Photo: Witches Night parade © wrangel/iStock
With a colourful calendar packed with festivals and attractions, the bohemian Czech capital welcomes the season with a number of exciting events in Prague!
Despite being rich in tradition and history, Prague is also considered the centre for European culture and innovation. From the increasingly popular annual Czech Beer Festival, to the quirky celebrations such as the Witches’ Night, all the way to pop culture vents such as Febiofest and the Fringe Festival, the city’s spring calendar is bursting with ideas of what to enjoy during your stay. Here’s a handy guide to our favourite events in Prague this spring.
23rd – 31st March 2017
Febiofest is one of the largest film festivals in all of the Czech Republic, and represents an international celebration of ‘all things film’. The festival is held at the Cinestar Andel movie theatre and will showcase the best films of 2016, as well as various tributes, retrospectives, premiers, and a number of projects by promising new filmmakers. The festival is open to enthusiasts of all ages, including children, and will feature a Febiofest Junior section aimed at the younger generation of film fans.
1st – 23rd April
One could say what Christmas markets are to Germany, Easter markets are to Prague, and needless to say; they’re very good at them. Every year, the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square are taken over by hundreds of stands and vendors offering local delicacies such as barbequed sausage (klobása), mulled wine, the finest Czech beers, and most importantly – a myriad of Easter-themed souvenirs. Some of the most popular trinkets include brightly decorated hard-boiled eggs, which are often customised with names or traditional sayings. If you’re planning on picking one up, don’t forget the bubble wrap!
30th April ‘17
Pálení carodejnic, or Witches’ Night is one of Prague’s most bizarre customs that’s held once a year. Dating back centuries, this festival-of-sorts is a pagan celebration concerned with burning witches. Visitors are welcome to line up along the streets and watch the parade as it travels along the city all the way to a large bonfire on Kampa Island. Here, a number of straw witches are symbolically set alight while merrymakers eat hotdogs and watch the figures go up in flames. In theory all of this might sound a little macabre, but it’s actually a celebration that bids farewell to the winter spirits.
11th May – 2nd June 2017
Deemed one of the most important cultural events in Prague each year, this exciting music festival is not only followed keenly by locals, but also visited by a large number of enthusiasts from around the world. Celebrating its 72nd anniversary this year, the Prague Spring International Music Festival will bring together orchestras, classic musicians, and conductors, to perform throughout a number of historic theatres, buildings and churches across the city. The event kicks off with an opening concert by internationally renowned Wiener Philharmoniker and conducted by Daniel Barenboim.
11th May – 25th May 2017
Known and sought by many for its fine ales, the Czech Republic is considered one of the largest brewing communities in Europe. With that in mind, it certainly comes as no surprise that the beer festival is amongst one of the most attended events in Prague. Planned out across the span of 17 days, this celebration is definitely one of the best places to sample some of the country’s finest tipples. But with over 150 draft beers available, pacing yourself is of essence!
26th – 18th May 2017
Ever since its debut over a decade ago, the Prague Food Festival has left its mark and is today considered one of the most prestigious gastronomic events in the city. Homed within the stunning Royal Gardens within Prague Castle, foodies are able to sample a vast array of international drinks and delicacies. This year’s event will focus on the element of Baroque, bringing together the city’s architecture and impressive views, along with a number of spectacular dishes inspired by the same period.
26th May – 3rd June
Taking the lead from its elder sibling in Edinburgh, the Prague Fringe Festival has been described as a melting pot for theatrical talent. Festivalgoers may look forward to a number of performances that will range from musicals to comedy, and back to abstract theatre productions and beyond.