Prague in winter is beautiful, guys. I mean, hella stupendously gorgeous. Snow coats medieval buildings, turning them into winter wonderlands. Fresh breezes blow over the Charles Bridge, dislodging frost from the stern faces of statues. Christmas markets bustle with shoppers, as others queue up for a taste of spit-roast pork, breath frosting as they laugh. Crackling fires in pubs welcome visitors as they kick the snow from their boots, settling down with a pint of Czech beer and a hearty meal. It’s pretty damn perfect.
However, it can also be hella stupendously cold in the winter months, so you need a guide to help you prepare for your trip – not freezing your butt off is a lot easier when you’re prepared, and you know what to pack for! So as well as letting you know what temperatures you’re in for, I’ll be giving you some handy tips on what to pack, and what to do. Because if you’re smart about it, you’ll barely feel the chilly air, and you’ll be able to enjoy Prague’s quietest season to the fullest.
Let’s wrap up, and find out how to get the most out of Prague in winter!
How cold does it get in Prague in winter?
I have to confess to playing with you a little bit so far. Yes, Prague is cold in the winter – but it’s all pretty relative to what you’re used to. It’s not like you’re going to be trudging past penguins on the streets (apart from the yellow penguins – check out my guide to unusual things to do in Prague to see what I mean!); it’s not Antarctic-style temperatures. If you’re from Europe, or the other colder places in the world, it’s going to feel pretty standard. It’s understandably colder when it’s snowing, and there’s biting wind especially when you’re in open spaces or near the River Vltava, but it’ll probably be about what you’re used to.
If you’re from somewhere nice and warm – yeah, you’re going to feel it.
Because I’m a kind and benevolent soul, I’ve made this handy graph which will show you the winter temperatures at a glance. Introducing That Anxious Traveller’s patented Freeze-Yo-Ass-Off-o-Meter!!
*dons professor coat and glasses* As we can see from the Freeze-Yo-Ass-Off-o-Meter, it gets pretty dang cold. November is relatively better at 34°F (1°C), before slumping to a rather chilly 25°F (-3°C) in January and February. But honestly, as long as you wear the right things and don’t spend too long on high ground or by the river, you won’t be super-chilled by the weather. In fact, after my trip to Prague in January, I felt the cold much more when I was back home in the UK.
To sum up, there’s no reason why you should be put off visiting Prague in winter. The weather is cold, but it really won’t be anything you can’t handle. I absolutely hate being cold – I shiver uncontrollably until it hurts my back – but because I packed clothes to deal with the chill, I was absolutely fine.
Does it snow in Prague in winter?
It certainly does, and it makes everything very pretty indeed!
Certain sites in Prague really shine in the snow, and the Czech capital is especially photogenic with orange roofs coated in a white blanket of frost. However, you’re not guaranteed snowfall – in fact, the winter months are fairly dry in Prague, with some of the year’s lowest rates of precipitation. It’s estimated that one of every two days in Prague will have some precipitation, but that could be snow, or the less-welcome sight of rain.
Either way, be sure to prepare for the possibility of either rain or snow. An umbrella is a must, and a pair of ear-warmers will be most welcome against the cutting breeze – see the packing list section below for more tips! But above all, remember that certain parts of Prague will require an extra bit of care in icy or snowy conditions. There’s quite a few staircases in Prague, especially around Prague Castle and the Charles Bridge: although I found that the city is excellent for providing salt and grit in slippy areas, make sure to hold on to the handrails when you’re descending an outdoor staircase. Also, Charles Bridge and other areas with cobblestones can be slippy if the snow settles between the cobbles!
Is December/January a good time to visit Prague?
I’m a firm believer that there’s no such thing as a bad time to visit Prague (seriously people, just go there; it’s awesome). But I absolutely LOVED my trip to Prague in January, even more than the trip I’d taken there in October, and I really didn’t think that was going to be possible.
