From international film festivals to traditional Czech parades, these are the best spring events in Prague
Prague may be a city rich in history and tradition, but it’s also a centre for modern innovation and culture. From quirky customs such as Witches’ Night and annual celebrations like the Czech Beer Festival, to contemporary events such as the Prague Fringe Festival and Febiofest, the city’s spring calendar is full of exciting occasions to plan your trip around. Whether you’re looking to uncover time-honoured traditions or explore the city’s avant-garde attractions, let this summary be your guide to the best spring events in Prague.
One of the largest film festivals in the Czech Republic, Febiofest is a celebration of international cinematography. The festival at Cinestar Andel showcases the best films of the last year, alongside premieres, tributes, retrospectives and projects by up-and-coming filmmakers. As well as screenings, festivalgoers can enjoy live music at the Febio Music Festival, which takes place in the cinema’s garage, or a themed dinner as part of Culinary Cinema.
Prague’s most eccentric annual festival, Witches’ Night is a centuries-old pagan tradition based around the idea of witch burning. Visitors can get involved by watching the parade, which travels through the city streets to Kampa Island, where a large bonfire awaits on which straw witches are burned ‘alive’ as merry makers eat hotdogs and watch the pyre go up in flames. The concept may seem a little morbid but it’s actually a celebration to say farewell to the spirits of winter.
One of the most important cultural events in the Czech Republic, Prague Spring International Music Festival is revered not just across the country, but also across the globe. Celebrating its 71st anniversary in 2016, the festival invites orchestras, conductors and classic musicians to perform at historic buildings, churches and theatres across the city. The event kicks off with an opening concert by the illustrious Czech Philharmonic orchestra, conducted by Paavo Järvi.
The Czech Republic is one of the greatest beer brewing hubs in Europe, so it’s no surprise that beer festivals form some of the most popular events in Prague. The Czech Beer Festival lasts for an impressive 17 days and is the optimal place to sample Czech beer. With more than 150 draft beers on offer, pacing yourself is key.
Since its launch a decade ago, Prague Food Festival has become a prestigious gastronomic event. From a stunning location in the Royal Gardens of Prague Castle, guests sample local and international food and drinks. For 2016, the festival pays homage to Czech king and Roman emperor Charles IV, with traditional meals from the 14th century served in celebration of what would have been his 600th birthday.
Taking its lead from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, Prague Fringe Festival is a melting pot of theatrical talent. Attendees can look forward to a wide variety of performance arts, from abstract theatre productions and musicals, to comedy, monologues and more.