January in Prague: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

Charles Bridge and St. Vitus cathedral in winter snow, Prague, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Czech Republic, Europe
Gavin Hellier / robertharding/Getty Images

With average temperatures in the freezing range, January is the coldest month of the year in Prague. There's plenty to see and do during this chilly time in the picturesque Czech Republic city, but you'd better dress warm before making your rounds.

The upside to visiting Prague in the wintertime is that it's practically tourist-free, meaning shorter lines, less crowding at the city's main attractions, and hotel prices almost as low as the temperatures.

Prague Weather in January

Winter in Prague is extremely cold and offers an average of only two to three hours of sunlight per day. The average high is 33 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) and the average low is 22 degrees Fahrenheit (-5 degrees Celsius). Additionally, the average humidity for the city at this time of year is 84 percent, which makes the freezing temperatures feel even colder than they already are.

There is hardly any rainfall during winter, but there's certainly a whole lot of snow. It snows, on average, 11 days each winter month.

What to Pack

Layers are the key to visiting Prague in January. Prepare to be outdoors as many of the sights (a tour of the Prague Castle grounds, for example) are best seen on foot. Don't leave home without:

  • A long winter coat
  • Warm, comfortable (and ideally waterproof) boots or shoes
  • Woolen socks
  • A hat, gloves, and a scarf

January Events in Prague

Prague has a few Christmas-centric events that can be enjoyed in January, as well as concerts and historical celebrations.

  • New Year's Day: January 1 is an official holiday throughout the Czech Republic. New Year's Day heralds the Winter Festival of Bohemia, an annual celebration that started in 1972 and focuses on the classical arts of dance, opera, ballet, and classical music. Generally, these concerts take place at Prague's National Theatre.
  • The Nutcracker: Every year, the Hybernia Theatre puts on "The Nutcracker" and it runs from December through late January.
  • Jan Palach Day: On January 19, the country remembers the student who set himself on fire in protest during the Soviet invasion of August 1968 and subsequently died. Many Czech people lay flowers or light a candle in his memory at Wenceslas Square.
  • Three Kings Procession: This annual event occurs on January 5, followed by the Feast of the Epiphany, which wraps up the Christmas holiday in the Czech Republic and many other countries. The procession ends at the Prague Loreto in the Castle District.

January Travel Tips

  • It's likely that you'll spend much of your trip looking for ways to keep warm while you sightsee. The hearty Czech cuisine is a great excuse to warm up, explore the Prague restaurant scene, and get a taste of the local flavors.
  • If you're still feeling the Christmas spirit, many of Prague's intricate nativity scenes (such as the ones at Jindrisska Tower) are still on display in January and sometimes into February.
  • When it's too cold to walk, take advantage of Prague's convenient public transportation system.
  • Be sure to check the hours of operation for museums and other attractions during this holiday-heavy season.
  • Spend a day shopping in New Town after all the Christmas crowds will have dwindled.
  • The best times to visit Prague and Eastern Europe are spring and early fall, when the weather is mild and there are fewer crowds. But, if you are traveling on a budget, the off-season might offer better deals. Other cities to consider checking out in January include Bratislava, Budapest, and Moscow.
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