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Prague Christmas 2021

Prague Christmas Markets » 27th November 2021 - 6th January 2022


The Prague Christmas Markets are half open!

The Prague Christmas Markets are officially cancelled, but certain markets are open and the city has plenty of festive cheer. We throw some light on the confusion.

CHRISTMAS MARKETS 2021 - HALF-OPEN

last updated: 04 December 2021
Latest News:

The Prague Christmas markets have been officially cancelled by the Czech government, in measures aimed at preventing the spread of Coronavirus.

The main Christmas market, held at the Old Town Square, is built, but as a result of this last minute decision the stall holders are not allowed to open.

However, not all is lost, there has been some inventive thinking by the local Czech people:

-At the Old Town Square, the 22m high Christmas tree is in place, beautifully decorated, and shining brightly with illuminated snowflakes.
Prague Christmas Markets at Old Town Square 2021
Old Town Square December 2021
-The Observation Bridge in the centre of the square has been built, it is also gleaming with lights, and filled with visitors soaking up the festive atmosphere.

-Significantly, while Christmas markets are banned, permanent (all year round) market stalls are permitted. So permanent stalls in the Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square, and throughout Prague are open, festively decorated, and selling local handicrafts, traditional Christmas treats, and hot and cold food (sausages, pastries, etc.).

-There is also a sizeable permanent market in Prague's city centre, Havel's Market (Havelské tržiště). This remains open and has a Christmas tree and a festive ambience.
Address: Havelska Street, Prague 1. Open: Daily 06:00-18:30.

-At the top of Wenceslas Square, there is a pop-up Christmas market masquerading as a 'cultural market'. Cultural markets are permitted under the new rules, and visitors will find it delightful. It is full of Christmas market stalls selling local handicrafts and traditional Christmas treats, as well as hot food and mulled wine. It has a lovely Christmas tree and a life-size nativity scene, plus there is Christmas music to enjoy.

-The rest of Prague is beautifully decorated for Christmas too. Festive lights and decorations hang from trees throughout the city.

-There are nativity scenes at churches, and festive events and activities, such as open-air ice rinks, lamp lighting on Charles Bridge, festive ballet and Christmas concerts.

In summary, the streets and squares of Prague are reasonably busy with tourists and locals milling around, soaking up the Christmas atmosphere, and consuming hot food, sugary pastries and hot drinks. Even without the official markets, it seems Prague is still a nice city to visit at Christmas.
 
WHAT SIGHTSEEING, events and tourist services are running?
All the sights are open and almost all tourist servies are running:

The sights, tourist attractions and shops are open.

Cultural events (for audiences up to 1000 people) are running: theatres, opera houses and concert halls are open, and all scheduled performances are going ahead.

Restaurants and pubs are open, the only difference being that they close at 22:00.

Our guide to the Christmas markets below has more information on sightseeing and entertainment in Prague in December.

Vaccinated tourists from ALL countries (except parts of Africa) are welcome to visit Prague.

All major developments will be posted here and on Coronavirus (COVID-19) News.
 

Christmas Markets 2021


We are leaving our guide below in place in case the decision to cancel the official markets is reversed. In any event, it contains useful information for anyone visiting Prague in December.
Prague Christmas Markets at Old Town Square
Old Town Christmas Markets
The Prague Christmas Markets are open daily from 27th November 2021 to 6th January 2022, including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

Opening hours are 10:00-22:00. Free entry.

The main market is held at the Old Town Square.

The second best market is held in front of St. George's Basilica at Prague Castle.

There are also smaller markets at Republic Square (Náměstí Republiky), which is 5 minutes from Old Town Square, at Havel's Market, and on Kampa Island.

What are the Prague Christmas Markets?

Christmas markets (Vánoční 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 consist of brightly decorated wooden huts stocked with local handicrafts and traditional Christmas treats.

