Choosing the right time to visit Prague with a goal to create some great travel imagery is an important decision you have to make. Nobody can guarantee the weather but you can increase the odds. In this article, I will help you to determine the best time to photograph to Prague.
First, let’s discuss your peers – other tourists.
Tourist seasons in Prague
In 2019, Prague welcomed 6.7 million international tourists (source: Prague City Tourism). That’s about 6 times Prague’s population. The majority of tourists come here with one goal – to visit and experience Prague’s most popular attractions. That’s what you want to photograph as well, right? I bet it is.
Visitors come to Prague all year but some months are better than others. The main season starts in May and ends in October. April and December fall into a shoulder season while January and February represent the lowest season.
How does a high season in Prague really look like? In July or August when incoming tourism is peaking, you can barely walk on Charles bridge during the day and it can easily double the time it takes you to cross the Old Town Square (compared to about two minutes normally). Personally, I’m trying to avoid these places whenever I can. They can get dangerous – you can get easily hit by a selfie stick. No one wants that.
Okay, we have covered the tourist seasons. As everywhere else in the world, they reflect the weather seasons. That’s what I’m going to address now.
How many seasons take a turn in Prague?
The Czech Republic is situated in the heart of Europe. On a side note, we like to say that we lie in central Europe, poetically speaking, in the heart of Europe. You won’t make many friends if you refer to us as an Eastern European country. Let’s have a look at a map and put the history aside, shall we?
As I was saying, thanks to our position, we have a temperate continental climate which results in four equally long seasons that take turns throughout the year – spring, summer, autumn, and winter.
In the next sections, I’m going to give you a brief understanding of each of them and what you can expect.
Spring (March – June)
- Nature awakens after cold winter months.
- Mornings can still get chilly.
- Temperatures during the day are moderate and range from 8-18°C (46-64°F).
- Weather can change fast and rain showers occur often. Photogenic clouds show frequently.
- Sunrises through the season shift from 6:02 am to 4:53 am. Sunsets move from 6:17 pm to 9:16 pm.
- Great time to visit nature, especially the rolling hills of South Moravia.
Summer (June – September)
- Temperatures can get as high as 35°C (95°F). Most of the time, you can expect temperatures ranging from 17-24°C (63-75°F).
- Heat streaks are typically followed by rainstorms that bring dramatic clouds and interesting light.
- Many clear days with no clouds. Tourists yell “Hooray”, photographers sigh “Meh”.
- Sunrises move from 4:53 am to 6:51 am and sunsets from 9:16 pm to 6:57 pm.
- You won’t get much sleep in this period of the year if you shoot sunsets with the blue hour and sunrise. Plan for naps during the day to avoid exhaustion on a longer photography trip.
Autumn (September – December)
- Warm weather is leaving in mid-September and autumn colors start to appear in nature.
- Mornings get cold, day temperatures range from 8-13°C (46-55°F) and in November and December dropping to 0-6°C (32-43°F).
- It rains often and overcast or cloudy days are a norm, especially in the second half of the season.
- Good chances for early morning fogs are in October and November.
- Sunrises move from 6:51 am to 7:59 am (great news, right?!) and sunsets shift from 6:57 pm to 4:02 pm.
- Days are very short and light is decent most of the day thanks to the low angle of the sun in the sky.
Winter (December – March)
- Do you wish for snow in Prague to add to its charm? You have to wish really hard! Snow is very scarce, especially if you hope for pristine snow cover to give your photographs a new layer of interest. We are looking at a couple of days in the entire season. Set your expectations accordingly, please.
- Mornings are cold and on clear days, the temperature can drop to -15°C (5°F). Generally, expect temperatures between minus 2 and 3°C (28-37°F). Mornings tend to be a bit colder.
- Cloudy and overcast days rule the skies.
- Sunrises move from 7:59 am to 6:04 am and sunsets from 4:03 pm to 6:16 pm. Days are getting longer again.
My recommendation on the best time to photograph Prague
You can visit any time of the year but some months are better for doing photography than others. If I were you, I would avoid the peak season in July and August as well as winter. Spring and autumn bring some of the most interesting skies due to the ever-changing weather.
Typically, I’d look into visits in the shoulder season and the beginning and the end of the high season. The first period is from April to early May and the second one is between mid-September and mid-October.
These options leverage well the weather as well as the numbers of tourists roaming through the streets of Prague and potentially getting in your pictures.
If you are planning your trip to Prague and want to have a photography guide by your side who knows the best spots, timing and focuses on travel, cityscape, and long-exposure photography, don’t hesitate to contact me.