Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, is a knockout: its knee-weakening collection of Gothic spires, Renaissance architecture and intoxicating beer, which is arguably the world’s greatest. Whatever month you go, there are plenty of things to do, but here’s the best time to visit Prague.
Editor's note: During COVID-19 there are restrictions on travel and opening hours may vary. Check the latest guidance in Prague before planning a trip, and always follow local health advice.
High season: April to August
Best time for festivals and events
High season in Prague generally means April to June (plus the Christmas and New Year holidays), but visitor numbers still swell in July and August when the temperatures are at their warmest. But be warned: even in summer, the Prague weather can be fickle, with thunderstorms and cool spells commonplace.
From April, any of the sights that went dark during the winter months start to reopen and by the time the Prague Spring festival kicks off in May, everything is up and running and many of the best hotels are fully booked.
Spring in the Czech Republic is mid-March until mid-June and this is when Prague comes to life with some of its best events, including the Prague Food Festival and the much revered Czech Beer Festival.
Shoulder season: September and October
Best time to visit Prague
September and October are the best months to visit Prague — but pack a light trench jacket and small umbrella in preparation for the odd rain shower. This is when the crowds begin to thin out, the school trips suddenly end, and parts of the cities are slowly reclaimed by the locals.
As the days get shorter, the opening hours of museums are cut and the concerts are less frequent, but almost everything remains open. Many of the best restaurants – those where booking is usually essential – suddenly have some availability.
It’s also a great time to try a local delicacy, burčak. For about three weeks each year, from the end of September to mid-October, you will see shops, street stalls and wine bars like Cellarius selling this traditional ‘young wine’. Freshly extracted in the early stages of fermentation, it’s a sweet wine worth sampling if you’re in the city.
Low season: November to March
Best time for budget travelers
Aside from Christmas and New Year, when Prague has one last blow-out and accommodation usually fills up again, hotel rates can drop by 30% or 40% during low season. Use the money you save on a bed to buy a warm coat, hat and gloves to ward off winter’s sub-zero temperatures. You’ll also need footwear that can cope with snow and ice.
A few of the sights hibernate during this time: Troja Chateau closes between November and March and the Museum of Public Transport shuts its doors for December. The river cruises shut down for the winter. The rowing boats and pedalos available from Slav Island are packed away too. Even Stag Moat and Royal Garden at Prague Castle close to the public.
Days are short – the sun sets around 4.30pm in mid-January – but post–New Year accommodation prices are the cheapest you’ll find, ideal for that romantic getaway in a cozy hotel with an open fireplace.
Key events: Three Kings’ Day; Anniversary of Jan Palach’s Death
The frost can be cruel in February, with temperatures below -10°C, so wrap up well. But Prague looks mighty pretty in the snow.
Key events: Masopust
The first buds of spring begin to green Prague’s parks and gardens, and the Easter holidays bring Easter markets, hand-painted Easter eggs, and the first tourist influx of the year.
Key events: St Matthew Fair; Easter Monday; One World; Febiofest
The weather transforms from shivers to sunshine. By the end of the month, the sidewalks and squares are covered with outdoor cafe tables, and peak tourist season begins.
Key events: Burning of the Witches
May is Prague's busiest and most beautiful month, with trees and gardens in full blossom, and a string of major festivals. Book accommodation well in advance, and expect to pay top dollar.
Key events: Czech Beer Festival; Labour Day; Prague Spring; Prague Food Festival; Khamoro
Something of a shoulder season, June promises great weather for beer gardens and river cruises without the May festival crowds or the hordes of students who descend on the city in July and August.
Key events: Prague Fringe Festival; Dance Prague
Prague swelters in summer, so pack some lightweight clothes and opt for accommodation with air-conditioning.
Key events: Jan Hus Day
The hot and humid summer weather mellows out as September approaches, and the hordes of visiting backpackers, students and school groups thin out, making this a great month to visit.
Key events: Dvořák Prague International Music Festival
Autumn is one of the most pleasant times of the year in Prague – the tourist crowds start to diminish, it's still pleasantly warm, and the Strings of Autumn festival is less frenetic than the Prague Spring.
Key events: Prague Writers’ Festival; Strings of Autumn
It starts to get chillier in November just as the seasonal sights close until spring. There are fewer people around, but there can be some wonderful, bright days and relaxed, tourist-free streets.
Cold and dark it may be, but a warming glass of svařák (mulled wine) will set you up to enjoy the city’s Christmas markets and New Year celebrations. Expect peak season hotel prices.
Key events: Christmas–New Year
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