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Prague Christmas 2023

Prague Christmas Markets » 2nd December 2023 - 6th January 2024

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 Old Town Square
Old Town Christmas Markets

Christmas Markets 2023

The Prague Christmas Markets are open daily from 2nd December 2023 to 6th January 2024, including on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

The main Christmas markets are held at the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square, in the heart of the city. The two squares are 5 minutes walk from each other.

Opening hours are 10:00-22:00. Entry is free.
In addition, Prague Castle holds a sizeable Christmas market on the square in front of St. George's Basilica. The market is open daily from 2nd December 2023 to 6th January 2024.
Opening hours are 09:00-18:00/19:00. Entry is free.

A smaller Christmas market is held at Republic Square (Náměstí Republiky), open daily from 25th November to 30th December 2023. Opening hours are 10:00-22:00.

Havel's Market in the Old Town and Na Kampě Square in the Lesser Town also have Christmas stalls and a festive feel.

Just outside the city centre, two local Christmas markets may be worth a visit, particularly if your trip is before the main markets open. Both are 15 minutes walk from Wenceslas Square:

Peace Square (Náměstí Míru). Open 20th November to 24th December 2023. 10:00-20:00.
Tyl’s Square (Tylovo náměstí). Open 26th November to 24th December 2023. 10:00-20:00.

What are the Prague Christmas Markets?

Christmas markets (Vánoční trhy) are a key ingredient of the festive magic in Czechia, 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.
Christmas Market stall at the Old Town Square
Christmas Market stall
The Prague Christmas Markets consist of brightly decorated wooden huts, stocked with local handicrafts and traditional Christmas treats.

Among the wares on display are ceramics, jewellery, glassware, embroidered lace, wooden toys, candles, Christmas tree ornaments, winter hats and gloves, and puppets and dolls dressed in traditional costumes.

While you can find nice souvenirs on the stalls, 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 drink to sample, a lot of it prepared on the stalls in front of you.
Popular Czech foods on offer include: large hams roasted on spits (šunka); terribly unhealthy but wonderfully tasty barbecued sausages (klobása); flatbread topped with garlic, cheese and ketchup (langoš); chips (hranolky); smoked meat dumplings (knedlíky plněné uzeným masem); sweet dumplings (sladké knedlíky); and pancakes or crêpes (palačinky).
Food at the Christmas Markets
Food at the Christmas Markets
Traditional Christmas fish soup (rybí polévka) is also cooked in huge cauldrons. Made from carp, vegetables, cream and brandy, over 1,500 kilograms of ingredients are used to make the soup each year.

There are plenty of cakes and sweets too, such as spicy gingerbread (perníčky) and a hot sweet pastry (trdelník).

Trdelník (sometimes translated as Chimney Cake) is made from rolled dough that is wrapped around a stick, baked on an open fire, then topped with a sugar and walnut mix. It is delicious on its own, but it can have chocolate sauce spread inside it, and/or be filled with ice-cream.

A word of warning to parents: once a child has tasted trdelník, there is no going back - its comforting, addictive nature means you will be pestered endlessly for another hit!
For drinks, visitors can sample famous Czech beers, such as Pilsner Urquell, Budvar and Staropramen (brewed in Prague).

Alternatively, opt for a hot drink: mulled wine (svařák); punch (punč); hot chocolate (horká čokoláda); honey wine (medovina); or grog - made of rum, water, lemon and sugar.

Outdoor Christmas shopping is so much nicer with a hot mulled wine or cold beer in your hand!
making trdelnik at the Easter Markets

Eco Markets

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

Where possible, ingredients are sourced locally: Christmas fish soup is made with carp from Czech rivers and lakes and vegetables from local farms; Czech meat is used for the sausages and hamburgers; the hams are from Czech pigs; the beer is exclusively Czech (naturally!); and the wine hails from Moravia, including the wine used to make svařák.

Christmas Trees

The most impressive sight of all is the mighty 25m Christmas tree erected at the Old Town Square, which is felled and transported to Prague from the Ústí nad Labem region of North Bohemia in Czechia.

The tree is dressed with red and gold baubles, and draped in a blaze of lights. It is a spectacular sight set against the dark Gothic skyline.

The tree lights are switched on at 16:30 every day, accompanied by rousing music.
Christmas Tree at the Old Town Square
Old Town Square Christmas tree
The tree lighting ceremony is then repeated every hour at: 17:30, 18:30, 19:30, 20:30 and 21:30.

The music for the ceremony alternates between Elizabethan Serenade by Karel Gott and All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey.

