Christmas in Prague
We are dedicated Christmas market fans. Nothing beats sipping hot wine or munching on sugary treats in the winter chill of some exotic, fairy-tale destination. Yes, there are many Christmas markets around the globe competing for the attention of holiday revelers. But when it comes to fairy-tale atmospheres, Prague is unsurpassed.
The narrow cobbled lanes and soaring Gothic towers of the Czech capital set the stage for Christmas market perfection. Even jaded Europeans raised in the shadows of architectural treasures have to admit that Prague is just a little bit better. It just feels like this is where Christmas markets belong.
And when it comes to Christmas markets, you have a lot to choose from. Some are smaller, more intimate locations like the market behind St. Vitus at the heart of Prague Castle. Here you can nibble on Pražská šunka (Prague ham) in the shadow of the cathedral’s soaring flying buttresses. Or perhaps, try trdelník, a traditional spit cake roasted over an open fire. It’s delicious!
Afterwards, attend a Christmas concert at the nearby 10th century Basilica of St. George. Or perhaps, stroll through the tiny houses along Golden Lane. Views over the city from the castle’s balconies are especially gorgeous during the holidays. Every street, every lane glows and twinkles in celebration of the Christmas season. But the piece de resistance is clearly the massive celebrations in the Old Town Square.
The Old Town Square market is among the best Christmas markets we have ever visited. The massive musical Christmas tree backed by the towers of the Church of Our Lady before Týn is a holiday sight to behold. Everything about the square is perfect. The scent of grilled klobása (sausage) and svařák (spiced wine) wafts through the air. Visitors feast on Hungarian langoš (savory fried dough pastries) and medovina (honey wine). If you aren’t full yet, try the delicious palačinky (Czech crepes).
For Thomas, whose central focus while traveling is and will always be food, it doesn’t get any better. (As you can see in the picture below, he was more than thrilled.) But even if food is not your thing, the festive Christmas vibe is undeniable. It’s a 360-degree living panorama of holiday awesomeness. For this reason, you won’t be the only one visiting, and the Old Town Square can get pretty packed – especially as Christmas approaches.
If at any point, you feel it is getting a little too busy, strike out down any lane and you’ll discover another collection of Christmas stalls selling more gifts, ornaments, and tasty treats. You are never too far from hot chocolate or glog (hot rum-based drink) to warm you up. If it gets too cold, find a cute restaurant and indulge in a full meal of roast goose, cabbage and dumplings. Yeah, you won’t go hungry. 😉
We actually spent a whole week exploring the Christmas markets in Prague. From the sprawling market at Wenceslas Square to more off-the-track affairs, such as the market at Náměstí Míru, we did it all. There is so much to see, so much to eat, and so much to drink.
Some of our best experiences were way off the track, like chatting with locals over a glog at random locations like Smichov. It’s nice to share some holiday cheer with Czech locals who aren’t directly involved in the tourist industry. Prague is massive, but we rarely stepped into a vehicle. Even in December it remains one of Europe’s most strollable cities, so get out and explore!