Prague: medieval streets and monasteries.

It’s hard to imagine choosing to visit a city in cold weather rather than resplendent sunshine, yet many of the Eastern-European cities shine in the winter snow. Such is the case with Prague, rightly considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world at any time of year.

The view of the snow-capped town from Hradcany, the hill above the city (pictured), is breathtaking, with the walls of Prague Castle and spires of St Vitus Cathedral glistening in the snow, and the white domes of churches dotted along the river Vltava. Known as ‘Venice with steps’ and ‘the City of a Hundred Spires’, it is home to grandiose architecture, having been capital of the Holy Roman Empire and the Habsburg empire, then of the Czechoslovak Republic and, now, the Czech Republic. It is also one of the few European capitals to have escaped the ravages of war, reports the Telegraph.

Walk around the city and visit the famous sights: the astronomical clock; St Nicholas Cathedral and St Vitus Cathedral; the treasury of the Loreto and the ornate baroque libraries with their collections of old globes at Strahov monastery. It’s a city with a strong musical tradition and churches all over the city host concerts and organ recitals. As Christmas approaches, you can find unusual gifts such as hand-painted Moravian wooden toys at Manufaktura, www.manufaktura.biz), or hand-etched glasses at Artel, (www.artelshop.com).

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