When to Visit Prague and the Czech Republic – Seasonal Guide
Wondering when to visit Prague and the rest of the Czech Republic? Read on!
If you’re having trouble deciding when to visit Prague, fear not. The easy answer is “whenever you can”! Whether it’s the dead of winter or the dog days of summer, there is always something interesting to do and see in the Czech Republic and the “City of 100 Spires”.
Depending on the time of year, visitors can look forward to experiencing a wide range of festivals, events, traditions, and celebrations. That’s why it’s important to consider your personal interests, as well as the pros (and cons) of each season when planning your trip.
To help you choose the best time to visit Prague and the Czech Republic, we’ve created a helpful guide to the seasons, things to do in Prague, and what to expect from our dear friend, mother nature.
We have lived in Prague, and the Czech Republic, for over two years as expats, and have experienced every season here multiple times. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect on your visit to Prague, based on the seasons.
Before we begin –
- Looking for great hotel or hostel in Prague then have a look at where to stay in Prague!
- Leave and take one of these amazing day trips from Prague!
- Have a look at our guide to getting off the beaten path in Prague!
- Quench your thirst with this guide on 10 places to drink delicious beer in Prague!
- Eat amazing food at these great restaurants in Prague!
- Experience the city with one of these great tours in Prague!
When to Visit Prague and the Czech Republic
Prague in the Spring
If you’re looking to beat the heat (and the crowds), spring may be the best time to visit Prague. Low season in the city typically lasts from January to March. Generally by mid to late-spring, the first waves of tourists begin flooding back into the city center, however, it is nothing compared to the madness of summer.
“March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb”. As the old saying goes, after a long winter, spring usually shows her pretty face in the Czech Republic during the second half of March. And by showing her pretty face, we mean the temperature finally raises above zero and snow in the mountains starts to melt – and maybe a flower or two bloom.
Too warm for mulled wine, and too cold for beer gardens, March, and often the better half of April, are a bit unpredictable weather wise. Early spring can either be full of sunshine and lazy afternoons in the park, or rainy weeks with the occasional pull-out-the-winter-coat, snow-on-the-ground kind of day.
Luckily, by May, things warm up to comfortable 60-77°F (15-25°C) and most of the country is in full bloom, making late spring a lovely time to visit. That said, prepare for the occasional chilly morning.
Things To See And Do in Prague in Spring in the Czech Republic
Easter Markets in Prague
If you’re considering when to visit Prague and the Czech Republic and in spring, think about scheduling it around the Easter (Velikonoce) festivities. More of a toast to spring than anything, Czech towns, and villages throughout the country celebrate with beautifully decorated Easter markets and some rather unique traditions. Let’s just say, one tradition involves gently spanking girls with a stick made from pussy-willow twigs and ribbon.
As far as Easter markets go, the largest is set up in Prague’s Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí) and Wenceslas Square (Václavské náměstí). In the several weeks leading up to the holiday, visitors can enjoy daily entertainment and an array of vendors serving up old Czech classics and selling hand-painted eggs, among of other seasonal crafts and souvenirs.
Witches Night in the Czech Republic
Speaking of unique traditions, every year on April 30th, locals gather around a bonfire at dusk to burn an effigy of a witch. The celebration, known as Čarodejnice, is said to represent the end of winter and to ward off any evil spirits.
Despite how it sounds, Witches Night is a family affair akin to Halloween. Children dress up as witches and warlocks, play games and dance around the fire while adults enjoy drinking beer, roasting sausages and catching up with friends.
Although events are not geared toward tourists, visitors are welcome to join in the free festivities which are held at parks throughout the city. The largest celebration is in Ladronka Park (Prague 6).
Petřín Hill in Prague
If you look at Prague’s cityscape, you may notice a “Mini Eiffel Tower” perched high above the Vltava River. This is the Petřín Lookout Tower and it is the highest point in Prague.
On May 1st, Czech couples celebrate their version of Valentine’s Day and are obligated by tradition to kiss for good luck under the blossoming cherry trees on Petřín Hill (or anywhere in the country). If romance isn’t your thing, visitors can climb Petřín Tower and experience a birds-eye-view of Prague from one of its two observation platforms.
Petřín Hill is serviced by its own funicular, which is part of the city’s public transport system. If you don’t feel like waiting in line, you can enjoy a short hike to the top.
When to Visit Prague – Summer
As you may have guessed, summer is hands down the busiest time to visit Prague. From June to August, the city’s historical city center is one of the most popular destinations in Europe.
If your traveling to Prague and the Czech Republic in summer, make sure you plan several months in advance, as accommodation books up quickly and prices soar. It is also worth noting that the city center, though beautiful, is teeming with tourist traps and overpriced menus. If you’re looking for inexpensive places to eat during summer, we recommend getting off the beaten path in Prague and exploring the surrounding neighborhoods.
