Prague in October
Is October a good time to visit Prague? Is the weather still OK or does it get too cold? Generally, unless you absolutely insist on summer temperatures, October is a fine time to see the city. The days are still relatively long (sunset 5-6pm), the trees get all sorts of strange colours, the crowds of tourists are still there and the cultural scene is entering its peak season.
Weather in Prague in October
Prague and Central Europe in general are among those places where the weather can be quite unpredictable, and early autumn is among the least predictable times of year. The differences from year to year, and even from week to week in the same year, can be enormous. If you are lucky, you can still find afternoon temperatures rising above 20°C on some days (record high in October is 27°C), but you might as well see them drop close to zero at night at other times (record low is -8°C).
That said, these are extremes and the most common temperatures are in the low teens (10-16°C) in the afternoon and around 3-8°C at night. Of course, early October has better chance of higher temperatures than late October, and also gets longer hours of sunshine and later sunsets.
Sunrise and Sunset
At the beginning of October the sun rises around 7:00 and sets around 18:40, providing still almost 12 hours of daylight. Prague and the Czech Republic observe Daylight Saving Time (DST) in the same way as most other European countries do. The DST typically ends near the end of October (often the night from the last Saturday to the last Sunday in October).
Just before DST ends, sunrise time is around 7:45 and sunset around 17:45 – about 10 hours of daylight, so you can see that the days become shorter very fast in October and you will notice the difference every week. As DST ends, sunrise suddenly shifts to 6:45 and sunset to 16:45, which starts to feel very early and just confirms the winter is knocking on the door.
Sunshine and Rain
The average daily hours of sunshine are about 4 hours in October, but again the differences between the beginning and the end of October are considerable. For comparison, average daily sunshine hours in September are about 5.5, while in November it’s less than 2 hours.
Contrary to popular belief, early autumn is actually one of the driest parts of the year in terms of precipitation. On average, Prague gets only 30.5mm of rain in October, compared to the highs in the 70’s in May and June. The average number of rainy days in October is 5.5, which is less than 20% of days. Moreover, the rain tends to come in shorter and less intense chunks compared to summer.
That said, precipitation statistics can be a bit misleading, because it often does feel wet even when it’s not raining. It can get foggy and misty especially in the morning, with the sky often clearing around midday. Average humidity is 81% in October and it generally increases as the month proceeds (for comparison, average humidity is lowest at around 70% in spring and summer, and highest around 86-88% from November to January).
What the Weather Means for a Tourist
Luckily, most of Prague’s attractions and things to do are perfectly doable in typical October weather. The beautiful historical houses are still there, as is the castle and Charles Bridge. Indeed, some of the places and views get entirely different atmosphere when the trees start to get their autumn shades of yellow, orange and red, and yet different again when the lights go on after sunset.
The main implication of October weather is that you should be prepared for almost anything. As long as you take some warmer clothes for those chilly evenings, you’ll be fine and able to enjoy the city as in any other part of the year. However, if you are hoping for the colder weather to discourage other visitors, you will find that the crowds of tourists at the most popular places are almost the same as in the high summer season. Prague is an all year round destination.
Events and Things to Do
28th October is public holiday in the Czech Republic, and a big one – the anniversary of the creation of Czechoslovakia following the World War I on 28 October 1918. There are celebrations, political meetings and other events going on in various places around the city – you can expect them mainly in the popular places like Wenceslas Square or the area in front of Prague Castle.
Autumn is also the time when theatres and other cultural venues come to life after somehow lower activity in summer, so you can expect a higher number of various exhibitions, smaller film festivals and other cultural events all around the city. It often happens that you virtually stumble upon these things unexpectedly when walking around the city.