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  • Writer's pictureVanessa Valenti

Discover the magic of Christmas in Prague, home to one of the best Christmas markets in Europe

It will also get dark early and it is certainly very cold, but Prague at Christmas is always wonderful and a nice glass of hot mulled wine will be enough to fully enjoy the magic of Christmas that this splendid city recreates every year. Prague is undoubtedly home to one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe, making it one of the best Christmas destinations: in every corner of the city you will find the typical decorated and very bright wooden houses where you will find lots of delicious food, handicrafts and many ideas for some special Christmas gifts. So let's see which are the best markets in the city!


Prague Christmas markets

Old Town Christmas Market - Staroměstské Náměstí

Mercatino di Natale della Città Vecchia, Praga

The Old Town Christmas market is certainly the largest and most famous in Prague, as well as the oldest. You can find it in the Old Town Square, under the gaze of the Old Town Hall and the Tyn Cathedral. In the center of the square, the wonderful and gigantic Christmas tree (23m tall), surrounded by an infinite number of wooden houses that give off the delicious scents of cinnamon and caramel. In fact, in this market, most of the stands are food and hot drinks, but it is very famous for hosting Christmas shows and concerts.

The Christmas tree erected at the Old Town Square is felled and transported to Prague from the Ústí nad Labem region of North Bohemia. The tree is decorated with red and gold baubles, and draped in a blaze of lights: these are switched on at 16:30 every day, accompanied by rousing music. The tree lighting ceremony is then repeated every hour at: 17:30, 18:30, 19:30, 20:30 and 21:30. Prices are quite high in the markets, and this one in particular: I recommend it mainly for the Christmas atmosphere, but if you have to shop and eat, there are other more affordable markets! Don't forget to climb the tower of the Old Town Hall to admire the Market from above! Opening dates: from 2 December 2023 to 6 January 2024 Opening Hours: 10am - 10pm (food stalls are open until midnight)


Prague Castle Christmas Market - Pražský Hrad

The Prague Castle Market is in my opinion the most beautiful in the city: much smaller than the one in the Old Town, but the location is extremely suggestive which makes it the best. When I was there the roofs were white from the snowfall the night before, creating a super Christmas and wonderful atmosphere! Located in St. George's Square and in the courtyard of the castle stables, it is made up of about 70 stalls with food and traditional handicraft products of unique beauty, but the most beautiful sight of this market is certainly the splendid view over the city! The Christmas Market is located inside Prague Castle but is accessible for free.

Opening dates: from 2 December 2023 to 6 January 2024 Opening Hours: 09:00 - 18:00 (until 19:00 from Friday to Sunday) Also inside the Castle, just before the Christmas Market, you will find a shop called “Christmas Shop Prague”, specializing in simply gorgeous handmade Christmas decorations! Drop by!


Wenceslas Square Christmas Market - Václavské Náměstí

Mercatino di Natale di Piazza Venceslao, Praga

Wenceslas Square is another of the most touristic and popular places in Prague as it is the nerve center of Prague shopping. It is home to an interesting but small Christmas Market with stalls very similar to those of the Old Town Market. It develops lengthwise, on the splendid square dominated by the National Museum. The Market is divided into two parts: the first is in the upper part near the Equestrian Statue of San Wenceslas, the second at the bottom of the square near the Mustek metro stop. Opening dates: from 2 December 2023 to 6 January 2024 Opening Hours: 10am - 10pm (food stalls are open until midnight)


Christmas market in Republic Square - Náměstí Republiky

This Christmas Market is located a short distance from the one in the Old Town Square, and is located in front of the Palladium Shopping Center. It is definitely much smaller but also quieter and less crowded! Here you will find a large selection of Christmas items including mistletoe, Advent wreaths, candles and lots of Christmas decorations as well as houses with delicious food. The prices are a little more affordable and you can take the opportunity to take a stroll inside the Palladium and warm up for a few minutes! Opening dates: from 2 December 2023 to 6 January 2024 Opening Hours: 10:00 - 22:00


Kampa Island Christmas Market

On the small Kampa Island, located on the west side of the Vltava River (also called "The Venice of Prague") and separated from the Malá Strana district by the Devil's Channel, we find a small and picturesque Christmas Market. The romantic and peaceful atmosphere of the island makes this mini market really nice, ideal for a stroll before crossing the Charles Bridge.


