Christmas Markets in Prague
Christmas in Prague is special.
Maybe it's the variety of architectural styles pulsing with new energy under Christmas decorations. Maybe it's the smell of warm food and mulled wine against cool and crispy air. Or maybe it's the Christmas markets popping up all over the city to get us out of our warm homes.
Christmas markets in Prague have been doing it for many centuries. They invite people to walk out and find warmth in conversations with their families and friends. Today, Prague’s markets are recognized as one of the most atmospheric ones in the world, bringing together both locals and guests to share the festive spirit.
You will find a special something in any of the dozens markets in this beautiful city. Be it Trdelnik, a cinnamon spiced hot sugar coated pastry prepared on a rotating iron spike, or tasty Klobasa, a sausage barbecued right in front of you. Czechs do like their food, and it's easy to see why. You walk by stalls full of delicacies such as grilled carp or kuba, traditional Czech Christmas dish made of barley and mushrooms. Or maybe you prefer sweeter stuff such as Pernik, Czech style gingerbread.
One doesn't stay thirsty either. As a capital of a country famous for beer, Prague is all about choice when it comes to liquid bread. Pilsner Urquell, Budweiser and Kozel are the most famous ones. There is a whole world of smaller breweries, though, such as Uneticke Pivo and Kocour, if you are really interested.
But why stick only with beer? How about a mug of Svarak, mulled wine, or Medovina, a honey liquor.
While walking through the stalls, you will see blacksmiths and glassblowers in action (it' s a good idea to stick close to them for a minute or two and get warm), and appreciate crystal, wooden and ceramic crafts. You will stop to hear Christmas carols, as well as those ominous, high-pitched screams of traditional Ježibaba toys. Every now and then a workshop happens, and you get an amazing chance to create something – to be taught a skill, to learn a piece of Czech culture and go home with something authentic.
Old Town Christmas Market
Old Town Christmas Market is the biggest and the oldest one of them all. The amazing Old Town Square, where the market is set, is indeed a fitting place. The amazing architecture consists of Gothic buildings such as the Church of Our Lady before Týn and baroque St. Nicholas Church. Popular medieval astronomical clock Pražsky Orloj dates all the way back to 1410, and a statue of Jan Hus reminds of this religious reformer burned at the stake for his beliefs.
Surrounded by wooden huts, a 22 meters tall Christmas tree dominates the market. It is its biggest attraction, as the tree's lightning ceremony is repeated every hour. A specially prepared platform invites people to climb on it and catch the event in full. It is a magnificent sight indeed, seeing the decorative lights descending from top to the bottom like waves, as if constantly putting a new dress on the tree.
Wenceslas Square Christmas Market
Another popular Christmas market is located on Wenceslas Square, named after the patron saint of Bohemia. It is an interesting, but somewhat smaller affair than the one in the Old Town Square.
One of Prague's main squares, Wenceslas Square was home to a number of significant historical events. Proclamation of independence of Czechoslovakia was read there in 1918, and large demonstrations were held on the square in 1989 as a part of Velvet Revolution that resulted with the country overthrowing communism.
The square is conveniently located on a border between the New Town and the Old Town, and it is now a business and cultural center. This makes it possible to have a cup of mulled wine and a plate of sauerkraut and sausage, and then do some clothes shopping just a few meters away.
Namesti Miru Christmas Market
Third big Christmas market is the one in Vinohrady (literally meaning 'vineyards'), located in the neighborhood's biggest square, Namesti Miru. It is a spacious green public square in front of the Church of St. Ludmila, a breathtaking neo-Gothic church built in 1892. The neighborhood is the lively, architecturally and culturally diverse one. The market itself is regarded as a somewhat more authentic in comparison to the previous two.
Besides the ones mentioned above, there are also many other interesting Christmas markets scattered around the city.
Jiřího z Poděbrad Market
The market in Jiřího z Poděbrad's is surely one of them. It is located in a square named after a 15th century king of Bohemia George of Poděbrady. In addition to the market, the square hosts a large Church of the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord built in 1929.
Very popular in Vinohrady, the market is regular farmers one open every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. It offers a wide range of Czech wine, honey and vegetarian food, among other products. A wide variety of international specialties is also on the offer, such as Hungarian sausages and Croatian fish.
Christmas will see the market turn into a joyful festivity event and live music shows and Christmas workshops.
Another farmers market, the one in Naplavka Market, will take you to all the way to the Vltava riverside. Located just next to Karlovo Namesti, this market offers something truly unique – a view of the Prague Castle. Not strictly a Christmas market, it nevertheless offers the unforgettable experience of a kilometer long walk through stalls full of fresh products from all around the Czech Republic.
Prague Castle Christmas Market
For the first time ever, a Christmas market will be held in the Prague Castle as well. Dating from the 9th century, Prague's Castle is one of the biggest castle complexes in Europe. It used to be a home to Bohemian kings, Roman emperors and presidents of Czechoslovakia. It might as well be a place for you to experience the spirit of Christmas in Prague.
It seems to be really nice one, too. The market offers old fashioned Czech products and live entertainment. It is held at St. George Square just next to the magnificent gothic cathedral of Saints Vitus, Wenceslaus and Adalbert first founded in 10th century.
Holešovice Christmas Market
Finally, an all encompassing event Advent na Výstavišti takes place in Holešovice.
Holešovice is a quarter in Prague 7, part of the city where Sir Toby's Hostel lives. We are so enthusiastic to witness growth and development of what was in the past a heavily industrial suburb. Prague 7 today hosts important cultural institutions such as Prague's National Gallery and Centre for Contemporary Art Dox. Many interesting pubs found their home here, as well as a beautiful park of Stromovka, a royal hunting grounds back in the times.
Advent na Výstavišti is held at Výstaviště Holešovice exhibition grounds. It offers Christmas markets, a contemporary circus festival, various cultural and sports activities, live music, children events, and Christmas workshops. A funky procession led by a 4 meter tall puppet Andel opened the event on 29 November. The tall puppet was followed by musicians, jugglers and various other artists. It really made the start of the Advent na Výstavišti the one to remember.
Considering all, we are sure you will find your own ways to be impressed by Christmas time in Prague. See you at Sir Toby's for a cup of mulled wine and make sure to check out our specials offers!