The Czech Republic is known for having relatively mild summers. From June to mid-September, you can expect temperature anywhere between 70-80°F (20-27°C), with the occasional heat wave in July or August. Also, keep an umbrella handy for the occasional thunderstorm or afternoon shower.
Check out our complete guide to visiting Prague Castle for everything you need to know about exploring this amazing work of wonder!
Things To See And Do In Summer in the Czech Republic
Beer Gardens and Festivals
If you’re visiting the Czech Republic in summer, or any season for that matter, you are probably aware of the country’s hottest commodity – beer. Some of the best places to enjoy Czech beer and beat the heat include Prague’s two largest beer gardens, Letná Beer Garden and Riegrovy Sady. Letná is easily the most popular place to drink beer in the summer months and is situated high above the banks of the Vltava River. Visitors can kick back with a refreshing Czech beer underneath a shady canopy of trees and enjoy panoramic views of the city.
Opposite the Vltava, in Prague’s popular Vinohrady district, is Riegrovy Sady Beer Garden. Riegrovy is a favorite hangout for locals and expats and provides sweet relief from the busy city center.
Late spring through summer is the best time to visit Prague for beer and food festivals. The largest annual beer festival in the country is the Czech Beer Festival (Český pivní festival). It is held for 17 days every May in Prague and features over 120 different beers from the Czech Republic and around the world. Other popular beer festivals include Pivo na Náplavce and the Festival of Microbreweries at Prague Castle, which are held in June and attract large crowds from all over Europe.
Naplavka (Vltava Riverside)
Hanging out at Naplavka is one of the most popular things to do in Prague during summertime. This long stretch of pavement along the Vltava River is frequently occupied by bikers, runners, hipsters and young lovers getting cozy by the water.
All summer long it is home to a slew of outdoor concerts, food and beer festivals, and one of the city’s largest farmers’ markets. Visitors can also enjoy a drink or bite to eat on one of the many converted boat bars and eateries docked along the riverside.
Colours of Ostrava Music Festival
Colours of Ostrava, often called “Colours”, is the Czech Republic’s largest international music festival and one of the biggest musical events in Central Europe. Since its conception in 2002, Colours has been annually held in the Moravian city of Ostrava during mid-July.
The four-day festival features several open-air stages and a unique lineup of multi-genre performers. Concert goers typically campout near the festival grounds or stay in the city center. Tickets and accommodation sell out fast, so be sure to book in advance!
When to Visit Prague and the Czech Republic – Fall/Autumn
Deciding when to visit Prague can be tricky, but we happen to think that fall may be the best season. By early-September, the crowds begin to thin and the temperature start to drop as the final days of summer fade away. Maybe it’s the leaves turning color and chill in the air, but there’s something that makes fall in Prague feel extra magical.
Much like spring, fall weather in the Czech Republic can be unpredictable. Generally, after August, things begin to steadily cool down. Although, from mid-September, and sometimes stretching into early-October, you may find yourself enjoying a babí léto or Indian Summer.
Come mid-October, fall is usually in full swing with temperatures averaging between 48-57°F (10-14°C). October is also the best month to enjoy some seriously stunning foliage around Prague, other towns like Cesky Krumlov, and in the Czech countryside.
By mid-November, winter begins to creep in and according to traditional Czech lore, it is bad luck if the mountains haven’t gotten their first snowfall by November 11th, St. Martin’s Day.
Things To See And Do In Fall in Prague and the Czech Republic
Burčák And Wine Festivals
Wine lovers may find September to be the best time to visit Prague. One of the first signs that summer is coming to an end is the arrival of Burčák. Otherwise known as the young wine of the harvest season, Burčák is freshly pressed, partly fermented grape juice that is traditionally served throughout autumn. Typically it is low in alcohol, about 4 percent to 6 percent, but festival vendors and local wine shops often sell it in large, one-liter bottles. That said, after opening your bottle, its best to drink within 1-2 days.
Throughout September, the Czech Republic is full of lively wine festivals celebrating the year’s harvest. In Prague, popular free festivals include Vinohradské Vinobraní at náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad and Vinobraní na Grébovce, in the park Havlickovy Sady.
In South Moravia, the Czech Republic’s largest wine region, numerous festivals are held during early autumn, including the historical Palava Wine Harvest, which takes place in the UNESCO protected town of Mikulov.
SIGNAL Festival in Prague
Every October, Prague lights up for a four-day festival of light art and otherworldly installations throughout the city. SIGNAL festival is free to the public (with the exception of some exhibits) and showcases the work of lighting designers from the Czech Republic and abroad all across the city.
Installations range from interactive, hands-on pieces in streets and public parks and squares, to hypnotizing music and light shows displayed across the facades of famous historical landmarks.
