Prague is a city with a broad history and a love of tradition. Many of the city’s biggest and brightest events combine the two in great celebrations that attract big numbers. Although there is variety in the types of events held in Prague, music features prominently in Czech culture, which can be seen in the sheer number of large music festivals that take place each year.
With so much happening throughout the year, we’ve put together a list of some of the most popular music festivals and events in Prague to give expats an idea of what to attend in the city.
Annual events in Prague
Days of European Film (January–February)
This festival showcases 30 to 40 different films from countries all over the continent in celebration of European film making. Most films have both English and Czech subtitles and are shown in cinemas all over city. Many of the stars, directors and producers of the films can be seen in Prague each year enjoying the festival.
Masopust, Czech for 'meat-fast', takes place the week before Ash Wednesday each year, and is the Czech version of Mardi Gras. The locals come out onto the streets of Prague for a colourful celebration, featuring parades with elaborate homemade costumes, pig-roasts, theatre performances and family activities.
Matějská pouť (Late February–April)
Running for over 410 years, Matějská pouť, or St. Matthew's Fair, is a family-friendly Czech tradition that is truly entertaining. The exhibition grounds boast around 130 attractions, from rollercoasters, houses of horror and a Ferris wheel, to virtual reality machines and a water world.
Prague Marathon (May)
The Prague marathon, sponsored by Volkswagen, is a full 42km international marathon that attracts some 20,000 runners from all over the world. There is also a 21km half marathon, for those wanting to run a shorter race, as well as 10km and 4km family fun runs.
Prague Spring International Music Festival (May–June)
Spanning three weeks, this international music festival showcases a series of classical music and dance performances in churches, palaces and concert halls throughout the city. Drawing thousands of visitors each year, Prague comes alive each spring with first-class music concerts from talented artists.
Summer Festivities of Early Music (July–August)
This music festival celebrates music throughout Czech history. The festival takes place in historic venues in which music of a corresponding style is performed. This celebration of Czech history, through pairing architecture and music, creates an atmosphere and an acoustic experience like no other.
Prague International Jazz Festival (October)
Expats can expect to see performances from both jazz legends and big bands during this festival. Mostly taking place Lucerna Music Bar, as well as a number of other venues in Prague, this festival combines local talent with great international artists in a fun celebration of jazz.
Christmas Markets (December)
Christmas markets throughout Prague open their stalls on the last weekend of November, and continue until Christmas day, with the main market venues being Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. These markets sell gifts, decorations, baked goods, mulled wine and barbequed sausages. December 1st sees a giant tree light up Old Town Square in a beautiful Christmas celebration, accompanied by music and street performers.