If you like hot spiced wine along with your chestnuts roasting on an open fire, come visit Prague during the Christmas season. It may not be covered in a beautiful layer of pristine white snow, but it’s still considered to be one of Europe’s most scenic and magical holiday destinations with its decorated streets and fairy-tale architecture. Just about all of the squares and open spaces of the city are filled with bustling holiday markets from the beginning of December until the first week of January. And this year, Prague even made CNN’s list of cities with the world’s best Christmas markets. So dress warm, get yourself a cup of good cheer, and spend some time doing your gift shopping in the streets. You’ll no doubt find something for everyone on your list
The first few markets listed below are all located in the historic center of Prague and can easily be done in a single day on foot. After those, you’ll find a couple more which are a little ways out of the tourist zone. Just click on the links for maps to help you find your way. Happy holidays!
1. Old Town Square If you’ve already been on a Prague Extravaganza Free Tour, then of course you already know where the Old Town Square is. It might be the most beautiful market in Prague, and it is undoubtedly the most expensive, but it’s a good place to start.
2. Wenceslas Square is just a five-minute walk away from the Old Town Square. It’s nice, but I’ve noticed that it has almost exactly the same things to offer in terms of goods and food, and is priced pretty much identically as well.
3. Dyzajn Market Zima is located next to the river in the courtyard of the National Theater. Though not exactly a Christmas market, you’ll find merchandise there that you won’t see other places as it’s a retail outlet for original Czech and international designers. Dyzajn market ends on 18 December, so you’ve only got a few more days to get there.
4. Náměstí Republiky (Republic Square) is right next door to the Powder Tower and Municipal House. It’s a bit smaller and cozier than the other markets.
5. Havelské Tržiště (Havel’s Market) is smack in between Wenceslas and Old Town Squares. It’s a year-round market that devotes itself to things seasonal whenever the season happens, and that includes Christmas. You’ll hear it before you see it, but it may sound more like Halloween, because for years the first stall on the busy end of the market has been occupied by a vendor who sells c ackling witch mobiles, just the thing you want hanging by the fire with the stockings this year, I’m sure.
6. Náměstí Míru (Peace Square) is located at the metro station of the same name on the green line A just a five-minute ride from the center. The market is located in front of the beautiful St. Ludmila’s Church.
7. Tylovo Náměstí can be found at metro station I.P. Pavlova on the red line C, or you can walk there in about seven minutes after you visit the market at Náměstí Míru because they’re both in the same general neighborhood and Jugoslávská street directly connects the two.
Photos by Mélanie Rada