Visiting Prague during winter may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but there are actually a lot of advantages to it. For starters, the city is a lot less crowded during this time of year. And secondly, Prague looks even more magical when it’s blanketed in snow. So if you’re thinking of a winter vacation, here are 15 of the best things to do in Prague in winter.
Things to Do in Prague in Winter
1. Admire the Lamplights and Views from Charles Bridge
Charles Bridge is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Prague. But did you know that it’s actually a lot less crowded in winter? So, if you want to enjoy this iconic bridge without all the crowds, visiting Prague in winter is a great time to do so.
But the crowd factor isn’t the only reason to admire Charles Bridge in winter. The lamplights that line the bridge are also incredibly beautiful and make for a really romantic setting. Unlike previous times when the lamps automatically turn on, things are a bit different in December. During these times, the gas lamps are manually lit by a lamp-lighter at 4 pm. This tradition actually dates back to the 19th century and is meant to bring back the romance of Prague’s yesteryear.
And finally, the views of Prague Castle and the city skyline are simply stunning when blanketed in snow. I strolled across Charles Bridge several times during my winter visit, and each time I did, the views just took my breath away. So, be sure to take your time walking across the bridge and admiring the views.
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2. Spend a day (or two) Exploring Prague Castle
Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world and definitely one of the best things to see in Prague in winter. In fact, winter is the best time to visit Prague Castle since the crowds are smaller, and you won’t have to deal with long waits for security check-ins (this happens during the summer).
You can calmly explore the castle grounds and learn about Prague’s rich history. The castle complex is huge, so it will definitely take you a few hours to explore everything. Highlights of the castle include St. Vitus Cathedral, Golden Lane, the Old Royal Palace, and Daliborka Tower. You can easily spend an entire day exploring Prague Castle and its highlights.
But what really makes Prague Castle more special during winter is the Christmas markets that pop up on the castle grounds. This market is one of the best in the city and features over 30 wooden huts selling traditional Czech goods, Christmas decorations, and delicious food.
3. Stroll Around the Old Town
Old Town is one of the best places to visit in Prague, no matter what time of year it is. But it’s especially beautiful in winter when the Christmas markets are in full swing, and the whole area is decorated for the holidays.
Therefore, walking around Old Town is one of the best free things to do in Prague in winter. Therefore, take some time to explore Old Town Square, where you’ll find the iconic Astronomical Clock and Church of Our Lady before Tyn. Then, wander down some of the narrow side streets lined with beautiful Baroque and Gothic buildings.
If you want to learn more about the history and architecture of Old Town Prague, then I recommend taking a guided walking tour. My favorite company for walking tours in Prague is Free Walking Tour Prague. Their guides are incredibly knowledgeable and do a great job of making the history of Prague come alive.
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4. Prague’s Museums
There are over 100 museums located throughout Prague, so it’s no surprise that visiting one (or more!) of them made my list of famous things to see in Prague during winter.
If you’re interested in history, you can visit the National Museum, which is devoted to the history of the Czech Republic, the Jewish Museum, which covers the history of the Jewish community in Prague, and the Prague Castle Picture Gallery, which contains a large collection of paintings from the 16th to the 18th centuries.
For those interested in art, some of the best museums in Prague include the Mucha Museum, devoted to the work of Art Nouveau artist Alphonse Mucha, and the Prague City Gallery, which houses a collection of contemporary art.
And did you know Prague has quirky museums devoted to topics like sex and communism? If you’re looking for something a little different, make sure to check out the Sex Machines Museum and the Museum of Communism. Sex Machines Museum is pretty self-explanatory, but the Museum of Communism is a must-visit for anyone interested in learning about the history of communism in Czechoslovakia.
No matter what your interests are, there’s sure to be a museum in Prague that appeals to you. So definitely add visiting one (or more!) of them to your list.
5. Go Ice-Skating
Adventurers visiting Prague in winter will love taking advantage of all of the outdoor activities that the city has to offer. And one of the best things to do is go ice-skating. I mean, what could be more romantic than ice-skating hand-in-hand with your partner or best friend while surrounded by the castle? I was even surprised to learn that sometimes Vltava River actually freezes over in winter, making it the perfect place for a winter stroll or some ice-skating fun.
