Firework in prague during St John Navalis © Murmakova/iStock
New Year’s Eve in Prague is rather magical. The city’s residents are fond of a good party, and with Restoration Day on the 1st January celebrating the division of Czechoslovakia into the republic it is today, there’s double the reason to toast. Like most cities around the world, Prague pops so many bottles of fizz and puts on a spectacular fireworks display come midnight on the 31st December. From the best parties in town to quieter options, here are the best ways to spend New Year’s Eve in Prague.
Toast Beneath The Fireworks
The midnight fireworks in Prague are consistently spectacular, and restaurants, bars and river cruises plan their evening’s entertainment with the dazzling display in mind. There are two main areas where visitors and locals tend to assemble to enjoy the show, and each is defined by a slightly different character.
For a more relaxing environment, mark out a spot by the Vltava River near Charles Bridge, or reserve a place on the terrace of a riverside restaurant. The real party happens in the centre of town, though. There’s a lively mood among the locals in Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square, where the atmosphere builds to a fever pitch before breaking into cheers, hugs and dancing as the clock strikes midnight.
Step Aboard The Party Cruises
The Prague New Year’s Eve Jazz Cruise is an exceedingly popular tradition – after all, these are some of the best seats in the house from which to take in the fireworks. Consequently, tickets sell out fast. Those lucky enough to secure theirs will enjoy flutes of Prosecco and a feast of Czech cuisine, with a talented trio of jazz musicians providing the entertainment. The cruise winds past Prague Castle and beneath the Charles Bridge before mooring to witness a fitting crescendo of fireworks.
For those with livelier tastes, the Prague New Year’s Eve Party Boat hosts a more sybaritic crowd, with a live DJ spewing popular hits into a very busy dancefloor. While a banquet dinner of Czech staples is included, it’s not the highlight. That honour is reserved for the bottle of Bohemia Sekt, popped en masse just before midnight to ring in the New Year beneath the fireworks.
Soak Up Some Culture At A Classical Concert
If you don’t fancy being out and about come midnight, you can mark New Year’s Eve in Prague with something special and still get an early night. The city’s celebrated Philharmonic Orchestra presents a sophisticated afternoon programme that includes soaring masterpieces by heavyweights such as Dvořák, Tchaikovsky and Puccini at Municipal House on 31st December. The gilded interiors of the ceremonious Smetana Hall are certainly an elegant place to spend the last afternoon of the year.
For a real sense of place, head to Prague Castle where New Year’s Eve classical music recitals are performed beneath the beautiful frescoed ceilings of the Lobkowicz Palace. Enjoy a celebratory toast afterwards on the Palace Café terrace overlooking the city.