How to Eat Your Way Through Prague’s Christmas Markets
So you have found yourself in Prague during the famous Christmas markets, in a sea of kiosks full of intriguing smells that might overwhelm one’s senses. With so many choices how can you possibly decide what are the must haves and the best, especially when each country tends to have it’s own speciality. Sure, the sausage, Prague hams and trdelnik are enticing as ever, however they are often over-priced and not exclusive to Christmas. Today we are going to guide you through eating your way through our favorites at the Prague Christmas markets.
Another important thing to remember is the plethora of these markets throughout the city- some being better than others. While Old Town Square gets all the attention for Prague’s Christmas markets, there are quite a few other notable ones that are just as attractive with even better offerings. It is also a great way to beat the crowds! Try the one at Náměstí Míru, Jiriho z Podebrad, or the newest up by the castle. One is Malostranské náměstí (right next to the Nicholas Hotel Residence) as well as Na Kampe right across the Charles Bridge offer equally picturesque spots. Now that you know where to find them, we want to tell you how to make the most of your Christmas market experience in Prague.
First we will start with the old time tradition of those “chestnuts roasting on an open fire”. Nothing says Christmas like these guys. You can smell them wafting through the streets in all their roasted deliciousness before a market is even in site. What more can we say about these guys? They are classic as they come. Not in the mood for chestnuts? Often available are other assortments of candied nuts and we have to say they are just as delightful.
It would not be a Czech Christmas without Vanocka - a bread similar to a brioche, often baked with nuts and raisins. This sweet bread comes braided, in a golden color and is a perfect companion to some hot chocolate or a coffee while you stroll the market. Typically this is something Czechs make at home and is surprisingly not as commonly found in the more popular Christmas markets.
Local Tip: Namesti Jiriho z Podebrad in Vinohrady has a farmers market that caters to locals and has a heavy theme on Christmas during the month of December. You will likely be able to try some there!
Traditionally in Czech households, the baking of holiday sweets heats up during the month of December. Typically, Czechs aim to make many varieties, and are made as small as possible resulting in a plethora of bite-sized cookies. One favorite are those buttery little cookies with fruit preserves in the center known in Czech as Linecke. Widely known as a Linzer cookie derived from the Linzer torte, are not necessarily exclusive to the Czech Republic however still have a special place in our hearts. These cookies are forged using a nut-based dough with raspberry or black currant preserves glueing together two haves. You will typically find these in all shapes and sizes- and they all just as delicious as the next.
What goes perfect with Christmas cookies and gives us all the Christmas feels? Now let’s take a break from all this eating and have something to drink. While you are very much in the land of beer, sometimes it’s not exactly what you want when enjoying the festivities outdoors. We typically go for something warm. We love Svařák - our version of mulled wine. We are certainly connoisseurs of the beverage after regularly making our rounds taste-testing them all, for you know, quality control. Nothing feels more like Christmas than that spicey hot beverage that warms you all over the second it hits your mouth. If wine isn’t your thing- try “grog” or rum with hot water and lemon. This one does the trick just as nicely.
Local tip: Looking for something extra special? Head to the Christmas market at Náměstí Míru and get your mulled wine from Levandulovy! They make a special svařák mulled with Lavender. It’s something truly unique and delicious!
Last, but certainly not least - another beloved cookie. The gingerbread is another tradition that is not necessarily specific to just the Czech Republic - but the region. Throughout the world their are many different takes on this versatile cake. In the Czech Republic you will typically find them in the Christmas markets baked into a variety of shapes and intricately decorated with icing. They are much more cookie like than cake but just as tasty as ever.
Now put on your winter best and go indulge in every Christmas-y delight you find to get yourself in the Holiday spirit! To help celebrate we are offering a 20% discount when you book 3 nights (or 10% for two!) at Sir Toby's or any sister property! Book here and treat yourself.
Alexandra is American photographer and writer living in Prague, who came for the views and stayed for the cheap beer. She is into sunrise walks on the bridge, cafe culture and is overly enthusiastic for all things Prague, travel and good coffee.