What to eat at the Prague Christmas Markets

The Prague Christmas Markets are the ideal place to taste lots of absolutely delicious typical foods and drinks, from gingerbread cookies to the famous Prague ham.. to warm you up, the ideal is a nice glass of mulled wine or mead. Walking through the markets, be sure to taste:

  • Prague Ham - Pražská Šunka; the famous and my beloved Trdelník (we had already found it in Budapest if you remember - click here) - you will literally find it in every street market and in every corner of the city;

  • the Langos - we had already tried these too in Budapest;

  • the typical Prague sausages - Klobása - dark red and very spicy;

  • the typical and very greasy potato pancakes - Bramboráky;

  • gingerbread - Perník - very popular in Prague during the Christmas period;

  • the Christmas cookies - Vánoční Cukrovi - which you will find in many shapes and decorated with royal icing and powdered sugar (they are simply wonderful and delicious, they taste like cinnamon);

  • Prague pancakes - Palačinky - which are actually more than both sweet and savory crepes;

  • Mulled wine - Svařené Víno.

Useful tips:

  • at Christmas Markets you will pay for food by weight: whatever you order will be weighed and paid for accordingly, which is why it is better to ask for things by weight and not by portions;

  • few stalls accept credit cards: make sure you have cash with you;

  • although both Euros and CZK (Czech crowns) are accepted in the city, paying in Euros at the Christmas markets is not worth it at all, the exchange rate is often unfavourable;

  • beware of scams: among the most common is that of food and handicraft products.

  • we've already seen how food is paid for by weight, but beware of "weighing by eye" and what is weighed besides food. Also pay attention to what you buy: everywhere you will find the words Made in Czech Republic, but not all products really are.


Curiosities about Christmas in Prague

Svatý Mikuláš

During the evening between 5 and 6 December, the traditional Svatý Mikuláš is celebrated throughout the Czech Republic: at night, Mikuláš walks the streets accompanied by an angel (anděl) and a devil (čert), asking the children if they were good or bad during the year. Children usually recite a little poem for Saint Nicholas, the angel and the devil and if they are good they receive candy, sweets and toys from the angel, while naughty children receive coal and potatoes from the devil. Children who have misbehaved are frightened by the devil and threatened with being put in his sack and taken to hell. During that evening, therefore, you will certainly see adults dressed up as Mikuláš, angels and devils on the streets of Prague, intent on distributing sweets or potatoes and coal! Mikuláš represents the only figure that looks like Santa Claus, you should know that in the Czech Republic Christmas presents are delivered by Ježíšek (baby Jesus) on December 24th.


What to wear in Prague during the Christmas period

Praga innevata

For Christmas it is decidedly cold in Prague: temperatures are usually between 1°C and 5°C but can often go below 0°C and a good snowfall is not unusual! When we arrived it had just started to snow and it continued throughout the evening, a real wonder! For this reason, I suggest you to dress warmly and take advantage of layered clothing. I had thermal underwear and panta-socks under the jeans.

As for shoes, I recommend warm, waterproof boots in case it snows - for shoes, as always in winter, I only use mine love yourself Dr. Martens 101 Vegan: very warm, waterproof and super comfortable!

Gloves, scarf and hat are essential and I suggest you to buy some useful hand warmers!.


Here is a mini-guide to Prague during the Christmas period, which in my opinion is definitely the best time to visit the city. At Christmas it definitely gives its best, and seeing it covered in snow is a unique sight! Let me know what you think and leave a like if you found this article useful!


Šťastnou cestu! - have a nice trip in czech

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Guest
Dec 12, 2023

The Christmas market at the castle isn’t on this year.

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