Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting the Christmas Markets in Prague

Christmas is coming soon and Prague is such a perfect place to enjoy the festive spirit of the holiday season. European Christmas markets are known for being the best in the world. Actually, Prague always ranks in the top 5 every year for being the merriest and most joyful destination to go to in December. The Czech capital is for me one of the most magical places on earth. The atmosphere during Christmas is probably the best time to witness local traditions and eat yummy food in this enchanted city. In this article, you will find some of my personal tips to enjoy your time there. Let’s get festive!

The Best Christmas Markets in Prague

To find the full list of all of Prague’s Best Christmas Markets with their opening schedule, you can check out my other article here dedicated to them!

What can you buy at Prague Christmas markets?

In all Christmas markets, you will find a great selection of Christmas merchandise but some of them (mostly in the most touristy markets) are not handmade and good quality products. The following are typical items you should check out and bring back as Christmas gifts:

  • Christmas ornaments and decorations
  • Sheep wool products (winter accessories)
  • Handmade soaps and lotions
  • Handmade unique jewelry
  • Hand-forged items
  • Handicrafts
  • Glassware
  • Wooden toys
  • Czech crystals
  • Embroidered lace
  • Ceramic decorations
  • Puppets and Marionettes
  • Handmade scented candles

What to Eat & Drink at the Christmas Markets

Prague’s Christmas markets are full of yummy foods and snacks. From sweet gingerbread treats to klobása and Prague ham, you will definitely find something to delight your taste buds! Since it is pretty cold during this time of year, a lot of warm drinks (alcoholic or not) are also offered at the markets to keep you warm. You should definitely try some of the food listed down below.

Prague Ham (Pražská Šunka)

All Christmas markets have at least one pork spit-roast stand and you will smell the smokiness from far away. Vendors usually slice a portion directly from the roast and put it on your plate.

Sausages (Klobásy)

There are several types of sausages you can get at the Christmas markets. One type is called Párek (Vienna or Frankfurt sausage) which resembles American hot dogs and come usually in pairs. Párky (the plural of Párek) are not cooked but cooked in hot water. Another beloved type is klobása which can be made in a lot of different ways. The most common one is the delicious but super unhealthy Pražská klobása (Prague sausage) which is a grilled, dark-red and spiced sausage. The food stands will give you the sausage on a plate with a slice of bread and mustard. Some markets might also have some type of hot-dog but put the sausage inside a baguette-style bread (not in between buns).

Potato Pancakes (Bramboráky)

Those traditional pan-fried potato pancakes, sometimes deep-fried, are made of grated potatoes with eggs, flour or breadcrumbs and seasoning (and sometimes even sauerkraut).

Gingerbread (Perník)

Dating back centuries, Czech gingerbread is really popular during Christmas time. A lot of Czech households bake their own perník during this time of year. You can find heart or angel-shaped sugar-coated gingerbread pieces at every Christmas market.

Christmas Bread (Vánočka)

Vánočka is a Czech braided Christmas bread dating back to the 16th century. According to superstitions, you have to keep all metal and silver from touching the bread! Somewhat similar to brioche, the dough usually contains raisins and almonds.

Christmas Cookies (Vánoční Cukrovi)

Vánoční Cukrovi are cookies prepared only during Christmas time. There are different types, with jam or filling, decorating with icing or dusted with powdered sugar. My favorites are called vanilkové rohlíčky and they are crescent-shaped cookies rolled in confectioner’s sugar. So yummy!


Often translated as pancakes, they look more like crêpes to me (but are made with a different batter and cooking method). You can either get a sweet or savory palačinka. They are often filled or topped with jam, fruit and sweet cheese or spinach, ham and cheese.


Available all year round, trdelníky are crispy pastries rolled on a wooden spit and cooked on the open fire. They are usually topped with sugar, cinnamon, and crushed almonds but recently is getting more creative with ice cream and chocolate put inside of it. Local vendors will tell you that they are a Czech specialty but they are actually not! The common idea that trdelník is Czech is a misconception. It can be found in most of Central Europe.

Now you are full of all this yummy food, the following Christmas drinks will keep you warm:

Mulled Wine (Svařené Víno)

Svařené víno, called svařák, is a Czech version of mulled wine (or Glühwein in German). It is a real Christmas classic and you cannot really go wrong with ordering it.

Mead (Medovina)

This is my favorite Christmas drink! This ‘honey wine’ is the sweetest warm winter drink ever. Usually, a little less popular than mulled wine, the lines to the Medovina stalls (or the honey stalls – which all sell medovina) are shorter so go for it!

Punch (Vánoční punč)

Mulled wine with the addition of spirit (usually rum or brandy) and fruit juice is called punč in Czech. Sometimes even real fruits are cut into pieces and put directly into the drink.

Eggnog (Vaječný Koňak)

This sweet alcoholic drink is popular in a lot of countries and also in the Czech Republic. It is traditionally made with milk, cream, sugar, egg yolks and alcohol (most commonly rum). Eggnog is flavored with nutmeg, vanilla or cinnamon which gives it its Christmassy taste!


