Prague is beautiful all year round, but during the winter it transforms into a special kind of fairy tale. Twinkling lights, snow blanketing the cobblestone streets and burnt orange rooftops, and seasonal specialties make winter in Prague feel cozy and warm despite the chilly weather.
Speaking of the weather, it can get unbearably cold and gray in Prague in winter, so make sure you’re bundled up for your visit! It can be hard to motivate yourself to get out there and take advantage of winter in Prague if it’s freezing outside. Lucky for you we’ve come up with a warm and fuzzy list of ways to make the most of your visit to Prague in winter.
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What to During Winter in Prague
Prague Christmas Markets and Traditions
If you’re visiting Prague in December, you’re in for a real treat – you’ll get to enjoy some of the best Christmas markets in Europe! The Prague Christmas Markets are basically the highlight of winter in Prague.
With markets spread all throughout the city, you’ll be able to browse through tons of stalls selling traditional handmade crafts, jewelry, food, and other gifts. Even if you don’t plan on doing your Christmas shopping here, take a look at what the local vendors and artisans have to offer and try some of the local delicacies – you won’t be disappointed!
You’ll find the biggest and most popular Christmas markets in the city center: at Old Town Square, which is also the home of the big Christmas tree, and at Wenceslas Square. There are also markets worth exploring at Náměstí Míru, Jiřího z Poděbrad, and Kampa Island.
The Christmas markets transform Prague in December into a festive and cheery city so it’s impossible not to get into the Christmas spirit. This year, Prague’s Christmas markets open on November 30th and close on January 6th.
And, if you’re lucky, you’ll get to experience some of the local Christmas traditions during your visit. If your visit to Prague in December lands on the 5th, make your way to Old Town Square to see St. Mikuláš (St. Nicholas in English!) and his devil and angel roam the streets to hand out candy to good kids and coal to bad ones.
Or, if you’re visiting Prague in January and your visit lands on the 5th, you’ll be able to watch the Procession of the Three Kings parade marking the end of the Christmas season.
If you want insight from a local, you can even take a guided tour of the most popular Prague Christmas Markets!
New Year’s Celebrations in Prague
If you’re visiting Prague in January (and the end of December) for New Year’s, you’re in for a crazy time! This obviously overlaps with the Christmas markets in December and January, so you’ll be getting the best of all the winter holidays all wrapped up in one trip.
New Year’s Eve in Prague is one big party, no matter what you decide to do. However, there is one big change you should know about before you plan your big day: Prague has decided to ditch the traditional fireworks show in favor of video mapping shows on some of the city’s historical landmarks. The location and time of the video mapping shows has not yet been announced.
The New Year’s Eve party in Old Town Square usually kicks off around 5:00 pm if you’re willing to face the crowds. You’ll enjoy all the festivities of the Christmas markets that will still be open along with live music and DJs.
If you’re looking to hit the clubs and pubs on New Year’s Eve, there are a ton of options for you if you’re willing to shell out a few Czech korunas. Roxy and EPIC, two of the most popular clubs in the center, are throwing big NYE parties, while there are also special New Year’s Eve pub crawls that you can book through several different companies.
If you’re looking for a more low-key evening, check out the New Year’s Eve Jazz Cruise or the Mozart Galas. The Mozart Galas include a six-course meal along with the pleasure of listening to some of Mozart’s most famous pieces in the Boccaccio Ballroom.
No matter what you decide to do on New Year’s, the city is bound to be lively and you’ll find a festive celebration wherever you end up – this is one of the best nights of winter in Prague!
How to Make the Most of the Gloomy Prague Winter Weather
If you’re visiting Prague in winter but not during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, never fear! You’ll still be able to enjoy everything the city has to offer during these chilly months, even if it’s cold and gray outside. Whether you’re visiting Prague in December or in February, you have the opportunity to make your trip as cozy as you want, and we’re here to help with these tips.
Seasonal Specialties – Prague in Winter
One of the best things about Prague in winter is the seasonal food and drink, of course!
If you’re spending time outside exploring the city, take a minute to warm up with a cup of mulled wine (svařák in Czech) or hot honey wine (medovina in Czech). Not only do these drinks taste good going down, but carrying a cup of these around with you will keep your hands warm! Plus, these delicious drinks are fairly cheap and you can find them almost anywhere around the center. Stop at one of the market stalls or pop into one of the ice cream shops and you’ll be able to grab a cup to go.
If you’re looking for a hot drink but you want something a little less alcoholic (well, you can add alcohol to it if you want…), grab a cup of hot chocolate! The Czechs do it right – at some places, you’ll be able to choose from dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or white chocolate and they’ll serve it to you with a spoon because it’s so thick. The hot chocolate is a must-try during winter in Prague!
