You can beat the crowds to one of Europe's most popular destinations by visiting in November, January or February.

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PRAGUE IS ONE of those wondrous places that can be too popular for its own good. Tourists sometimes overload the winding medieval streets of the Czech city and jam Prague Castle. Hawkers and hustlers follow in their wake, surging across the city’s majestic 14th-century Charles Bridge.

Some visitors go on high to beat the crowds, floating in hot-air balloons above the spires of the castle on a summer night. Dangling in a basket beneath the balloon is a peaceful way to see one of Europe’s most popular destinations.

Another way to beat the tourist crowds: Go to Prague or other European cities in November, January or February. Sure, the weather can be grim. But bundle up, enjoy the offseason prices at hotels (and cheaper airfares to get there), and the thinner crowds at museums and other sights. What’s not to like (except the weather)?

Kristin R. Jackson is The Seattle Times NWTraveler editor. Contact her at

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