Combination of boiling water and alcohol (usually rum) served with a slice of lemon and sometimes black tea, grog will instantly warm you up!


The first time I ever tried this I remember thinking; it tastes like Christmas! I don’t think they sell it at the Christmas stalls by itself (maybe they do sell it but mixed with hot fruit juice). If you get the chance, you definitely should try this typical spiced Czech liquor!

After writing the above list, I noticed that I listed only alcoholic drinks! If you don’t drink alcohol, do not worry, you can always go for hot chocolate, tea or coffee.

What are Czech Christmas Traditions?

The Czech Republic is home to a lot of lovely Christmas traditions. Some in this list remain upheld while others are no longer followed. However, I wanted to share with you all of the ones I know and heard about.

St. Nicholas (Mikuláš)

In the Czech Republic, on the evening of 5th December, which is a day before St. Nicholas Day, you can run into St. Nicholas (or Mikuláš in Czech) accompanied by an angel and a devil. He usually walks around and asks kids how they behaved during the year. Good kids are rewarded by the angel with candy and naughty kids receive from the devil a lump of coal or potatoes instead. Not to traumatize them though, they also usually get some treats!

Santa Who?

Who usually brings you Christmas presents? Santa Claus? False! In the Czech Republic, it is Baby Jesus (Ježíšek). What is interesting is that no Czech person knows how he actually looks like (does he have wings? clothes? No one knows! Such a mystery!)

The Golden Pig

On December 24th, you shouldn’t eat meat at all until Christmas Eve’s dinner. If you do so, you’ll see a flying golden pig in the sky. Some people even say that you should fast completely to see the shiny piggy!

Apple Fortune Telling

During Christmas dinner, Czechs slice apples in half and depending on the shape of the core you can determine if you will be happy and healthy in the upcoming year. If a star appears, it means happiness and health but if a cross appears, expect the opposite!

Nut Boats

Czechs use walnut shells to make tiny boats with little candles inside and have them floating around in a water basin. Depending on how they float (or sink), you can predict your future in the upcoming year (and yes, sinking means death!)

Fishy Prosperity

Fried carp is a typical Christmas dish in the Czech Republic. Czechs usually buy them from local vendors and cook it on Christmas Eve. It is tradition to dry and keep a fish scale in your wallet to bring prosperity all year round.

Finding Love

If you are looking for love, you should put honey on your cheeks on December 24th. It will definitely bring you love in the upcoming year!

Practical Tips to enjoy Prague Christmas Markets

What gifts to buy at the Christmas markets

If you want to buy or eat anything, I advise you to go to the Christmas markets outside of the center (see my list here). The Old Town Christmas market is gorgeous to see but it is very overpriced and definitely aimed at tourists. Going to the markets right when it opens and during weekdays is also better because there are fewer people. However, if you want to truly experience the Christmas magic, wait until it gets dark and the stalls light up for a magical night!

Most stalls do not accept credit card and it is best if you bring cash with you (in the Czech Republic they use Czech crowns, not euros!)

Paying by weight

When ordering some food like Prague Ham, you have to pay by weight meaning that the food is priced by weight in grams. It is always better to ask for 100, 200 or 300 grams instead of asking for a portion. If you ask for a portion you will end up paying 1,000 CZK which happened to me and my parents my first Christmas here! When you ask for a specific weight, you will always get a little more and cannot get ripped off.

Prague Christmas Markets with kids

Almost all of the Christmas markets are family-friendly and there are loads of activities to do for kids. You can check the specific markets and some children’s activities here. Those include stables where kids can pet farm animals, entertainment programs and creative workshops for kids, play areas etc. You can even find a few outdoor ice-skating rinks but not close to the main Christmas markets, unfortunately.

What to wear in Prague in December

During Christmas time, it gets cold in Prague. Temperatures are usually between 1°C and 5°C and can even get below 0°C. It hasn’t snowed during Christmas time in a while so unfortunately don’t expect fresh snow but you never know! The markets are outside so you should dress warmly and especially wear layers, warm socks, and boots. If you are super cold while walking around the markets, go to the Prague Ham, Trdelník or blacksmith stalls (they are the warmest!). Another tip is to buy a hot drink before buying your food so you have something to keep you warm in the queue.

There is nothing like walking around the Christmas stalls, a hot medovina in your hand, and soaking up the magical atmosphere that winter in Prague as to offer. I hope this article will help you make the best out of your Prague visit during this wonderful time of year!

If you have any more tips on how to enjoy the Christmas market in Prague or elsewhere, let me know in the comments below!

Want to keep reading? You might like those articles as well:
List of All Christmas Markets in Prague
Best Spots for the Charles Bridge in Prague
Best Photo Spots in Prague during Fall
Top Instagrammable Christmas Spots in London
Best Day Trips from Prague

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