Prague’s Christmas markets are beloved by the masses, but for those who don’t care for crowds, leaving town makes sense. These cities host delightful markets with unique features making them worthy of a day or even weekend trip. Note: we didn’t include castle markets — of which there are many — in this article; you’ll find our picks of enchanted locations for celebrating the advent season here. In the meantime, bundle up and hit the road!
Through January 5, 2020
Enjoy a “Turbomošt,” a local concoction made of cinnamon, cloves, and star anise, with apple cider from the White Carpathians topped with real apple bits. You can also taste other delicacies from Moravia and enjoy live music. Take home a nice souvenir from the first market in the Czech Republic to introduce a system of recyclable cups.
Through December 24 (rink open til January 6, 2020)
Přemysl Otakar II Square is famed for its size, measuring in area more than a hectare, making it one of the largest squares in the Czech Republic. It’ll be brimming with traditional Christmas stands and activities including a living nativity scene, gospel singing, and a massive skating rink designed around its historic Samson’s fountain. Last year it was voted the Czech Republic’s most beautiful advent market by a television poll.
Through December 24, 2019
This relatively new Christmas market is located between the Thermal Hotel and the Grandhotel Pupp. Most of the cultural events take place in front of the Mill Colonnade. A rich program of events adds to the festival atmosphere, while you can also take the opportunity to visit the nearby light-bedecked “Christmas House” at Castle Doubí.
Česky Krumlov (Nov 28 to Jan 6)
Through January 6, 2020
Every Sunday before Christmas brings a different advent program to this jewel of South Bohemia whose Christmas markets take place in the medieval Old Town’s Svornosti Square. Visitors can look forward to plenty of food stands, Christmas decorations, and traditional crafts all in a stunning setting. For weekend visitors, markets stay open until 8 pm.
Through December 24, 2019
Christmas markets traditionally fill this Moravian capital’s Upper and Lower Square with about 140 stalls, where visitors will find handicrafts, tasty regional eats, performances, and a skating rink. This year there the market has expanded and will offer more locations in addition to its 33-meter-high historic carousel and signature traditional punch.
Through December 23, 2019
Given its connection to gingerbread — a gingerbread guild was established here in the 16th century — the market on Pardubice’s glorious Pernštýn Square is certain to be as festive as they come. A full program of carolling, live performance, and children’s fairytales is backed by a wide range of kiosks, refreshments, and attractions.
International Christmas markets near the Czech Republic
Various dates through January 2020
The location of the first recorded Christmas market, the Vienna Dezembermarkt, took place here in 1294, and the city has not let the tradition die out. Over a dozen markets take place in the Austiran capital from the gaily lit Enchanted Park in the Rathauspark next to the Town Hall, Christmas Village in the Maria-Therezia Platz, the Artisan Market in front of the Schonbrunn Palace, and the nostalgic Old Vienna Market in the beautiful Freyung Square.
Through December 22, 2019
Although Bratislava’s Old Town is tiny compared to Prague’s, the city makes full use of it come Christmastime, with over 100 stalls filling Franziskan Square. Buy traditional Slovak gifts like beeswax candles, carved wood, and heavy sheepskin coats while fortifying with cabbage soup and bread with lard and cracklings. Daily concerts, folk dances, and performances for children and adults alike round out the offerings.
Dresden and Nuremberg
Dresden Christmas markets
Nuremburg Christmas markets
Head a few hours’ drive across the border to the land of people who take their Christmas markets seriously and get your fill of Gebrannte Mandeln (candied, toasted almonds), Lebkuchen and Magenbrot (both forms of soft gingerbread), Bratwurst, Glühwein, (mulled wine, preferably with a shot of brandy), or Eierpunsch (an egg-based warm alcoholic drink) while walking among enchanted stalls full of handmade toys, Nussknacker (carved Nutcrackers) and Zwetschgenmännle (figures made of decorated dried plums).
Through December 26
At the Christmas market in the center of the Polish capital you will find jewelry made of Baltic amber, Bohemian glass, clothes, furs, and decorations, often for a much better price than in the Czech Republic. Add to that a chorus of Polish carols, folk dances and nativity scenes and you won’t regret having made the journey!
This is an update of an article from 2015.