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10 Things to Do in Prague in December

Is it worth visiting Prague at Christmas time? Of course it is! In December the cold weather in Prague doesn't stop the party for a moment. If you visit the city this month get ready to visit markets, listen to Christmas carols, taste delicious food and much more.

Katherine Betances

Katherine Betances

11 min read

10 Things to Do in Prague in December

Prague in December | ©Chris Parker

With the arrival of cold weather, the fairy-tale charm that characterizes the Gothic buildings in Prague increases even more. You may find this hard to believe if you have visited Prague in the past in summer or spring; however, few things in the world are as beautiful as the visuals of Prague Castle after the first snowfall of winter. But, besides the dreamy scenery, what else can you do in this beautiful city? Here I tell you everything in detail.

1. Attend the Charles Bridge illumination ceremony

Illumination of Charles Bridge| ©.martin
Illumination of Charles Bridge| ©.martin

If you visit Prague in December you can't miss the traditional lighting ceremony of the Charles Bridge. It takes place every day from the end of November until December 23. Shortly before sunset a very important person, known as the city's lamplighter, has the important task of turning on all the lights on the King's Royal Road.

In addition to the beautiful statues that adorn it, Charles Bridge is the only bridge in the world that continues to use a gas system in its luminaries; although, unlike the month of December, the rest of the year these lights are turned on with an automatic remote system.

Where it takes place

Starting at the Powder Tower, depart from Křižovnické náměstí Square. It follows the historical route to the Old Town Square and ends at the Charles Bridge. Take advantage of one of the best city tours to tour this area.

How to buy tickets

They are not necessary, the ceremony is free for tourists and locals to enjoy.

Book a guided tour of Prague

2. Enjoy Prague's magical Christmas markets

Old Town Square Market| ©Dmitriy Fomenko
Old Town Square Market| ©Dmitriy Fomenko

One of the best things to do in Prague at Christmas time is to attend its enchanting Christmas markets held all over the city. Throughout the month of December the squares are filled with small wooden chalets beautifully decorated with lights, glitter and colors allegorical to the holidays. Besides being the perfect place to buy your travel souvenirs or Christmas gifts for the family, it is also an opportunity to enjoy traditional dishes, sweets and drinks typical of Christmas in Prague; young wine and mulled cider will not be missed.

Where it takes place

Practically every neighborhood in Prague has its own small main square and in each of them a market is set up with people from the community. Below is a list of the largest, busiest and most varied ones; however, I invite you to visit the other locations in the smaller neighborhoods as well.

  • Plaza de la Ciudad Vieja: Available throughout the month of December, the Christmas market in the Plaza de la Ciudad Vieja begins at the end of November and usually ends on Three Kings Day. In addition to stalls selling food, drink and handicrafts, carol concerts and dance performances are held.

Hours: From 10 am to 10 pm.

  • Wenceslas Square: A Christmas market is held in the historic Wenceslas Square from the end of November until Epiphany. The specialty of the markets in this area are handmade gifts made by hand using materials such as wood and steel.

Hours: From 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

  • Plaza de la República: This market regularly starts on November 25 and ends on December 24; in its stalls you will find a great selection of Christmas products, gifts for children, soaps and candles with seasonal aromas and everything you need to decorate your house for the holidays.

Hours: From 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

  • Prague Castle: A very special Christmas market is held in St. George's Square where you can find a wide collection of Christmas products made by carefully selected vendors and artisans.

Hours: From 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, weekends until 7:00 pm.

How to buy tickets

The markets are free and open to tourists and locals.

Book a tour of Prague with tickets to the Castle

3. Take a tour of "le Grand Café Houses".

Inside the Savoy Café| ©Mr No
Inside the Savoy Café| ©Mr No

Le Grand Café Houses is the name given to the historical cafes of the city; in Prague you can find them everywhere and the month of December is one of the best times to enjoy them due to the almost zero presence of tourists in the city. These famous places, besides being historical attractions in themselves, serve delicious drinks and dishes and will provide shelter from the cold weather outside. It doesn't get any better than this!

