Czechia’s most magical Christmas markets

Tuck into a sweet cinnamon trdelnik, buy traditional handicrafts and listen to carol singing on a visit to one of these magical Christmas markets in Czechia…

Jessica Reid
22 November 2023


Prague Christmas Market in the Old Town (Shutterstock)

Prague is easily one of Europe’s most popular cities during the Christmas season. Many now travel to the cobblestone streets of its fairytale Old Town to seek out festive fun leading up to – and beyond – Christmas.

In the Old Town Square is the capital’s most visited market, with red-roofed stalls selling everything from Christmas decorations to warm delicious snacks. Here, you can pick up traditional hand-blown and hand-painted glass ornaments as a souvenir or gift, and tuck into a cylindrical-shaped trdelnik, a sweet pastry covered in sugar and almonds, and nicknamed ‘Chimney cake’ by the English.

It can get overcrowded in the historic centre, so do consider exploring the city’s alternative Christmas markets. One is held in Wenceslas Square, the New Town’s largest square, or a visit to Prague Caste will see the square beneath St. George’s Basilica also sparkle with a selection of Christmas market stalls.

Market dates: 2 December 2023 – 6 January 2024

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Christmas market in Plzen (Shutterstock)

Situated in western Czechia, if you’ve ever come across Plzeň (also known as Pilsen), you’ve probably heard of its reputation for brewing bottom-fermented beer. On a visit to this city during Christmas, those wanting a Christmas tipple can’t miss out on an Advent walk to the Purkmistr Brewery in the Pilsen-Černice neighbourhood, where you can try special Christmas beers, mulled wine and homemade camel eggnog.

Back in the city’s main Republic Square is where the market magic happens. Surrounding a 14m-high fir tree, more than 100 market stalls pop up selling a host of traditional products, including places to buy mistletoe, an important part of Czech Christmas history. Plus, blacksmith and weaving loom workshops offer a fascinating insight into how these craft items have been made for centuries.

Don’t miss the market’s impressive nativity scene, made up of 72 figurines. Also spend some time wandering St Bartholomew’s Cathedral, which has recently reopened following an extensive reconstruction.

Market dates: 23 November 2023 – 23 December 2023

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Christmas market in the centre of Brno with Petrov Cathedral (Shutterstock)

Czechia’s second largest city certainly delivers in Christmas cheer, but remains a quieter affair than a visit to Prague’s markets. There are four main squares in the city centre – Freedom Square, Vegetable Market, Moravian Square and Dominican Square – with each one producing a unique and magical festive atmospheres.

Freedom Square is where most people gather for socialising at the Winter Bar which sells local Brno drinks, and it’s also where you’ll find a large Christmas tree in the exact same position the first public Czech Christmas tree was placed in 1924. Dominican Square has a large life-size nativity scene, with the figurines carved from wood by a local craftsman. And Vegetable Market is one of the city’s most picturesque spots to take in Christmas splendour. Market stalls are dotted around the city, selling local crafts and sweet treats to keep you satisfied as you wander this scenic city of cobbled streets and Gothic spires.

Market dates: 24 November – 24 December 2023

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Marsaryk Sqaure is home to Ostrava’s Christmas market (Shutterstock)

In Czechia’s Moravian-Silesian region, near the Polish border, is a city with much more than a Christmas market on offer.

Ostrava has geared up once again to produce a busy Christmas calendar to keep you entertained, with performances of Czech carols and traditional dulcimer music taking place on its main stage (out of five stages in total).

But for its authentic Christmas market, make sure to head to Marsaryk Square, where dozens of charming stalls will be set up selling local crafts, such as ringing bells, sheep-wool products, musical instruments and glass figurines. There will also be food stalls celebrating Moravian delicacies and local cheeses – all perfect gifts for popping under the Christma­s tree.

Market dates: 25 November 2023 – 1 January 2024

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Český Krumlov

Český Krumlov Christmas market (Shutterstock)

If you needed anymore reason to visit the fairytale region of Český Krumlov, then its Christmas market will be sure to win you over.

Just 2.5 hour from Prague by train, Český Krumlov is dotted with historic towns and castles. But its main UNESCO-listed town of the same name is where you can attend its festive market and enjoy its cultural weekend programs. Here, you can get hands on with craft workshops making Christmas decorations and ornaments. Other parts of the cultural weekends include Czech musical performances and a procession of Český Krumlov angels who will parade through the town – any visitors in angel costumes are welcome to join them.

The small yet bustling Christmas market is of course another bonus of visiting the town. Located in Svornosti Square, you can grab a glass of svarak (mulled wine) and a crispy cinnamon trdelnik and browse its delightful traditional trinkets for sale.

Market dates: 1 December 2023 – 1 January 2024

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