Apart from having two snow days, which made the city ridiculously gorgeous, the big advantage is that it’s a quieter time of year. The post New Year-period is probably the best time to grab yourself a bargain trip – I managed to get a return flight and three nights in a hotel for a total cost of £120 ($155). That’s insanely cheap! In addition to sweet flight/hotel deals, a quieter time of year means that there’s less people around: less queues for sightseeing, and less people getting into your shot if you fancy doing a spot of photography. So if that’s making you salivate at the thought of it, have a look for trip in January or February.
December is busier and more expensive, as you might expect; everyone wants a slice of those cozy Christmas markets! Prague can be the perfect festive trip, with the markets, nativity scenes, hearty food, and snowy vistas – bound to get you in the mood for the Christmas period. You just won’t find many bargains at this time of year. However, if the markets are your particular thing, bear in mind that the Christmas markets in Prague continue until the 5th of January. Indeed, the one at the side of the Old Town Square continues until roughly the 13th January, so if you still want to do the Christmas markets on more of a budget, consider delaying your trip until the month after.
Prague in winter events
As you’d expect, Prague has plenty of events to delight both locals and visitors during the winter months – got to keep spirits up in the cold, right? Let’s have a look at some of the biggies.
Mikuláš (St Nicholas Day) (5th December)
Falling somewhere between Christmas and Halloween theme-wise, St. Nicholas Day is when you’ll see saints, devils, and angels walking along the streets, possibly coming right at ya. No, you’ve not stumbled upon a Hellmouth, nor have you overindulged in the local beer (well, probably not). This is when families dress up as Mikuláš, Anděl and Čert (St. Nicholas, an angel, and the devil) and roam the streets giving treats to good children, and lumps of coal to bad children. I have to get to Prague for this, a) because it sounds awesome, and b) I want my lump of coal.
Christmas (24th December – 5th January)
Christmas is kind of a big deal in winter; who’da thunk. Actually, the Czech Republic is largely atheist, but that doesn’t stop anyone from enjoying the festivities. You can expect the Christmas markets (see full details below in the “Things To Do” section, a large Christmas tree in the Old Town Square, carol concerts, and everything else that you’d expect from a European Christmas. It’s basically like living in a Christmas card, or one of those terrible movies you see on television. Except that it’s actually really good.
Twelfth Night (6th January)
The Czechs celebrate the arrival of Christmas with St. Nicholas Day, so it makes logical sense that they wave goodbye to it with equal enthusiasm. Pop into the city center, and you’ll see more carol concerts, and the dishing out of gifts to the poor.
Although this film festival usually takes place in February, be sure to check the website for exact dates – it occasionally goes over into March. But whatever the month, you can enjoy a selection of almost 200 films – and hey, it gets you out of the cold, too! There’s also an accompanying music festival, but make sure you buy your tickets early; the film festival is popular, and you can expect tickets to sell pretty quickly. You don’t want to be turned away at the door, because that would just be sad, and y’know, not very festival-y.
What should I pack for Prague in winter?
This is the million dollar (or currency of your choice!) question, because it can make or break your trip. Prague gets very cold, and if you’re not used to it, or not properly equipped, you’ll be spending your time outside shivering hopelessly. As lovely as hotels and restaurants are, you don’t want to spend your entire trip in them because it’s too cold to do anything outside.
Get your packing list right, however, and you’ll barely feel a thing! I spent my January trip feeling as snug as a bug, because I did my homework and prepared in advance (there’s advantages to having anxiety, and being an obsessive planner is definitely one of them! Workin’ it). So let’s look at the must-haves for your suitcase or backpack!
Walking boots – Guys, don’t visit Prague in winter without a comfy pair of walking boots. Just don’t do it to yourself. Although the city is pretty awesome at putting grit or salt down, the budget doesn’t extend to salting every last cobblestone that you might place your feet on. Things get slippy, and with a possibly uneven walking surface underneath, hidden from view by snow, you’re going to need some decent shoes to ensure that you don’t go flying in front of everyone. Check the underneath of your boots before you purchase to make sure they’ve got adequate grip; the ones I’ve linked to here are awesome!
Fleece-lined leggings – How did I get through my life before I discovered fleece-lined leggings. I don’t even know, people. I absolutely love these; the fleece on the inside is so comfy, and they keep your legs absolutely snuggly-warm. They fit perfectly underneath a loose-fitting pair of jeans, or they’re downright adorable when worn with a skirt or sweater dress, if you feel like showing off your pins. I wouldn’t wear them with a short top, as they go a little thermal underwear-looking up at the top, but hide that up and you’re golden.
Thermal top – What’s the ideal accompaniment to those fleece-lined leggings? A thermal top, ensuring that you’re toasty from head to toe! Or ankles, at least; we’re getting to socks later. This one from Duofold does an excellent job, keeping out the chill to your upper body without being so thick that you start to feel like the Michelin Man. It’s also available in a variety of colors, ensuring that you can match it up to your regular top and avoid having some sort of lovely orange/purple color clash. No-one wants to see that.
Hat – Even if you have the most awesome hair in the world, you’re going to want to wear a hat. You lose so much heat from the top of your head; not wearing one really would have a huge impact on you keeping warm. On the bright side, when the hat is as cute (and as heat-saving) as this, you can expect to have at least a million Instagram comments of “OMG where did you get that hat? I love it!”. Seriously – look at those reviews. Remember me when you’re Instagram-famous!
Gloves – The eternal question, my friends: how do you keep your hands warm, when you keep needing to take your gloves off to take photos on your phone, or eat delicious street food? Well, dispel these mystical wonderings by buying some touchscreen gloves, and getting the best of both worlds! These look stylish, are super warm, and allow you to use your touchscreen phone with impunity. They won’t help you with the delicious street food, but heck, you can’t have it all.
Scarf – I admit, my personal scarf of choice is a soccer scarf (supporting my team all over Europe!), because those things are designed to be worn in freezing cold English stadiums in the middle of winter, and are basically the second-warmest thing on earth. The warmest being, like, active volcanoes. But if you’re a trendier individual than I, go for the next best thing with this thick, long knitted scarf. Not only can you get it in every color known to man, but it’s so luxuriantly long that you can use it to prevent every scrap of chilly air!
Thermal socks – I can personally vouch for the total awesomeness of these! I took a pair of Heat Holders socks to Prague in winter, and oh my – I can say with complete honesty that my feet have never been so warm. My toes didn’t feel a single touch of cold, and they’re so gloriously thick that they filled out my walking boots perfectly. I felt like I was walking on marshmallows. They have a better tog rating than my duvet at home. Just buy them, because you’ll never get chilly feet ever again.
Ear muffs – As I’ve already mentioned, there’s one heck of a chilly breeze frosting its way through Prague, and if you’re absolutely intent on going hat-free, then you might find that your ears start to sting in the cold. This isn’t a particularly lovely sensation, so avoid it by getting a pair of ear muffs! I ended up buying a pair in Prague myself, purely because I thought they were awesome, and they look exactly the same as these. They keep your ears well protected, and they don’t mess up your hair. Perfect!
Umbrella – Yup, even though Prague doesn’t have a super-high precipitation record for the winter months, it’s still an extremely sensible idea to take an umbrella with you. It does often rain instead of snowing, and your lovely cozy hat isn’t going to be especially warm if it gets absolutely soaked. So, avoid soggy hat sadness by bringing an umbrella along with you. Not only has this particular one been tested against every weather condition that can be thrown at it, but it has a lovely map pattern too! Look like the pro traveler that you are!
Raincoat – Now, this item might seem a little pricey, especially as I usually try to keep it all pretty budget-friendly for you, but bear with me. I own a Superdry coat, and it is genuinely the best coat I’ve ever had. It’s so freaking warm – I’ve taken to wearing just a t-shirt underneath it, even in the depths of a UK winter, because it’s so warm that I didn’t need a sweater. It fits like a glove, and its extremely hardy, so you really do get what you pay for. I also love the style of this particular model: it looks great in either black or white (and I believe there’s a red version which looks pretty fabulous too), and the faux-fur trim goes perfectly with bobble hats. Think of this one as an investment, because you won’t need to buy another winter coat for years.
Cardigan – The Czechs are a stylish people, folks. They have that effortless continental cool, and if you look sloppy when you stop in a pub or restaurant, then you will stick out like a sore thumb. Make sure you avoid this social death by getting a knitted cardigan; not only will it keep you warm, but they’re cozily stylish, and available in so many colors that you’ll really have zero excuse for not having a coordinated outfit. Is there any item of clothing more perfectly wintry than a woolen cardigan? I think not.
Plug adapter – We Europeans love to confuse the rest of the world with our plug sockets. Think you can use the same plugs as at home? Nope! Think you can re-use that one you bought when you visited the UK that time? Guess again! Make life easy for yourself by grabbing one of these international adapter plugs, and saying “eff you” to all plug sockets abroad. This model covers you for pretty much anywhere in the world you care to travel to, making it another long-term purchase. For only $12.99, it’s a steal.
Backup battery – Fun fact! When the weather is particularly cold, your phone battery runs out faster. This is especially tragic, as without your phone, how are you supposed to post photos of yourself to Facebook and make all of your friends and family insanely jealous? Don’t let this happen to you! Let the envy flow, man. Get one of these small yet powerful backup batteries – I’ve had this exact one for a couple of years now (since Pokémon GO was a thing, I admit), and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever bought. Whether you’re traveling, or just using your phone a whole bunch to look at cat videos when you’re at work, you need one of these.
Prague literature – I love to visit somewhere abroad, and take some books which were either written by people native to that place, or which are set in the area. With Prague, you can do both! Either click the link to browse guide books, or take a look at my personal recommendations. Culture lovers will love Franz Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” or Jaroslav Hasek’s satirical “The Good Soldier Svejk”, or you can check out the city’s history in Peter Demetz’s “Prague in Black and Gold”. I own and love all of these!
Congratulations, you’re now equipped to take on Prague in winter like a pro! Go you!
Now, let’s get to seeing what there is to do out there in the city – and trust me, you definitely won’t lack options.
What is there to do in Prague in winter?
1. Go for a walk in the snow
As we’ve already established, Prague looks particularly fine in the snow. There’s not a street, alley, or square that isn’t given that extra-cosy touch by a covering of glittering frost. So make the most of the curiously tourist-quiet streets (I think everyone must duck into a pub), and go for a walk. Seeing the Charles Bridge blanketed in white, or witnessing the snow flurrying high above the Old Town Square, will genuinely be one of the most memorable moments from your trip! It’s worth visiting Prague in winter just for the snowy views. There’s even plenty of family friendly walks in Prague if you happen to be visiting with the youngins.
Just make sure you’ve got good footwear with plenty of grip – it can get a bit slippy in parts, and you really don’t want to be bruising your backside on the cobbles. Just a world of no.
2. Take refuge in Prague’s cosiest cafes
Prague is rapidly becoming one of the world’s best cities for cafe culture, outshining some of the traditional coffee powerhouses. After all, when prices are this reasonable, the buildings this historic, and the baristas this creative, what else would you expect other than a world-class experience? Plus, Prague’s huge selection of cafes are delightfully cosy at any time of year, but they really shine in the winter!
So join me in taking at look at Prague.eu’s comprehensive guide to the cafes of Prague – download their brochure, and swoon at the amount of choice you’ve got! Historical buildings, serving a classy cuppa? Check! Beautiful modern places, with the newest designs and inventive flavours? Check! Hidden gems, away from the touristy places in the city centre? Check!
You really can make an afternoon of it in Prague’s cafes – I’d be more than happy to just hop from one to the other, soaking in the vibes and keeping cosy-warm. Plus, the cakes you can buy in Prague’s coffeeshops are amazing – my particular favourite is the coconut cheesecake at the Green Stove Cafe!
3. Go shopping in the Christmas markets
Prague’s Christmas markets have reached legendary status – indeed, you can expect to pay more for your hotel at this time of year, thanks to the thought of doing a spot of festive shopping here becoming so popular. But when prices are this good, and the markets filled with festive cheer, can you blame anyone for wanting to come? I certainly can’t!