Where to go

In the years when Prague was part of the famous Austro-Hungarian Empire, the city served as a haven for intellectuals, creatives and thinkers of all stripes. Prague's beautiful cafes served as a working space for the creation of great works and for the discussion of ideas that would become part of the thinking of future generations. Some of the ones you should know are:

  • Kavárna Slavia Characterized by offering fabulous views of the city of Prague since always is common outstanding musicians and opera singers performing in this place.
  • Café Savoy Considered as one of the most beautiful cafes in the world due to its Renaissance style interiors.
  • Café Louvre A favorite meeting place for intellectuals of all ages. Franz Kafka wrote the Metamorphosis sitting in this place.

Book the Kafka Tour in Prague

4. Come out and meet the picturesque St. Nicholas and his companions.

People in costume at the St. Nicholas and his companions.| ©Filip Noubel
People in costume at the St. Nicholas and his companions.| ©Filip Noubel

December 5 is celebrated in Prague as St. Nicholas Day, or Mikuláš for the locals. This amusing character, much like Santa Claus, walks around the city accompanied by two important figures: an angel and a devil. You will see how the children of Prague gather in groups around him, St. Nicholas and his friends will ask each of them if they have been good children; the positive answers will receive candy in exchange for singing a carol while the negative answers will receive a bag of coal and a warning that the devil could take them far away if they do not improve their actions. If you visit Prague with children, you can't miss the show.

Where it is performed

You will be able to find them in different locations in the city. The most iconic will undoubtedly be around the Christmas Market in the Old Town Square.

How to buy tickets

No tickets are necessary, just head to the square in the afternoon and wait for St. Nicholas to show up.

5. Come out and see the ice skating rink in Prague

Ovocny trh rink| ©Donald Judge
Ovocny trh rink| ©Donald Judge

There is plenty to see and do in Prague all year round, but with the arrival of winter comes one of the most fun activities in the city: ice skating. In December, ice rinks open all over the country, and Czechs are dedicated to enjoying them alone as a family. If you have never skated on ice before, Prague is a good place to try it for the first time. You don't need to have special equipment because you can rent everything you need at the rinks themselves.

Where it takes place

All over the city! Here are my favorites for you to consider.

  • Na Frantisku slope. With a size of 40x20 meters, is one of the most popular and traditional, is located in the same :Jewish Quarter of Prague which means that you will be skating surrounded by the old part of the city.

-Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.; weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. - Admission fee: Approx. 3 Euro - Skate rental: Approx. 3 Euro.

  • Ovocny trh rink With a size of 30x14 is a rink managed by the city council, located in the heart of Ovocny and surrounded by historic buildings.

Hours: From 10:00 to 22:00 - Admission fee: free admission - Skate rental: Approximately 3 € for children and 5 € for adults - Skate rental: Approximately 3 € for children and 5 € for adults.

  • Harfa Shopping Center Rink A fabulous 30-meter ice rink located on the rooftop of the Harfa Shopping Center. It is interesting to skate and see the city from above.

-Hours: From 1:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. -Price of admission: 3€ entrance fee, small children free -Skate rental: Approximately 2€ for children and 4€ for adults.

How to buy tickets

The entrance ticket is purchased directly at the venue's ticket office.

6. Attend the Christmas exhibition at the Chapel of Bethlehem

Bethlehem Chapel| ©Brandon Atkinson
Bethlehem Chapel| ©Brandon Atkinson

In Prague, in the Bethlehem Chapel, a thematic exhibition of arts and crafts is organized in December with a different theme but always around the Christmas festivities. The exhibitions are usually divided into four main groups: folk crafts, Christmas decorations, nativity scenes and Christmas traditions. The exhibition usually opens in the last days of November and remains open to the public every day until at least December 31.

Where it is held

At The Bellen Chapel, Betlémské náměstí, Prague 1. Opening hours are from 9 am to 6 pm; on December 24 from 9 am to 2 pm.

How to buy tickets

You can buy the entrance ticket to the exhibition directly at the chapel. The cost is approximately 5€ for adults.

7. Take the Prague Christmas streetcar ride

Christmas Tram| ©JCKA
Christmas Tram| ©JCKA

One of the nicest surprises of visiting Prague at Christmas time is to meet the Christmas streetcars. From the first days of December until about January 6th the selected streetcars on the city route are decorated with Christmas motifs complemented by thousands of sparkling lights.

Certainly, seeing them circulating through the city adds to the scenery a particular charm but more fun will be to get on one of them at night and make the corresponding route to admire the ancient Gothic buildings illuminated during.

