Are you visiting Prague soon? Make sure you know everything about national holidays in the Czech Republic. Holidays can affect opening hours, services or intervals of public transportation. Locals love holidays, however for travellers to Prague it can be a bit unexpected problem. Plan ahead!
Who is writing this post for you? My name is Dana and I am running a small local business called Prague Behind The Scenes. Besides guiding and designing all my off-the-beaten-path tours, I also write this blog about practical things you may find useful during planning your Prague trip.
13 national holidays every year
There are 13 national holidays in the Czech Republic. The sliding holiday rule is not applied here. If the national holiday falls on Saturday or Sunday, it is NOT moved on a working day.
Usually restaurants, sights and all the tourists hot spots stay open on all national holidays. You can always visit Prague Castle, synagogues, historical towers with viewpoints, St. Vitus Cathedral, etc. No worries, you will not get stuck in a hotel.
However, museums, private galleries or shops might be closed.
On certain national holidays shops must stay closed – by law!
Very confusing (even for locals!!!!) is the rule for opening hours during national holidays. On certain holidays, shops bigger than 200 square meters (2153 square feet) have to stay closed by law, while the smaller ones can be open.
This stupid rule doesn´t apply on all national holidays in the Czech Republic and that´s super tricky. But no worries, even locals get confused as we don´t remember which holiday is the “strict one” and which one is the “light one”. We always need to google it out or check on news.
List of the Czech national holidays
January 1 /may affect your plans/
New Year’s Day (Also the day when Czechoslovakia was officially divorced in 1993. Since then we are two separated countries – Czech Republic and Slovakia). On this day usually only small Vietnamese groceries stay open. Prague Castle is open but museums, galleries – all closed. Large shops and supermarkets will be closed too!
The date of Good Friday changes every year according to the Easter. Shops and supermarkets will be open. It´s almost like a regular day for many people and businesses. Just museums, galleries, smaller shops might be closed. Locals often leave the city for the entire weekend and Easter Monday.
Easter Monday /may affect your plans /
The date changes every year according to the date of Easter). Large shops and supermarkets will be closed! Also galleries, malls, small local businesses will most likely be closed. Restaurants, major sights will be open and working as usual.
Labour Day (and also our day of love when couples kiss each other under a blooming tree, try it!). Everything will be open and working. Some museums, local small businesses might be closed. Supermarkets and malls stays open.
May 8 /may affect your plans/
Liberation Day = End of WWII. Large shops, malls, supermarkets will be closed! Restaurants, sights stay open. Opening hours of museums may vary.
St Cyril and St Methodius Day. Cyril and Methodius were two Greek brothers who brought Christianity to the current Czech lands. It was back in 863. They also created lithurgical Slavonic language and alphabeth and contributed to the spread of Christianity throughout the country. Shops, malls, restaurants, sights are open and working. Opening times of museums, farmers markets, galleries, smaller shops, bakeries may vary. Many locals take the entire week off as on July 6 there is another national holiday. Some smaller businesses might be closed whole week (design shops, bakeries, cafés…).
Jan Hus Day. Jan Hus was a Czech Catholic Church reformer who was burnt at the stake on July 6 1415 for heresy against the doctrines of the Catholic Church. Shops, malls, restaurants, sights are open and working. Opening times of museums, farmers markets, galleries, smaller shops, bakeries may vary. Many locals take the entire week off as on July 5 there is another national holiday. Some smaller businesses might be closed whole week (design shops, bakeries, cafés…).
September 28 /may affect your plans/
St. Wenceslaus Day. St. Wenceslaus (Sv. Václav in Czech language) is a patron saint of our country. Large shops will be closed! But it doesn´t affect anything in the tourism – restaurants and sights will be open. Some museums might be closed.
October 28 /may affect your plans/
Day when Czechoslovakia was founded (1918). Large shops will be closed! But it doesn´t affect anything in the tourism – restaurants and sights will be open. Some museums might be closed.
Struggle for freedom and Democracy day (Velvet revolution, 1989), one of the most important and celebrated holidays in the Czech Republic when we got back our freedom, after 41 years of communism!! Come to celebrate this special day with us on Národní street. There is always a big event for loclas, happenings and concerts in the afternoon and evening. Shops, malls, restaurants, sights are open and working. Opening times of museums, galleries, smaller shops, bakeries may vary but usually nothing extreme. It´s a day of many public gatherings downtown Prague.
December 24 /may affect your plans/
Christmas Day – it´s a day when we celebrate Christmas (in the evening). Large shops are only open until the noon time! Please don´t forget to make your restaurant reservations ahead of time! I also recommend to book a breakfasts in your hotel for the upcoming days.
December 25 /may affect your plans/
1st Christmas holiday. Large shops will be closed! Majority of restaurants usually stays closed as well or have different opening hours. It´s also recommended to have reservations everywhere. Prague Castle will be open and some of the tourists hot spots as well. But in general it´s better to plan just outdoor activities and sightseeing. Museums, galleries will be closed.
December 26 /may affect your plans/
2nd Christmas holiday. Large shops will be closed! Prague Castle will be open and some of the tourists hot spots as well. But in general it´s better to plan just outdoor activities and sightseeing as the opening hours may vary. Museums, galleries will be closed.
Summary and my recommendations
Travelling during the national holidays is always a bit of pain. And in Prague the biggest pain is usually during the Christmas time.
From my experience, the best time for visiting Christmas Prague is before Christmas (until December 23rd). I always recommend avoiding December 24th, 25th or 26.
The other national holidays in the Czech Republic are not that extreme. But if you have in mind a more local experience and want to visit less touristy areas, farmers markets, good restaurants where locals go, design shops, galleries and non-touristy cafés, I highly recommend avoiding national holidays.
Many clients also ask me how it works here on Sundays (on regular days). Good news is that on Sundays, majority of places and shops stay OPEN, including malls and supermarkets.
Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have. You can also send me a request for special customized tour – to avoid any closures and troubles and see Prague in a less toruisty way.
Wish you a stress-free trip to Prague!
Dana, owner and guide for Prague Behind The Scenes