Prague Easter Markets » CANCELLED IN 2020
The Prague Easter Markets are CANCELLED in 2020 as part of the emergency measures to fight coronavirus (COVID-19).
What are the Prague Easter Markets?
Easter markets (Velikonocni trhy) celebrate the arrival of spring in the Czech Republic, and the Prague markets are the most impressive in the country. They brighten up the city, bringing locals and tourists together in an uplifting, historic setting.
The Prague Easter Markets consist of wooden huts decorated with the vibrant colours of spring, and stocked with local handicrafts - glassware, jewellery, ceramics, embroidered lace, wooden toys, scented candles, and puppets and dolls dressed in traditional costume.
Prague Easter Markets at night
|The most common item though is Easter eggs, made of the shells of hen eggs or wood, hand-painted in a variety of colours and designs.|
|Easter eggs and ribbons||
||Surrounding the market huts, in and around the squares, are trees in blossom, and an abundance of flowers and colourful ribbons tied to the branches of birch trees.|
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.
While visitors can find some nice souvenirs at the stalls, 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 shopping is so much nicer with an ice-cold beer or 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.
Drinks hut at the Easter Markets
Children and the Easter Markets
Another feature of the Prague Easter Markets is music and dance. 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.
For children visiting the markets with their families, the
general ambience and the sugary snacks on offer will no doubt appeal (a word to parents: once a child has tasted trdelník, there is no going back - you will be pestered endlessly for another hit!).
|There is also a farmyard pen, where children can feed and stroke animals such as sheep, goats and a donkey. Even an alpaca can put in an appearance.|
are opportunities for kids to join in Easter themed activities too: workshops held on the Old Town Square stage at weekends show children how to paint Easter eggs and flower pots, cut ribbons, make Easter chicks, and weave traditional Easter baskets and whips.
Alternatively, take your place in the crowd and watch the dancing and the activities unfold.
|Stage at the Old Town Square|
The best places to take photos of the Prague Easter 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.
Hotels in Prague 1
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 Easter 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.
|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 at Easter
The weather is very changeable in Prague in spring. During the time of the Easter Markets, visitors can expect long spells of warm, sunny weather interspersed with dull days and heavy showers.
What Clothes to Wear
As the weather and temperatures can fluctuate considerably, come prepared:
On fine weather days visitors will find cool shirts, shorts, skirts and dresses most welcome. Bring sunscreen, sunglasses and hats too.
Easter Market at Wenceslas Square
|In case of a cold snap or rain, bring a warm fleece and a waterproof jacket or umbrella.|
Importantly, Prague is a wonderful city to explore on foot. It is, therefore, advisable to bring comfortable 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.
The sights are open 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 colours of spring around Easter bring the city to life, lending it even greater charm than usual.
The sights and attractions are open every day throughout the time of the Easter Markets, except on Good Friday and Easter Monday (see below).
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 entertainment galore throughout the time of the Easter Markets, including special Easter 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.
|Easter in Prague||
What is Open at Easter (10th-13th April 2020)
The markets are open every day over Easter.
All sights and attractions are open on Easter Saturday and Sunday. Only certain sights are open on Good Friday and Easter Monday, and usually with limited opening hours.
The sightseeing tours, walking tours and river cruises operate every day.
The opera houses, concert halls and theatres are open ever day.
|The shops are open on Easter Saturday and Sunday. Only certain stores open on Good Friday and Easter Monday, and usually with limited opening hours.|
Restaurants, bars, cafés and clubs are open every day. For dining, we advise making a reservation (many restaurants will be booked out). You can see what menus are available and make reservations in our restaurants section.
Please note: Prague is a popular city to visit throughout the duration of the markets, and many venues and tours sell out. Reservations are highly recommended for any form of sightseeing or entertainment you may wish to participate in.
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.
Origins of the Easter Markets
Easter markets in the Czech Republic date back to the Late Middle Ages, when they were deeply tied to religious festivities. However, in the communist era, in the 20th century, the markets suffered a demise, as religious aspects of Easter were banned and consumerism was frowned upon; Easter celebrations were limited to the welcoming of spring.
After the fall of communism and the liberalisation of the country, the Easter markets enjoyed a renaissance. Czechs and tourists alike gather in their thousands today, to browse the colourful market stalls and to soak up the special atmosphere.
|To help visitors understand the traditions on display at the markets in Prague, we offer an insight into a Czech Easter, as traditionally celebrated in towns and villages around the country. Easter is an exciting time of year, particularly for children:|
Children finish school on "Ugly Wednesday." The following day ("Green Thursday") boys equip themselves with wooden rattles, called "rehtacka". They then form a group and walk through their local village or town, shaking their rattles vigorously. This, as tradition dictates, scares off Judas.
The same walk is repeated on "Good Friday" and once more on "White Saturday". On Saturday, progress is slowed by the boys stopping at every house and shaking their rattles until they receive a present!
The greatest symbol of Easter is the egg, with its connections to spring and new life. On Easter Sunday, the girls and women of the village decorate Easter eggs ("kraslice"). This is a skilled affair with many variations on the decoration: a mix of watercolours, picture stickers, bee's wax, straw and/or feathers.
For particularly well decorated eggs there is even an Easter egg contest held annually in Prague.
|As girls paint their eggs, the boys prepare their Easter whips ("pomlázka"), ready for Easter Monday. This is not the kind of whip used on horses, but is made from osier twigs, braided together. Once again, this takes some skill to make and the more twigs, the more difficult it is to braid a whip.|
Visitors may see examples of these whips in the Prague Easter Markets, should they wish to participate!
On Easter Monday people get up early, and the boys and men set off on a whipping trip through the village.
|Boys stop at various homes and whip the legs of every girl and woman who live there. Small boys are required to recite an Easter carol as they go about their whipping.|
As if the whipping is not enough, an old custom is to also grab the girl and throw her in a bath of cold water, known as an "Easter dousing". The whipping and dousing is performed to chase away illness and bad spirits - although she may not appreciate it at the time, all this is supposed to be good for the girl!
| ||Once the whipping and dousing is over, the girl rewards the boy with one of her painted eggs. She then ties a bright ribbon around his whip, before he moves on to the next house.|
As the boys progress through the village, their bags fill with eggs, and with so many ribbons attached the whips become ever more colourful.
In recent times, for older boys gifts of eggs and ribbons have given way to offers of shots of alcohol. By the time they arrive home, these young men can be in a fairly happy frame of mind!
10-13 April 2020
Old Town Square & Wenceslas Square
28 March-19 April
28 March-27 April
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