The main markets are on the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square, and happily for all you wannabe Santas, they’re only five minutes walk apart. This means that you won’t have far to carry your vast sacks of presents, as you’re bound to find pretty much everything you need in both of these! You’ll find everything from Christmas decorations, to warm fleecy clothing (I picked up a pair of woollen slippers, and they’re like walking on marshmallows – so much love!), to Czech glassware. All of it is festive, reasonably priced, and so nice that you’ll resent having to give it away to someone. Bah humbug.
Oh, and did I mention the mulled wine, and the spit-roasted pork? Because you need those in your life.
4. Visit Prague’s churches and museums
If you can’t stand the cold, get out of the, er, cold kitchen.
Yup, if you really can’t take any more of the chilly breezes and snowfalls, take advantage of the fact that Prague has countless excellent museums and churches for you to explore whilst you warm up. You’re bound to find something of interest, no matter what your tastes are – history fans can check out the Museum of Communism (which will also give you a voucher for a free coffee!), or the unforgettable experience of the KGB Museum. Tech fans will love the Apple Museum, and lovers of the quirky will flock to the Sex Machines Museum. No, I’m not making that last one up, I swear.
The churches of Our Lady Victorious, St. Nicholas and Our Lady Before Tyn, or the various buildings of the Jewish Quarter, also provide a welcoming place to escape from the chill!
5. Take a day trip to Kutna Hora
Kutna Hora is about an hour’s drive from Prague (also reachable by public transportation, though it’s patchy on Sundays), and is the perfect place to explore in the winter.
Aside from a charmingly pretty town centre, and the jaw-dropping architecture of the Cathedral of St. Barbara, the town’s main attraction is that of the Ossuary. Located underneath a small, yet important church, the bones came from victims of plagues and wars, and were doing a whole lot of nothing until 1870 when a local worthy decided that it was about time that these long-dead unfortunates starting bringing some glory to God. So he hired an artist, and the ossuary was transformed into the bizarre spectacle it is today, with decorations made out of every bone in the human body. Real, human bones.
Winter is perfect for Kutna Hora, because it’s a lot quieter, and you can pretend that the chill going down your spine comes from the weather. Pick up a tour in Prague to really make the most of your visit!
6. Eat ALL the Czech food
Czech food is ideal for keeping you warm in the winter. It really couldn’t be any more perfect, with a selection of hearty, carb-tastic treats which will keep you fuelled when you’re out in the cold. And it’s all so good: I’d happily visit Prague in winter just for the food, quite honestly.
Try a roast pork (or if you want to really fill yourself up for the day, go for a pork knuckle!), and get a side dish of dumplings to dip in the meaty sauce. Or grab a goulash for the ultimate winter warmer! Options such as svickova or fried cheese are also perfect for keeping your belly full and warm.
Want to plan which dishes to try whilst you’re there? Have a look at my Prague food guide!
7. Walk across Charles Bridge
The bridge connecting the Old Town to Prague Castle is notoriously busy at all times of year. It gets quite treacherously slippy if there’s snow on the ground (balanced up by being heartbreakingly pretty), and the cold winds off the Vltava River slice across your face. So what makes it an awesome part of visiting Prague in winter?
Simply put, you can go an grab some beautiful early morning shots of the bridge, quiet and majestic, without having to get up quite so early. In the summer, you’ll need to get to the bridge at around 6am to avoid the crowds. In winter, you can get there any time up until 9am, and still enjoy having it mostly to yourself.
Plus, Charles Bridge in the snow really is outstandingly scenic!
8. Visit Prague Castle
Prague’s Castle is unmissable – not only in the sense that you really should visit it, but also because it’s gloriously visible perched on a hillside overlooking the city. If you’re headed across the Charles Bridge, your eyes will be drawn to the castle, and you’ll stop for at least fifty-two photos of it. It’s true; I’ve counted it.
Not only does the castle itself look wonderful in the winter (the square outside the main gates is the ultimate in stately European spots, especially with a bit of snow for the stoic gate guards to “enjoy”), and attractions such as St. Vitus’ Cathedral and the Golden Lane sparkle with atmosphere, but the castle grounds are surely close to perfection. Walk around the perimeter of the castle, and enjoy some jaw-dropping views of Prague in winter spreading out in front of you. Orange-tiled roofs, the river being spanned by charming bridges, some dramatic winter clouds… views don’t come any better!
