We recently sent our guest blogger Tereza from Cityscape Bliss, to explore the reasons why you should visit the Christmas markets in Prague and Birmingham.
Whether you're looking for a giant ferris wheel, choirs singing traditional carols on every corner, or simply to indulge on some tasty traditional Czech food; these Christmas markets have it all!
Check out Tereza's top 5 reasons to visit the Prague Christmas markets below. Or for a more in-depth summary of her trip and more reasons to visit Prague during Winter read her blog post here.
5 reasons to visit the Christmas Markets in Prague
When: 26th November 2016 - 6th January 2017
Where: Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square, Republic Square, Prague Castle, Kampa Island, Havel Market and many more locations throughout the city
⭐ The world's best Christmas markets
And that's not just a vain big-headed claim by your favourite Czech - that's a fact, confirmed by CNN right here. Prague itself is such a fairy tale city that Christmas markets always look like they truly belong to the city's landscape. The medieval architecture of surrounding buildings lends itself seamlessly to the cosy wooden huts decorated with red velvet ribbons and fir garlands, steaming pots of soups and warm mead and choirs singing traditional carols on every corner (even from the tops of the city's spires). The city quickly becomes full of hustle & bustle around this time of the year, but the hurry is pushed aside by the warm glow of Christmas lights, mistletoe twigs hanging above every door way and the sweet scent of purpura (a Czech potpourri you burn on the stove at Christmas and it makes your house smell like a sweet shop).
⭐ The Bohemian spirit
Whereas the Birmingham Christmas Markets are German, the ones in Prague are based solely around Czech traditions and everything Bohemian. You can explore hundreds of stall with traditional crafts from your old fashioned blacksmith making real horse shoes to a lady dressed in a folk Bohemian garb slicing homemade cheese and roasting a piglet on a spit. Stuff your belly with halusky (potato dough dumplings baked in lard and topped with bacon and sauerkraut) or langos (a doughey pancake covered in a ton of tomato sauce and cheese). You can learn how to make gorgeous Christmas decorations from hay and straw or buy a bunch of intricate baubles made out of hand blown glass.
⭐ So. Many. Markets.
As you can tell, Czech people are ever so fond of their traditions and welcome every opportunity to showcase them. Apart from visiting the main Christmas Markets at the Old Town Square and the Wenceslas Square I urge you to visit the other smaller ones dotted around the city too! There's a Christmas version of their regular farmer's market, a little quaint Christmas market at the square of the Prague Castle or the Havel Market surrounded by loads of little snug cafes taking you back to the era of the First Republic with its genuine vintage charm. And there's so many more!
⭐ Building a snowman
Although snow can never be guaranteed you're pretty likely to get some snow in Prague when visiting in between December and February. And when it snows in Prague, it snows. One of the most magical views you'll ever see is Prague at night with the very first few snow flakes of the year slowly fluttering down. I remember the very first time I saw this and it was such a humbling moment to see all the historical buildings that's been there for centuries and centuries getting their snowy caps on, and the red roofs lighten up under the veil of white. And you can build a bloody snowman, hurray!
⭐ The fairy tale views
You already know that I have a thing for heart-stopping views of cities (see Prague's best views here) but seeing smoking chimneys on the backdrop of a sea of red roofs and the crisp winter sun is absolutely brain-melting. You just stand there looking around breathless thinking life couldn't get much better right now. And then you hear a choir singing Christmas carols and smell the warm mead mixed with hot chestnuts and your heart actually melts.