A tourist’s view of Prague’s Christmas markets

Пражское рождество (Фото: Кристина Макова)

Every year, thousands of tourists come to Prague in order to visit the city’s Christmas markets. The numerous markets offer visitors a chance to shop for traditional Czech crafts, while sipping on a cup or two of mulled wine or mead. But do they live up to their promise? Earlier today, I interrupted a couple of British tourists on Old Town Square to ask them precisely that. Here they are introducing themselves:

“I’m Joanne from Nottingham in England.”

“I’m Jenny from Nottingham in England.”

Have you seen anything nice at the Christmas markets that you would like to buy?

Joanne: “Lots of nice gingerbread, which we have just bought, and some nuts, and the Christmas decorations are lovely as well.”

And what about you? Do you have your sights set on anything?

Jenny: “Just the same, I think.”

Photo: Kristyna Makova
Did you come to Prague expressly to see these Christmas markets, or was it just to see the city?

Joanne: “Christmas markets were one of the reasons, but really we came purely to have a look. We’d never been to the city, and we’ve seen all the sights that we wanted to see.”

And are you happy that you came at this time of year, or has it been too cold to enjoy being out of doors?

Jenny: “It’s cold, but it’s not bothered us too much. We’ve still enjoyed it thoroughly.”

And what about the atmosphere of these Christmas markets, because I know that all over Britain now they have got these German Christmas markets. Does it make a difference to actually be in Central Europe, or not at all?

Jenny: “We’re undecided about that actually. Because we have a German market in Nottingham, it’s come for the last five years, and they are quite similar. But the one in Nottingham isn’t as big. I think maybe there’s a little bit more Christmas atmosphere here with the singing and the dancing which we saw last night.”

Oh, so you’ve been here a couple of times?

Joanne: “Yes, we’ve been staying down the road, so we keep popping along.”

And can you compare this Christmas market here on Old Town Square with the others in this town, because there is another one over at Wenceslas Square for example?

Joanne: “I think this is definitely the best one, it’s the bigger one. There’s more food, more shopping.”

And what about the food, have you tried the mulled wine?

Jenny: “I’ve had the mulled wine, and I like anything else they serve that is hot.”

Joanne: “And I had that rolled-up pastry. It was nice, I have no idea what it was, but it was good.”

I think it’s called trdlo – how did you have it - rolled in cinnamon, or coated in chocolate?

Joanne: “Covered in sugar and cinnamon. The sweet one. It was really good.”

So does this reaffirm any ideas that you might have had about Central Europe as being this festive place with lots of quaint things like Christmas markets?

Joanne: “I think so, yes. Because we have been looking for a number of years to come to one of these markets, either in Germany or here in Prague. And so eventually we have done it, and it is just how we expected it would be.”

And finally, what are your views of the Christmas decorations here? I personally think that the Christmas tree they have put up in the middle of the market is gorgeous this year.

Joanne: “It’s beautiful.”

Jenny: “I think it’s lovely, the red lights on it are lovely, really nice.”