This is a great time of year to be visiting Prague. The city is slowly awaking from its winter slumber and is starting to come to life. Tables and chairs are springing up outside cafes, green buds are appearing on the trees, coats are disappearing from backs, beer gardens are filling up and the sense of optimism in the air is almost tangible. April 1st is a big day for the city this year, as it means the first day of Easter Markets, the start of a new season of fun and frivolity on Naplavka and the opening of the Senate Gardens to visitors. Temperatures are also set to get higher and higher as we move into next week, meaning some great weather for hiking or for hiring a pedal boat and hitting the river. Here are some of our tips for making the most out of spring time in the city of Prague.
1) Go egg-static for Prague’s annual Easter Markets
This year, the Easter Markets will run from April 1st – 23rd. The Easter markets will be held on Old Town Square (Staromestske Namesti), Wenceslas Square (Vaclavske Namesti) and the Square of the Republic (Namesti Republiky) and they promise to be a fiesta of all things bright and colourful, with colourful ribbons and brightly painted eggs as far as the eye can see. The markets also promise to be a fiesta of all things delicious, offering a chance for visitors to sample some Czech Easter delicacies alongside the traditional but nonetheless delicious Prague street food options of klobasa (fat and succulent sausages with a hint of spice) and roast ham. It goes without saying that the favourite Czech beers, such as Pilsner Urquell and Staropramen, will also be flowing. Egg painting still plays a very important role in the traditional Czech Easter celebrations and the markets are a great place to pick up some really beautiful hand painted souvenirs from your trip. It’s even possible to have the eggs personalised. If you’re lucky you might also catch a performance by traditional folk dancers on the Stage located in Old Town Square.
2) Enjoy the elegance of Prague’s Senate Gardens
Hidden away behind Malostranska Metro Station, you will find the beautiful Senate Gardens (Valdštejnský palác). Unfortunately the gardens are only open during the spring and summer months but the good news is that they are due to open their doors to visitors on April 1st. A stroll through the senate gardens is like a taking a walk through the beautifully manicured grounds of a British stately home, with its neatly clipped hedges, its huge fish pond and its vivaciously green lawns. This garden does however come with a few added twists. Twist number 1: there is a large aviary full of owls. Twist number 2: the absolutely stunning pure white albino peacock, which calls these gardens his home and is more than happy to pose for a picture or 2. Twist number 3: The huge and really rather impressive stone wall, which will grab your attention from a distance as it appears to be adorned with grotesque skeletal faces. As you get closer you will see that it is simply made up of artificial stalactites but the effect is rather impressive nonetheless.
3) Get out onto the water and hire a pedalo
You would struggle to find a more relaxing and pleasurable way to pass a spring afternoon than by drifting leisurely up the Vltava in the safety and comfort of your own pedal boat. Some of the best views of the city are to be found from the river and you can enjoy a sense of peace and isolation that you just wouldn’t find walking up and down Prague’s busy streets. One of the best places to rent your pedal boat from is Slovansky Ostrov, where they offer very reasonable rates for hourly hire.
4) Head down to Naplavka
Naplavka has to be one of the city’s coolest hangouts and from the start of April onwards it’s going to be coming alive. Naplavka is the name given to the stretch of river bank running from the famous Dancing House up to Vysehrad Castle and it’s a little bit like a beach party minus the sand. Grab a seat in one of the numerous boat bars and restaurants which are moored up along the river here, or simply take a beer “to go” from one of the many kiosks, sit yourself down by the riverside and enjoy the scenery. It’s pretty calm and peaceful by day but the party really kicks off as the sun goes down. You’ll find live music, DJs and a really bustling vibe if you head down this way after hours.
5) Take a walk up Petrin Hill
Petrin Hill is one of Prague’s most stunning parks and it is at is most beautiful during the spring time. The reason for this is that Petrin is home to a huge orchard of cherry trees, which will soon be blossoming into a sea of vibrant pink petals. Though to be honest, whenever you choose to visit the city, a trip to Petrin is really a must. It’s a bit of a hike to get to the top but is well worth it for the views that you will experience along the way. Once you are at the top, you can visit Prague’s very own Eiffel tower (the Petrinska Rozhledna). This tower really does look like a miniature version of the famous Parisian landmark. If you’re not too puffed out after reaching the top of the hill, it’s well worth climbing the tower’s 299 steps for unrivalled views over Prague and beyond. On a clear day it’s possible to see Snezka, which is the Czech Republic’s highest mountain and is 150km away.
6) Spend a lazy afternoon in one of Prague’s many beer gardens
It’s crazy how time can run away from you whilst you’re relaxing in the sunshine with a cool beer in your hand. If you’re looking to combine a relaxed atmosphere with amazing views, head over the Letna Beer Garden. The views from the hilltop here are just breathtaking, so be sure to bring your camera and be prepared to take lots of pictures. The beer garden is itself is just far enough from the centre of town that it won’t be overrun with tourists and they offer a good range of beers on tap at reasonable prices. It’s also worth taking the time to have a stroll around the park itself, which is just beautiful in the springtime, as the blossom will be unfolding on the trees and tulips will be sprouting in the flower beds. Letna Park is also home to Prague’s iconic metronome, a giant functional metronome which looks out over the city from its plinth on Letna Hill.
7) Take a hike
One of the best and most surprising things about the city of Prague is how quickly you can go from the hustle and bustle of the centre of town, to the absolute peace and tranquillity of nature. There are several simply stunning areas of natural beauty which are easily accessible by public transport from the centre of Prague. For more information about where they are and how to get to them, have a look at our Hiker’s Guide to Prague.