Among the many items on display are ceramics, jewellery, embroidered lace, wooden toys, scented candles, Christmas tree ornaments, hats and gloves, and puppets and dolls dressed in traditional costume.
Christmas Market stall at the Old Town Square
Christmas Market stall
While there are nice souvenirs to be found, to take home to decorate your house with or to use as Christmas gifts, the markets are about much more than shopping. There is all manner of local food and drinks to sample, much of it prepared at the stalls in front of you.
Food at the Christmas Markets
Food at the Christmas Markets
Popular food on offer includes: large hams roasted on spits (Pražská Šunka); terribly unhealthy but wonderfully tasty barbequed sausages (klobása); flatbread topped with garlic, cheese and ketchup (langoš); smoked meat dumplings (knedlíky plněné uzeným masem); sweet dumplings (sladké knedlíky); and pancakes (palačinky).

A traditional Czech Christmas dish of fish soup (rybí polévka) is also cooked by the cauldron load. Made from carp, vegetables, cream and brandy, more than 1,500 kilograms of ingredients are used to make it every year.

There is also a variety of cakes and sweets to choose from, such as a hot, freshly made sugar coated pastry (trdelník) or spicy gingerbread (perníčky).

For drinks, visitors can sample famous Czech beers, like Pilsner Urquell, Staropramen or Budvar.
Or opt for a hot drink: mulled wine (svařák); hot chocolate (horká čokoláda); honey wine (Medovina); or grog, a mixture of rum, water, lemon and sugar. Outdoor Christmas shopping is so much nicer with a cup of hot mulled wine in your hand!

Eco Markets

Food and drink at the markets is served with 100% biodegradable cups, plates and cutlery.

And where possible, ingredients are sourced locally: sausages and hamburgers are made from Czech meat, the fish soup is made with carp from Czech waters and vegetables from local farms, the beer is exclusively Czech (naturally!), and the wine, including the wine used to make the svařák, hails from Moravia.


Christmas Tree


The most impressive sight in the Christmas markets is the mighty 22m Christmas tree at the Old Town Square, which is transported from the Liberec region of North Bohemia in the Czech Republic.
Food at the Prague Christmas Markets
Trdelník baking
 

The tree is dressed with hundreds of red and gold baubles and draped in a blaze of lights, which are switched on at 4:30pm every day. It is a spectacular sight set against the dark Gothic skyline.

 
Christmas Tree at the Old Town Square
Old Town Square Christmas tree
Other Attractions

Other attractions at the markets include an animals stable at the Old Town Square, where children can stroke sheep, goats and a donkey.

There is also a nativity scene in wooden stables, depicting Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus and the Three Kings.

And what is Christmas without carols? School choirs and folk groups dressed in traditional costume perform in the late afternoon on a stage at the Old Town Square, with children travelling from all over the country to appear.

Photo Opportunities

One of the best places to take photos of the Prague Christmas Markets is from the Observation Bridge (free to enter) in the centre of the Old Town Square. Climb a small flight of steps to reach the platform, and take in an expansive view over the stalls.

Another viewpoint is the top of the Old Town Hall Tower (payable), from where you can enjoy magnificent aerial views over the Old Town Square.

Finally, there is street level: amongst the market stalls you can take vivid close up shots of the products for sale and food being made.

Theme of the Christmas Markets in 2021


There is always a theme to the decorations at the Christmas Markets. This year it is 'Nature', backed by an emphasis on the traditional colours of Christmas: green, red, gold and white. Extensive use is made of natural materials, including wood, pine needles and mistletoe.

The festive atmosphere in Prague in December is simply wonderful!

Where to Stay in Prague

The city centre is called Prague 1, which is made up of several areas. The two most popular areas to stay in, for easy access to the Christmas Markets, are the Old Town and anywhere near Wenceslas Square in the New Town.

Next most popular is the Lesser Town, which is just across the river from the Old Town, and can be reached by strolling across Charles Bridge.

Most of the city's sightseeing, entertainment and nightlife is located in these three areas too.
Prague Hotels
Hotels in Prague 1
Christmas Market
Christmas Market
The city centre is compact and highly pedestrianised, so all three areas are within easy walking distance of each other. Therefore, book a hotel in Prague 1 and the markets, restaurants, sights and tourist attractions, theatres, concert halls and shops will all be nearby.

The markets are free to enter, so by staying in Prague 1, whenever you fancy visiting them, you can leave your hotel and be in the midst of things in minutes: grab a drink or a hot snack, browse the stalls, soak up the atmosphere, then when you're ready to freshen up, it's just a short walk home - Prague hotels.

