A trip to the Czech Republic is amazing in any time of year—whether it’s for May Day festivities in the springtime, the not-too-hot weather during summer or the magical holiday season. But if you’re looking to experience Bohemia like a local, plan your trip during one of these events, happening all over the country, all year long.
“Vital Art 1900 in Prague” — You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t care for Art Nouveau, or at least hasn’t learned to appreciate its beauty. This exhibition, which will run through 2015, explores turn-of-the-century national and international Art Nouveau works. Municipal House, Prague. Through 2014. www.obecnidum.cz
St. Matthews Fair — Head to the post-industrial, up-and-coming neighborhood of Holesovice for this annual spring carnival at the Prague Exhibition Grounds. Ride on roller coasters, a Ferris wheel, carousels and other standard festival fun, and don’t forget to pick up a gingerbread heart souvenir on your way out. Until April 30. www.matejskapout.cz
JazzFest Brno – This annual citywide event takes place in everything from big concert houses to tiny clubs in beautiful Brno, the Czech Republic’s second-largest city. Headlining this year’s festival is America’s own Gregory Porter on May 25. While you’re there, don’t miss a trip through the city’s legendary caves. Until May 25. www.jazzfestbrno.cz
Easter celebrations – In Central Europe, Easter means outdoor fairs, holiday markets and elaborate church celebrations where visitors can purchase traditional painted eggs, including Wenceslas Square and Old Town Square in Prague. April 19-21, various locations. www.npu.cz
May Day in Cesky Krumlov – The quaint medieval town in the southernmost part of the country hosts historic traditional events like the maypole, a parade, family-centric activities and live music. April 30-May 1. www.ckrumlov.info.
Karlovy Vary Food Festival – While the cuisine of the Czech Republic is definitely on the hearty side and might not woo those with gourmet tastes, events like the annual Czech Food Cup suggest differently. Regional competitions take place in five cities, with the national finals held in the luxurious spa town of Karlovy Vary. May 3–5. www.foodfestivalkv.cz
Gingerbread Festival – Fans of the sweet treat won’t have to wait until Christmas to get their fix—in May, Pardubice Chateau hosts this 13th annual festival, where you’ll catch performances, contests (such as the fastest-eater contest) and take part in traditional Czech activities. And of course, there’ll be plenty of chances to taste various kinds of gingerbread. May 8. www.ipardubice.cz
Prague Beer Festival – Can’t stand the crowds at Oktoberfest? Spend 17 days sipping 70 kinds of Czech beer inside a massive outdoor beer tent. May 15-31. www.ceskypivnifestival.cz
Straznice Folk Festival – The largest and oldest festival of folklore in Europe, this event in the small town in southern Moravia hosts dance performances, concerts and opportunities for tourists to join in the fun. June 26-29. www.nulk.cz
Bohemia Jazz Fest – Since 2005, this massive jazz festival has taken place in multiple Czech cities, touting big names in international music that are all completely free to attend. July 10-20. www.bohemiajazzfest.cz
Prague Pride – This weeklong celebration of LBGT culture includes a colorful parade followed by an outdoor concert, theatre, film and sports. August 11-17. www.praguepride.cz
Mercedes Benz Prague Fashion Weekend – You might not know that Prague is definitely on the fashion map and events like Fashion Weekend prove it, featuring up and coming national designers. September 18-22. www.praguefashionweekend.cz
Architecture Week – Right after Fashion Weekend, design junkies should extend their stay for this annual festival of all things architecture, including lectures and exhibitions. September 23–October 23. www.architectureweek.cz
Pilsner Fest – Fill up on Pilsner in the town that gave it its name—Plzen! Every October 4, the city celebrates the anniversary of the first-ever brew of Pilsner Urquell. October 4. www.pilsnerfest.cz
Prague Christmas markets – Christmastime in the U.S. pales in comparison to these countrywide festivities, the biggest of which take place in Prague. Visitors can wrap up all their Christmas shopping at the many markets that pop up around the city. Be sure not to overlook the smaller ones at Namesti Miru and Jiriho Z Podebrad—you’ll skirt the holiday crowds. December 1-January 1. www.trhypraha.cz