Browse the colourful Easter Markets
By the beginning of April, celebrations of spring and Easter are well underway. Easter is, of course, movable celebration, but it usually falls within the end of March and beginning of April. Prague is typically full of Easter Markets, where you can admire traditional Easter Eggs, spring decorations and other local crafts.
The markets are usually in the large squares such as Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square (close to Mustek Underground station), Namesti Miru, Namesti Republiky (close to Kotva department store) and other major squares.
At this point, I should mention that if you are thinking of buying traditional Easter Eggs as a souvenir, make sure you can carry them safely wrapped in your hand luggage or a handbag. The Czech Easter Eggs are still made in a traditional way of first blowing the content of a real egg out and then decorating the egg with elaborate designs. Which, of course, means, that the eggs are very fragile!
Get yourself moving with Prague Half Marathon
The Prague Half Marathon is usually held first Sunday in April and according to the runner’s reviews, is always very well organised and includes an excellent running course. The course will take you through the main historic areas around both sides of the Vltava river, and you’ll even run on Charles Bridge to cross the river. If you are thinking of running the half marathon, it’s best to register early and book your accommodation well in advance.
Experience the Burning Witches Night
The last day of April (or the last weekend before the end of April) has always been my favourite day at the beginning of spring. It’s the Burning Witches Night, which used to be our excuse for having the first bonfire of the year and play the guitars until the early morning. The tradition is that burning fires on the last day of April will help to bring on better crops and keep all evil at bay. It was also a way of welcoming Spring and the legends tell us that at midnight all caves and mountains open up and you can walk in to get a golden treasure.
You’ll find these celebrations taking place usually in the Prague suburbs or small towns just outside Prague, but it’s well worth looking them up.
Have a fun evening out
Since April can be still quite chilly at night, you probably won’t be doing too many evening walks. But a visit to a theatre might be just the perfect evening treat! First of April is an April Fools day and people often play practical jokes on each other. So, if you want to experience a little bit of offbeat Czech humour (in English), have a look at Jara Cimrman’s plays.
Warm up in a tropical glasshouse
Since it can be still quite chilly in April, I always find that it helps to plan some activities indoors to warm up. And there is nothing better than a tropical glasshouse on a cold, windy afternoon! Most people are aware of the large botanical garden in Troja, but that’s a trip for a whole day. To get there, you need to take an underground and a bus, plus it cost around 200 Kc to entry, so you probably want to stay there for the best part of the day to see everything.
But, there is a little hidden gem of a botanical garden right in the centre of Prague, very close to Karlovo Square. It’s either a very short walk from the Karlovo Namesti (square) underground station or you can also take a tram.
This botanical garden is (in comparison to the one in Troja) very small, but it will keep you entertained for at least a couple of hours, and the entrance fee is only 50 Kc. The botanical garden is run by the Charles University Natural Department and it’s surrounded by various old buildings that still form part of the Charles University and also a hospital.
The botanical garden was originally founded in 1775, but at that time it was located at Smichov (Prague 5). By 1840 the garden was already well established with more than 13 000 types of plants.
The botanical garden was built quite close to Vltava river, and because it was flooded several times, it had to be moved. By the end of 19 century, Smichov was a prosperous manufacturing quarter with expanding the need for more buildings, factories and houses for the workers and the botanical garden had to move again. This time to its current location between the streets Benatska and Vinicna. All the plants have been carefully lifted from their original location and replanted in the new botanical garden. At the time the Charles University had both Czech and German faculty and the botanical garden was equally divided between the two. It’s quite ironic, that when Prague was attacked in the controversial bombing by American Forces on 14 February 1945, it was the German part of the botanical garden that was damaged, not the Czech one.
Go on a day trip from Prague
Outside Prague, most heritage places will be now operating main season timetable, which means they will be open longer or re-opened after a winter break.
Before it gets too busy, visit the most important and talked about castle after Prague Castle. And unlike Prague Castle, Karlstejn is a real castle and it’s only a short train journey from Prague. On the hill, nestled in the valley hidden from the views of potential enemies, you’ll see the castle in its glory as you walk up the steep road that leads to it.