BY TATIANA CIRISANO
Although it’s not a Czech thing, celebrating Valentine’s Day in Prague isn’t hard. The city is a living fairytale, and it only takes a glance at its stunning castles, charming cobbled streets, and baroque gardens to understand why. But if you’re head-over-heels and looking to amp up the romance even further this Valentine’s Day, we’re here to help. Whether your game is fancy wine bars, relaxing spa days or horse-drawn carriage rides, here’s how to kick your romantic side into high gear in Prague.
Have a cocktail
Alright, we’ll be the first to admit it—the best love stories often start with a little alcohol. But we’re not talking drunken hook-ups at the dive bar. Kick off the night with a handcrafted cocktail at Parlour, a classy, hidden, hushed mixology bar just a few steps from Wenceslas Square with a cozy interior, locals-only feel and no menu. There’s a reason these bartenders call themselves “cocktail artists.” Take a seat at one of the comfy armchairs, and you’ll be served a personalized drink based on your mood. Plus, Parlour is one of those rare finds that are quiet enough to chat, but loud enough to still hear the jazz tunes playing on the bar’s antique record player. Cheers.
Or have a glass of vino (or two)
While we’re on the subject of drinking, if wine is your thing, you’re in luck. Prague is home to a number of quality wine bars like Vinograf, a tried-and-true venue with three locations and one of the largest selections of Moravian and Bohemian wines in the city (we’re talking up to 350 options). For a more casual setting, head to Na brehu Rhony, a cafe-like spot that focuses on Cotes du Rhone wines and is close to the Vysehrad fortress, another stop on our romance guide. Or, make a night out of your wine tasting with a visit to Bokovka, a hidden gem of a wine bar co-owned by a group of Czech filmmakers, which means it also offers—you guessed it—a private cinema.
Horse-drawn carriage ride through Old Town
Romance means there’s no limit on the cheesiness factor. Take advantage of this chance with a horse-drawn carriage ride through Old Town (come on, you know you’ve always wanted to). Just be prepared to pony up the cash, no pun intended. Head to the carriages lined up near St. Nicholas Church for a 20-minute ride that’ll set you back 800 to 1,000 CZK. Thankfully, each carriage seats four—make it a double date to half the cost.
Take a spa day
You deserve it. We recommend the Corinthia Hotel, where the upscale Apollo Day Spa on the top floor offers a panoramic view of Prague from an indoor pool. But there are also a number of salt caves in Prague that both locals and visitors swear by for relaxation. For a traditional experience, you’ll find one of the city’s many mineral salt caves inside a 19th-century former brewery complex in the trendy Holešovice district. If you’re looking for something more…unusual…head to the beer spa located in Vinohradsky Dum. Yes, this actually does exist—here, you’ll bathe in in a special beer rich with microelements and vitamin B in a treatment known as balneotherapy. Finally, Aqua Palace is the spot for a more family-friendly venture. Drop the kids off at the water park and head to the “sauna world” and spa for a couple’s treatment.
Lastly, nothing says Valentine’s Day more than chocolate (don’t worry – your New Year’s resolution is safe). Tawan Massage Centers has three upscale locations in Prague and offers the “Hot Chocolate” massage, a theraputic massage in a hot chocolate wrap.
Go to the opera or symphony
You can’t go wrong with a night at the National Theatre, one of the most stunning destinations in the city. The more than 130-year-old venue is home to opera, drama, ballet and laterna magika, a multimedia style that combines digital technologies with live performance. This February, the program includes classic operas Aida and Macbeth, drama Pride and Prejudice, and on the ballet side, “Solo for Three” a performance inspired by three singer-poets of the 1960s and ‘70s. Can’t get a ticket to the National Theatre? No worries. The theatre is also connected to the equally-romantic State Opera, Estates Theatre, Karlin Music Theatre, and New Stage, where laterna magika performances are held.
Trips to the zoo shouldn’t be reserved for just kids. Especially in Prague, where the city’s zoo has been listed among the best in the world by the likes of Forbes and TripAdvisor. The Prague Zoo hosts nearly 5,000 animals and 650 species, so you won’t run out of things to see. Not only is the zoo a fun destination to marvel at penguins, tigers, giraffes, and other animals, but its location a few kilometers outside the city makes it a charming countryside getaway. Plus, we bet you didn’t know the zoo was originally intended to mark the marriage of the Crown Prince of Austria and the Princess of Belgium back in 1881. How romantic is that?
