Prague Christmas Markets 2009

Now open on Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square and Náměstí Republiky, the city center's Xmas markets remain popular with tourists and residents alike

Xmas Gift Ideas | Xmas Markets | Xmas/New Year's Eve Dining | NYE Events

Christmas is coming and in Prague it's easy to tell -- the spectacular decorated trees on city squares and the lights on every street are proof, and there are also, of course, the city's traditional Christmas markets, full of stands where you can buy food, gifts and decorations.

There are many Christmas markets around Prague, but the most popular are the ones on Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí) and Wenceslas Square (Václavské náměstí).

Old Town Square is always beautiful but it's particularly amazing at Christmas.

The biggest Christmas tree in the city is surrounded by stands, where both residents and tourists come to buy gifts or just have a good time.

Tourists will be particularly pleased to find stands selling typical Prague souvenirs, but there are also several stands selling Christmas decorations for your home, mainly in wood or glass.

It's food, however, that dominates the market on Old Town Square, so if you like the atmosphere you can go there to have lunch or dinner instead of going to a restaurant.

Many of the food stands just sell sausages and hot dogs, but you can also find more traditional items such as trdelník (a Slovak cake), langoše (also known as lángos, a Hungarian specialty something like a pizza) and typically Czech wafers.

Over on Wenceslas Square, the temporary stands erected for the Christmas market share space with the stands that sell food all year round.

Because of that, there aren't as many hot dog stands at this Christmas market but you will find trdelník, langoše and wafers, as well as hot chocolate and mulled wine.

It's not only food on the Wenceslas Square market, though.

Souvenirs and decorations made of glass or wood can also be found here and, if you need to buy a gift, there's a stand full of fascinating wooden toys.

Candies, chocolates and traditional Czech gingerbread (perník) are also good options on Wenceslas Square.

If you're in the area, it makes sense to take a walk down Na Příkopě street and visit the Christmas market on Náměstí Republiky too.

Here, the Christmas market is divided in two sections.

The first section, next to the tree in front of the Palladium shopping mall, is mainly dedicated to food, and not just snacks but also foods to buy and take home, including a stand selling different types of cheese.

There are also stands selling Christmas decorations and wooden toys, similar to the ones on Wenceslas Square.

In the other section, there are a few trdelník and mulled wine stands but the focus is mainly on non-food items.

Along with stands selling souvenirs, there are several selling scarves, hats and gloves in preparation for the cold months ahead.

There are also some interesting stands here dedicated to natural soaps and one offering gifts made of minerals.

So, a word of warning: if you visit downtown Prague's Christmas markets, expect to develop a craving for food, Christmas decorations and gifts -- and don't be too surprised if you suddenly find yourself full of holiday spirit!

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