Is January a good month to visit Prague?
This really depends on what you want to do in Prague. It will be quiet, cold and nothing much will be happening, but equally, it could be a great opportunity to come to Prague during the low tourist season.
When I visit Prague in January or in February, I usually spend a lot of time re-visiting museums, galleries, reading books in cosy cafes and going to the theatre or seeing the latest movie in my favourite cinema. On a bright sunny day, I also love getting out of Prague for a day trip and a long walk in the countryside.
Most attractions outside of Prague such as museums and castles are closed for winter or might be open only at weekends and for a slightly shorter time.
If you want to plan any day drips, it’s worth getting up earlier in the morning as by 2-3 pm it can be virtually dark or very grey.
Prague is very quiet during January, especially as most people leave at the beginning of January, after the New Year’s Celebrations.
What’s the January weather like?
Most years, Prague and Czech Republic’s January weather is very cold with temperatures dropping well below 0 C.
During the night the temperature can drop down to -3-10 C and during the day (and if it’s sunny) might hover around 2-3 C but can easily stay well below 0 C. You might get lovely sunny days in January, but it will feel chilly at the same time and especially when the sun comes down in the afternoon.
You can also expect snow in Prague and if you venture for a day trip to the mountains, you can easily get snow on the ground.
If the weather is warm (for whatever reason), it might rain instead of snow, so bring an umbrella or rainproof jacket.
The daylight is about 8 am to 4 pm with light visibility until about 4.30 pm.
If you are unlucky you might get days when the sky will be grey and permanently cloudy. It will feel like it’s getting darker even sooner than 2-3 pm if it’s cloudy and raining, so definitely plan some indoor activities.
One important thing to mention about the cold in Prague. It might be below zero, but because this cold is ‘dry’ it doesn’t feel as cold as if it was 0 or even 2-3 C in London or UK. This is because of relatively low humidity.
The reason why I’m saying this is, as long as you are sufficiently wrapped in good warm clothes and have decent winter shoes, you don’t have to worry that you’ll be cold!
What to pack for your visit
Apart from the general packing advice make sure that you have warm walking shoes, warm fleece or jumper and a winter jacket.
I tend to go for warm layers, so I pack a warmer body layer with long sleeve, fleece and a jacket or a coat.
If it’s very cold and I decide to wear a shorter jacket I also wear a pair of leggings, especially under jeans. Jeans are one fabric that doesn’t actually make your body warm, so leggings or warm tights are a must (for me anyway!).
I also bring a winter hat or a cap as it gets colder in the evening and the wind can be quite freezing.
You’ll also need warm gloves and a scarf, depending on much you feel the cold.
If you feel the cold, I really recommend walking shoes with thick rubber soles (that keep your feet off the ground), thick socks (or two pairs of socks), leggings or thick tights under good warm trousers, long winter feather down jacket, scarf, gloves and a winter hat that covers your forehead.
I find by that stopping the cold from getting into my body through thin shoes and stopping it from escaping by wearing a winter beanie hat, I feel always nice and toasty!
An umbrella is also handy unless you have a good waterproof rain jacket.
If you are planning to do longer day trips, it’s a good idea to bring a good day backpack and add an extra layer, hat or extra pair of socks for when the temperature drops in the evening.
Instead of a water bottle, I often take a hot coffee flask with me on my day trips. I’d still stop for a coffee or a tea during the day, but you never know if there is going to be a suitable place open where you are heading. This is especially useful if you are thinking of travelling further from the centre in the afternoons or weekends.
THINGS TO DO
1 January – New Year
The first day of each year is a national holiday, but if it falls on the weekend, you don’t get another day off during week.
Most shops (especially the larger ones, including food shops) are closed on this day as well as offices, banks and government buildings. Small food shops are usually open as well as museums and other attractions.
6 January – Three Kings
The 6th of January celebrates the arrival of three kings to Jerusalem to see baby Jesus. Many churches celebrate this with special services, concerts and theatre events.
Traditionally, Czech people would keep their Christmas trees and decorations until 6th January, so if you are around after this date, you might see a lot of discarded Christmas trees lying around.
The town Christmas lights and decorations are also put away around this date.
Things to do in Prague in January
Visit a museum
There are so many museums in Prague on so many topics, that I’m sure you’ll find one that interests you. My favourite includes the Technical Musem next to Letna Park or the Prague Museum close to Florenc.
Prague Museum (Florenc) – Exhibitions about the history of Prague or particular areas and permanent exhibitions about Prague history.
Technical Museum – (close to Letna Park) – transport and travel exhibition (including trains, old cars, motorbikes and planes), home exhibition (how domestic helpers have developed over the century).
National Museum – (at the top of Wenceslas Square) Interesting exhibitions from the history of the Czech Republic and an impressive building to see from the inside.
Visit Prague Castle
You can easily spend a whole day at Prague Castle (both inside the various buildings and outside walking around the different squares and little lanes), which is why I think it’s a perfect solution to a cold day.
There are plenty of coffee shops and restaurants within Prague Castle, which means you can really spend the whole day just exploring the area.
Go for a coffee in a cosy old-fashioned coffee house
There are so many amazing coffee places in Prague and winter is the perfect opportunity to sit indoors, relax and enjoy a nice hot drink.
Taste Czech traditional food
If you want to try something a bit different, taste some of the delicious Czech food, such as hearty goulash with dumplings, potato soup, filled potato dumplings with smoked meat and sauerkraut.
Visit the Fata Morgana Greenhouse at Botanical Garden in Troja
If you are a bit fed up with the cold (and honestly I don’t blame you), why not warm up and transport yourself into a tropical forest by visiting the Fata Morgana Greenhouse in Troja. While it’s run by the Botanical Garden, the entrance is separate from the main area and you can visit the Greenhouse separately.
The entrance fee is 100 CZK (about £3. 50 or $5) and you’ll need about 60-90 minutes for your visit. The greenhouse is open every day, apart from Monday and in January it opens 9 am- 4pm
If you fancy a longer trip, you can visit the Fata Morgana in the morning and then walk around Troja or visit the Zoo or go to Troja Castle (it’s more like an art gallery)
Go ice skating
Each year, there are different locations for outdoor ice-skating rinks, which is often next to a beautiful backdrop of old houses in the middle of Prague, such as the Estates Theatre close to the Old Town Square. You can borrow ice skates at the rink, so all you need to do is to turn up and be dressed appropriately.
This blog post was originally written on 21 October 2021 and last updated on 9 January 2022