River views, Art Nouveau architecture, flowering public parks, candlelit cellar bars, and gilded grand cafes: no wonder Prague is a magnet for loved-up couples. If you’re looking to take that special someone on a romantic Prague retreat, there’s no shortage of amorous activities to be had in the Czech capital. From twilight strolls across the Charles Bridge and opera evenings at the Estates Theatre, to dinner at the Dancing House and dessert at Au Gourmand, this city has ambiance to spare.
What’s more romantic than a nice dinner out? Why, a nice dinner out in a building that’s named after – and even physically resembles – a dancing couple. The Dancing House is a famous Prague landmark, designed by Frank Gehry and Vlado Milunić in the mid-90s. Inside, the Ginger & Fred Restaurant (named in honour of that famous frolicking pair, Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire) invites diners to gaze over the Vltava River as they sup on fine French fare.
Forget diamonds – head to Prague and you’ll discover that garnets are a girl’s best friend. Bohemian garnets are reputed to be some of the world’s finest, and a number of shops cater to visiting gem seekers. Granát Turnov has several boutiques in the city that stock authentic, high-quality stones.
Follow up your trip to the jewellers with a stop by the St Nicholas Church – it’s only fitting, considering how this historic landmark so resembles a jewellery box from the inside. Against the backdrop of its soaring vaults and colourful frescoes, the church hosts a series of candlelit concerts. There are few better places to take your partner to listen to Bach’s Cantatas than this High Baroque stunner.
A night out at the opera. In a private box. In a resplendent, historic theatre that once hosted Mozart himself. Yes, Prague’s Estates Theatre certainly has its pedigree – and, if your beloved is a culture-loving type, is certain to impress. Mozart’s Don Giovanni famously premiered here in 1787, and you can still see the opera playing on select dates throughout the season (sans cameos by Wolfie, mind).
Back in the day, U Malířů used to host Holy Roman Emperors (Rudolf II, specifically). While royalty may no longer flock here in their droves, the restaurant’s setting still suits those after a regal evening, with its white tablecloths, flickering candelabras and painted ceiling vaults that wouldn’t look out of place in a palace. Add in a bottle of really rather excellent Moravian wine to complete the experience.
Petřín Hill, which stands squarely in the centre of the city, is already a favourite of those after a romantic Prague ramble, given its parklands and pretty views. But to up the ardour, it’s hard to do better than a stroll around its historic rosarium. Here, thousands of colourful blossoms vie for attention with the scenic cityscape.
To sample wines from Bohemia’s oldest vineyard, you don’t have to leave the city. In fact, all you need to do is stroll over to the St. Wenceslas’s Vineyard, which is located on a southerly slope just outside of the Prague Castle. Rumour has it that these ancient vines were once tended to by the eponymous saint himself. Take a tour before tasting its Pinot Noir and Riesling varietals.
Unexpected it is not – the Charles Bridge is certainly one of the city’s best-known landmarks – but popularity aside, this famous bridge is an essential stop on any romantic Prague tour. Schedule your meander across its cobbled walkway for twilight, when the streetlights flicker on and the statues of the bridge – and turrets beyond – are silhouetted against the setting sun.
If your sweetheart has a sweet tooth, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more romantic Prague landmark than Au Gourmand. In a city filled with grand cafes, this one is a standout both for its treats and for its ambiance; the location on Dlouhá in particular has fin-de-siècle rooms that invite lounging. Opt for delicate mille-feuilles, or, if you’re after chocolate, a sinfully good slice of Black Forest cake.
While its vineyards are impressive and its beer lists omnipresent, Prague also has quite a way with its cocktails. For a bar that combines mixological know-how with sultry vibes, the moody Public Interest is a worthy address. With a modern aesthetic but historically minded drinks, the haunt makes for a romantic hideaway – and its lavender gimlet is well worth lingering over.