Annual Cultural Events
In Prague, some cultural events or festivals are going on at any time of the year. Listed below is our list of Prague’s most popular annual events and festivals. Dates and times might vary, so be sure to check in advance with the Prague Tourism Office.
New Year’s Day
On this public holiday, a half-hour fireworks show starts at 6 pm at Letná. For the best views, head toward the river bank. read more
Prague Winter Music Festival
An annual opera festival, ballet, and classical music began while the country was under communism in 1972. It usually starts in the first week of January and is held at various venues, including Prague’s National Theatre, The Estates Theatre and Rudolfinum.
Days of European Film
Late January to early February
Beginning in late January, this festival highlights some 30 different European films at various cinemas in the city centre. You may even meet some of the stars, directors and producers (various venues; website)
The week before Ash Wednesday
The local incarnation of Mardi Gras (Masopust is Czech for “meat-fast”) brings everyone out on the streets for a party. The Prague version includes parades featuring elaborate handmade costumes and pig-roasts, theatre performances, and family activities. Events take place in various districts of Prague (website).
St. Matthew‘s Fair (Matějská pouť)
Fair starting either in late February or early March and running through the end of April.
St Matthew’s Fair, known as Matějská pouť to the locals, is a time-honoured Czech tradition that is a truly entertaining and family-friendly event. The earliest recorded festival began over 410 years ago. There are some 130 attractions on the exhibition grounds, including rollercoasters, houses of horror, carousels, waterfalls, virtual reality machines, cannonballs, a water world and a Ferris wheel (Holešovice; website).
March to April, depending on the Easter holiday dates
Several weeks before Easter, Old Town Square and other Prague springs to colourful life with stalls strewn with handmade Easter eggs, wooden toys and traditional snacks. read more
At this ancient folk festival, bonfires are lit, and effigies burned in a playful ritual celebrating the end of winter and the new birth of spring. These festivals are mostly found in the countryside, but events go on at many Prague parks, while the most famous one is on Petřín Hill.
In the middle of May
Join the other 20,000 runners worldwide on this international marathon, which starts and finishes in the historical centre. The whole Volkswagen Prague Marathon is 42km long (with a seven-hour limit), but you can go for the shorter option, the Hervis Prague Half Marathon which is 21km (with a three-hour limit). website; read more
Prague Spring International Music Festival
May to early June
For three weeks, this is a famous series of classical music and dance performances in churches, palaces and concert halls, drawing thousands of visitors every year. Enjoy first-class symphonies, operas and chamber music from talented artists (website).
Czech Beer Festival
Mid-May to early June
Breweries from all over the Czech Republic present their local golden liquid at this the largest gastronomic event in the Czech Republic. Expect beer-hall seating in big tents, live music and Czech junk food (Letňany Exhibition Center; website).
Mezi ploty (Between the Fences)
This is a music and theatre festival held on the grounds of a psychiatric hospital. Many famous Czech acts and theatre troupes turn out to heighten awareness of mental illness (website).
Prague Food Festival
Last weekend in May
This three-day festival, run by the respected authors of a local restaurant guide, touts Prague’s different cuisines through the offerings of more than 30 of the country’s best restaurants (Royal Garden of Prague Castle; website).
Prague Fringe Festival
Based on the famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival, this ten-day festival of theatre and comedy brings innovative and experimental performances to intimate, unusual venues around Prague, with an interesting line-up of amateurs and professionals that changes every year (various venues; website).
United Islands of Prague
In June, a festival highlighting various musical genres takes place in various venues over several days. Expect beer stands and concerts on the Vltava riverfront (website).
Last week in June
This international festival of contemporary dance highlights the best of local and visiting international talents. This festival is now one of the most successful in Prague (various venues; website).
Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
Late June – first week in July
Cinema lovers from the world over find their way to the west Bohemian spa town of Karlovy Vary for this Cannes-like version of a film festival (various venues; website).
Late June-late July
Inspired by the London BBC Proms, Prague Proms brings together symphony in all its forms. A highlight is the Hollywood Nights event, which shows off music’s role in making a film. The festival is affiliated with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra (various venues; website).
Bohemia Jazz Fest
Stars of the European jazz scene converge on Prague in July, jazzing up venues like Old Town Square for nightly concerts (various venues; website).
Summer Festivities of Early Music
Late July-early August
This series of exceptional concerts focus on the styles of music throughout history in the Czech lands; it pairs music with historic venues (various venues; website).
Celebrating the 19C Italian composer Guiseppe Verdi, this month-long festival opens the opera season each year with a run of Verdi’s most beloved operas. The festival provides a chance to see outstanding productions outside the main opera season (Prague State Opera, website).
Throughout September, South Moravian wine-making towns celebrate the grape harvest. Wine shops stay open late, pouring the burčák (the new wine), accompanied by song and dance (website).
Dvořák’s Prague Festival
Early – late September
Over the course of several weeks, the Rudolfinum hosts a series of concerts in honour of Czech composer Antonín Dvořák. Works by the likes of Mozart, Schubert and Strauss are also included (website).
Prague Autumn International Music Festival (Strings of Autumn)
Mid-September to mid-October
One of Europe’s top billings, Prague Autumn welcomes conductors from all over the world to play with the Philharmonic and the Prague Symphony Orchestra (Rudlfinum; website).
Prague International Jazz Festival
Mid-October to mid-November
With a tradition of more than 30 years, this festival features everything from jazz greats to big bands. You can see performances by jazz legends worldwide, with plenty of local stars in between. The festival is held in several venues across Prague but mostly at Lucerna Music Bar (various venues; website).
Czech Press Photo
November to January
An impressive collection of award-winning photographs is shown at this free exhibition. Works illustrate the past year’s most moving documentation of global and local events, as well as great artistic achievement in the photographic media (Old Town Hall; website).
St Nicholas’ Eve
People wander around the streets in groups of three dressed as St Nicholas, an angel and a devil, symbolizing confession, reward and punishment. read more
Markets open on the last weekend in November, with the main markets being Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. The biggest event takes place on December 1, when a giant Christmas tree lights up the centre of Old Town Square, accompanied by music and various street performers. Market stalls sell carved wooden toys, ceramics, glass figurines, Christmas gifts, delicious gingerbread cakes, barbecued sausages, and mulled wine. read more
New Year’s Eve
If rowdy and loud is how you like your New Year’s Eve, then hear the concerts on Wenceslas Square; or go to Old Town Square for live big screens and other performances; watch the spectacular fireworks burst over the river; join the masses partying in the streets everywhere in Prague. read more