Prague Christmas Markets » 01st December 2018 - 06th January 2019
The Prague Christmas markets are open daily at the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. A 'winter wonderland' awaits, for visitors to soak up the festive atmosphere, browse the stalls, and enjoy Christmas carols, hearty food and local drinks - photos.
Old Town Christmas markets
Christmas Markets 2018
Christmas markets (Vanocni trhy) are a key ingredient of the festive magic in the Czech Republic, and the Prague markets are the most impressive in the country.
They light up the city, bringing locals and tourists together in a true 'winter wonderland' setting.
The Prague Christmas markets are open every day from 01st December 2018 to 06th January 2019, including on Christmas Eve
, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
The main markets are at the Old Town Square
and Wenceslas Square
(5 minutes walk from each other).
What are the Christmas Markets?
The Christmas markets consist of brightly decorated wooden huts stocked with local handicrafts and traditional Christmas treats.
Items on display include ceramics, jewellery, embroidered lace, wooden toys, scented candles, Christmas tree ornaments, hats and gloves, and puppets and dolls dressed in traditional costume.
Visitors should find some nice souvenirs to take home to decorate their houses with or to use as gifts.
Christmas market huts
Christmas market food
There is all manner of local food and drink to sample too, much of it prepared at the stalls in front of you.
Popular food on offer includes: large hams roasted on spits (Pražská Šunka); terribly unhealthy but wonderfully tasty barbequed sausages (klobása); Hungarian flatbread topped with garlic, cheese and ketchup (langoš); pancakes (palačinky); and a variety of sweets and cakes, such as spicy gingerbread and 'Trdelník', a hot sugar coated pastry.
For drinks, try one of the famous Czech beers
: Pilsner Urquell, Staropramen or Budvar.
Or choose from a variety of hot drinks: honey wine (Medovina); mulled wine (svařák); hot chocolate (horká čokoláda); and grog, a mixture of rum, water, lemon and sugar.
shopping is so much nicer with a cup of hot mulled wine in your hand!
The Christmas market at the Old Town Square also has an animals stable, where children can stroke sheep, goats and a donkey.
And a large Bethlehem scene depicts Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus and the Three Kings in a wooden stable.
But what is Christmas without carols? School choirs and folk groups perform late afternoon on a stage at the Old Town Square dressed in traditional costume. Children travel from all over the country to appear.
Old Town Square Christmas tree
Christmas Trees & Lighting Ceremonies
Most impressive of all is the mighty Christmas tree at the Old Town Square, transported from the forests of the Liberec region.
The tree is
dressed with baubles and draped in
a blaze of lights, which are switched on every day at 4:30pm. It is a
spectacular sight set against Prague's dark gothic skyline.
Wenceslas Square has a brightly lit Christmas tree too, with its lights switched on every day at 5pm.
Both tree lightings are accompanied by rousing music.
|The tree lighting ceremonies are then repeated every hour as follows:|
Old Town Square:
First Lighting 16:30. Last 21:30.
First Lighting 17:00. Last 21:00.
The festive atmosphere in Prague in December is simply wonderful.
Theme of the Christmas Markets in 2018
The theme for the Christmas markets in 2018 is 'Fairy tales'.
The Czech people have embraced fairy tales from both Western Europe and Russia, and they play a significant role in a traditional Czech Christmas, with stories such as Cinderella (Popelka) featuring heavily in the festive TV schedule.
At the Old Town Square, the gables of the market huts contain imagery of the people and places that feature in these tales, and the Observation Bridge is illuminated like a magical path in a princess's castle.
While other fairy tale elements are dotted around the square.
Everywhere there is an emphasis on the traditional Christmas colours of green, red, gold and white, plus the use of natural materials like pine needles, wood and mistletoe.
The music to accompany the tree lighting ceremony at the Old Town Square alternates between the title song from the Czech version of Cinderella (Tři oříšky pro Popelku) and the melody Somewhere In My Memory, by John Williams.
Where to Stay
The city centre is called Prague 1 and is divided into several areas: the two most popular areas for visitors to stay in are the Old Town
and anywhere close to Wenceslas Square
in the New Town
Next is the Lesser Town
, which is located across Charles Bridge
on the other side of the river.