Take an afternoon (shopping) trip to Paris (Street)
If the romantic, tree-lined paths of Paris Street don’t lure you in, the amazing shopping will. On this quiet Jewish Quarter street, you’ll find the likes of Prada, Cartier, and Dior. The high-end atmosphere makes Paris Street also a perfect setting for people-watching from one of its many restaurants and cafes. It’s hard not to feel glamorous and exclusive here, whether you make a purchase or just window-shop.
Dine on a night cruise
Upgrade your dinner date with a cruise along the Vltava. With River Boats Prague, guests will enjoy a four-course meal and a free glass of prosecco alongside live music, not to mention breathtaking views of the Charles Bridge, Rudolfinum, National Theatre, Vysehrad, and the Dancing House. The all-inclusive cruise will set groups of two back 2390CZK for a two-and-a-half hour ride, but let’s be honest—an effortless, pre-planned night like this is worth it.
Upgrade your room
You’re already on vacation—why not go all out? A quick hotel room upgrade is possibly the easiest way to make Valentine’s Day feel special. If you’re spending your stay in a hostel or AirBnb, why not upgrade? There’s several Valentine’s Day options, including the Dancing House hotel, a swanky building overlooking the Prague Castle that was inspired by iconic dance duo Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. (You can’t get more romantic than that.) Our tip—get a drink at the Glass Bar on the top floor, where you can gaze at epic views of the Prague skyline from wall-to-wall windows, or brave the cold on the bar’s terrace.
Have dinner with a view
Don’t let Prague’s breathtaking views go to waste. Splurge on one of Prague’s many rooftop dining options, like the Dancing House’s stylish Ginger and Fred, where you can enjoy adventurous dishes on the seventh floor of the building with views of the Prague Castle, Vltava River and Charles Bridge. Though it isn’t technically too far above ground, Manes is another restaurant with gorgeous views of Petrin Hill and Old Town. Or if you’re feeling like something more traditional, Café Slavia has a special Valentines menu. With it’s traditional old world charm complete with a pianist, it’s a safe bet to swoon your date.
Take a walk
Going back to basics doesn’t have to be boring. Going for a walk in Prague is a romantic venture in itself, whether you’re hitting the historic Vysehrad fortress, panoramic Letna park, or the charming Naplavka river bank, where you can marvel at the white swans that dot the Vltava. For an extra dose of romance (or two), take a trip to Petrin Hill, where a miniature Eiffel Tower is surrounded by cherry tree gardens and a statue of romantic poet Karel Hynek Mácha. Let’s just say there’s a reason couples line up to kiss in this park on May 1, Prague’s unofficial Love Day.
Get inspired by art
Prague may be home to a wealth of interesting museums and exhibits, but we wouldn’t exactly call the Museum of Communism or the National Museum prime date spots. Instead, our pick is Galerie La Femme, an intimate space on Bilkova street that showcases contemporary Czech art. The gallery recently opened their New Year’s exhibition, which runs through the end of February. For a larger selection in a romantic setting, head to Museum Kampa, a modern gallery on the charming Kampa Island with various hidden nooks, winding staircases, and rooftop terraces.
Don’t let the fact you’re not at home stop you from sending a bouquet of roses (or whatever you desire). Our favorite florist is a small boutique shop called Lifestyle Boutique & Atelier. Designs are thoughtfully created by their staff and best of all, they speak our language (English, not love). Call Hany at :+420 607 908 369 for English orders. Tell ’em we sent you.
Seal your love with a lock on the Charles Bridge…but not forever
Fastening “love locks” along bridge railings has become a traditional in cities from Rome to Paris, and Prague’s Charles Bridge is no exception. Just be warned—your grand gesture may be a wasted effort, as more than 30 kg of locks are removed every week by a group aiming to protect and restore the bridge. Hey, it’s the thought that counts. But if you are looking to make a more lasting mark, take some paint to the John Lennon Wall, where visitors and citizens alike have been leaving messages since before the Velvet Revolution. While your work will likely be painted over, it’s a less wasteful way to profess your love.
For those adrenaline seeking couples, Active Czech has an ice climbing adventure for you. A frozen waterfall outside of Prague in the mountain town of Liberec provides the backdrop for your adventure. A qualified instructor takes you through the process of becoming an ice climber in this three hour climbing course. You can also climb at night – which is a bit colder, but worth the view on a clear night. Equipment is provided. If that doesn’t get your adrenaline pumping, you should also check out indoor skydiving. You heard us right. A wind machine keeps you afloat while you and your partner simulate free fall. Check out activeczech.com to sign up.