Wenceslas Square has its own Christmas tree too. In fact it has two, because the Christmas markets are spread across both the top and bottom of the square.

The tree lights at Wenceslas Square are switched on around 17:00 every evening.

Other Attractions

Both the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square have nativity scenes in wooden stables, depicting Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus and the Three Kings.
drinks hut at the Prague Christmas Markets
Drinks hut at Old Town Square
There are opportunities for visiting children to join in Christmas themed activities: workshops are held from 11am on Saturday and Sunday mornings at the Old Town Square, showing children how to paint and prepare traditional Czech Christmas items.

There is also an animals stable at the Old Town Square, where children can stroke sheep, goats and a donkey.

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.

Theme of the Christmas Markets in 2023

Decoration of the Christmas Markets is mostly inspired by the traditional colours of Christmas: green, red, gold and white.

However, there is also an annual theme, which last year was "Heavenly Christmas":

The decorations were simple and traditional. The Christmas tree lights at the Old Town Square were warm white, with bright stars, and there were red and gold baubles.

The Old Town Square was guarded by 5 large angels (each 4m-6m tall), two serving as photo points. Two angels were sited on the Observation Bridge, one symbolically lighting a candle on the Christmas tree.

At Wenceslas Square, the Christmas tree was decorated with red baubles and light stars.

We'll have to wait until November to find out the theme for 2023. Whatever it turns out to be, the festive atmosphere in Prague in December is simply wonderful!
Observation Bridge
Observation Bridge

Photo Opportunities

A great place to take photos of the Christmas Markets is from the Observation Bridge (free to enter) in the Old Town Square. Climb the steps to the platform and take in the view.

For a higher vantage point, climb to the top of the Old Town Hall Tower (entrance fee) and enjoy magnificent aerial views over the Old Town Square and way beyond.

And don't forget street level photography. Amongst the market stalls, you can take vivid shots of the colourful wares and food.

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.

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

What Clothes to Wear

In terms of clothing, bring a warm winter jacket, hat and gloves. Many visitors pack their thermals too!

As Prague is a wonderful city to explore on foot, wear comfortable walking shoes or boots.

If you get caught out by the weather, there are plenty of shops that can help. These range from department stores like Marks & Spencer and shoe shops such as Bata, to specialist outdoor clothing and footwear stores like Rock Point.
For sightseeing, dining and entertainment in Prague, most tourist establishments welcome visitors in casual attire. However, you will need to dress reasonably smartly at the opera houses and high-end restaurants.

Where to Stay in Prague

The Christmas Markets are held in the district of Prague 1, which is the city centre.
Prague Hotels
Hotels in Prague 1
Prague 1 is compact and highly pedestrianised, and is itself split into several areas, all of which are within easy walking distance of each other.

The two most popular areas to stay in within Prague 1 are the Old Town, which has the Old Town Square at its heart, and the New Town, which has Wenceslas Square at its heart.

The third most popular area to stay in is the Lesser Town, which is across the river from the Old Town, and can be easily reached by strolling across Charles Bridge.
Most of the sightseeing, entertainment and nightlife in Prague is in Prague 1 too, so for quick and easy access on foot to the markets, our advice is to stay anywhere in Prague 1.

By staying in Prague 1, whenever you fancy dropping in to the Christmas Markets, you can leave your hotel and be in the midst of the action 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 back to base. Plus, the sights, tourist attractions, museums, theatres, concert halls, restaurants and shops will all be nearby.
Stalls at the Prague Christmas Markets
See the sights in Prague

Sightseeing in Prague

Sightseeing in Prague is a wondrous experience all year round, with magnificent squares and monuments to visit, and a dramatic history there to discover. The festive atmosphere simply lends the city an even greater charm than usual.

While you should allow time in your trip to wander and explore the city by yourself, we also recommend booking a sightseeing tour. A local guide can bring the city to life in a way only an expert knows how. You may find out and experience things you could never imagine.

The sights and tourist attractions in Prague are open throughout the Christmas season, except on Christmas Eve.

River Cruises At Christmas

The Vltava River flows through the heart of Prague and many famous sights line its banks. This makes river cruises an ideal way to explore the city and experience its unique ambience. A boat trip is also easy: just sit back and relax with a drink in hand, and take it all in!
Prague Christmas River Cruise
Christmas River Cruises
River Cruises range from a 2-hour afternoon sightseeing trip to dinner cruises aboard luxurious, ultra-modern boats.

The boats are festively decorated throughout December, and heated to ensure a comfortable trip no matter the weather.

