Just imagine for a moment – the last days of the year are slowly approaching, but you still don’t know where to go to celebrate it Prague is an excellent city to ring in the new year! With firework displays and festive markets, make it a perfect place to make unforgettable memories! As well as the unique historic quarter with its phenomenal architecture, there’s also the charm of the locals and Czech culture that all make for a very welcoming atmosphere. At New Year’s there’s even a good chance of snow. It’s definitely going to be pretty cold, so winter shoes, a big cosy jacket and ear-warmers are a must, but when you look at Prague Castle and see the fireworks going off all around it, the colourful lights and rockets will look even more beautiful in the white snow.
If you’re looking to spend New Year’s abroad in a place where you’ll get your money’s worth, Prague is always a good place to go. Hotels are generally very reasonable and a nice meal in a restaurant are on average cheaper than back home. Of course it’s always worth to eat at places that are a little bit away from the tourist hotspots, seeing as the Old Town is a lot more expensive than places outside the city centre. Otherwise New Year’s is a great opportunity to really let yourself go and indulge in a bit of luxury for a few days.
Having experienced New Year’s in Prague, I wanted to share insider tips on the best places to spend New Year’s eve in Prague, top sights to see and the enchanting streets of the city that will steal your heart! <3
Luckily for us, there are plenty of options to get to this amazing place. The main airport in the area is Prague international (Václav Havel Airport) and there are plenty of great value flights available. Direct flights from the UK depart from London, Manchester, Bristol and Edinburgh(just to mention a few). Depending on the time that you buy your tickets the price of the flights can be as low as £30 for a return flight from London. I recommend using a trusted site such as my Flight Finderto get the cheapest price available!
Once you arrive at Prague airport, you will find it easy to reach the city with public transport. There are several options when it comes to getting downtown by public transport, which is by far the cheapest option. Each goes to a different metro line, so make sure to find out the closest metro station to your accommodation. All of the buses run at regular intervals throughout the day and evening, and signs at the Arrivals gates point to their pick-up points; the buses make stops at both terminals. Make sure you have a ticket before boarding, which you then must validate on the bus (tickets are not available from the driver).
On the last day of the year many, locals and tourists gather along the banks of the Vltava, on the bridges and main squares throughout the city to watch the official firework display at midnight. While the fireworks during the night of New Year’s Eve are often set off by locals or event organisers, you can then enjoy the official family-friendly firework display of the city in the evening of 1st January. That means that the New Year’s festivities actually last two days!
You’ll get the best views from the water. At New Year’s many organisers offer boat trips on the Vltava river. You’ll be sailing along the river with good food and music on hand and you’ll be able to enjoy the views of the beautiful panorama of the city. If you’d rather stay on dry land, the 14 bridges of Prague all offer great views as well. Charles Bridge is especially good for this. The city’s oldest and most famous bridge is worth visiting anyway – but when the smoke from the fireworks clears away and the statues on either side of the bridge reappear in front of the backdrop of the city, you’ll be glad you chose to see the fireworks here.
Things are also very merry over in the Old Town and at Wenceslas Square. Lots of locals meet there to toast to the New Year and celebrate together. The bars and restaurants around the square are full of excited locals with traditional Czech music.
If you want a great view, you should make your way up to Prague Castle or climb Letná Hill. Here you can make your way through the bottle of champagne you brought with you and start making plans for the coming year.
New Year’s Day
As I’ve mentioned before there’s a large family-friendly firework display which takes place at 6pm on the 1st January. The central theme is One Hundred Years in the Capital City of Prague.
Before it all kicks off, you can discover the city during the day and admire some of the sights. Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral are always worth visiting. From here you’ll have a mind-blowing view across Prague, and you can then go off to admire the castle buildings as well as the National Gallery, the cathedral and the Golden Lane. If you’re looking for a comfortable trip through the city, you should definitely go for a little trip on the no. 22 tram.
Where are the best places to stay over New Year?
As ever with hotels, if you want to stay slap bang in the middle of it all, you can expect to pay a little more. Thanks to Prague’s excellent public transport system, I would recommend you save yourself a few koruna and stay a little further out and you commute by tram, bus or by foot. To help you make the best decision based on your interests, I’ve put together a description of each area so you can choose what suits you best!
The Old Town
Stay in Prague’s Old Town if you want to be in the heart of all the action; this a lively and popular area that most tourists want to stay in, so book early in advance. Staying here means you will be in an ideal location for visiting other major attractions! Be warned prices tend to be a little more expensive!
The Mala Stana
The historic castle district and ‘little quarter,’ Malá Strana is a winner for adventurers wanting to absorb the history and culture of the city, but in a more in a more laid-back and tranquil atmosphere.
The New Town
The New Town includes Wenceslas Square and Republic Square is seen as being a bit louder as it contains the bulk of the bars and hence the majority of the local Stag Party crowds. The New Town has many choices for shops and also contains the National Museum and main train station.
Castle & Surrounding Area
The immediate vicinity of the Castle has a few bars and no loud clubs so could be a great option for travellers that want a peaceful area but surrounded by some of the oldest buildings in the city. The Lesser Town is the area beneath the Castle but offers a greater choice of bars and restaurants than around the Castle. And is only an 8-minute walk to the Old Town Square.
