This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)
Are you thinking about braving Prague in Winter? The Czech Republic’s capital has so much to offer and the cold months are the perfect time of the year to visit. While there’s really no bad time to visit Prague, even the locals like it more when it’s covered by a candid blanket of snow! Winter in Prague can be very cold, but you will be rewarded with an unforgettable trip that will blow your mind! Let’s see what to do in Prague during the cold months, and why this is the best time to visit Prague, especially if you are planning a trip with your significant other!
Winter weather in Prague
Weather in Prague in Winter can be pretty cold. Temperatures often dip below freezing, and snow is a very common occurrence.
Prague in December is chilly, with a chance of snow. If it rains in the evening, it’s very likely that the following morning you might have to be very careful because patches of ice will form on the sidewalks. You don’t want to slip, right?
Prague in January gets colder and there will be more snow.
We visited in February and we actually explored while it was snowing pretty hard. Luckily enough we were well prepared, even if winter in Italy is not so cold. We didn’t want to stay in our hotel the whole time, even if ours was a romantic weekend in Prague!
The temperatures were as low as -13°C in the evening and only slightly higher during the day. During our stay we were rewarded with a couple of mornings of a pale sun. While it didn’t really warm up the day, we still welcomed the change of weather!
What to wear in Prague in Winter
Layers are going to be your best friends, whether you’re visiting Prague in December or later on. As we’ve mastered the art of packing light also in Winter, we want to share our best packing trick with you. Always rely on good thermal underclothes!
You can wear a thermal shirt under your regular jumper, and a pair of thermal leggings under your jeans. The latter are very important, because denim tends to get very cold in winter and it’s definitely not the best fabric for the snowy days. Yet it’s also the core of most wardrobes, including ours! So to make sure you can still wear your favorite jeans also in the chilly Prague weather, just go for a good pair of thermal leggings. They are soft and will keep you warm for the whole day.
We visited Prague in February and because of the ice and snow, we brought with us our Winter boots. Mine are also good for hiking, and thus I didn’t have any problem even when we had to walk on the snow. Of course there’s nothing much you can do about the patches of ice, so you will have to be careful. I’m also guilty of not paying attention: several times it was Al who had to catch me because I slipped on the ice! But I was so distracted with the snow-covered architecture in Prague that I couldn’t help myself!
Don’t forget to bring gloves, a thick scarf and a warm hat, especially if you’re planning to do some Prague sightseeing. I must confess that we had to remove our gloves a lot o unlock our phones or to use our camera, so it wasn’t practical! Yet without gloves (speaking from experience) your fingers will get numb and might start aching. As impractical as it can be, bring a pair of warm gloves to protect your hands! The newest models are also designed so that you can use your touch screen without removing them! Yay!
How to protect your camera and phone in Winter
An important thing you must always remember is that, because of the freezing temperatures, phone and camera batteries will die much earlier than expected. Being left stranded with no battery on my phone is my worst nightmare! Bring with you a power bank that is specifically designed for the winter weather. Bonus points to those that are also waterproof! Even in this case, there are some new models that are also designed to keep your hands warm while recharging your phone. Awesome, isn’t it?
If you want to make sure you won’t damage your camera, always carry a plastic bag in your pocket. Put your camera inside before to enter a warm room like the hotel lobby, a cafe or a restaurant: that way you can avoid causing a thermal shock and you will prevent condensation (it works also for your phone!).
Why Winter is the best time to visit Prague
Winter is low season in Prague which means that there will be fewer tourists. However this doesn’t apply to Christmas and the holidays, when the prices are higher. You can have a look at our guide if you’re still trying to decide where to stay in Prague.
Prague is a popular destination for stag parties, and in summer it gets absolutely crowded. So much so that even the locals tend to shy away from the busiest areas: they can get overwhelming.
Having less tourists around means taking better pictures, without having to get up at 5am to make sure you reach Charles Bridge before everyone else (true story!). Photo opportunities are thus better, and even the lines to enter Prague Castle or the popular attractions will be shorter than usual.
Generally speaking, visiting Prague in winter is the smart way to go if you want to enjoy the city without having to push your way through the noisy crowds. There’s something special in the silence of the narrow streets, with the delicious scent of trdlo in the air and snow slowly falling down!
Prague is popular because of its historical buildings with red roof tiles. In Winter it is amazing to see the red peeking out from under the snow. It feels like living a fairytale. And if it’s too cold, you can always warm up with a nice cup of hot cocoa!
Spending the holidays in Prague
Spending your Christmas holidays in Prague might not be cheap, but it’s definitely worth the time and money.
Prague Christmas markets are fact is some of the best in Europe, and the whole city is beautifully decorated, all lit up like a winter wonderland. While going through your schedule for Prague sightseeing, the scent of cinnamon and clove will keep you warm and happy. Wherever you go you will find mulled wine, hot mead, trdlo and the world famous Prague ham.
Prague in december will take your breath away, especially if you’re planning to visit the Christmas market in the Old Town Square. The area becomes one huge Christmas village and it stays the main point of interest for the city’s Christmas celebrations.
