Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Romantic Prague

Does Paris have tough competition on the romantic front?

Many people consider Paris to be the European capital of romance, a title which it deserves for obvious reasons. But this past summer my fiancé and I spent a wonderful few days in the Czech capital of Prague. The city has long been a mecca for tourists in Europe, being one of the oldest cities on the continent, it is steeped in history from the middle ages to world war 2 and much more besides. Let's not even begin to talk about the amazing architecture!

What surprised me most about the city was the air of romance to be found on a warm summers evening. There were countless couples cuddling up in street-side cafés, walking hand-in-hand through Old Town Square and watching the sunset from Prague Castle or just passing the time sitting by the fountain at the top of Wenceslas square. Even as we were standing atop the Astronomical Tower we witnessed a newly married couple, still in their wedding outfits, having their wedding pictures taken before being paraded through Old Town in a horse-drawn carriage. This sight was replicated again later that evening at the gates of Prague Castle.

Of course there are the usual suspects the experience, museums, war history and architecture. You can get your fill of educational tours from the many tour guides who gather at the base of the Astronomical Clock at 3pm, or you can take a walk into one of the many museums which the city has, I highly recommend visiting a museum during the annual Museum Night on 9th of June when the museums open at 7pm, there is something unique about being in there after dark. 

But what many people miss while rushing across Charles Bridge, trying to get as much information as possible as quickly as possible, is the romance of the place. Just as the sun is going down (or rising if you prefer), there are few cities in the world which can better Prague for beauty and tranquillity. Prague is a city which you should take your time exploring, not (as I did the first time I was there) trying to fit as much as you can into a short space of time. Give yourself time to experience the ambiance, the essence of this King of Cities. Stroll through Old Town at sunset, walk along Charles Bridge at 6am, sit in the Royal FlowerGardens for an hour. Experience on thing fully rather than partially exploring many. I promise you it will be worth it!