Weather in Prague in December


The weather in Prague in December is very changeable. The average low is -2°C (28°F), although the temperature can deviate dramatically in both directions.

There are bright, sunny, relatively warm periods. Equally, there can be heavy bouts of snow that last several days or weeks, when temperatures head well into minus territory.

What Clothes to Wear


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.
drinks hut at the Prague Christmas Markets
Drinks hut, Old Town Square
If you get caught out by the weather, there are shops in Prague that can help. These range from generalist stores such as Marks & Spencer and Bata Shoes, to specialist outdoor clothing and footwear shops like Rock Point.

Most tourist establishments welcome visitors in casual attire, although you will need to dress reasonably smartly for high-end restaurants and the opera houses.
Stalls at the Prague Christmas Markets
See the sights in Prague

Sightseeing in Prague


Sightseeing in Prague is enchanting all year round, with grand monuments and magnificent squares to explore, and a dramatic history to uncover. The festive atmosphere lends the city an even greater charm.

The Prague sights and tourist attractions are all open during the Christmas markets, except on Christmas Eve.

A sightseeing tour led by a local guide can help visitors discover the true beauty of Prague - from walking tours to coach tours to river cruises, there are many ways to explore to the city - Prague sightseeing.

Entertainment in Prague


There is also entertainment galore, including Christmas concerts and Christmas events.
Classical Concerts + Opera & Ballet

We particularly recommend buying a ticket for a classical concert. Performances, which are held in grand concert halls, beautiful old churches and other historical buildings, are magical at this time of year, both the Christmas concerts and regular concerts.

The opera and ballet season is also in full swing, with a wide variety of performances to choose from at the Prague State Opera, National Theatre and Estates Theatre:
-December concerts + opera & ballet performances
-January concerts + opera & ballet performances

Festive productions are a prominent feature, such as the ever-popular ballet 'The Nutcracker', which is staged at two theatres in Prague:

The Nutcracker at Hybernia Theatre:

Performance Dates:

06,13,24,25,27,29 December 2021;
01,02,10,24 January 2022; 05,07,28 February 2022;
14 March 2022; 16 April 2022.

-The Nutcracker in December
-The Nutcracker in January

The Nutcracker at the National Theatre:

Performances Dates: 28 December (6 tickets)

-The Nutcracker at the National Theatre
The Nutcracker at Hybernia Theatre in PragueNutcracker at Hybernia Theatre
Theatre

If you are seeking a typically Czech experience, black light theatres put on shows that are highly visual, so can be enjoyed by all ages and nationalities:

-December theatre performances
-January theatre performances
Other Entertainment

For excellent local Czech hospitality, try the Medieval Tavern and Traditional Czech Night. Both are 'all-inclusive' events, and well suited to a cold winter's night.

More Information


For more information on what's open in Prague in December: Christmas opening times.

For information on spending Christmas in Prague:
-24th December: Christmas Eve in Prague
-24th-26th December: Christmas Planner

For information on the New Year's Eve celebrations in Prague:
-31st December: New Year's Eve
-31st December: New Year's Eve Planner.

For an introduction to the city: Prague tourism information.

For practical information, including currency exchange advice: 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.
informationCHRISTMAS 2021
KEY DATES
XMAS MARKETS
Old Town Square & Wenceslas Square
27 Nov-06 Jan
Daily 10:00-22:00
Free entry
TREE LIGHTING
Old Town Square
Daily 16:30
MIKULAS DAY
Old Town Square
05 Dec 2021
16:00-18:00
XMAS EVE
24 Dec 2021
-16:00 Christmas Mass for children at various churches
-16:30 Christmas Mass at Tyn Church
-21:00 Open-air Christmas Mass at Old Town Square
-24:00 Midnight Mass at Strahov & other churches
XMAS PLANNER
24-26 Dec 2021
What's open over Christmas: Dining, entertainment & sightseeing
ICE RINKS
Ovocny trh (square behind Estates Theatre), Old Town
05 Dec-31 Jan
Daily 10:00-21:00

Na Frantisku Sports Centre, Old Town
05 Dec-31 Jan
Daily 10:00-21:00
NEW YEAR'S EVE
31 Dec 2021
Festivities & Fireworks
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Your guide to the Prague Christmas Markets 2021

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