While spring is on the horizon, February in Prague is still quite cold, and there is always a chance of snowfall. But if you are planning a trip to this historic city in February, there is a chance you may be treated to the annual pre-Lenten celebration of Carnival, done Czech style.
Travelers to Prague in February will enjoy lower-than-usual prices for flights and accommodations since most tourists visit during the spring and summer.
If you are venturing there in February, pack warm clothes, especially if you plan to take in any of Prague's outdoor sights. The average February temperature is around 32 degrees, and most days the weather is on the cloudy side even if it is not snowing.
Like many Eastern European cultures, Czechs celebrate and indulge their appetites in preparation for the sacrifices expected during Lent. Masopust is the traditional Czech Shrovetide or Carnival celebration, similar to American Mardi Gras, beginning a week before Ash Wednesday.
During Masopust, festivals take place in Prague, Cesky Krumlov, and elsewhere in the Czech Republic. The word masopust is Czech for “meat fast” or “farewell to meat.” Like its fellow Carnival celebrations in other parts of the world, Masopust is a time for feasting and revelry, and for dressing in costumes and wearing masks. One such celebration, the Bohemian Carnevale, takes place in the Old Town Square.
The traditional pre-Lenten meal in Prague is zabijacka, or pork feast, served with sauerkraut and generous quantities of drink. Public hog feasts are held in Prague for visitors to attend, so if you really want to get into the local culture, seek out one of these feasts during your visit.
The other big February holiday is Valentine's Day.
If you are in Prague for Valentine’s Day, be advised that the lovers’ holiday is not celebrated as widely in the Czech Republic as it is in the United States. Although, many hotel and restaurants in Prague offer Valentine's Day packages and specials. If you are looking for a romantic Valentine’s Day gift, Czech garnets are considered among the finest in the world and can be found in jewelry stores around Prague.
Take care to shop at a reputable jeweler, the counterfeit garnet trade in Prague is notorious for tricking tourists.
Celebration of the Arts
There are a few arts-related events in Prague in February, although not all are held annually. The Festival Mala Inventura is a showcase of new theater performances held at venues around the city.
February in Communist History
Another significant, if less celebrated, date from Czech history is the 1948 Czechoslovak coup d'etat, which Communists referred to as "Victorious February." This was when the Communist Party, backed by the Soviet Union, officially took control of the government in what was then Czechoslovakia. This and many other milestones in Communist history are featured at the Museum of Communism in Prague, open every day of the year except Christmas Eve.