Prague for lovers & dreamers: how to spend Valentine’s day
PRAGUE FOR LOVERS & DREAMERS: HOW TO SPEND VALENTINE’S DAY
It’s been only two blog posts, but I guess you already got it – I love this city. Being not the most romantic person in general, there is definitely something in the air here that even I can feel. Maybe it is somewhat personal. When Europe was still divided, Prague, located in the center of Europe, was a popular tourist destination in East and West alike and therefore also a place where people could meet that otherwise not had the opportunity to see each other: lovers, friends and family. My mum and my dad would come here together to see my grandmother who was still living behind the iron curtain at that time. When I was young, my mum told me about those trips and how she used to stroll through the old bookstores from which she brought back piles of beautiful books, for example about Rübezahl, a mountain spirit inhabiting the Krkonoše Mountains in the North of Czech Republic.
I had this very romantic picture of Prague and Czech Republic in general from an early age on.Valentine’s day is approaching and we were thinking about some specials we could offer you on this occasion. We hope, you will enjoy what we came up with and that you’ll have a great time, whether you are travelling with a beloved one or alone. Klick here for more information about our specials - including backpacker speed dating. Jep, you read correctly. We are also preparing a special walking tour for you, make sure to follow us on Facebook for regular updates!
Additionally, I would like to share some of my favorites when it comes to Prague’s romantic spots & stories. Enjoy!
Let’s start with the – at least for locals – most obvious among them all:
It is a hill surrounded by a beautiful large park where several curiosities can be found and discovered. Start your trip around the green hill with enjoying the view from the miniature Eiffel Tower which was built in 1891 for the “General Land Centennial Exhibition”.
During summer, continue to the lovely rose gardens close by, surrounding an observatory – which you can of course also visit, in case you want to broaden you view even further. A stone’s throw away is a strange little mirror maze, featuring a diorama depicting Prague inhabitants in the battle against the Swedes on Charles Bridge in 1648.
Now you could take the oldschool cable car to go down to Malá Strana (the Lesser Town) again, but you would miss out on one of Prague’s weirdest museum, located half way down the hill: the “magic grot” where the artist Reon Argondian built a surrealistic world filled with colorful psychedelic paintings – it is open to public and probably just the right thing to do after you made your way through the “hall of laughter” in the mirror maze. Swill down the experience with a glass of Absinth in Bar Ujezd, which is also a pretty weird place, and the confusion about life and love might be complete.
What’s so romantic about Petřín? Well, it is hard to grasp, but the atmosphere is quite special up there. Maybe it is best soaked in while having a picknick under the appletrees seaming the hills. But you will know for sure, once you found the statue of the famous Czech poet Karl Macha. This is where couples go on the 1st of May to kiss each other. The legend says that a girl who is not kissed would wither and die in twelve months – well, I’m sure it counts for boys as well, so let’s not take the risk guys! Read the English version of his famous poem here.
Kafka’s letters to his girlfriends are pieces of literature on their own right. My favorite ones are dedicated to a very special lady who was turning heads among the writing boheme of the 19th century: Milena Jesenská. She was a writer, journalist and translator, who took a great part in introducing Franz Kafka to a Czech audience. Their letter exchange is very touching in its honesty and in how they express the deep respect for the work and personality of one another.
Find out more about Milena and Kafka in the atmospheric Kafka museum located in the lesser town and visit the close by (and very beautiful!) Shakespeare & Sons bookstore to purchase a copy of Kafka’s letters – or another piece of Czech literature!
Sunrises & Sunsets
Prague is just perfect for enjoying romantic moments in the very beginning or the end of a day. The green hills around the city provide you with spectacular views in all geographic directions. My favorites for the sunset are the two hills in Žižkov: Riegrovy Sady and Vítkov. The first one is a nice park in the Vinohradý district, famous for its huge, classic beer garden, famous among expats and locals alike. You can grab a beer and walk a few meters to reach a spot where you can see the sun set behind the Prague castle. Oh yes, it is beautiful. Unfortunately I did not find a picture of it - so please send me yours!
The Vítkov experience is more for those who fancy urban, industrial aesthetics. It is an angle of Prague that not so many tourists discover, a blend of abandoned railway tracks, concrete monumentalism – but also romanticism. You will see what I mean once you climbed up the steep steps in the park surrounding the Vítkov memorial with the huge statue of Hussite leader Jan Žižka, who this part of the city is named after. The view up there is spectacular.
I have to be honest with you, I never made it for a sunrise (so far!). But I imagine it to be most beautiful from the Letna plain. It is a perfect spot for spending a night with a bottle of wine (or two) and enjoy Prague's beauty from above.
Prominently ignored: Love Locks
I know, I know, it is all a matter of taste. However, I personally strongly disapprove the “decoration” (or damage! See what happened in Paris) of historical monuments with pink padlocks. Also, the least thing that I want to associate with love is a lock. But maybe it’s just me.
Anyway! I hope you will enjoy this special day in Prague, do not hesitate to ask at the reception for more hints, recommendations for cozy restaurants, romantic wine bars or whatever it is, you will be looking for! Lots of love from Sir Toby’s and we hope to see you soon in our beautiful city!
All Pictures in this post by our very own Richard Hodonicky - you can see more of his works here!