Visiting Prague has been a dream of mine since I first arrived to Spain, prepandemic in 2019. On a weekend trip to Berlin last spring, my friend and I finally booked a spur of the moment flight to Prague. A difference of around €150 helped make the decision to visit the first weekend in December as opposed to another weekend. Long ago talk of one day visiting Prague was finally coming to fruition. It didn’t hurt that by the first weekend in December, Prague’s famed Christmas markets would be up and running.
There is a reason Prague’s Christmas markets are so well known. Not only do they have a magical backdrop of the city itself, but there are so many of them sprinkled throughout the city that the options are seemingly endless. Add some snow flurries to the mix and boy do you have all the Christmas feels. With only about 36 hours to see as much as I could, I was determined to squeeze in as many markets as possible.
So as not to waste a moment of our very limited time in the city we were up and out of the AirBnb early in the morning. The perk to getting up before everyone is awake is you have the city to yourself. You don’t have to compete with throngs of people all trying to see and experience the same big highlights as yourself.
Not far from our Airbnb was the main square and Christmas market. Seeing the market vendors set up without hoards of people milling about was a special treat. We were able to freely mill around stalls, snap photos all the while shouting to one another, “Can you believe this! It’s so magical!” With our pictures captured, it was time to wander in search of highly rated (according to Google) coffee shops. The Miners Old Town ended up as our favorite place to get a coffee. Then to go with our coffee we also knew we needed to find the best kolache place we could. Kolacherie, located right by The Powder Tower was so good I made sure to go a second time!
With both things accomplished it was time to get our bearings with a free walking tour Saturday morning. I love a good free walking tour and this one didn’t disappoint. Not only did we learn a lot about the city and the history, we were able to see the famed sights that were not Christmas themed. This also helped to orientate me to the Christmas markets in the city, which we all know was the real reason for this trip.
Each market had its own feel and goodies. One thing that I wasn’t expecting was for there to be so much food at each of the markets. Svarak or mulled wine was a staple at each of these markets, along with Prague ham, potato dishes and trdelnik also known as chimney cakes.
We decided early on we would eat our way through each of these markets, sampling something new in each one. This would allow us to see lots of markets and munch on tasty treats. Sharing dishes over the weekend was also a key move. It was a great way for us to try as many different kinds of foods as we could in the limited amount of time we had.
After traipsing through several markets here are the ones that made the top of my list.
- Namesti Miru- This smaller market had the most authentic feel. There were very few people speaking English and the stalls themselves offered a wide variety of goods. Any knickknack you might be looking for could be found here. It was also situated right next to a basilica and had a huge tree creating a cozy Christmas atmosphere.
- Namesti Republiky- This market was on the side of the Hybernia Theatre. It also had a variety of stalls selling not only food but cute market finds. From this market you could see the theatre, Powder Tower, and Municipal House, which were a beautiful background.
- Old Town Square- When you think of the Prague markets an image of the Old Town Square is what probably comes to mind. This is where the astronomical clock can be found, the famed gothic church, and many colorful old buildings. It was the largest market of the ones we saw with a stage for events and performers. My favorite time here was the morning when we had it to ourselves. It was a very different feel than later when we returned in the afternoon and it was crawling with people coming and going.
The other activity we squeezed into our whirlwind trip was going to see The Nutcracker at Hybernia Theatre. After traipsing around the city all day, it was not only a welcome break from the cold but a relief to my feet. The Nutcracker to me is Christmas, and to see it in such a Christmasy place was a real treat.
Sunday afternoon it was back to reality and time to get to the airport. While our time in Prague was fleeting, I would say we made the most of it. I also can’t wait to one day go back!