The city centre is compact and highly pedestrianised, so these three areas are within easy walking distance of each other. The sightseeing, entertainment and nightlife is mostly located in these areas too.
Hotels in Prague 1
Wenceslas Square markets
Therefore, book a hotel anywhere in Prague 1 and the Christmas markets, sights and attractions, restaurants, theatres, churches, concert halls and shops will all be nearby.
The markets are free to enter, so whenever you fancy dropping in you can leave your hotel and be in the midst of the festive action in minutes.
Grab a drink and a hot snack, browse the stalls, soak up the atmosphere, then when you're ready for a warm bath, it's just a short walk home - Prague hotels
The Weather in Prague & Clothes to Wear
The weather in Prague in December is highly changeable. The average low is -2°C (28°F), but the temperature can deviate dramatically in either direction. There are bright, sunny, relatively warm periods. Equally, there can be heavy bouts of snow lasting several days or weeks, when temperatures head well into minus territory.
In terms of clothing, bring a warm winter jacket, hat and gloves, and as
Prague is a wonderful city to explore on foot, a comfortable pair of walking shoes.
Aside from high-end restaurants and opera houses, most establishments welcome visitors in casual attire.
Drinks hut, Old Town Square
The sights to see in Prague
Sightseeing in Prague
Sightseeing in Prague is enchanting, with magnificent squares and ancient buildings to explore, and a dramatic history to uncover. The festive atmosphere in December lends the city an even greater charm than usual.
Except on Christmas Eve
, the sights and attractions
are open throughout the time of the Christmas markets.
A sightseeing trip led by a knowledgeable guide can help you discover the true beauty of the city - from walking tours to coach tours to river cruises, there are many ways to explore Prague - Prague sightseeing
Entertainment in Prague
There is plenty of entertainment
to choose from in December too, including special Christmas Events
In particular, we
recommend buying a ticket for a classical concert.
Concerts held in the churches and other historical buildings are magical at this time of year, both the Christmas concerts and regular performances - Prague classical concerts
The opera and ballet season is also in full swing, with the addition of festive productions such as the ever-popular 'The Nutcracker' - Prague opera & ballet
tickets are still available for:
17,20,22 December at National Theatre and
23,24,25,27,29 December at Hybernia Theatre).
|| Nutcracker, National Theatre|
If you are seeking a typically Czech experience, the black light and marionette theatres stage productions suitable for all ages and nationalities - Prague theatre
And the Medieval Tavern
and Traditional Czech Night
showcase Czech hospitality. The warm, friendly atmosphere at both events is well suited to a cold winter's night.
For information on what's open in Prague in December: December opening times.
For information on the most significant dates in December:
-5th December 2018: Mikulas Day in Prague
-24th December 2018: Christmas Eve in Prague
-24th-26th December 2018: Christmas Planner
-31st December 2018: New Year's Eve
-31st December 2018: New Year's Eve Planner.
For an introduction to Prague: Prague tourism information.
For practical information, including currency exchange: Prague Tourist Information.
For travel advice: Travel to Prague and Travel around Prague by public transport.
For a simple way to arrange your Prague city break: Prague Package.
|Christmas markets at Old Town Sq. & Wenceslas Sq.|
01 Dec-06 Jan
|Christmas market at Prague Castle.|
23 Nov-06 Jan
|Lighting of the Christmas Tree|
-at Old Town Sq.
01 Dec-06 Jan
-at Wenceslas Sq.
01 Dec-06 Jan
at Old Town Sq.
at Ovocny trh, a square near Estates Theatre, Old Town.
05 Dec-31 Jan
-16:00 Christmas Mass for children at some churches
-16:30 Christmas Mass at Tyn Church
-21:00 Open-air Christmas Mass at Old Town Sq.
-24:00 Midnight Mass at Strahov Monastery & some other churches
What's open over Christmas
|New Year's Eve|
Festivities & fireworks
|City breaks with airport transfers, a hotel, city tour & entertainment:|