Honest Guide + Our Guide to 2019 Christmas Markets
Advent wreaths are lining the shelves. St. Nicholas arm-in-arm with angels and devils is strolling through Old Town Square. The smell of mulled wine permeates the air. Christmas is upon us. Prague is known this time of year for its magical charm by tourists and residents alike, and for good reason. Come late November, Christmas markets start popping up on every street corner as people hurry to finish their holiday shopping. In preparation, here is our guide to navigating them.
Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí)
As the city’s largest market, Old Town Square encompasses many Prague landmarks, including the Astronomical Clock and the statue of Jan Hus. With a nativity scene, concert stage and an enormous Christmas tree poised in front of Týn Church, this spot provides the best photo opportunities for both travelers and residents. Bundle up and meander through the various stalls selling traditional embroidery, ornaments and wooden trinkets. When you need a shopping break, enjoy carolling and other musical performances with some spiced wine and sausage from one of the food vendors.
Through Jan. 6 | 10:00–22:00
Wenceslas Square (Václavské náměstí)
While not quite as bustling as Old Town Square, this Christmas market is the next best choice to celebrate Prague’s holiday spirit. Just a 10-minute walk from Old Town and located toward the lower part of the promenade, the Wenceslas Square market also has a Christmas tree and nativity scene, albeit a little smaller than its more popular counterpart. Many of the vendors here specialize in wooden and steel goods, making it an efficient stop if you need to pick up a unique gift in between shopping trips to Bata and Van Graaf.
Through Jan. 6 | 10:00–22:00
Prague Castle (Pražský hrad)
Nestled just behind St. Vitus Cathedral, the Prague Castle Christmas market is like traveling back in time. This market is smaller and less crowded thanks to security lines leading into the castle complex, and its carefully selected vendors sell many high-quality goods perfect for authentic gifts for friends back home. Adding to the atmosphere, many stalls offer traditional Czech food, including ham roasting over a fire. If you want to combine some holiday shopping with sightseeing, this is your best pick.
Through Jan. 6 | Mon–Thurs 9:00–18:00, Fri.–Sun. 9:00–19:00
Peace Square (Náměstí Míru)
If you want to get a head start on the Christmas markets or if you’re in Prague earlier in the season, Náměstí Míru is the place to go. This market usually goes up before the one in Old Town and is popular among locals, so it’s a good look at an authentic Czech Christmas. This is also the spot if you’re interested in handmade gifts, such as soaps, lotions and knit scarves, as opposed to the more touristy options at Old Town Square. The neo-Gothic Saint Ludmila Church adds a nice touch to the ambience as well.
Through Dec. 24 | 10:00–19:00
While not as big as other markets, Kampa Island is the best place to enjoy the beautiful views of the Vltava River with a cup of grog or hot chocolate. In addition to the basics, this market also offers straw ornaments, glass figurines and some other unique souvenirs and gifts. Close to Kampa Museum, the Charles Bridge and other sites, this market is a good low-key alternative if you don’t want to skip sightseeing.
Republic Square (Náměstí Republiky)
If you’re more interested in grabbing some delicious holiday grub and an alcoholic beverage than buying gifts, the Náměstí Republiky market should be on your list. Situated next to Palladium Shopping Center, this market is known for its food as well as its affordable prices. It’s location also makes it ideal as a quick stop for mistletoe or an advent wreath without the hassle of large crowds.
Through Dec. 29 | 10:00–22:00
With locations at Florenc and Smíchov, Manifesto Market is the destination for the trendy. Known for being food and retail pop-ups, these locations are transforming into winter markets with Christmas trees, holiday treats and heated transparent igloos, so you can get festive and stay warm. The Florenc location features brands like Fellof, specializing in lamb and sheepskin products, and BeWooden, a Czech designer of chic accessories. After you buy a gift for that creative professional in your life, enjoy a warm drink in their red and white porcelain cups created just for the season.
Wed.–Sun. 11:00–22:00 | Book an igloo: manifestomarket.com
Havel’s Christmas Market
There are many year-round farmers’ markets that transform in December, but Havel’s is one worth visiting. Many of those who frequent this market will recall its popular toy the screaming witch, but that’s just one of the many knick knacks and souvenirs you can find. Wooden puppets, leather goods, ceramics and much more await shoppers in this alley tucked between Old Town Square, Náměstí Republiky and Václavské náměstí.
All year | 06:00-18:30
Check out this cool map the guys at Honest Guide made with a lot of the Christmas Markets across the Czech Republic!