Guru Tip: If you’re on a budget, staying in an Airbnb could be a cheap alternative to conventional hotels. If you like to have it all organised, hotel, flight and extras, Expedia and Voyage Privé provide excellent packages, so after a couple of clicks its time to start packing!
Best New Year’s Eve Parties
Like other cities it’s helpful to see what parties there are in Prague before you go. Lots of restaurants, bars, and also boat companies and hotels start offering special New Year’s offers from October onwards, which means you can start looking for the best parties in good time.
Cross the Vltava by boat
I’ve already mentioned the great views you can get from the river before. If you fancy a five-hour boat trip with a delicious buffet and live music, you’re in luck – there’s plenty of them here!
Prague Boats for example offers a New Year’s boat trip with a DJ and dinner on the 31st December and also offers a cruise on the 1st January. If you do it you’ll be able to enjoy the fireworks on the first day of the New Year together with everyone and spend the previous night dancing away in one of the clubs. You can go up onto the upper deck and enjoy the views of the city’s lights.
Dinner, club or pub crawl
What could be better at New Year’s than a dinner with a view? Once the clock strikes 12 you can enjoy a glass of champagne on the balcony or roof terrace. Maybe you could even have a little snowball fight with the guests on the party boats anchored on the riverbank. It’s advised to book a table in advance if you want to go to a restaurant in particular – the restaurants with good reviews on TripAdvisor are often booked up very quickly. If you want to be a little more spontaneous, you’ll definitely be able to find a spot somewhere as the choice is big and diverse!
I can really recommend two restaurants in particular – directly on the banks of the Vltava is the Hergetova Cihelna. This modern restaurant offers a perfect view of many of the city’s sights. The range of food on offer is excellent and the view is one of a kind. After a perfect celebration, you can use one of the free limousines to go back to your hotel in true style.
There’s also the chic Sa Sa Zu. Stylish, hyper-modern Asian cuisine awaits you here. It’s a feast for the eyes too – every dish is stunning to look at. After a delicious, early dinner you can then make your way to the SASAZU Club, where they host a New Year’s Eve masquerade party. All of the guests wear mysterious masks and there are dancers and acrobats performing everywhere. Top-level DJs really heat up the dance floor. It’s a unique party with a very special atmosphere indeed!
If you like things a little more rustic, then the New Year’s Eve Pub Crawl might be just the thing you’ve been looking for. It starts in the early evening – together with the other guests, you’ll be making your way through the city’s pubs. There are shots, beer and champagne to be had at every stop. The tour is led by passionate guides who’ll tell you the best stories from the Prague nightlife. You’ll soon see why Prague has the reputation of being the Beer Capital of the World!
What Places should you visit?
The largest ancient castle in the world, as well as one of the most gorgeous, Prague Castle, has served as the home to many different Czech heads of state ever since the 9th century. Baroque churches, a royal palace, flagstone courtyards and bejewelled reliquaries are all beautifully manicured parts that comprise of Prague Castle. This complex of buildings perched regally on a hilltop above Prague offers sweeping views across the city’s spires and domes. Here you find St. Vitus Cathedral, a fantastic example of Gothic architecture at its finest, and is the largest church in the country as well as one of the most important.
Old Town Square
The Old Town Square is an absolute must-see! Around winter time it will be full of stands selling ornate souvenirs, mulled wine and decorations for your Christmas time. For a birds-eye view of the Old Town Square, climb to the top of the Old Town Hall Tower. The views are spectacular say make sure you take a few selfies!
One of the main draws of the Old Square is the Astronomical Clock which dates back to 1410, this astronomical clock is the third-oldest in the world and the oldest still in operation. Don’t miss its fantastic moving display on the hour, every hour.
Wenceslas Square is Prague’s other main square, located in the centre of the Old Town. Wenceslas Square has been through a very rocky history – throughout the second world war the Nazis would use the square for huge demonstrations. However, it is now lined with many modern shops, cafes, hotels, and restaurants, and is dominated by the Czech National Museum at its north end.
Dress especially warm for the bridge! Then stroll along it and enjoy the views of the Vltava River, Prague Castle and sweeping city views. The Charles Bridge is a statue-lined bridge that connects the Old Town to the Little Quarter and Prague Castle. Whether it is a nonchalant evening stroll or specially timed sun-setting moment, holding hands at this stunning location is a no-brainer for lovers.
With its untouched architecture and stunning setting, on the banks of the Vltava River with views up to the majestic castle, Prague looks like a film set and often is one. A river cruise through the heart of the city is the most relaxing way to discover the well-regarded attractions that are nestled along the river and is an unquestionably romantic way of experiencing Prague.
Petřín Lookout Tower
Similar in style to the Eiffel Tower, Petřín Tower was built in 1891 and is 63.5 metres tall. It is located on the top of Prague’s Petřín hill, making the top of the tower the perfect spot to get jaw-dropping views over the city.
I hope I’ve convinced you that Prague should be the city in to celebrate the New Year, a trip to the Czech capital will be a wonderful way to start the new year!
It’s cold in the Czech Republic in December/January (expect temperatures below zero degree Celsius), so dress warmly.
Use the local currency Czech koruna, instead of Euro, as the conversation rate is always more expensive.
To secure a good position to watch the fireworks, go around 7pm to secure yourself a great viewing spot!
If you’re looking for a gorgeous city with parties, firework displays & Czech traditions, Prague is a winner!