Prague in November
What is Prague like in November? It is too cold or too dark? What’s the typical weather? Is it a good time to visit Prague as a tourist?
While some days in October may still feel like late summer with temperatures above 20°C not uncommon, the picture often changes quite drastically in November. It gets dark early (before 5pm) and temperatures are more likely to drop close to zero at night and remain below 10°C even during the day.
That said, while weather is definitely not the reason to choose November as the best time to visit Prague, there are benefits. The tourist areas are less busy than in summer (although there are still many tourists), some hotels may offer slightly lower rates and, most importantly, there are a number of exciting events and things to see and do in Prague in November – more on them later, let’s first have a closer look at the weather.
Weather in Prague in November
Long-term average low (night) temperature is only 1°C in November, while average high (afternoon) is 6°C – generally between zero and +10°C is the most likely range during the day. This is a considerable difference from October averages (5°C low and 13°C high). Of course, if you come at the beginning of November you have a better chance of somewhat warmer days than if you come later.
The highest temperature ever recorded in Prague in November is 19.5°C. The lowest is -16.9°C. These are extremes, but they indicate how diverse the weather can be in the Czech Republic at this time of the year. It is safe to leave the shorts at home, but make sure you bring some warmer winter jacket in any case.
Sunrise and Sunset Times
Probably the most remarkable difference between October and November is the sunset time. Daylight Saving Time (DST) is observed in the Czech Republic and it typically ends on a weekend at the end of October (same as most other European countries). At that point the days suddenly start to feel much shorter, as the sun sets before 5pm (close to 4pm at the end of the month) and it gets completely dark soon after.
The exact times of sunrise and sunset in November are as follows:
- 1 November: sunrise 6:53, sunset 16:38
- 10 November: sunrise 7:08, sunset 16:24
- 20 November: sunrise 7:24, sunset 16:12
- 30 November: sunrise 7:39, sunset 16:03
The length of daylight gradually shortens over the course of the month from 9 hours 45 minutes at the beginning to 8 hours 24 minutes at the end of November.
Sunshine and Rain
It doesn’t rain that much – contrary to popular belief November is one of the driest months in terms of actual precipitation (32mm), with only 7 days of rain on average (so the chance of seeing rain on a random day is about 20-25%). In general, the rain comes as light to moderate rainfall, usually less intense that the storms which you can see in late spring or summer.
Snowfall is less likely than rain, although not entirely uncommon – 8cm of snow on average fall in November, which is about half of the amount for the months of December, January and February. If you happen to experience greater than negligible amount of snow, consider yourself very lucky, because the places like Old Town Square, Charles Bridge or Prague Castle get a truly fairy tale look when covered with fresh snow. Unfortunately, as in other big cities, the snow usually melts fast, especially in November when the really low freezing temperatures are less likely.
November is generally a very cloudy month in Prague. This, and the shorter daylight, results in lower amount of sunshine that Prague receives in November. The long-term average is only 54 hours of sunshine for the entire month, which is less than 2 hours per day and less than half of what October gets. The amount of sunshine remains approximately the same (under 2 hours per day) also in December and January.
The months of November and December are also those with the highest average humidity – 87-88%. It is often foggy in the morning; sometimes the fog clears after a few hours, but on some days it may linger for longer. The high humidity will probably make you feel much colder than you would otherwise feel in the same temperatures. Gloves are a good idea if you plan to spend extensive amounts of time outdoors.
Events and Things to Do
As you can see above, weather is generally not the best reason why choose November as the time of your visit. However, the month has an above average number of events and seasonal things to see and do.
The Czechs don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, although you may find some smaller isolated events, most likely driven by expats. Instead of that, they have traditions of their own at this time of year.
11 November is St Martin’s Day, which is not unique to the Czech Republic, but has become particularly popular in Czech restaurants in the recent years. The tradition is similar to German speaking countries, at least the part with eating St Martin’s goose. Many restaurants in all parts of Prague will have a special St Martin’s goose menu not only on 11 November, but also in the days before and after that date. Nevertheless, the better places can be fully booked, so if you stay in Prague for several days and find a restaurant which you like, consider making a reservation if you want to taste the goose.
By the way, it is often said that on 11 November St Martin “arrives on a white horse”, which means that you may expect the first snow of the upcoming winter to occur on this day.
17 November is the International Students’ Day, a public holiday in the Czech Republic and besides 28 October (the formation of Czechoslovakia) the most important date in the country’s modern history. It commemorates two of the most dramatic events – first the Nazi occupation and repressions against Czech universities and students in 1939 and then the Velvet Revolution of 1989, which was triggered by the 50th anniversary of the former and eventually led to the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia (see more about the historical background on Wikipedia).
Every year there are various events held in different places around Prague, particularly at Wenceslas Square, Národní třída (National Avenue), near Prague Castle and near different Charles University premises. Some of these events mainly accent the historical significance where you may see people lighting candles, while others are more focused on contemporary political issues. Besides public gatherings of people, there are always exhibitions, film projections or discussion meetings, some of them also in English.
If you are coming to Prague at the end of November, you may be able to see the start of advent (the fourth Sunday before Christmas) and the opening of Prague Chirstmas markets. There will be markets all over the city, but the biggest and most popular ones are at Old Town Square, Náměstí Republiky and the bottom end of Wenceslas Square (Můstek metro station). In the unlikely case that you are not familiar with what to expect – you can taste various delicious things like cakes, sweets or nuts, drink punch or mulled wine, listen to (and sing) carols and buy different things like handmade toys or Christmas decorations. You may also see fireworks on some nights.
One tip: The Christmas markets in the touristy places like Old Town Square or Wenceslas Square can often feel a bit too… touristy (Russian dolls or “Prague drinking team” T-shirts, anyone?). If you are looking for a more authentic place where the locals come to enjoy Christmas markets, try Náměstí Míru (metro line A, just two stops from Můstek) or the exhibition grounds in Holešovice (Výstaviště – also the name of the tram stop).
Concerts and Nightlife
November is high season for culture and nightlife for both young and old. Many tourists like to visit a classical concert when in Prague and there are numerous options for that (it’s good to scout the ground for offers first and not buy the first thing that someone throws at you).
If you prefer rock or electronic music or just want to spend some nights out clubbing, November is also a perfect time for that – it is the middle of autumn term in Prague and all the students are there, but exams still far away, which means perfect conditions for nightlife and events – and organisers know it. There will be plenty of concerts, parties and clubs to choose from every night.