Everything you need to know about Prague’s Christmas markets
Imagine this: you are in Prague for Christmas and wondering what is the best place to soak in the holiday atmosphere. Well, there is a simple answer: you shouldn’t miss the Christmas markets throughout the city. These are marvelous little wonderlands with a variety of handcrafted ornaments, treats and warm beverages. During the season these places are not just for shopping but a place to meet up with friends and family. The atmosphere is so joyful that even Scrooge would be found smiling at them. No wonder Prague’s Christmas markets are considered some of the best in the world! It’s the most magical time of the year and if you are lucky and it snows, it feels like you are living in a winter fairytale. If you really want to experience the Christmas spirit of Prague just like the locals do, here are the best Christmas markets, plus a few tips for you:
Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí) and Wenceslas Square (Václavské náměstí)
They are open every day from 30 November 2019 to 6 January 2020. The Christmas goods stalls are open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., while refreshment stalls stay open until midnight. At the Old Town Square there is also a large stage with theater performances, concerts, and folklore ensembles. There is usually a nativity scene as well, a mini zoo (children’s favourite) and of course, the star of the show: the humongous Old Town Square Christmas tree! P.S. There is a Christmas Tree Lighting daily from 3o November to 6 January, and it’s a truly magical experience, don’t miss it!
Tip: The Old Town Square Christmas Market is the central one, so it tends to get quite crowded. It is often difficult to move from stand to stand with the number of people packed into the market. So, instead of coming here early in the evening like everyone else, come much later at night. Though the merchandise stands close at 10pm, have no fear, most food and beverage stands will be open till midnight. This way you will get to enjoy the truly magical atmosphere without being pushed around by the hungry crowds. Plus, it’s a great time to snap some photos of the crowd-free square, which is a rare possibility, trust me! After all, there are many other Christmas markets around the city which you can visit during the day.
This lovely little market takes place every day from 23 November to 24 December 2019, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. You cannot miss this as you’re walking around the center: the smell of hot chestnuts, mulled wine, and Christmas cookies is so inviting and cosy, that it turns a simple walk into a Christmas fairytale.
People say that you haven’t really been to Prague if you haven’t visited our famous castle (the biggest in Europe, by the way). So if you decide to see this magnificent building during the Christmas holidays, there is a special bonus for you that will make your visit even more memorable. Of course, I am speaking of St. George’s Square Christmas Market. It’s small, it’s local and absolutely beautiful. In the cold winter days a cup of hot chocolate or mulled wine will fill you up with Christmas warmth and give you strength to enjoy the lovely panorama of the city veiled in snow. The market opens on 30 November 2019 and closes on 6 January 2020. From Monday through Thursday it is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., from Friday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
This Christmas market is located a bit further from the centre, but it’s all the better for it. The location itself is stunning, right under the beautiful cathedral of Saint Ludmila. It is the locals favourite and for a good reason. You can find many Christmas decorations, handmade gifts and local fresh products. It will be open from 20 November until 24 December 2019, so if you come here on Christmas Eve, be sure not to miss it and go during the day!
How to get there from the centre: Just take the green metro line (A), it’s just a couple of stops from the centre.
Jiřího z Poděbrad
Located one metro station further from the one at Náměstí Míru, this Christmas market is vivid, local and definitely worth your time. It is set on the square right in front of the Church of the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord, a magnificent landmark you definitely shouldn’t miss. What is more, Žižkov, the district this market is located in, is very special in itself. It used to be the designated working class district, so it still seems to follow its own rules and have a unique energy you won’t find anywhere else in Prague. The Christmas market is open from 1 December, 2019 through 24 December, 2019, from 10.30 am. to 9.30 p.m.
If you don’t want to travel far from the centre but still experience a truly local atmosphere, head to I.P. Pavlova, where you will find one of the oldest Christmas Markets in town. What makes this one extra special (and super cool too!) is the fact that it is eco-friendly and sustainable. If you want to find out more about it, join our Christmas Tour, it’s an inseparable part of our magical Christmas route. It will be open from 23 November through 24 December, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
First of all, I must say that the Manifesto markets are far from traditional. They are pop-up markets that try to make use of “dead spaces” around the city centre and they do it with style. In fact, they are so good that they were featured in the prestigious architectural magazine Dezeen last year. The numerous stands serve a wide selection of the finest Czech delicacies and beverages. Besides quality, the markets are focused on sustainability, so they are run completely on renewable energy. What is more, for their Christmas makeover they will not serve any disposable plastic cups. Instead, you can get specially designed Christmas mugs with the Manifesto Market logo.
So far, there are two locations in Prague which will transform into Christmas markets from 20 November through 2 January.
- Where: Náměstí 14. října 82/16, 150 00 Praha 5-Smíchov
- Contact: +420 728 072 146
- When: Wednesdays through Sundays: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
- Where: Na Florenci, 110 00 Prague-Nové Město
- Contact: +420 728 072 146
- When: Wednesdays through Sundays: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Both locations will serve traditional Christmas food and drinks such as mulled wine, hot chocolate or mead. What would surely be different from the typical Christmas Markets is the modern touch added by a group of young Czech designers. They will transform the markets into a hip winter wonderland by adding transparent igloos to keep the visitors warm (click here to reserve yourself a spot), vintage chandeliers, huge Christmas trees and much more. So, if you want to veer of the traditional road, or you’re a design/architecture lover, this is the right place to go.
Tip: The Manifesto markets work on cashless principle, so no need of Czech crowns, just be sure to take your credit card.
Dyzajn Market – Winter
As the name shows, this is a Christmas market focused on design. It is the largest open-air sales exhibition of designer goods in Prague, and it is definitely worth a visit. Besides the many unique gifts and souvenirs you can get there, you can also enjoy premium quality coffee, warm mixed drinks and excellent food. There will also be an accompanying programme featuring Christmas concerts, theatre performances and book readings.
- Where: Václav Havel Square (National Theatre piazzetta), náměstí Václava Havla, Praha 1 – Nové Město, 110 0
- When: 30 November – 1 December, 10 a.m.- 7 p.m.
- Free admission, children and dog friendly, wheelchair accessible
Of course, if you come to Prague and just take our Merry Markets Christmas Tour we will take you to some of the best markets in Prague!
What to eat at the Christmas Markets?
First of all, I recommend visiting the Christmas markets on an empty stomach. People say you can really experience a place after tasting the local food, and this is twice as true for Prague during the Christmas holidays. At all markets throughout the city there is a great variety of foods to choose from: Prague ham or sausages you can smell from miles away, or Czech Christmas cookies, waffles, pancakes and gingerbread cookies for the ones with a sweet tooth; the choice is endless. My personal favourite are roasted almonds, warm, crunchy, sweet, and incredibly tasty. And of course, after all that food, you’ll probably need a drink or two to wash it all down. Don’t forget to taste our traditional mulled wine, punch or hot mead.
What Christmas souvenirs should you buy?
Czech people are known around Europe as the people with ‘golden hands’, which means that they are extremely talented for handcraft and design. So, if you’re in Prague for the holidays, you should definitely get yourself some traditional Czech souvenirs that would last a lifetime!
For example, check out the beautiful glass ornaments for your Christmas tree, or the paper or wooden carved crèches with figures from Czech folklore at the nativity scene. You will also find a great variety of hand-made lace table cloths and place mats that will make your table look amazing at all occasions, not only Christmas!
November 25, 2019