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Prague Christmas 2018

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.
Prague Christmas markets at Town Square
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).
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.

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 markets huts at the Old Town Square
Christmas market huts
Christmas  market food
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.
Outdoor Christmas 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.
Food at the Christmas markets
'Trdelník' baking
Christmas Tree at the Old Town Square
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.
Wenceslas Square: 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.
Prague Hotels
Hotels in Prague 1
Prague Christmas markets at Wenceslas Square
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 at the Prague Christmas markets
Drinks hut, Old Town Square
Stalls at the Prague Christmas markets
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

(Nutcracker tickets are still available for:
17,20,22 December at National Theatre and
23,24,25,27,29 December at Hybernia Theatre).
Prague Opera, Ballet & Concerts 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.
light blue line

More Information

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.
informationChristmas 2018
Christmas markets at Old Town Sq. & Wenceslas Sq.
01 Dec-06 Jan
Daily 10:00-22:00
more info
Christmas market at Prague Castle.
23 Nov-06 Jan
Mon-Thu 09:00-18:00;
Fri-Sun 09:00-19:00
more info
Lighting of the Christmas Tree
-at Old Town Sq.
01 Dec-06 Jan
Daily 16:30
-at Wenceslas Sq.
01 Dec-06 Jan
Daily 17:00
Mikulas Day
at Old Town Sq.
05 Dec
more info
Ice Rink
at Ovocny trh, a square near Estates Theatre, Old Town.
05 Dec-31 Jan
Daily 10:00-21:00
more info
Christmas Eve
24 Dec
-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
more info
Christmas Planner
24-26 Dec
What's open over Christmas
more info
New Year's Eve
31 Dec
Festivities & fireworks
more info
Hotel Offers!
Special Offers on Hotels
Superb hotel offers in December:
Prague hotels
Prague Package
Prague City Break Hotel
City breaks with airport transfers, a hotel, city tour & entertainment:
Prague Package
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Your guide to the Prague Christmas markets

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