Christmas tree in Old Town Square Prague

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Are The Prague Christmas Markets Worth Visiting?

Planning a trip to explore European Christmas markets can be exciting and overwhelming. With iconic destinations like Budapest, Dresden, Munich, Strasbourg, and Vienna, deciding where to go can be challenging. These cities are renowned for their festive markets, offering many stalls and enchanting sights. Amidst this festive competition, Prague stands out as one of Europe’s most picturesque cities. But is it worth visiting the Prague Christmas Markets? Let’s dive into this magical experience.

To cut to the chase: yes, Prague is worth visiting, especially during the holiday season. The festive decorations and joyful atmosphere only heightened the city’s charm. However, while Prague is a delightful addition to any Christmas market tour, it shouldn’t be the sole focus. Unlike the sprawling markets of Vienna or Munich, Prague’s markets are more intimate and less grand. So, make sure to include Prague in your itinerary, but plan to visit other major markets as well. Here’s why Prague deserves a spot on your list and what you can expect from its Christmas markets.

Christmas market with tradelnik cooking over hot coals

Visiting Prague For Christmas Markets Pros and Cons

Pros of a Prague Christmas Market

  • Stunning Setting: Prague is beautiful year-round, but the holiday season transforms it into a winter wonderland. At this time of year, the city is adorned with festive decorations, and if you’re lucky enough to visit when it snows, the experience is even more magical. With its spectacular Christmas tree, the Old Town Square Christmas Market is especially enchanting at night.
  • Easy Navigation: Prague is a compact and walkable city. The main Christmas markets—Old Town Square Market and Wenceslas Square Christmas Market—are located in the city center and within a short walk of each other. The city’s efficient public transportation system also makes getting around a breeze.
  • Abundance of Attractions: Beyond the Christmas markets, the beautiful city of Prague boasts a wealth of historical and cultural sights. From the majestic Prague Castle to the iconic Charles Bridge, there is no shortage of things to see and do, ensuring a captivating visit. When crossing the Charles Bridge, look for one of Prague’s smallest Christmas markets, hidden under the bridge. 
  • Delicious Food: The markets in Prague are a food lover’s dream, offering a variety of traditional and festive treats from numerous food stalls. Some traditional must-tries include Prague ham, grilled sausages, langoš, Trdelnik (a popular pastry but not a traditional Czech food), and roasted chestnuts. The beverage selection is equally delightful, featuring honey wine, hot chocolate, grog, and mulled wine.
  • Affordability: Prague is relatively affordable compared to other major European cities like Vienna. Accommodation and food are notably less expensive, making it an excellent destination for more budget-conscious travelers.
  • Compact and Accessible: One of the best things about Prague’s small size is its walkability, which makes it easy to explore all major sights and markets on foot. The most popular markets are concentrated in the heart of the city, and even the smaller Náměstí Republiky (Republic Square) market is just a short walk from Wenceslas Square Christmas Market. The city’s excellent public transport further simplifies exploring this charming destination.

Cons Of A Prague Christmas Market

  • Limited Number of Markets: Prague primarily boasts two main Christmas markets—Old Town Square Market and Wenceslas Square Christmas Market. While there are smaller neighborhood markets scattered around the city, they lack the impressive scale and variety found in other European cities with multiple markets, which can offer a more extensive and varied shopping experience.
  • Vendor Quality and Variety: Most vendors at Prague’s Christmas markets are food-oriented. Prague might not be the best choice if you’re looking for unique or high-quality gifts. Many stalls sell similar items, so you might find the selection somewhat repetitive.
  • No Souvenir Mugs: Despite the excellent food and drink offerings, a notable disappointment is that drinks are typically served in disposable paper cups rather than souvenir mugs. This is the case at the main markets in the old town. However, the Náměstí Míru market, a smaller and more local market, does use real mugs. This market is worth visiting and is easily accessible via a short metro ride.
Prague Christmas Market at night

Part Of A Larger Tour

To truly maximize your holiday experience, make your visit to Prague part of a more extensive Christmas Market tour. The city’s central location makes traveling to other major market destinations easy. From Prague, you can effortlessly reach Vienna and Budapest to the south and east, as well as Munich, Salzburg, and Dresden to the north and west. Train travel is convenient and plentiful, allowing you to explore these renowned Christmas market cities easily.

You’ll also find other markets within the Czech Republic that offer a different, more small-town experience. Consider visiting Karlovy Vary in Bohemia, known for its charming market, or Pilsen, which has a delightful Christmas market and some fantastic Christmas beers.

While Prague’s Christmas markets are enchanting, they alone may not satisfy your craving for a grand holiday market experience. If your sole purpose is to immerse yourself in Europe’s best Christmas markets, you might find Prague’s offerings limited. Incorporating Prague into a broader itinerary will ensure you enjoy the city’s festive charm without missing out on other European cities’ larger, more varied markets.

