Just imagine for a moment – the last days of the year are slowly approaching, but you still don’t know where to go to celebrate it. At the moment short city breaks at New Year’s are especially popular amongst young people, as all you have to do is hop on a cheap flight and you’ll be at your central hotel or hostel in cities like Barcelona or Berlin in just a few hours. One city that’s been becoming more and more popular during the last few years is the Czech capital, Prague. There’s good reason for it. As well as the unique historic quarter with its phenomenal architecture, there’s also the charm of the locals and Czech culture that all make for a very welcoming atmosphere. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is – Prague is always worth visiting! At New Year’s there’s even a good chance of snow. It’s definitely going to be pretty cold, so winter shoes, a big cosy jacket and ear-warmers are a must, but when you look at Prague Castle and see the fireworks going off all around it, the colourful lights and rockets will look even more beautiful in the white snow.
Unlike other New Year’s hotspots in South Europe, you won’t be able to spend the entire evening outside. That’s why it’s important to read up on which offers are available at New Year’s before you go, and that’s exactly what I’ve gone and done for you – I’ve put together all the tips and tricks that’ll make for a perfect way to end the year!
How to make New Year’s in Prague unforgettable
If you’re looking to spend New Year’s abroad in a place where you’ll get your money’s worth, Prague is always a good place to go. Hotels are generally very reasonable and a nice meal in a restaurant are on average cheaper than back home. Of course it’s always worth to eat at places that are a little bit away from the tourist hotspots, seeing as the Old Town is a lot more expensive than places outside the city centre. Otherwise New Year’s is a great opportunity to really let yourself go and indulge in a bit of luxury for a few days.
Unlike Barcelona or Milan you won’t have to do away with the fireworks spectacle – quite the contrary! On the last day of the year many locals in the city let off a gorgeous show of lights. However the actual highlight takes place on the 1st January at 6pm. While the fireworks during the night of New Year’s Eve are often set off by locals or event organisers, you can then enjoy the official family-friendly firework display of the city in the evening of 1st January. That means that the New Year’s festivities actually last two days!
You’ll get the best views from the water. At New Year’s many organisers offer boat trips on the Vltava river. You’ll be sailing along the river with good food and music on hand and you’ll be able to enjoy the views of the beautiful panorama of the city.
If you’d rather stay on dry land, the 14 bridges of Prague all offer great views as well. Charles Bridge is especially good for this. The city’s oldest and most famous bridge is worth visiting anyway – but when the smoke from the fireworks clears away and the statues on either side of the bridge reappear in front of the backdrop of the city, you’ll be glad you chose to see the fireworks here. As you can imagine things get pretty full here, but if you find a restaurant or a hotel nearby you can come here just before midnight, watch the locals let off their fireworks and toast to the New Year. Afterwards you can simply make your way back into the warmth.
Things are also very merry over in the Old Town and at Wenceslas Square. Lots of locals meet there to toast to the New Year and celebrate together. The bars and restaurants around the square are naturally a lot more expensive than in the ones in the side streets, but you really will be in the middle of the action here.
If you want a great view without having to put up with the crowds, you should make your way up to Prague Castle or climb Letná Hill. Here you can make your way through the bottle of champagne you brought with you and start making plans for the coming year.
Unforgettable New Year’s parties
Like other cities it’s helpful to see what parties there are in Prague before you go. Lots of restaurants, bars, and also boat companies and hotels start offering special New Year’s offers from October onwards, which means you can start looking for the best parties in good time.
Across the Vltava by boat
I’ve already mentioned the great views you can get from the river before. If you fancy a five-hour boat trip with a delicious buffet and live music, you’re in luck – there’s plenty of them here!
Prague Boats for example offers a New Year’s boat trip with a DJ and dinner on the 31st December and also offers a cruise on the 1st January. If you do it you’ll be able to enjoy the fireworks on the first day of the New Year together with everyone and spend the previous night dancing away in one of the clubs. You can go up onto the upper deck and enjoy the views of the city’s lights.
Dinner, club or pub crawl? Your choice!
What could be better at New Year’s than a dinner with a view? Once the clock strikes 12 you can enjoy a glass of champagne on the balcony or roof terrace. Maybe you could even have a little snowball fight with the guests on the party boats anchored on the riverbank. It’s advised to book a table in advance if you want to go to a restaurant in particular – the restaurants with good reviews on TripAdvisor are often booked up very quickly. If you want to be a little more spontaneous, you’ll definitely be able to find a spot somewhere as the choice is big and diverse!
I can really recommend two restaurants in particular – directly on the banks of the Vltava is the Hergetova Cihelna. This modern restaurant offers a perfect view of many of the city’s sights. The range of food on offer is excellent and the view is one of a kind. After a perfect celebration you can use one of the free limousines to go back to your hotel in true style.
There’s also the chic Sa Sa Zu. Stylish, hyper-modern Asian cuisine awaits you here. It’s a feast for the eyes too – every dish is stunning to look at. After a delicious, early dinner you can then make your way to the SASAZU Club, where they host a New Year’s Eve masquerade party. All of the guests wear mysterious masks and there are dancers and acrobats performing everywhere. Top-level DJs really heat up the dance floor. It’s a unique party with a very special atmosphere indeed!
If you like things a little more rustic, then the New Year’s Eve Pub Crawl might be just the thing you’ve been looking for. It starts in the early evening – together with the other guests you’ll be making your way through the city’s pubs. There are shots, beer and champagne to be had at every stop. The tour is led by passionate guides who’ll tell you the best stories from the Prague nightlife. You’ll soon see why Prague has the reputation of being the Beer Capital of the World!
Firework displays on New Year’s Day
As I’ve mentioned before there’s a large family-friendly firework display which takes place at 6pm on the 1st January. All of the locals get together again along the banks of the Vltava or on one of the bridges to watch the official event. There’s also a diverse range of boat trips available too, where you’ll be fully catered for as you enjoy the views.
Before it all kicks off, you can discover the city during the day and admire some of the sights. Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral are always worth visiting. From here you’ll have a mind-blowing view across Prague, and you can then go off to admire the castle buildings as well as the National Gallery, the cathedral and the Golden Lane. If you’re looking for a comfortable trip through the city, you should definitely go for a little trip on the no. 22 tram. This will bring you to many of the city’s sights in the city centre, with a 90 minute ticket costing €1.15.
After a sightseeing tour I recommend making a detour to the restaurant Lehká Hlava in the peaceful side street Boršov 280/2. Here you’ll find vegetarian dishes that are so good, you’ll forget meat ever existed! Even the die-hard meat-lovers among you will get your fill here. Once you’ve gained some energy you can then find a cosy spot to watch the fireworks. Prague has so much to offer you at New Year’s that you’ll be able to fly back home full of new ideas and great memories!
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