Of course we couldn’t give you hot beverage suggestions without also giving you a list of warming winter foods to line your stomach! Prague does winter food very well as they serve a lot of hot, hearty, and flavorful dishes.
First up is the roasted goose with dumplings and red cabbage, or Pečená Husička in Czech. This meal is traditionally served on St. Martin’s Day, November 11, but can be enjoyed all winter long so you won’t miss out if you’re visiting Prague in December or January.
And what’s that delicious smell coming from the Christmas markets? If you’re visiting Prague in December or even in January, it’s probably Pražská šunka, or Prague ham, being roasted over an open flame. You won’t be able to pass up those stalls without your mouth watering, so you might as well dig in.
Lastly, if you’re in Prague in winter, you have to try the Czech gingerbread, or perník. Czech gingerbread is truly a local delicacy, as the art of it began in the smaller town of Pardubice in the 1500s. “Pardubice gingerbread” is so delicious and unique that the EU has actually made it a protected food! Try any variety you like: gingerbread cookies, the actual bread, or one of the gingerbread strudels filled with jam. We promise you won’t be disappointed.
Ice Skating in Prague
Now that your stomach is full and you’re feeling warm and cozy on the inside, it’s time to get moving! One of the best ways to enjoy the winter in Prague is to go ice-skating. The city of Prague opens several ice rinks scattered throughout the center and a few on the outskirts for visitors to enjoy:
Ovocný Trh in Old Town is the perfect rink for you if you’re out exploring the markets in the center. Located right next to the Nákupní shopping center, this rink will be open daily from 9:00 am until 9:00 pm and admission is free of charge if you bring your own skates. If you have to rent some, you’ll pay only 50 Czech korunas.
Na Františku, also in Prague 1, hosts another popular ice rink during the winter. This one is located right next to the Kotva shopping center in case you need to get some last-minute Christmas shopping done. This one is a little more expensive, charging 70 kc for admission.
There is also an ice rink located right underneath the Žižkov Tower where you can skate for two-hour sessions at 100 kc per session. The bar and cafe also located in the Tower Park provides a nice après-skate atmosphere.
There is another free skating rink at Letná Park each year, complete with food and beer stands and a nice view of the Prague Castle. As this one is a bit further from the center, it tends to be less crowded with tourists and is more of a family spot.
Sledding in Prague
If you want to take advantage of the cold and snowy weather during winter in Prague but you’re not so good on skates, maybe sledding is more your speed! There are a few places to go sledding around the city.
Bobsleigh Track Prague is located slightly outside the center in the Prosek neighborhood. The Bobsleigh Track features 1 km of tracks with dips, loops, and other obstacles and you can even ride the track at night. If you’re a speed demon, you can go up to 62 km per hour, or you can use the brake lever to slow things down a bit. Once you’re done sledding, you can enjoy a meal at the track’s restaurant, which also features a terrace overlooking the city.
Of course, if you’re looking for a more traditional sledding experience on a snowy day, you can bring your own sled to whichever hill in Prague you desire! Popular sledding hills include Vyšehrad, Letná Park, Havlíčkovy Sady, Riegrovy Sady, and if you’re a little more daring, the steeper and more intense Petřín Hill.
Skiing Around Prague
If you’re looking for something a little more active and challenging, a day trip to a ski mountain will be up your alley. The Czech mountains can offer skiing just as good as other places in Europe but for a much cheaper price, so take advantage of it if you’re in Prague in winter.
Just under a three-hour bus journey from Prague, Šumava is home to two ski resorts: Lipno and Špičák. Špičák offers cross-country trails as well as a moving ski carpet for beginners, whereas Lipno is a bit more diverse, offering a snow park with obstacles, a metered slalom course, a bobsledding track, and indoor squash and bowling for the non-skiers in your party.
A bit closer to Prague by a two-hour bus journey is Černá hora – Pec Ski Resort, the largest ski resort in the Czech Republic with 41 km of slopes and trails. There is also a toboggan run for those who would rather not ski. After a day out on the slopes, you can warm up in the thermal spas of Janské Lázně, as the ski resort is conveniently connected to this cozy spa town!
Also two hours from Prague is Špindlerův Mlýn Ski Resort, one of the most well-known and most visited ski resorts in the Czech Republic. With 25 km of slopes, three snow parks, and 85 km of cross-country trails, there’s something for everyone at this resort.
Indoor Activities in Prague During Winter
If you’re not really an outdoorsy person and you’d like to avoid the chill of winter in Prague as much as possible, we feel you! Luckily, there are also a lot of indoor activities for you to enjoy if you’re visiting Prague during the depths of winter.
Head to a Cozy Underground Pub in Prague
Pubs are one thing Prague does right all year round, but its cozy underground pubs are the perfect place to hide from the cold if you’re visiting Prague in December or January! With stone walls, tasty drinks and pub snacks, and good company, these pubs will be sure to keep you warm on the coldest of days.
