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 held at the Old Town Square
and Wenceslas Square
(5 minutes walk from each other).
There are also smaller markets held at Republic Square, at Havel's Market
, on Kampa Island, and on the square in front of St. George's Basilica
at Prague Castle
Note: The good news for visitors to Prague in late November is that the Christmas market at Prague Castle starts one week before the main markets, on 23rd November.
What are the Christmas Markets?
The Christmas markets consist of brightly decorated wooden huts stocked with local handicrafts - 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.
But the markets are not just about shopping. Visitors can sample all manner of local food and drink, and observe traditional snacks
Christmas market huts
Christmas market food
Popular food 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 cakes and pastries that are prepared in front of you, such as '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 markets at the Old Town Square also have an animals stable, where children can stroke sheep, goats and a donkey. And there is a large Bethlehem scene depicting Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus and the Three Kings in a wooden stable.
Most impressive of all is the mighty Christmas tree at the Old Town Square. Transported from the forests of Central Bohemia, the tree is
a blaze of lights, which are switched on every evening at 4:30pm, accompanied by rousing classical music.
The tree is a
spectacular sight, set against Prague's dark gothic skyline.
Old Town Square Christmas tree
Wenceslas Square markets
Wenceslas Square has a brightly lit Christmas tree too. The lights are switched on at 5pm every evening, also accompanied by music.
But what is Christmas without carols?
School choirs and folk groups often perform late afternoon on a stage at the Old Town Square. Dressed in traditional costume, the children travel from all over the country to appear.
The festive atmosphere in Prague throughout the period of the Christmas markets is simply wonderful.
Theme of the Markets in 2018: to be announced
The theme for the markets will be announced in late November - the 2017 theme was the 'History of Prague': decorated gables on market huts depicted historical figures and events, such as the emperors Charles IV and Rudolf II, Rabbi Loew, and Franz Kafka. The observation bridge at the Old Town Square had silhouettes of St. Vitus Cathedral.
The music to accompany the lights switch on every evening alternates between 'Vltava' by the Czech composer Bedřich Smetana and Krkonosske fairytale music.
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, for easy access to the markets, are the Old Town
and around 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, and the sights and attractions
are spread across all three.
Hotels in Prague 1
Book a hotel anywhere in Prague 1 therefore, and the markets, sights and entertainment will all be nearby.
The Christmas markets are free to enter, so whenever you fancy dropping in you can leave your hotel and be in the midst of the markets 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 Prague weather 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 and relatively warm periods, but equally there can be heavy bouts of snow lasting several days or weeks, when temperatures head well into the minus.
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 the high-end restaurants and opera houses, most establishments welcome visitors in casual attire.
Drinks hut, Old Town Square
Beautiful sights in Prague
Sightseeing in Prague
Sightseeing in Prague is enchanting, with magnificent squares and buildings to explore, and a dramatic history to discover. The Christmas decorations and festive atmosphere lend the historic buildings an even greater charm than usual.
Aside from on Christmas Eve
, almost all the sights are open throughout the time of the Christmas markets.
A sightseeing trip can help visitors discover the true beauty of the city - from walking tours to coach tours to river cruises, there are a many different ways to explore Prague - Prague sightseeing
Entertainment in Prague
There are plenty of entertainment options in Prague in December. In particular, we
recommend buying a ticket for a classical concert.
A concert in one of the ancient churches or other historical buildings is simply magical at this time of the year - 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' - staged at the National Theatre from the 06th December and Hybernia Theatre from the 18th November - opera & ballet
For a typically Czech experience, the black light theatres and the marionette theatre put on shows suitable for all age groups and nationalities - theatre
|| Nutcracker, National Theatre
|For further ideas, see our entertainment section.
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: Prague Christmas Planner
-31st December 2018: Prague 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: Getting to Prague and Getting around Prague by public transport.
For a simple way to arrange your Prague city break: Prague Experience 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:|