December 01st was the beginning of everything Christmas in Prague. There have been a handful of stores that have hung Christmas lights and filled their display windows with snow-covered fake mountains and snowflakes – but most did not join in the revelry until December 01st. The city transformed overnight with booth after booth of handmade ornaments, jewelry made of colored pencils, handmade dolls, paintings of Prague, puppets, hats, gloves, moles….and more. Fresh melt-in-your-mouth warm Trdelnik (twisted sweet bread), Langoše (a nan-like pastry with cheese and a ketchup-sauce), giant hams roasting, pig’s heads (and necks) being carved, so much sausage, and of course the ever-popular Svařené Víno (mulled wine).
Every popular people-centric place has a market: in Old Town Square, in Wenceslas Square (from one side to the other), at Náměstí Míru, I.P. Pavlova (on the corner of Bělehradská and Jugoslávská), Náměstí Republiky, and the Havelske Trziste (Havel’s Market on Havelská). And that is only from what I have seen/stumbled upon. I am sure there are more somewhere! The good thing is that they pretty much sell the same of everything at every place so you really only need to pick one place to get the feel of Prague’s typical Christmas markets.
Also, I would advise you to avoid Old Town Square on a Saturday if you have any aversion to having your body continually touching stranger’s bodies. I have slight agoraphobia and while I can easily make my way through crowds, the hubs was hyperventilating a bit because the crowds were so massive. You couldn’t even see what the booths were selling – there was just a constant wall of people. We had to make our way through the crowds going from trash can to trash can – like really ironic oases. I have been told that Sundays are a lot less hectic. Every other market was doable on Saturdays though.
Wenceslas Square: (my favorite of all the markets)
(Don’t the lights look like bright, elegant spider webs?)
Walk to Old Town Square on a Saturday:
(There is this one item that is a witch doll that cackles whenever you clap in it’s general vicinity. The man in the blue coat above stood clapping in front of those witches giggling like a five year old for a good five minutes. It was so great.)
Old Town Square:
Náměstí Míru: (my favorite Christmas tree)