Illuminating the Gothic facades of Prague’s Old Town Square, and casting its glow over the manger display of the famous Prague Christmas market, is a grand tree cut in the Sumava mountains in the southern Czech Republic.
The Christmas markets attract visitors to Prague throughout December, including over Christmas and on New Year’s Eve. The city has a wonderful festive atmosphere, and there is a range of sightseeing and entertainment on offer every day.
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 and hearty food.
Christmas markets (Vanocni trh) are a key ingredient of the festive magic in the Czech Republic. And the Prague Christmas markets are the country’s most impressive, lighting up the city, bringing locals and tourists together to share in the spirit in a ‘winter wonderland’ setting.
The main Christmas markets are held at the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square (5 minutes walk from each other). There is also a smaller market at Republic Square and a permanent one at Havel’s Market.
The Prague Christmas Markets are free to enter. By staying in the city centre, whenever you fancy dropping in, you can leave your hotel and be in the midst of the markets in minutes.
The markets consist of brightly decorated wooden huts selling traditional handicrafts: glassware, jewellery, embroidered lace, wooden toys, metalware, ceramics, scented candles, Christmas tree ornaments, hats, gloves and scarves, and puppets and dolls beautifully dressed in traditional costumes.
Visitors should find some nice items to take home, to decorate their houses or to use as Christmas gifts.
But the Christmas markets are not just about shopping. Visitors can also observe traditional foods being made, and sample all manner of local food and drink. Large hams are roasted on spits, there are terribly unhealthy but wonderfully tasty barbequed sausages, and pastries prepared.
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 Christmas tree, shipped in from the Krkonose mountains in the North of the Czech Republic. It is erected at the Old Town Square and draped in a blaze of lights. The tree is switched on every night around 5pm. Set against Prague’s dark gothic skyline, this is truly a spectacular sight.
Wenceslas Square has its own brightly lit Christmas tree too, which can be admired from all over the square.
And what is Christmas without carols? School choirs often perform late afternoon/early evening on a stage at the Old Town Square. Children travel from all over the Czech Republic and dress in traditional costumes to sing. The trip to Prague can be the highlight of their school year.
Entertainment & Sightseeing:
Aside from the markets, there is plenty of entertainment and sightseeing. In particular we recommend buying a ticket for a classical concert. Over the festive period performances in the city’s ancient churches and grand concert halls are magical – Prague concerts.
The opera and ballet season is also in full swing, with performances proving popular at all the Prague opera houses – Prague opera and ballet.
Sightseeing is of course a major reason to visit Prague. The Christmas lights and the festive atmosphere bring the ancient buildings to life at this time of year. A sightseeing tour will help you discover the best of the city. From walking tours to coach tours to river cruises, there is a fun way for everyone to explore – Prague sightseeing.