Things To Do In December In Prague

Explore Prague Castle: Prague Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a must-visit. Wander through the stunning grounds, visit St. Vitus Cathedral, and enjoy panoramic city views from the castle’s vantage points. The winter scenery adds a magical touch to this historic landmark.

Walk Across Charles Bridge: With its Gothic towers and baroque statues, Charles Bridge is especially beautiful in the winter. Early mornings or late evenings provide a serene experience with fewer crowds, and the city lights reflecting on the Vltava River create a picturesque setting.

Visit the Old Town Square: Beyond the Christmas market, Old Town Square is captivating in December. Admire the Astronomical Clock, take in the historical architecture, and enjoy the festive decorations and holiday lights that transform the square into a winter wonderland.

Take a River Cruise on the Vltava: A river cruise offers a unique perspective of Prague’s landmarks. In December, opt for an evening cruise to see the city illuminated. Some cruises provide festive meals and live music, adding to the holiday ambiance.

Attend a Classical Concert: Prague is renowned for its classical music scene. December is the perfect time to attend a concert in one of the city’s beautiful venues, such as the Prague National Theatre, the Municipal House, or the Rudolfinum. Enjoy performances of works by Czech composers like Dvořák and Smetana and traditional Christmas music.

Take a Food Tour: Discover Prague’s culinary delights by taking a food tour with a local guide. These tours often include stops at local markets, traditional Czech restaurants, and hidden gems, offering a taste of authentic dishes and beverages. It’s a great way to explore the city’s rich food culture and try everything from hearty Czech meals to delectable pastries and local brews. This was a highlight of my visit last year. Book this great tour here!

Planning Your Visit

Getting There

If you arrive via the airport, be aware that the only public transport from the airport to the city center involves a bus ride and then a transfer to the Metro (subway). Although you can travel cheaply to the city center on public transport, I actually think this is one of the few European cities where taking a taxi or Uber makes more sense. It eliminates the transfer and the need to buy a bag ticket for your luggage.

If you arrive by train, the main station is very centrally located, and you may very well be able to walk to your hotel.

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Getting Around

The best way to get around Prague is on foot. It is a compact city that is very easy to walk. But some trips can be a bit longer and uphill, so consider public transport. The metro and tram systems are excellent and very inexpensive. You can get almost anywhere you wish to go on the Metro or tram. If you plan on using the transport system a lot during your stay, consider buying a 24-, 48-, or 72-hour pass.

Also, download the app; it makes using the system much easier, and there is no need to validate your tickets (which is often a missed step by tourists and can cost you serious fines).

I would not buy any of the tourist passes (Prague Visitor Pass), I don’t think they are a good value for the money. If you consider that many of the top attractions cost between $10-$20 for tickets and the metro is relatively cheap, you have to visit a lot of attractions each day just to cover the cost of the card.

Where To Stay

My favorite place to stay in Prague is the Boho Prague Hotel. It’s located near all the things you want to see and is just a great hotel. The quality of the hotel is exceptional, and the price (although not a budget option) is reasonable for what you get.

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Night time at the Prague Castle during Christmas.

Are the Prague Christmas Markets Worth Visiting?

The Prague Christmas Markets are undoubtedly worth visiting as part of a broader European Christmas market tour. Prague’s Old Town Square has a festive atmosphere, stunning decorations, and delightful food offerings, making it a charming destination during the holiday season. However, if your primary goal is to experience the grandeur and variety of Europe’s top Christmas markets, you might find Prague’s more modest markets somewhat limiting.

To make the most of your trip, incorporate Prague into a more extensive itinerary that includes iconic market cities like Vienna, Munich, and Budapest. This way, you can enjoy Prague’s unique charm while also experiencing the grander markets other cities offer.

Beyond the Christmas markets, Prague has a wealth of attractions to explore in December, from the historic Prague Castle and Charles Bridge to the magical Old Town Square and Vltava River cruises. Don’t miss the opportunity to attend a classical concert in one of the city’s stunning venues, adding a cultural highlight to your festive journey.

Embrace the holiday spirit and enjoy the enchanting experience of Czech Christmas markets as part of a memorable European adventure.

Below are links and resources to help you plan The perfect trip

Travel Resources

  • HOTELS
    Booking.com and Expedia.com are great resources for accommodations around the world. Book almost any hotel directly from these links.
  • TOURS
    The best places to book tours and activities are Viator or Get Your Guide . From great food tours to guided hiking adventures to local walking tours, you will find great experiences to add to your travels here.
  • FOOD EXPERIENCES
    EatWith is a great resource for authentic culinary experiences with passionate locals worldwide. Connecting travelers with hosts in over 130 countries, providing unique, intimate, and immersive experiences in private homes and exclusive venues.
  • TRAINS
    Trainline is Europe’s leading train and coach app. They work with over 210 rail and coach companies to help their customers travel to thousands of destinations across 45 countries. 

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