You will love Christmas in Prague

Spending Christmas in Prague is absolutely wonderful. It's a once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience. Yes, I know that sounds completely cliche - but it's true.

Christmas tree in Old Town Prague

Honestly, where else can you experience the magic of Christmas AND have so much beauty to see throughout a city?

That's right, in PRAGUE!!!

This page has a few ideas about spending Christmas in our lovely city. It also includes a few interesting local Czech traditions.

5 Reasons to Spend Christmas in Prague

  • Christmas markets. Prague has some of the best open-air markets in Europe. The most popular spot is Old Town Square, but you'll find a variety of markets throughout the city.
  • Festive vibe. Prague's city centre is transformed into a festive hub for Christmas. You'll find lights, decorations and good cheer everywhere.
  • Tradition. Czechs have a few unique ways to celebrate Christmas. So, expand your culture a little bit and have some carp while you're at it.
  • Romantic times. I think Prague always has a romantic side to it. But, Christmas in Prague dials up this factor even more. It becomes a natural place to wander the streets and soak up the atmosphere with that special someone.
  • Lots to do. Concerts halls, theatres and even galleries are filled this time of year with something to see or do. And the Christmas spirit make all these things more inviting and intense.

Snowy Mala Strana PragueSnowy rooftops in Malá Strana

World Famous Christmas Markets in Prague

The center of Christmas in Prague is Old Town. It's square is filled with Christmas markets, an events stage and enormous tree.

The markets sell a wide variety of things - so it's a great place to pick up little gifts and souvenirs. I always like to watch the blacksmith as he pounds out candlesticks or bells.

Christmas lights on Old Town Prague

Of course there is plenty to eat and drink at the Christmas markets too. Decorated gingerbread is very popular in Czech Republic and we recommend trying the warm treat, trdlo. It's not a particularly traditional treat, but nevertheless it's a tasty warm treat with toppings like cinnamon, sugar and crushed nuts.

Warm drinks are also on hand. Mulled wine (svařák) and honey wine (medovina) are a couple of good ones.

For 2016/7, the markets are open from 26 November to 6 January. They are open everyday 10:00 to 22:00. 

You can find a detailed list of events here.

There are other markets throughout the city as well. We recommend getting to Vinohrady for the markets Náměstí Míru or Jiřího z Poděbrad. Both are in Prague 2, with metro station of the same name on the A line.

Stop shopping! See and do Christmas

Christmas tree on Kampa IslandChristmas on Kampa Island

You know you need a break from shopping.

So, treat yourself and do something different - something Christmas-y.

  • Concerts are a lovely warm retreat from the cold. Check out the National Theatre and their always-fantastic program.
  • Tours are always a good idea. But, don't take a standard tour with a guide that has memorized their speech. Get a guide that will take you to alternative sights or less tourist destinations.
  • Attend midnight mass. The Prague Cathedral (at Prague Castle) is incredible during the day. But take time to see it in action at midnight. It's very impressive to say the least. Of course, it's not heated inside, so bring your gloves.
  • Christmas in Prague is traditionally celebrated with a meal of fried carp on the 24th of December. Locals buy carp from vendors on the street. You can't miss the large tubs of water and carp being cleaned in front of your eyes. It's just tradition.
Kampa park and canal in snowTake a romantic walk through Kampa

Our weather crystal ball says...

We are probably like you. We would love to experience a white Christmas in Prague, every year.

But, sadly, a snowy Christmas is rare.

The weather in December is usually cold. And, sometimes we do get a little snow this month (temperature averages: 2/-2 C -- 36/27 F). But, we just don't get enough snow regularly.

So chances of a white Christmas are pretty low.

Of course, you can always go to higher elevations for a taste of snow. There are national parks and quite a few ski options about 2 hours from Prague.

What to pack

Bring warm clothes to enjoy a cold Christmas.

Gloves, hat, scarf... all those things. And, be sure to bring warm shoes and socks. You won't enjoy the attractions with cold toes!

Czech Christmas Traditions

Christmas in Prague is celebrated on the 24th of December. And of all the Czech holidays, this one brings out the most traditions.

• Cookie time. Many families start baking Christmas cookies far in advance. You can find them in shops as well. Other baked items include Christmas bread (vánočka) and gingerbread items (perníčky).

Czech Christmas cookiesTypical Christmas cookies at our house

• Christmas carp. Fried carp is the traditional Christmas meal. They are sold live in the streets.

• Czechs don't follow the Santa Claus method - here it's all about Baby Jesus (Ježíšek). He arrives in a separate room from where dinner is eaten. A ring of a bell notes his arrival and children rush to the room to find presents, etc. Baby Jesus also brings a decorated Christmas tree. Most trees are kept hidden until this moment.

Christmas trees are decorated with a variety of things. Our home uses items like sliced dried oranges, straw ornaments, lights and even chocolate.

• Other traditional items include: advent wreaths, lots of Christmas carols and as always, chocolate for kids.

More Czech Christmas traditions here.