How to celebrate the New Year Eve in Czech Republic for a whole month: a guide to the main events of December

10 minutes

For many years now Prague has been considered one of the best cities for celebrating the New Year and many travelers from all over the world confirm that. Just type “New Year in Prague” and check out the pictures to get a better idea of it. Every single photo here looks like a colorful Christmas card, so  just imagine what it would be like to see such a beauty in real life.

Apart from an incredible ambiance, another pleasant detail is that the celebration starts in early December and lasts almost the entire month in the Czech Republic. During this period of time people in Prague celebrate St. Nicholas Day, Christmas and, of course, New Year's Eve. Since many traditions might be new to you, we have prepared a guide for a fun wintertime in Prague. It will be helpful for you to understand  all the details of  each holiday and immerse yourself in its fantastic ambience as much as possible.

  1. St. Nicholas Day: what is this holiday about and how to celebrate it
  2. Christmas: unusual traditions and the best places to celebrate
  3. New Year Eve: a big annual celebration
  4. St. Nicholas Day: what is this holiday about and how to celebrate it

    Little Christmas is the Czech name for St. Nicholas Day, which is celebrated annually the night between the 5th to 6th of December. In the Czech Republic the kindest character known as Santa Claus is represented by the saint. However, the way St. Nikolas interacts with children is completely different. According to the legend every year he comes down to people and he takes along an Angel from Heaven and a Devil from Hell in order to take a look at how people live on our planet. All together they go from house to house and present good kids with presents and candies, and the “bad ones” only get to receive coal and dirty potatoes. While you are thinking how well you behaved this year and in which category you'd be, we will tell you how to spend St. Nicholas Day in Prague:

    Advent calendar

    Nikolas and his team are, first of all, a great fairy tale for children, and therefore the traditions of this day are connected with their characters. One of these traditions is buying an advent calendar with candies that the child can get all the month until the New Year. This industry has become so popular that today in stores you can find calendars for everyone with socks, make up, jewelry and even alcohol. So take a walk to the nearest shopping mall and choose an Advent calendar for your own taste. Most importantly, don't limit yourself,  St. Nicholas doesn’t like that.

    Old Town Square

    The Old Town Square is definitely one of the main attractions in the city for absolutely any holiday. In the morning on the 5th of December there are festivals, family concerts and show-programs. In the late afternoon everyone expects St. Nikolas to appear in the company of an Angel and a Demon. But even without it on the streets you’ll see plenty of interesting characters. A fan fact is that Czechs  actually prefer to dress up not as a saint, but as a devil called Krampus. These devils look impressive and often frightening, but no matter how they behave, just stay in a cheerful mood.

    Prague Tourist Portal

    Traditional festivities on St. Nicholas Day haven’t fully returned to service after the coronavirus events, so it is better to get information about current events first-hand. We advise you to follow the Prague tourism portal as all the planned events are being published there regularly.

    Christmas: unusual traditions and the best places to celebrate

    December 24 is the most important winter date for Czechs. That’s why there is a long list of traditions and superstitions associated with Christmas Eve. So grab a pen and write down the most important ones. Christmas dinner starts after 16:00. There should always be an even number of plates on the table so that luck keeps following you in this new coming year. It will be great if you can manage to fast on Christmas Day. The legend says that whoever lasts until dinner without eating anything will get to encounter a golden pig. As they say, this magical meeting with a mythical creature will bring good luck and wealth for you. And most importantly, do not get up from the table until dinner is over, because by doing this you risk bringing misfortune upon yourself. But after the feast, all roads are open to you, and here are some of them:

    Christmas boat cruise on the Vltava River

    For those who want to spend their Christmas in an unusual way there is a cruise along the Vltava. During your boat tour you will  have a chance to immerse yourself in a cozy, but noisy ambience of a grandiose party. The main feature of this fabulous event is a breathtaking view of the best sights and bridges of Prague. Here you don’t have to get up from the table, because everything takes place right here on a modern and beautiful motor boat.

    This boat tour along the Vltava is an amazing way to spend your Christmas. Your tickets include various show-programs, a buffet with some Czech dishes as well as the international cuisine, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and a well-thought route along the Vltava. Here you don’t need to think about organizing your Christmas holiday, you just need to arrive at the pier at the time of departure.

    All options for Christmas cruises on the Vltava can be found here

    River boat cruises in Prague

    Christmas markets

    Christmas markets are open throughout the month, but on Christmas Eve is the most interesting time to visit them. Not only are there incredible warm illumination, the smell of fresh Christmas trees, meat snacks and hot traditional baked winter snacks, but also various show programs. It feels like a community, where everyone gives energy to one another for a positive new coming year. The largest market fairs are open at Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square and Prague Castle.

    Open night worship

    This is another interesting tradition in Prague. It doesn’t matter what you believe in, but this time of the year every resident of the city attends this Open night worship.  It is difficult to imagine something more authentic. When a busy Christmas day is turning into a calm night filled with church melodies that flow and dissolve into the open night sky. The largest Night Worship takes place on Old Town Square and it starts at 21:00.

    New Year Eve: a big annual celebration

    On December 31, the streets of Prague are filled with a familiar New Year bustle. A particularity of the local New Year is the perception of it, since here it is not considered a family holiday. So Czechs are divided into two groups. Some prefer to celebrate with their families, others go to iconic Czech pubs. Think about which side you are willing to chose, and we are going to tell you in more details about each option:

    Holiday cruise on the Vltava

    Another option for a New Year's Eve is a cruise through the center of Prague. Water activities for holidays are only gaining popularity in the Czech Republic, despite this, every year a cruise turns into a large and noisy feast. It becomes something between a restaurant and a club. The cruise will take place on a modern boat, where your New Year's Eve will be spiced up with different show programs, music, as well as a large selection of dishes and drinks. But the main advantage of the cruise is the opportunity to look at the New Year’s lights of Prague from a different perspective that you won’t see even in tourist photos. Just imagine how the spectacular fireworks looks through the completely transparent boat roof.

    A selection of the best New Year's boat cruises can be found here

    New Year's cruises in Prague

    A party at U Pinkasů 

    If you're planning your holiday away from home, now is the time to book your place to stay. After all, most people want to try the famous Czech beer and meat snacks on New Year's Eve. There are two ways to celebrate your New Year away from home. The first is more colorful and traditional in the authentic pub U Pinkasů. The second one is more modern. In this case the folk tunes are replaced by DJ sets, instead of a couple of beers you’ll have unlimited alcohol and wild dancing. For this New Year option we can offer you a tour to the best clubs in Prague from Prague pub crawl.

    Home feast or hotel

    If you prefer cozy home gatherings, you rent an apartment or you are staying with friends, you will be immersed in the familiar ambience of New Year's preparations. The main difference between the Czech New Year table is the absence of complicated dishes to prepare. Czechs love to eat small meals throughout the night, so their favorite food are canapes and bruschettas. If you don’t want to cook yourself, you can go to one of the hotels for a New Year dinner. For example, reservations for New Year's tables are already open at Marriott.

    In total, we have 8 options for celebrating the New Year holidays, both in the comfort of home and outdoors on the narrow streets and beautiful squares of Prague. The beauty of the New Year holidays in the Czech Republic is that it begins in December and you keep celebrating throughout the month. So that during your trip you can try absolutely every little joy of local New Year Eve, starting with buying souvenirs at local market fairs, and ending up with a glass of champagne on board of a glass transparent boat on the Vltava river.

    So you don’t have to make difficult choices, you just have to plan your time so you could try everything. And there is nothing better than getting away from work for a New Year trip at the end of the year.

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