UPDATE: Looking for info on the 2012 Christmas Markets in Prague?
Prague’s Christmas markets are one of the charms of the festive season, especially if there’s a light dusting of snow. Here’s the lowdown on where and when you’ll find them and what to expect.
Most of the markets, large and small will feature various handicrafts, commercially produced tourist shlock, several kinds of alcohol including mulled wine (svařák), honey wine or mead (medovina) and more as well as savoury and sweet foods like pancakes, cookies and smoked meats and sausages. It’s perfect for picking up some stocking filler gifts for folks back home.
Old Town Square
The market kicks off on the 27th of November and runs till the 1st of January. All the stalls are open from 9am to 7pm weekdays and to 8pm on weekends. Stalls serving food and drink can be open till midnight. This is by far Prague’s largest Christmas market. The 27 meter tall tree, gifted to Prague by the town of Vrchlabi, will be first lit at 6pm on the 28th of November.
The pedestrian area at the bottom of Wenceslas Square is home to small Christmas market from November 27th to January 10th. More of the same that you’ll find in Old Town Square.
In front of the Celnice building there will be a small market with the usual array of stalls. The market will run from November 25th to December 24th.
Out of the centre
Prague 2 and 3 aren’t left out of the action, Náměstí Míru (Prague 2)’s market runs from the 20th of November to the 24th of December, Palackého náměstí (Prague 2), right by the river, has s small market from the November 27th to December 24th and Náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad in Prague 3’s market runs from the 23rd of November to the 24th of December.
What to watch out for
As with anywhere there are large crowds and lots of tourists, be aware of your valuables. Check your change at stalls, and make sure you understand in your own currency how much you’re paying for anything you buy. One more thing – if you’re visiting one of these markets just a few days before Christmas, don’t be alarmed by the large tubs full of icy water and live carp. That’s the traditional Czech christmas dinner. People can choose to take the fish home dead or alive, where it will likely be kept in the bathtub till it’s time to prepare it.
Where to stay?
Most of our selection of apartments and hotels in Prague are in or very close to the center but if you want Old Town Square right on your doorstep, the Old Town Flats apartments or either of the Old Town Residence or Tyn Church hotels are the best choices.
Image credit: Christmas Old Town Square Prague 2007 by Pazuzu via Creative Commons on Wikipedia