Away from the river, you can also go ice-skating at one of Prague’s many outdoor ice rinks. One of my favorites was The Tower Ice Park, located underneath the Zizkov TV Tower. They have an enormous outdoor rink that is perfect for those who want to skate surrounded by views of Prague. And if you don’t have your skates, don’t worry! You can rent them at the rink.
Several other outdoor skating rinks are also located throughout the city. So no matter where you are staying in Prague, you won’t be too far from some ice-skating fun. You can also check out some of the indoor skating rinks if you are visiting Prague in winter and the weather is not good.
6. Admire the City’s Christmas Markets
No visit to Prague during winter would be complete without admiring the city’s Christmas markets. These markets are truly a sight to behold and are some of the best in all of Europe. Therefore, adding them to your list of places to visit in Prague in winter is a must.
There are several different Christmas markets located throughout Prague, so you’ll definitely want to explore a few of them during your visit. The Old Town Square Christmas market is the most popular and is full of traditional Czech holiday decorations, food, and drink.
If you are looking for something a little more unique, you may want to check out the Jiriho z Poděbrad Christmas market. This market is located in a large square that is surrounded by beautiful Art Nouveau buildings. It’s definitely worth a visit if you are interested in architecture, history, and Christmas markets.
Several other great Christmas markets are located throughout Prague, so be sure to explore as many as possible during your visit. They are truly a highlight of winter in Prague.
7. Relax on a River Cruise
After all the Prague sightseeing on land, why not relax on a river cruise? There are several different types of river cruises that you can take, but my favorite is the Vltava Dinner Cruise.
This particular cruise takes you down the Vltava River while you enjoy a delicious dinner and live music. It’s the perfect way to relax and take in the sights of Prague after a long day of exploring.
And if you’re not interested in a dinner cruise, then you can also opt for a shorter sightseeing cruise. These cruises typically last around an hour and are a great way to see some of the main Prague attractions from the water.
The best part about river cruises in Prague during winter is that they happen in heated boats. So if you’re visiting Prague in December or January and the weather is cold, you can still enjoy a river cruise without freezing your butt off! Plus, they are very affordable since they are off-season.
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8. See the City from Above
Another of the most famous things to do in Prague in winter (or any time of year) is to see the city from above. After all, Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, and what better way to appreciate its beauty than from above?
There are several ways to do this, but my favorite is taking a ride on the Petrin Hill Funicular. The funicular is located just a short walk from the Old Town Square, making it very easy to get to. And best of all, the ride only costs a few euros!
Once you reach the top of the hill, you’ll find the Petrin Hill Lookout Tower. This tower was built in 1891 and is modeled after the Eiffel Tower. You can climb the tower for even more amazing views of Prague. Or, if you’re not feeling up to it, you can simply enjoy the views from the hilltop. Before taking the funicular back down, be sure to wander around and explore the area a bit.
9. Ride the Christmas Trams
One of the best things about visiting Prague in winter is that you can ride the Christmas trams! These festive trams are decked out in holiday decorations and are a great way to see the city.
The Christmas trams run from the last week of November to early January and operate on several different routes throughout the city. They are a great way to get to see some of the most famous attractions in Prague, as well as get into the festive spirit.
I had a tram ride on Line 43, which takes you on a tour of some of Prague’s best-known sights, including Prague’s Castle, The Charles Bridge, and the Powder Gate. I recommend these kinds of rides if you are visiting for the first time and want to get a good overview of the city.
If you want to ride the Christmas trams, I would suggest buying a ticket in advance as they can get quite crowded. You can buy tickets online or at any of the tram stations.
Read More: 11 Best Christmas Markets in Prague
10. Sip on some Czech Beer
If you love beer, then Prague is the perfect city for you! In fact, Prague is often referred to as the “city of beer” because of its rich brewing history and abundance of breweries. And what better time to drink beer than when it’s freezing cold outside, and you need something to warm you up?
So when visiting Prague in winter, be sure to try some of the local Czech beer. My favorite was Pilsner Urquell, although Budweiser Budvar is also quite popular. And if you want something a little bit different, check out some local craft breweries, such as Klasik.