9. Visit the medieval town of Cesky Krumlov
Few places in the Czech Republic – nay, the world – are quite as scenic as Cesky Krumlov, and a trip here means that you’ll be sorted for winter scenes to pop on your Christmas cards for the next ten years.
Let’s look at the evidence. The town itself is ridiculously pretty, with houses dating back as far as the 14th century, perfect for walking around in your best bundled-up winter clothes. It hosts a Christmas market, where you can buy gifts and stop for a mulled wine, taking in the lights and the chatter. And on top of all this, quite literally, is the fairytale sight of Cesky Krumlov Castle – one of the biggest in the country, and most certainly one of the prettiest. It’s straight out of a movie.
Can you honestly think of anything more festive? You can reach Cesky Krumlov by train, but it’ll take you about three hours. Again, picking up a guided tour in Prague is a really good option – it’s faster, and will save you some valuable sightseeing time!
10. Sample Czech beers
I’m not usually one to encourage people to go to Prague purely for the beers, basically because there’s so much to do in the city, that going there just for a booze cruise means that you’ll be missing out on so many things which make the city great. It’s kind of like going to Rome, and spending your entire trip in a pizza restaurant rather than going out and seeing all the glories. Yeah, that pizza is awesome, but you’ll be on the plane home thinking “I feel like I missed out on something back there…”
But! If you’re in Prague in winter, it’s the perfect opportunity to sample the best liquid refreshment that the city has to offer! We all know that Czech beer is the best in the world, so devote some time to settling yourself in a warm, cosy pub, and trying out the local brew. Pilsner Urquell is the best-known and available pretty much everywhere, but be sure to try out beers that are brewed on-site. Almost all of the pubs I visited in Prague had their own beer, and they were often more flavoursome and fresher-tasting than the main brands.
Get out of the cold, and give them a go!
11. Go shopping for souvenirs
Prague in winter is well known for its Christmas markets, and the array of goodies you can pick up within them. But an ideal activity for the winter months is to hit the shops, get out of the cold, and bring back some unique goodies!
Aside from the tourist shops, where you can pick up some charmingly Czech souvenirs, there’s plenty to be found around the city. The area around Wenceslas Square has an array of clothes shops, ensuring you can look oh-so-fashionable back at home without looking like you bought your clothes at the same place as everyone else. But if you really want a unique souvenir to take home, consider picking up something from Prague’s design scene. The Czech capital is really gaining a reputation for design, and you can get some outstanding pieces in both fashion and homewares – they’re guaranteed to be a talking point!
12. Take a walk down to Vysehrad Castle
Vysehrad Castle might not be quite as visible as Prague Castle – it’s located south of the main tourist centre, around half an hour’s walk away – but it’s just as historic. Indeed, legend has it that this is the very spot where Prague was founded, so where better to go for a walk and soak in some atmosphere?
And Vysehrad Castle has atmosphere in spades. Walking along to the scenic balcony will give you some amazing views of Prague in winter, stretching from Prague Castle over on the left of your view, right over to the further reaches of the city. You’ll be able to see all of the amazing architecture from this perfect perch, and if you’re like me, you’ll be able to build a snowman on the balcony (hey, snowmen appreciate nice views, too). The other side of the castle complex has equally lovely views, overlooking the Vltava River, and the countryside beyond.
If you’re starting to get chilled, have a look inside the beautifully-decorated Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul, or hop into one of the cafes. Vysehrad Castle is a hidden gem in the heart of the city: friendly, well-priced, and absolutely beautiful!
13. Show off your moves by going ice skating
What could be more wintery than ice skating? Imagine yourself gliding across the ice, wrapped in your finest faux-fur, cheeks blushing with the cold, looking like the finest ice prince or princess… because it’s nice to imagine that than the inevitable embarrassing falls on to your rump, right?
