Top Events

Easter Monday, March or April

Prague Spring, May

Karlovy Vary Film Festival, July

Český Krumlov International Music Festival, July

Dvořák Prague International Music Festival, September

January

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 cosy hotel with an open fireplace.

Three Kings’ Day (Svátek Tří králů)

On 6 January, Three Kings’ Day (also known as Twelfth Night) marks the formal end of the Christmas season. The Czechs celebrate with carol-singing, bell-ringing and gifts to the poor.

February

The frost can be cruel in February, with temperatures below -10°C, so wrap up well. But the Czech countryside looks mighty pretty in the snow.

Masopust

Once banned by the communists, street parties, fireworks, concerts and revelry mark the Czech version of carnival. Celebrations start on the Friday before Shrove Tuesday (aka Mardi Gras), and end with a masked parade through the town or village.

March

The first buds of spring begin to green the countryside, and the Easter holidays bring Easter markets, hand-painted Easter eggs, and the first tourist influx of the year.

Easter Monday (Pondělí velikonoční)

Mirthful spring! Czech boys chase girls and swat them on the legs with willow switches decked with ribbons, the girls respond with gifts of hand-painted eggs, then everyone parties. The culmination of several days of spring-cleaning, cooking and visiting family and friends.

Febiofest

This festival (www.febiofest.cz) of film, TV and video features new works by international film-makers. It kicks off in Prague then continues throughout the rest of the Czech Republic.

April

The weather transforms from shivers to sunshine. By the end of the month town squares are covered with outdoor cafe tables, and peak tourist season begins.

Burning of the Witches (Pálení čarodějnic)

This Central European, pre-Christian festival (known as Walpurgisnacht in German) features the burning of bonfires, especially on hilltops, all over the country. It's held on the night of 30 April.

May

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.

Prague Spring (Pražské jaro)

Running from 12 May to 3 June, this international music festival is Prague’s most prestigious event, with classical music concerts held in theatres, churches and historic buildings.

June

Something of a shoulder season, June promises great weather for beer gardens and river cruises without the May festival crowds or the hordes of student backpackers who arrive in Prague and Český Krumlov in July and August.

Prague Fringe Festival

This nine-day festival of international theatre, dance, comedy and music, inspired by the innovative Edinburgh Fringe, takes place in late May/early June. Hugely popular with visitors and now pulling in more and more locals.

Festival of Songs, Olomouc

A four-day international festival (www.festamusicale.com) of choral music, held at the beginning of June.

July

Most of the country swelters in summer, so pack some lightweight clothes and opt for accommodation with air-conditioning.

Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

The Czech Republic's top film festival usually attracts a handful of film stars, and the town's hotels are full to the brim.

Český Krumlov International Music Festival

Krumlov's most important cultural event is this month-long celebration of classical music, with a nod to other genres such as folk, pop and jazz.

Prázdniny v Telči Folk Music Festival

Two week festival of the best of Czech folk music held at the end of July and beginning of August.

August

Hot and sticky weather continues. Many Praguers leave the city for holidays, and hotel rates fall.

Czech Motorcycle Grand Prix

Brno's autodrome buzzes with excitement as international motorcycling stars line up for this major event (www.automotodrombrno.cz/grand-prix). The city is mobbed for the weekend.

September

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.

Dvořák Prague International Music Festival

Two weeks in September are given over to Prague's second-most-popular music festival (www.dvorakovapraha.cz) after Prague Spring, a celebration of the works of the Czech Republic's most famous classical composer, with a program of performances by the world's top orchestras, chamber ensembles and soloists.

Znojmo Wine Festival

Moravia's biggest annual festival is dedicated to wine. In addition to wine tastings, there are musical performances, parades and general merriment scattered all around town.

December

Cold and dark it may be, but a warming glass of svařák (mulled wine) will set you up to enjoy the Christmas markets and New Year celebrations in cities across the Czech Republic. Expect peak season hotel prices in Prague.

Mikuláš (St Nicholas Day)

On the night of 5 December, all over the country, you'll see families dressed up as Mikuláš, Anděl a Čert (St Nicholas, the Angel and the Devil), dishing out treats to children who have been good (bad children get potatoes or coal!), marking the start of the Christmas season.

Christmas–New Year (Vánoce–Nový Rok)

From 24 December to 1 January, tourists engulf Prague and many Czechs take an extended holiday. From early December a Christmas market takes over the Old Town Square, around a huge Christmas tree. Massive crowds gather here on New Year's Eve for a huge midnight fireworks display.