Prague, Czech Republic – Spending a winter vacation in Prague always makes for a lot of vivid impressions and is undeniably a magical time to enjoy the Czech Republic. But if you work or study in Prague the whole year long, as I do, you can quickly get tired of the cold, of the ever-larger crowds of tourists or increasing prices and inevitably start yearning for a change of air and atmosphere.
If your feet are getting itchy during these cold winter months ahead of us, here are my top 4 ideas of places to travel to and to visit alone, with your family, your children or your dearest one.
In the summertime, the Greek island attracts tens of thousands of visitors: the streets are packed and crowded all day long, beaches have no space for one more sunbed and prices for hotel rooms are at their highest. But believe me, it’s quite another thing in winter! At the end of December, the climate becomes mild, and the temperature fluctuates within an ideal bracket of 15-22°C. Thira seems to be hibernating. The calm reigns in the streets, where you can, if you’re lucky, catch a picturesque glimpse of locals riding a donkeys’ cart. Breath-taking views, empty beaches all for yourself and unique architecture to enjoy for your eyes only: what more can one ask?
How to get there:
As always, to get to the island, you have two options: by air or by sea. The first choice is much faster but the second one, more romantic. There are currently no direct flights from Prague to Santorini, so the romantic, cheaper and slightly longer trip is our option! With Ryanair, you can buy a ticket from Prague to Athens (2,000-4,000 Kč), and from Athens, buy a ferry ticket directly to Santorini (€20-25).
If you buy tickets ahead, a round-way trip for two will not cost you more than 10,000 Kč. Airbnb apartments near the sea for 4-5 days are available for roughly 4,000 Kč. The prices of the island’s best restaurants are halved during winter. Therefore, even by sparring no expenses, your winter trip to Santorini shouldn’t cost you more than €650.
Czechs began to call Lviv ‘little Prague’. From the architectural standpoint, Lviv is indeed a bit reminiscent of Prague, but remains an absolutely unique city, in western Ukraine, home to an incredible amount of cultural and historical monuments that are definitively worth your time. During the winter, and despite the cold, you’ll be amazed by the warmth and hospitality of local residents, who are extremely friendly to anyone who ventures in their nice city. But you shouldn’t head to Lviv, Ukraine’s cultural center, if you’re tired of Prague’s crowds, as the city, which ranks among the most popular ones currently for foreign tourists, may often be bustling with activity and rarely sleeps. But Lviv is definitely the spot if you want to have fun, party with friendly Ukrainians while enjoying a beautiful city (quick disclaimer: I was born there).
How to go there:
Right now, Ukrainian low-cost airline SkyUp is the only one offering direct flights from Prague to Lviv, but you can also find other airlines operating connections with stops in Bratislava, Krakow or Kyiv.
The direct round ticket will cost you around €80. Airbnb apartments are pretty affordable, with prices varying between €30 to €250 (depending on location, rooms and facilities). A cosy two-bedroom apartment in the city center can run for €50 a day. According to average prices, your 4-day trip for two could cost you somewhere around €450.
Now this is your quintessential winter holiday. One of the few ways to meet your childhood dream is to visit the Santa Claus Village. Additionally, you’ll be able to ride reindeer sledding, admire the Northern Lights and see the Arctic with your own eyes – in other words, a perfect winter vacation. Tourists come to Lapland to observe the ancient nature of forests and mountains, rivers and lakes, to breathe exceptionally fresh air and experience polar night every New Year’s Eve. Kids have a fantastic opportunity to see the ‘real’ Santa and keep that happy childhood memory for life.
The village of Santa Claus comprises the post office of Santa Claus, Santa Park, cottages for tourists, many shops and restaurants, as well as a small deer farm. Winter in Finland is pretty rough and can reach -25-29°С at night, so don’t forget to pack accordingly.
How to go there:
The easiest way to get to Lapland is to buy a plane ticket to Rovaniemi, the regional capital. On average, a flight from Prague will take 7 to 11 hours, with a stopover in Stockholm or Helsinki.
This trip won’t come cheap. The minimum price for a round ticket for two people will be in the vicinity of 25,000 Kč, while the apartment can cost from €100 to 250 a day. But you can also choose to live in a small and cosy local hut, in which case you should book well in advance, this winter for the next one. Now, all hunts are already booked for this year. To sum up, the entire trip for 4 days might require no less than €1,500.
The Swiss Alps are famous for many notable reasons, but have you ever considered them the perfect place for an information detox getaway? High in the mountains are old villages, where community and peaceful life unfolds at its own pace. To get there, you will need to ride several mountain lifts and walk a lot. Braunwald is an authentic Swiss secret, located in Glarus county in the eastern part of Switzerland, home to around 400 souls. Despite its small size, the village has everything you might need during your stay: bakery, cafe, grocery store, ATM and several restaurants. It’s a quiet, incredibly beautiful off-the-beaten track place. This village is ideal for a family vacation, as well as a solo and contemplative trip. There is everything to forget about everyday duties and dissolve your worries in its natural beauty.
How to get there:
The easiest way to get there is from Zurich (only 2 hours), and then you will need to take one of the most spectacular funiculars at an angle of almost 45° drive to your destination.
You can buy a plane ticket with transfers in Vienna or Berlin. The flight should cost around €100 for one way. Flixbus will cost about €30 for a roughly 10-hour road-trip. The bus and funicular needed to access the village will cost around €20 and the apartment somewhere in the vicinity of €300 for a 4-day stay. So, the end price for 4 days all-included can be rounded up to roughly €600.
Written by Alena Fedorova
Alena is a freelance journalist from Ukraine, currently based in Prague where she lives and studies. She joined the team of Kafkadesk contributors in May 2019. Feel free check out her previous articles here!