But who knows: perhaps you are indeed the next Torvill and Dean (or one of them, anyway), and the ice is your home. So where can you show off your silky skills, and go ice skating in Prague in winter?
The good news is that you won’t even have to go out of the city centre! Get yourself to the Fruit Market (Ovocný trh), right next to the magnificence of the Estates Theatre, and you can skate your heart out for free. Open-air skating in the heart of the city: it really doesn’t get anymore fairytale than that!
14. Instagram the Lennon Wall
The Lennon Wall is probably the most Instagrammed spot in Prague. It’s a street art free-for-all – when students protested the Communist regime by painting pictures of John Lennon on a large blank wall, they probably had no idea that their chosen spot would take on a life of its own. Murals of Lennon and his lyrics still remain the focus of the wall, but there’s no denying that it’s more popular these days as a background for a selfie, rather than a site of historical significance. That’s a shame, so if you do visit, take some time to remember why the wall’s art exists at all.
Given its modern popularity, it’ll come as no surprise when I tell you that it gets rather busy here throughout the year. You can struggle to find a patch of wall which isn’t already being taken up by rising social media stars. So take advantage of the relative quiet of Prague in winter, and come here early for a gloriously influencer-free experience! It’s significantly quieter here in the winter than it is at other times of the year, and you can selfie to your heart’s content.
15. See in the New Year in Prague
Forget Times Square: what could be more perfect for seeing in the New Year than Prague? A city as friendly as it is beautiful, with much more reasonably-priced drinks, and wonderful public squares in which to celebrate with the locals – that’s just perfect!!
Wenceslas Square sees the largest amount of revellers on New Year’s Eve, and is also the area of the city with the biggest concentration of nightlife spots – as you’d expect, the clubs and bars fill up pretty darn quickly on New Year’s Eve, so you’ll probably want to buy tickets or make reservations in advance. But the one thing you may expect from the evening doesn’t actually happen until the day afterwards – the official city fireworks display! This takes place at 6pm on January 1st, and the Charles Bridge is a popular spot for watching them; again, get here in plenty of time.
Two things to remember, though. Firstly, book your accommodation well in advance – Prague is getting extremely popular as a New Year’s destination, and your chances of getting a central hotel will significantly improve if you get your hotel early. Secondly, remember that taxis in Prague can be extremely expensive, and they’re likely to be pre-booked on New Year’s Eve. Trams will likely be your only option for getting back to your hotel, so make sure that you know your route in advance.
16. Go up the Petrin Tower
As you’ll have realised, one of the best things to do in Prague in winter is to simply admire the views. It’s such a scenic city: it’d be a travesty not to go somewhere you can get a view of the tidy skyline, with its tiled roofs and historic architecture. And to take a selfie in front of it, because that’s the way of the modern world.
There’s no better spot for those cityscape/selfie dreams than the Petrin Tower. It’s a rough copy of the Eiffel Tower in Paris – if you’re in the Charles Bridge area, look up to the top of the hills, and you’ll see it there – and like its French counterpart, you’re positively encouraged to pay a small fee and ascend to the top. You can go either halfway up, or all the way, but you’re guaranteed a good view with either!
You don’t even need to walk all the way up to the tower – you can get a ticket for the funicular, and enjoy yet more views whilst you’re being whisked up the hill. Maximum views for minimum effort!
17. Buy a fish for Christmas dinner
Okay… you might not want to do this one yourself. But you can certainly watch the local Prague population do it.
Whilst a lot of visitors to Prague will expect turkey or goose for their Christmas dinner, that’s not the case for the city’s residents. To them, Christmas dinner is a nice, fresh carp. Emphasis on the word fresh, because who wants an old, stinky carp? No-one, that’s who. But how do you keep your fishy dish fresh?
Well, you buy your fresh carp, which has been happily swimming around in a tub, from a vendor in Republic Square. Then you take it back home, and keep it in your bathtub for a few days, before dispatching the unfortunate piscine on Christmas Eve. Not a great experience for the carp, but a traditional feature of Christmas for millions of Czechs.
So, you might want to check out the carp vendors in Republic Square, and watch the good people of Prague selecting their fish. But don’t do it yourself, because you’re just going to end up with a carp silently judging you from your hotel bathtub.
