I've spoken to a few of my coworkers about backpacking in Europe and many of them tell me that Prague is their favorite city, hands down. This has be extremely curious about the city. I'm planning to go to Prague just after Christmas but before New Years but I dont know how much time I should allow myself in Prague. Will I even get the whole Prague experience? Do things close down in wintertime? Is it even recommended to go to Prague in December? I am also a native Californian and I'm a wuss when it comes to cold weather.
I'm still trying to decide where I will spend New Years - either Berlin, Prague, or Paris.
Well, of the three cities you mention, I don't think you will find it significantly colder in one than in any other.
But as far as Prague is concerned, there are a lot of things it has in its favor. It is extremely beautiful. The architecture and the sights are amazing. I have lived here for almost two years now, and I'm still not tired of them. Another thing is that it is significantly cheaper than the other places you mention, which I think helps people relax and not feel stressed out about money.
I spent New Years in Prague last year, and it was incredible. The streets were packed and it seemed like everyone had fireworks. There was no big organized show, but just tons of people lighting them off everywhere. Lots of them were quite big, too. Frankly, it was pretty scary since things were going off all around you, but it was also a lot of fun. I haven't spent New Years in the other places you mention, so I can't bee too much help there.
As for seeing Prague, you can see a lot and get a good feel for the city in three days. Of course, you can always stay longer, but I guess this depends on the other places you would like to visit. I don't think you can go wrong, though. Berlin, Prague and Paris are some of my favorite places in the world. During Christmas time, many European cities have beautiful Christmas markets in the main squares selling all kinds of knick-knacks and serving up some great food. This is a very fun cultural thing to do that you can't do at any other time. So while there may be some things that are closed, I'm sure you will find other seasonal things that will make your trip unique.
Have fun, and if you have any other questions, ask away!
I think I'll only have time for two days in Prague. Do you think that I'll still be able to get a decent experience? I don't speak any language but English, Tagalog, and Spanish so I think I'd be pretty useless getting around. Are people helpful or even friendly to Americans there? And also, could u recommend an itnerary for 2 days in Prague that would include most of the important sights to see in the city?
I live in San Diego and its raining outside and I'm cold and it sucks. ;D
Here are some major sights that can be fit in to a 2 day trip. People are not overly friendly here, but they are by no means hostile. You will find that they are very accustomed to Americans, as so many live here. They may have negative views of the government, but this in no way applies to tourists.
Old Town (Stare Mesto) Old Town Square The Powder Tower and Obecni Dum (Municipal House) Christmas Market in Old Town Square
Mala Strana Kampa Park "The Royal Road" Church of Our Lady Victorious (and the Infant Jesus of Prague) Petrin Hill basically anywhere in this part of town is beautiful
Hradcany Prague Castle and Castle Gardens The Loreta Church Strahov Monastery at the top of Petrin Hill Prague's version of the Eifel Tower, also at the top of Petrin Hill
New Town (Nove Mesto) Wenceslas Square National Museum (gorgeous building, but the exhibits aren't great)
I'd offer to meet up and show you around, but I will be away over Christmas.