Where it takes place

The streetcars selected are always the most popular; for example the T3 streetcar running on lines 2 and 22, is decorated with lights and Christmas motifs. This line takes you directly around Prague Castle.

How to buy tickets

If you want to make the tour you only have to pay the streetcar ticket which costs about 1,30€. It is also advisable to take with you during the trip a map of the routes so you know where to go depending on the places you want to visit.

8. Do not miss a carol concert

People Singing Christmas Carols| ©Charlotte90T
People Singing Christmas Carols| ©Charlotte90T

The musical tradition in Prague is lived not only in the luxurious concert halls but also in the streets and bars throughout the city; proof of this are the many carol concerts that take place during the celebrations throughout the month of December.

Where it is performed

Literally all over the city, mainly in the most important Christmas markets and the main religious temples. Among the fixed presentations that you will be able to enjoy year after year are.

  • Prague Advent Choral Meeting Prague's most popular Christmas choral event takes place every year on two dates: the last week of November and the first week of December. The events take place in two important Czech churches: St. Nicholas Church in the Old Town Square and the Church of the Holy Savior.
  • Prague Advent Singing This choral group has been performing every year since 1999 at the following locations: Christmas Market on Náměstí Míru Square, St. Nicholas Church, Church of the Holy Savior, Palata Retreat House.

9. Attend the Bohuslav Martinů Festival

Liechtenstein Palace| ©Welleschik
Liechtenstein Palace| ©Welleschik

The Bohuslav Martinů Foundation organizes an annual violin and cello music festival. The festival usually starts in the last days of November to sell out a calendar of at least 10 concerts during the whole month of December. If instrumental music is something that appeals to you, consider attending one of the performances.

The best shows usually sell out at the end of the itinerary, very close to Christmas time. During the performances, the winning artists of the contest held every year by the Bohuslav Martinůc. Foundation take the stage, accompanied by outstanding local and international artists.

Where it takes place

Taking into account the many presentations that take place during the month, the foundation has opted year after year to use different stages in the city. The most prominent and busiest are the performance spaces of the Liechtenstein Palace, the Czech National Bank, the Rudolfinum, and Prague Castle itself.

How to buy tickets

Tickets can be purchased at the website or box office of the location where the event takes place. My recommendation is to visit the foundation's website before your trip to view the performance schedule. Every year there is at least one free concert open to the public.

10. Take pictures of Prague under the snow.

Prague in the snow| ©Dario Garavini
Prague in the snow| ©Dario Garavini

If you like photography, consider the following: Prague after the winter snowfalls composes one of the most perfect landscapes you will ever find. Take your camera ready and go out in search of postcard-worthy shots.

Prague Castle, of course, is especially beautiful under a blanket of snow, so I recommend you to visit it and take a guided tour of the Prague Castle and the different buildings of the complex. If you still feel like taking more pictures, head to Charles Bridge and the Old Town Square. If you climb to the top of the Powder Tower or Petrin Tower you can take pictures of the whole city from above.

Book the Prague Castle and surroundings tour

Prague in December: How to handle the weather and what to wear

Prague Port in Winter| ©Cecilia Rodriguez
Prague Port in Winter| ©Cecilia Rodriguez

WeatherAs December approaches the temperature in Prague drops a few degrees; the average high is 2°C maximum and the minimum is -2°C. Additionally expect sunny days due to cloudy and short days that hide the light around 16.30 in the afternoon. Although it is the month with the least snowfall of the whole winter in Prague, the expected precipitation reaches 26mm.

What to wearAlthough there is less snowfall than in the following winter months, it is essential to take adequate warm clothing with you. Long-sleeved sweaters, shirts and thick coats feel free to add several layers of clothing in order to keep warm. Don't forget some insulated tights, your winter hat, and your cold boots; gloves might be a good idea.

Prague in December: Tourist crowds

Prague Christmas Market| ©Bruce Tuten
Prague Christmas Market| ©Bruce Tuten

The arrival of December in Prague brings with it two things: the winter chill and a considerable drop in the number of tourists on the streets. Taking out of the calendar the dates close to the Christmas and New Year holidays, the rest of the month you will be able to find cheap prices in hotels and several offers to buy cheap flights.

If you handle the cold well and don't mind the many extra layers of clothing you'll have to wear to walk the streets, December is a perfect time to enjoy Prague, its festive atmosphere and its most iconic attractions while saving much more than any other time of the year.

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