Most breweries offer tours, so you can learn about brewing while enjoying a few beers. And many of them also have restaurants attached, so you can enjoy a hearty meal to help you warm up on a cold winter day.
11. Catch a Holiday Performance
Winter in Prague is the perfect time to catch a festive holiday performance. After all, what could be more festive than witnessing some of the best holiday musicals and plays that Prague has to offer?
There are several great theaters in Prague that put on holiday-themed performances throughout winter. The National Theatre, for example, is a world-renowned Opera house that puts on several different types of holiday performances throughout the winter season.
If you are looking for something a little more light-hearted, you may want to check out the Estates Theatre. This is where Mozart’s opera “Don Giovanni” premiered in 1787 and is one of the best places to catch a holiday performance in Prague.
I had the opportunity to see the ballet “The Nutcracker” at the Estates Theatre while visiting Prague in winter, and it was an incredible experience. The theater itself is gorgeous, and the performance was top-notch. I would highly recommend adding a holiday performance to your list of things to do in Prague in winter, as it is truly a unique experience.
12. Warm up with some Czech Soup
Czech food is hearty, filling, and perfect for warming you up on a cold winter day in Prague. And one of the best things to eat in Prague during winter is Czech soup. There are many different types of Czech soup, but some of the most popular include beef goulash and chicken noodles. So, if you feel cold and hungry while walking around Prague in winter, then be sure to duck into a restaurant for a bowl of warm Czech soup. Trust me; it will hit the spot!
13. Welcome the New Year in Style
There is no better place to ring in the New Year than Prague. The city comes alive during New Year’s Eve, with parties and celebrations taking place all over.
One of the best ways to celebrate New Year’s in Prague is by attending a concert at the Prague State Opera House. The opera house puts on a special New Year’s Eve concert every year, which is always a sell-out event. If you are lucky enough to get tickets, it’s an incredible experience and definitely one of the best things to do in Prague during winter.
If you are looking for a more active way to welcome the New Year, then you may want to consider attending a New Year’s Eve party at one of the many bars and clubs located throughout Prague. There is sure to be a party that fits your style, and you can ring in the New Year surrounded by friends and fellow revelers.
14. Go on a Winter Day Trip
Prague is an incredibly charming city, but sometimes it’s nice to get out of the city and explore the surrounding areas. And luckily, there are several great day trips that you can take from Prague when visiting in winter.
One of my favorite winter day trips from Prague was to Karlstejn Castle. This imposing castle is located just a short train ride from Prague and makes for a perfect winter day trip. The castle is surrounded by a forest, which is especially beautiful in winter when it’s blanketed in snow.
If you are looking for something a little more off the beaten path, you may consider taking a day trip to Kutna Hora. This small town is best known for its bone church, which contains the bones of over 50,000 people. It’s a bit of a bizarre attraction but worth visiting if you are interested in the history and culture of the Czech Republic.
There are more than enough things to do in Prague during winter, but if you have the time, I recommend taking a day trip or two. It’s a great way to see more of what the Czech Republic has to offer.
15. Pamper Yourself at a Spa
Winter can be a tough time of year, especially if you live in a cold climate. So why not take the opportunity to pamper yourself a bit when visiting Prague in winter?
There are several great spas located throughout the city, so you will definitely be able to find one that suits your needs. If you are looking for a luxurious spa experience, then I would recommend checking out The Spa at Mandarin Oriental. This is one of the best spas in Prague and offers a variety of treatments ranging from massages to facials.
Another great option is the spa center in Aquapalace Prague. This is a large spa complex that has an indoor and outdoor pool, saunas, and a variety of different treatments. It’s the perfect place to relax and escape the cold winter weather.
For those on a budget, there are also several cheaper options available. Almost every hotel in Prague has its own spa, so you may want to consider taking advantage of the facilities if you are staying at a hotel.
You can always find something to do in Prague, no matter what time of year. But wintertime is definitely one of the best times to visit if you want to avoid the crowds and enjoy all that Prague has to offer. So whether you’re interested in Christmas markets, holiday performances, or day trips outside the city, make sure to add these ideas to your list of the best things to do in Prague in winter. You won’t be disappointed!
Where to stay: Best Hotels in Prague