All year around, Prague is one of the most popular cities in Europe offering an array of well-preserved history. Before Christmas this stunning architecture filled capital transforms into a winter wonderland where market stalls spring up and give a festive spirit to Prague’s inner city.
I have visited a few Christmas markets in Europe and I can say all of them unlike each other. All European cities present a completely different magical ambience at this time of the year, that you must experience at least once. Well worth a visit to the Czech Republic to do some Christmas shopping or pick up some Czech traditional items.
Prague’s architecture gives a unique vibe to the twinkling wooden chalets and Nativity Scenes as a backdrop. It makes you feel you are transported back in time a few centuries while wandering amongst the Christmas stalls adorned with dancing colourful lights.
Winter is cold this time of the year in Prague, so make sure you wrap up warm! Temperatures drop down below zero degrees. You must pack warm clothes to protect yourself against the chilly wind. I normally take regular breaks to warm up with a cup of delicious mulled wine. It’s a quintessential ritual to me ~ I guess it is to must of us!
Prague’s Christmas Markets you must visit
1; Old Town Square Christmas Market – (Staromestske namesti)
Old Town Square apart from being the most visited tourist spots in Prague gravitates even more locals and tourist with its cute chalets. It’s buzzing festive village like ambience mesmerises young and old. At evenings, many people gather around the square to enjoy the joy of christmas regardless of the cold.
The charming market stalls provides beautiful hand crafted items, such as wooden ornaments, wooden toys, marionette puppets, embroidery, knitted scarves, hats, leather gloves, candles, honey, mulled wine, gingerbread and of course the mouth-watering Trdelnik (Chimney cake). (Did you know, Trdelnik originate from the neighbouring county – Hungary and the Hungarian speaking region of Transylvania?)
2; Wenceslas Square Christmas Market – (Vaclavska namesti)
It’s located only few minute walk from the Old Town Square. Browse around the market stalls all the way up to the statue of St Wenceslas, the patron Saint of Bohemia. Treat yourself with local small dishes at the sizzling food stalls, munch on warm chestnuts or top up on mulled wine. There are shops, restaurants and bars on both sides of the square, if you wish to expand your discovery route.
3; Prague Castle Christmas Market
There is another charming small Christmas village located inside the Prague Castle with wooden chalets against the backdrop of the magnificent St Vitus’s Cathedral. It is impossible not to resist the temptation and enjoy some festive treats here too. This market seems less crowded than the other markets, so it is an ideal place to immerse yourself into the Christmas spirit. If you are looking for a place to rest your legs, I recommend checking out the Lobkowicz Palace Cafe.
You can easily explore the city on foot as the main Christmas markets are within walking distance from each other. You could also take a romantic ride in one of the vintage cars or a take horse cart ride around the city.
Typical Czech gifts you might want to look out for at Prague’s Christmas markets or in the shops
1; Wooden Decoration and Toys
For centuries creating items from wood became a tradition in the Czech Republic. Nowadays, these handmade wooden objects such as ornaments, decorations and toys remain popular for their charm and durability. You can find them at Christmas markets.
2; Manufaktura home spa products
The spirit of the Czech countryside bottled into smooth hand creams and spa goodness. Try one of their distinctive cosmetics with fruit and herbs squeezed into the bottles or formed into soaps. I found the beer soaps particularly exquisite and I am a fan of the Manufaktura hand creams too. Manufaktura hand creams are excellent quality and most importantly non-greasy.
3; Bohemia Crystal
World famous for its beauty and high quality accompanied with a long history. The glassware items prepared by the skilled and craftsmanship of Bohemian and Silesia glass-makers. The crystal glasses are blown, hand-cut and some are decorated with elaborately painted motifs. Even if, you don’t want to buy a crystal chandelier it’s worth to take a look at them. It’s nice to linger your eyes on them for a few seconds at least in the Bohemia Crystal & Porcelain Premium Shop where they have a huge selection.
4; Garnet Jewellery
Czech Republic also treasures the deep red semi-precious garnet stones mined just about 65 km away from Prague in Bohemia. Many jewellery shops offer garnet set in silver or gold jewelleries. The garnet bracelets and brooches are particularly tempting.
5; Marionette Puppets
Hurvinek and Spejbl are the Czech classic marionette puppets. They appeared in televison programs and in puppet theatres in the early 1900s. The cute little boy Hurvinek used to entertain children and adults alike. ~ Me too, of course in my younger age. Puppets are hand crafted and can be purchased in various sizes. Hurvinek puppet was a great teaching tool while I was teaching. Children found him quite entertaining.
When you wish to take a break from Prague’s sparkling lights, the city also a treasure trove of delights with its museums and attraction. Spice up your trip not only with ginger and cinnamon, but also with some culture too.
Take the Christmas spirit back home with you in Prague’s culinary delights, traditional handcrafted products topped up with wonderful memories to treasure for a life time.
You might also like:
- 5 Fascinating Places to Visit in Prague
- The Prague Astronomical Clock is a Treasure of the Medieval World
- Time Travel is Possible, at Least in the Toy Museum in Prague