When planning your trip to the Czech Republic it’s wise to check whether your stay will coincide with a public holiday (statní svátek), of which there are many in the Czech calendar.
Usually visitor attractions will remain open on such days, but bear in mind many shops are closed (global chains and malls remain open) and public transport runs at reduced capacity.
As elsewhere, Christmas, New Year and Easter are public holidays in the Czech Republic. The Christmas break comprises 24, 25 and 26 December, and 1 January is also a public holiday. Unlike in some countries, if one of these four dates falls on a weekend, the closest working day is not a public holiday in lieu. At Easter, only Easter Monday is a public holiday; Good Friday is a working day.
After Easter the first public holiday is 1 May, which was celebrated as May Day under Communism. The next public holiday follows exactly a week later, on 8 May or Victory in Europe Day. It marks the end of the Second World War and the end of the 1945 Prague Uprising, which began on 5 May.
The beginning of July celebrates Czech medieval religious reformer Jan Hus on 5 July and Saints Cyril and Metodius, who introduced Christianity to the Czech Republic, on 6 July. If either or both of these two dates fall on working days, many Czechs take the whole week off, which coincides with the start of the school holidays.
The next two holidays fall on the 28th of September and October. The former celebrates St Wenceslas, the patron saint of the Czech Republic, and the latter marks the establishment of an independent Czechoslovakia in 1918. Despite the break-up of Czechoslovakia in 1989, it’s still a public holiday.
The last public holiday before Christmas is 17 November, the Battle for Freedom and Democracy and the start of the 1989 Velvet Revolution that overthrew the communist government.
Christmas soon approaches after that, and then it’s time for the holiday cycle to start all over again.