The Best Czech Christmas Markets: Prague and Beyond

The Czech Republic’s Christmas markets are increasingly more attractive to visitors, with most anticipating the Prague Christmas market as one of Central and Eastern Europe’s most beautiful Christmas markets.

Just imagine—a grand evergreen aglow in the historic center, the smell of spiced wine in the air, the sound of carols, and long lines of stalls with plenty of vendors selling special souvenirs that you can only get in Czechia!

Aerial view of Czech Christmas market in Prague
Photo 102441799 © Mapics | Dreamstime.com

Celebrate the Holidays the Czech Way

Czech Christmas markets make a lasting impression on visitors, who can’t help but be moved by the festive atmosphere despite the low temperatures and relative ebb in tourists numbers (which are highest in the summer, but which also increase to a lesser extent around the holiday season).

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At these markets throughout the Czech Republic, you’ll see how the Czechs celebrate Christmas, enjoy dramatic tree-lighting ceremonies and have the opportunity to snack on local winter treats, find gifts for friends and loved ones, take a spin around an ice-skating rink, listen to carolers, visit Santa Claus, pet animals at live Nativity scenes, and in general, make lovely Christmas memories!

A Month of Czech Christmas Markets

Many of the Czech Republic’s Christmas markets begin at the end of November, marking the start of Advent, and continue through the beginning of January as the Christmas season ends with the Day of the Three Kings.

That gives you plenty of time on your winter European tour or tour of the Czech Republic to visit one or more of the Christmas markets throughout the country, many of which are set in picturesque historic settings on main city squares where they are easily accessed and readily enjoyed.

Christmas in the Czech Republic doesn’t get any better than this!

Find a selection of the Czech Republic’s best Christmas markets below.

Christmas tree in front of a Prague Church
Prague at Christmas

Photo by Mike Swigunski on Unsplash

Prague Christmas Markets

Prague’s Old Town Square Christmas market is one of the most photographed, best-known, and most visited Christmas markets in Eastern Europe. Running from the end of November through the beginning of January, it embodies the Christmas spirit. Check out views of the Old Town Christmas market from above, warm up with Czech beer or a sweetened trdelnik pastry hot off the spit, or sample one of the local winter street-food favorites.

In addition to the Old Town Square Christmas market, you can find Prague Christmas markets at:

  • Wenceslas Square
  • Prague Castle
  • St. George’s Basilica
  • Havel’s Market 

Brno

The city of Brno also hosts a Czech Christmas market on Freedom Square as well as a variety of other Christmas-themed events. Gourmet Christmas has also been introduced. Head over to Dominican Square to sample some of the best that the local restaurants have to offer. You may also try Zelný trh and at Moravské Square for more Christmas-themed shopping and activities.

Blurred lights of a Ferris wheel and Christmas tree in Brno
Photo by Sebastian Schuppik on Unsplash

Cesky Budejovice

Head to City Hall in Cesky Budejovice, famous for Budweiser, for all things Christmas. This market ends earlier than some other Christmas markets in the Czech Republic, so do check the dates if you have this city on your winter travel itinerary.

Cesky Krumlov

Cesky Krumlov’s Christmas market is held on Svornosti Square. Send a letter to Baby Jesus from the Christmas post office, join a guided tour of the monastery located on the square, and participate in various Advent- and Christmas-themed events.

The Christmas atmosphere here only makes the charming historic surroundings, nestled in the s-bends of a river, more lovely. This town is an unforgettable destination in Czechia, so why not combine a visit there with the holiday season?

Christmas tree in Cesky Krumlov at night
Photo 165822972 © Sergey Fedoskin | Dreamstime.com

Karlovy Vary

Karlovy Vary is a well-known spa town in the Czech Republic situated over numerous hot springs. Weekends during the month of December in Karlovy Vary are packed full of events, while the Czech Christmas market, located between two hotels (Grandhotel Pupp and Thermal Hotel), provides a warm atmosphere and holiday treats the month through.

Liberec

As the third-largest city in Czechia’s region of Bohemia, Liberec is famous for its castle and town hall. Liberec’s Christmas tree lighting happens at the square at City Hall, where a Christmas market also appears.

Olomouc

Many people head to Olomouc as a part of their tour of the Czech Republic’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites—the Holy Trinity Column is considered to be a masterpiece of Baroque art and stands proudly in its square. With such an important landmark setting an example, it’s no wonder Olomouc’s Czech Christmas markets are a sight to behold, with Christmas trees adding drama to the historic setting. Both Horni Square and Dolni Square hold Christmas markets, and an ice-skating rink provides and extra opportunity to enjoy the winter spirit.

Ostrava

Masaryk Square is where you want to be for Ostrava’s Christmas market. Meet Santa Claus, go ice skating, and take part in other holiday-themed activities.

Plzen

The birthplace of the famous beer holds its Christmas market on Republic Square, where tidy stalls are packed full with local handcrafts and gifts. A nativity scene with live animals is also a part of the festivities here. In addition to taking a beer tour of Plzen brewery, visitors can also view the cathedral and a synagogue as well as other historic sights.

Telc

Telc is one of the Czech Republic’s UNESCO-protected cities and was named by National Geographic as one of 2020s top travel destinations. The Christmas market on Market Square may be small, but it adds to the magic of this already charming and beautiful city.

Czechia is becoming a more popular destination for European Christmas markets by the year, which reflects a combination of tourism boards’ understanding of their attractiveness to visitors—and the accompanying revenue it brings to destinations—combined with the pleasure and holiday spirit it brings to the city for the residents.

Czech Christmas markets also have the ability to put lesser-known cities on the travel map for tourists looking to get off the beaten path, particularly if the cities’ Christmas trees make the “best-dressed” lists that circulate every December to advertise Europe’s prettiest holiday pines.

Prague or one of the Czech Republic’s smaller cities make a unique destination for the holidays, with markets’ length of operation making them convenient for travelers who may be taking in several cities on their winter tour of Europe.

A Few Tips for Visiting Christmas Markets in the Czech Republic:

  • Prepare yourself with warm clothing, a list of stocking-stuffer recipients, and a good camera.
  • Take stock of the events planned surroundings the Czech Christmas market of your choice.
  • Note that some sights may operate with a winter schedule (think unheated castle complexes) or be closed, so if you have your heart set on visiting the city’s best attractions, do your research beforehand to check what’s open when.
  • You may also consider booking tours that will help you get around the countries and cities to maximize your time—but be aware that these may also be less available during the winter season than they would other times of year.
  • Plan hotels or other accommodation in advance so that you don’t have to fight for the best deals for travel during this time of year.

Enjoy this sparkling season with the warmth of Czech holiday hospitality!