Why Christmas Markets in Prague Should Be on Your Bucket List

Christmas markets attract many travellers to Europe in winter and the Christmas markets in Prague, capital of the Czech Republic, are often mentioned as one of the best.

If you are around at the end of the year, you shouldn’t miss this enchanting experience.

Prague becomes even more magical during Christmas time
Prague becomes even more magical during Christmas time

We have visited these markets many times and we still enjoy their festive atmosphere.

Prague is a beautiful city but it becomes even more magical during the holiday season – especially if there is some snow!

There are many reasons why the Christmas markets in Prague should be on your bucket list.

Where

Prague's Christmas markets are among the best in Europe
Prague’s Christmas markets are among the best in Europe

The Christmas markets (vanocni trhy in the Czech language) in Prague are spread all over the city and you can find them in many squares and streets.

The most popular markets are located in the historic centre of the city, which is fairly compact and flat, so it’s easy to stroll from one market to another.

There is no need to use public transportation – it is quicker to walk than to take the metro or tram.

For example, it takes just a few minutes to walk from the market in Old Town Square to Wenceslas Square or Republic Square.

Don't miss the beautiful views on the way up to Prague Castle
Don’t miss the beautiful views on the way up to Prague Castle

The most popular Christmas markets, which you shouldn’t miss, are the following:

  • Old Town Square (Staromestske namesti) – one of the best Christmas markets in the world
  • Wenceslas Square (Vaclavske namesti) – located in the heart of the city
  • Republic Square (Namesti Republiky) – in front of the Palladium Shopping Centre (one of the biggest shopping centres in the Czech Republic)
  • Prague Castle (Prazsky hrad) – great views of the city on the way up

But there are also many smaller local Christmas markets around the city that you should visit if you look for more authentic (and less touristy) experience, for example:

  • Peace Square (Namesti Miru) – usually the first market of the season
  • Tyl’s Square (Tylovo namesti) – small market in the Vinohrady district
  • Andel – located just off the Andel metro station, next to the Novy Smichov Shopping Centre (also one of the biggest shopping malls in the Czech Republic)

Christmas markets are very popular with both the locals and tourists and that’s why they can get very busy – try to avoid weekends and visit in midweek if possible.

When

There is another popular Christmas market in Wenceslas Square
There is another popular Christmas market in Wenceslas Square

Typically, the bigger markets are open from early December to early January and the smaller ones from late November till late December, so check the market dates online before you book your flights.

If you manage to avoid travelling during peak times at Christmas and New Year and travel before or after the holiday season instead, you can get great flight deals.

Accommodation is also cheaper at this time of year as this is considered the low season (except for New Year’s Eve), so the trip can be made on a very low budget.

The Christmas markets are open every day, even on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Size

Eye-catching Christmas tree decorations are a popular item in Prague's Christmas markets
Eye-catching Christmas tree decorations are a popular item in Prague’s Christmas markets

In comparison with the Christmas markets in other countries, especially in Germany, the markets in Prague are smaller, which makes them more charming and picturesque.

Good Value

Decorated Christmas tree dominates the market in Republic Square
Decorated Christmas tree dominates the market in Republic Square

The prices of merchandise, food and drinks at the Christmas markets in Prague are also lower than in Germany or Austria, which makes them a perfect place for buying original Christmas gifts or decorations – and the Christmas markets are free so you don’t have to pay to get in.

Tradition

Gingerbread stalls will entice you!
Gingerbread stalls will entice you!

Christmas markets play an important role in the Christmas tradition throughout the Czech Republic so you can find them in many cities around the country.

You can learn a lot about the local traditions there – how to prepare local food, how the typical Christmas decorations are made, or just listen to Czech carols.

Shopping

Advent wreaths to brighten up your home at Christmas
Advent wreaths to brighten up your home at Christmas

Typical Christmas markets consist of wooden stalls situated around a Christmas tree, with a wide variety of Christmas products (most of them handmade), traditional food and drinks on offer.

The most popular products are:

  • Christmas tree ornaments and decorations
  • Handicrafts
  • Jewellery
  • Glassware
  • Toys (especially puppets and wooden toys)
  • Winter accessories (hats, scarves, gloves)
  • Ceramics
  • Gingerbread
  • Candles, etc.

Food

Trdelnik is a kind of a spit cake
Trdelnik is a kind of a spit cake

Traditional local food is a big part of the Christmas market experience.

Don’t miss trdelnik – a sweet pastry made from rolled dough. This is wrapped around a metal stick (trdlo), then grilled over an open flame and sprinkled in a sugar and cinnamon or walnut mixture.

Even though it’s presented as a typical Czech product, it is not, it’s more a product created for tourists. But it’s nice so check it out.

Meat lovers should try roasted ham (sunka) or barbecued sausages (klobasa). They are usually served with a slice of bread and mustard.

Gingerbread (pernik) products are not only tasty but can also be a great gift.

Drinks

Roasted ham (sunka) is served with bread and mustard, while mulled wine will warm you up
Roasted ham (sunka) is served with bread and mustard, while mulled wine will warm you up

You may get very cold after being outside for a while, but there are many drinks that can help you to warm up.

Mulled wine (svarene vino or svarak) or mead (medovina) will soon get you into the festive mood, while well-known Czech beer (pivo) is a perfect accompaniment to any meal.

Entertainment

Children can feed live animals in the stable at Wenceslas Square's Christmas market
Children can feed live animals in the stable at Wenceslas Square’s Christmas market

Many Christmas markets (for example, the Old Town Square market) include a small stage where performances, especially concerts, take place.

There might be a small animal stable at some of the markets too (for example, in Wenceslas Square) so that children can stroke and feed a sheep, donkey or goat.

You can usually see some craftsmen in action (blacksmiths, etc.) and learn more about how various things are made.

At Night

A bright angel entertains in Little Square, Prague
A bright angel entertains in Little Square, Prague

The festive atmosphere becomes even more special after the sun goes down and all the lights are turned on.

Walk around the markets but also take a stroll to Charles Bridge for amazing views of Prague Castle.

Where to Stay

Prague Castle seen from Charles Bridge
Prague Castle seen from Charles Bridge

We recommend that you stay in the historic city centre (Prague 1) to be close to the Christmas markets.

But if you find the area too busy or your budget is very limited, it’s a good idea to stay close to any metro station as the metro will get you to the city centre quickly and there are connections every few minutes.

Airbnb is another option for those looking for more authentic local accommodation.

Final Thoughts

Nativity Scene in Wenceslas Square
Nativity Scene in Wenceslas Square

We hope that we inspired you to put the Christmas markets in Prague on your bucket list.

If you like a festive atmosphere you will find it in Prague in December – browse the charming Christmas markets, explore the stunning historic city centre, enjoy the Czech traditional food and drinks, and most importantly, slow down – it’s the Christmas time!

Learn more about the Christmas markets in Prague in our Ultimate Guide.

Which Christmas market is your favourite and what do you enjoy buying, eating or drinking the most?

Did you like this article? Please share it, so more people can experience this beautiful city.

Updated in 2018

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *