Prague Christmas markets » 03rd December 2016 - 04th January 2017
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 hot wine - photos.
Christmas Markets 2016
Christmas markets (Vanocni trh) are a key ingredient of the festive magic in the Czech Republic, and the Prague Christmas markets are the most impressive. They light up the city, bringing locals and tourists together to share in the spirit, in a true 'winter wonderland' setting.
The main markets are at the Old Town Square
and Wenceslas Square
(5 minutes walk from each other). There are also smaller markets dotted around the city, notably on Republic Square, at Havel's Market
, on Kampa Island in the Lesser Town, and by St. George's Basilica
at Prague Castle
The Prague Christmas markets open daily, including on Christmas Eve
, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
markets consist of brightly
decorated wooden huts selling traditional handicrafts: glassware, jewellery, embroidered lace, wooden toys, metalware, ceramics, scented candles, Christmas tree ornaments, hats, gloves and scarves, and puppets and dolls beautifully dressed in traditional costumes.
Visitors should find some nice items to take home, to decorate their houses or to use as Christmas gifts.
But the Christmas markets are not just about shopping. Visitors can observe traditional foods
being made, and sample all manner of local produce.
Large hams are roasted on spits, there are terribly unhealthy but wonderfully tasty barbequed sausages (klobása), and cakes and pastries prepared in front of you, such as 'Trdelník', a hot sugar coated pastry.
To accompany the food, try one of the famous Czech beers - Pilsner Urquell, Staropramen and Budvar - or choose from a variety of hot drinks. Outdoor Christmas
shopping is so much nicer with a cup of hot mulled wine (svařené víno or svařák) 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 Christmas tree, shipped in from Česká Lípa, which is north of Prague. The tree is erected at the Old Town Square and draped in
a blaze of lights.
It is switched on every night around 5pm, and makes a
spectacular sight, set against Prague's dark gothic skyline.
Wenceslas Square has its own brightly lit Christmas tree too, which can be admired from all around.
But what is Christmas without carols?
School choirs often perform late afternoon on a stage at the Old Town Square. The children travel from all over the Czech Republic to sing, dressed in traditional costumes. The trip to Prague is a highlight of their school year.
The festive atmosphere in Prague throughout December is simply wonderful!
The theme for the markets last year was the works of the Czech artist Josef Lada, who is famous for depicting traditional winter scenes in Czech villages. His designs appeared in both the main squares, decorating the observation bridge at the Old Town Square and depicting the Bethlehem scene at Wenceslas Square. We'll update this page nearer the time with this year's theme.
How to make the most of the Christmas Markets
Prague's city centre is compact, which is ideal for pedestrians. Book a hotel anywhere in Prague 1 (city centre), and the Christmas markets and the sights and attractions
will be within easy walking distance.
The Prague Christmas markets are free to enter. By staying in the city centre, whenever you fancy dropping in, you can leave your hotel and be in the midst of the markets in minutes. Grab a drink, browse the stalls, and soak up the atmosphere. And when you're ready for a warm bath, it's just a short walk home - Prague hotels
.Entertainment & Sightseeing
Aside from the markets, there is a range of entertainment and sightseeing on offer. In particular, we recommend buying a ticket for a classical concert. Concerts in ancient churches and grand concert halls are magical at this time of year - Prague concerts
The opera and ballet season is also in full swing, with performances proving popular at the opera houses and theatres - Prague opera and ballet
And for a typically Czech experience, a trip to a black light theatre or marionette theatre can be a fun activity - Prague theatre
Sightseeing is a major reason to visit Prague. The Christmas lights and festive atmosphere bring the historic buildings to life, and a sightseeing tour will help you discover the true beauty of the city - from walking tours to coach tours to river cruises, there is an exciting way for everyone to explore Prague - Prague sightseeing
An easy, good value way to arrange a Prague city break is to book a Prague Package
For weather, currency exchange and practical information: Prague tourist information
For more information on the layout of the city: Prague tourism guide
For a quick guide to what is open and when throughout December: opening times
For information on specific dates in December:
- 5th December 2016 - Mikulas in Prague
- 24th December 2016 (Christmas Eve): Christmas Eve in Prague
- 24th-26th December 2016: Prague Christmas Planner
- 31st December 2016 (New Year's Eve): Prague New Year's Eve Planner
*03rd Dec-04th Jan:
Old Town Square & Wenceslas Square.
from 16:00 at Old Town Square.
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 Square.
24:00 Midnight Mass at some churches, including Strahov Monastery.
What's open and when at Christmas.
|New Year's Eve|
31st Dec: Celebrations & midnight fireworks.
*The markets will definitely run on these dates. They will likely start one week earlier, but the authorities will not make a decision on this until late summer. This page will be updated once we receive official notification.
|Prague Package |
|City breaks with airport transfers, a hotel, city tour & entertainment:|