Favorite SIGNAL festival installments include Charles Bridge, Old Town Square, the Rudolfinum, and the Church of St. Ludmila at Náměstí Míru (Peace Square). Free city maps of the festival are available online and on the SIGNAL festival app.
Fall Foliage in the Czech Republic
The Czech Republic has no shortage of charming, historical towns and pristine nature. Now combine those two things together and throw in some fall foliage and you’ve got yourself a real stunner. For those looking to experience the true beauty of autumn, consider a day trip to the historical, UNESCO-protected town of Cesky Krumlov.
Located in Southern Bohemia, it is one of the best day trips from Prague. Although Cesky Krumlov is beautiful year round, October has the fairytale-town and surrounding nature bursting with color. Fall also marks the end of high season, which typically lasts from May to September, so visitors can enjoy the medieval streets and picturesque views without the crowds.
St. Martin’s Day
On November 11th, the Czech Republic celebrates St. Martin’s Day, also known as Martinmas. According to Czech folklore, St. Martin arrives in early November on a white horse, signifying the first snowfall of the year. Celebrations include the sampling of young wines and a traditional feast of roasted goose, which is served in most Czech restaurants with a side of red cabbage and dumplings.
In Prague, visitors can sample St. Martin’s wine (svatomartinské) at various festivities throughout the city. The most traditional spot to enjoy the new vintage and celebrate with locals is the wine shop in St. Clare’s Vineyard in Havlickovy Sady. That said, the day’s festivities are not limited to Prague. Concerts, culinary events, and wine-tasting take place across the country including a large wine festival in Cesky Krumlov and parade in Brno- both popular and easy days trips from Prague. Traditionally, most celebrations kick off at 11:00 am.
When to Visit Prague – Winter
Second to summer, December and is one of the busiest, and best times to visit Prague. It is arguably one of the most beautiful times to visit Prague, since a snowfall in this city is an absolutely breath taking event. Don’t believe our word, check out our mini photo essay on a snowfall in Prague to see for yourself.
Each year, visitors from around the world flock to the Czech capital for the city’s famous Christmas markets and holiday celebrations. After the New Year, the city remains relatively empty until the first signs of spring.
Like in A Song of Ice and Fire (the books HBO’s Game of Thrones is based on, which are waaaaay better than the show btw), Czech winters are notoriously long, dark and cold. Beginning in mid-November and lasting through mid-March, temperatures and snowfall throughout the Czech Republic vary depending on elevation. In low-land regions, such as Prague, snowfall is generally light and lows hover around 20°F to 10°F (-5°C to -10°C). In higher elevations, temperatures drop even lower and moderate to heavy snowfall is common.
The average time of sunset in the winter in Prague and the Czech Republic is 4:30ish, so keep in mind that day light hours are also limited in the winter.
In general, December is the mildest month of winter, while January and February are the coldest. If you’re contemplating when to visit Prague and the Czech Republic, make sure you don’t mind the cold if visiting during the winter months.
Things To Do And See In Winter in the Czech Republic
Christmas Markets in Prague and the Czech Republic
If you don’t mind the cold, December may be the most beautiful, and best time of year to visit Prague. The city spares no expense when it comes to showing off their Christmas spirit, during the city into a literal winter wonderland.
Throughout the city, visitors can enjoy festive Christmas Markets, which run from December to early January, and serve up seasonal favorites such as Prague Ham and mulled wine. Of course, the prize jewel is a massive Christmas tree erected in Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí).
Every December 1st, thousands gather in the historic square to watch the lighting of the tree and celebrate the beginning of the holiday season. Other popular Christmas markets include Wenceslas Square (Václavské náměstí), Namesti Miru and the Havel Market (Havelské tržiště).
During this time you may also see giant tanks of live fish set-up throughout the city center. These vendors sell Kapr, or Carp, which is the traditional Czech dish on Christmas.
For much more information have a look at our mega guide to Prague’s Christmas markets!
New Years Eve in Prague
New Year’s Eve (Silvestr) is widely celebrated throughout the Czech Republic with fireworks, music, and plenty of spirits to go around. The most spectacular firework show is held each year in Prague on December 31st at midnight.
The fireworks are typically launched on the Vltava River between Střelecký Island and Charles Bridge. Although they can be seen and heard all over the city, the best vantage points include the bridges, Naplavka, Petřín Hill, and Prague Castle.
The Czech Mountains
The Czech Republic is home to two primary, mid-sized mountain ranges- the Krkonoše Mountains to the North, and the Šumava Mountains to the South. During the winter months, many locals flee the frigid streets of Prague and head to the mountains for their favorite winter sports including downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, and snowboarding.
While the neighboring Alps attract a larger international crowd, the Czech mountains, and small mountain villages, offer a special, less commercial atmosphere and relaxing getaway from city life.
So there you have it guys. We hope to have inspired some of you to visit Prague and the Czech Republic during any season. As always happy travels, and we will see you on the road!
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