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The Best Christmas Markets in Prague
Prague has one of Europe’s best Christmas markets. The city’s cobbled streets smell of cinnamon and clove during the holidays. Mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, hot mead, blood sausages, succulent ham, barbequed pork with potatoes, sweet pastries, and other treats are everywhere.
More than boasting a delectable assortment of food, the festive atmosphere in the Christmas markets in Prague is amplified by live music, showcases of artisan items, and all-day Christmas carols.
How Do the Czech Celebrate Christmas?
In the Czech Republic, Christmas is a major Christian holiday. Advent marks the start of the holiday season. Christmas in Prague has a distinct feel and is rich in fascinating traditions.
While St. Mikulas (St. Nicholas) brings gifts in early December, the Czechs believe that Baby Jesus gives presents at Christmas. As such, most kids dine near the Christmas tree, anticipating hearing a bell that heralds his arrival. They also open gifts on Christmas Eve, a bit earlier than in some Western countries.
Food is also an essential component of their traditions. Czechs believe that what you eat affects your attitude and future luck. Locals may fast on Christmas Eve because they believe that the Golden Pig, which is deemed to bring good fortune in the coming year, will fly into the sky if they do not eat all day.
On Christmas day, most locals attend mass and then have a family meal after church.
Which Christmas Markets Are Worth Visiting in Prague?
It’s customary for the Christmas markets in Prague to start on the first Saturday of Advent, which often falls in late November or early December and end on Christmas Day. Some shops stay open until the Three Kings’ Day (January 6). The markets are open from 10 AM to 10 PM. The entrance is free.
Visitors to these marketplaces come to buy and sample sumptuous cuisine, but they can also find quality artisan goods and unique knick-knacks. The Christmas markets in Prague offer the ideal all-inclusive holiday experience.
Christmas markets in Old Town Square
Prague’s largest Christmas market lies a few meters away from the famous Astronomical Clock and Gothic Tyn Church. The Old Town Square is a shopping haven. You can find several gift shops, food stalls, and quaint restaurants here. Hundreds of crafters throng the bustling market too.
The Staroměstské náměstí is home to a large, brightly-decorated live Christmas tree. Every day, at dusk, the tree is lit to illuminate Prague’s night sky. There are nativity scenes, theater, and live music performances throughout the season. The market’s observation bridge is also an excellent spot for capturing stunning photos of the sparkling Christmas lights.
Address: Staroměstské nám., 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia
Nearest Metro Stops: Staromestska (line A), Namesti Republiky (line B), Mustek (lines A & B)
Christmas markets in Wenceslas Square
Only five minutes from Old Town Square is Prague’s second most famous Christmas market. The Wenceslas Square is next to the newly restored National Museum. And while there isn’t much live entertainment here, it is always packed with locals and tourists.
The market lies on the busy Václavské námst avenue, lined by souvenir shops, cafes, and galleries. If you’re a foodie, you’d enjoy Wenceslas Square, with its kiosks of traditional and regional cuisines. It’s also home to specialized shops selling handcrafted wood and steel items. Children would love the petting zoo near its Christmas tree too.
At 5:00 PM, every afternoon, the Wenceslas Square market lights up the tree. A stunning animated light performance inspired by two poems by Bedřich Smetana and Vadim Petrov follows.
Address: Václavské nám., 110 00 Praha 1, Czechia
Nearest Metro Stops: Muzeum station (line A & C), or Mustek station (line A & B)
Christmas Markets in Republic Square
Náměstí Republiky, just a short walk from Prague’s historic city center, is home to a delightful Christmas market. The Republic Square is near the Palladium shopping center, close to Old Customs House.
Although small compared to other metropolitan markets, the Republic Square market still attracts its fair share of visitors. Its character more than makes up for its small size. It’s a local, cozy shopping destination decorated with modest, wooden stalls right in the middle of the city.
The Republic Square market has no more than thirty stores selling various toys, sweets, and souvenirs. It’s also a great place to find mistletoe, which is scarce elsewhere. Best of all, prices are far cheaper than other Christmas markets in Prague.
Address: Rybná 17, 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia
Nearest Metro Stops: Náměstí Republiky (line B)
Where to Go for the Best Christmas Czech Cookies in Prague?
It wouldn’t be Christmas without the many cookies baked and eaten over the Advent season. Baking Christmas cookies are a long-standing (and time-consuming) tradition in Czech Republic. Here are the top three Christmas sweet stores in Prague.
The legendary Vodiková Street sweet shop, built during the First Republic in 1911 by František Myák, is a favorite of many local celebrities. Today, the pâtisserie pays homage to Myák’s great pastry-making legacy with a broad range of traditional bread varieties, classic and original cakes, and gourmet pastries. Breakfast, coffee, and sundaes are also available at the sweet shop.
Address: 710/31, Vodičkova, Nové Město, 110 00 Praha, Czechia
Confectioner Skála is the creation of renowned Czech confectioner Luká Skála. In addition to its highly-praised kremrole (cream rolls), its menu is brimming with pastries, cakes, and seasonal specialties. The pastry shop also sells handmade jams and pralines.
Address: Dlouhá 727/39, 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia
Erhart Cafe has been offering delicious cakes and pastries to locals and tourists since 1937. The cafe serves ten to twenty of its signature cakes daily. Aside from its unique pastry creations, the cake shop sells traditional sweets such as chocolate bonbons.
Address: Vinohradská 2022/125, 130 00 Praha 3-Vinohrady, Czechia
Christmas is a great time to visit Prague. Surrounded by renaissance and gothic architecture, the city features a variety of Christmas markets that you and your loved ones can enjoy.