Prague Christmas Markets Eight Things to Know
1) When Do the Markets Start and End
The main Christmas holiday here is on December 24th. The first market to open is usually Námestí Míru (a month before the last advent Sunday i.e. last week of November), followed by Republic Square and Wenceslas Square. The Old Town Square will be the last to open on the Saturday before Mikuláš which is on the 5th. Námestí Míru closes on December 24th, Republic Square on December 30th and both Wenceslas and the Old Town Square close on January 6th.
2) Real Christmas Tree
The Markets at the Old Town Square and Republic Square always have a real tree. Specifically for the Old Town Square, their’s is what we call the Prague Christmas Tree and there’s a sound and light show each evening from 4-30pm until 9-30pm. You might find it interesting to know where the tree comes from on the Prague Christmas Tree post.
For general money advice check the Cash or Card post. Bring small denomination cash if you can (CZK200 notes are best). Note that places that sell food generally do NOT sell alcohol so you’ll be going to different stalls. TIP: get a hot drink first as you can keep warm while in the queue for the food. As a guide here are some of the prices of food and drink at the Prague Christmas Markets:
Old Prague Ham: CZK99 per 100g
Halušky (Gnocchi): CZK49 per 100g
Hot Dog: CZK70 (with soft drink CZK110)
Skewer kebabs: CZK90 (in a roll CZK120)
Other individual items like Bramborák, Langoše, and Trdlo should all be CZK50-60 per piece (trdlo will have extra charge for chocolate and jam etc)
Mulled Wine: 0.2L CZK50
Punc: 0.2L CZK50
Medovina (Mead): 0.2L CZK60
Beer: 0.5L CZK50
Check the Hot Alcoholic Drinks post and the Hot Street Food post for more details/options but this should help you understand how much you should expect to pay and hence how much cash to have with you.
4) Pay By Weight
When ordering what we call “Pay-By-Weight” food like Gnocchi or Old Prague Ham then don’t ask for a “portion”, ask for a weight i.e. 100 grams (snack), 200 grams (light lunch) or 300 grams (filling meal). You’ll always get a little more than you asked for but you won’t get ripped off if you order in this way.
Check the Pay by Weight post for more details but this should help you understand both how much to expect to pay and your rights.
Check your change. If you are buying something with a high value note i.e. a CZK2000 then make sure you get the correct change as sometimes the vendor has a forgetful moment and does not give you a CZK1000 note in the change etc.
Flashy devil’s horns and necklaces are great for the evening but if you want them to last longer then check 1) can you switch it on/off? and 2) can you change the battery?
There are toilet facilities but no washing facilities on the markets so bring wet wipes or alcohol rub if you need to. The closest public conveniences are on the ground floor of the Old Town Hall (take a CZK20 coin or a 1 Euro coin just in case). Note that the Christmas Market at Republic Square has two adjacent shopping centres with full toilet facilities (Paladium is free, Kotva charges CZK20).
8) Keep Warm
There will be stalls selling hats and gloves from CZK200 and up but, the warmest places to stand are next to the Blacksmith, Trdlo stall and Old Prague Ham stall.
There will be lots of options for eating and drinking, beautiful surroundings and people having fun. I even do my own Christmas Markets Walking Tour that explains all the Czech Christmas traditions with food and drink included. So come and enjoy yourselves.
9) Mental Health
One more! It’s great me talking about all the wonderful things to do here on a Christmas holiday but for some people it’s a stressful period of the year. I found an article largely written for UK residents i.e. for the suggested professional services, but the advice is good for everyone. Check the article about Mental Health at Christmas: Tips for Coping.