination this year, you simply must consider Prague. 2019 is a year of celebration in “The City of a Thousand Spires’, as it marks its freedom from the shackles of communism through the Velvet Revolution.
To kick off the festivities, Prague renovated its National Museum and reopened it to the public after three years. The Museum is worth the visit - ask the crowds who queue up for as long as three hours to get in. Many artifacts of the Hussite Movement, Czech Republic’s divorce from Slovakia and its illustrious royal history are on display here including the stunning tiaras of Ema Destinova, Bohemia’s beloved soprano.
Speaking of music, at the Prague National Theatre, special rates and sales have been released for opera lovers. As Mozart spent much time composing his music in Prague, his work is still fondly remembered and celebrated in various operas throughout the year here. Even if you’re not a fan of opera, listening to a piece of Mozart in his beloved Prague, will be a major highlight of your trip.
Local celebrations are also aplenty. Visit one of Prague’s many public spaces from Wenceslaus Square to Republic Square, take in local fairs with games for children, or just try local fare like fried cheese, mulled wine and the quintessential fried dough, ‘trdelnik’ that you can dip in hot chocolate or hazelnut spread.
Restaurants also serve up local Czech food with flare. Traditional Czech meals include potatoes, goulash, beef, roast pork with cabbage and dumplings, but for tourists this year, lots of Czech restaurants will serve up fusion versions of their meals like spicy reindeer venison and ribs.
Or you could take a quick trip outside of Prague. Various national monuments and UNESCO heritage sites have special passes and discounts for visiting this year. Whether you travel to see the 70,000 human bones sculptures at Kutna Hora or enjoy fresh riverside spas in spa town Karlovy Vary, there’s something special for travellers who venture a little outside of the city.
For night owls and partygoers, Prague's nightlife and beer culture are vibrant and happening. Czechs are known to be the highest consumers of beer globally, beating the Irish and even Australians! The Czech Republic is known for its pilsner style beer and you can easily do a beer tasting tour where you can sample brews famous for their bready aroma and sweet, biscuit-like flavor.
And for those who love European architecture, there’s a variety of things to see along the cobbled streets of Prague. Seventy different churches dominate the landscape here with their Baroque and neo-Gothic styles. And for this year, many have waived the entrance fee and are free to enter like the famous Shrine of the Infant Jesus at the Our Lady Victorious Church.
For history lovers, Prague Castle is another breath-taking complex comprising the main medieval castle, churches, St Vitus Basilica and associated chapels, grand royal halls, art galleries, towers, and royal gardens. It would take you two days to see it completely. But you can buy a pass, which is valid for two days.
Prague is a feast for the eyes, with red rooftops and colorful Parisienne like charm, so add it to your next European itinerary.
Pamela Q. Fernandes is an author, doctor and medical writer. She’s a regular contributor for Epicure magazine. You can find out more about her at https://www.pamelaqfernandes.com.
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