The Christmas tree you see in this square is different every year, because it’s always selected from a different region of the Czech Republic.
If you’re planning to spend the holidays in Prague with your kids, know that there are many family activities you can enjoy. From the traditional arts and crafts (sword making included!) to the goats, sheeps and donkeys you can pet at the animal stable that represent the Bethlehem scene: there’s something for everyone.
Winter sightseeing in Prague
Some of the best things to do in Prague might be too much for you if you’re visiting during a particularly chilly winter. But it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to enjoy your visit!
You’re dressed up warm, you won’t have to push through the crowds and you will be treated to some delicious food. It will be amazing!
As I already mentioned, chances are that the best photo spots in Prague won’t be as crowded as they are during the high season. Yet starting early in the morning can still help you to see as much as you can, before the weather gets too chilly in the late afternoon.
A good viewpoint where you can take nice pictures of the bridges in Prague is Letna Park, on the other side of Charles Bridge. There’s a viewpoint which is absolutely the perfect photography spot, and in winter you can enjoy it on your own most of the times. At Letna Park you can also go to the cool Letna Beer Garden. Even if there’s no outdoor beer drinking in winter, you can still access the area to take pictures of the Vltava River.
Another great point from where you can take amazing photos of Prague in Winter is the the Petřín Lookout Tower.
Prague Castle is another must do, whether you’re visiting in winter or not. It is in fact the largest castle complex in Europe, and during the holidays there’s yet another (smaller) Christmas market right in front of the main gates.
Inside Prague Castle, when we visited in February for Valentine’s day, we found the largest patches of snow and ice. So please, explore carefully, especially if you aren’t wearing Winter boots with a good grip.
St. Vitus Cathedral is probably the longer visit inside Prague Castle. Its towers dominate the city skyline: we’ve spent quite some time with our nose up in the air, admiring the majestic stained glass windows. The Old Royal Palace will be a much quicker visit, just like St. George’s Basilica.
Chances are that you’ve already seen pictures of the colorful Golden Lane on Instagram. It used to house Rudolf II’s castle guards. Well, this is yet another instagrammable spot in Prague that you might want to visit. Yet because of over tourism, even during the coldest Winter in Prague, this colorful street full of history might be crowded, unless you manage to get here early in the morning.
We visited in February and by midday it became impossible to take pictures of the Golden Lane without anyone else in them.
Aside from the world famous Astronomical Clock in the Old Town Square, another nice thing you can photograph is the Prague Dancing House. It’s also known as “Fred and Ginger“, because the twin buildings have been designed so that they resemble the way Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers used to dance!
In case it’s too cold to stay outside, or if it rains too much, you can hide in one of the many museums in Prague! Some of the most popular are the National Film Museum, the National Gallery and the Apple Museum, where you can see more than 450 Apple products.
The local guide that we met during our Eating Prague Tour encouraged us to enjoy a show at Prague Theatre. Tickets are very cheap and can be bought online. Enjoying a show at this historical theatre is not only a great way to end the day, but it represents a great place you can go to after a romantic dinner, if you intend to visit Prague for Valentine’s Day.
Popular winter food in Prague and where to eat it
Winter is also the perfect time to try Czech food. Many of the local dishes are rich and filling, so you can treat yourself to an incredible culinary experience while sightseeing.
Spending the holidays in Prague means that you will be there while the families bake the traditional gingerbread, which is part of the local culture (they use them as a digestive). Some families bake them for weeks because it’s mandatory that they always have some they can give to their guests in case of a surprise visit!
The shop The gingerbread man’s dream makes some delicious ones and also sells everything you might need for baking your own!
Another place you can go to, especially if you’re going to visit Prague in February with your significant other, is Restaurant Zvonice. Located in an old bell tower, it’s the most romantic restaurant in Prague! Chances are that you won’t even need to book in advance if you’re visiting in winter because it’s the low season.
Their speciality is the Old Bohemian sauerkraut soup (the one I’m eating in the video below). It is rich, filled with wild mushrooms, sour cream and potatoes: perfect to warm you up even in the coldest days. You can also try a delicious Czech Goulash with Sauerkreaut and dumplings!
At Styl & Interier they have a secret garden, hidden behind an interior design showroom. Even if outside it’s cold, if you want to brave it, they will let you sit in a warmed up tent, offering you a blanket and a cup of mulled wine or hot apple juice. A local’s favorite is the warm apple strudel, covered with powdered sugar, whipped cream and a side of light caramel.
Another lovely place to go to, if you want to try one of the best Winter dishes in Prague, is Cafè Louvre, which is a place with so much history. Back in the day it was a popular hangout for people like Franz Kafka and Albert Einstein!
While it’s a particularly classy and romantic cafè and restaurant, Cafè Louvre will never make you feel underdressed. Here they welcome visitors from all over the world, always with a warm smile. And we know something about it: when we stepped inside we were chilled to the bone and wearing lots of layers, most of which already wet by the snow!
Luckily enough, they brought us some Svíčková, a dish with sirloin beef served on a creamy vegetable sauce, with Czech dumplings and cranberries. It was enough to put us back together enough to brave the cold outside once again!