As the New Year approaches, it’s traditional in the Czech Republic to slice an apple in half and scrutinise the core. The custom tells that a star shape in the fruit’s middle promises a year of happiness, but reveal a cross and that’s 12 months of mischief. Even those unlucky enough to get a cross will probably throw caution to the wind for a high-octane celebration on New Year’s Eve in Prague. Like most cities in the world, 31st December is a time to join friends and relatives in toasting with a flute of fizz under a sky lit up with fireworks.
What adds an especially joyous touch to New Year’s Eve in Prague is the celebration of Czech Restoration Day on 1st January. This auspicious date in the Czech calendar commemorates the division of Czechoslovakia and the establishment of the modern Czech Republic. That means, when the clock strikes midnight and glasses of Champagne are raised in celebration, the party isn’t quite over yet. Here are the best ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Prague.
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 three 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.
Instead of braving the cold and the crowds, why not retreat to the luxury of Corinthia Hotel Prague? This New Year they will be hosting an extra special celebration to ring in 2019 which will include a delicious four-course dinner and a complimentary drink to toast the New Year. Sit in the comfort of the bar while you enjoy a sweeping view of the city’s incredible firework display. This particular package also includes access to their luxurious spa – the perfect way to ease into 2019.
For uninterrupted views of the fireworks display, celebrate on the top deck of a boat on the Vlatva. A number of cruises offer a leisurely glide on New Year’s Eve in Prague, mooring in a spot that offers expansive views of the night sky. Over a smart dinner accompanied by live music, admire the city’s enchanting skyline with Prague Castle in the background and the fireworks illuminating everything.
If you don’t fancy being out and about come midnight, you can mark the New Year with something special and still get an early night. The city’s celebrated Philharmonic Orchestra offers 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 final hours of 2018.