Prague Christmas Markets » 28th November 2020 - 03rd January 2021
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.
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 hut
|At the centre of the Old Town Square is an Observation Bridge. Climb a small flight of steps to reach it, and take in the expansive view over the market.|
Food at the Christmas Markets
||While you can find some nice souvenirs at the stalls, to take home to decorate your house with or to use as Christmas gifts, the markets are about more than shopping. There is all manner of local food and drink to sample, much of it prepared and cooked in front of you.|
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).
There is also a variety of cakes and sweets to choose from, such as hot, freshly made sugar coated pastry (trdelník) and spicy gingerbread (perníčky).
| For drinks, you can sample the famous Czech beer, such as 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!
Reflecting the global mood to be more environmentally friendly, food and drink at the markets is now served with 100% biodegradable cups, plates and cutlery.
And wherever possible, food and drinks will be locally sourced: Czech meat is used in the sausages and hamburgers, and there is wine from Rakvice in South Moravia.
Other attractions at the markets include an animals stable at the Old Town Square, where children can stroke sheep, goats and a donkey.
At the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square there are nativity scenes in wooden stables, depicting Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus and the Three Kings.
But 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.
Old Town Square Christmas tree
Most impressive of all is the mighty Christmas tree at the Old Town Square, transported from the forests of the Liberec region of the Czech Republic.
The tree is dressed with 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.
Wenceslas Square also has a brightly lit Christmas tree, with its lights switched on at 5pm every day.
|Once lit, the tree lighting ceremonies are repeated every hour as follows:|
Old Town Square Tree Lighting: 16:30, 17:30, 18:30, 19:30, 20:30, 21:30.
Wenceslas Square Tree Lighting: 17:00, 18:00, 19:00, 20:00, 21:00.
Both Christmas tree lighting ceremonies are accompanied by rousing music. At the Old Town Square the music alternates between the title song from the Czech fairytale "Krkonoše" and the melody "Somewhere In My Memory" by John Williams.
The best places to take photos of the Prague Christmas Markets are: from the Observation Bridge (free) at the Old Town Square; from the top of the Old Town Hall Tower (payable), from where there are magnificent aerial views over the Old Town Square; at street level, where if you get in amongst the market stalls you can be rewarded with vivid close up shots of the products on offer and of the food being made.
Theme of the Christmas Markets in 2020
The theme for the Christmas Markets last year was 'Angels at Christmas'.
The theme for 2020 will be announced towards the end of November.
Whatever the theme, throughout the markets visitors will notice an emphasis on the traditional Christmas colours of green, red, gold and white, and also extensive use of natural materials such as 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.
Hotels in Prague 1
Wenceslas Square 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 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.
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.
Drinks hut, Old Town Square
| Most tourist establishments welcome visitors in casual attire, although you will need to dress reasonably smartly for high-end restaurants and the opera houses.|
See the sights in Prague
Sightseeing in Prague
Sightseeing in Prague is enchanting all year round, with ancient monuments and magnificent squares to explore, and a dramatic history to uncover.
The festive atmosphere lends the city even greater charm than usual.
Most sights and attractions are open throughout the time of the Christmas Markets, except on Christmas Eve.
A sightseeing tour led by a local guide can help visitors discover the true beauty of the city - from walking tours to coach tours to river cruises, there are lots of ways to explore - Prague sightseeing.
Entertainment in Prague
There is also entertainment galore, including Christmas concerts and Christmas events.
We particularly recommend buying a ticket for a classical concert. Performances held in churches and other historical buildings are magical at this time of year, both the Christmas concerts and regular concerts:
If you are seeking a typically Czech experience, the black light and marionette theatres stage productions suitable for all ages and nationalities:
For fine local Czech hospitality, try the warm and friendly atmosphere at the Medieval Tavern or Traditional Czech Night. Both events are well suited to a cold winter's night.
For information on what is 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: 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.
Old Town Square & Wenceslas Square
28 Nov-06 Jan
23 Nov-06 Jan
|CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING|
Old Town Square
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 Strahov Monastery & other churches
Find out what's open over Christmas
Ovocny trh (small square behind Estates Theatre), Old Town
05 Dec-31 Jan
Na Frantisku Sports Centre, Kozi Street, Old Town
05 Dec-29 Feb
|NEW YEAR'S EVE|
Festivities & fireworks
|City breaks with airport transfers, a hotel, city tour & entertainment:|