Prague Christmas markets » 01 December 2018 - 06 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.
Markets at Old Town Square
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 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 in late November is that the Christmas market at Prague Castle starts on 24th November, one week before the main markets.
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. You can sample all manner of local food and drinks, and observe traditional foods
Large hams are roasted on spits, there are terribly unhealthy but wonderfully tasty barbequed sausages (klobása), and cakes and pastries are prepared in front of you; like 'Trdelník', a hot sugar coated pastry.
To accompany the food, try one of the famous Czech beers
: Pilsner Urquell, Staropramen or Budvar.
There are plenty of hot drinks too. Outdoor Christmas
shopping is so much nicer with a cup of 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 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
Markets at Wenceslas Square
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?
On a stage at the Old Town Square, school choirs perform on certain days (usually late afternoon). The children, dressed in traditional costume, travel from all over the Czech Republic to appear.
The festive atmosphere in Prague throughout the period of the Christmas markets is simply wonderful!
Theme of the Christmas markets for 2018: to be announced in December
The theme for the markets will be announced in December. Last year it was the 'History of Prague': there were decorated gables on the market huts depicting historical figures and events, such as the emperors Charles IV and Rudolf II, Rabbi Loew and Franz Kafka. And the observation bridge at the Old Town Square had silhouettes of St. Vitus Cathedral.
The music to accompany the lights switch on every evening alternated between 'Vltava' by the Czech composer Bedřich Smetana and Krkonosske fairytale music.
Where to Stay in Prague
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 most popular is the Lesser Town
, which is across Charles Bridge
on the other side of the river.
As the city centre is compact, these three areas are within easy walking distance of each other.
Drinks hut at Old Town Square
| Indeed, book a hotel anywhere in Prague 1 and the markets, entertainment, and the sights and attractions will all be nearby. The Prague Christmas markets are free to enter, so whenever you fancy dropping in, you will be able to leave your hotel and be in the midst of the markets in minutes. Grab a drink, 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.|
There is a range of entertainment on offer throughout the duration of the Christmas markets. In particular, we recommend buying a ticket for a classical concert.
Concerts in beautiful churches and historic buildings are magical at this time of year - classical concerts
The opera & ballet
season is also in full swing.
While for a typical Czech experience, black light and marionette theatres stage highly entertaining shows that are suitable for tourists - Prague theatre
Sightseeing is a joy in Prague, and the Christmas decorations and festive atmosphere lend the historic buildings an even greater charm than usual.
Aside from on Christmas Eve
, the sights and attractions are all open throughout December.
A sightseeing tour 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 - Prague sightseeing
Weather in December in Prague
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, and there are frequent snow showers. Bring a winter jacket, hat and gloves. And as Prague is a wonderful city to explore on foot, a comfortable pair of waterproof shoes is a good idea.
For a guide to what's open and when throughout December: December opening times.
For information on the layout of the city: Prague tourism guide.
For practical information, including currency exchange: Prague tourist information.
For information on how to travel around Prague: Prague public transport.
For a simple way to arrange your Prague city break: Prague Package.
For information on the most significant dates in December:
- 5 December 2018: Mikulas Day in Prague.
- 24 December 2018: Christmas Eve in Prague.
- 24-26 December 2018: Prague Christmas Planner.
- 31 December 2018: Prague New Year's Eve Planner.
|Christmas markets at Old Town Sq. & Wenceslas Sq.|
01 Dec-06 Jan
|Christmas market at Prague Castle|
24 Nov-07 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 behind 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 and other churches
What's open over Christmas
|New Year's Eve|
Festivities & fireworks
|City breaks with airport transfers, a hotel, city tour & entertainment:|