U Sudu is one of our favorite underground pubs. Located just a short walk from Wenceslas Square at tram stop Vodičkova, U Sudu is a lively pub with a small upstairs area, but most visitors migrate downstairs into the caves. The cellar pub boasts three bars, two of them underground, along with ample underground seating and a few foosball tables and arcade games.
If you’re looking for an underground pub that serves full meals, Kozička is your spot. Conveniently located in Old Town, this pub serves burgers and pizza along with traditional Czech classics like goulash and fried cheese. Kozička will serve up almost any comfort food that strikes your fancy during your visit to Prague in winter. As it gets later in the evening, the maze of rooms at this underground pub fills up with a livelier crowd that stays well into the night – closing time on weekends is 5:30 am!
For beer connoisseurs, check out Pivovarský Klub. Located in Prague’s Karlín district a little ways out of the center, this warm cellar pub provides a cozy, welcoming atmosphere with its exposed brick and arched ceilings. Pivovarský Klub serves six beers on tap that are regularly rotated and there’s also a wide selection of international and Czech beer you can buy in a bottle.
There are many other underground pubs to explore scattered all across Prague in winter, so even if you don’t make it to one of our favorites, you’ll still find something to your liking! For more on drinking beer here is our guide to the best bars in Prague!
Clubs in Prague
Winter is club season in Prague, which means that if you are into EDM music such as Drum and Bass you are in luck! There are a ton of acts coming to Prague during the winter months, performing in venues such as Roxy, Cross Club, and Storm.
There are also a lot of winter music festivals to take into account during your visit, such as Let it Roll Winter edition, and Imagination Festival. So if you like to party, Prague in the winter should absolutely be on your list! For a full list of clubs to visit have a look at our article on the Prague’s nightlife!
Stay Indoors at a Prague Museum
Another way to escape the cold of Prague in January (or any other winter month, for that matter), is to take in a bit of culture indoors by visiting one of Prague’s many museums.
Of course, the National Museum at the top of Wenceslas Square is the first one that comes to mind for many visitors. The newly-reopened historical building houses several permanent and rotating exhibitions covering topics from Czech history and statehood to women’s emancipation and the science of genetics.
The Museum of Communism is also a good choice and is located a short walk from Old Town Square at Náměstí Republiky. Delve into the history of the communist system and how it affected Czech history and culture and what this country is today.
If you’re more into art than history, check out the National Gallery across the river in Prague 7 or the Mucha Museum in the center. The National Gallery houses the largest art collection in the Czech Republic and features both permanent and temporary exhibitions of Czech and international art. The Mucha Museum is dedicated to the Czech Art Nouveau artist Alphonse Mucha and features not only collections of his works but also documentaries of his life.
There are several other museums worth checking out in Prague in winter: the National Technical Museum, the Kafka Museum, the Museum of Music, the Jewish Museum, and the Museum of Senses just to name a few. No matter what you’re interested in, you can find a museum to explore during your visit to Prague.
Beat the Prague Winter at a Saunas and Spas
Lastly, if all you’re really looking to do during your visit to Prague in winter is relax and take it easy, pamper yourself at one of Prague’s many spas and saunas.
One of the Czech Republic’s most unique experiences is the beer spa, where you can sit in a tub of warm beer extracts while also drinking beer from the tap! The ingredients in the beer tub are good for your skin and you can enjoy the actual alcoholic variety while sitting in the healthy elements it’s made from. Trust us, it’s a great combo. There are many different places and companies that offer this experience, so you’ll be sure to find one that’s right for you.
Sauna Spot Dvorce is close to the city center and features everything you could possibly want for a day of relaxation: four Finnish saunas of varying heat and humidity, a private sauna, a whirlpool and plunge pools, a bar (yes, serving alcohol), and a massage room. Be sure to check out a sauna ceremony, a 10-15 minute long show, while you’re there. It’s uniquely Czech, if not a bit bizarre. Pamper yourself however you’d like at this sauna world during your visit to Prague in December or January.
Saunia Chodov is a little bit further from the center, but the range of services available here is worth the journey. Saunia Chodov features six different types of saunas: Finnish, herbal, salt, tropical, steam impact, and steam bath. Afterwards, cool off in the ice well, mist showers, or cooling pool. There is also a bar with a view, a relaxation zone, and sauna cosmetics available for purchase. They regularly host events, competitions, and giveaways so you can check their program for anything going on during your visit!
There you have it: some of the best ways to make the most of winter in Prague! The weather here can get pretty chilly but with these tips you’ll be able to take advantage of it with some outdoor activities or keep warm in the saunas and pubs. Winter in Prague is one of the most beautiful seasons so no matter what you do, you’re in for a magical time. Stay warm out there!
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