Taking in the Holiday Markets in Prague


altVisitors from around the world flock to Prague during December to experience the city's famous Holiday markets (vánoční trhy). The atmosphere is unlike any other time of year. The squares and boulevards light up with beautiful decorations, and little wooden market stalls open to sell unique products reflecting the holiday spirit. Traditional Czech foods are made fresh and prepared along with hot wine (svařené víno) and honey tea.

There are so many Holiday markets in Prague it is sometimes hard to keep track of all the ones to visit. The largest and most popular markets are on the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. The list below, provided by myCzechRepublic, offers a very handy guide to seeing all of them.

• Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí)
Dec. 1, 2012 - Jan. 1, 2013
10 a.m. - 10 p.m., food stands 10 a.m. - midnight
The Old Town Square Christmas market is the prettiest and busiest one in Prague. Little stalls are nestled around the Jan Hus statue and surrounded by centuries old Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture. The market is dominated by a Christmas tree, which is adorned with hundreds of lights and is lit every evening at dusk, usually around 5 p.m. A stage is erected every year where Christmas concerts and short plays are performed in the open air.

• Wenceslas Square (Václavské náměstí)
Dec. 1, 2012 - Jan. 13, 2013
10 a.m. - 10 p.m., food stands 10 a.m. - midnight
This is another large Christmas market in the city center. It is located in the lower part of Wenceslas Square and is usually dominated by an artificial Christmas tree.

Lots of smaller markets are scattered around town. Below are some of them:

• Havel Market (Havelské tržiště)
Dec. 20 - Dec. 23, 2012
This market is held in one of Prague's oldest marketplaces, established in 1232. The Havel Market is on the way from the Old Town Square to Wenceslas Square.

• Republic Square (Náměstí Republiky)
Nov. 25 - Dec. 24, 2012
A Christmas market within walking distance from the Old Town Square and near the Náměstí Republiky metro station (line B) and tram stop (tram 5, 8, 24, 26).

• Peace Square (Náměstí Míru)
Nov. 20 - Dec. 24, 2012
10 a.m. - 7 p.m. daily
This is a local Christmas market visited mostly by the residents of the surrounding district of Vinohrady. It is held in front of the Church of St. Ludmila on the pleasant Náměstí Míru in Prague 2 (metro line A or tram 4, 10, 16, 22 to Náměstí Míru). It is traditionally the first Christmas market of the season.

• Jiřího z Poděbrad Square (Náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad)
Nov. 23 - Dec. 24, 2012
Another local market can be found in front of the beautiful Church of the Most Sacred Heart of our Lord on the Jiřího z Poděbrad Square in Vinohrady. Take metro line A or tram 11 to Jiřího z Poděbrad.

• Holešovice Exhibition Grounds (Výstaviště Holešovice)
Dec. 7 - 16, 2012
10 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily
The 'Christmas at the Exhibition Grounds' market in Prague 7 is usually accompanied by a weekend entertainment program for both children and adults. This year, a pottery and handicrafts fair will run on Dec. 7 - 9. Take tram 12, 17 or 24 (e.g. from the Nádraží Holešovice metro station, line C) to Výstaviště Holešovice.