Photo: © iStock/ rusm
When winter arrives in the Czech capital, the city transforms into a frosty wonderland twinkling with lights. And fortunately, a thrilling events calendar more than makes up for the sub-zero temperatures. From famous Christmas markets through to New Year festivities, here are our favourite winter events in Prague this year.
Old Town Square Christmas Market
Europe is known for its Christmas markets and Prague is home to some of the most picturesque on the continent. The city’s largest is in the Old Town Square, where lines of little wooden huts sell spit-roasted hams, pastries and sweets, Czech beer, mulled wine, and all kinds of handcrafted gifts. In the centre of the square you’ll find a giant Christmas tree, around which visitors can catch live music and carol concerts. Other festive markets to check out are at Prague Castle (open from late November), and Wenceslas, Republic, Míru and Tylovo Squares.
2nd December 2017 – 6th January 2018
Dyzajn Market is the place to go to pick up unique gifts. Over two weekends in December, more than 250 Czech and international designers gather at Václava Havla Square outside the National Theatre to sell cool original jewellery, art, fashion, and homeware. Food and drinks stalls stock great coffee, mulled wine, pretty cakes and other foodie delights, while the lively atmosphere is complemented by free music throughout the day from DJs and live bands, mini theatre performances and book readings.
9-10th & 16th-17th December 2017
Prague Advent and Christmas Choral Festival
What better way to throw yourself into the festive season than with an evening of Christmas music? The Prague Advent and Christmas Choral Festival is the oldest event of its kind in Europe, inviting choirs from all over the globe to perform across a week of music and celebrations. Highlights of the event include the outdoor concerts in Prague’s beautiful Old Town Square.
1st – 2nd December 2017
If carols aren’t your thing, you might want to grab a ticket to Prague’s bi-annual Magnetic Festival. This electronic dance music event fills the city’s enormous Exhibition Centre on two nights every year, and is amongst the highest rated and largest of its kind in Europe. There might not be any Christmas songs on the menu, but with past line-ups including big names like AVICII and Steve Aoki, this massive strobe-lit party is a must for EDM fans.
15th December 2017
New Year’s Eve
Prague is a favourite New Year’s Eve destination for visitors and locals alike. The hugely popular annual fireworks display attracts thousands of revellers every year, and lights up the city as the clocks strike midnight. For the best view in town, get a spot in the Old Town Square or nearby Wenceslas Square, or join the crowds along the banks of the Vltava River. Restaurants and beer halls across town host parties with traditional feasts, plenty of drink and dancing – book one along the riverfront to catch the fireworks from your table. Later, head to the city’s clubs to continue the celebrations, but be sure to get your tickets in advance.
31st December 2017
Three Kings’ Day Parade
Three Kings’ Day celebrates the three wise men of the Nativity story, who visited baby Jesus in Bethlehem with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. It also brings the Christmas season to an end each year. Prague marks the occasion with a big costumed procession through the streets of the city, with the kings riding on camels. Catch the parade as it passes over Charles Bridge and comes to a close at the Old Town Square, with a concert and life-sized nativity scene where visitors can donate toys and books to a children’s charity.
5th January 2018
Ice Rink in the Old Town
Winter in Prague would not be complete without an al fresco ice skating session or two. Ovocny Trh is a beautiful spot in the Old Town surrounded by historic buildings. It closes late in the evening, is free to visit with skates to rent, and is probably the most popular choice. For a slightly larger space to showcase your moves, Na Frantisku has a pretty (though slightly more expensive) rink next to the Vlatva River.
5th December 2017 – 31st January 2018