18. Visit the peacocks in Vojanovy Sady
I love walking around the parks of Prague in winter – they’re less touristed than in the warmer months, and you mostly see locals walking their (very cute) dogs. But my absolute favourite is Vojanovy Sady, because you can visit the park’s peacocks.
These are completely free-roaming and friendly – they see so many people that they really don’t have any fear, and there’s a good couple of dozen peacocks living in the park. But I particularly like seeing them in the winter because they don’t get a lot of fuss – even though the park is right by the Charles Bridge, the peacocks are relatively undisturbed. I saw them in January, and they were peacefully napping under some trees and interacting with each other, rather than being interrupted by visitors. It’s really nice just to go and sit on a bench, and watch them go about their business.
Add to that, you can just enjoy the park, kept immaculate by gardeners even during the coldest months. It’s a great place to escape the crowds for a bit!
Where to stay in Prague
You’re all excited and rosy-cheeked from a day out in a beautiful Prague winter. Yay! But at the end of the day, you’ll be needing a nice, warm hotel to retire back to for the night; one where you can wrap up in some cosy blankets, and keep warm despite the night’s chill. So where should you go?
Fear not; I’ve got a selection of Prague hotels for all budgets!
This place is a steal, especially if you’re on a budget! It’s small and cosy, perfect for beating the winter weather, and located in a quiet neighbourhood outside of the city center. Don’t have visions of yourself trudging through the snow to get anywhere, though – it’s situated right by a metro stop, and it’s only two stops to the heart of the city. It’s clean, modern, helmed by friendly staff, and ridiculously cheap for what you get!
I’ve listed this as mid-range because there’s cheaper places, but make no mistake – it’s incredible value! Travel from the airport couldn’t be simpler (there’s a tram stop right outside), and the hotel is in a perfect position in one of the city’s oldest areas, a stone’s throw from the Lennon Wall and Our Lady Victorious, and ten minutes from Charles Bridge. Rooms are clean, spacious and comfortable, and there’s an excellent restaurant (Pivnice U Svejku) literally next door – they specialise in winter warmers, and you’ll be able to roll back afterwards!
Want the top-rated hotel in Prague? Fancy a hotel room which could not be cosier, with wooden chalet-style ceilings and walls, situated in spitting distance of Prague Castle and Charles Bridge? How about some absolute five-star luxury on top of that? Good news: the Golden Well is that hotel! You can’t fail to feel like royalty in a building which once belonged to an Emperor, and where the staff treat you like part of his family – they’ll even unpack and pack your luggage for you. The best part is that winter rates make this place much more affordable than you might think!
Should I visit Prague in winter?
YES! The weather may be cold, but please don’t let it put you off visiting Prague in winter. With the right clothing, you’ll barely feel the chill, and you can focus on enjoying the city at one of the most underrated times of year.
Visiting Prague in winter really does reward you – I much preferred it to my visit in October, and I have a sneaking suspicion that it might become an annual event. There are so many things to do, and scenes which will delight and inspire – from snow-laden houses, to open-air skating, to the excitement of New Year fireworks. Inside activities are just as fun, even if you decide just to hunker down in the warm, and enjoy the food and drink. There’s no aspect of visiting Prague in winter which disappoints.
So don’t be put off by the weather! You really will be missing out on something a bit magical.
I hope this guide has inspired you to visit Prague in winter -don’t be put off by the weather, because there’s so many things you can do in all weather! Let me know in the comments below if its given you the travel bug, or if you’ve been here in the winter months! Share the memories with me!
Also, I’d like to say a big thank you to Prague.eu, who are the official tourist website for Prague – they really couldn’t have been more helpful with their suggestions when I contacted them about this article, and they also very kindly gave me permission to use the stunning photography I’ve used to illustrate it. Check out the website, because it’s an absolute mine of useful information!
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Please be advised that there may be affiliate links in this article. These incur zero extra cost to you if you make a purchase, and give me a few funds towards the running of this site! They also go towards my ambition of owning a carp in a bathtub.