Prague’s Old Town Square is at the heart of the city—and, assuredly, will be at the heart of your next trip, the same way it was for mine.
Visiting Prague was, so far, the most important trip of my life. For starters, it was my first-ever, solo trip—something that you can never imagine until you do it, and never replicate once it’s over.
Throughout my entire experience traveling solo in “Praha,” exploring incredible sites like the St. Vitus Cathedral, walking the halls of the National Library of the Czech Republic, and leaving no street corner unturned, there was one moment that captured my heart above all—one place, to rule the rest.
Prague’s Old Town Square was, to me, the most awe-inspiring destination from my winter journey through Czechia. Of course, the Charles Bridge deserves an honorable mention, and my time in Karlovy Vary is another story altogether... But these are tales for another day. My time spent in the town square was so memorable, not because it’s the oldest or the grandest place to visit, but because it’s filled with a vibrancy that you cannot get anywhere else.
The Old Town Square overflows with life. It is the focal point of the city today and has been for hundreds of years! History was made in this very spot; and when you’re standing in the center of it all, it’s hard not to notice its presence. When I consider just how young my own country is, places like these, with a much longer history, never fail to amaze me.
I remember the first day I visited; I sat on the bench in front of the Jan Hus Monument on a cold, gray day and enjoyed a deeply sensational cup of mulled wine (a Czech specialty in chillier months). I remember looking around at all the people enjoying the moment. Some were taking photos, others had kids running around, and some were just stopping to admire. Some people drank mulled wine and sat with friends, others dined at cafes outlining the square, and many just existed—beautifully and seamlessly. It may seem obvious—of course, how a place can feel “alive” when there are people all around you. But this was a different kind of energy. In the way I saw it, or more accurately, felt it, it was an energy that has endured the test of time.
In Old Town Square, the Tyn Church stands tall as the backdrop of this stunning destination. In my experience, this was what gave the Square its rare essence. This is what made me feel so small, in the best kind of way. Tyn Church served, to me, as a large, forceful-yet-beautiful reminder that hundreds have stood in this spot before me. People who had lives full of love, hardship and wonder. How, when my turn in this special city is done, many more people will stand right here. Maybe someday, you.
Yes, the wonderment, charm and historical magnificence is what originally captured my heart, but it was the mulled wine that kept me coming back for more. Just kidding… (kind of). This is something you’re more likely to experience in the winter months, as it’s served hot all around the square, all day long. So, if you get the chance to try a cup of Svarak on a cold day in Prague, I highly recommend you do so.
To me, every season is the best season in Prague. Summer is, of course, warm, beautiful and bursting with life. Fall offers a colorful and medieval autumn mood. And spring brings the beginning of blooming almond trees and cherry blossoms. But winter, though cold, brings Christmas Markets and warm goulash on chilly days… and of course, the mulled wine.
Cafes and restaurants surround the square, allowing you to dine on delicious Czech cuisine while breathing in your surroundings. I tried out Restaurant Mincovna. It has a cool, bohemian vibe and serves up some of the best traditional cuisines in town. I had the pretzel and baked sausages… Lahodné!
For my fellow solo female travelers—I would like to share one parting thought.
I know that taking risks can be exciting, and maybe bungee jumping or sky diving is on your bucket list for somewhere later down the line. But while you’re here, I urge you to take some time to sit in the Old Town Square and reflect for a moment. Reflect on how far you’ve traveled, where you are in the world, and how incredible it is to be you, at this very moment in time.
A journal prompt to ponder or play with in Prague’s Old Town Square:
Write a letter to yourself from the point of view of the city. If those gothic spires on the Tyn Church could talk, what would they share with you?
This city is one that has lived through thousands of years and multiple World Wars. It now offers you the unique chance to sit where artists, mothers, diplomats, change makers, and so many human beings throughout history, have sat before. Take it all in.
And if you’re lucky enough to visit during the Christmas markets, I suggest ‘taking in’ a Trdelnik—a local dessert staple that is doughy and sugary and sometimes even chocolatey… need I say more?
The above post is part of an ongoing segment of the Sherpani Travel Blog. We want to highlight personal travel stories from the women in our community. Would you like to share your travel story with Sherpani? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. We can’t wait to read about your adventure!