There is also an additional festive sightseeing cruise in the build up to Christmas: the Prague Advent Cruise sets sail in the afternoon every weekend. Christmas carols are played onboard and guests are served hot mulled wine and a cake.

From walking tours to coach tours to river cruises, there are many ways to uncover the wonder of Prague.

Entertainment in Prague

During the festive season, there is entertainment galore, including a number of highly atmospheric Christmas concerts and special Christmas events.

Classical Concerts

We particularly recommend attending a classical concert in Prague. Performances are magical at this time of year, both the Christmas concerts and regular concerts. They are staged in grand concert halls and in an array of beautiful churches and historic buildings.

While it is difficult to recommend any one concert, 'Czech Christmas Mass' by the Prague Symphony Orchestra is worth a special mention for its uniqueness. It is staged at two venues:

Czech Christmas Mass at St. Simon & St. Jude: 29,30 November; 25 December 2023

Czech Christmas Mass at Municipal House: 20,21 December 2023

And one of series of concerts we feel obliged to mention are the Christmas concerts at the Klementinum, which run throughout the festive season and are simply spectacular.

The best concerts in Prague always sell out at Christmas, so we advise booking tickets early.

Listings & Tickets

Opera & Ballet

The opera and ballet season is also in full swing, with performances staged at all three of the city's opera houses: Prague State Opera, National Theatre and Estates Theatre.

November Christmas Concerts + Opera & Ballet

December Christmas Concerts + Opera & Ballet

January Christmas Concerts + Opera & Ballet

Festive productions are prominent, such as the ever-popular ballet The Nutcracker, which is staged at two theatres:
The Nutcracker at National Theatre in PragueNutcracker at National Theatre The Nutcracker Ballet at the National Theatre:

02,03,22,23,26,27,29,30 December 2023;
04,05,06 January 2024

Listings & Tickets

The Nutcracker Ballet at Broadway Theatre:

20,27 November 2023;
05,20,22,24,25,27,29 December 2023;
01,13 January 2024

Listings & Tickets
Black Light Theatre

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

November Theatre

December Theatre

January Theatre
Czech nights

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


Old Town Square Christmas markets:

Metro station: Staromestska (line A), Mustek (lines A & B), Namesti Republiky (line B)
Tram stop: Staromestska (trams 2,17,18)

Wenceslas Square Christmas markets:

Metro station: Muzeum (lines A & C), Mustek (lines A & B)
Tram stop: Vaclavske namesti (trams 3,5,6,9,14,24)

Prague Castle Christmas markets:

Tram stop: Prazsky hrad (trams 22,23) - take a tram from metro station Malostranska (line A)

WHAT'S OPEN at Christmas and On New Year's Eve

For information on spending Christmas in Prague:

-24th December: Christmas Eve in Prague
-24th-26th December: Christmas Planner

For information on New Year's Eve celebrations in Prague:

-31st December: New Year's Eve
-31st December: New Year's Eve Planner

For more information on what's open throughout December: Christmas opening hours.

More Information

For an introduction to the city: Prague tourism information.

For practical information, including advice on currency exchange: Prague tourist information.

For travel advice: Travel to Prague and Travel around Prague by Public Transport.

For an easy way to visit Prague, the Prague Package includes a hotel, Prague airport transfers, sightseeing and entertainment.
informationCHRISTMAS 2023
Old Town Square & Wenceslas Square
02 Dec-06 Jan
Daily 10:00-22:00
Entry is free

Prague Castle
02 Dec-06 Jan
Mon-Thu 09:00-18:00
Fri-Sun 09:00-19:00
Entry is free

Republic Square
25 Nov-30 Dec
Daily 10:00-22:00
Entry is free

Peace Square
20 Nov-24 Dec
Daily 10:00-20:00
Entry is free

Tylís Square
26 Nov-24 Dec
Daily 10:00-20:00
Entry is free
Charles Bridge
Daily 16:00
Old Town Square
Daily 16:30

Wenceslas Square
Daily 17:00
Old Town Square
05 Dec 2023
24 Dec 2023
-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
24-26 Dec 2023
What's open at Christmas: restaurants, entertainment & sightseeing
Čapadlo, Smetanovo nábřeží, Old Town
02 Dec-31 Jan
Daily 10:00-21:00

Ovocny trh (square behind Estates Theatre), Old Town
05 Dec-31 Jan
Daily 10:00-21:00

Na Frantisku Sports Centre, Old Town
02 Dec-31 Mar
Mon-Fri 08:00-17:30; Sat-Sun 10:00-17:00/18:00
31 Dec 2023
Festivities & Fireworks
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Your guide to the Prague Christmas Markets 2023

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